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How to stop rocking to sleep/extend naps - 16 week old

(49 Posts)
Galapasnickle Thu 09-Jun-11 17:54:13

I would be grateful for any ideas on how to stop rocking our 16 week old DD to sleep and get her to go to sleep on her own. Also, how to extend catnaps into proper length naps? I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of advice out there (Baby Whisperer, No Cry Sleep Solution etc). And she is getting a lot heavier and my back is about to give in...

For the first 12 weeks of her life I was stuck to the sofa as she would nap on me after feeding and would wake up immediately if we put her in the moses basket or pram (although she would sleep in the basket at night). If she woke in the night, I would feed her and then it would typically take between 1.15 and 2 hrs each time to get her back to sleep (a combination of rocking and feeding). She was also quite colicky/windy in the evenings with lots of crying.

We are now able to get her to nap sometimes during the day (not on me!) by swaddling her and rocking/bouncing her to sleep (feeding to sleep seems to work less and less). The rocking can take anything from 5 mins to 30 mins (usually with a fair amount of loud crying) and she will then typically nap for 45 mins and wake up cranky. She occasionally naps for longer (2hrs or so) but I can't see any pattern as to when this is (although it is usually only in the morning). At night (and when she wakes in the night) we do a combination of feeding and rocking (and it still typically takes an hour and a half to get her back to sleep). Though once asleep we are very lucky as she can go for long periods at night.

She is a fantastic baby but so much happier (understandably!) when she is well rested. She generally feeds well and is gaining weight. She was born 2 weeks' late (I was induced and had a C section). She doesn't sleep easily in the pram or car (health visitors don't seem to be able to believe this!) although will sometimes drop off after 10 mins + of high powered screaming (and then wakes up after 30 minutes or if the motion stops). We often end up having screaming meltdowns when out and about which I think is down to overtiredness.

Any ideas/experience in weaning the rocking/extending naps/encouraging sleeping in prams much appreciated!

PukeyRag Thu 09-Jun-11 18:00:55

Unfortunately no advice, DD is exactly the same (she's 12 weeks)

I have created a support thread for people like us though. come along and you might get some advice smile

pettyprudence Thu 09-Jun-11 19:09:40

My ds is 10 wks and I found that rocking etc.. made no difference to the screaming and shouting when he was tired so one day a couple of weeks ago I just put him in his cot, swaddled him and gave him a dummy. He shouted for maybe a minute (2 max although it always feels like ages doesn't it?) and he promptly went to sleep! I have tried putting him down before the over-tiredness kicks in but its no use he just wants to shout and be left alone before sleeping so now I leave him to it. If it turns to cries then I give him a cuddle but it doesn't seem to make much difference to him.

Before this he would only sleep on me so it took some figuring out and adjusting on my part because its your natural instinct to try and soothe them when they seem upset. It also took me a while and some confidence to realise that he was shouting and not crying (and I hate to admit it but I did find the baby whisperer book useful!)

Also I read somewhere (possibly on here) that you should never put an awake baby down to sleep. I think if I had never read that (or it hadn't stuck with me as much as it did!) we would have cracked sleeping a lot quicker!

Oh, and finally, a dummy has been a bit of a life saver. He only uses it when he is overtired and needs to sleep in his cot (I'm lucky that ds drops like a fly in the pram or car!).

abigailj Thu 09-Jun-11 20:17:19

Sounds like us many months ago. DS is now 11.5 months. I still rock him a bit as part of a bedtime/naptime routine. Try adding a few cues that its naptime - a little song, a gentle pat, swaddle. Don't be afraid of a little bit of crying. Gradually reduce the amount of rocking. Watch carefully for signs they are just about to fall asleep (blinking, staring) and put them down so they get used to dropping off in the basket. When they wake after the first sleep cycle, leave them grizzle for a couple minutes OR rock/pat to resettle, and see whether you can get them down again and used to napping for a longer time. Longer sleeps can take quite a while to develop for some babies, so try to be relaxed and go with the flow abit, you'll get there. Also, things tend to improve and then regress a bit, so don't stress about this. Am by no means an expert, at 16 weeks I think DS took most of his naps in the babybjorn, so sounds like you are doing great.

fififrog Fri 10-Jun-11 08:58:08

I am in almost exactly the same position, hard crying when she's tired and unreliable sleeping when out and about. Often wakes after 20 mins, or 45 very grumpy and clearly wanting more sleep. Like yours, she's a joy when well rested. And it's def crying not shouting. I also notice sometimes it's much easier but can't work out why. Also much better in the morning though can sometimes do a long one in th afternoon if very tired or after baby massage.

I am beginnin to wonder if sometimes
I'm preempting getting her to sleep and she doesn't like it but so keen to avoid over tired and consequent meltdown.

I am impressed you have the energy in the night - I just give up and hoik her into bed which I don't like but saves me staying up all night! Going to have to be brave though as moving into cot soon!

Would love to know I'd things get better, DD is a few weeks behind yours at 11.5 weeks

Galapasnickle Fri 10-Jun-11 12:34:45

Thanks everyone for the advice/support - good to know we're not alone... I'm trying to sing her the same song before putting her down, swaddling and using dummy - all of which helps although she does still resist sleep if no rocking.

Fififrog, we're exactly like you in that sometimes much easier but no clue as to why. Tried to write a sleep log but every day is so different I can't see a pattern. I think I'll try again next week and be a bit more detailed and see if any patterns emerge.

My knees are about to give in (am bit of a wimp) but wouldn't mind if only the rocking resulted in decent sleep and a happy baby, but it usually doesn't!

Has anyone tried pick up/put down from the Baby Whisperer to wean the rocking? Sounds like it can't possibly work but interested to know if anyone has had any success.

yawningbear Fri 10-Jun-11 14:04:04

Hi Galapasnickle, I have a 15 week old DS who I have been trying to wean off rocking, feedingetc to sleep too and I recently posted asking for advice re:PUPD, if you do advance search with PUPD & Success it should come up, a few people responded with good advice & saying they had used it and it had worked but it sounded like it would take a while. I also googled it for more information and it seemed that it may be better it the LO was around 5-6months as it could be overstimulating for 4 -5month old. I am not sure it would work with DS as even shhsh/pat seems to upset him more but if we are still having problems in a few weeks I think we may well give it a go. We have manage to stop the rocking at bedtime, basically we are now cuddling him to sleep directly following a feed so droswy already but we are trying to put him down before he is completely asleep. All a bit hit & miss but sometimes works. He has settled himself properly a couple of times and the main difference seemed to be that he was tired in that it was bedtime but he had had a v late nap so not overtired iyswim. During the day we are still all over the place with naps, am just trying to get him to sleep any old way really and concentrating on getting him to self settle at bedtime & hopefully then naps will follow. I also have a 2.7 year old DD who was similar to your LO in that she wouldn't sleep in pram, car etc, only on me. She was also v late, induction, c-section and at 9 months I took her to an Osteopath for craniosacral therapy. This seemed to help with her sleeping and in retrospect I wish I had taken her when she was younger. Again if you do an advance search you should find info about it. Hope some of this ramble helps smile.

ComradeJing Fri 10-Jun-11 14:40:04

Could it be (and my 5m dd is a sleep nightmare so I'm not an expert) that your DD is getting confused with when she needs to sleep because sometimes you're rocking, others feeding etc?

I've found with my DD that there was a huge difference when I went over to a rough "schedule" of feeding/sleeping and cut out feeding to sleep entirely. It made a huge difference to her staying asleep as she wasn't so windy/refluxy. All I mean by schedule is I feed DD every 3 hours which means that I can expect that she'll get tired about an hour and a half after the feed and try to get her down by doing anything other than feeding. We had one bad day where she was tired and cross because I wasn't feeding her to sleep and it's been much better since. Now it takes 5 minutes to get her to sleep not half an hour.

PU/PD not worked so far with us but I'm going to try again now it's just the rock to sleep association I need to change and not feeding AND being in my arms.


Galapasnickle Sun 12-Jun-11 17:54:03

Thanks everyone, will keep trying and will take a look at the PUPD posts. Let me know if anyone has any more success (and I will do the same!).

Galapasnickle Tue 14-Jun-11 15:43:56

I posted same question on Baby whisperer forum and got this response in case anyone finds it useful:

May give it a go in a week when my mum is visiting. The good sleep we were having at night seems to have gone out of the window now (back on two or three night wakings and taking hours to get her to sleep in the first place) so nothing to lose really. Except my sanity and that went long ago...

nearlymumofone Tue 14-Jun-11 19:57:31

Hi. I had the same problem. DS would only nap for 30-45 minutes after being rocked for an eternity in my arms. I found that at 5-6 months DS just suddenly started to nap for longer periods (1-2 hours normally). I stopped rocking him in my arms, as he cried for 20 mins while I rocked him anyway, so i decided to put him in his own cot, he cried/grisled more than cried really, for up to 20 minuters then fell asleep. I never went back to the rocking. Thank God-it was hell and I used to dread nap time. After a week or so he not only settled himself quickly (within 5 mins of chattering/grisling- never crying) but napped for much longer. This also coincided with me giving him a blankie to hold, which he loves- he has never had a dummy so it's his comforter. Also at this stage I had also put him on solids and formula and so I think he may have been more content and so settled and napped better? Unfortunately I tried so many things at once in desperation as things were so bad, that I don't know which worked!! Things will get better, make some changes, and they will improve. Be strong- it's hard to be when you're so tired though!!

Galapasnickle Wed 15-Jun-11 12:14:38

Thanks - gives me hope! I am wondering whether any of these self settling techniques will only result in same amount of crying as sticking her in the cot to be honest. Plus she is pretty feisty and will probably be flailing around if I just try to hold her without rocking. Oh no, she's woken up - 14 mins...

yawningbear Wed 15-Jun-11 13:44:32

Oh gawd it is so hard isn't it, 14 minutes is very depressing! I had a look at bw answers to your post and had another go with shhh/pat this morning and some success but lots of screamage as well. I have also just got a copy of the millpond sleep book which has a specific sleep plan for weaning 4-6 months old from feeding/rocking to sleep. Gradual retreat, same principal as BW thing with first few days rocking, then holding, then holding but in cot etc. Sounds sensible but am not convinced either will work that well here as I would find it hard to do it at every sleep/nap as I have DD to look after as well. My Mum is coming to stay too for a few days at the weekend though so I may pick a plan and try and give it a proper go whilst I have got some extra help with DD. Also meant to say if you haven't already tried, a gym ball can save your back, doesn't solve the self settling issue but is much easier on your back whilst you are trying to wean off the movement. Hope you having better luck with lunchtime nap.

Galapasnickle Wed 15-Jun-11 17:17:15

I have no idea which of all these plans to choose. Seem to be lots of ideas, none of which sound that realistic for us. I need to choose something and give it a go though. I've got the Millpond book (and most others on this subject!) so will take another look. Good luck yawning bear, hope this weekend brings some results! Will dig out my gym ball...

fififrog Mon 20-Jun-11 21:28:32

Galapasnickle are you getting anywhere? Since I have a vested interest in your progress since you sound just like me smile

fififrog Mon 20-Jun-11 21:32:01

Oh, excpet touch wood she goes to sleep fairly promptly after feeding at night (even more promptly thanks to pettyprudence's suggestion about the shouting).

Also sometimes getting somewhere with less rocking, i.e. if she's stopped crying but isn't totally asleep from all the rocking she can sometimes drop off in my arms now (mostly in the evening not for daytime naps so much - too much crying). But still too wary to put her down yet when "drowsy but awake"...

Galapasnickle Tue 21-Jun-11 10:12:46

Hi Fififrog, we had an amazing day yesterday, I can hardly believe it. I actually got her down for three long naps and at night without rocking. I keep thinking I will wake up and it will all be a dream. It will probably all go out of the window by tomorrow but for now, this is what we did, in case it helps at all.

For the last 2 weeks I have been trying to slow down the rocking (only really rocking if she gets agitated) and eventually not rocking at all but just letting her fall asleep in my arms. This was absolutely knackering and sometimes took over an hour. When asleep I would put her in the cot, although she often would wake up on the transfer and then I would have to pick her up again (whereupon she would fall asleep again until I put her down - a bit demoralising!).

As suggested, I have also been trying to introduce sleep cues in case that worked - basically dummy in, sing Twinkle twinkle a few times and stroke head and then swaddle before starting rocking/standing still. I would ssh whilst rocking/standing still. The swaddle was a bit hopeless as she would fight to get out, but without it she was flailing and waking herself up all the time by scratching her head and rubbing her eyes etc.

I had started to get the odd nap out of her which was longer than 45 minutes (sometimes over 2 hours, which was amazing) but the majority was 45 minutes (which after 45 minutes + of standing still with a 15lb baby in your arms was a bit of a killer). It was starting to take a bit less time to get her to sleep in my arms so slight progress.

I gave up on using a swaddle blanket and bought one of those baby strait jackets (an Ergo Cocoon - recommended by one of the mums on Pukeyrag's clingy baby thread - thanks Pukey!).

Anyway, yesterday, as I put her on our bed to sing lullaby and put dummy in her eyes started drooping (usually she has eyes propped open for ages) so I quickly zipped her in the Cocoon and put her in the cot. I put slight pressure on her arms at her sides (so it felt a bit like being held/cuddled) and started sshing. Unbelievably after 25 minutes of doing this she fell asleep. And stayed asleep for 1.5hrs!!

Tried the same thing for the rest of the day and this morning and it has worked (and only took 10 minutes this morning)! She woke up from the second nap after 45 minutes, but I went up, put the dummy in, cuddled and sshed for 10 mins and she went back to sleep again for another 45 mins.

There is sometimes a little bit of crying and wriggling at the beginning but just by increasing the pressure on her arms to try to hold her still (but gently) helps this. It worked in the night as well, except when she was hungry when it didn't work of course and we had to get her up and feed, but she settled again afterwards quickly (25 minutes rather than the usually 90 minutes).

Felt absolutely at the end of my tether last week, so am really hoping this continues. I am not sure what of all of the above has been the most help or whether it is all of it. I think the Cocoon is really helpful as it makes her feel cuddled even when we are not there. Also, getting her to sleep around 1.5hrs of being awake. Stopping the motion must have helped too, although exhausting. Or maybe the penny has just dropped for her now. Who knows?!

Sorry for writing a novel. Thanks for all the tips above everyone which have been fantastically useful - will let you know if this progress continues and whether we have truly emerged from (as my friend calls it) "rocking hell".

Good luck Fififrog - I thought we were a truly hopeless case, so I hope this gives you a bit of hope.

sedgiebaby Tue 21-Jun-11 11:33:17

hi, I dont have time to read all the replies but we had a devil of a time with the 40 min naps and what helped is stopping feeding to sleep and getting baby to self settle also my being a little resistant to a 'protest' type cry (never a distressed cry but the whinge-y kind), i used a mix of the NCSS and Baby Whisperer advice on this. I'd rec both those books the BW solves all your problems and the NCSS one. Once I could put her in bed awake the short naps just went away...

fififrog Tue 21-Jun-11 13:01:10

Galaspickle - excellent! I am sure we're both on the right track, I just need to give it a few more weeks. I think, am trying to begin to be more consistent but am always scared of a horrible evening if she keeps waking as I put her down... Am trying to pop her in the cot at least for a few mins before each nap and draw the curtains and tell her it's nap time. And doing exactly the same as you regarding the rocking. thinking of sticking her in sleeping bag too.

I do, however, like to take morning nap myself so try to get her to have that one in my bed - this morning I too had a bit of success as she woke as I tried to extract my arm from under her (you know the story!) but I shushed some more and she went back to sleep for 1.5 hours! Hurrah! Totally agree with sedgiebaby I think naps will naturally lengthen if she falls asleep herself. Will give the reduced rocking and sleep cues a little longer, then will try a tough few days probably doing a bit of PUPD, then try leaving her to whinge a bit - hopefully over the next few weeks the crying will reduce gradually to whingeing/shouting as she gets older!

Fingers crossed your success continues!!

fififrog Tue 21-Jun-11 15:06:04

Spoke too soon! OH is ill and so I had to leave her cry in her cot for 5 mins while I got him a drink before settling myself down for her nap... Then had to endure 40 mins of screaming. She is thankfully finally sleeping (through hiccups!) the only upside is that I have given up on the sleep cues and am now downstairs watching Wimbledon with her in my arms ;)

Galapasnickle Tue 21-Jun-11 17:18:52

Poor you! Sounds like Wimbledon is the best plan - some days you've just got to do what works. I have certainly watched more daytime TV in the last four months than ever before whilst stuck to sofa with sleepng baby... I'm thinking of becoming a property expert because I have seen more Homes under the Hammer than anyone else.

Galapasnickle Wed 22-Jun-11 20:44:32

Oh dear, I think I spoke too soon... We have had some really grisly bedtimes - took 2.15 hr last night and 1.20 tonight with lots of hysterical screaming and me caving in and feeding her. Feeding her before the bath doesn't seem to be working as she gets over excited in the bath, splashes all the water out and ends up crying.

Also she is rolling over in the cocoon and getting stuck on her face so I have let her arms out, although I then need to hold them against her side to stop her scratching her face and her strong startle reflex, so it takes longer to get her to fall asleep.

Will keep trying. Anybody got any ideas?!!

am988 Thu 23-Jun-11 18:09:33

Good to read this thread - I feel I'm going a bit crazy with this screaming before falling asleep - I feel defeated seriously. DS is 16 weeks old, he was always a bit fussy to fall asleep, crying and we rocked him and cuddled him but recently he started this screaming thing which is unnerving and has the ability to destroy me!!! He becomes red, arches his back, kicks and scratches me. I was also induced and ended up with a c-section.. so I don't know if that had any effect. But I really don't know what to do adn it is good to read this at least I don't feel on my own.
xx A

am988 Thu 23-Jun-11 20:55:34

Galapasnickle did you have an easier night? Took me 1 hour to finally put him to sleep. I gave him a feed a bath but still, I was really amazed at how much energy he has. DH not here tonight for support as away with work so it felt even harder tonight. At one point I couldn't take it anymore I took him in my arms and both him and me cried... He finally settled in his cot. It has been a bad screaming day. Good luck to everyone else tonight ...

fififrog Thu 23-Jun-11 21:23:25

Sounds like a day for screaming, mine went nuts too - has been so good all day too. She had jabs today so I wondered if it was related and gave her a tiny bit of calpol and she hit the roof! Asleep now but couldn't really feed her properly before bed so I expect an early call to duty!

Good luck everyone!

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