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How did you teach your dc to fall asleep alone and at what age? Need ideas...

(22 Posts)
izpie Mon 20-Jun-11 08:13:07

dd is 6m old and has never managed to fall asleep alone. For naps she is rocked or fed, cries when rocked. I shush patted for over a month but never moved to independent sleep. For night she is fed to sleep. Dd1 is getting fed up, as am I, with the amount of time it takes to get her to sleep for naps so I really want to be able to put her down without the time spent rocking or shhhing. How did you do it with yours, at what age, and how long did it take?

LeggyBlondeNE Mon 20-Jun-11 09:35:50

Got a nearly-10mo and we still feed to sleep at night, but use sling, car or buggy for naps. Nursery put her in a buggy, fix a blanket over so it's dark and rock it til she's asleep which I don't think is long - we all wait til she's pretty obviously tired these days.

LeggyBlondeNE Mon 20-Jun-11 09:38:06

oh yes, sorry didn't address the 'alone' bit - if she's calm and happy she can doze off in her cot with a toy if she's woken up too early in the morning but there's too much separation anxiety for her to fall asleep alone atm. We're going to try nightweaning once we're back from our holiday next month and then think about getting her to sleep alone once she's old enough to understand a few words or less upset when left alone.

bigkidsmademe Mon 20-Jun-11 09:41:03

We have been teaching DS for a month now ( he is 24 weeks) and he has slept through for three nights now - a month ago was waking every 45 minutes as he was entirely unable to self settle. It's taken a whole month.

Firstly, we stopped feeding to sleep at all, ever. At night we showed him a book between feed and bed so he would stop feed to sleep associations and for naps I mostly used sling or pram so no feeding. We started by pacing the bedroom rocking him to sleep then did that until he was ALMOST asleep, when we put him down but continued cuddling in the cot till he fell asleep - cheek pressed against his etc. After a week or so we put him straight down after story but cuddled as before. Then we gradually gradually reduced the amount we cuddled till we could stand with a hand on his tummy and he would settle. Then we stood by his cot watching and stroking his nose or tummy only when he got upset, then standing by the door. Now we put him in te cot, kiss his cheek and leave the room and he goes to sleep shock

He does cry a little bit now - perhaps thirty seconds of that grumbling cry, not distressed at all - but throughout the process we limited crying and picked him up always if he got confused or upset. He's too little for cc and I don't like it anyway but as I said it did take a month because we wanted to go slowly. I still can't believe he can do it now!

BertieBotts Mon 20-Jun-11 09:52:15

Not yet at 2.8. He'll get there by himself eventually. However, I've got it down now and it only takes me 10-15 minutes to feed him to sleep now. Takes longer than that to get him changed and read a couple of stories smile

littleyellowchicken Mon 20-Jun-11 21:31:13

Wow bigkidsmademe that's amazing! Was he waking up lots in the night and did you do it then too? I would love to do that but when DD is waking up every 2 hours in the night it sounds like a lot of walking and rocking and at the moment feeding to sleep is working for us, although not ideal.
Hope it keeps up for you though.

bigkidsmademe Mon 20-Jun-11 21:36:22

Yep we did it for every waking until about 4.30 when we couldn't bear it any more and brought him into bed with us. DH and I split nights between us so we did five hours each per night which helped massively!

sprinkles77 Mon 20-Jun-11 22:02:37

bigkidsmademe sounds about right to me. We, started as soon as DS stopped falling asleep after each feed, so about 6 weeks I think. I used to let him get really drowsy then put him down while his eyes were just open. If he fussed we'd pat his back (he slept on his tummy). If he did fall asleep while we were holding him we'd stroke his cheek till he opened his eyes, then put him down straight away. Never let him go to bed with his eyes closed after about 8 weeks. He slept 11-7 from 8 weeks and 7-7 from 6 months, we had a small blip at about 4 months when he learned to turn over, and another about 8 months when we did controlled crying (2 nights only thankfully).

Had a clear night time routine, and a slightly different one for day time naps. He's now 15 months and still a fab sleeper.

dietcokeandwine Mon 20-Jun-11 22:22:56

With both of mine it was between 3 and 4 months from what I can remember - used pickup putdown technique with DS1 who was in the habit of feeding to sleep every time (this took about 4 days to work though would probably take a bit longer with a 6mo). DS2 just seemed to 'get' the whole notion of self settling much more easily - I can't remember 'teaching' DS2 how to self settle, he was one of those babies who just did it.

Also used lullaby light as 'sleep cue' at every nap and bedtime which worked brilliantly with both, but am slightly alarmed that DS1 still uses his every bedtime (he is 7 grin)

I think the key for us in teaching to self settle was to make sure we tried settling them when they were tired enough but not overtired - always made a massive difference in terms of how easily they went to sleep. And having a consistent routine in terms of what you do and say at sleeptime really helps too.

RuddyNora Mon 20-Jun-11 22:36:20

I started the 'sleepeasy' method last week with 10 mo old DS and it has worked a treat. We were having to stay with him in the room until he dropped off to prevent a hysterical scream fest - sometimes for 3 hours! Then he would wake up every 15 mins to 30 mins until his dream feed at 10.30pm - we were going round the bend!

1st night doing 'sleepeasy', it took 90 mins to get him to sleep, 2nd 30 mins and on the 3rd, he was asleep within 2 mins of me leaving the room. No waking in the evening either, dreamfeed has stopped and he sleeps now from 7pm to 6am!!!! His 2 x daytime naps have also increased to 1 hour rather than 30 mins. I am working on him getting a 2 hour morning nap and he is getting better and better.

It did involve leaving him to cry for 5/10 min intervals and then going in without touching and softly telling him to go to bloody sleep, leaving the room within 30 secs, just to reassure him and to let him learn to drop off without me as a prop. I sat at the top of the stairs with a book and went in and spoke to him and stroked his hair, against the rules! Well worth 2 nights work IMHO.

RuddyNora Mon 20-Jun-11 22:40:46

Oh just to say from the 4th night on, he has gone off to sleep with no crying at all. I put him in his cot, give him his dummy, stroke his hair, tell him goodnight, hot foot it out of the room and do not hear a peep from him again until around 6am. We are on day 11 now.

I am just incredulous grin.

matana Tue 21-Jun-11 08:18:49

Started really early with our DS, now nearly 8 months. Think we started around 6 weeks. By this, i mean putting him down in his carry cot in the lounge when he seemed very tired. Sometimes it worked and he drifted off, sometimes he cried and so we cuddled, rocked, walked up and down, shushed, patted, slinged - you name it, we did it! By around 10 weeks he was self settling at bedtime 9 times out of 10.

Wouldn't know where to begin with a 6 month old i'm afraid - partly because they're changing so much at that age and reaching so many developmental milestones that their sleep is more disturbed anyway. I still find myself cuddling DS and occasionally driving him around when he's unsettled, despite him being a really good self settler.

Does your DD have a cuddly toy or comforter that she seems quite attached to? Might that help her with any transition?

sedgiebaby Tue 21-Jun-11 09:40:46

I did much as bigkids around 18 wks, minus the dummy and a little bit of pick up put down in that if she needed a bit more cuddles to relax and go off I'd do that but make sure not to put her down fast a sleep but drifting off then continue patting/comforting in the cot.

Sometimes she will need me to do that now (8.5 months) if overtired and a bit wired but mostly she goes into her cot awake and self settles. Oh unless she's unwell or cutting teeth then it amounts to a bit of a regression but goes back to normal once she is well.

AngelDog Tue 21-Jun-11 23:37:06

I did the sort of thing bigkids describes when DS was 5 months. He 'self-settled' for about a week and a half and then it stopped working again. I couldn't be bothered to try again (he's 18 months now and I feed him to sleep). Even if you can teach them, don't be disheartened if the next developmental spurt messes it all up again.

bigkidsmademe Wed 22-Jun-11 06:53:37

Funny you should say that - he woke five times last night and did not self settle! Eeek!

FeelingHip Wed 22-Jun-11 14:19:57

ruddy, am thinking of trying this with my 23 week old. I notice your DS had a dummy - if it dropped out when he was trying to get to sleep, did you put it back in during the checking? Or if it fell out did you just leave it out?

BR44 Wed 22-Jun-11 15:05:04

I am trying to help my 9mo self-settle at the moment. Not easy, is it? He's been used to being fed to sleep so now I'm trying to gently rouse him and read him a short story between his last feed and putting him down in his cot, but to be honest he's so drowsy at that point that it hardly counts as 'putting him down awake'.

I stopped night feeds a week and a half ago and after two nights of misery his night wakings now are far less traumatic, but he still needs a lot of cuddles and swaying to get him calm enough to go back to sleep. I am trying to encourage him to become attached to a transitional object (there's another thread on this in Sleep) in the hope that this will help him self settle, but we're only a day in to this. I am REALLY hoping that this will help with naps too - totally agree with the OP that it's hugely frustrating having to spend so much time getting him to drop off without feeding during the day.

RuddyNora Wed 22-Jun-11 20:05:36

FeelingHip - yes I did put DSs dummy back in and gave his hair a stroke and wiped his little tears away on his cloth. Should'nt have according to the rules of this method - but could not help myself! I think as long you get out of the room sharpish and speak very quietly, it's fine - they just need reassurance. The book also recommends giving something like a cuddly toy or cloth that the baby can associate with comfort and sleep. My DS has always been attached to his muslin cloths at sleeptime. He likes to rub his face with them while dropping off. I fold one and put it under his head so he can pull either end up to rub his face without being able to pull the whole thing over his face IYSWIM. Alos means his cot sheets don't get covered in dribble grin.

Day 13 and still working a treat - no crying at all at bedtime and sleeping all night without a dreamfeed. He will also go down for his daytime naps without crying, just need him to sleep a bit longer - 40 mins this AM and 20 mins this PM [grrrrrr].

LadyOfTheCuntryManor Thu 23-Jun-11 06:25:22

Ds was 10 days old when we established bed time.

Bath at 5.15, jammies, feed, down by 6. We'd get up in the night to feed, but put him back in his cot.

The key I found is a dark room, no noise, no lights and no talking. Associate the darkness and quiet time with bed time. When you get up for a feed (you probably aren't doing that, mine dropped his night feed at 10 weeks) no talking, minimal light, and back down to bed. Keep up the routine for about 7-10 days and it should stick.

Iggly Thu 23-Jun-11 07:20:48

DS is 21 months and goes through phases of settling alone. He doesn't need rocking or feeding but at the moment needs me in the room or hand on him as he drifts off. Otherwise I can leave after his feed and he'll sleep by himself.

He started self settling around 6/7 months - sporadically for naps if I put him in his cot after trying to rock then failing, he'd play with his ducky then drift off (rare!) or at bedtime after feeding I'd try putting him down, lights off, and stay and he'd drift off. Basically gave him the chance to do it. If it didn't work, I'd rock.

We tried PUPD at 6 months before giving him a try and it didn't work after three nights of horrid screaming and crying with hiccups etc. I think it just seemed cruel. And I didn't do it, DH did!

I've accepted that he has phases of good sleeping and bad (first 9-10 months were mainly terrible!) although during the bad phases I'm ready to tear my hair out. But don't think sleep training helps as usually something is wrong when his sleep is pants.

bigkidsmademe Fri 24-Jun-11 20:32:57

Bumping for hanbee

hanbee Sat 25-Jun-11 07:56:47

Thanks bigkids. Lots of good tips on here for me to try. Wish me luck!!

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