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Can anyone who had tried controlled crying come and talk to me about it? (good or bad)

(19 Posts)
bluebathtub Wed 22-Jun-11 12:55:06

I have a 14 month old and her sleeping just seems to be getting worse, she has never slept through the night but the last couple of months have been particularly bad.

For example last night was pretty typical

Bed at 7
Up at 9, resettled by me sitting next to cot with my hand on her chest (the only way she will go to sleep)
Up at 12, fed back to sleep
Up at 2, fed back to sleep
Up at 3.45, fed but wide awake.
Short nap from 4.45-5 then up for the day.

I am a single mum so I don't have anyone to help during the night. I am really starting to struggle, I have tried everything I can think of but nothing seems to work. I think the next step is to try CC but I am nervous about it. It isn't something I ever thought I would do but I don't want to be a martyr about it when it could be than answer. Would anyone mind telling me their experiences and how they went about it?

I am tired to the point of it affecting my health. I feel like a crap mum because I am so exhausted all the time. I am not enjoying or appreciating dd like I should be, and she is a lovely little soul.

Sharney Wed 22-Jun-11 21:12:09

Bluebathtub, how awful. I'm very sorry for you. I'll tell you what I did and also send you to the library to look for some books to help (google for titles first). When dd was about 1 we decided we needed to help her have more control over her sleeping (I do know how lucky I am to have dh to help). We started by making sure her room was daylight proof and got rid of all the clutter in there. We ignored the clock. Babies go by events, not the time. We turned off the tele after dinner, and had some soft music playing in the background, something you like, that'll help you relax which in turn will help her relax. She had a warm bath followed my a gentle rubdown with plain old baby oil and then dressed for bed. During these events we did lots of general conversation talking as well as talking to dd and made lots of smiley eye contact. She had a cd player in her room (up high) so the music continued, still something or a station you like too as you may still be spending quite some time in there till she can settle all night. If you don't have a dimmer switch in that room you should get a lamp with a low watt bulb. We left both the cd and the lamp on all nigh. Our number one rule was she didn't leave that room till morning! There was (of coarse) a couple of spew and poo incidents which made exceptions to the rule but really, no matter how tough it is it's important to teach her, we sleep at night-time and we sleep in our rooms. I did do a lot of night-time comforting. I also, when at my wits end, tried cc. I found it really hard and ended up giving in and going to settle her. I would recommend doing lots of reading on sleep techniques, book and articles. Asking friends and family (especially the older, experienced ones) and talking to your gp. Get lots of info and advise then do whatever you feel is the right thing to do for your family. Good luck, I hope it all works out for you. xx

bluebathtub Thu 23-Jun-11 12:45:41

Thanks sharney smile

Up until about a month ago I was coping but surviving for so long on little sleep seems to have suddenly caught up on me.

Your bedtime routine sounds good, I think I need to try and be a bit more strict about mine, something always seems to happen of get in the way.

I think I have made a rod for my own back by feeding her to sleep at night time. I started because I live in a ground floor flat so I worried about her crying and waking up the neighbours so I just fed her to keep her quiet.

Sharney Thu 23-Jun-11 16:35:50

Your welcome. I hope I could help even just a little bit.

PacificDogwood Thu 23-Jun-11 16:43:03

Oh, the non-sleeping child is just so hard to deal with; sympathies!

DS1 responed really well to CC at 8 months: 2 nights of crying (20min the first night, with one of us going in after 3, 5, 7, etc minutes; 10min the next night; no more crying on night 3 grin).

It did not work at all for DS4 (now 15 months). We persevered for 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 hours and then gave up - it's just not fair on anybody. We tried several times at several ages; no joy.

He then very suddenly started sleeping through at 14 months - yeah!
Got ill after 3 weeks of full-nights-sleep-bliss and it all went to pots again...

A nice quiet and consistent bed-time routine will help, also, yes, if you can try not to feed her that will help - can you offer her water instead??
Is there nobody who could stay with you for a few nights and go in to comfort her if need be - a grandparent or friend even?

jubblicious Thu 23-Jun-11 17:26:55

We're on day 6 of CC with our DS. He is 7.5 months. I was always one of those mums who said she would never do CC. But then I got exhausted. DS started to wake every hour from midnight for a feed and then finally to wake at 6.30am. I didn't think CC would help as he woke so often. We tried giving him water when he woke up or a dummy but neither worked!

On the first night he cried for 15 minutes and I felt awful! But he SLEPT through!! From 7.30 to 6.30am with no wakings!

He now sleeps from 7 to 6.30 and doesn't wake for any feeds! I can't believe it! I actually get to sleep and am happier. And DS is happier, naps better.

rockandrose Thu 23-Jun-11 19:24:50

am reading with interest as my one year old has never slept through and still feeds in the night - CC may be our last resort....so bumping for more opinions.....thanks

curlyLJ Thu 23-Jun-11 21:04:14

I did CC when DD was 10m (after having said I would never do it) and it was the best thing we ever did, for us and her. I had frequented the sleep boards on here for months and was at the end of my tether too.

I was nervous about trying it as she had started to stand up in her cot and I didn't know if she could lay herself back down. My friend who is a HV assured me that she would once she was tired enough. So we went for it - it took a couple of nights and it was awful hearing her cry for so long, but once she 'got it' she started to sleep all night. If she did wake in the night, we followed the same rules as at bedtime and never went to her too quickly, so it gave her a chance to settle herself. She was much happier in herself for getting such a restful night too!

She is 15m now and generally sleeps 11.5-12 hrs every night, unless she is teething/poorly. She often cries out throughout the evening, but we continue to always leave her for at least 5 mins before going in to see what happens and 99% of the time she just re-settles herself... equally if she wakes too early we try ignoring leaving her for a while to see if she will go back off.

Good luck with whatever you do. I agree a solid bedtime routine does help, but babies often need to be 'taught' how to sleep through IMO.

K999 Thu 23-Jun-11 21:09:26

I did CC but at a younger age...5 months. Took 3 nights and after that it was 7-7. I was following a routine though, which was tiring but worth it. It is hard but can work. I never left DD for more than 2 mins. But even 2 mins can seem an eternity! smile

Hulababy Thu 23-Jun-11 21:25:33

I resorted to it when DD was 20 months old. She was a walking talking toddler who just wouldn't settle, and I, and dh, was shattered!

It took about 3 days. It was more controlled whinging and shouting for mummy tbh. It wasn't pleasant and i did it quite gently, going in after 2 min, then 3, building up v slowly. But once it worked, that was it.

Mind you she is 9y now and still a night owl, only just settled down after reading now. Hmmm.

I did a diary of cc on here when I did it, so about Jan 04.

Hulababy Thu 23-Jun-11 21:28:17

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/sleep/15947-a-diary-of-using-controlled-crying

herewegoloopyloo Thu 23-Jun-11 21:31:33

At 14 mths it is not unreasonable to try CC and it is definitely reasonable for you to want, and need, a decent block of sleep .

I did this with DC1 after previously good routine at 10mths fell to pot after illness - and it was effective in 2-3 nights. Have more recently tried with DD2 - and she just becomes hysterical. No go. However, gentle stroking from 'fringe'/hair to centre of eyebrows repeatedly (and I do mean repeatedly!) whilst shusshing (and saying nothing but shush) does work eventually and this now usually settles her quickly.

If you are going to do it, I would establish your ground rules, For example I would do: - ensure have a good bedtime routine and stick to it. Withdraw one feed at a time (prob 2 am one first). Decide if going to stay at all (shusshing, stroking etc) to start with (perhaps for first 'visit'). Keep the intervals short (1-2 min initially -time them- it feels like lots longer initially). Be consistent when you do go in - maybe just shush or say Sleeping time now (or whatever). Do not get them up. Do not give up - 14mths olds are able to be pretty tenacious- it will probably take a while but it will be worth sorting, one way or the other, in the long run. Do remember it is for her own good as well as yours, not least cos it is impossible to parent in a suitably saintly manner when bloomin' exhausted!

If you can get any physical support, then do. And consider warning the neighbours (they can always wear ear plugs and the point is to improve the situation in the long term - good for all concerned (they only get louder...!)

Good luck

Sharney Sun 26-Jun-11 16:19:18

Excellant thread. I'm sure this will help many parents not just the op. Good luck Bluebathtub. smile

antfroggirl Sun 26-Jun-11 20:11:52

OP you sound like an amazing mum. Having a non sleeping child is bad enough let alone doing it all by yourself - I really take my hat off to you. I really, really sympathise - I did cc as a last resort as my mental health was severely suffering as a result of sleep deprivation! I'm sure you'll do a better job than me (I did a lot of snivelling under the pillows during the whole process) but is there anyone who can come and spend a couple of evenings/nights with you while you do it to distract you? It does work but if you have an extremely stubborn screamer it can be a bit stressful.

I can recommend reading the original cc book by Dr Richard Ferber before you try it. Even if you decide not to do it he goes through the theory of children's sleep patterns which I found quite helpful

Good luck!!

madmomma Sun 26-Jun-11 21:10:51

Hey blue, Big hugs to you. It's so so hard and horrible when you're so desperately tired with no support. My daughter was the roughly the same as your little one, and I was like a zombie until I finally did something about it when she was 3 and a half. Don't wait that long. You can't enjoy her properly when you're so exhausted, and she will benefit in loads of ways from sleeping throught the night. Don't believe anyone who says that some babies 'just don't sleep'. Some just need more help and training than others. My DD is 13 now and I have a baby boy. With him, I was determined to prevent the same happening, and I have just this week finished doing cc with him (he's 8months old). I was too soft and emotionally tired to do it with my daughter, but all these years later I wish I'd knuckled down and done it with her. Your daughter isn't too old to respond to cc, but you do need a mentor to help you through it. Luckily I have a friend who has done it 3 times (and her children are very secure and happy) - and I also asked a HV I know to be an email buddy for a week or so, to guide me and get me through it. It took 4 nights with my son to break the back of it, and then just loose ends to tidy up afterwards. I'm on here most nights & you're welcome to PM me, but you might prefer finding a local mum or HV to mentor you. It's tough, and there are setbacks along the way. You need to allow for 3 weeks of total determined effort to see it through, but it's so worth it. Good Luck! xxx

mosschops30 Sun 26-Jun-11 21:16:56

Do it, it will be hard, upsetting and exhausting but worth it.
Have done it with ds1 and ds2. Took about 3 nights both times.
We went only holiday when ds2 was about 14 months old, even though he wasnt a great sleeper before that he was awful when we came home, would rock him to sleep, then he woud be up in an hour, then in with us, then back to bed, etc etc.
Started cc and he screamed for about 45 mins the first night but eventually passed out all hot and sweaty.
Following night about 20 mins.
By the 3rd night he had a little whimper.

Now he goes down awake at 7.30pm, i dream feed him at 10 ish and he sleeps though until 7am most days

schroedingersdodo Mon 27-Jun-11 13:08:33

one thing is 20 minutes of crying twice in a lifetime, other is hours os screaming in panic for weeks. This level of unresponsiveness can have consequences in the future (insecure child, trouble to sleep at a later age, etc), so you can be making a rod for your own back.

ThePetiteMummy Mon 27-Jun-11 17:00:51

Hi bluebathtub! I'm sorry you've been having a rough time. I would say give cc a go, I started it last week with dd, 15 months, & the results have been miraculous!

Having always fed to sleep, this stopped working a couple of months ago, and since then her sleep's been all over the place, with her usually ending up in bed with us, so we can at least get some sleep! I ummed and ahhed over how best to tackle this, and like a lot of the previous posters, never thought I'd try cc. But the whole situation was getting me down, so I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go.

The 1st night she cried for 2 and a half hrs! (I know this sounds dreadful, but it was more loud complaining than anything else!). 2nd night - 55 mins, 3rd night - 15 mins, 4th night (last night) - 2 minutes! She's also been going down for naps with very little crying, whereas she would previously only nod off in the car or pushchair.

I feel so much happier already (although trying not to count my chickens!). I think cc may not be suitable for younger babies, but for us, it was the right time and right method. Just hoping it lasts!

Best of luck, and I hope you get things sorted soon. smile

BadRoly Mon 27-Jun-11 17:04:16

Nothing to add that hasn't been said so just wishing you good luck if you decide to go for it xx

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