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I've made a rod for my own back. How do I unmake it?

(4 Posts)
fluffyanimal Thu 11-Aug-11 15:24:57

OK, I'm prepared to be told that I've made a mess of things here, I know I have. Hoping someone out there will also have ideas how to move forward.

With both DS1 and DS2, they were bf babies, and I don't really know why but for comfort I used to give them my finger to suck. This started off as quite a good tactic for DS1 to help him settle to sleep without being BF. I tried a dummy initially but he didn't take to it, so I offered him my finger. As he got older he also learned to suck his thumb, and eventually he decided he preferred that to my finger and would suck his thumb to sleep (about 18 months old).

I've gone the same route with DS2. DEspite my good intentions to put him down awake, not to bf to sleep etc, it didn't seem to work. He was very colicky and got used to falling asleep on me. He was much harder to settle than DS1, woke more frequently, when I stopped bf he was very hard to settle at nights, and I also tried a dummy which he didn't like. So I went with the finger again. However, he has never got into sucking his own thumb.

He is now about to turn 2 and still needs to suck my finger to go to sleep. Well, I say that; he has been having a daytime nap at nursery since 12 months and obviously I'm not there for that. So I know he can do it, but breaking the comfort connection at bedtime is hard.

These days he is taking longer and longer to get to sleep, sometimes upwards of half an hour. Last night I went out with some friends and when I got home, DH told me it had taken over an hour to get DS2 to sleep.

DH is very anti-controlled crying. I've never been in favour of it myself but am almost at the point where I'd try it if I thought DH would support me. So please - ideas for how to break this habit as gently as possible? Do you think I should also try dropping the daytime nap so he is more tired at night? Any suggestions gratefully received.

vez123 Thu 11-Aug-11 20:17:06

How much does he nap during the day? I wouldn't drop it, as far as I know a lot of 2 year olds still need a nap. You could try to reduce it for a week and see if this makes a difference.
Regarding getting him to bed.. I suppose it will be difficult to do without tears but you do not necessarily have to do controlled crying if this is not the route you want to go down. You could try and replace your thumb with a toy and then do gradual withdrawal. I would google the method. Have not done so myself, we did a gentle version of CC and it was not as horrendous as feared, it took less than 15 minutes to get DS to go to sleep on the first night, and during most of those 15 minutes I was actually with him.

fluffyanimal Fri 12-Aug-11 12:11:05

Thanks for the reply vez, can you tell me more about your gentle version of CC? I had thought of trying some kind of comfort substitute, maybe even wearing some soft fleecy gloves that he could eventually just have as a comfort blankie-type thing, but he is very forcible about grabbing my hand and directing my finger into his mouth!

vez123 Fri 12-Aug-11 19:41:40

Hi, we followed this
http://www.busylittleones.co.uk/?p=Article_Sleep_1
It does involve leaving the room though to let him self-settle.. I think when you do cc you have to make sure to capture the right window of tiredness. Tired enough that the baby is desperate for a snooze but not overtired. Because then he realises it's actually better to go to sleep than crying for Mummy. At least this is how it was for us. Also make sure to check the usual- hunger, nappy, temperature etc.

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