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Pantley pull-off: any success? 15 wk old addicted to boob

(20 Posts)
LoobyLou33 Thu 18-Aug-11 12:45:17

I think I've created a 'rod for my own back'...hmm
DS has nearly always fed to sleep (ebf) though in the day he can be walked off in the sling or bounced on gym ball. Almost always wakes if put down by day so naps on me/DH. Never falls asleep by himself. sad

At night by 10 weeks old he had been doing a 4-5 hour stint in moses basket, Fed, another 2 hours in basket then in with us after feeding about 4am. Dh could usually settle him once or twice by cuddling him on his chest. smile

Since about 11 weeks (when we went on 'holiday', ha!) he's relying more and more on the boob AND waking a lot more often. I am proper tired!! During some naps he'll only continue sleeping if attached, and at night seems to want feeding more even when I'm SURE he isn't hungry. E.g. last night fed both boobs 7-8pm. 10pm he woke + DH gave bottle of emb as a bit of an experiment. 12am woke and again only settled with the boob. Ad infinitum. It can't be a growth spurt - it's been nearly 2 weeks now and he's not more hungry by day (less, if anything).

I'm planning to try Pantley's gentle removal plan but before I do - any successes with similar aged/wired children? Any tips? I thought perhaps I should try to establish some other sleep cues first such as a song or words but is he too little to understand words?

I think the sooner I can stop him needing to feed to sleep every time he stirs in the night the better...can only see this getting more ingrained if not.

FerretMum Thu 18-Aug-11 15:43:21

Hi Loobylou

I'm afraid I can't advise as I haven't heard of Pantley, but I'm interested to see your post as I have made a similar rod for my back! My DD is 13 weeks, and only consistently falls asleep by feeding... I have been so worried about how we will sort this out long term, but as it was the only thing that "worked" had to roll with it, as one friend put it "yeah it's a rod for your own back, but right now it's holding you up!"

I have another friend who is a trained HV specialising in children's sleep problems and she has advised a form of gradual retreat to train DD to self settle. We aren't ready to try that yet, but I can see we will need to do something drastic before long as the current situation isn't tenable long term (sigh).

Meanwhile, I'm trying not to beat myself up about it too much, though I can't help wondering if I could've done something differently... If only she'd come with an instruction manual!

Interested to hear more about Pantley and see what others suggest...

RaisingMrC Thu 18-Aug-11 18:55:18

Hi to you both - I just wanted to reassure you that you have not made a rod for your backs! Babies feed to sleep - I think it is a natural thing. Babies change so much in the first year that I don't think you need to worry about setting up "bad habits" when they are so tiny.

Also Louby there is developmental stuff going on at 4 months which affects sleep in most babies. Google (or do a MN search) on sleep regressions - that is most likely to be what is affecting your DS's sleep.

LoobyLou33 Fri 19-Aug-11 12:29:36

hi ferretmum, nice to hear from you - I think a lot of people are in the same position. I agree, no need for us to beat ourselves up, it's just a case of wanting things to change. Does your DD wake a lot in the night and need feeding to resettle? I think that's really my problem at the moment. DS is waking every 1-2 hours and so I'm hardly sleeping (trying lying down but it hurts my back + neck).

Elizabeth Pantley wrote the "No cry sleep solution" book which advocates a "gentle removal method" to break the feed-to-sleep cycle and put baby down drowsy but not asleep. It's a very good book but I haven't tried the method out, you can get it second hand on Amazon or I borrowed it from our library.

raising I agree it's natural for babies to fall asleep feeding, but as ferretmum says, it's not tenable long-term if they rely on feeding for ALL sleep including every waking in the night. Essentially I want DS to learn how to self-settle which I know is the holy grail for most of us on these sleep threads!! Several sleep experts including the Millpond group say weaning babies from feed-to-sleep is crucial for self-settling and longer sleeps.

I did manage to sing and rock him back to sleep once last night but obviously that still relies on me sending him off to sleep, so not much of a solution!!

unoriginalname Fri 19-Aug-11 12:41:03

15 weeks is unbelievably early to try to teach to self-settle. We didn't until our little one was 10months but a lot of people wait until a year.

Feeding to sleep is very natural (we co-slept in the end to make night wakings easier - just put her on boob and both back to sleep) and at various stages they will eat more (just before a developmental spurt or simply to increase supply as they get bigger).

I dont think you need to break the feed-to-sleep cycle (many children still have a nighttime feed-to-sleep at 1) but work out how to make it work for your family.

I really don't know where the "rod for your back" party comes from. My daughter slept through brilliantly from a year and still does now at 2 and a half whereas some of those who sleep trained early have problems later on - it doesn't guarantee anything!

LoobyLou33 Fri 19-Aug-11 13:24:23

unoriginalname I haven't had more than 3 hours of consecutive sleep in the last 16 weeks and in the last 2 weeks I'm only getting about 4 hours a night. I guess it depends on your expectations - I expected to get up a lot in the night to start with but not still doing it by 3.5 months! A lot of friends babies seem able to sleep for long periods...perhaps they're just deeper sleepers and not easily woken.

I don't think it's unreasonable to want DS to go for longer between night wakings? I really don't mind feeding him to sleep some of the time but every 1-2 hours is grinding me down.

I don't mind doing that for a growth spurt but this has been going on for 3 weeks since he was 3 months old, so hard to see how it's a 4-month sleep regression?

We do partly co-sleep but I just don't sleep well at all and my back hurts as he's quite a long feeder.

HerdOfTinyElephants Fri 19-Aug-11 13:35:09

The one thing I do remember about the Pantley pull-off is that the pressure under the chin has to be quite firm, firmer than you would naturally think to try.

jetgirl Fri 19-Aug-11 13:42:03

Loobylou, I sympathise but at 15 weeks your baby is still tiny. Your friends are probably lying about the amount of sleep they are getting too!

My DS fed to sleep until 23 months and goes to bed brilliantly now as a 3 yp. DD (who is the elder) fed to.sleep until about a year old. She was just a different sleeper. As DS was a worse nighttime sleeper I foubd it easier to feed to sleep and got more sleep than on those desperate nights when I tried not to.

I know it's hard (especially if you're returning to work soon, don't know if you are but I was at 5 months so was desperate for decent sleep) but I would advise any friend to expect unbroken nights for the first year following my experiences and having spent time on mn.

I do love Elizabeth Pantley, I think her methods are very gentle, but there is (in my humble opinion) no point trying before 6 months at the least. When of course teething and weaing begin, bringing a whole new set of sleep problems!!

HappyAsASandboy Fri 19-Aug-11 13:45:10

I think a lot depends in your expectations - in my view, 3.5 months is the start smile

My twins are now 10 months, and mostly fed to sleep (and after each night waking) until about 9 months. Since then, they feed at bedtime and then are still awake shock I long for the feed to sleep days smile

I found that a comfort blanket/teddy thing helps. I introduced it at about 3 months. We have it between us when we feed at night (so it smells of both of us), and both of my babies settle much better with the teddy. They beam when it comes into view at night and rub it on their faces as they fall to sleep (they have one each, obviously!).

Personally, I think 3.5 months is far too early for any sort if sleep training. I am starting to try and discourage night feeding now (10 months), but they're still having at least one night feed each as I think they need it (hunger/comfort/warmth/thirst/all of above) if a cuddle doesn't sooth them within a few minutes.

I also find cosleeping for part of the night helps a lot!

unoriginalname Fri 19-Aug-11 13:52:37

Not sure I will be much help as I didn't get more than 4 hours consecutively until about 10 months, and I don't think it was that unusual. What I did manage though was to feed her back to sleep so it was more like 8 hours in total (feed, sleep for 4 hours, feed, sleep for another 2, feed, sleep for another another 2). If baby falls asleep about 8pm or 9pm DO go to sleep yourself even though its ridiculously early as you will need the sleep.

Definitely do catch up with sleep during the day, when baby naps you will really need to to stop turning into a zombie. Also do keep up with the keeping night and day separate which you probably are doing (night time = dark, quiet voices, not interacting/singing/stories as much as you can) to encourage sleep at night. Do get partner to do all they can and accept any help you are offered. Lack of sleep is torture in some places for a good reason!

I think its 6 hours continuous that is counted as "sleeping through" by the HV/etc and although mine didn't do that until 10 months I think 6 months was about the norm for that.

There are always exceptions though, and tend ot be the one everyone notices/remembers at groups. I would love my no 2 (due november) to be one of the rare ones that is an early sleeper!

LoobyLou33 Fri 19-Aug-11 16:42:09

Hi again, I think part of the difficulty is not being able to catch up during the day. DS is one of those "wakes when put down" babies so having fed or swayed him to sleep in the daytime, he's stuck on me. Makes having daytime sleep pretty impossible...

A few weeks ago he was going for 4-5 hours in the first stint of the night, and it's probably because we know he can do that, that we're now finding it tough him waking so often. That really doesn't seem unreasonable to me at this age and I don't think friends are lying when they say their babies sleep at least that long...they look like they've had plenty of sleep to me! (the mums that is smile)

I also go to bed as soon as he does at night but by the time we've let him get deeply enough to sleep to be put down, and then dropped off ourselves, it's often only 1.5 hours before I'm awake again.

elephants thanks for that practical tip answering my actual question smile

I guess I'll try introducing a soft toy as a "lovey" (he has so many not being used anyway!) and some music/words at this stage...can't hurt...then look again at gentle removal in a few weeks if he's still asking for the boob 4-5 times a night. hmm

jetgirl Fri 19-Aug-11 19:22:02

Does he fall asleep in the pram when you go out for a walk? I never used a sling, but I do know lots of friends who found them to be lifesavers.

I also found feeding while lying down on my bed for daytime feeds meant I got to nap next to DS. Obviously, this doesn't help you wrt DS falling asleep while feeding, but as a short term measure so you can catch up on sleep, it might make you feel a bit better.

FerretMum Fri 19-Aug-11 23:37:58

LoobyLou Your DS sounds so like my DD... She will only nap after feeds and then sleeps beside me on pillows on the sofa - we do the rugby ball hold... She wakes almost immediately if put down in her basket at this time.

Taking her for a walk in the pram is not practical where we live, at the top of a hill in the Cotswolds: the only flat walking around is thru'the woods and the vibrations from the rough ground keep her awake! She falls asleep for a short time in the sling, but I can't sit down with her in it, so there's no rest to be had there! She hates the car with a passion so can not be driven to sleep either, bless her.

I have been thinking of getting her a lovey too, and am desperately hoping she'll find her thumb soon!

LoobyLou33 Sat 20-Aug-11 12:41:37

FerretMum sounds very familiar! DS is fab and I love his ways but sympathise with the "difficult to put down" syndrome! I think it's these alert babies...Luckily he will fall asleep in the car but usually wakes within half an hour of bringing him inside, plus DH doesn't drive...

He's not keen on the pram - has fallen asleep in it in the past, but recently tends to start crying half-way round a circuit (wants to be held I think!) I do use a sling for walks and that sometimes works - but like Ferretmum, he doesn't stay asleep for long. I have taken to lowering myself back onto the bed with him on my chest/tummy once he's asleep! grin But he's getting too heavy for me to sleep myself in that position. You could try it with your DD perhaps? DS will stay asleep longer flaked out on me.

DS has found his thumb but seems unable to keep it in his mouth long enough...hoping as it gets bigger he'll actually suck it properly!!

SoupDragon Sat 20-Aug-11 12:45:01

have you mastered the art of feeding whilst lying down?

afussyphase Sat 20-Aug-11 16:37:10

We had great success with the No Cry Sleep Solution when DD1 was a little older - 7-8 months I think. All the HV and various people always said that cry-it-out always works blah blah blah, but with DD1, after about 7 minutes of crying she'd projectile vomit! At which point of course we were changing everything as well as going to her, so might as well go to her without the 7 minutes of screaming... that was when we found the no-cry methods. With DD2 (now 5 months) I co-sleep, which I didn't plan to do but I feel like we either co-sleep or we co-wake. It really helps my back and neck to support by back/hips with a pillow or part of the blanket so I don't roll back away from the baby... And it helps that now I figure she'll grow out of it eventually so I'm not as compelled to try to 'fix' things and I don't blame myself for doing something wrong if things aren't going smoothly!

RaisingMrC Sat 20-Aug-11 19:08:56

Hi Louby - I didn't mean to come across as patronising...its just that the OP and second post reminded me so much of how I felt when DS was that age (now 12 months) and how much I worried about rods for backs, feeding to sleep etc...and feeling quite despairing that DS wouldn't go longer than 2 hours asleep for ages when all the other babies I knew did!

I tried loads of things (including stopping feeding to sleep) but it actually felt in the end like he just did it when he was ready to.

4 months did seem a particularly trying time for all babies though - and most (not mine!) had sorted themselves out by 6 months.

Catslikehats Sat 20-Aug-11 19:31:40

I'm afraid I have no idea what Pantley's pull off is but have you tried a dummy?

I confess I wasn't previously a fan but I have found DC4 to be an exceptionally sucky baby and at night will only settle on the boob.

During the night she will "feed" (suck, pause but never release) for hours. It is exhausting and the fact that we usually co sleep seems to aggravate the situation. However I have found if she is dozing I can pop a dummy in and that seems to satisfy her. I do need to get up and put her in her cot as if I am next to her she will latch on but it helps.

PatronSaintOfDucks Sat 20-Aug-11 23:21:21

In my opinion, self-settling is massively overrated. DS self-settles in the evening and for most naps (although he was much better at it earlier, getting worse now that he is over 6 months for god knows what reason). Self-settling ability does not prevent him from waking up every 2 hours or less and demanding boob and only boob in the night.

sorry for the grumpy post. I am miss grumpypants tonight awaiting the night of endless feeding.

LoobyLou33 Tue 23-Aug-11 12:54:58

thanks again for those tips and thoughts... patron sorry to hear you're up so often, not surprised you're grumpypants!

Maybe I've got it wrong - doesn't self-settling mean babies can get back to sleep without our help if they wake in the night? Or does it just mean being able to fall asleep in the first place?

raisingmrc don't worry I didn't think you were being patronising, and thanks for sharing how it's been for you...guess it's just frustrating to hear people saying "it's natural to feed to sleep" as if to say "there's nothing you can do about it". I agree it's natural, and it's a lovely thing in many ways, but I reckon DS wakes for who-knows-what-reason and then wants the boob to soothe him back again even if he's not hungry. So really the problem is his frequent wakings.

We've found a bigger cloth and been swaddling him since Friday and he's having a longer first sleep once again - about 4 hrs or more. Mind you I kept waking up anyway!! It doesn't seem to work after that for some reason.

queen He tends not to keep a dummy in but I could try it again when he's actually asleep...is it ok to leave it in once they're asleep?

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