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Tales of improvement with little or no effort needed here please!

(4 Posts)
MyLittleWerewolf Sat 10-Sep-11 10:33:52

Please, please for the sake of my sanity give me your stories of miracle turnarounds with sleep, paths of least resistance and wonderful stories of bad sleepers becoming cherubic snoozers without you having to do anything.

DD is 17 months old and has always been a terrible sleeper although she is improving with time - currently she sleeps in a cot next to our bed but will always end up in with us from about 11pm. She has never slept a whole night through and once in bed from 7pm will usually wake once or twice before 10pm and need to be breastfed back to sleep. She is not looking for a milk feed, just the comfort - she has a dummy to drop off to sleep with (have only just got her to sleep on her own in cot with me next to her on bed - she is a very cuddly baby) but once the dummy falls out she refuses to have it back in, even though it helps her back to sleep.

I'm pretty sure she will begin to sleep better and longer at night if I night wean but I'd prefer her to drop the feeds naturally, rather than me forcing that onto her. I also want to encourage her to fall back to sleep without me so I can go out once in a while. DP has never put her to bed, nor will she settle for him if he goes to her.

I'm prepared to be as fluid as possible but wondered if that was hindering her further and that she might actually benefit from some form of sleep 'training' (CC is not for us, but maybe gradual withdrawal, patting/shushing, that sort of thing) - or will she naturally grow out of it given time ? I have a horrible image in my head of my still doing this when she is in her teens. Please tell me if I do nothing things will all fall naturally into place. (Lazy emoticon)

jobnockey Sat 10-Sep-11 23:11:33

my now 2.8 year old DS has also always been a terrible sleeper and i think i can recall a time when he was about 17mo of thinking the same as you, that i would still be feeding/cuddling him back to sleep every night when he was 14 yo. I am also quite lazy relaxed about training and actually doing anything about sleep issues and have always hoped things would just work out and they kind of have. For us, night weaning did make a massive difference and he went form waking 3-4 times a night looking to be fed back to sleep, to sleeping a full night, after 3 only 3 nights of not feeding. (google jay gordon's method - we loosely followed this plan when DS was about 17mo and it worked for us.).
Our room was really too small for his cot so he usually slept in our bed eventually but i always at least tried to start him off in his own bed... He did actually go through a stage of sleeping through the night - which was lovely. I have no idea how or why he did that though and it was shortlived as he now wakes at least once during the night once more! DS then ends up in our bed, or either me or DP ends up in his bed with him... but theres the lovely thing - DP can do it too! This has made such a difference for me as I was so used to be the only one who DS would accept to be comforted back to sleep but now we can take turns. I'm not sure at what stage DS started to accept DP doing to 'back to sleep' thing but it probably did coincide with weaning off BF which was at about 20 months (he had 'weaned' himself down to just a bed time feed by then), at which point i didn't know how on earth i would be able to get him to sleep without BFing him... but he adapted much more easily than i thought he would and now i can't really remember that stage at all.
I hope all this makes sense and helps - your post struck a cord with me as i remember wanting to hear the same thing you have asked! To put it much more succinctly, IMO and IME, things can and will fall into place with minimal effort for you... as long as you are prepared for it to take time and not happen overnight. Good luck!!!

circlehead Mon 12-Sep-11 13:49:42

I'm probably going to jinx it now, but my DS (13m) has has a few really good nights lately (sleeping through 2 out of 4 nights - unheard of). And I it hasn't been the enormous battle I expected. I'm not sure exactly what it is but I expect it's alot to do with me weaning him from the boob (day and night). Here are some of the things I have been doing over the last few weeks:

- No milk on 1st wake up
- On subsequent wake ups, giving cuddles/rocking/formula if all else fails (reasoning that he must be hungry)
- Getting him to self settle for his nap (instead of BF to sleep as has always happened. DS has also self settled at bedtime for a long while.)
- Always putting him back in his cot, instead of falling asleep in bed with him and feeding/co-sleeping the rest of the night.
- Putting a pillow in his cot - he seems so much more comfortable, always sleeps on it.
- Using a worn T-shirt of mine as a pillowcase and changing it regularly so it always smells of me!
- Getting a grobag so he doesn't kick his covers off and wake up due to being cold.

He might just be growing out of it, but I'm fairly certain that most of the reason is me weaning him though - he no longer expects a BF in the night now. I have done it very gradually though, so gradually that he doesn't seem to have noticed/remember that's what used to happen! I agree with Jobnockey that if you go at a snails pace, the change for your LO will be so slight every day, that it won't cause too much uproar. If it makes you feel better DS is still just as content as he has always been now he is (almost) weaned - he loves his toddler milk!

MyLittleWerewolf Tue 13-Sep-11 20:05:38

All hail the Path of Least Resistance! Sorry to post and run, I actually had to change the settings on my computer to find the bloody thread again.

Thanks both for your kind words - jobnockey (great name) I've had a look at the Jay Gordon website and once I got past the stage of feeling as though the eyes in his picture follow you around the room (honestly, google it again, it's true) it made very interesting reading and I'll definitely be looking it up again soon.

circlehead After reading your post I have put one of my old tee-shirts on DD's pillowcase and shes in there with it now. Fingers crossed for sleep. I do ALWAYS make the mistake of taking her back to bed with me rather than putting her back in her cot, can't tell if its tiredness or habit anymore.

I think you're both right in that stopping breast feeding is going to make the real difference - I'm hoping that this is something she will do by herself in her own time and then I can see some improvement. DD still cries as she goes to sleep and it's been a minor miracle that she will now go into her cot without me (still can't leave the room though, unless I slowly and silently moonwalk out).

Cheers again for the reassurance - we'll get there! (slowly)

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