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Is letting our 6mo cry (but staying with her) cruel? Not sure what to do.

(12 Posts)
Birdsnotbees Mon 12-Sep-11 21:38:34

I have posted before about our DD's terrible sleep. We decided to do some sleep training: we just put DD awake into her cot after a feed, lay next to her (it's a bedside cot) and sang to her, a bit of patting, until she went to sleep. Same for every waking. This worked as it meant DH could help (until then I was doing every waking as she won't take a bottle) and it also reduced the wakings from every 30mins-1 hour to every 4-5 hours.

We're doing exactly the same thing but now she just won't go to sleep. She screams and screams while we lie next to her, patting her tummy and singing songs. We've tried Calpol in case it's teething, winding her but basically the only thing that will settle her is bf-ing her. Tbh, I could manage that BUT she basically wants my boob in her mouth the whole time - if it falls out, she wakes up and screams again.

DH is adamant that we shouldn't let her fall asleep on the boob and I'm inclined to agree, simply as it doesn't actually result in decent sleep for her. But the only alternative seems to be her screaming and screaming for hours, and that can't be good for her either.

She is fine during the day - happy, eating well, engaged and much more content than she used to be. I'm pretty sure she's not teething, particularly given that a dose of Calpol makes no difference (and it has before when she was teething).

Does anyone have any experience of this? Should I bf her and resign myself to no sleep at all, just to save her from getting so upset? Is it cruel 'allowing' her to cry like this? I just don't know what she wants or how to soothe her.

nello Tue 13-Sep-11 06:25:26

No advice, but i'm in exactly the same position with the 6MO so will be watching your thread. I'm also really hoping that things will get better, i'm not managing to function in the day and really miss having the energy to actually enjoy her. Maybe read my recent post and replies (from yesterday) about 6MO waking every 2 hours, got some good replies. take care, it's really hard isn't it.

LemonDifficult Tue 13-Sep-11 06:46:46

Is she hungry? If not then, no, of course it's not cruel. Feeding to sleep is a nightmare habit to break.

nello Tue 13-Sep-11 07:33:02

What I find hard though, is that my DD is inconsolable. She woke an hour after being put down last night, and I can't believe she was hungry. DP went in to calm her and help settle her and she cried so much that she was sick, even though he was holding her and comforting her. He really didn't want me to feed her but in the end, after about 30 mins it felt like the only thing to is it possible to leave a baby to cry when they have got so distraught? In the end I called my mum, to hear the cries and she told me to get in there straight difficult.

HappyAsASandboy Tue 13-Sep-11 07:44:12

I would feed her to sleep. I haven't found it a hard habit to break - on the contrary, I was dismayed to find it didn't work once my twins hit about 9 months sad Gone are the days of putting them both to sleep in half an hour using bf - now they want songs, rocking and all kinds if nonsense! I would love to get back to feeding to sleep smile

At 6 months she is still so young. She wants you right there next to her, and the best way she can guarantee that is to keep you in her mouth smile Personally I didn't want to 'teach' my babies to sleep - I wanted them to feel comfortable and safe enough to drop off. Im not convinced you can actually 'teach' a 6 month old anything TBH - you can show her stuff and she might copy you, but teaching her to sleep? Seems strange to me.

I hope you find an easy (for both of you!) way to get her to sleep soon. Please try to remember that the world is a daunting place when it's new, and you (and to a far far smaller extent, your DH) are her everything.

MmeLindor. Tue 13-Sep-11 08:14:46

If you feed to sleep does she waken when you put her in the cot?

I always fed to sleep at that age. I don't think it is a hard habit to break, although I was ff not bf, so no idea if that makes a difference.

Tbh, I am not a fan of any kind of sleep training before the age of around 18mths to 2 years. I just think that a baby of 6 months is not able to tell you what is wrong, she needs comforting and if feeding to sleep is what helps then I would do that.

Would she take a dummy? I was determined that my DD would not have one, but she had a really strong need for one and would only settle with one. You might need to ask advice from bf-ing mums about which dummy - I know that some say that they are not good when bf-ing, but not sure if there are some that work better.

Birdsnotbees Tue 13-Sep-11 20:44:27

Thanks everyone for the advice and nello I feel your pain! I hate it so much when she cries like that. Like you say, she really is inconsolable.

Mme and Happy I do agree with you and I would feed her to sleep if it was an option (it used to work a treat). It's just this new thing of hers is to have my boob in her mouth all night long. Literally - all night. If it falls out, she wakes up, cries, and I have to stuff it back in. The result is basically no sleep for either of us. It's worse than when she was a newborn.

The other weird thing is that feeding her to sleep this past few weeks has made her sleep worse rather than better. Rather than waking every 3-4 hours, she started waking every 2, then every 1 and then went to the constant boob-in-the-mouth thing. And I just can't do that - that level of lack of sleep at this stage was pushing me right over the edge (she really is very, very demanding right round the clock. I love her to bits but she is not an easy baby). Am also looking after my 3 yo son full-time so need a little sleep, around 4 hours a night, in order to function properly with him.

Anyway, last night she fell asleep on DH and then slept 8 hours straight. She's crying again tonight so we're taking it in turns to comfort her. We'd never leave her. But we're both utterly confounded as to what is causing this or what to do. I really, really just want to pull her into bed with me and comfort her but it's stupid - she actually makes it worse if I do. Argh!

crazybutterflylady Tue 13-Sep-11 20:56:49

My DD has phases of this sort of behaviour, I wonder if it's a growth spurt or teething can often make them needy. DD is EBF and when she is like this I slip my boob out when she drops off but instead of breaking the seal with my finger I use a dummy...she doesn't seem to realise I've replaced the boob. Dummies are fantastic now - I too was adamant I would never use one but reality kicked in once DD arrived! - they make a massive deal about being orthodontic. Worth a shot? It aches my boobs when DD wants to use me as a teething ring, so I share your frustrations.

Good luck!

Birdsnotbees Tue 13-Sep-11 21:10:28

Thank you crazy - she's rejected a dummy thus far (I always said no to dummies prior to kids but have tried shoving them in both DS and DD's mouths - little tykes spat 'em out). But I like the idea of replacing my boob with the dummy... will give that a try. She's just gone off to sleep so fingers crossed we will be spared the screaming tonight. Poor little lamb. I feel so sorry for her but yes, I'm not overly keen on acting like her own personal teething ring...

DialMforMummy Tue 13-Sep-11 21:25:27

I don't think it cruel at all but then again we did CC and would do it all over. One thing though, my baby would have gone even more ape if he cried and was next to him without picking him up.
It's was a tough three nights and it's not for everybody.

cheekyginger Tue 13-Sep-11 21:52:19

I dont think CC is cruel their really isnt any scientific evidence to say that it is.

As Dial M says i would tend to reassure my DS and leave the room. If he could see me that would make him even more pissed off. We started with 5 mins 10 mins 15mins and so on. Always went back in and put a hand on his chest. First time soothed him by talking but each time when we went saying less, till third time say nothing just hand on chest. Might mean you have a few nights from hell.

One of friends swears by her light projector that was triggered by cries over a certain volume. Plays a lulliby and projects a picture on the ceiling??!! We (touch wood) have not had to resort to that!

And as Crazy says a dummy straight after a feed might be the way to go. People seem to fear dummy's these days. But i always think i would rather my LO uses the dummy to sleep rather than a thumb as I will always be boss of the dummy!

Good luck birds

crazybutterflylady Wed 14-Sep-11 11:01:53

birds my DD rejects the dummy quite often, it's more me shoving it in and trying to keep it there! I find tapping the end of it with my fingernail when you first put it in helps, something my mum taught me. Not sure why but it seems to work!

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