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I want to nightwean and for my DS to sleep in his cot - co-sleeping is no longer working. Please offer some words of wisdom

(19 Posts)
waspandbee Fri 21-Oct-11 12:04:58

I am so tired I feel dizzy and this cannot go on.

A typical night with 10mo DS is something like this.

5.30 / 6 dinner
6.30 bath
7 / 7.30 into dark nursery for lullaby, bf, then transfer to cot when nearly asleep. Comfort while he squirms a bit, offer dummy, then fairly quickly asleep

So far so good.


10 ish - wakes up, cries. I go to him (no DH during the week as he works away). Pick him up, cuddle him, offer him dummy, try to resettle. If I can't get him to resettle, bf him.

Then I always end up bringing him into bed with me because I am so tired.

Then, bf on and off throughout the night, last night it was four times, so roughly every 2 hours. He crawls about the bed, pinching me, pulling my hair, etc. Sometimes he just falls asleep again after a bf, but sometimes not.

I want to nightwean him, and I need more sleep.

I won't leave him to cry, but I really feel like I need my space and sleep because it is making me irritable with him during the day.

How do I do this when I don't have DH around?

Also, I am a bit conflicted because some nights it is lovely to have DS sleeping softly next to me, but overall I think I am ready to move on from co-sleeping.


SinicalSal Fri 21-Oct-11 12:08:13

have you any other children?

if not, I say go to bed yourself when he goes down in the early evening. Then you won't be so shattered when it comes to ten o' clock and you won't be so quick to give in just to get some shut eye yourself. Yes, you'll have to sacrifice a week (?) of evenings but it will be worth it. I do it still sometimes when a night issue crops up that needs fixing.

waspandbee Fri 21-Oct-11 12:16:43

No, no other children.

Do you think (sorry, stupid qu) that if he goes back to sleep in his cot at 10pm he will wake less because I am not next to him with a boob?

I have been going down path of least resistance, bringing him in with me, because I thought he would prob wake that often anyway. But maybe, and perhaps this is obvious, the fact that his longest stretch is always in his cot is BECAUSE its in his cot.

Napdamnyou Fri 21-Oct-11 12:22:37

Have younread the no cry sleep solution by Elizabeth Pantley?
And The Dr Sears book also has good ideas.

Am in similar boat and have found helpful...

SinicalSal Fri 21-Oct-11 12:25:07

Well i don't know about that. I think in your boots I'd just ignore the frequency of the wakings and concentrate on settling him down in his own cot. As you say, he might go longer between feeds without you doing anything. If not though it's a seperate problem and be easier to fix when he's used to the cot.
good luck! I think any parenting issue is half solved once you are getting regular sleep yourself.

thing1andthing2 Fri 21-Oct-11 12:28:13

Hi, I will probably be totally shot down for this post so excuse me if I post and run...
I made this transition when DD was about the same age. I made a mental resolution that I would feed her once in the night at or after about 4am and would resettle in the cot any other wake ups.
First I tried shush-pat, gently shushing and rhythmically patting her back to sleep or just putting a hand on her.
The first night I pulled a small sofa up to her cot with a blanket so I could lie there and be with her. However, after an hour of this, she was just working herself up because I was there and not doing what she wanted. So I resorted to plan B which was the ferber method AKA controlled crying.
The principal is to leave the room but go back in at timed intervals to reassure them. The intervals get longer apart as time goes on (for science geeks, this is basically conditioning so that the more they cry the less reward they get). I couldn't face leaving her for 5 minutes at first so I went back in after 2 min then 4 min then 6 min and she went to sleep in the 8 min window (roughly after 20 mins). The next night it took 6 mins and the following night she went back to sleep straight away.
The other option is "pick up put down" which works better if the child feels insecure and that is why they are crying/whining. I often do this now, so, when she cries, I go in and pick her up, cuddle her with head resting on my shoulder till she is relaxed then put back in cot. It may take lots of goes at first and should decrease over the first week.
The main thing is to decide what you are going to do and be completely consistent with it, because if you chop and change the baby won't learn the new "rules" and so won't feel secure in the new routine.
DD still wakes in the night (22 months) sometimes but she dropped her night bf at 12 months and now settles back to sleep no problems with a quick reassurance and sometimes a drink of water. I never bring her into bed now because like your DS she wriggles and won't settle, in fact she seems much happier in her cot.
BTW I did this having had zero sleep for a month - had just started a new job, DH was away for a month and DD had started reverse cycling (bfeeding at night) because of being at the childminders. I just reached a point where I thought, I can't hack this anymore, from now on it's my rules, and that gave me the energy to see it through.

thing1andthing2 Fri 21-Oct-11 12:30:18

PS sorry if all the above is superfluous information because rereading your post, it sounds like you're doing quite well getting him to settle in the cot. I found when I stopped bringing her in with me, she woke up a lot less.

InvaderZim Fri 21-Oct-11 13:00:07

I want to keep cosleeeping (not a bedshare, her mattress next to ours) but night wean so am using this method:

It's not going too badly (night5 last night) and even if you want to use the cot instead if cosleeping it might give you some good ideas!

(DD just turned 1.)

waspandbee Fri 21-Oct-11 14:52:20

Thank you for the suggestions. I think the first stage is getting him to settle down in his cot after each waking, then I can evaluate if I need to do more.

I don't think I'm at the stage of controlled crying yet, but I'm glad it worked for you thing1. I'd like to try gentler methods first.

Will have a look at that link InvaderZim

Woodlands Fri 21-Oct-11 20:43:02

I didn't want to do controlled crying either, but when I finally gave in it did work for us. The first night he cried for a total of 25 minutes, the next night 5 minutes, the next night not at all. I'm not saying you should do this if you're not comfortable with it, just adding another positive story about how it does work.

wildspinning Fri 21-Oct-11 21:41:01

Like other posters I didn't want to do controlled crying but I was at my absolute wits' end.

He cried 30 mins (with me going in after 2 mins, 5 mins, 8 mins etc) the first night, 10 minutes the second night, and none at all the third and subsequent nights. We have had less than 10 broken nights since then (only for illness/birthday excitement etc) and he is now 7 years old!

I couldn't believe how successful it was and the day after the third night I felt euphoric, as though I could do anything. It made a massive difference to what DS and I could do during the day as I had loads of energy and enthusiasm (I'd been getting ill with exhaustion before). To this day he loves his bed and snuggles down every night (now after reading) and sleeps 'til morn.

Loads of cuddles before bed and first thing in the morning (of course!) made the whole thing easier. Plus I was genuinely thrilled to see DS in the morning because I felt so wide awake - and so was he!

Best of luck OP whatever you decide to do. In no way am I advocating this method if you don't want to do it! I was pretty desperate myself wink

PatronSaintOfDucks Fri 21-Oct-11 22:46:46

Hi waspandbee! My DS is 9 months and we are almost exactly in the same boat. Except that we do not co-sleep. We did co-sleep until about 4 months, but he never really slept better in bed with me than in the cot. However, in the past few nights I have been sleeping on the floor with him in his room just because I am so knackered and b-feeding him lying down is at least a bit easier. As your DS, mine wakes up a zillion times a night (every 1-2 hours), demanding boob.

I find most advice in books not particularly helpful. Tried the Pantley pull-off for weeks and weeks to no avail, until DS simply started clamping down on my nipple or finger and not letting go at all. I was also never sure how to gradually reduce the night feeds when DS does not feed for the same amount of time every time and sometime will go to sleep without problems after two minutes and sometimes scream bloody murder for hours after being on the boob for 15 minutes. It seems that one needs a rather predictable baby for these techniques to work well. Dr. Sears's book was nice but one of the passages particularly memorable to me was the one about Mrs Sears being shattered after months of endless nights of breastfeeding.

So, after speaking to my extremely nice HV, and after not sleeping for more than two hours in a row for nearly 3.5 months (I get 2.5 hours very occasionally if I am very lucky, and it was only 3 hours max in the early days), I am taking drastic measures - not feeding at night and trying not to interact too much but staying in the room with DS. Today is night one. Will let you know how it goes. I feel sorry for DS, but both of us need sleep.

waspandbee Sat 22-Oct-11 11:06:31

Morning all,

I feel so sad at the prospect of CC - I simply cannot contemplate it at the moment, but I just don't know what to do.

Last night was ok because DH was here, so he gave him a bottle when he first woke and then brought him in, then amazingly he only woke twice for a bf - 3am and 5.30am.

DH thinks it is silly trying to change DS because he will grow out of it and he thinks it is his personality to need to be near us, but I don't think he gets quite how tired I am, esp when weekends tend to be easier for some reason.

How did last night go for you PatronSaintofDucks?

PatronSaintOfDucks Sat 22-Oct-11 14:20:22

Hi waspandbee. Here is my update. We had a rather unusual night. DS woke up only 3 times, as opposed to the usual 4-5-6. The policy was: keep his room as dark as possible, stay in it with him, but try to limit interaction. When fighting sleep, DS will always sit up and needs to be put back down (like a wobbly cow toy), so I needed to do this. But there was virtually no interaction other than this, no usual dances with drums that involve shushing, patting, cuddling, taking out of the cot, etc. He is also in his own room in a cot.

He went down not too badly in about 15 min at 7:15 (without boob, all feeding was done before bath, but I've been doing this for a few days now). Then woke up for the first time at nearly 8. When he wakes up this early, it is usually easy to resettle him without feeding. But this time he decided to put up a fight. Following the policy above, it took 40 min for him to fall asleep.

The next time he woke up was at 12:30. This is extremely unusual. Normally he is wide awake demanding boob by 10 pm. This time, it took 1 hour 20 min for him to go down. The last time was at 2:30 am, and it took 1 hour and 10 min. Then he slept until 7:45 (incredible for my DS!). I head him squack a couple of times, but nothing came of it.

Overall, there was screamage, but comparatively not much more than when he fights sleep and I try all sorts of ways to comfort him. Much of it was loud whingeing rather than crying. He sat up a needed to be put down about 200 times (no kidding), and sometimes I just let him sit up and cry for a bit when I saw he was really pissed off at being put down.

In the morning he was so hungry he tried to latch onto my knee when I was changing him, the poor sausage. Then wolfed down his porridge. But he was fine - smiling, playing, going down for naps well, not afraid of the cot. So I think the night was a success. Will repeat again tonight. But they do say the 2nd night is harder.

PatronSaintOfDucks Sat 22-Oct-11 14:22:31

Of course, DS might just outgrow his sleep issues without me trying to "train" him, but this may take a few months and I am not sure I can last this long without sleep. Plus you don't have to go far to find enough stories about toddlers waking up looking for boob five times a night.

BertieBotts Sat 22-Oct-11 14:29:17

"Do you think (sorry, stupid qu) that if he goes back to sleep in his cot at 10pm he will wake less because I am not next to him with a boob?"

Just from experience of moving DS into a bed (he was older) from co-sleeping, at first, he will probably wake more often. But if you persevere with it, then he will start going longer stretches. Just as I was about to lose it and give up completely with DS when he was waking loads more, he started sleeping from 11pm until 5 or 6am shock After a few weeks he actually dropped the 11pm waking as well and also when he worked out that DP gets home from work at 7, he would somehow stay asleep until then. Now he sleeps 12 hours and I was just amazed at how quick the transformation was.

If you can get through the first few weeks by just sleeping at every opportunity yourself, it's definitely worth it. I never had to leave DS crying, either. As I said, he was older, but if you could get your DS down to one waking at around the time you go to bed yourself, that would be much better than what's happening now.

waspandbee Sat 22-Oct-11 14:57:24

PatronSaintofDucks - your night sounds fairly successful! Well done!! The screaming doesn't sound nice, but sometimes, like yours, my DS cries for a while even when he does have the boob.

Does your DS have a dummy? Mine does and I don't know if I need to try and stop the whole sucking while sleeping thing, or if stopping feeding will be enough to get some longer stretches.

I still haven't decided on my plan yet. I will see how your night goes tonight, but I think I will first use any means possible to get him back to sleep in his cot, inc feeding (maybe for 1 week), then start to use all other methods other than feeding until 5am, then push it to 6.30 / 7.

Iggly Sat 22-Oct-11 15:32:37

How are his days naps and diet? I only ask because sometimes this has an effect and can make nights awful. Same for developmental leaps.

Is he purely waking for food or comfort? DS used to wake an insane amount - and wind was the source of a lot of it (bum wind - back patting did sod all). So I had to be careful with his diet.

You can also drop feeds gradually by taking him off a minute earlier than he'd normally feed, gradually taking it down until he gets used to not eating (as he will be hungry). That's actually what Ferber, CC dude suggests you do before doing CC (I have his book).

I'd second the suggestion of going to bed early. It feels wrong but believe me it makes a big difference especially if you want to sleep train. Also nap when he does and consider sleeping in his room (not too close but so it's easier to get to his cot and resettle instead of movin between rooms).

PatronSaintOfDucks Sun 23-Oct-11 10:05:35

Well, night 2 was also weird. DS woke up five (!!!) times between 7 and midnight, but I only needed to put him back down for him to go to sleep. The he woke up at around 3 and required a couple put-downs, no crying at all. And then at 5:45. As I absolutely cannot function at any time before 7 am and he was still obviously sleepy, I put him back down. This time it took an hour, there was some crying and whingeing, but mostly it was him falling asleep and then waking a minute later multiple times. Then he slept till 7:45. He is currently having his first nap. Went down easily.

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