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What worked for us. Hope this helps.

(768 Posts)
nectarina Sun 29-Jan-12 21:03:49

This post is going to be massive - no apologies however.

So I've posted at least 5 queries about DD's sleep and read about 1 billion threads, because DD only napped for 30mins  in the day, would only BF to sleep (since a newborn I wanted to get out of the habit, but nothing else did it). She spent  the first 5 months in her cot, only for us to end up co-sleeping so we could get a bit of rest. She would BF every 2 hours at  least in the night, and by the end she'd wake every half hour before we went to bed. I knew I couldn't do CC/CIO, I'm not  strong enough even if I thought that was the right thing to do, but I thought that I would be forced to if things carried on  the way they were.

We read No Cry Sleep Solution, which is complicated and didn't work for us.

So a friend had tried a technique, that she recommended and I thought that it was too much of a leap for DD, but i kept  the email, and one evening I sort of snapped and decided that IT WAS TIME. DD was  8 1/2months. I don't know from  what age this technique is recommended, but I don't think I'd have wanted to do this earlier, as you still have to cope with  the baby crying. I knew DD was ready because now she quite clearly has two cries - one properly sad and scared, the  other a bit shouty and put on, so when doing this technique you know what's going on (but I'd like to add that I still  comforted DD when she was shouty - she's still trying to say something, but I deÞ nitely wouldn't pick her up and panic!)

 I'll paste her email to me, hoping she won't mind. We didn't do it in the ten days, as it was just a bit too much, but i wonder if the way we did it made things a bit complicated. So I recommend doing it as laid out.  

But now DD takes 20mins to fall asleep by herself (with one of us in her room) in her cot, in her room. and I do not feed at  all between 7pm and 7am. Dh goes in in the night and he gives her water in case she's thirsty but she's quite happy  without. It takes him no more than about 3mins to resettle her (unless ill).

After starting this at the beginning of January  she still wakes up once or twice a night but it doesn't affect me as I wear earplugs and DH goes in! ha ha ha! (I still hear  her and wake up, but I don't wake up fully and find it difFicult to go back to sleep) Do I need to tell you how I feel like a  different woman?

So here's the email -  

^"Ok, this is a plan thing that we first tried with dc1 when we got to the point where we knew something had to change. There seems to come a point where not only do you get tired of 'helping' your baby get to sleep, but whatever you do seems to work less and less - as if they know something has to change too! It takes a bit of work for about ten days or so but mostly the first couple of days you really put your back into it and then it gets easier. I remember vaguely doing it with dc1 and have just rediscovered it with Dc2 she is a bit of a firecracker so I was expecting trouble but babies love to learn something new, especially around this age and she only woke once last night despite having a cold, which is a HUGE improvement. Dc1 found this very easy and never shed a tear. Dc2 screamed 'TRAITOR!!' at me many times during the first night (she does that a lot), so I'm not saying that there won't be some crying because you will be doing something different to before but you don't have to leave her side and can reassure her as much as you need to, physically and verbally. 
The idea is that you are no longer going to help her go to sleep - in whatever way - if you rock her, feed her, jiggle her, whatever it is. You can be there and reassure her but it is no longer your job to MAKE her go to sleep. It is your job to support her whilst she does it herself. 
First of all, you know that thing that everyone says about having a bedtime routine (which I imagine you already have) is utterly true. By the time they are a toddler, the sound of a running bath is enough to set the bedtime clock going. When you choose to do this thing, it is really important to stick to your bedtime routine without fail for the ten days and it needs to be between 20 and 45 minutes long. Also, this plan also applies to naps, so you need to be able to be at home for naptimes - just until Dd has the thing established - ten days usually does it. Lastly, you are aiming for Dd to be in bed by 7ish in the evening and not much later. If you're like me you're knackered by about half four, so starting bedtime at a quarter past six is no trouble. You've probably done all that so on to the plan. I'll do bedtimes first and then naps. 

Day 1, 2 and 3 - Place a chair right next to the cot. Make it a comfortable chair, you may get to know it fairly well. Have a duvet, cushions, iphone, book to hand. Do your bedtime routine and put Dd in the cot awake. She may well not know what to do next and try all sorts of things. If she stands up you can gently pop her back down again but only a few times - if she insists on standing for a bit then let her - it may just be one of those things she incorporates into her own burgeoning routine, and I daresay she is capable of getting back down again by now. You can pat the bed to let her know you want her to lie down. Sooner or later she is likely to sit down for a bit and eventually plop on to her front. She has to find her own way through this so she may try eating her blanket or playing with a toy before she lies down - that's up to her. If she cries, you can pat her and speak to her. As long as you remember that your patting and comforting is not there to get her to sleep, just to help her calm down in this new and confusing situation so as soon as she starts to settle, lighten your touch with a view to taking your hand off her, and stop speaking. She may go back and forth a bit needing you to touch and speak to her a few more times, but each time lessen your touch when she has settled. Stay there until she has fallen fast asleep and creep out. This bit can take ten minutes for some babies, but most fall asleep after 45 minutes. Two hours is the longest on record! I expected Dc2 to be a two hour effort but no - 45 minutes almost exactly. As long as you know that it is going to take that long, you can get through it. When she wakes up in the night, you do exactly the same thing, each and every time. The first few times she wakes, she will probably yell for you, but as she gets the idea that she can drift back to sleep herself, she may just squeak and go back (sounds unlikely? I thought that too.) The idea is that as time goes on you can wait a tiny bit longer before you go in, to give her the opportunity to practise her new skill.

Days 4, 5 and 6 - move the chair a few feet away from the cot. Keep everything else the same except you are further away. Once you have had your bedtime cuddle and put her in the cot sit down. You can still go to her if she really needs you, and you can still speak to her but she may not need as much help by now. Again, wait until she is asleep before you leave. Repeat as often as necessary when she wakes although, again, leave it a few minutes before you go in.

Days 7, 8 and 9 - move the chair to the door or the other side of the room. Make sure she can still see you, but once you have settled her in her cot and gone to the chair try not to go to her unless she has got herself into a daft position and can't get out. By now she will start developing her own strategy to get to sleep, and you will be able to tell what stage she is at, because you've been watching it all the way through.

Day 10 - you have several choices. If you think things are going really well and baby can cope with you not being there  you can leave the room and see how she gets on. You can hover by the door out of sight and watch what happens, and  reassure her with your voice. If you feel apprehensive about it and think she needs longer you can try the Bustle -  instead of sitting down, tinker about in her room, cleaning up or folding washing or whatever. Or you can continue in the  chair.  The idea of the plan is ultimately for you to be able to plonk and go, but I quite like spending that extra time with DC so I  use a mixture of the bustle and the chair. For night wakings you now really have to give her the chance to go back on her  own. Wait ten minutes ( I know - such a long time!) before you go in.  I got up last night to Þ nd by the time I got to DC's  door, she'd already curled up again! That's the main brunt of it. Just bear in mind that the first couple of nights are the worst - she might wake more frequently,  but stick at it and you'll see an improvement. The other thing is that when they start sleeping longer in the night they get  up properly a bit too early in the morning - but this usually improves over a few weeks as they get the hang of sleeping.  I've kind of assumed that you are going to move her into her own room - there's no reason you can't start this as soon as  you move her in. If DC get ill and it disrupts her sleep, go back to whichever stage in the plan you think works best. You can sleep in her  room if you want to keep an eye on her, but don't bring her in with you.

Naps - Do the same for naps as you do at night times only you can't sit there for as long as it takes - give it an hour and if  she hasn't gone to sleep, get her up and feed her or do something different and try again a bit later. If she resists  napping like this twice in a day you can resort to taking her out in the buggy or something. just so she gets a bit of sleep  in the day. You are aiming at two solid naps a day by the way. If you've started this thing at bedtime the night before, the  nap thing is usually not a problem.  I can't think of anything else right now! By the way this is based on a Canadian lady's idea. I chose to use it because it  doesn't mean leaving a baby to cry. They learn to fall asleep without you intervening, although you might argue that your  presence is a sort of intervention, but before long you will find yourself saying goodnight and shutting the door, because  she'd not taking any notice of you anymore!" ^

So for us the First night it took 3 hours 10mins, which is why for nightwakings later on that night I just fed her instead of  sitting with her. Within the first few nights she woke LOADS less and then DH would go to her and he would just ask her  to put her head down and she would and go straight back to sleep. Needless to say that sort of thing just wouldn't  happen before. So if I remember rightly it was only after 4 or 5 nights that I stopped feeding her. The other thing we've  found a bit hard is waiting a few mins before going in to her when she wakes. We just give it one or two minutes more  than we'd usually do instead of waiting 10.  

DH would like to add that he thinks the important thing is to teach DC to put their head down and close their eyes - he  says' put your head down, put your head down, now close your eyes' and repeats it a bit like a mantra gently until DD  does, and then stops as soon as she does what he says. He says for our 9month old that after a week she knows what it  means and does what he suggests! He says that this is useful in the night and that's all he needs to do to get her to go back to sleep.

For the first night I recommend a large glass of wine that you take in with you. For the second night, have  the bottle waiting for you on the table in the lounge. Also on the first night we both did it together for a bit of moral  support and took it in turns but I'm assuming that none of you is as much as a wimp as I am.

I hope this isn't too much of a mess, my friend's writing is very clear, and mine is all over the shop. I'm just a bit  enthusiastic about how its gone. I hope this is of use to someone.

Mampig Thu 16-Aug-12 00:08:31

Hi, I've been in and out of the thread, but if it's any consolation, my ds is 13 mo, and will only bf early morning. He plays sometimes and points at boobs, but laughs when I produce the goods! The only time he feeds properly is when he wakens- anything from 4-6 am, and nothing else for rest of the day, doesn't even take boob at night!!. I'm sticking with this, as I will be sad to quit completely, so maybe this is worth a try??

getagoldtoof Sat 01-Sep-12 18:06:53

I am startIng tonight. Having a huge dinner, and charging my phone. Earplugs at the ready, comfy chair etc. I NEED this to work. Will report back, probably later today. Yikes!

getagoldtoof Sat 01-Sep-12 21:07:23

That went incredibly well... 45 minutes of faffing, mucking about, being charming, grizzling, whimpering and looking sad before he curled up sweetly and went to sleep. It's a massive achievement.

I could not leave him to cry, and just won't. But I was able to comfort him without taking him out of his cot.

That's just the start though, we'll see what happens when he wakes for milk!

getagoldtoof Sun 02-Sep-12 20:15:26

Well it was 30 mins and no crying to get to sleep tonight.

In the night he woke 5 times to bf, 10, 12, 2.30, 3.30, 5 and bak to sleep until 7.30. The first two times I woke him
Before putting him down awake. But the last times I just needed him
To go back to bed.

Will keep updating this to help me stay on track. This week I'll concentrate on getting to sleep, next week on reducing night feeds.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Mon 31-Dec-12 07:43:08


OwensMumStephanie Mon 28-Jan-13 21:43:06

So thankful i found this post, well i was referred to it. No need to trawl through endless methods, this sounds perfect, just what i can cope with. Now i just hope it works!

SoYo Sat 12-Oct-13 16:22:52

I know this is an old thread but I thought it one worth bringing out of retirement. We've been having a nightmare with out 7mo and is seems, judging by the sleep thread, that lots of others have too!

We started this 2 nights ago and it's a massive improvement already. Fingers crossed it continues and can help others too.

iamhopeful Wed 13-Nov-13 21:00:26

SoYo thank you! We were/are having a dreadful time with my DD (10 months old) sleeping, she seems to constantly wake at night, some nights for hours screaming and not being able to go down. We came to the conclusion this weekend that something needed to be done and I had caught sight of this thread after you wrote a few weeks ago. (Mumsnet has become my regular night time reading).

We started on Sunday and had a great first night, one waking took an hour to get back to sleep and a feed (this is normal for her), second time half an hour, then awake for a feed at 5 and she slept till 7!!! Night number 2 was an hour and then awake at 4.45 but still amazing and that night we had no night feed. Unfortunately last night she has picked up a cold and was really unhappy so we were up every half hour and had to resort to lots of cuddles as she was miserable but we are hoping to get back on track tonight.

Hopefully this will save our sanity! If anyone is around I will keep you posted, if not thanks for the reminder SoYo.

MrsReacher85 Wed 11-Dec-13 17:02:59

I'm going to resurrect this thread if no one minds! I was directed to it from a thread I started and I think it sounds like something I can manage so we're starting tonight.

My DS is 15 months so a bit older than the others I can see here.

If anyone reads this, we're still bf at night, do you think we should give that up at the same time? I'm definitely ready but wasn't sure whether we should do it together or not.

MrsReacher85 Wed 11-Dec-13 18:06:53

Bump smile

MrsReacher85 Thu 12-Dec-13 07:45:08

I don't think anyone is reading but I'm going to carry on posting anyway, it's a good record for me and anyone who comes to the thread in the future.

Last night we had:

6.37- in bed
12.22- awake
1.04- asleep
5.20-asleep (caved and rocked him)
5.21- awake
5.25- asleep

For every wake up he screamed, really screamed. I didn't get to sit down but I didn't pick him up, just comforted and rubbed his back. When he went to bed he fell asleep clutching my hand. I didn't feed as I came to the conclusion that he was mad at me anyway, may as well go the whole hog!

I caved at about 5am as he was really screaming and I was worried about the neighbours. I cuddled him almost to sleep and then put him down. He woke again once so I guess he still went to sleep in his bed.

Shatteredmamma1 Fri 13-Dec-13 06:50:49

I'm reading mrsreacher! How was last night-
any improvement? Thinking if trying this with
My 9m old LO tonight. I've had enough!!

IndecisivePramBuyer81 Fri 13-Dec-13 07:48:58

Me too! Once we've broken the dummy habit this is my next plan!

mrsmalcolmreynolds Fri 13-Dec-13 15:06:44

Hi. We're doing something v similar to this with Ds who is just over 6 months. We are a week in and started off with 90 mins to get to sleep of which he was crying about half the time. Since then there have been ups and downs but at least some signs of progress each night and last night he fell asleep in five minutes with a bit of wingeing and slept 19:40 to 6:05. Who knows though what tonight will bring - I'm not counting any chickens!

MrsReacher85 Fri 13-Dec-13 15:49:48

Last night was pretty horrendous tbh. These are the notes I made-

7.20- sleep
8.56- asleep
10.20- awake- murmers, didn't go in room. Rolled about a bit.
11.28- asleep
12.38- asleep
12.53- awake
1.03- asleep
4.30- went mental, I caved, brought into our room, asleep by 5ish, up at 7.30.

I'm pretty knackered today so really hoping for an improvement tonight. He's been going down at bedtime okay, it's the night wakings that are killing me!

Hamnvik Fri 13-Dec-13 20:46:08

I just tried this with my 8 mo ds and it was a complete disaster he just veered between hysterical crying and rolling about laughing?! Until he fell and wacked his head so I gave in and picked him up and gave him milk to calm down, he then promptly fell asleep on the bottle. Argh feel so disheartened now. Has anyone else had a start like this? What should I do when he gets hysterical?

MrsReacher85 Fri 13-Dec-13 21:33:54

My DS was very unhappy so I've effectively added in a stage, instead of sitting in a chair, I'm standing by the cot holding his hand, not talking. I only talk to him if he's getting very upset and the same couple of phases. Would something like that help?

MrsReacher85 Fri 13-Dec-13 22:47:25

He's been full out screaming at me for 45 minutes. I cannot fucking do this. I have no idea what to do , my neighbours must want to kill me!

mrsmalcolmreynolds Sat 14-Dec-13 09:36:44

Sorry it's not going well Mrsreacher - did he settle in the end? We've had some very very cross crying/screaming at times and have just stuck with sitting right by the cot leaning over the side, hand on him unless it seems to be annoying him more and it's always passed - usually 45 mins at the most. Luckily we're in a detached house but when we did this with DD
we were in a terrace so I understand the neighbour worry. They almost certainly don't hear it as loudly as you think plus they aren't biologically wired to react to it like parents are.

I have seen recommendations to pick them up for a cuddle if they totally lose it although you are then supposed to put them down again once calm which I would be terrified would just lead to kicking off again. Haven't got the silver bullet I'm afraid but hope you're doing ok.

MrsReacher85 Sat 14-Dec-13 12:51:36

Thanks, he only calmed down when I finally caved and brought him into our bed, after 3 hours!

Frankly, he's a stubborn little bugger. Ah well, tonight's another night I suppose. He'll get there eventually.

technosausage Sat 14-Dec-13 15:41:44

Just did this with my 16 month old co-sleeping ds and it worked wonders! I'm due with dd in April and had started getting uncomfortable in bed, plus wanted dp in the bed at least for a few months before the next one comes a long.
First night took 1 1\2 hours, but not tears at all.
Second night took 45 mins, again no tears.

After that its only taken about 10ish minutes every night for him to fall asleep, and the same for naps. I beg anyone who's thinking about trying this to just do it. I had prepared myself for some very long nights and it just didn't happen. We still bring ds in for cuddles in the morning when he wakes but its more for our sake so we have a chance to wake up. smile

LooWaterSunset Sun 15-Dec-13 13:43:45

MrsReacher, I feel your pain. DS is 15mo and there are definitely teeth coming through for him. We often need to give a bit of pain relief at 3-4-5am wake-ups. He absolutely WILL NOT accept anything other than a BF to calm down afterwards. Argh! Hard work!!

IndecisivePramBuyer81 Mon 16-Dec-13 07:49:50

What I don't get about this approach is aren't you just practicing CC/CIO with you in the room? If I leave DS to cry he becomes hysterical and I struggle to settle him at all let alone with bloody shh patting and not picking him up

mrsmalcolmreynolds Mon 16-Dec-13 09:32:22

Indecisive IMO a parent being in the room is a pretty key difference - the baby might be really cross and confused about what they are supposed to be doing but they're not frightened. My DS can be pretty clingy in the day but although he cried and yelled when we started this he wasn't looking or reaching for me to pickhim up.

That said it is a form of sleep training and will probably involve tears from most babies for at least a night or two and it won't be for everyone. I believe absolutely that no parent should embark on sleep training if they're not convinced it is the right thing to do and the right time to do it - you will just end up giving in and then parents and baby have gone through the wringer for nothing.

IndecisivePramBuyer81 Mon 16-Dec-13 12:08:36

Well I've tried it this morning having had a mini breakdown over a ridiculously early start and nap fighting and the crying was HORRIBLE but it only took 20mins which was much better than I expected and he slept for an hour and a half which has been unheard of since he was a new born! Am feeling optimistic now so here's hoping

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