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No cry sleep solution

(13 Posts)
abadoo Mon 03-Sep-12 14:26:57

My DS is 7 months and is a hopeless sleeper. I've been using the No cry sleep solution (Pantley) since he was 4.5 mths and have seen some improvement but he still likes to feed virtually to sleep and screams if you put him down too soon and he still wakes up lots during the night (7 times last night). He's also a bad napper, with 45 mins being the usual max unless I'm there to shush him asleep again.
Has anyone tried this solution with success? If so, what were your key tips? I really don't want to do CIO.

PatronSaintOfDucks Tue 04-Sep-12 10:56:05

abadoo, for me baby sleep training books are a bit like weight-loss books. They hold out a promise of a wonderful life and then leave you feeling like a failure after you, predictably, do not achieve it. Only they are worse than weight-loss books as they are not about trying to change yourself but another whole person. And No Cry Sleep Solution, in my mind, is a pretty bad offender. I particularly minded the rather smug statement at the end of it that said that "if the methods in the book are not working for you, you are doing it wrong". The "no cry" bit is also incredibly misleading. How many people who used the book actually managed to have no crying at all?

The premise of the book is that you can change a baby's behaviour by gradually sneaking up the changes on him or her. The problem is that some (many??) babies are either rather observant or attached to their routines, so they do notice the changes, however, small, and put up a resistance. Here, after reading lots on MN and living through 19 months of my DS's life, my favourite approach is a cost-benefit analysis or "is the solution going to cause more pain to both parent and child than the problem?"

So if you are really shattered, then perhaps making your baby cry a bit is justified. The baby will probably sleep better for it and be in a better mood as a result anyway. I am not suggesting CIO or even controlled crying, but something a bit more radical than the "Pantley pull-off".

From my experience and from what I hear from a lot of other mums, teaching a baby to sleep without boob in the mouth is important. So perhaps you can work on teaching your DS to fall asleep without boob entirely. I had the same issue with my DS. He was (and is to some degree now) a horrid sleeper. At around 7-8 months, I started inserting book-reading between the bed-time feed and going into the cot. There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth from DS, for days, but I held him, cuddled him, rocked him, basically did anything I could not to feed him right before going into the cot. And he did start sleeping for longer stretches.

But of course then he got addicted to being rocked, I made three unsuccessful attempts at night-weaning, he hit a horrid 9-month sleep regression, then improved, then hit another but thankfully smaller one at 18 months, etc., etc.. It's an ongoing struggle for sanity.

getagoldtoof Tue 04-Sep-12 15:45:12

patron has just made the most sensible post I've ever read. No cry is a silly book. I got it from the library yesterday. It tells you how to get baby to sleep without boob by pulling them off the boob before they are totally asleep... Erm, right, so I still feed him, but almost, not quite, to sleep. And he still wakes up 6 million times a night for milk, despite pantley's assertion that this skill alone will equal fewer nigh wakings. Glad I didn't buy the book!

I would recommend the thread on here 'this is what we did - hope it helps' as a starter. It's free, which helps. However, patron has another point - baby is going to cry. I like with the gradual withdrawal method that I am there to comfort him. We are in the early stages of this, and it's going well so far.

Good luck!

PatronSaintOfDucks Tue 04-Sep-12 16:11:48

Thanks, getagoldtoof, I am not often called sensible! smile

abadoo Tue 04-Sep-12 19:57:10

Patro, Getagoldtoof, thank you both! I definitely don't see it working thus far and I agree that crying is inevitable whatever. He's down for this night but as of tomorrow, I will be starting to insert the book reading.

Patron, one more question if you don't mind. First, how did you get out of the rocking to sleep addiction (I suspect it will be inevitable as I tried just putting DS in his cot once and staying with him but quit after an hour of non-stop wailing)?

Frontpaw Tue 04-Sep-12 20:10:20

We kind of used it as DS is a stubborn little bugger. Its fine as long as you aren't needing to go to work or do much that required heave brain work! Luckily I have had some hideously stressful jobs so can survive quite well with very little sleep.

The best thing to do is have your cut off point and try to do all the 'routines' - so a warm bath, story and quiet time, lie in cot with mummy/daddy there and then the withdrawal. Pop in once in a while so baby knows you haven't fallen off the planet (they do think this). It'll take a while though but I am too soft to listen to him bawl for hours and hours and hours. They change patterns anyway, and we didn't do all she suggested in the book.

wanderingalbatross Tue 04-Sep-12 20:21:12

I'm not really qualified to comment on sleep issues as DD (15mo) is a rubbish sleeper, but just wanted to say that patron's first post is brilliant and sums up my experience with the books entirely!

Actually, a couple of things that helped us were
- intense period of getting in there after 45 mins to resettle during naps, to get longer daytime naps. DD definitely slept better at night once we got daytime sorted.
- introducing other techniques alongside feeding (rocking, shushing, singing, cuddling) so that we weren't always relying on feeding. They didn't always work, but meant we could try and see what did work and get DD used to other things before cutting out feeding to sleep.

PatronSaintOfDucks Tue 04-Sep-12 21:55:35

abadoo, you should see my arms. I have grown proper defined biceps! grin. But the addiction to rocking sort of gradually petered out. The worst period when I had to rock him probably for 20 minutes at a time on average was between 9 and 13 months. With exception of a maybe two-three weeks, this was a truly hideous period for us all round, DS had trouble falling asleep and woke up loads in the night. Looking back, it was probably the 9-month sleep regression couples with constant intense teething.

But it gradually got better. DS would come down quicker at bedtimes, he got heavier, so there was extra motivation for me to put him down in the cot. If he was calm, I would put him down, if he wailed hard, I would pick him back up. I am pretty soft. At around 15-16 months I discovered that if I put books in the cot with him, they would distract him from the misery of being put to bed, he would "read" them and drop off by himself in his room alone. Then this stopped working, but we discovered that if we put DS to bed an hour later (bath at 8 as opposed to 7), he would be happier and play with his books or chat to himself and drop off. This is where we are now, but he still needs a couple of minutes of rocking and cuddling before I put him in the cot.

The problem that I find with all the sleep training methods is that they are not really sustainable in the long term. Babies change and experience many different challenges associated with growth and life in general over time. The hit growth spurts, learning leaps, they can become ill or start teething like mad. No-Cry book methods are described as taking a long time to bear fruit. Lots can happen in the "long time" to sabotage the working of the method. You may have been trying the "pull-off" for a month only to find that your baby started teething and really needs the comfort of your breast. And after he is done teething, you've got to start again. Same with controlled crying. Most people seem to talk about it as a one-off event. But in reality, when I quizzed some of my friends who used it, they all said they had to do it several times. Controlled crying can work, if this is your thing, but then the child can get ill and require comfort, then get used to comfort and you have to break this habit again.

Sleep training books tend to present babies almost as mechanisms that you can somehow "fix" and they will just work. But I really do not think this is the case. Babies, and children in general, are growing and changing beings. Whatever works for them one day may not work the next. So we should really not beat ourselves up for not achieving some sort of perfection. It's a real pity that some of us have to face sever sleep deprivation, but parenting can be hard at any age for many reasons. And I firmly believe that if there was an unfailing way to make babies sleep, we would have known for it for thousands of years and would not need to write books about it. After all, countless billions before us spent their nights clutching wailing babies.

abadoo Wed 05-Sep-12 21:31:10

Thanks PatronSaintOfDucks. It definitely makes me feel better thinking about that last paragraph in particular!

Frontpaw, wanderingalbatross, thanks as well. I guess we shall soldier on and see where we get to as he grows up (with a little 'training' along the way and a lot more time on MN!) smile

Totobear Thu 06-Sep-12 21:16:49

Excellent post Patron. I just read it out loud to my DH to make him feel better too!

Downbytheocean Thu 06-Sep-12 21:35:50

Couldn't agree more with patron.

Ds1, now 3, was awful. I paid a sleep advisor to help at 7 months and effectively paid someone to counsel me through the crying. It was heartbreaking and I wish I had patrons insight then, to know that it was largely futile.

I think making routine changes is a much better approach, bath and wind down, dim lighting, milk, book, bed. Naps were consistently 45 mins until 18 months when he decided to sleep longer.

Ds2 is 11 wks old and is showing many similar traits which I am trying to overcome. I'm not prepared to go through all that crying again because it wasn't a long term solution so i am making gentle changes now.

abadoo Wed 03-Oct-12 16:28:05

I ended up moving on to Andrea Grace and, at the risk of jinxing myself, last night DS slept 11 hours. Amazing grin. Thanks again everyone for your comments.

DW123 Wed 03-Oct-12 19:25:49

Agree with pretty much everything that's been said here. Have twins - one a great sleeper, the other not. I now know its not my fault and its easier to change how I cope with tiredness than to try and change their sleep patterns. I still feed to sleep as it works for us but am cutting out comfort feeding, largely by sleeping in the spare room whilst DT2 is in my bed... Good luck with whatever you try and hope you find something that works.

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