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sleep training: is there any point to this? getting desperate

(8 Posts)
rhetorician Fri 28-Sep-12 10:28:26

OK dd2, charming baby, nearly 10 months, crap sleeper. Day goes a bit like this

7am wake
10ish nap - 1.5 h
lunch
3ish nap - 45 mins-1h
7.30-8 bed
usually wakes about 20 mins after going to bed, then at 11, then at 2, when she faffs about for about an hour, then around 5

We have spent the last week trying to make her sleep in her cot and to stop feeding to sleep - patting, shushing, rubbing her back, music. It is taking longer and longer to settle her - so it is now 10.25, she is crying, and we've been trying to put her down for nap for a bloody hour.

Leaving her to cry doesn't work either, even if we were able to do it systematically.

Should we just give this up as a bad job and go back to feeding her to sleep and having her in our bed (which I don't want)? Or is it too early for results yet? All we seem to have achieved is same amount of sleep and wake-ups but infinitely longer to get there...am fed up to the back teeth of this now - neither DP or I have had a full night's sleep in over a year. There is no reason that I can see for this - she just wakes up all the bloody time. Good job she is very charming otherwise I would have serious regrets about having had her.

ZigZagWanderer Fri 28-Sep-12 19:29:48

Can't offer any suggestions as I'm in the same boat.
I've just given in, I'll keep co-sleeping for the foreseeable future.
Although I now sleep with his cot next to my bed just in the hope that he gets used to his own sleeping space.
I'm too nervous to take the next step blush.
If anything works for you I'll keep an eye on the thread.

cloudhands Sat 29-Sep-12 16:21:54

hi rhetorican,

it's a nightmare when children can't sleep isn't it? I went through something similiar with my daughter when she was younger, (she's now 1 year and sleeps through the night). I couldn't figure out why my daughter kept waking up, since she wasn't really hungry, but I fed to sleep, out of habit, and fed her to sleep every time she woke, and we co-slept.
Then I read some stuff, the aware baby, hand in hand parenting website, and learnt something that is little known and much misunderstood!
Babies over 6 months old aren't waking because they are hungry, (or all that stuff about sleep cycles either), they wake because of some sort of emotional tension, big or small upsets, that they haven't managed to process.
Crying as your daughter does, actually isn't a bad thing, (providing of course you don't leave her to cry it on your own) crying, is babies naturally way to heal emotional upsets, from things like birth trauma, seperation anxietys, and all big and small scary or upsetting things that happen to babies.
Anyway, I stopped feeding my daughter to sleep, and instead held her, or got my husband to hold her, we would look into her eyes reassure her gently, as she cried. I did the same on the first waking of the night, she cried a bit sometimes and then went straight back to sleep, gradually her wakings reduced and within a couple of weeks she was sleeping through the night. We still co-sleep just because i like it, but you don't have too.

This method is amazing, you are healing your child's emotions as well as helping them sleep better, so they become relaxed and happier. It can take a while to get your head around the crying involved which can be big or small depending on the baby and their life experience, but if you read up on it, you can see how stopping children from expressing their feelings is actually not a good thing. Stress hormones are released through tears which is why this method helps children relax. Any doubts I had melted away when I saw the relaxed blissed out look on my daughters face as she fell asleep after a good cry, and she was a much happier baby in the daytime, less clingy and genuinely chilled out.
this is an article that explains a bit more.

www.handinhandparenting.org/news/49/64/Helping-Young-Children-Sleep

rhetorician Sat 29-Sep-12 17:02:21

thank you cloudhands - I'll look at the link. I don't think she is waking because she is hungry certainly. She is actually a very easy going baby, or so it seems - some separation anxiety, but maybe there's something else going on

cloudhands Sun 30-Sep-12 06:18:41

Hi rhetorician,

I'm happy to help.

my daughter was always happy and easy going in the day too, just the sleep was a problem! It could well be the seperation anxiety that's keeping her awake. I don't know of a baby that doesn't have some sort of seperation anxiety! Patty Wipfler, who founded the organisation hand in hand, says that it's just part of the human condition, but some crying to release her seperation anxiety a bit would help her relax enough to sleep,

Feel free to ask, if you've got any questions, if you decide to try it.

GodisaDj Sun 30-Sep-12 07:02:33

This linkl
is a gentle method to night weaning and offers useful info & advice on sleeping; although the method is recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Have you read No Cry Sleep solution (by someone Pantry)? Again, lots of advice and methods. This book was a "light bulb" moment for me; more a realisation that babies cry, don't sleep through by 12 months (like everyone and his dog will have you believe!) and doing what you doing (feeding to sleep, co sleeping) is normal! Definitely recommend this book.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 30-Sep-12 07:33:52

I'm in your boat - DD also 10months, we've gone from one sleep crutch to another to another and most I've been fine with though would rather mind at all and she just sleep through!!

That reassurance thing sounds lovely, just not convinced it'll work withDD but I am crap(hate) at CC.

We can't co sleep because she windmills and I am kept awake all night!

cloudhands Sun 30-Sep-12 11:46:39

hey Girl with the mousey hair, what I love with the method that I explained above is that there is no sleep crutch, you take away the need for them, because the babies just relax by crying and relaxing, but with you there, so it is not at all like cc which I also hate!

I heard somewhere that if you use CC then the baby will turn into a toddler who wakes from nightmares, because they dont feel safe.

Pantley is good and gentle, and very understanding about feed to sleep and co-sleeping, which is nice, but in effect if you feed to sleep, the baby is just using boob as a crutch and not letting go of their tension and upset from the day,

wishing you all a pleasant nights sleep!

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