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Is 17mo an 'OK' age for CC?

(15 Posts)
PPL Mon 05-Nov-12 12:06:39

I am totally at my wits end.

Bit of background:

Ds has for at least 6 months self settled in his cot for nap time. Since he turned one, he has gone to sleep at bed time with me patting and shushing in his cot, then slept through approx 12 hours. Sounds great, but the first year was utterly utterly hideous and now I am beginning to resent spending an hour in a dark room. So 10 days ago I began gradual retreat at bedtime. Haven't got very far, chair is still right by cot but I barely touch him and it takes 30 mins to get him to sleep. He does fart around a lot though and gets a bit hyper initially. But no tears. I also gave up the bedtime BF at the same time, and he hasn't asked for it or seemed upset by this.

But, since this new routine began, he won't settle for his naps. He used to yell when I left the room but by the time I got downstairs he'd be chatting to his toys and asleep within 10 mins. For 1.5 - 2 hrs.

Now, I leave the room, he screams and screams, I leave him for 10 mins in the hope that he'll remember his old ways, and then eventually I cave, go in and pat his back and he falls asleep quickly. Then he wakes up after 45 mins and we have overtired nightmare afternoon. This tactic seems futile - he cries for 10 mins and then he gets what he wants. Surely it would be better for him to learn something from his 10 mins of crying? BTW if I don't leave the room at all he just won't entertain the idea of sleep and wants to play. Takes up to an hour.

I know I should persevere with the GR, but I am utterly utterly depressed about this and feel that my entire life is dictated by sleep. I wake in the morning and worry about trying to tire him out enough for his nap. I make sure he is fed well so he sleeps longer. Then in the afternoon everything is geared up for bedtime, and by 5pm I am anxious and mentally preparing myself for another 30-60 mins sat in the dark with anger rising up inside.

So I'm considering CC. We tried it at 12 months and it didn't work. I wasn't very committed to be honest. I don't want to risk it damaging his good long nights sleep. I don't want him to remember it - is he old enough for that? I don't want to leave it too late. Is there an 'ideal' age? Have I missed the boat? It does seem like he understands everything I am saying, but is he old enough to see it as a betrayal? Will it make him (even more) clingy during the day?

Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post.

And please don't criticise me for considering it, I am really struggling at this whole parenting thing and am trying my best.

ElphabaTheGreen Mon 05-Nov-12 18:59:32

He definitely won't remember it at this age. No suggestions, but this should bump it for you. x

PPL Mon 05-Nov-12 19:35:57

Thank you elpheba

Well I have done a terrible thing and am now sat here in tears feeling sorry for myself and my little boy.

I gave it a go - I felt like I had to, he just kept throwing his comforter out of the cot on the first night of moving the chair away, he was driving me mad. So I did 2 mins, 4 mins, 6 mins and 8 mins. And I just couldn't go any further. So my baby screamed his heart out for 20 mins for absolutely nothing. I just had to stay and rub his back until he finally fell asleep, whimpering into his mattress.

It was the most awful thing I have ever done. He is definitely not cut out for CC -each time I left him he became even more hysterical. He was drenched from all the snot and tears sad

So it's back to square one for us. I'll probably be stroking his back when he's 10.

How am I ever going to be ready for another baby, which we so desperately want?

OwedToAutumn Mon 05-Nov-12 19:46:18

This is what I did.

I would stay in the room without any interaction for a while. Then I would announce I was going out, and that I'd be straight back. And I'd go out the door, and straight back in. Id stay in for a bit, then say I was going into my bedroom, and I'd be straight back. This time I'd be gone for a little longer. I would continue on with this, going out for longer every time, and always doing exactly as I said I would. After a while I would say I was going downstairs, and would go.

The important things were no interaction while in the room, and to do exactly as I said I would, so my DC could trust me to do as I said I would.

I don't think I could've handled CC. I would've been like you.

PPL Mon 05-Nov-12 19:57:02

OwedtoAutumn how old was your DC when you did this? Did they cry at all? At the moment DS cries as soon as I stand up to leave. And how long did the process take?

This is kind of what my mum did with me years ago but I think I was quite a bit older.


PPL Mon 05-Nov-12 22:50:02

Well I've well and truly got what I deserved ... Been up with DS for an hour tonight. First time in months.

DH keeps reassuring me that it's the fireworks but I'm convinced he's terrified that I'm going to leave him sad

ElphabaTheGreen Tue 06-Nov-12 06:14:26

PPL I'm with your DH - it was the fireworks. I think you're overlaying your (excessive and unnecessary) feelings of guilt onto your DS and over-interpreting his responses, which is a perfectly normal thing to do. 20 minutes of crying is really nothing in the wider scheme of things and will have no lasting effect on him. None, whatsoever, I promise.

I don't think it's a case of your DS not being cut out for CC - it's you, and I mean that in the nicest possible deeply sympathetic way. You've already said you've tried it once before and couldn't stick with it so it's just not a strategy that will work for you.

Do you have the means to get help from someone like Millpond or Andrea Grace or other sleep training services? I believe the big benefit they have is the hand holding and reassurance for the parents, which it sounds like what you need.

thanks biscuitbiscuitbiscuit brew ((hugs))

Iggly Tue 06-Nov-12 06:38:32

You sound like me, exactly like me 18 months ago. The resentment, the fear that ds would think I'd abandon him etc etc.

First of all, stock with what works for naps. Sleep begets sleep and you want small easy targets. He won't be napping forever and it doesn't matter if you do it differently to bedtime (eg if he naps in a pushchair then he doesn't expect that at bedtime). can you do any naps in the pushchair? Just for variety and to get you out.

Second of all, gradual withdrawal doesn't work IMO. Have you given up BF completely? Does he have bedtime milk? Anyway, do your bedtime routine with milk last as milk induces sleep. Then cuddle or pat for a bit, until drowsy. Then say "time to sleep", then leave for 2 mins (time it). Go back in and cuddle then lie down and pat again and say "time to sleep", then leave for 5 mins, then repeat and leave for ten minutes.

I did something similar with ds at this age out of frustration really. I really was anti CC and felt like I'd damage him in some way. But it was taking too long to settle him. In the end, I do it, leave him and he'd chatter away and sleep. I'd then sneak in once he was asleep and apologise blush

Iggly Tue 06-Nov-12 06:40:10

Sorry I mean gradual withdrawal doesn't work for younger babies - works better for toddlers. You rarely see it suggested for little ones in sleep books (I've read far too many)

PPL Tue 06-Nov-12 07:59:40

Thank you both so much for your replies.

So it's morning, I am calmer and DS still loves me. And in the cold light of day I almost wish I'd seen it through. But I know I couldnt and we're going to have to leave it for a while.

iggly so you did do cc in the end? Did your dc get totally hysterical? It was the level of crying that upset me so much. Although I didn't get him totally drowsy to begin with. He now has a cup of milk, in fact he has had that for months, he used to have it downstairs follows by bf upstairs. Now he just has the cows milk upstairs with his story but he's only wanting about 50ml. So routine goes night garden downstairs, then bath, pjs, story and milk, bed. he still has one bf first thing in the morning.

He's quite drowsy during story but the transition to cot perks him up. Maybe I should pat and stroke in cot for a whole before sitting back.

So you think 17mo is too young for gradual retreat? I have to say I didn't feel like we were getting anywhere with it. How old do you mean by toddler?

elpheba I have considered millpond. I didn't find the book very helpful - basically either cc or gr - but maybe with some real life support I might be more successful.

I'm just sick of these conflicting feelings - resentment and guilt, fear that he'll never sleep alone and the fear that he'll feel abandoned.

Iggly Tue 06-Nov-12 08:30:24

By toddler I mean 2+ when they need your presence as opposed to physical reassurance iyswim? My DS is now 3, and he's ok with the idea of me sitting nearby or with me leaving etc etc.

Yes I sort of did CC but any sign of ds sounding hysterical as opposed to a shouty cry, then I'd go in immediately. I'd always always tell him it was ok and I'd be back when he got upset as he seemed to understand that. I didn't want him to think I would leave him when genuinely upset. I'd make sure he was relaxed before going. It wasn't always smooth or easy and I'd usually be standing outside the door feeling shite but part of me knew that was what was needed as me being there seemed to make it worse.

ElphabaTheGreen Tue 06-Nov-12 08:47:32

IKWYM about the Millpond book but, to be honest, I don't think there are any sleep training methods other than CC, GR or variations on the two (with CIO being an extreme of CC IMO). The other posters on here have really just described variations on GR. I think the RL help from a professional (or anyone else you think could help you through it) would be of more benefit than any technique they might suggest. The only crying-free alternative would be to carry on as you are and hope he sorts himself out eventually.

Just one thing occurred to me - you said he perks up during the transfer into the cot. Could you put him in the cot and read to him while he's in there? Might require a bit of creativity to get him seeing the pictures, but if you can get him sleepy in his cot this way, it might take some time off the process.

aufaniae Tue 06-Nov-12 09:09:24

PPL, are you doing all the bedtimes? We fell into this as I was BFing.

It took a while for me to cotton on to the idea that DP could put DS to bed too! When I was away on the rare occasion they managed fine without BF.

DP took over half of bedtimes and it made such a difference, it's much more manageable for me now. Can your DP help a but more with bedtime now you're not BFing to sleep?

Bedtime is still something which takes forever in this house as DS is nearly 4! So I have no advice on that for you.

FWIW ... we read to DS. Then lights off and lullabies. I often lie with DS till he sleeps (often have a short nap myself!). Probably totally indulgent but there you go! I don't think DP lies with DS often these days unless DS having a difficult night. DP tends to come out of the room sooner, and lets DS self-settle, which I have been beginning to do also. Some nights now I tell DS I'm popping upstairs for 5 minutes, and go back, then repeat till he's asleep. It works some nights. Others I come back to find him hiding under the bed! Or he sneaks back downstairs. It's a (very!) gradual transition. But we're definitely making progress smile

PPL Tue 06-Nov-12 09:36:42

Thanks all of you again.

iggly yes that does sound right about gradual retreat. Your 'cc' sounds much more manageable, I might try that but will wait a while for him to forget last night! I wasn't really giving him a chance to properly calm down and relax before leaving him.

elpheba - yes know exactly what you mean about millpond. I know there is no other method, it's just hard to stick to a plan without rl handholding! And I might try that with the stories, good idea. Also thought about leaving him with a few books in his bed.

aufaunaie yes we have I ly this week discovered that DH can do bedtime! What a revelation. Problem is e works far too hard and doesn't get home til after bedtime (commute etc, nothing we can do about this) but he did do sat and sun which was amazing!

Iggly Tue 06-Nov-12 11:11:28

Good luck! It's hard at first but gets easier, I promise.

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