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Help distract me - DH is upstairs trying to 'sleep train' DS (6mo) - what worked for you?!

(4 Posts)
babysaurus Wed 12-Dec-12 19:46:16

Okay, maybe I sound a bit melodramatic but...

About 6 weeks ago DS got a cold and would only sleep in my arms, probably as it helped his bunged up nose. Since, he has been in our bed (which is huge.) But, gradually, he has become a lighter and lighter sleeper and now I spend a large part of my evening going up to him and laying down next to him / cuddling him / feeding him back to sleep. I realise that they need to learn how to sleep on their own, and before now he was fine - used to wake in the night, eat and then go right back to sleep in his own bed. Now, DH thinks he is 'trying it on' (this makes DH sound harsher than he actually is in RL) and we ought to leave him to cry. I can't do this, I cant, but we have come to the compromise of DH doing the 'gradual withdrawl' method so DS knows he is there, but is not going to be picked up and cuddled. I am hoping that eventually we can put him down, and he stays asleep, like he used to.

I don't agree with leaving DS to simply cry himself to sleep, and would find it close to impossible to do anyway, but I agree the current situation is getting out of hand so we need to do something.

Anyone had similar stories / situations and how did you, or are you, dealing with it....?

teacher123 Wed 12-Dec-12 22:23:20

Hope he's settled off and it wasn't too traumatic. I think that you have to do what works for you, and keep trying things out. I realised at 5 months that I was the thing stopping DS from going to sleep, all my interventions of trying to get him to take a dummy/rocking/shhing/patting etc were just winding him up more all the time. They also definitely expect the thing that helped them to fall asleep when they wake up from a sleep cycle, so if they drift off in your arms/with you cuddling them then that's what they want when they wake up.

I did the 'feed to sleep, put them in their cot and leg it' routine for 5 months until One evening i bathed and fed DS, put him in his cot and went downstairs, working on the principle that He would cry anyway, whether I was there or not. He whined a bit, but he didn't scream and cry and was asleep within 10 mins. He was sooooo much calmer because I left him to it. However we had had a really cast iron routine in place for months so he knew it was bedtime iykwim, it wasn't like I just stuck him in his cot randomly and shut the door.

Hope it improves soon!

babysaurus Thu 13-Dec-12 22:38:06

Hi 'Teacher123'
thank you ever so much for your response. It went okay-ish in the end, although this was helped hugely by a large glass of wine and calling a friend who had been through similar with her babies. I think it is very easy to get into something that potentially can become a 'bad habit' isn't it, and its often very hard to see the woods for the tree's at the time too. As it was, DH was with him while he did cry (I was in the kitchen with the wine and phone!) but eventually stopped. Tonight was kind of better - I didn't hold him but as I was so tired, and knew I'd be up a bit in the night for feeds and nappy changes (he is a big night wee'er so this is unavoidable) so had a sleep too next to him, but not too close. He did wake when I got up but he was hungry and went back to sleep with me sat at the edge of the bed, but not touching him, straight after. I am trying to do it gradually rather than just leaving him. Its too early to really say so far so good, but hopefully this slightly milder approach - no contact but being 'there' - will work as he hasn't been like this for long, a few weeks at most really.

VisualiseAHorse Fri 14-Dec-12 13:00:45

I would do some controlled crying (CC) if you can bear it. I used to pop LO into his bed, fed, burped and changed into a fresh nappy. Then I would turn the light off and leave the room (you can put a lullaby machine on if you have one, I have a lullaby CD).

Baby will probably start to cry. Leave him for 3 minutes - only go in if he's really screaming like it's the end of the world. After the 3 minutes, check on him. I used to pick LO up, cuddle and sing to him until he was calm, then back into cot, kiss and 'I love you' and leave. Leave him for 5 minutes, then 7, then 9 then check every 10 minutes after that. Some babies react worse if they're picked up during the check, but mine preferred it.

It is hard, and for us it took about 2 weeks to work well. The first few nights, I would need to check 3 -5 times, by the end of the week, he would settle after the first check. And then after the 2nd week, he now goes into his cot, lights off etc and that's him. I also make sure that I say 'night night Daddy, night night Dog, night night mummy', and carry him round to say night to everyone. I did it for bedtime, morning and lunchtime nap. For his afternoon nap I would either sleep with him on the couch or take him for a walk to fall asleep so I knew he was well rested before bedtime.

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