4mo sleeping - am I doing it all wrong?(9 Posts)
We bath DD at about 6 pm, I feed her in her room and try to put her to bed. Sometimes she'll go down for 30-45 minutes (occasionally even longer), sometimes she only lasts 5-10 minutes, sometimes she won't settle at all. If I haven't got her settled by 8 pm I tend to give up and bring her downstairs again for the sake of mine and DH's sanity! Then she'll often sleep most of the evening on one of us.
Whichever way it goes, I feed her again when we go to bed and she will almost always settle after that, then sometimes she sleeps through and sometimes she wants another feed in the early hours; after that she's hard to settle and I often bring her into our bed.
The HV told me I should be putting her down sleepy but awake, but if I do she either starts screaming right away or wakes right up, plays a bit and then screams. I think it's because she seems to go very suddenly from a bit sleepy into deep sleep. She only really falls asleep on me or DH, and won't settle in her cot at all for daytime naps. If we're out somewhere she sometimes won't nap at all; she doesn't sleep in the pram.
All this works pretty well for us most of the time, but yesterday we had a family do and all the mums of various generations were talking about sleeping. I kept being told I should be leaving her to cry, and if I left her long enough she'd learn to fall asleep on her own. One mum of my age even boasted she'd managed to teach her DS by leaving him screaming for nearly 2 hours (admittedly when he was 1yo not 4 mo)! I find all this really distressing and don't think I could do it, not least because I have memories (obviously from when I was a bit older) of screaming for my mother after nightmares and she never came. I don't want DD to think she can scream and scream and no one will come. I do want her to learn to sleep well though for all our sakes; do I really have to put us both through the leaving-to-cry thing?
Of course you don't!
DD, nearly 8mo, settles herself in her cot (albeit with a dummy), but at 4mo was just like your DD. I NEVER left her to cry. I just took it really slowly, but kept my end goal (her sleeping in the cot for naps and 7-7 at night and self-settling) in mind and gradually encouraging her in that direction.
It sounds like you are doing great and your DD is getting a nice long stretch in. Just make sure she isn't overtired at bedtime and keep encouraging her to go to sleep in her cot (assuming that's what you want her to do...) and eventually she'll get it.
I'd be avoiding the subject with my relatives too, if they felt the way yours do, OP! Good luck
You are absolutely not doing it all wrong!
You sound like a lovely mum who is looking after your baby in a very caring and sensitive way and you will be building a strong and loving bond with her as a result.
She is very little still and as she grows and matures her sleep will change - eventually she will be able to go to sleep by herself and sleep all night.
You sound like you are doing brilliantly and ultimately, you have to do what is right for your family. You sound as though the nap and evening 'routine' you have works for you and that's all that matters - no need to feel pressured into a different approach that doesn't feel right for you and your family.
My DD is nearly 15 months and
finally sleeping for 7 hour stretches - no doubt we will have more ups and downs along the sleep journey but I know we will get there!
I will also be doing lots of nodding and smiling at all the
unwanted advice from well-meaning family members during family get togethers!
Lots of luck...
Thanks mummybare and Searching. I am not quite clear, do you mean DD will gradually learn to self-settle and sleep longer of her own accord, or is there more I should be doing to encourage her?
Tomorrow we're going to stay with another bit of the family, and I am dreading it. At least when we're just somewhere for the day we can take DD home when she starts getting tired and stroppy, but the way she's been for the last few nights, we're going to end up having her downstairs with us all evening in someone else's house. And I just know my SiL is going to tell me her three all slept through the night in their own rooms from sometime earlier than four months! And if I point out that hers were all ff and DD is ebf, she will think I'm criticising her for ff ...
No idea how to teach a baby to self-settle, I'm afraid - DS has always been of the drop-off-to-sleep-whenever-wherever variety (although he does have a dummy so that often helps).
However he has been a nightmare the last few days, following a bit of a bug and the overexcitement of Christmas, and has been fighting sleep at every turn. I didn't start really clocking nap signs with him until about 5mo (now 8mo) but here are a few things that have helped him get settled, especially over the battle of the last 3 days:
- white noise - be it shushing, white noise app on the phone, Ewan the dream sheep, etc.
- holding his arms down with gentle pressure in the "surrender" position if he won't stop flailing about and agitating himself
- tapping him gently on the chest in a heartbeat rhythm - I tried this one for the first time this week, having remembered a friend suggesting it a few months back, and it has been remarkably effective!
I agree that timing is pretty key - I look for yawning, but the first sign of any eye rubbing and it is straight to bed. Some might say that is too late though.
It is really hard when you are at someone else's house and there isn't anywhere suitable for them to nap, especially once they are past the stage of just crashing out on your lap Even having taken a proper travel cot to MIL's on Christmas Eve, and putting him in a dark quiet room, it was still a battle (which was lost) to get him to sleep.
Personally I believe that babies find their own sleeping patterns, providing you do what you can to help them (I.e. removing distraction, etc, when they are struggling to settle), but I know others may disagree. DS's sleeping has been occasionally amazing and more so awful, but I feel more relaxed about it knowing that I'm letting him sort it in his own time.
Hope tomorrow isn't too stressful (and that your SIL keeps her mouth shut!)
This sort of crazy relatives story is why I am glad I never lived close enough to family to have anyone telling me my babies were doing it all wrong or I was doing it all wrong.
Every baby is an individual and what works for one will not work for another. I never had a single baby (out of 5 DCs) who ever settled him or herself until close to 12 months and some went well beyond that.
Do what works for you and stop beating yourself up about how your baby falls asleep. Forget the word 'should'. Nobody gave the babies the memo so many nosy rellies seem to have got. Try to relax and enjoy your own baby's little quirks and smile sweetly at the interfering bossy extended family members whose opprobrium is not helping. A short 'thank you for that' while you carry on doing exactly what works for you might be enough. You will occasionally encounter the odd really thick one who doesn't take a hint -- but don't try pleasing anyone but yourself.
You don't owe anyone an explanation for what you are doing. Get your DH to back you up. Clucking women often take a man saying 'butt out ladies' more seriously than they would take the same sentiment from a woman.
I will completely understand if you ignore my input as I know it can be controversialbut we had this problem with DD until around 8 weeks. wouldn't sleep in her cot for more than a very short time, would only fall asleep on us etc. we lay her on her front. I understand there are risks with this but she was sleeping face down on our chests every night and we were suffering so much with the poor quality of sleep that we tried it and she sleeps like a DREAM now. she can now roll over and we put her down face down and she puts herself right when she wants to. also agree with the dummy advice, even if u don't use one in the day it is so soothing for them. and ignore everyone, every mother u meet will think she did it right and your doing it wrong (at least, that's what u think they think lol)
Thanks everyone. SiL was fine as it happened. DH's stepmother's mother kept announcing smugly how lucky she'd been as her children slept through the night, never wanted to put things they shouldn't in their mouths, etc. I was expecting her to say any moment that they never had dirty nappies either! However, as she is heading towards doolalliness and her children are now in their 60s, ignoring her wasn't too hard. :-)
Meant to ask - how do I make sure she isn't overtired at bedtime? And how do I combine this with her being tired enough to sleep later? For the last few days she's wanted to play after her late feed and it's taken until 2 am to settle her. She isn't sleeping any more in the day to compensate either, and evenings have become a struggle to get her to sleep at all.
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