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Tips for getting baby to settle self to sleep

(25 Posts)
GrandPoohBah Mon 28-Jan-13 17:17:14

My dd is 9 weeks and will self settle but only at night, and only in the last week or so - since she got a bit happier at being put down at all as prior to that I had her in my arms all day!

I find that there is a point at which she'll go into the basket and settle but it has to be just right - she can't be too awake or she will get angry that I'm not holding her.

I read 'no cry sleep solution' and although I'm not following it exactly (I'm much too tired in the night to put it into practice to be honest!) it makes some good points. The main one I took away from it was that babies do sometimes shout as part of their self settling, and not to swoop in too soon (although that is the instinct - to pick them up before they get too upset!). I'll let dd shout to the ceiling for a couple of minutes to see if she will quieten down on her own. Sometimes she does, sometimes I have to pick her up and try again. I do this with her night wakings as well and it has cut out at least one feed because she goes back to sleep after literally a couple of minutes if I leave her to it.

Lirogiro Mon 28-Jan-13 09:21:39

I agree with other posters that 7 weeks it really little and i think it is a very rare baby that goes to sleep on its own without being fed or rocked. Babies can be rubbish sleepers for a couple of years. I felt better about my ds' sleeping after reading this research from the university of durham which basically says babies like to sleep next to their mothers for at least the first year of life, so your baby is a clever baby for knowing you are there and wanting to stay in your arms.

FuriousRox Mon 28-Jan-13 07:55:39

My ds is one of those rare babies that can self settle - I take no credit, please note. He is 13 weeks and has been doing so since he was about seven weeks. However he can only do this for his morning and midday naps, and during the night. At bedtime and in the later afternoon I feed him to sleep, because I find he is too overwrought to go to sleep on his own.

So op my own experience leads me to suggest that you try the self settling thing for morning naps first rather than beating yourself up at bedtime - your baby is still v tiny and I do honestly think its rare for them to be able to go to sleep on their own at this age.

I will add that I fully expect ds's settling ability to come and go as he grows - what works today may not work next week but may return inexplicably next month etc.

In my humble opinion, the whole rod for your back thing is bollocks, it helps sell books! Babies change all the time.

EMS23 Mon 28-Jan-13 06:22:10

With DD1 I rocked her to sleep until 13 months because I wanted to but she was self settling at nursery for daytime naps and at bedtime for DH by 7-8 months. I was back at work at 6 months so enjoyed her bedtime cuddles, which was indulgent I guess but it didn't do her any harm and my rod never appeared!
No way I could leave a 7 week old to cry but like you said, a bit of grizzling is different.

But if you only want her to self settle because you think she should, then forget about it till later and enjoy the cuddles!

DD2 19wo is a good self settler but I still cuddle her because I like to!

SpanielFace Mon 28-Jan-13 06:09:36

I had to feed/rock DS to sleep at that age, I couldn't have left him to cry, even for 20 minutes. What I did do though is keep trying to put him down awake but sleepy - it never worked, for weeks and weeks, then one day at about 14 weeks it just did it! He's now 5 months and I can reliably put him down awake but sleepy & he'll go to sleep. Sometimes he fusses for a few minutes, especially for naps, but he doesn't cry properly. 7 weeks is so young to expect self settling. I know it's frustrating, DS was the worst sleeper in the world at that age - but I promise it really won't last forever.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 28-Jan-13 05:39:27

I do a thing where I put DD in her cot, and then hold her arms by her sides (she likes this), then gradually take my hands off as she falls asleep. It worked with DS too. Dont know why.

mrsbugsywugsy Mon 28-Jan-13 05:26:28

have you tried warming her Moses basket with a hot water bottle before you put her down? if I don't do that then the cold sheets seem to wake dd back up.

breadandhoney Mon 28-Jan-13 04:23:42

Domesticgoddess that sounds really frustrating and restricting but great that there is no problem at night!

breadandhoney Mon 28-Jan-13 04:22:30

I suppose since any book I've read or any "official"advice I've seen has said baby should be put down awake. I just assumed this is what everyone else was doing and I was making a rod for my own back.

Those who didn't encourage baby to self settle, at what age did they start to do so and how?

I'll sometimes put dd in her car seat on the house. Sometimes in here she will fall asleep on her own after only a few rocks then leaving her but only if she is really sleepy but not overtired (delicate balance, isn't it?)

Also, I couldn't and wouldn't leave her to cry hard for 20 minutes at this young age. But if she is just crying on and off as she falls asleep as a PP suggested then its worth a try IMO.

DD2 is ten weeks and the only time she will sleep anywhere but on me is when we go to bed. The room is dark. She goes into the basket and sometimes I will give her the last ounce of her feed in there (ff) to help her settle. Then she fusses a bit but doesnt really cry.

During the day she is starting to occasionally fall asleep in her bouncy chair, but up until now its been only on me. Never DP. Its really frustrating as my back cant take a sling so Im banished to the sofa.

I feel your frustration, but at this age they are still so tiny. I wouldnt push it just yet.

achillea Mon 28-Jan-13 01:10:16

As with most things with babies, a very gradual withdrawal is the best way to make any changes. Waiting a minute before checking when she cries, is a good step, as is putting her in the moses basket with your hand on her chest, singing or whatever, then gradually withdrawing the singing or the rocking so she gets used to being without it. If the swaddling is a problem then try reducing that - making it a bit looser every day and see if that helps. It's usually trial and error, as long as it's gradual I'm sure you will find a way.


MrsDeVere Mon 28-Jan-13 01:10:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyWidmerpool Mon 28-Jan-13 00:59:35

7 weeks is very young to let a baby cry for twenty minutes and very young for self settling.

breadandhoney Mon 28-Jan-13 00:56:27

Sound = sling blush

breadandhoney Mon 28-Jan-13 00:55:57

Will also look into getting a swaddleMe or similar. Thanks for the tip.

With regard to using the sound for naps, it isn't enough for us in itself. We would prefer to be able to put dd down in her own space, ie Moses basket and eventually cot.

breadandhoney Mon 28-Jan-13 00:52:50

Sorry for typos. On phone and very tired!

breadandhoney Mon 28-Jan-13 00:52:21

Thank you all. We have a bedtime routine in so much as I top and tail dd in darkened bedroom and then feed her in almost pitch darkness. I just then rock rock rock until she is sound asleep before transferring her to basket.

So from your replies I've learned that I should perhaps expect a bit of crying when she is falling asleep. I have been afraid of lettin her cry for a while in case it wakes dd1. Perhaps that is a chance I will have to take. I need to investigate whether she will in fact fall asleep within 20 mins by herself. Oh I would be so pleased if she managed it!

We have a sling that I use now and ten through the day when I have to get something done ad don't have the time to sit and rock dd to sleep. It works well. Dd will fall asleep quickly in it but will only sleep for half an hour or so. In fact this half-hour nap is becoming a bit of a pattern even in Moses basket, but one thing at a time! Maybe if I left her to cry a little when she woke she would eventually fall back to sleep in her own, although I'm not convinced.

Thanks for the words of encouragement. It helps so much.

You have mostly talked about bedtime. Can I ask of you would do anything different at nap time? Would you recommend a darkened bedroom then too or just out her down in bright living room?

ThisLittleP Sun 27-Jan-13 21:26:24

When my youngest was small, he refused swaddling etc. etc. and in the end we found he would only sleep on his front. He became a new baby once I did this, after weeks upon weeks of fractiousness (both he & I).

Anyway, the lady from our local sleep clinic said as a first step make sure you have the 'bedtime routine' sorted, so that baby can identify what's coming next (ie. sleep-time), and she said that it 'can' be perfectly normal for a baby to take up to 20 minutes to settle themselves (if you're brave enough to wait that long), but once 20 mins is up, you must must must go and tend to them, as there's likely something wrong, rather than just being unsettled. I tried it, and often on the dot of 20 mins, ds fell off asleep.

Sounds like the kicking & fussing & unswaddling is maybe just her way of getting comfy, and crying......well, sometimes they just do, don't they little buggers
Let her cry, at the very least she will tire herself out smile, but also if you leave her for a little while, she will soon understand that you aren't coming straight in to tend to her, if there's a chance that she can drop off by herself.

Oh, it's so hard isn't it, not knowing what's the best way forward, I wish you the very best of luck. No doubt you'll have it sorted before we know it.

Lirogiro Sun 27-Jan-13 21:16:06

Have you thought about using a wrap or sling? I used one for my ds for daytime sleeps for at least the first 6 months. I could go for walks, go round the shops, do light housework and cooking with him in his sling. He would go to sleep when he was ready and i didn't get into the horrid cycle of trying to get him to sleep amd him resisting and then me getting more exasperated.
He'll still sleep in a sling on long walks at nearly a year which makes it easy for us to go out on daytrips and still give him space to nap so i'd definitely recommend one. Depending on where you live there might be sling library near by where you can try a sling before buying one so you don't have to pay for one and find it's not the right one or doesn't work for you.

Magicmayhem Sun 27-Jan-13 20:59:07

I would also suggest a bedtime routine, ie, bath, my kids used to love a bath and really splash their legs and thrash about, I'm sure this tired them out, then they had a massage, and a feed and a cuddle in almost darkness. I used to burp them really gently, then put them down when they were nearly asleep. this worked for mine
good luck

NellyBluth Sun 27-Jan-13 20:54:31

Have you tried a swaddle she won't be able to get out of? We used the Summer SwaddleMe which she couldn't get out of at that age, and that improved her sleep a lot. If she realises she can't get out of it then that might calm her.

We tried to follow the same routine from about 3 or 4w old, when she started to want to sleep at about 8 - bath, last feed in the bedroom with dim lights, and then to be honest we just left her and she fell asleep within about 10 minutes. I know that isn't an enormous help but I think the calm last feed helped, and I was just wondering if your DD couldn't get out of her swaddle, whether that would mean she might stop struggling and begin the drift off.

Re the crying, DD 'cried' herself to sleep every night and every nap for months, only it wasn't actually crying for attention, we soon realised it was just something she did for a minute or two, and just as we started to go to her we could hear the cry quietening down and her falling asleep. Even at 12mo she still likes to sing herself to sleep one way or another.

melonribena Sun 27-Jan-13 20:31:16

Hi! Sorry to hijack! We have similar problems with my 6 month old. You said you did cc last time? Did it work? What did u do? Thanks for any tips

melonribena Sun 27-Jan-13 20:28:56

Hi! Sorry to hijack! We have similar problems with my 6 month old. You said you did cc last time? Did it work? What did u do? Thanks for any tips

breadandhoney Sun 27-Jan-13 20:11:29

I should add that rocking can take 45 mins, sometimes longer, as she really fights sleep. Didn't realise that was possible at this young age hmm

breadandhoney Sun 27-Jan-13 20:06:06

Dd2 is. 7 weeks. I have got into the habit of rocking her to sleep and would like yo be able to put her in her Moses basket and let her settle herself to sleep. She is ebf but unlike dd1 rarely falls asleep on breast. Dd1 had to be fed to sleep several times every night til we did cc at 6 months. We would like to overcome the problem sooner this time.

Since cc is a no-go at this age goes anyone have any advice that would mean I could feed her then put her in in loses basket awake to fall asleep on her own? If I attempt this now she will lie and kick and fuss and unswaddle herself for up to 10mins then cry.

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