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Sleep problems: did anyone just go with the freaking flow and not sleep train?! And if so did it eventually work?

(55 Posts)
PenelopeChipShop Thu 14-Feb-13 10:44:30

Anyone out there who isn't doing some sort of plan? My 7.5mo is a terrible sleeper. I won't even bore you with the details. Just think every bad habit in the book and 1-2 hourly wakings. I do all the nighttime parenting so am just doing what I can to survive, feeding, co sleeping, rocking, whatever. Friends tell me things will never improve if I don't either teach self settling or do some sort of cc. Frankly I appreciate the theory but in practice I am just too tired at 3am when up for the fourth or fifth time to do anything but feed back to sleep. Are these people right? Do I have to change things or will he grow out of it?

Is there actually anyone out there who just muddled through? To clarify I am not against sleep training or judging it all, it is just that I am too knackered to put it into practice.

crazycrush Mon 11-Mar-13 10:12:01

Wow. From this thread it seems that most people kind of co-sleep? Am honestly curious now. Are the sleep trainers not in this board?

And what about your partners? Are they all happy to muddle through co sleeping? Not meant to criticise... I would co sleep to but bed isn't big enough and DH isn't having it as he has trouble sleeping himself.

Our saga: I did co sleep with our 5 year old (more of a musical beds situation from first waking) until he was about 2 years old.. He was an awful sleeper and would prefer to sleep cuddled up to me.. I didn't mind that much at the time. I always fed to sleep, he woke up for milk until he was four (having bottles from about 18 months old).

We tried a stint of 2 months of sleep training when I was pregnant with ds2 (dc1 was already in toddler bed) where we would be up and down for up to 3 hours every night walking/dragging a screaming toddler back to his bed. I am not exaggerating. Once he calmed down we sat by the bed, then further and further away. I had to often sit in the hallway up until he was about 4. We used the Sleep Lady's Sleep Tight book for this, also holding the door shut as recommended when he starts climbing out of the bed (it was our last resort after a few weeks of this) which makes him still a bit apprehensive sometimes of locked doors.

Well, that sleep training had no real effect apart from 'traumatising' all of us... and he still woke so we allowed him to sleep on a mattress next to our bed after the first waking and had to fall asleep in his bed. The condition of sleeping on that mattress was not to wake us up once he is there but he sometimes wanted hand holding (which i did) and sometimes it all escalated because for some reason he started whining loudly because really he wanted to be in the bed. :-( that was when he was four... So last year he slept through about 40 nights... I know this because i counted the stickers on the sticker charts... And we had good nice rewards, but in the middle of the night he didn't care about those. So now at just under 5 he started sleeping through EVERY night. Fingers crossed, it has been two months. God knows what did it: 1. I was very very serious that I wasn't having this anymore and told him to stay in his own bed and not wake me up. 2. I told him he gets no telly the next day if he wakes me up. (Instead of a reward I opted for taking a privilege away...) 3. We got a spacey lamp in the kids bedroom (optic fibre) something to meditate on if he wakes. It's funny how people always comment how well behaved our kids are (during the day :-(

Ds2 was altogether a much better sleeper. I did make a point to put him down drowsy but awake from birth and made sure i didnt constantly hold and cuddle him and he learned to suck his thumb...and also as a personality he liked his own space more. Until 2 years he also woke once per night every few nights when he was hungry in the early hours so I gave him a snack and of course make sure he always eats a big dinner. He also had a night time feed until he was two (bottles from 8 months). He is three now and sleeps through. He has a comforter btw... Dc1 only ever wanted me as a comforter.. Part of the problem.

I feel so much better writing this all down. And now to DC3 and why I am here on this board... Well, dc3 is 6 months and definitely goes down awake and manages to sleep by himself. Still wakes up every 4 hours to feed a little bit and drifts off in my arm so I put him back in his cot ( all in one room). If he then protests I just walk away. And apart from three times he just stopped protesting/crying. The three times I have just let him cry :-( even up to 90 minutes once. I have a feeling that those times he wasn't well (teething, cough) :-( am sad and stressed about this and need a better approach but in no way will I go through what I had with dc1 again. As a family cannot sustain this..

So. I think there are some kids like my dc1 who need the physical contact more and who won't take any sleep training. But also those should learn to self soothe unless you are prepared to co sleep until they are ready...I would also always try to introduce a comforter apart from boob.

Good luck to you all!

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Mon 11-Mar-13 03:50:02

My eldest was a very bad sleeper as a baby (woke ev4ery 45 mins for the first 6 weeks) but got gradually better, with a few regressions, didn't sleep through a night til she was 2, then suddenly just did. She's 7 now and I've just started to have to wake her for school, so now she sleeps for 11is hours and very rarely wakes in the night, never without reason.

My middle one was just a good sleeper from day 1, woke to breast feed of course, and I did actively night wean, after which he slept through without further "training", from about 9 months old.

My youngest is 22 months and I am sitting on the sofa with him at 4.45am, he rarely sleeps for more than a couple of hours at a time, never has, and if I sleep with him he is so restless I can only doze and am more than half woken by him multiple times an hour. I am thinking of taking him to the doctor to see if he has any kind of inner ear problem or something, though I may be grasping at straws - he is not troubled by anything much in the day time and growing and developing very well...

Snowme Mon 11-Mar-13 02:50:24

That's not what babies were designed to do.

First baby put to bed in her cot. She woke every 2-3 hours and breastfed for up to an hour each time, then went back to sleep in cot.

At teething time, she was a fitful sleeper/feeder so I just co-slept with her. She didn't leave my bed til just before she started school at 4. Settled quickly into her own room.

Second baby slept through the night from birth to 9 months, didnt even wake for feeds, then again at teething time co-slept with me. His transitioned easier to his own bed because he shares a double with his sister. He'll be in his own bedroom too just before he starts school. He never had naps during the day at all, ever, oddly enough.

I just assumed and was happy enough to muddle through with the lack of sleep, because I thought this was what being a mother was all about, absolute sacrifice for the early years.
I don't know how on earth mothers manage those newborn to early years whilst working full time too. It isn't possible to work on that degree of sleep deprivation, surely?

Anyway, all those sleep training books are a pile of nonsense. Nature provides you with the neccessary post-birth hormones to ensure you function adequately on disjointed sleep, otherwise none of us wold make it through those early years.

banana87 Sat 09-Mar-13 12:49:12

I refused to sleep train both of mine.

DD1 and I co-slept until she was 6 months, and then I slept in her room next to her cot until she was 7 months. She went down asleep until she was 12 months. She indicated she was ready by pushing me away when I was rocking her. She did cry, but lasted no longer than 5 mins.

DD2 was not so easy. She and I co-slept until she was 9 months. She was still waking at least once during the night, usually more. I then (stupidly) moved her to formula at night (it made no difference), and by the time she was 12 months she was sleeping through 8-8. With her as well she went down awake only from 12-13 months and cried for no more than 5 minutes.

I will add that she also put herself into a routine of waking at 8, nap at 11, wake at 11:45, nap at 2. I had nothing to do with it! So don't listen to your friends, listen to your baby!!!

minipie Sat 09-Mar-13 12:33:42

OP, if the only reason you're not sleep training is because you can't face it in the night, you could try doing it at nap time in the day instead. hopefully if they learn the ability self settle in the day, they will then apply it at night. it worked for us - we did a version of controlled crying one day at the lunchtime nap and then again at bedtime, DD then slept through that night immediately (having needed 5+ resettles a night prior to training) so we never had to do any crying in the night. maybe we were lucky though...

Eeeeeowwwfftz Fri 08-Mar-13 22:14:22

So, let's get this right. By "going with the flow" do we really mean not doing any kind of encouragement (let alone "training") and eventually they get it? We're at 21 month's now, and sleeping has gradually improved since birth. We're down to one or two wake-ups per night, but he can be very difficult to settle if he wakes - particularly if we don't whack the tits out... He's started saying "sleep" and "tired" and knows what sleep is, by acting out lying down and scrunching his eyes up in a way that makes it impossible to sleep, so I'm hopeful he's on the road to working out what to do.

Our few (admittedly half-hearted) attempts to encourage more sleep have led to more screaming and stress than any of us want that we've decided to take the sit-it-out route... but it'd be nice to know from people who've been down this track that it will work out in the end.

jaggythistle Tue 19-Feb-13 20:23:42

Yes and yes with DS1 who is now 3 and has slept fine since somewhere between 1 and 2.

Currently attempting muddling with DS2, wish I'd taken notes on how to muddle successfully the first time. . .10 months and no sign of much sleep!

TheYamiOfYawn Tue 19-Feb-13 10:20:25

My DD was a terrible, terrible sleeper. She woke up between 6 and 10 times most nights until she was two and a quarter. Then, over the space of about a month, she started sleeping through most nights.

DS wasn't such a horrific sleeper, but still woke more than was deemed socially acceptable (4idh times a night flyer the age of one, constant feeding from 4am). He was three in October, and has been sleeping through most nights since January. They both just grew into into their sleep with no training or bedtime struggles.

WhichIsBest Tue 19-Feb-13 04:08:22

(Oh I am up now with third trimester insomnia, not DD's doing!)

WhichIsBest Tue 19-Feb-13 04:06:51

Another muddler here. But unlike most people replying, my DD has never slept through the whole night, and she is almost 5.
I don't mind briefly re-tucking her in once per night though, which is what she tends to still 'need'. It isn't that I am up and down every few hours.

RhinestoneCowgirl Mon 18-Feb-13 22:42:42

I didn't sleep train and both my DC got there.... eventually!

DS started sleeping thro until 5am about 18m, then 7am by 2yrs. His younger sister was nearly 3yrs by the time she was reliably sleeping thro.

I co-slept quite a lot just to survive!

tory79 Mon 18-Feb-13 22:31:49

No, I did everything 'wrong' with ds, he spent the first couple of months sleeping on my chest all the time, we co slept, he had his naps with me in my bed. He fed to sleep all the time. I fed him everytime he woke, which was at least every 2-3 hours every night. He went in to his own room about 8 months and was still waking the same and I still fed him everytime. He still spent all his naps with me in my bed. When he was around 11 months, something finally clicked for him about napping in his cot, which was fab, he also dropped to 1 nap at the same time which may have made a difference as he was sleeping much more deeply I think. But he was still waking up at night and I was still feeding him.

We got to 13 months and he had never slept through, and never slept for longer than about a 4 hour stretch. I never once tried to 'fix' him, if he needed me, he needed me. But then we went to Florida for 2 weeks. On our return he got soooooo jetlagged, that for the first 3 nights we were back he slept for 15 hours straight each night. And that I think taught him to do it, as aside from a few nights where he has been ill/teething, he has slept through from about 8-630 every bloody night for the last 4 months now! Yippee!!

recall Mon 18-Feb-13 13:58:29

Mine are 5 3 and 2, I did some sleep training with the eldest, but was too knackered to bother with the younger two, and co slept. Its only the eldest who has trouble going to sleep now, the younger two go straight off, and sleep right through, but they are in our bed. Because I have 3, I find co sleeping is a chance to have a nice long cuddle and some one to one time, sometimes during the day, its too busy to indulge them.

rhetorician Mon 18-Feb-13 13:47:43

We did nothing with dd2 until she was over one, we moved her out of our room and stopped feeding her at night, but no CIO or cc. Dd1 we were more proactive, but I wouldn't say we sleep trained as such. I know this is a divisive issue, but I do think that sleep training is useful in certain circumstances, and that it may be the lesser evil. I also think that, based n our experience, we let bad habits go on for the lack of will/energy to fix them. I don't think sleep training at 7 months would have done anything, but we probably could have had an extra month or 2 of sleep in 2012

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sat 16-Feb-13 10:11:20

IHeartKingThistle, you're right, if it works for you then by all means...just be aware that for a lot of people sleep training doesn't work, not easily anyway or not long term...and it can be heartbreaking when it goes wrong and you have a child who won't be trained at all. Lots of crying for nothing. But then there are people it works for so it's a risk you take.

A lot depends on how you do it as well - I wouldn't ever advocate crying it out, or CIO, but there are other much gentler methods which might be worth a try if you're cognescent enough to manage them grin

PashaFox Sat 16-Feb-13 08:32:20

This is so reassuring! My DS is nearly 7 months old and in a house where CIO isn't an option (seriously ill retired father) we mainly cosleep and yawn our way through the day. We introduced a dummy at around two months and he slept for 5/6 hours straight which was lovely, then at about 4 months refused to take one at all, so we're back to waking and water every hour or so. Good to know I'm not the only one!

changeforthebetter Fri 15-Feb-13 21:22:48

Each to their own etc but Dd2 was a "shocking sleeper" for nearly three years. Then, she began to sleep and is pretty reliable, bar the odd nightmare. Dd1 was a dream, sleeping through at three months etc ....... Now at 7yo she is horrendous. I have done the same with both (except co slept with Dd2 for nearly 2 years).

My personal belief is that babies and some toddlers really need that night time contact and will gradually become more independent when ready. I also think "sleep training" is more about selling books than helping knackered parents and distressed kids.

But, you are the one faced with the situation at 1am, 3am or whenever. No one has the right to tell you what to do ( unless they are planning to come in and take over for a couple of night grin).

Maraki Fri 15-Feb-13 19:53:19

DD is 5yo. Still a terrible sleeper. I am still hallucinating with tiredness. I get up 2-3 times a night to pat her and re-assure her, I am just too tired to sleep train. Around 4am I give up, she gives up waiting for me to go to her and she climbs into our bed. I wait for her to sleep and then I go and sleep in hers.
I will make her pay for this when she is a teenager. I have tried everything in every book. I have given up. Completely.

christinecagney Fri 15-Feb-13 19:47:14

No, no flaminggrin.

Each to her own way. I just found sleep training more stressful than having to wake up in the night....

IHeartKingThistle Fri 15-Feb-13 13:09:03

The thing is OP, if the sleep situation as it is is making you unhappy then you need to change it. Lots of the posters on this thread seem to have been happy for their babies to take their time. There's no problem with that, but if you're pulling your hair out, sleep-deprived and losing out on time with DH in the meantime, it seems to me like a week/few weeks of sleep training makes more sense in the long term. I'm not judging anybody, honestly, but I know I couldn't have handled broken nights long term and I would have enjoyed my children less as a result. Whatever you choose has to work for you.

Oh I am so about to get flamed...

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Fri 15-Feb-13 07:47:32

bit like toilet training too...children naturally teach themselves. They have to have the right processes in place in their brain for it to work, there's no point trying before they are ready. Everyone just gets stressed and angry and there are loads of accidents.

Nightmoves Thu 14-Feb-13 20:58:18

This thread has given me such hope. Trying not to get too excited...

BitBewildered Thu 14-Feb-13 20:56:40

I do have a friend who sleep trained very hard. Her DS1 complied, it suited him, she thought she'd got it sussed. DS2 still wakes every night and is now 3yo.

nethunsreject Thu 14-Feb-13 20:54:57

didn't sleep train either. training is for dogs wink . ds1 slept all night from about 6 months , ds 2 was about two years shock grin . happy both ways tbh . sleep issues are a post industrial problem. do what feels right.

BitBewildered Thu 14-Feb-13 20:51:32

I didn't sleep train either of my two. I suppose they both started sleeping through at about a year (ish). They're 3.7 & 2 yo now and both sleep straight through (12hrs) in their own beds every night, no problems settling etc. It will end at some point, just get through it as well as you are able, and if that means co-sleeping, feeding to sleep or whatever that's fine. It's as legitimate a choice as anything else.

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