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Gradual retreat advice / tips

(8 Posts)
loube80 Fri 22-Mar-13 12:45:01

15 month old ds has been and still is an absolutely horrendous sleeper. He wakes up at least twice between 7pm when he goes to bed and about 10pm when I currently just take him to bed with me to get some sleep. He also takes ages to settle, and sometimes won't settle back into the cot at all, and will only be settled by me. He screams if OH tries to get him back to sleep.

We have had some limited success with pu/pd (got him at least sleeping for a few hours straight in the evening) but he keeps getting ill and then we are back to square one. Have repeated this twice since Christmas.

The problem is that I am now 8 months pg with no. 2 and can't physically do pu/pd again so am going to see if I can get OH to do something. As really can't imagine how the current scenario is going to work with a newborn as well.

Was thinking about using gradual retreat but the problem is that nothing will soothe him in the cot. It doesn't matter what we do he will scream blue murder and repeatedly stand up, etc. So really my question is can you still do gradual retreat in this situation, and if so what do you do when he stands - put him down? or leave him to see if he lies down eventually on his own Really hate that everything we try ends up feeling like cc and doesn't have any long lasting effects. I don't really have an issue with cosleeping but can't be resettling him so often with a newborn to bf in the evenings as well.

Any advice v welcome. Thank you.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sat 23-Mar-13 13:36:59

I've just lost my post I'd written out angry

DS is awake now but i will come back as had v similar issues and have a couple of things that may help.

Should bump for you too smile

loube80 Sat 23-Mar-13 14:23:53

Thank you really appreciate it.

moojie Sat 23-Mar-13 20:32:57

My ds is slightly younger at 11 months but we have been through something similar. The waking in the early evening is very familiar and we have finally pinned it down to overtiredness. So we make sure if his nap isn't great he goes down much earlier, 6pm sometimes.

I have just done several weeks of gradual retreat with good success. My ds was fed and rocked to sleep and with the (very!) gradual retreat he can now settle himself in his cot but I have still needed to be within sight. When he wakes he now panics that I am not there so we have decided to try some cc to get him used to me walking out the door.

Good luck with it. For the first few days I was sat right by ds cot with my hand on his back to reassure him and then started moving backwards very slowly each night. Just take it slowly and see what happens!

moojie Sat 23-Mar-13 20:36:09

Oops sorry meant to say that I have been laying him back down each time he stands up. For about the first 5 times I say "lie down please it's night nights time" then I say nothing and just lie him down. He seemed to get the message after a few nights of this and would stand once as a test then just roll around his cot.

Also now he will not sleep with my hand on him at all! He just pulls it off and pushes away which is such a massive contrast to a few weeks ago.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sat 23-Mar-13 22:22:47

We've had similar problems with gradual withdrawal not working or feeling like its turning into CC. Obviously there will always be some crying but DS screams his head off in a panic at night and it breaks my heart.

We've been at it for 5 weeks now & are still by the cot. However, he is sleeping through fairly regularly and for the last few nights there been no crying at all. smile

Anyway, here's some advice/tips we've had from sleep consultants:

Do some prep. At bedtime, I give DS a muslin or a top I've worn. I also sleep on his sheets for a few days so they smell familiar. I do this when we travel as well, helps massively.

We did v gradual withdrawal and started holding him until nearly asleep, then cuddling in the cot, patting, shhing, sitting by the cot. If there's been more crying than we've been comfortable with, we go back a step. DS becomes totally hysterical otherwise and will cry for hours.

On the standing (which he will), lay him down once. Any more and it can turn into a battle which isn't fun for anyone. Then lay on the floor and hope he copies you grin

If he doesn't, you then have two options that I know of:

1) Distraction. Sing to him, scratch the mattress, pat it, play with the cot bars, anything to break the crying cycle. Use your voice to reassure him...shh, shh, sleepy time...or whatever. You're lying on the floor at this point.

This wasn't massively successful for us. We ended up in a situation where DS was awake in the cot for hours and would scream if we attempted to leave. So we now do option two as well.

2) Room leaving. We put him to bed, he stands up and cries. We lay him down, lie on the floor and say shh, shh and all that for five mins. If he's still standing/crying we tell him twice...sleepy time or mummy will leave, and leave for 30 secs. He cries (obviously), we go back in, lay him down and start the 5 mins again. He now will lay down when we go in. There's still some crying but not the totally hysterical type.

You can increase the time you're out the room but we found he went mental and it was counterproductive. If the crying lessens we don't go back in until we need to. At nap times he goes off on his own. Repeat for all wakings.

Sorry this is epic blush

HTH smile

lizzywig Sun 24-Mar-13 19:04:34

We have done this twice. The first time was a success, the second was because for some unbeknownst reason to us nursery decided to pat DD to sleep & undo all our hard work. We've also done a shortened version after periods off illness during which sleep has gone to pot.

I'm not sure what the official "rules" are but we do 3 days by cot and then move back a bit and so on until day 10 when you disappear from the room. You do have to be consistent at nap and bedtime. This was hard for us because DD would fall asleep at nap time without difficulty but we did it anyway and for the first few days it just distracted her and made nap time take longer, but it was important to be consistent so we included naps. At bedtime she would scream. If she was genuinely upset I'd pick her up and give her a cuddle until calm and I'd then put her back down and try again. If she was just having a paddy I would ignore her - she was fed, safe and I was there. Any paddy would usually stop after a few mins. To help me not cave i would take a book with me and sit in the chair and it didn't matter if i wasn't reading it, DD could see that i wasn't noticing her paddy . If her paddy went on longer than a few pins i would pick her up and calm her and then put back down. Throughout all of this i never said a word because the point is to be consistent and boring.

You said your LO won't settle to start with. Try popping him down and instantly holding his hand or stroking his face and staying on his level so your face is pretty much against the bars. I used to find this would calm DD. If he settles then sit in the chair. Make sure that regardless of progress you move back after 3 days. It's hard but it might work. At day 6 DD still wasn't impressed and by day 10 we didn't think she was ready for us to leave the room but we did anyway and she went straight to sleep. We were so shocked.

I would suggest that if it isn't working and you've been trying for a while then take a weeks break and let him get back to normal if you can. Then try again.

I know it's really hard when they're upset but believe in your head that it will be 10 days and then you're done. If DD stood up i let her and after 10 mins or so she'd sit down of her own accord. Remember be boring. If you put them down i think they treat it as a game!

Good luck, it's horrible when bedtime takes ages, for you and them. Apologies if there are daft words, am on my phone!

loube80 Wed 27-Mar-13 19:35:26

Thanks for all the advice. Think I will try putting him down half asleep and start from there and see if we can make better progress this time.

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