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How do you teach a baby to settle themselves???????

(78 Posts)
ANGELMOTHER Tue 27-Jan-04 17:02:43

Please help me here, any tips are appreciated. My dd2 is now 17 wks and a happy thriving baby if not the greatest sleeper. She sleeps little in the day and wakes 2-3 times a night but I know she's not always hungry and it's a comfort suck and back to sleep. She never goes into her cot awake as always falls asleep at the boob or bottle (mixed feeding). Night feeds always end up with co-sleeping as I feed her lying down and am reluctant to move and disturb her then.
Please help me break this pattern as I want to start her in a nursery just the one morning a week (for sanity reasons) but couldn't send her into new surroundings before acquiring this skill.

aloha Tue 27-Jan-04 17:09:24

My ds was a horrible sleeper so I'm not the best person to advise on getting a 17weeker to sleep - HOWEVER - I firmly believe that you shouldn't worry about this or let it prevent you starting her in a nursery. They will be used to babies and will have all sorts of tricks etc to help them get off to sleep. And of course, she will probably act differently with them instead of you. You may well be pleasantly surprised that she learns to go to sleep differently there. And if all else fails they can help her off to sleep with a feed at nursery.

ANGELMOTHER Tue 27-Jan-04 17:16:03

True Aloha they might manage to crack it there without me just scared that controlled crying is the only option

EvanMom Wed 28-Jan-04 08:59:58

I agree with aloha - do no let this get in the way of starting nursery. I had similar problems with ds1 and also the fact that he was not particularly happy taking a bottle at 7 months and I was going back to work. He took it at nursery because everything was different. He does lots of things at nursery that he doesn't do at home (i.e. eat vegetables!). If she is tired at nursery she will more than likely sleep.

The only suggestion I have, as ds1 also fell asleep on the breast, is to start putting your daughter down for naps wide awake. Wait until you know she it tired and pop her in her cot.

Something I have done with both ds1 and ds2 is to give them a small, brushed cotton pram sheet when I put them down for a sleep in their cot (neither has had a dummy). I lie it next to their cheek when I put them down and it has worked like a dream for both. I think perhaps they feel that someone is close with the softness of the cotton against their cheek. They cuddle it etc. I change it every day as it can get a bit chewed!

You will probably have to do the controlled crying thing for a while - I did with ds1. Suddenly one day I put him down awake, he cooed for a bit, cuddled his sheet and went to sleep. I was so pleased with myself (and I hadn't even done anything!) Good luck. Believe me it will all work out.

ninjinglebells Wed 28-Jan-04 09:32:48

Can't agree more - my dd is a hellish sleeper and sometimes at nursery she just falls asleep under the baby gym! Has she evr done that for me? Oh No.

If it's just a morning she might be so stimulated that she doesn't sleep anyway. My dd some times will do this for a whole day. She does love it thiough.

Get your sanity break

cords Wed 28-Jan-04 13:32:27

dear Angelmother ... pls do not despair ! My DD is now 20 wks and I was in exactly the same boat only 3 weeks ago and felt miserable and exhausted. I thought it would never happen, but it has, and I now no longer rock or feed to sleep, nor get up to feed 2-3 times during the night ...

the answer, is Sleep Training, be it CC or PU/PD ect. It really is the key to a lot of things. Decide on a plan of attack, and persevere ... in the same way DD has learnt to feed to sleep, she needs to learn to settle herself .. I still use a prop, but I cvan deal with putting her lullaby machine on and patting only when she gets really really angry ...

Have u tried to tackle the issue before ?

ANGELMOTHER Wed 28-Jan-04 16:04:51

Thanks for the advice guys. After last night I have to do something. Dd1 woke up at 4am and came into me and we all woke up. By then dd2 had woken at 10, 12 and 2 and she had only gone down at 7:30. So of course we're all awake looking at the snow at 4am, me thinking this is bloody daft.
So I insisted dd1 go back to bed (she has been used to getting in with us for soooo long but am blackmailing her lately with the promise of bunk beds if she can stay in her own bed), then tried to settle dd2. Boob, bottle, dummy nothing was working, eventually I just turned over and left her to it and finally at 5:30 she fell asleep.
When we all woke at 7:30 I vowed that this has to change. To top it all push may to turn to shove as I think I've reached the end of my tether on the b/feeding as nipples are sooooo sore and cracked. She's had her jabs today so may leave the sleep training a few days yet but dread the thought.

ANGELMOTHER Wed 28-Jan-04 16:05:32

Thanks for the advice guys. After last night I have to do something. Dd1 woke up at 4am and came into me and we all woke up. By then dd2 had woken at 10, 12 and 2 and she had only gone down at 7:30. So of course we're all awake looking at the snow at 4am, me thinking this is bloody daft.
So I insisted dd1 go back to bed (she has been used to getting in with us for soooo long but am blackmailing her lately with the promise of bunk beds if she can stay in her own bed), then tried to settle dd2. Boob, bottle, dummy nothing was working, eventually I just turned over and left her to it and finally at 5:30 she fell asleep.
When we all woke at 7:30 I vowed that this has to change. To top it all push may to turn to shove as I think I've reached the end of my tether on the b/feeding as nipples are sooooo sore and cracked. She's had her jabs today so may leave the sleep training a few days yet but dread the thought.

ANGELMOTHER Wed 28-Jan-04 16:09:44

Bloody computer nothing in this house is functioning properly, to answer your question cords no I haven't tried anything yet as every time I put her down I say tonight we're going to let her cry a while but somehow give in as can't bear to hear her distressed.

BekkiKay Wed 28-Jan-04 16:14:23

Hi Am,
Listen to your baby and your feelings on this one. I assume you want your eldest in bed when you tell her but you don't mind co-sleeping with baby?
Are you on msn messenger?

EmmaKB Wed 28-Jan-04 16:16:54

Go on give it a try. I haven't done it yet with ds as I am a softie but tried it with dd and it worked in 1 night. You never know you may be lucky.

Bozza Wed 28-Jan-04 16:39:22

She sounds just like my DS - he would wake up ex number of times in the night and feed to sleep when I went back to work at 15 weeks and sent him to nursery for 3 FULL DAYS not just half a day. And it helped him tremendously in acquiring the skill. And then things got easier for me. Its not really easy breast-feeding several times a night and then working a full day. So, honestly, I would just go ahead - explain to the nursery by all means but don't let it stop you.

BTW our first method of getting DS to fall asleep in his cot was to pat him repeatedly, gently and shush him until he dropped off. Then would just do this for a short while and leave him and repeat if required.

ANGELMOTHER Thu 29-Jan-04 08:44:34

Ok the end of this week will see the end of b/feeding. I thought I would be really sad but in truth I'm feeling mostly relieved, it hurts so much. Last night was another disaster but it was post jabs so we'll let her away with that one. I tried to do the night feeds as b'feeds but had to bite my lip to prevent myself screaming with pain, still 12, 2, 4, 7.
Bekki yes am on MSN but damm computer is acting up and can only manage sporadic sessions of 10 mins before it freezes so might catch you yet but then might dissapear quickly
Oh I dread this control crying.

cocoliver Thu 29-Jan-04 09:37:13

I am having the same problem with my 7 month old. He has the sweetest nature and I think that was why I got a bit lax with him when he was a couple of months old. The worst thing is with a just to be 2 year old as well he has got away with being a bad sleeper in the day (just going with the flow ) because we are out and about or something is going on and he never seems very sleepy. So he finds it very difficult to settle himself (coupled with sep anx I think at this age) but I am going to really try to get him to settle himself now - no excuses. Any more tips - it really seemed to be easy with no1! I have definitely made a rod for my own back as the cliche goes.

cords Thu 29-Jan-04 11:34:03

Angel mother ... I was same as you. I stopped b/f also when DD was 17 weeks and it was the breakthrough that I needed . It made me more determined to put an end to the constant , irregular wakings since there was no way that I was prepared to make up 2-3 bottles and reheat them in the dead of night ...

Do not dread the task ahead ..look forward to the rest ahead of you !

ANGELMOTHER Thu 29-Jan-04 20:33:09

I've worked out my latch is all wrong so am working on that. Tonight we tried our first night of cc and after a half hour she found her thumb WOW hope it's going to continue like this.
I'm using loads of nipple cream and sitting topless to let them air, dh thinks it's great. Just realised I've been wearing bra 24/7 for the last 4 months and they probably need some air

cords Fri 30-Jan-04 10:33:08

Have you tried Lanolin ??? its a natural petroleum eemulsion that's in a purple tube ... Its great cos it lubricates allowing you to wear a bra, and also, you do not need to wip off before the next feed ...

ANGELMOTHER Sat 31-Jan-04 08:06:36

Well I'm very pleased to admit I think I may have cracked it. By tackling all bad habits at once we seem to have come out on top...
Thursday night put down in cot at 7:30, cried for entire duration of eastenders aaarrrgh but then silent. She woke up at 11 when dh and I made perhaps a little too much noise in bed ahem! and again went back asleep. 12pm feed then back to cot same at 4am when I took her into the bed and all roused at 7:30.
Last night both dd's in bed at 7:30 and complete silence till 11:30 (dh was out also and I had a few lovely peacefull hours on my own, first me time in ages) feed then back to cot, 3:30 feed back to cot and 7:30 all awake.
It gets a bit messy around 6am when she grumbles a little but thant's it.
Yes thanks cords I'm using a cream called Lanisoh (sp) and doing all feeds sitting up concentrating on latch and more or less fully b/feeding again. My nipples are still very sore and look as though someone tried to cut them off with a very sharp knife but healing I hope.
So that's it ladies if I can maintain this routine I can work out in a week or so when her biggest feeds are and work on getting her through the night. Proof I hope that although bad habits can creep in, you can turn it around, thanks for all advice, lets hope it stays like this.

Cha Sat 31-Jan-04 10:45:07

Cords - so pleased to see you've cracked it. I am well on the way to cracking it, though not quite there yet. Persist with the b/feeding AM, it was AGONY with both mine when they were really tiny as they both had small mouths and couldn't latch properly. Did laugh when you described the state of your nipples. All the nerve endings in mine died out a long time ago... Try using breastmilk as a healing salve, it is fantastic. Once child has finished its piercing sucks, squeeze a bit more b/milk out and smear over sore nipples. Leave to dry in the fresh (freezing cold) air. I found it worked better than any cream.

Re the magical 'settling your child to sleep' - me and cords had quite a long chat about it a few weeks ago. It's a nightmare getting it right. If I had a third child (no way) I would watch him/her very carefully in the first few weeks and as soon as s/he looked drowsy, would put them down in their bed to sleep. That way they would 'learn' to go to sleep by themselves. But if you have a colicky baby, lord knows how you do that as mine used to scream his head off if you put him down. I did cc with my first dd at about 7 months and then again at 11. Will not leave it so long with ds...
What I do with him (now 5 months) is a mixture of stategies. I rouse him before I put him down so he knows that he is going into his cot and not falling asleep at tit. If he won't go to sleep after a few minutes, I try patting his back and/or putting on his musical box which he now associates with sleep. What else? I leave him to scream when all else fails. This one is hard, especially when they are very young, but I find that sometimes nothing else works. I do a bit of patting and then leave him to scream, patting, leave to scream etc and eventually he falls asleep again. Can take A LONG TIME but actually, in the last week or two, he seems to have got the message and will only grumble sometimes for a few minutes, or at the most cry for 5-10 minutes.

At the moment, am trying to cut out the one night feed he is still getting. Giving this apparently, rather than sending a hungry baby back to sleep, is actually causing a not terribly hungry baby to wake up because that's what he's used to doing. According to Dr Ferber, whose excellent book on children's sleep I have just bought myself. This dropping of the feed is proving to be difficult... Will end up doing a Ferber cc thing in the next couple of weeks if we haven't managed to persuade him out of it by then. Then, hopefully, into his big sister's room by the time he's six months (and sleeping merrily through the night). Wish the same could be said of her, but that's another thread altogether.
Anyway, good luck. When you do the controlled crying, and you feel like the meanest mummy in Christendom, try and hang on to the fact that it DOES WORK and that you will be a better mother to your kids if you have had a fairly good night's sleep.

mears Sat 31-Jan-04 11:06:59

Angelmother - your nipples should not be sore and cracked at 17 weeks. Have they always been sore since the start of feeding or is this faitly new. You might have thrush and need that treated. Frequent feeds should not cause so nipples unless the latch isn't good. Have you seen a B/F counsellor?

ANGELMOTHER Sat 31-Jan-04 15:03:33

I know Mears, I think I got incredibly lazy about maintaining the proper latch. In the early stages I had no problems with latch and I suppose got a bit cocky. It was the lying down feeds which caused the problem I think, she appeared to be sucking in my nipple rather than the required open mouth.
Funny thing is Mears I'm hoping to train as a b/feeding counsellor soon with NCT and have been talking to local counsellors lately, had planned on seeing my prospective tutor next week if problems persisted.

mears Sat 31-Jan-04 16:21:00

You would make an ideal counsellor Angelmother because you have faced the problems yourself. Has thrush been considered? It might not actually be the latch at all. Correct treatment could make all the difference.

maddysmummy Sat 31-Jan-04 23:40:36

Hi ANGELMOTHER,
I feel for you. My DD is 20 months now and since I did controlled crying at 6 months she's been able to go to sleep by herself, lie and chat away if she's not tired in the complete darkness, and get herself back to sleep in the night even when she's ill!!! (Except if she's sick of course) so I'm a great advocate of it but if you don't like the idea have you tried the baby whisperers pick up put down method? It works just as fast but in a way is harder work. You don't have to leave them to cry but you have to do a lot more! Either you or your partner basically gos into baby when she cries and picks her up for a cuddle - no speaking... as soon as she stops crying gently put her back in the cot but you stay by the cot. Of course she'll start to cry again so when she does just pick her up for another cuddle wait till she stops crying and lower her into cot AGAIN, repeat again and again till she goes to sleep. This way she knows you're there for her but she knows she's got to do it herself. Count how many times you have to pick up. One family did it and first night was 72 times second night was 50 something and then third night was only something like 7 or 8 times. Then forth night was finished! Baby could do it himself! Be prepared you may be up for several hours the first night but it's worth it cos it ALWAYS works if you stick to the rules.

Also I have to agree with mears that it may be thrush... do you get shooting pains? Like sharp pins and needles? My DD was born 9 weeks premature and I had to express with big industrial pump every 3 hours as much milk as I could pump! I had to pump off the thin non-fattening fore milk to throw away and then keep the hind milk so my DD could put on weight... she was only 2 lbs 3 ozs! Anyway I got thrush and mastitis for 3 months!!! It was pure agony and when the mastitis was at it's height I felt like I was dying with heavy heavy FLU! Please take care of yourself and don't get either thrush with it's shooting sharp pins and needles or mastitis with it's sore ache! It was the blocked milk in my ducts which caused the thrush. But even if you've not got it now with your nipples looking so raw the opportunity for the thrush to grow and thrive is there in those cracks, so you'll have to keep your boobs out in the open as much as possible like you've been doing and not let any milk sit on your nipples and stagnate. I used to sleep on my back with the covers down and my boobs sticking out like a couple of mountains! he he!

A good tip for the thrush is to...
a) boil your bras EVERY day putting on a freshly boiled - and dried of course - bra
b) wipe your nipples down after feeding with either watered down bicarbonate of soda as it's too alkaline for the thrush or what I used -watered down vinegar as it's too acid for the thrush to survive. (Yes I did smell like a chip shop but who cares - it worked!) I wouldn't use your milk as cha suggested purely beacause although normally I would aggree with her on this occasion as you may have thrush it'll only leave a breading ground for the thrush!
c) As cha says air dry! and use of course some new pads each time. The lansinoh is fab too! you can use that afterwards.

Sorry lesson over, it looks like an asignment from your teacher.. he he.. hope you find it helpful anyway.

Hope you feel less sore soon and enjoy your night times too! If you know what I mean.. nudge nudge wink wink! ;0 ;0 ;0

maddysmummy Sat 31-Jan-04 23:41:17

I meant to do

maddysmummy Sat 31-Jan-04 23:46:25

Also I forgot to say if you want to stick to the controlled crying I've got more details about it on my website
http://www.ask-nanny.com/parenting2.html#sleep ... hope that helps you

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