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GP's sleep advice - leave her to cry all night. Really?

(23 Posts)
gotosleepmybaby Thu 15-Aug-13 14:15:18

We've been having sleep issues with 12month old DD, she wakes every 2hrs and has done for the past 7 months. She will only go back to sleep if I breastfeed her.

I called the GP to ask if there was anything he could prescribe to make her drowsy enough to sleep longer stretches at night just temporarily to get us through the next couple of weeks (DS is going into hospital for an operation, he was very distressed for a couple of weeks after his last op and woke frequently in the night, am expecting similar this time).

GP said there is nothing they can prescribe. He suggested piriton over the counter as a temporary solution but this isn't guaranteed to work.

For a long term solution, he advised that we leave her to cry. All night and not go to her at all.

I asked him to clarify a couple of times that leaving her all night is what he meant, he said yes - it is scientifically proven to work quickly and in 2-3 days she should be sleeping throught the night and it won't do her any harm.

This doesn't seem right to me. I've already looked into cry-it-out methods (we haven't really gone down that route, I can't do it), I thought the idea was leaving the baby for increasingly long gaps, 5 mins 10 mins etc but still going in to reassure.

My husband agrees with the GP and is all for leaving her to cry all night (he will be looking after her while I stay with DS in the hospital) but I just feel that would be wrong and I'd worry about the long term effects on her. I think it will be distressing enough for her not to have me around overnight, this will be the first time I have left her.

Is the GP right, is this the only solution when bad sleep habits are so entrenched now at 12months old?

Middlesexmummy Thu 15-Aug-13 15:47:53

Hi , I wouldn't leave her all night but we did do a gentle form of letting her cry out , we didn't return unless it was crying uncontrollably . We found the more we returned the more she cried ..... The key is knowing when it's a moan and when it's sobbing from the heart . It kinda worked for us . We began at 10 months and. I couldn't take anymore ....

MmeLindor Thu 15-Aug-13 15:55:11

No, and I would be looking for a new GP, tbh.

She will be unsettled, and your DH will just have to cope with a couple of sleepless nights.

Am also appalled that he suggested getting Piriton. Didn't they withdraw Medised for this age group?

If you want to try some kind of sleep training then wait till after your son is better, and do it then. But not crying for hours - going in at intervals to comfort her is much less distressing for her.

worldgonecrazy Thu 15-Aug-13 16:00:57

Your post just goes to show that

a) GPs don't know everything.
b) GPs talk bollox
c) GPs make stuff up because they are more afraid of appearing stupid than admitting they don't know the answer

You could try offering water instead of breast when she's waking. It might take a couple of nights for her to understand that there won't be milk available. I found it helped us, DD was a little younger when she stopped feeding at night. A dummy might also be useful if she just wants something to suckle on.

MmeLindor Thu 15-Aug-13 16:09:06

Just googled it - Medised was one of a few meds that were withdrawn for DC under 6yrs - info here

Piriton is still available as a anti allergy syrup.

I still would be very wary of using it as a sleeping aid. You need to retrain your daughter to sleep, not drug her.

Middlesexmummy Thu 15-Aug-13 16:19:59

I meant to add , no gp should be advising on a sleep aid for a baby . I wanted to ask , is dd in her own room or in with I/ co sleep . The good thing is that if u try now to sleep train it's still early enough . I have s friend with a 2 year old who still does the same thing but she did t have the heart to sleep train . Hang in there x

IslaValargeone Thu 15-Aug-13 16:24:13

Bloody hell, I can't believe that a GP was advocating medicating a 12 month old in order to get her to sleep.
Whether you agree with crying it out under normal circumstances, surely this has to be a better alternative to drugging her.

Cravingdairy Thu 15-Aug-13 16:26:39

The GP probably thought if you were willing to drug your child then you must be desperate for a quick fix. Just BF her until you over this patch. If you want to sleep train gently then it could take a while. 'The No Cry Sleep Solution' has lots of good ideas. None of them have worked on mine, she slept like yours for about a year but is much much better now. She is just growing out of it.

armsandtheman Thu 15-Aug-13 16:43:41

I used gentle cry it out, first 5 mins then in just to say "It's nighttime, go to sleep", 10 mins then same again. If she was still crying after another 10 mins I would give up and try again half an hour or so later. It worked in a few nights and she sleeps through.

I did work on her liking the cot before this and had special toys she could only play with in there plus I made sure she wasn't hungry and didn't need a feed during the night before I began.

AidanTheRevengeNinja Thu 15-Aug-13 19:29:05

Controlled crying is when you go in after increasing periods of time to reassure. Cry it out is the hardcore version when you shut the door and leave her to it - this is what your GP was describing. It does get used - I have seen it more often on US parenting forums - but understandably most people are not comfortable with it.

I too am thinking along the lines of Cravingdairy and wonder if the GP might have misjudged the situation. I know you didn't mean any harm and there is context to why you wanted it as a short-term measure, but... the GP may well have thought you were absolutely at the end of your tether to even consider sedating your child. CIO is the lesser of several possible evils in that situation. Trust me I've seen it, sadly.

Or maybe he's just an idiot. Equally possible.

AidanTheRevengeNinja Thu 15-Aug-13 19:33:31

But to answer your question, no you don't have to leave her to cry, and yes there are effective, gentler solutions. I like Andrea Grace's approach myself - nice and simple - Google or MN search for her smile

OrchidFlakes Thu 15-Aug-13 19:41:13

OP google cry to sleep methods and the affect of cortisol (stress hormone) in their brain.

I know for many cc/cio work but be sure before you do it. If its any consolation my DS is 12 months and is exactly the same as is all the bfing mums/babes in our NCTM group.

Have you tried cosleeping? thanks for you OP

MyNameIsAnAnagram Thu 15-Aug-13 19:41:33

Personally I would suggest nightweaning her. Ds was similar and I was working full time so we decided that when he woke dh would go in to settle him. It wasn't a quick fix, it did involve some crying, but he was cuddled and held all the time. His waking reduced fairly quickly and he was sleeping through every night in a couple of months.

Your gp sounds charming!

gotosleepmybaby Fri 16-Aug-13 10:28:59

Thanks for your replies, I'm glad you think leaving her to cry all night is a bad idea!

I wouldn't have asked him to prescribe something under normal non-sleeping circumstances. Knowing nothing about this kind of thing I assumed there might be something non-harmful she could have had temporarily to get us through the few nights where DS will really need us (last time he slept next to me for over a week after the op with his cheek pressed against mine, yelping in his sleep from the pain from the spasms caused by the catheter, plus I had to get up through the night to prepare his medication which he needed at various times, we were given loads of it and I'll have to be compos mentis enough to get all the doses correct).

I wasn't wanting to 'drug' DD, I honestly thought there might have been something non-harmful for babies, since there seems to be a medicinal solution to everything these days (when I give her calpol i don't think of it as drugging her, though I suppose it is really). Drugging her makes it sound like I wanted to completely sedate her, I can't bear to even think of doing that, I just was hoping there might be something to help her sleep just for longer stretches at night - my sister takes something called Kalms? That helps her sleep. I was hoping there was something for babies. I hope he hasn't put on her medical records that she has a neurotic mother that wanted to drug her!

To be honest I have got to the point where I'm desperate. I just can't see how I can carry on with so little sleep. If it hadn't been for the impending operation I would gladly go with it until DD grows out of it (DS was similar, though not as bad, and I breastfed him back to sleep every time he woke in the night as he needed and he eventually slept through when he was 2.5yrs old, he's a perfect sleeper now). To have both children waking through the night at different times and needing to cosleep, I just don't know how I'm going to do it. I'm already utterly exhausted.

Her cot is in with me&DH at the moment, the plan was for her to share with DS but she's just too noisy. She usually comes into bed with me about 2-3am, poor DH goes to the spare room.

After DS's op we're going to have to try gently weaning her off needing me so much at night, we've had a chat and DH is going to start getting up to her in the night & try giving a tommee tippee of milk instead.

I'm not so worried about how we'll get on after DS has recovered and everything is back to normal, it is the 10-15 days of hell that I feel is looming next week. I suppose whatever happens we will get through it and come out the other end.

Rooners Fri 16-Aug-13 10:47:39

She is probably teething. There's no reason why she shouldn't need to be near you.

I would have her in the same room so it's easier to go to her - you may find she settles far better knowing you are close by anyway.

Good luck.

Rooners Fri 16-Aug-13 10:48:51

x posts, sorry - that sounds like a really good plan smile

HelenaLindor Fri 16-Aug-13 10:57:30

Oh, it sounds like you are at the end of your tether, not that you want to drug your baby. Don't feel that we are judging you - I am cross at the doc for suggesting it to you as an option.

There are lots of tips and tricks for getting babies to sleep, but I am afraid that the week before such a stressful op is probably not the best time to try them out.

Do you have someone who could help you out during the day so you could have a quick nap?

btw, I was too soft to do controlled crying or sleep training till DS was 2yrs old. I do wish I had done it earlier because once you get past the first few days, it gets better. But no point trying to do this at the same time as having a recovering boy who needs you too. ((hugs))

mamawithtwins Fri 18-Oct-13 02:38:02

I am appalled by the advice given by your GP! I've never been a CIO fan in general, but I understand people who will try it for 5 minute stretches. I have 4 LOs and have practiced attachment parenting with all of them. The last two are twins...and I have to admit that my style of baby rearing was more than a tad exhausting. I wanted to find something to help them settle faster and sleep for longer stretches. I tried a lot of routine related stuff, baby massage, singing, etc..., all to no avail. Then I started spending money on every natural online solution I could find. None of that worked either, sadly. But I kept plugging away, figuring I'd eventually find something that would have some sort of measurable impact. I found and figured I'd give it a go. And it worked like a charm! Helped my babies settle faster and kept them sleeping longer. Plus, it helped my then three-year-old son with his bedtime routine at the same time. Lovely! I still use it every night smile

r3dsquirrel Fri 18-Oct-13 02:58:51

As a doctor it always surprises me to hear of GPs giving out advice on sleep. We learn NOTHING about childcare as part of medical training, only childhood illness. Any advice a GP gives out regarding feeding, sleep or routine care will be based on personal opinion and not any evidence based practice.

Derby university have recently set up a group looking into the actual research regarding infant sleep, and theor conclusion has been quite against CIO.

I dont have any suggestions im afraid but good luck and I hope your son recovers quickly.

FadBook Fri 18-Oct-13 03:54:16

Google Dr Jay Gordon night weaning and it will come up with an extremely gentle method of limiting milk during a 7 hour window.

Would fit perfectly for you to begin now and husband to carry on whilst your in hospital with ds.

We saw instant results and it was no where near as bad as I expected (in terms of crying and settling her down). On a side note, it also didn't stop us bf'ing - still going at 26 months - just made the feeds more meaningful during the day.

ninjasquirrel Fri 18-Oct-13 04:42:39

Just to say, we did CC with our 14 month old very successfully on advice from a sleep consultant who told us to go in at 5 min, 10 min and then every 15 min after that - i.e. don't leave for longer than 15 min.

Wishihadabs Fri 18-Oct-13 06:01:31

I'm sorry to say this, but your problem here isn't your children it's your DH. As I read it and please correct me if I am wrong you were/are reasonably happy feeding/co-sleeping with your 1 yo. However your big boy needs to go in to hospital and will also need comforting at night. So....2 parents, 2 children, why can't DH go into hospital with Ds leaving you happily co-sleeping with dd ? The whole thing just smacks of a man who doesn't want his sleep disturbed !..

HuglessDouglas Fri 18-Oct-13 06:16:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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