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Is 20 weeks too young to 'sleep train'?

(28 Posts)
RedRose27 Wed 19-Nov-14 13:46:00

DD is 20 weeks old today. We think we are just the other side of the 4 month sleep regression, as had 3 weeks of hellish nights with her waking around 6 times, but have now had 4 or 5 nights of ok sleep. Example, last night she woke at 11:30 and self settled, woke at 1:20 and I fed her, woke again at some point and winged a bit and must gave self settled as DH and I went back to sleep!!

Since she is back to waking up once or twice a night, I am only feeding her once, and we are helping her settle back at any other time by sitting next to her in the cot, holding hands, talking to her, and she has managed about 5 times to get back to sleep. This has taken anywhere from 20 mins to 1 hour. She winged a lot, and occasional full on crying, but she has gotten there in the end.

I said once her night sleep was back on track, I would start to tackle daytime naps, as she has to be rocked (or in pram or car) for every single nap. I don't know how to start this, as she gets terribly upset when I put her down in the cot. We have her room dark, I play white noise, sing twinkle twinkle, sway with her for 10 mins, then put her down. She has just screamed and cried in her cot from 12:20 to 1:20 and so I've just picked her up and rocked her. If I don't, she won't fall asleep!! On Monday she DID manage to fall asleep, but it took 1 hour 40 mins from me putting her down. She screamed blue murder for about 20 mins at one point and I didn't cave, but it still took her all that time. The only reason I didn't pick her up is because she'd only been awake for 30 mins when I put her down as she was rubbing her eyes something rotten, so I knew that in total she'd still only been awake just over 2 hours by the time she went to sleep. If it takes that long for her to fall asleep I will just end up with a massively overtired baby won't I? She's been awake just now since 10:20, and I put her down at 12:20, so all together awake for 3 hours by the time she fell asleep which is too long!

Is she just to young to get this at the moment? I don't mind letting her cry as long as I'm with her, but she has vomited from crying on 2 occasions and it breaks my heart when she gets so worked up. Also I worry she could choke on the vomit.

Or will it take some time of letting her take 1 hour 40 mins to get herself to sleep before she gets it? Should I persist with this? It would mean not going anywhere for a week though as I would have to put her down after only 30 mins of being awake. She also mostly only sleeps for 30 mins at a time so I have to repeat this 4 (sometimes 5) times a day!

I am happy to commit to doing this if it means we can crack it, but I don't want to cause her stress by attempting it if she is simply too young to get it.

Also, does anyone think that me feeding her once in the night could be confusing her and know whether I should try to drop the night feed? She has gone 9 or 10 hours without food twice in the last couple of weeks so I'm not sure if she needs it or not.

QuietNinjaTardis Wed 19-Nov-14 14:09:08

She's only 20 weeks, she's too young. Just get her to sleep any way you can. If she can settle herself it will get easier. And 1 night feed is fantastic and I can't see how it would confuse her. If she's hungry then you feed her surely.
My dd got better at napping as she got older so just go with it for now.

keepitgoing Wed 19-Nov-14 14:11:46

if you're putting her down after 30 mins awake of course she won't sleep for ages - she won't be tired!!

RedRose27 Wed 19-Nov-14 14:41:06

keepitgoing I put her down because she was crying at rubbing her eyes - all her usual sleep signals! She only ever naps for 30 to 40 mins and she'd just had a 30 min snooze and then I got her dressed and then she was really tired again. Everything I read says don't let them get overtired as they fight sleep even more, so I thought if I caught her at the first signs it would be easier to get her to sleep. How wrong was I sad

quietninja do you think the fact she can settle at night means she will be able to settle in the daytime at some point? The rocking her to sleep is so physically exhausting, it's really getting me down and my bones are aching!

Any suggestions for another method to get her to nap in cot? I've tried pupd and shush pat but they just seem to wind her up more.

Hakluyt Wed 19-Nov-14 14:43:21

Of course she's too young and of course you shouldn't drop the night feed!

Has somebody been telling you that you should? sad

RedRose27 Wed 19-Nov-14 14:45:31

Also, I didn't explain why I thought feeding her once in the night could be confusing her. It's because it means I'm inconsistent, sometimes I pick her up and feed her and sometimes I don't. If I never picked her up would she settle better as she wouldn't be expecting that at some point I might pick her up and feed her? When she is fed in the night she's not that interested and mainly just falls asleep on the boob after about 15 mins. She's not sucking hungrily.

RedRose27 Wed 19-Nov-14 14:52:04

hayluyt I'm just trying to understand at what age she can learn this, is it a developmental thing or not. It's horrible but it's a life skill I have to help her learn how to get herself to sleep.
I've been wracking my brains trying to think like DD! And what she is taking from what I'm doing. I'm trying to give her the optimum conditions to get herself to sleep - dark room, white noise, winding her down, staying with her, but I can't force her to sleep. If I keep intervening how will she ever learn to do it on her own? Incidentally if I'm out walking with the pram she will just close her eyes and go to sleep, no fuss at all, so I know she CAN do it.

randomAXEofkindness Wed 19-Nov-14 15:00:19

I didn't read past:
"She has just screamed and cried in her cot from 12:20 to 1:20 and so I've just picked her up and rocked her."

Pick up your baby when she cries. It doesn't have to be so complicated.

Forget about 'sleep training'. Ignoring a crying baby is neglectful. You can package it up in whatever fancy terms you like: it's neglectful.

She will go to sleep on her own when she's ready to.

Hakluyt Wed 19-Nov-14 15:03:48

"If I keep intervening how will she ever learn to do it on her own?"

Honestly,she will. She's growing and learning and developing all the time. But she's very young. Nobody thinks you should do sleep training until 6 months- many people think a year.

Don't worry about it- you will find that you are spending more time worrying and thinking about this than you would just feeding or cuddling her to sleep until she's older.

DuelingFanjo Wed 19-Nov-14 15:25:30

"I've been wracking my brains trying to think like DD"

at that age all she knows is she's alone and upset. I wouldn't leave her crying but on the other hand I know lots of people who do and have.

You either do or you don't. I wouldn't but plenty do. Both ways of doing things will get criticism - you really should only do what you can cope with but be aware that 'training' is not a word many would associate with having children.

minipie Wed 19-Nov-14 15:36:21

Most people will tell you it is far too young.

However, I did CC at 17 weeks and though it was a bit younger than I would have liked, I also know that I couldn't have gone on the way things were.

Prior to CC I was so tired I nearly dropped DD down the stairs - I'd had 3 weeks of DD in NICU, then 3 months of her only sleeping on my chest with me sleeping propped up, then a month of rocking her to sleep multiple times a night. She was also massively overtired and grumpy in the day.

I did CC and she slept through the very first night and we were both so much happier afterwards.

So IMO it all depends on how bad your current situation is. If your DD is only waking once or twice a night, and if your baby is fairly happy in the day, I would say that doesn't justify CC. But up to you.

RedRose27 Wed 19-Nov-14 15:36:34

To clarify, I don't leave her alone if she is crying, I stay with her. If I leave the room when she is settled, I watch her through the gap in the door. When I rock her to sleep she cries just as much, and just as hard, sometimes actually worse.
I am trying to be consistent in my behaviour so she knows where she stands and am conscious that doing things differently at night to during the day may be confusing to her.

Redling Wed 19-Nov-14 17:01:39

Plenty of people say that they have tried to 'sleep train' their babies in various ways but then they still need to wake at night or need help getting to sleep for a while. Then some people have babies who just sleep easily. I don't think its a 'life skill' you need to be teaching a 20 weeks old Baby. Put it this way, if you didn't do CC do you honestly believe you'd be rocking a 14 year old to sleep one day? They will get it when they get it, all we can do is help them sleep the best in the way they can. So at this stage with my 3 month old I see he's tired in the day so I pick up, shush and Rock with a dummy and he falls asleep, then after 10 mins cuddle I put him into the pram to sleep. It's how he goes to sleep and I know he's getting the sleep he needs. I'm sorry I honestly don't see why rocking tiny babies to sleep is seen as such a horrific Damaging thing on MN. It's what you do to make babies sleep. I would try a dummy if you haven't as DS would scream and scream while trying to make him nap until I gave him one, now I pop one in if he looks sleepy and he falls asleep and spits it out. If your baby doesn't self settle at 20 weeks that doesn't mean she never will if you don't leave her to do it. Two wake ups at night is nothing! I put my baby to bed in a routine because he began falling asleep at the same time and I knew he wanted it, but as I'm doing bath and feed etc again it baffles me as to why I wouldnt then cuddle him to sleep before putting him in the cot. Hey, if he's 2 years old and still waking twice a night maybe I'd train, but 20 weeks is still such a small baby, enjoy your lovely cuddles to sleep while you can!

RedRose27 Wed 19-Nov-14 17:20:41

Thanks redling but it's not lovely cuddles to sleep! it's a fight every nap time to rock her to sleep! She cries and fights me! She's 18 pounds and I physically can't rock her any more. I'm getting desperate. I have no issue feeding in the night, I just don't know if that confuses her. Believe me, if she would snuggle in to me and let me cuddle her then I would more than happily sit in her room and do that.
I did post a little while ago and someone said they were still rocking their 2 year old to sleep.
We have tried a dummy several times both when she's perfectly calm and when she's getting a bit upset and she spits it out. I wish I had tried it when she was younger but as she's EBF it's discouraged too early and then she wouldn't take it.
The reason we got to the end of our tether at night is because picking her up was actually making her scream more!

Redling Wed 19-Nov-14 17:56:34

yes my DS is a heavy one and he would flail and scream when I held him and made him sleep, but the dummy soothed him when I finally gave him one! He also yawns a bit when he has just woke, but I know he's not tired yet. I don't let him go over two hours, but if I tried to make him sleep 30 mins after waking he probably would fight me! One thing he likes to do to sleep in the day is rub his face with some sort of cloth, he'll rub his face with a fistful of my clothing until I give him a muslin to do it with. Weird but it works for him! I know it's awful trying to make them nap in the day when they resist you but I just don't believe a baby that young can just learn to go to sleep when left alone. I think some can do it, DS does it sometimes when he wakes at night, has a little grinch then goes back to sleep, but I didn't teach him.

roodles84 Wed 19-Nov-14 19:58:33

My little boy has been exactly the same - slept ok overnight, but really fighting the naps. At 6 months old, I was rocking him for over an hour to get him asleep and my back couldn't take it any more. We did a gradual retreat type approach and got benefit from it straight away. The first time he cried for 50 minutes with me patting and shushing (but actually he would have cried for that long in my arms anyway) and he quickly got the idea as long as I put him down at the right time. I now make sure that after 1.5h of being awake, I calm down the activity and give him plenty of chance to show me he's tired. Then do his pre-nap routine and when he snuggles into my chest, then he goes down in the cot, and if I've got the timing right, he falls asleep without any fuss.

QuietNinjaTardis Wed 19-Nov-14 20:01:48

Redrose, my dd didn't learn to self settle until she was 9 months old. Ds was nearly 2 years! She will get there but she is still little right now.

Poppet45 Wed 19-Nov-14 20:13:54

You've sat for an hour with a screaming baby and let them get so upset they've vomited?!!! Um no that isnt sleep training or teaching them a life skill. Thats just horrific. If you want to get inside yr dds head at four months she still thinks you and her are the same person! She also (has a right) to believe that whenever shes scared and vulnerable you're there for her. And she's 6 months away from def not needing night feeds. My son was like yr dd - he was huge- I ripped more tummy muscles from walking and rocking w him than I ever did while pregnant and he was 9lbs plus. Turns out he had cmpi and reflux and no sleep training in the world was going to fix things til we both went dairy free. He sleeps like a log these days no cc needed. We dont expect our kids to learn to crawl, walk or talk in hysterical tears so why do we expect them to sleep that way.

Booboostoo Wed 19-Nov-14 20:48:45

She's 20wk and ebf which in my experience means she could well be needing to feed 2-4 times every night. For me the best way to cope with the enormous demands of a young baby is to co- sleep and feed lying down. She will still wake up but she won't cry and you can both go back to sleep with the minimum of fuss. The boob is brilliant for helping babies sleep, why not use it?

mewkins Thu 20-Nov-14 14:02:27

I would start by getting your baby to nap at the same time each day. Play around with what times suit but I would go for 9am and 12ish. Get them to sleep by whatever means eg pram or a drive. Do this for a few weeks. There is no point trying to get an undrrtired baby to nap. They will play for a bit and then cry. Once you have sorted this out then maybe think about encouraging self ssettling.

Parsnipnibbler7 Thu 20-Nov-14 15:31:01

Red rose, just been reading all the responses to your post and just wanted to give some moral support as I feel where you are coming from. As you know from your reply to me, we have the same issue- our seven month old screams and cries when we try to rock her to sleep these days, won't take a dummy, but can't be settled in her cot either, so all approaches lead to crying. I've been against sleep training, and too much of a wimp to do it when it was possible to rock or feed to sleep, however much agony my back was in, but that's not even an option now. I think some people mean well but don't quite get the fact a peaceful cuddly option isn't always available? So what does one do in that situation? Is it better to let them cry in cot with you by side as they might sleep more soundly if they fall asleep there, rather than in arms where they then get a shock to wake up (in my case 30 mins kaffeeklatsch out down) in cot with you not there? So difficult...

Parsnipnibbler7 Thu 20-Nov-14 15:32:43

30 mins after put down!

Typing one (cold) handed while trying to get a buggy nap of longer than thirty mins, but it's getting too chilly!

Heatherbell1978 Thu 20-Nov-14 17:03:03

Another one who uses a dummy here....I know it sounds weird but have you tried hard enough with a dummy like actually holding it in? A few friends said their LO 'didn't take one' but all babies will spit it out to start with, you have to help them along a bit. Those same friends babies now take them when I suggested holding it in their mouths a bit. We introduced one at 3 wks and he's ebf so I take all that nipple confusion thing with a pinch of salt. Like Redling I have a 3 month old who naps for 30-45 mins every 90 mins during the day. As soon as he's getting a bit grouchy, rubbing eyes etc, I pick him up, put him in his crib, put dummy in, switch Ewan on and walk out the door. He's asleep in 5 mins. At night we use it to get him off to sleep initially but then when he wakes for food, he'll fall asleep at the boob anyway so he doesn't need it then.

Redling Thu 20-Nov-14 17:56:33

Heavenly Ewan smile I love Ewan. He makes my wriggly light sleep baby go deep sleep soooo quickly. OP see if you can find a non difficult sleep crutch for her, a Muslin or small toy or yes, hold a dummy lightly in until proper sucking starts. Just see if she's desperate to sleep but just needs something however weird to get off to sleep. A little comforter can change a 15 min screaming nap refusal into a whimper and then settle in my arms, I know it was difficult. I still get the occasional punch in the face from a screaming nap refuser.

LittleBearPad Thu 20-Nov-14 18:08:51

She's far too tiny for any form of sleep training and she cried so hard she vomited. Seriously!

If she sleeps in the pram then take her out in it, drive her round if she sleeps in her car seat, sit on the sofa with her on your chest if that works. She doesn't have to sleep in her cot.

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