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From feeding to sleep to self settling.

(32 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Tue 02-Dec-14 15:29:41

My DS is 8 months old and I feel embarrassed to admit that he is fed to sleep for every nap and I let him nap in my arms. He has never napped in his cot. I have tried a few times but he just cries and cries and because I'm so desperate for him to sleep I give in to the tears and let him feed and then sleep in my arms.

However, yesterday I confirmed my return to work date as being only 8 weeks away and when I go back to work things will be a lot different for DS (not really relevant to post though).

Anyway - because of this I absolutely know that I have GOT to stop feeding him to sleep and instead be able to put him down in his cot and for him to settle off on his own.

His first nap today was on me and lasted 25 minutes - very poor.

For his second nap I let him feed to sleep (as I was do desperate to get a nap out of him) but he woke up after 25 minutes. He was still clearly very, very tired so I put him in his cot to see if he'd settle back off but he had a complete meltdown. I waited 5-10 minutes to see if he'd settle but he was getting so distressed and frantic that I gave up and bought him downstairs. He was obviously still tired.

I bought him down at about 2pm and I'm thinking that seeing as 1.5 hours have passed I might go and put him back in his cot and see if he sleeps. He looks so tired sad

How long should I leave him in his cot before accepting a nap is not going to happen? I can't just leave him there for ages otherwise bedtime will come round.

I'm determined to sort out all the issues I have with DS's sleep because I've allowed him to get into some very bad habits blush

Highlove Tue 02-Dec-14 15:40:14

I'm definitely not an expert - an rocking dd in the buggy with curtains shut as I type! - but from what I've read (which is loads!) it's easier to get your night times sorted first and the move on to his naps. Do firstly get him off to sleep without the boob at bedtime, then sort out night wakings and getting him resettled without the boob (even if you feed and then put down awake to resettle), and then finally move onto daytime naps. I've got the bedtime bit sorted, now onto night waking!

Highlove Tue 02-Dec-14 15:41:33

Sorry loads of typos. And I've assumed he's BF - I'm sure the same applies if he's FF, too.

cakebaby Tue 02-Dec-14 20:31:56

Hi, your post struck a chord with me, I'm clueless but was in your exact situation and utterly desperate. We co slept too. How does he eat? Where does he sleep at night/how many wakings/ is he fed to sleep then too?

Writerwannabe83 Tue 02-Dec-14 21:10:19

He eats really well. Our typical routine is:

Wake at 6.30am. I offer him a breast feed but he usually isn't interested.

Breakfast at 07.00am

Breast feed at 08.30 - he is fed to sleep and morning nap takes place.

Midday he has lunch.

15.00 - Breast feed which hopefully leads to an afternoon nap.

17.00pm - evening meal.

18.15 - bath time

19.00 - breast feed and hopefully asleep.

He usually does fall asleep whilst feeding at 7pm but the minute I put him in his cot he wakes and the melt down begins. It usually takes me an hour to get him to go back to sleep and that's only because after all else fails I BF back to sleep. I then just keep him in bed with me because I know if I put him back in his cot it means I'm back at square one again.

His cot is still in mine and DH's room and although we keep saying he needs to go in his own room it never happens because 75% of the time I end up co-sleeping.

I'm at breaking point with it though.

Me and DH tried CC tonight because I just can't cope anymore but it was a disaster. After 1hr 20m of listening to him cry and scream we had to give in because it had got to the point where he was being sick and was that inconsolable he could barely catch his breath.

I'm currently mid BF to get him to sleep and then I will keep him in he's with me.

Bedtimes and nap times are hell.

Most days I'm in tears with it.
I wish is bottle fed so I could just get someone else to deal with him.

cakebaby Tue 02-Dec-14 22:32:23

I could have written your post, hang in there, you CAN do this. It was hard but we managed it despite being at a starting point of me going to bed with ds at 7, feeding to sleep and staying with him all night. Does he feed in the night?

I started by getting him to unlatch whilst still barely awake, the Pantley pull off if you've read the no cry sleep solution? It was a slow process, took a few week but we got there. I was very anti cry but soon realized that for us there was going to be some crying but never left alone at the start.

I got help from a USA company which is email based but very very helpful and supportive. I'll let you know who if you want to pm me, not sure i am allowed to post the name. The key was getting ds to fall asleep in his cot, by himself at bedtime. I thought it would never happen.

I started with bedtime only, carrying on feeding to sleep at night wakings which were 2 hourly til he was 10 months. I let him fall asleep on my bed without boob in mouth, I unlatched him nearly asleep & if he complained I let him relatch for a few mins then tried again, repeat and repeat until it works. I think I did it for an hour one night. Once asleep I stayed with him for 20 mins until in deep sleep & crept away. Gradually I could unlatch him awake but sleepy and then cuddle/sshh to sleep. It took a few weeks. Once that was achieved I settled him on my bed & lifted him into cot awake but sleepy. I stroked his back & sshh'd to sleep, it was hard, took ages in the first week but then he got the hang of it himself. It was still only at bedtime though, we co slept after his first wake up & fed to sleep.

Once we mastered that, I decided no milk or co sleeping til midnight, just resettling by sshh and stroke, never taking out of cot unless absolutely necessary. I extended that to no milk/ co sleeping til 4, then 6.

I still fed to sleep/co slept at naps as without good naps night sleep was truly awful.

Typing this it sounds quick and easy. It bloody wasn't. We tried PUPD, CC, didn't work for us, ds just got the rage. I did have to step away for 5 mins most nights at bedtime to compose myself, ds howled but calmed down too.

I wouldn't try sorting night & naps together. Nights then naps worked for us. Not that nights were perfect before we started on naps, just better and so I felt more capable. I think my ds could still only manage 2.5 hrs awake before napping at 8 months. Over tiredness wrecks bedtimes & night sleep here.

Eventually we got to the point where I put him in his cot sleepy, with a musical nightlight and left the room. At first he cried/grumbled for 10-15 mins but that reduced to about 1 min over a few weeks.

It was awful but necessary. Once improvements started it seemed to get better in leaps with a few setbacks. Sleep deprivation is a shocker. Keep posting and good luck wine

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 09:50:23

Thank you cake for such a detailed reply. After yet another horrendous night I think I'm at the point if just stopping breast feeding altogether.

I will PM you for the name of that company.

cakebaby Wed 03-Dec-14 12:41:44

I don't think stopping bf will help at the moment tbh. His sleep habits are just that and can be changed. I've pm'd you

NickyEds Wed 03-Dec-14 19:45:28

Writer you have my sympathies. You sound done in and wrung out. I've never tried cc but I think that if you're going to do it you have to do it -no going back so that you don't train them that if they just cry for long enough you'll "give in". If you were going to do it I'd do it at a weekend and get yourself out of earshot. By this I mean at your Mums. Do the bedtime feed, leave a bottle of ebm or f and leave it to your DH till morning. Repeat the next night. I suppose at least you'd get a night away!!

My ds would only nap on me, needed feeding to sleep and needed to be properly asleep before transfer to cot. He now still wakes for a feed in the night but he's much better. I did naps first, first napping next to him on our bed then gradually getting farther away, then into cot but back rubbing, then leaving alone but stood there, then putting him in awake. I also started to feed him in the night but after a feed he was put into his cot and there he stayed. There's a bed in the nursery so I just slept in there for a few nights so he wasn't alone but I would not get him out of the cot. He cried for 3 nights but then got much better.

TBH I think to a certain degree he got better on his own but even though the crying was awful I was just getting so frustrated with myself that sleep training helped . I knew that everytime I rocked him to sleep I was making it worse and it just made me so cross with myself. Sometimes it helps to have a plan of attack and to feel more in control-working towards something better rather than just struggling on.

callamia Wed 03-Dec-14 20:01:48

For what it's worth, I really don't see feeding to sleep as a bad habit. It's cosy and comforting and it works!

DS (13m) started nursery two months ago, and he is still fed to sleep when he's with me, but he goes down nicely at nursery (stroking and peer modelling I think), and will sleep for my husband too.
He just expects something different from me, and that's ok.

However, I really really sympathise with your nighttime situation. It sounds exhausting and all encompassing - you're not getting any time to yourself are you? I think other people have good advice, but I just wanted to let you know that I've felt much the same. I've felt tied to DS some nights because I'm feeding and I know (and he knows) it will get him back to sleep. Those times I've sworn I'll give up I. The morning. I've not given up yet, and I realise in the cold light of day that it's not breastfeeding that's at fault, it's just we could manage his nighttime waking better. My husband takes a turn at trying to resettle him between about 11-4am. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't - but it stops me from always being the first person to react to his night time cries.

I hope you did something that works for you.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 20:09:42

It's the not getting any time away from him that drives me crazy. Even when he naps he's on me, it's just suffocating. I spend my week looking forward to the weekend so I can leave DS with DH and just go out for a few hours and be on my own.

My problem is that I go back to work in 7 weeks and I won't be around to feed him to sleep in the day and three nights a week I won't be home for his bedtime either. I need him to be able to settle himself off to sleep so the childminder and my DH aren't left with a shattered and screaming baby who absolutely refuses to sleep.

He's in his cot crying now. He didn't even fall asleep whilst feeding tonight so that's left me pretty screwed. I'm sat on the bedroom floor listening to him and I just feel helpless to do anything.

cakebaby Wed 03-Dec-14 20:43:54

Pm'd you.

Just worth mentioning too that my ds knows it's different when DH puts him to bed & also naps at nursery. He just seemed to adapt to daddy or nursery staff putting him down, I still cannot fathom how. I think at nursery he was shattered and saw the other tots lying down on mats with a blanket so just got on with it. The staff cast some kind of spell I think! I'm also not there for some bedtimes (shifts) so DH just had to give it a go and the 2 of them found their own way.

NickyEds Wed 03-Dec-14 21:15:06

That is another problem with feeding to sleep-eventually it stops working. Even if you aren't going to do the sleep training I think perhaps a night away would be valuable?? Hope he's gone to sleep for you.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 22:14:13

Well after 10 minutes of listening to him cry I picked him up and started to rock him and pat his back. At first he was pushing away from me and screaming but I persevered and somehow managed to get him in a state of sleep on my shoulder. I lowered him into his cot, still patting his back and he stayed asleep.

I then remembered someone telling me once that babies can be comforted by the smell of their mother's milk so I picked up a blanket from his cot and started hand expressing all over it.

Just as I finished my DS started to stir and cry so I grabbed the blanket and put it near him and within seconds he calmed down a little. He then grabbed the blanket, pulled it towards his face and held it there and then went straight off back to sleep.

He's been asleep now for almost two hours which is amazing for him. He usually ALWAYS wakes up within an hour of falling asleep if he's in his cot.

I still fully expect him to wake at some point but I definitely feel that some progress has been made.

cakebaby Wed 03-Dec-14 22:23:35

smile wine cake flowers

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 23:24:28

Awake and screaming. I've tried rocking, patting, shushing and singing but he's going crazy. He kept thrashing around when I was holding him so I put him in his cot. The cries escalated to a whole other sound level. I'm having a minute to myself before I go back in to him sad

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 23:41:12

Another 20 minutes have passed and he's still going sad

YokoUhOh Wed 03-Dec-14 23:50:38

DS is 2 and I'm only just beginning to stop feeding to sleep, and not very successfully! He has always napped for the childminder, since 9 months, so please don't worry about that, he'll adapt. Rather than feeling suffocated, you'll look forward to evening cuddles with him when you're back at work.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 23:55:01

After 45 minutes of listening to him scream I decided I'd had enough and took him out his cot, carried him downstairs to the spare room and handed him over to DH.

callamia Wed 03-Dec-14 23:57:15

Does it need to be you doing this tonight? DS doesn't usually settle for me without a feed, but he will for DH. You need a rest too.

callamia Wed 03-Dec-14 23:59:01

Ha! I didn't see you last post when I was typing. Good, I'm glad you did this. I've spent hours trying to settle DS some nights, for no fathomable reason (just 'not going to sleep'), and it's just exhausting.

Writerwannabe83 Thu 04-Dec-14 00:00:52

He's still screaming downstairs. It's been going on for an hour now. I'm going to have to feed him aren't I sad He's so, so, so tired, he hasn't slept properly for two days (and nights) and he's inconsolable.

ftmsoon Thu 04-Dec-14 08:09:11

writer I hope you got some sleep in the end. We are in a similar position. I have tried PUPD but my DD manages to keep up the screaming for 2hours. Right now I am at my wits end and am starting to wish I had never had her. I can't wait to go back to work and let someone else deal with it. But I am scared of how I am going to manage when I'm so tired.

Writerwannabe83 Thu 04-Dec-14 08:36:34

It took him 2.5 hours before falling asleep. Even after feeding him he was still awake for another 45 minutes. I was in absolute tears because of how tired I was - I was inconsolable myself. By the time he actually went to sleep me and DH had been awake for 21 hours. I was do angry with DS, I was shouting at him, shouting at DH, I'd just had enough. It feels like my days and nights are completely dictated by DS and I spend my days dreading the nighttime and then spend the nighttime dreading the next day. He dropped of at 01.15am but was awake again at 4am. Cue more tears from me. My DH has taken the day off work to give me a break because he knows that physically and emotionally I just can't deal with DS anymore.

Ftmsoon - I'm so sorry you are in such a dark place as well and I can completely understand the thoughts you have about wishing you'd never had her. In the early hours of the morning listening to a screaming baby for the 100th night in a row is soul destroying. I admitted to DH last night that it's getting to the point where I don't enjoy spending time with DS anymore and that I have to emotionally detach myself from him because it's the only way I can get through the day without stressing and getting upset about how shattered and fed up I am. I felt so guilty about admitting it to him but I think it made him realise just how close to breaking point I am.

I originally wasn't going to go back to work until Mid March but I have bought it forward by two weeks because I've got to escape my current life. I'm trying not to think about how tired I will be but to be honest going back to work feels like the only thing I've got to look forward to.

Yesterday, on the recommendation of two people who gave me the same ladies name, I made contact with a Sleep Specialist and she is calling me next week. She offers two packages of help and support, the cheapest being £75 and the premium package being £200. I've opted for the basic package initially but if it doesn't work I'd be more than willing to pay £200 for the more intense package, I'd probably pay £500 because of how desperate I am. For the sake of my physical and mental health and for the sake of my relationship with DS something has got to change and if paying for professional help is what it takes then I'm going to do it. Is that an option for you? x x

Writerwannabe83 Thu 04-Dec-14 08:39:52

I meant to say I have bought my return to work date forward by two months, not two weeks.

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