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Teaching an 8 month old to self-settle

(8 Posts)
Lazybones80 Sun 01-Feb-15 11:04:22

I'm worried I've left this too late and have made a great big rod for my own back. I'd be grateful for any advice from folks who have had similar issues.
DS (now 8 months) has always been difficult to get off to sleep. For the first few weeks he wouldn't sleep anywhere except on me. Lots of sleepless nights and lots of somewhat precarious sleeps with me in a chair and him on me. Eventually he managed to sleep in the cot if I rocked him to sleep, then placed him very gently into the cot. He is breastfed (still) and wakes at least twice through the night for a feed. He feeds then falls back to sleep without needing to be rocked.
I never minded the situation too much and every time I tried to get him to self-settle it was a battle and much more effort than just rocking him to sleep. It was also an excuse to have a lovely long cuddle at the end of the day, which I loved!
However, things are getting more unmanageable. He is getting heavier (currently 9kg). He has also started fighting sleep more and more. He lashes out by hitting me, scratching me and pulling my hair while I'm trying to rock him. He also doesn't always go back to sleep after feeds overnight, so there are some nights I'm up rocking him twice during the night as well.
During the day is no better. I have to rock him to sleep or take him out in the pram or car to get him to sleep. He does like sleeping in my bed and will fall asleep if I cuddle him in bed, but we're not really set up for co-sleeping and DH is very unkeen on this idea!
Is there any hope? Has anyone managed to sleep-train this late?
Sorry for the long and rambling post.

FATEdestiny Sun 01-Feb-15 12:35:10

Depends what you define as self-settle.

Does self-settle mean sooth to sleep without the input of another person (ie Mum or Dad). Or does self-settle mean sooth sleep without the help of anything at all?

I do not believe babies can self-sooth without any prop, until much older

However I consider that my DD (and two of her older siblings) has been self settling from very young - with the aid of a dummy. From about 8 weeks old (she is 18 weeks now) I have been able to feed her, put her down in cot, insert dummy and leave. She'll get herself to sleep from there. But she needs her dummy to sooth herself through sucking.

IMO the dummy is the easiest self-soothing prop. Other babies use:

- Their thumb/fingers - but this tends to be baby lead, babies who like it do it themselves.
- Hair twiddling or head stroking
- Special teddy
- Special 'blankie' (or varying descriptions)
- Patting (self or teddy)
- Stroking (self or teddy)
- Tickling (self or teddy)

MagicAlwaysLeadsToTrouble Sun 01-Feb-15 12:41:21

I don't think it is late at all. I never do any type of sleep training in the first year. Both mine learnt self settling after 12 months, probably around 15 months and it was much easier then.

I used to cuddle/Rock to sleep and then after a year I slowly reduced what I did. Until I got to the point that I could pop in cot and stroke them through bars, that moved onto just sitting by cot and then just popping in cot and walking out.

It was made easier by stopping breastfeeding around the same time.

dreamingofwineandcheese Wed 04-Feb-15 14:03:09

My DS was exactly the same at 8 months, had to be rocked to sleep and would wake multiple times in the night. We ended up doing CIO in the end as trying to pat and shush just wound him up even more and if we stayed in the room he couldn't understand why we weren't picking him up. I know it's not for everyone.

It was tough I won't lie but it only took a few nights and he has slept brilliantly ever since and is now 2.5. He goes to bed at 7:30pm wakes at 7am and usually sleeps from 1:30-3:30pm in the afternoon. Sounds like a lot of sleep but he's very busy!

You have my sympathy it's hard when you are going through it. DD is 20 weeks old and we are in a similar situation, this time around I am a bit more chilled about it as I know it doesn't last forever!

Lazybones80 Wed 04-Feb-15 21:06:20

Thanks Dreaming. We might have to do that. Certainly my attempts at controlled crying haven't worked. I already have a lot of mummy-guilt as DS has just started childcare, so I think this is why I haven't been able to face CIO.

solenneguest Sun 08-Feb-15 16:41:55

Dreamingofwineandcheese how many nights did it take? Did you use Ferber method? Thanks :-)

PretzelPrincess Sun 08-Feb-15 16:56:59

I'm in the same position now but with DS who is 11months. We have always bounced him to sleep and be wakes up ATLEAST 4 times a night and expects to be bounced back to sleep. We're still breastfeeding and even co sleeping hasn't helped the night wakings.

We have just started some form of training and it's going amazingly well!
We decided that the bouncing had to stop but he didn't necessarily have to be left completely on his own.
The first night I lay in bed with him and he cried while I sang/hushed/stroked/patted him. In the end I did pick him up but tried not to rock him. It took over an hour and he was really screaming and crying and I was q distraught. He did sleep for 6 hours straight though.
Night 2 also took an hour to get him to sleep but I didn't pick him up and we only had 10 minutes of crying. He then rolled and squirmed around but drifted off to sleep on his own.
And last night it took a grand total of 12 minutes!!! shockshockshock He barely cried-protested a little but then drifted off to sleep.
He is waking up less frequently over the past 2 nights and I haven't picked him up once.
I'm amazed how quickly it's working for us and it hasn't been as bad as I thought.
I think you need to decide with OH what your willing to do and both of you need to stick with the plan. Consistency is key.
I know this was long but hope it helped! Good luck!

Lazybones80 Sun 08-Feb-15 22:30:02

Thanks Pretzel. It's good to know there's hope!

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