I physically can't do it any longer...please help(25 Posts)
My ds recently turned one (closer to 13months). We did sleep training for nights at 10 months and had some success by 11 months.
But the naps are awful. He is rocked to sleep every time unless I drive. It means rocking him for 20 minutes until he falls asleep. He wriggles and thrashes. The problem is that he is so heavy now and tall too. I just can't do it anymore and I don't know what to do now. I need to stop but dread the alternative. What do I do? Just put him in his cot and leave him to it? I had post natal anxiety and I cant bear it when he cries. I know I've made a massive rod for my own back but please tell me that it will change and he will nap by himself....
Please any advice would be gratefully received.
The problem is that you have developed a sleep association so your son needs this to sleep. It is a comfort to him because rocking signals sleep so comforts him to relax.
Lets not beat about the bush here, it is going to be distressing for him to have that comfort removed.
To make it easier on him and you, maybe you could replace one comfort sleep association with another (rather than just removing the comfort and leaving him to it).
Unfortunately sleep comforts are something that develop younger (as you have found with rocking) so may take some perseverance and work to get him to accept a new sleep prop at this age.
Some alternate sleep props include:
- Warm milky drink
- Comfort 'blankie' (Mummy's pillow case, muslin square)
- Special toy
If you are with your DS trying to comfort him, this is not the same as 'just put him in his cot and leave him to it' (a technique called Cry It Out - CIO). You could try lying him in his cot and patting him constantly (to reassure him that you are still here by touch) and shushing (to reassure him you are still here through sound).
He will cry, of course he will. But by shushing and patting and waiting with him he will not be without your care and comfort. In then end, after a few days, he might get it.
You could try rocking in buggy as an interim measure to save your back?
Or you could try doing a similar but shorter version of your bedtime routine at nap time - he may surprise you as he is used to going to sleep in the cot at bedtime it may not be such a leap to do it for nap time?
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I'm well aware that I've backed myself into a corner and I feel really anxious about breaking the cycle. It's funny, I rocked him for all those months so that he felt comforted and now I'll have to "undo" that association. I think I'll need to clear next week's schedule and just persevere with lying him down and patting/repeating sleepy words. I'm dreading it.
The baby whisperer technique is a more gentle way than crying it out. Maybe that would work?
Ok. Firstly do not (or at least try you bestest) dread it. It may surprise you and be absolutely fine. Be completely open minded in your approach and only hate it IF it goes disastrously wrong. Else you are expending a whole load of stress on something that may turn out to be nothing.
FATE has some great suggestions.
FWIW I also rocked my DS to sleep. It wasn't until my DSIS came round and said "Ummm what's going on?" and taught me how to do "a loose routine" that I realised I'd made the rod for my back. Next day I started a whole new thing and yes, it took a good week or so, but twas worth it. All the best
DS1 slept brilliantly at night but would not nap during the day unless in the car. No amount of patting and shushing would work. I was so desperate I resorted to driving him round until he nodded off every day. It seemed ridiculous but worth it for the respite! By twelve months however he refused to nap in the car too and gave them up completely!
Having learnt my lesson, Ds2 was plonked in his cot every day after lunch religiously with a teddy and blanket and left to it, and we had a fab routine of two hourly naps until he turned 3!
I think the rod for your own back thing is bollocks. I rocked dd1 for a while and then stopped - no difference. The difference may be your fear of the unknown, could you lie next to ds for a while when he's in his cot? Or lie him on your bed? Stroke his nose or head, music? lavender oil on the bedsheets? Babies can be very adaptable for change, they just need reassurance everything is ok so be as brave as you can and as calm as you can.
Thanks again for replies - they're making me feel better. I know I should go at it openly and by golly I will. Need to give myself a shake.
"A loose routine"? What's that?
We have a routine. It goes brush teeth, clean face and hands, brush hair, change nappy, get dressed, read 2 stories (as I tell him: story then sleepy time). Then close blinds, rock rock rock jiggle jiggle rock rock rock, put in cot.
Baby whisperer - I'll check it out. I read Elizabeth Pantley no cry nap solution but couldn't find the key for us in there.
Would he sit on your lap in a rocking chair? DS1 needed rocking, we broke the association by lying next to him on spare bed til sleepy then transfer to cot. Ds2 if he needs rocking I sit in a chair to do it, trying to save my back...
A "loose routine" (my own terminology btw!) is going by the same sort of routine but not too strictly. Not that strict that devations will have a "devastating" effect. We've all known parents that Will. Not Deviate. From. THE. Routine lest it upset the precious child. But just to mix it up a bit so that any changes that may happen don't come as a complete shocker
Yeah I think that ^ is great advice.
For example bath, book, blanket, cuddle, bottle/breastfeed etc etc can be done at home or holiday or staying at friends.
Ps. It's not your fault or anything you did wrong. Some babies just find sleeping harder than others.
Love the rocking chair idea, maybe could try sitting with him to begin with, as an interim step.
And he he he Shakey....yes I do love my routine but I'm not that parent. We're pretty flexible.
It's definitely my fear of trying holding me back. Thanks all.
You may find that if you decide to go "cold turkey" and leave him to do his own thing, you have a couple of hideous nights where he screams and screams but then he gets used to it. Like pulling off a plaster, best to get it over quickly. My son was a bit older and the issue was slightly different but when he was about 4, he got in the habit of sleeping in my bed. After about 6 months I told him it needed to stop and put him into his bed after discussing it with him for about a week. He was fine by the third night.
It is many years ago but i think my childrens nap habits changed constantly. You would get into a routine for a few weeks then they would grow up a bit and the sleep requirements would change.
If you are struggling to get the to sleep perhaps leave start of nap till later until they are tired enough to want to go to sleep.
The only tip I can remember was to get them relaxed and sleepy but make sure you put them down before fully asleep so they do the last bit themselves.
My daughter used to cry a little bit every night before sleep, it just seemed to be part of her routine and was not stressful for me cos I knew it meant she would be asleep in a few minutes.
I would advise you to get a sleep nanny to come and help- best £150 I have ever spent! Transformed my world. Good luck!!!!
I'd pay £150 if someone would come and teach him to settle in his cot himself for naps. Hell, I'd take out a second mortgage if they could do it so he didn't have to cry.....
Is it just the naps that you are struggling with? How many naps does he have a day?
If it is more than one it might be that he is ready to drop a nap.
He has 2. I'm pretty sure he still needs 2. If for any reason he misses one, he is cranky and glazed over. It's just as other poster says, being rocked is all he knows.
Bedtime is awake but sleepy in cot and falls asleep himself so I know he's physically able to do it.
I am exploring the gradual retreat for bedtimes at the moment. Step 1 is in the cot with me next to him, but he is used to being cuddled to sleep so that seems to much for me. I'm starting with just holding him to sleep, no interaction, for three days. Then I'll lay him next to me, etc. could you do something similar?
What is the next level down from rocking him? Rocking him for 5 mins less? I hate crying too, but at least if you are with him you know he's not afraid, and you can repeat a phrase to calm him (and yourself) down.
Babies are learning machines, they can and will adapt quickly.
DS1 has just dropped his last nap at 2.8y. At nursery, the little
sod darling would tootle over to his mat after lunch, lie down and go to sleep. At home, naps would not happen unless they were in the car or on me. Dropping that bastard of a nap has saved us hundreds in petrol money.
That said, once I just gave up on ever having him nap independently when at home, I really enjoyed the excuse to sit with him on the sofa or have a snooze myself when he napped on me. It's just the rocking you need to deal with I'd say, then take full advantage of the opportunity for a sit-down. You're not going to get from rocking to independent naps without a helluva fight so I'd say just get rid of what you can't cope with any more and save yourself the stress. Will he go to sleep in your bed with you for naps?
I agree. With DD1 I stressed about nap times. with DD2 I realise that it won't be long before naps are a distant memory and all that talk of 'rod for your back' is laughable. Do what you can to make it easier for yourself.
Some children are natural 2 hour nappers. Some never make it past 45 minutes. Car sleeping and buggy sleeping is fine.
Agree it's nothing you've done; some are better than others, and nap phases come and go. For the last 5 months DS1 has only napped at nursery (I feel your pain elphaba) or in a buggy. But he needed the sleep and I needed a break even if I spent it walking round our streets rather than in our house, so that's what we did.
If you try and it doesn't work or you really can't abide the crying then stop - nothing lost, and at least you can stop wondering and work on the next plan to keep you sane
I remember rocking my DS1 to sleep for his nap when he was EIGHTEEN months old, and that was because bfing to sleep hadn't worked... Ooooof they can get heavy.
Lots of good advice here and just wanted to add that you just need to take the plunge you may be pleasantly surprised. He may skip the odd nap as he adjusts but it won't hurt him.
Before I nightweaned DS1 at 14mo I was convinced that this was a child who would NEVER go to sleep on his own. Once I started he got it very quickly and had I known how well he would do i'd have done it months earlier.
One reason I hadn't was because I was nervous like you are about upsetting him and I'd never let him cry before and the idea of it worried me. He did cry but I was always next to him reassuring him etc and it was better than I imagined.
What helped me was knowing that he wasn't ill or in pain. He just wanted milk (in my case) and at 14mo the only way he could express it was to cry. And cry. If he was older he'd be able to say "I'm terribly upset that you're not feeding me to sleep mummy dearest, could you tell me why not??"
So he'll cry because he's upset at not being rocked but just keep telling yourself that he's not in pain he's not ill. And even if the first few times you think There's no way he'll get this...keep trying. Something will shift and start to change and you can build on that.
By the way, mums (and dads) have fed, rocked, cuddled, etc their babies to sleep for centuries - it's the way of life don't beat yourself up about it. There are thousands of us out here like you!!
Thank you so much everyone. Your responses mean a lot to me - it's calmed me down and given me hope! Some great ideas that I intend to try.
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