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controlled crying advice needed before tonight

(77 Posts)
furniture Tue 04-May-04 12:26:39

Dd, 19 months, previously a good sleeper has been having problems over the last few weeks. I've posted about it before and won't bore anyone with details again but basically we've decided after 3 nights of awful sleep for all of us that we're going to have to try controlled crying seriously. The thing that's confusing me is about whether or not to pick them up when you go in. I've looked at Ferber and Christopher Green. Ferber says not to pick up but to spend 2-3 minutes talking gently to them and then leave. Green says pick up and cuddle until they've quietened down and then put them down and leave. What's been happening with dd is that she stands in the cot calling for me and only goes back to sleep when I go in and lay her down which she does quite quickly in the night and I wouldn't mind if she wasn't doing it 3-4 times a night! She doesn't seem to want to lie down on her own. Should I try not picking her up and see if she'll eventually lie down? (We did try this once in the middle of the night and she stood calling for me for 2 hours, whereas she goes straight back to sleep if I do pick her up and lie her down). We're at our wits end, fighting with each other we're so tired now and really don't know what to do. If anyone has any advice I'd appreciate it, otherwise I think we're going to have to try a sleep clinic but they're so bloody expensive.

federica Tue 04-May-04 12:40:05

my daughter, now 2, is normally a good sleeper but in December she had one horrendous week of not sleeping. I decided to leave to cry initially but had to change my mind very quicly! Without having read a lot about controlled crying, I went in, picked her up (which stopped her crying completely), then wisper something reassuring to her, put her down, offered her a soft toy of her choice, pat her back and go.
It worked well as she went back to her normal sleeping pattern in a few days.

furniture Tue 04-May-04 12:42:36

federica, thanks, that's what we were hoping would happen but unfortunately it's gone on now for almost a month and has got worse over the last week. It began with just being an occasional thing and we didn't mind going in to comfort her but now it's getting ridiculous - last night she was up at 11pm, 12am, 2.30am, 6am and eventually woke at 8am. Each time I go to settle her I find it harder and harder to get back to sleep. I don't actually want to do anything 'strict' or harsh with her but this can't go on so I think we have to give it a go.

furniture Tue 04-May-04 12:46:52

I have to sign off now for a while but will check this again later in the hope that someone can enlighten me before I head in for the battle!

federica Tue 04-May-04 12:52:54

my friend's child had a similar thing not too long ago and she discovered that he was hungry. She increased the amount of dinner she was feeding him and it went back to normal. it was so basic that she had not thought of it...

furniture Tue 04-May-04 13:29:08

Thanks again but I don't think it's to do with that federica, she usually eats a good dinner and has a drink of milk with her story and I have actually tried offering her a drink in the night but she says 'no' and pushes it away.

My big problem is really to do with the standing up / lying down issue. Any advice here?

moosh Tue 04-May-04 13:57:53

Ds now 4 but we had to do this a number of times during his toddler years. The first time he was only 6 months old and that took 2 weeks!!! But with the standing in the cot issue, we used to settle him at bedtime and he would stand up and cry. We would leave him for 5 mins to start of with, then dh or I would go in lay him down and sooth and talk to him gently telling him that it is his bedtime and as hard as it was I hated leaving him, but I did. We would then leave him for a further 5 mins or 10 mins and repeat the bedroom scenario. (go in lay him down sooth and gently whisper to him, but not to stay too long in the room). It was bloody hard work but after a few days and our suffering match stick eyes he got the hang of it. And up[ until we moved 1.5 years ago, any time his bed time routine went out of sinc, we would use this method. Glad I don't have to do it now but I wish you all the best.

moosh Tue 04-May-04 14:01:43

Sorry forgot to add furniture, sometimes we would leave him for up to 20 mins and he would cry and lay himself down and go to sleep ( he wasn't completely alone we had the monitor on for safety reasons). Most books say that a child should cry for no more than 20 mins because they have usually settled themselves within that time. It is horrible having to do it, I am sure many mumsnetters will sympathise.

dinosaur Tue 04-May-04 14:09:44

furniture, we did controlled crying with both our DSs, and we didn't pick either of them up when we went in - we followed Ferber to the letter

It sounds to me like you need to try a different tactic than picking up/put down as it obviously isn't working if you are having to do it so many times a night. The whole point about cc is that it gives the child an opportunity to learn how to settle themselves back to sleep - if that theory is correct, then if you keep on picking your dd up, that is just reinforcing her perception that she can't get back to sleep UNLESS you do that for her.

Good luck, it is horrible but I swear by it (have two very good sleepers now, aged nearly three and nearly five). FWIW it worked with both mine in less than three nights i.e. by the third night they had learnt how to settle themselves back to sleep.

furniture Tue 04-May-04 20:03:27

Thanks dinosaur and moosh. I've kind of chickened out of doing anything different tonight as dp is out and dd has a cold and basically I can't bear the sound of any more crying ringing round in my ears after last night.

In terms of lying down / not lying down, there's a problem in that no matter how long we leave her she just doesn't lie down on her own. I honestly don't know why she started doing this out of the blue, she never used to. If I don't pick her up but try to just lie her down she really protests and fights me but maybe I should do it anyway.


karma Wed 05-May-04 08:28:47

Sorry to hear that you're still having problems furniture. I thought we'd cracked it but last night on settling our ds he cried again for one hour although he did sleep through the night. On the first night of doing our sleep programme we found that he spent alot of time standing in the cot but we didn't pick him up, just leaned over the cot to hug him. by the secong night there was less standing and if he did, as soon as we went into the room he lay himself down. by the third night he was always lying down when we went in. Last night he stood initially but soon lay himself down. Could you maybe try at nap time by putting her in the cot standing up and encouraging her to lie herself down?
I know that it's a dreadful situation, I do sympathise with what you're going through. I got as far as e-mailing Millpond last week (the sleep clinc) and heard back from them today. Their prices aren't as bad as I thought and we'll definitely try them if we can't crack things our way. If your sanity is at stake and your relationship is under strain then I feel anything is worth a try even if it involves some financial expense. Good luck and let us know how things go.

furniture Wed 05-May-04 09:54:51

karma, last night was the worst ever! Dd woke at 11.30 and it took me until 4am to settle her down and eventually ended up lying down with her as I just couldn't take any more.

So tonight we're going to definitely have to try to be harder. Last night it was just absurd really she totally refused to be put in the cot, made a real fuss and even ended up asking for milk!! She hasn't had milk in the night since she was about 4 months old. It made me realise that this really is a slippery slope we're going down and that all our previous months of good sleeping habits are rapidly going out the window.

I still don't know exactly how to tackle getting her to lie down and I know it's going to be a complete battle. I'm going to try to do some research on it today to see if I can get a more definite idea about how to do it.

Millpond are about £150 I think for the consultation aren't they? We're really broke at the moment, I'm not sure we can stretch to that. But again, we might have to. I'm getting desperate.

furniture Wed 05-May-04 15:19:02

Well, I've looked everywhere I can think to look and I can't find a definitive answer to the picking up / putting down thing. If anyone has any suggestions I'd be SO grateful.

papillon Wed 05-May-04 15:43:35

Is there something you can pin pot that is making her unhappy to sleep / stay asleep... Maybe she doesn´t like her cot?
Could you put her on a mattress in your room for awhile until she improves?

at the very least might give u a couple of nights rest

papillon Wed 05-May-04 15:54:05

maybe it is night terrors? here

you can email this website and maybe get some advise...

My baby is younger so haven´t experienced anything like what you are going through but anyhow, hope things get better for you soon.

furniture Wed 05-May-04 16:05:58

Thanks papillon, will check out those links now.

We can't put her in our room as we sleep in the lounge at the moment until we manage to move to a bigger place. Last night I did sleep with her in her room but it took ages and was very uncomfortable and I only got about 3 hours sleep as she's such a wriggly sleeper - elbow in my ribs, fingers in my eyes, sighing and snuffling all night.

furniture Wed 05-May-04 21:00:50

Ok, so we're an hour into the controlled crying thing. I've stuck to the rules completely and am feeling pretty shit but telling myself this is for the best. Last time I went in I did manage to get her to lie down by herself but as soon as I left her she was standing up saying my name and crying again. I hope it doesn't go on too long, she's very tired and so am I.

When people have used this method, how long usually does it take before it gets better?

furniture Wed 05-May-04 21:19:03

Well, she seems to have gone to sleep but it wasn't how I think it's 'supposed' to be, I thought the idea was that they eventually nod off during one of the periods you're not in the room with them but she fell asleep as I was settling her back down. Does this mean I've messed it all up?
I must sound pretty anal to anyone reading this. I'm a clueless sort of mum wanting to do the right thing.

furniture Thu 06-May-04 19:01:16

I guess I'm kind of writing this to myself now, I've probably bored everyone else away!

Last night was hellish, dd went to sleep after an hour at bedtime but then woke at 4.30am and took until 6.45 to settle. She's normally up around 7 but I left her and she slept until 8.15am. It just felt endless in the early hours. Dp and I are exhausted. The only thing I can say about it that was 'good' was that in the end she finally lay down and went to sleep on her own instead of waiting for me to lie her down.

Can't say I'm looking forward to tonight.

karma Thu 06-May-04 19:40:48

I really sympathise with you furniture. I think cc can take up to 3 weeks (I think I read somewhere). Are you keeping a diary of each night? It's very difficult to see any progress or patterns when each night is a blur and you're exhausted. My tip is to write it down, then any improvement however slight does spur you on to continue. Yes, Millpond is around £150 but obviously it's better if you can sort things yourself.

furniture Thu 06-May-04 20:05:47

I'm in the middle of it again now. Dd calling for me, refusing to lay down, I imagine there'll be another hour of this at least. I feel really awful to try to double the time from last night - I went in at 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins. Tonight it's 'supposed' to be 10 mins, 15 mins, 20 mins. Not sure I'll be tough enough. Dp's out tonight too.

SofiaAmes Thu 06-May-04 22:40:33

furniture, I did cc with my ds (never really needed it with dd). I found that ferber was great, but I did not follow him to the letter. I think you have to modify for your child. I don't believe that there is only one right way that works for every child. However, I do think that it's important that you don't "give in" and lie down with yoru dd. That will cancel everything you've done up til then. I think it's perfectly ok to lay your dd down again, especially if that seems to settle her down. One thing you might think about is how much your dd is hearing if you are in the lounge next to her. I think one of the reasons we haven't had to do cc with my dd is that we are now in a much larger house than we were when we had ds. Ds could hear us moving around in the room next to him, dd really can't so we didn't sound "available" to her. Also, Ferber talks about HOW you put your child to sleep. I think this is really essential. He places a lot of emphasis on their learning how to put themselves to sleep. I found that I had to stop bfing ds to sleep in order to get the cc to work. We would read to him and then turn out the lights and kiss him good night while he was still awake. You might want to re-examine how you're putting your dd to sleep at the beginning of the night. Don't lose heart. Habits change as quickly as they come on. If she was a good sleeper before, she will be one again. good luck

furniture Fri 07-May-04 09:45:43

Thanks Sofia. Well, I've been sticking to the Ferber 'by the book' because previously I did a sort of 'version' of it and I think I made things worse rather than better. I didn't mean to but I kind of developed a habit in dd of her needing me to lie her down before she'd go to sleep. She never did this before and it got worse and worse. As soon as she stirred in the night, she'd stand immediately and call for me and wouldn't go back to sleep until I lay her down. So now I've got to avoid doing that.

I know what you mean about noise. We're in a rather strange flat though in which we're actually 2 flights of stairs away from dd's room when we're in the lounge so I don't think noise is a problem except for when we use the bathroom which is quite close to where she sleeps.

When you did the cc, did it take a very long time? Was it horribly painful? I feel like I've drifted through the last few weeks in a sort of stunned daze and now feel I really took my dd's previous good sleeping habits for granted. I truly didn't know how lucky I was.

furniture Fri 07-May-04 14:18:45

Well, we had a small 'breakthrough' last night in that after her 1.5 hour stint at bedtime, dd slept until 6.45 this morning. It's still a lot shorter sleep than she would usually have had before this trouble started. Now we'll have to see how it goes tonight. I've a feeling that she was just so exhausted in the end last night that a ton of bricks crashing down next to the cot wouldn't have woken her up. I honestly never knew this would be so hard and I feel very silly for having taken her previously good sleeping habits for granted. Never again.

papillon Fri 07-May-04 14:31:51

Glad to hear that you got some sleep last night furniture - I am sure it was not just dd that was tired.

I things continue to improve for you all.

You apartment does sound unusual - 2 flights of stairs!

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