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Getting 21 month old to self settle

(2 Posts)
soloula Sat 18-Jul-15 15:54:05

DD is in general a great wee sleeper once she's asleep. The issue we have is that she's used to cuddles to get to sleep and I'd love to be able to put her down in her bed and let her settle herself to sleep. She doesn't nap at all now - hasn't since she was about 12 months. She has a decent bedtime routine (I think) - bath about 6.30pm, downstairs for some milk and a wee bit of TV then up to her bedroom about 7.15pm with daddy for teeth brushing and a wee bedtime story then it's lights out and cuddles until she's asleep and then DH puts her down in her cot. If she's not sound she screams. Same if she wakes up in the middle of the night which fortunately isn't that often. It can take DH up to half an hour to settle her. She was bf to sleep until 12 months, then DH gave her a bottle to sleep and we've got her into just cuddles for the last 4/5 months but it's this last hurdle we need to get over now!

I'm 30 weeks pregnant and we're now thinking about fixing up her first few overnights at my parents' to get her used to sleeping over as she may have a few nights there when I'm in labour and baby is born. It would make things so much easier for them (and DH and I too!) if she could lay down and go to sleep herself.

I'm not really sure the best way to go about this and would appreciate and advice and success stories. I know controlled crying is an option but is this more for babies? Any other tips/techniques to try?

FATEdestiny Sun 19-Jul-15 22:18:47

I think your DD sounds like the perfect candidate for Gradual Withdrawal.

Start with trying to settle her with loads of touch and reassurance - but with her in the cot. Stay right with her all the way thorough, initially this may be leaning right into the cot with her. But don't pick her up or take her out of the cot, get her to accept your reassurance to sleep while in her cot.

Move this (gradually) so that she just needs your hand on her chest/back as she settles.

Then sat next to her but without touching her

Then away from the cot but still in her eyeline.

Then in and out of her eyeline as you do things in her room (put clothes away, tidy up).

Then in and out of her eyeline and room as you do chores upstairs.

and so on...

In all of these you need to stay doing the agreed thing until fully asleep. She needs to trust you.

So initially trust that you will stay right next to her until she is fully asleep, not sneak off before she is asleep. Likewise right at the end when she trusts you to stay upstairs until she is asleep, even if she can't see you she needs to trust that you wont sneak away before she is ready.

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