How 'gentle' is gradual retreat really...(12 Posts)
....if the baby screams non stop and cannot be comforted by anything, despite you being RIGHT there lying by the cot?
Umm not at all?! I tried this with my first baby - all the books / advice said 'calm them, shush pat etc til they go to sleep'... Well my little girl just cried heart-breakingly, so I got her out, decided never to do that again, and let her come downstairs to snuggle and feed on my lap. Worked far better for us! if it's not working, don't do it, is my advice ...
Ideally gradual retreat wants to start right from word go, a way of dealing with your newborn as they grow.
So when my DD was a tiny newborn baby she would be fed, winded (as a means to ever so slightly rouse her) and placed in side-car cot. I would lie on the bed and cuddle right into the cot, often BF whilst in there if needed. With her lying in the cot.
She grew past the fourth trimester, newborn phase at 12 weeks and I found I didn't need to cuddle her in the cot, I could feed and then just lie right next to her, head to head, and place my hands on her to sooth.
She grew past 4 months and I was able to put the cot side back on. Still lie next to her to sooth, sometimes placing my hand on her for reassurance, sometimes just being near her was all the reassurance she needed.
She grew past 6 months and I could lie at the other side of the bed, as long as she could see me she would settle.
She grew past 8 months and we lowered the cot side and moved her into her own room. She needed me next to the bed as she went to sleep, sometimes with a reassuring hand on her but mostly not.
She grew past 9 months and I was able to sit a few meters away from the bed as she goes to sleep.
She is now 10 months and I can stay in the doorway as she goes to sleep. Usually asleep (with dummy and blankie) within 5 minutes, 10 at the most.
So to answer your question OP = Gradual withdrawal, like most sleep training methods, are generally not something that is easy if you just decide one day that "right, we are going to do it like this now".
If it is a 'from birth' ethos though - then it works without any tears or distress.
well my 'from birth' ethos was bfeed/cuddle/rock/co sleep to sleep and it worked well and everyone was happy and sleeping well.
but its not working anymore so i do need to do something different
With DS1 it was very gradual. I'm talking years.
Ha ha Angie. I've got one of those - still trying to get out of DS1's room and he's 3...!
Mionome - my birth ethos was that, and it stopped working too. We did gradual retreat - it is as gentle as you make it. We cuddled and rocked to sleep for a week (previously had been bf-Ing to sleep) then cuddled in cot, then patted etc. it took us 6 weeks but if we tried to move any faster we got crying, so we just went v slowly. And we've just had 4 nights of going to sleep with no crying and sleeping through!!!! So it can be gentle, but it takes longer, in our experience
Some kids loathe gradual methods and are honestly better with bedtime routine, pop in cot and then you leave the room. Might whinge for a minute or two, then they'll settle.
I''ve read lots of reasons for that, mostly boiling down to some children needing no distractions/sensory stimulation which a parent in the room is. Also some children fiind it distressing to have a parent nearby but not responding the way they would like, whereas out of sight is out of mind.
Personally I'm all for trying different things until I find what works!
How old is your baby? Could it be a teething blip stressing them out at bedtime?
I did it with ds1 when he was 20 months, it was probably over the course of a month. It was gentle, that was the whole point, I wasn't leaving him to cry.
However you need to be patient and very very motivated. I was highly motivated, the last stage was me lying with just my feet in his room. As I got up from that my waters broke...
I've never done it successfully with dc2. I am less motivated and so take the quicker route. Plus dc2 is a bounce around the walls non stop chatter at bedtime type of person, but when he wakes up in the morning he is all bleary and wont talk for ages, whereas dc1 is the opposite, so much easier at bedtime.
he is almost 9mo. I think he is teething and is going through massive development - crawling, pulling up, pushing up to sitting, clapping - and I think he's been hit by separation anxiety. So probably just a case of sitting it out, but I've been thinking for a while that I want him to fall asleep without me, and at the moment he's just NOT going to sleep! We've had a week of him being up every 30 mins until about midnight, and some nights where he's ok in the evening but then awake for hours in the night. Nothing works. When I do eventually get him to sleep, he'll only sleep on me, and wake the minute I move him.
It's all getting me down really.
I tried gradual retreat at 9 months with DS. It didn't work at all and he was exactly the same, screaming, waking up all the time or awake for hours in the night. I actually had millpond help too as I wasnt sure I was doing it right.
After 3-4 months I gave up and co-slept as I was sick of sleeping on the floor and completely exhausted.
Looking back we chose the wrong time. He had a lot going on developmentally and had separation anxiety so it was never going to work. We tried again later and had much more success with it.
ethos was bfeed/cuddle/rock/co sleep to sleep
That's not incompatible with gradual withdrawal. It just means that your idea of what constitutes withdrawal is not gradual enough.
If you used to bf/cuddle/rock/co-sleep - to suddenly change to alone, not held, no rocking motion, in cot (I assume with base lowered and side on?) might be far too much of a big step. Hence the screaming.
A gradual withdrawal change would be, for example, still bf and cuddling to sleep, but making the rocking slower until it stops. This is just an example.
The point being that if you want to use Gradual Withdrawal as a sleep training method, focus more on the gradual and less on the withdrawal.
If you don't want any distress hen it cant be rushed.
It has taken me 10 months to get to where we are. Starting at 9 months, I would set some realistic expectations of about 12/18 months from starting GW if doing it without distress and tears. Teeny, tiny steps when withdrawing.
Join the discussion
Please login first.