Can't keep rocking DS but not sure how else to get him to sleep :-/(45 Posts)
DS is coming up to 5 months. He has been in his own room for about a month which is going well. I really want him to self settle, obviously, doesn't everyone? But I don't think that's something you can push, from what I've read.
Currently have to rock, pat AND shh him to sleep, then transfer him to cot when he is asleep. He has a teddy and a dummy (which he always takes out and plays with). Am trying to get him to thumb-suck instead but he won't! He has a musical mobile and a star projector but they're too stimulating for him.
I cannot keep rocking him, but that's the main thing that lulls him to sleep. He can do without the shhing and patting but the rocking is the key. My knees are starting to really hurt and my back hurts from holding him all the time! He will no longer feed to sleep, which is good.
If I put him down drowsy he snaps wide awake and I can leave him in his cot rolling around and laughing/chatting/shrieking to himself for about half an hour and then he'll start whinging and crying - at this point should I just leave him until he falls asleep? I think it would escalate and he'd scream for ages. Although in the car, when I can't do anything to help him, he only screams for half an hour before conking out. But would like to avoid CIO where possible!
Soooo what can I do. Have been trying to get him to sleep just with shhing and patting today but it's not cutting the mustard. HV says not to sleep train until 6 months, and in not looking to per se, I just need tactics that don't involve rocking!
Also, white noise is hit and miss and he wakes up as soon as it turns off.
He's far too young for CIO or CC at 5 months.
If I put him down drowsy he snaps wide awake and I can leave him in his cot rolling around and laughing/chatting/shrieking to himself for about half an hour and then he'll start whinging and crying - at this point should I just leave him until he falls asleep?
You don't just leave him (that would be CC or CIO). But you will need to accept some crying. But you make sure your baby feels safe and secure and reassured that you are there with him, caring for him, helping him sleep and won't leave him until he is asleep.
But - key point - that he will need to go to sleep in his cot, not being held by you. Even if he snaps awake (in fact better that he is properly awake when going into the cot), he needs to learn to go to sleep lying in his cot, not in your arms and not being rocked.
So keep going with the already established shushing and patting. Stay right there with him all the time. In an ideal world I'd have a bed next to the cot (my bed in my room at this age) - that way you can lie next to him eye-to-eye reassuring him in the cot.
He'll cry for probably a long time. But you are not abandoning him. You are not ignoring his needs. Indeed you are actively meeting his needs in a better way than rocking him to sleep, because you are teaching him the important skill of sleeping in his cot not your arms.
No advice apart from HV - to get their support with controlled crying. Until then, you could try a buggy rocked back and forth to save your back. My dd loved that. My ds likes the bouncy chair, but maybe yours has outgrown it?
You could try and leave him and see what happens, but that is basically entering into the territory of controlled crying which you wanted to try at 6 months. Why don't they want you to start earlier?
My DD has just turned 6mo and was the same. I had to rock her until she was completely asleep then put her in the cot as gently as possible, and then ninja my way out of the room
When she was 5mo I decided enough is enough. I still gave her her bedtime milk, had a cuddle and a little rock, but then put her down. She didn't cry, just rolled around, sang to herself and generally just fannyed around. I went in, laid her down dummy in, and left. Stayed at the top of the stairs for 5 mins, letting her sing and carry on, then went in again and laid her down and popped the dummy back in. Eventually (after a little bit of a whinge, not really a cry), she realised I wasn't playing a game, and it was sleep time. She just laid down and went to sleep. If on the rare occasion she did really cry, I picked her up, only until she stopped crying, then put her back in her cot straight away. It took about 40 mins that first time.
I did the same with nap times too. And gradually over the next few days it started to take less and less time for her to realise it's time to sleep.
Now it's a case of as soon as she gets put in her grobag, she knows it's time for sleep.
For us, it was a case of perseverance. It's really hard, but you will get the result you want eventually
As FATE said, get him to fall asleep in the cot. It will take consistency but will work. I did it with ds1 but didn't with ds2 and I was still rocking ds2 at 13 months! Big mistake!
If you are using white noise don't turn it off! That will cause dc to wake. All mine use white noise and helps them sleep in a very noisy house.
No advice but just to say I'm in exactly the same boat... need to tackle it too but waiting for his 4 month sleep regression to pass!!
Thanks for the replies!
OK, I am going to write out tactics on a piece of paper and stick it on DS' door, to refer to if I lose my mind.
I will try sitting in view, shhing and patting until he falls asleep, but I fear that might make him absolutely furious. In which case I will try Sparkly's technique.
I will wait until next week as he is getting over a cold at the moment. Plus I have to steel myself as DH is never home for bedtime so will have no support!
He's been asleep for 1.5 hours and I've had to go and replace his dummy twice already. Dummies have been a lifesaver but someone really needs to invent a strap that keeps it in
popalot HVs said no sleep training until 6 months, not sure why, I guess because they haven't learnt object permanence yet so think you've ceased to exist if you're not in sight.
Bree how does feeding come into the equation?
I have always fed all three of mine to sleep and it works like a charm, every time pretty much (unless something else going on iykwim)
Obvs you may have a reason not to so apols if so. Just wondering I suppose.
Also mint - my white noise app only plays for 30 mins, then you have to pay for a longer duration....... I'm so cheap haha! no I will definitely get on that, haven't found anything good on Spotify yet.
Anastasie Hello! He fed to sleep a lot while BFing and cosleeping, which was good, but now he is on formula and requires a lot of burping which wakes him up anyway. So we do bath, bottle, burp, book, bed. Also don't want him to have to feed to sleep for every sleep.
If it's any help I downloaded an app called white noise lite on my tablet. Free and plays lots of different sounds. I use the pink noise (rather than the white noise which sounds a bit tinny).
No fair enough, I understand. It sounds far more sensible in a way.
Mind you when mine is really zonked out on the boob, I can lift him to my shoulder, wait for the burp to occur and still lie him down afterwards without him waking at all.
I actually can't imagine not having the feeding to sleep. I think mine would all have stayed awake 24 hours!!
btw LOVELY to see a no-sleep-training-yet-thankyou thread. And object permanence mentioned.
This is so so important imo
I also use white noise and was constantly having to give up my phone so just purchased this:
It's fab, quite cheap and plays noise continuously! Can go quite loud as well if using in the car!
I remember this vividly. My dd was older when I was rocking her and I remember thinking I was going to do myself a proper injury.
I progressed very slowly moving from standing up rocking to sitting in her bedroom armchair rocking then just sitting hugging.
Then we moved to putting into cot awake and face stroking until asleep while singing. Then singing at the door. Then standing at the door facing out but still visible.
Written down that sounds torturous but it was gentle and kept us all sane.
When she was a tiny she also had white noise and a dummy (still has the dummy at almost 3) so she has always needed support to get to sleep.
Not sure if any of that helps but I do remember the feeling really well!
mintbiscuit I have the same one...my strange child likes the washing machine one
For those of us who were parenting in the days before white noise apps - you do not actually need an app to create white noise.
All my children have a desk fan in their bedrooms. Turned away from them when the weather isn't hot, but always on all year round. The white noise it creates alongside the air movement is something they all like.
I would imagine that they all got used to this because it is something I have always done myself, in my own bedroom. Since my children spent the best part of their first year in my room with the fan on, they kinda got used to it.
Thanks for the support, advice, will be getting one of those white noise thingies!
Also one more thing, I'm never sure whether to go in straight away when he stirs, or to wait... If we go in straight away, he'll never learn to self settle; if we wait for a bit, he'll wake up fully?
That would depend how you are feeling. My DH used to give me a cuddle when I woke to dd stirring. I didn't stop me getting up but it gave me a minute to listen and think about what I was hearing. The thing is that during the day you are attuned to the cries and know what they need but at night it becomes a bit more, well, primal and your instincts are more fight or flight. This is my own theory by the way! I am not talking actual science.
But I felt I needed a minute or two to wake and consider what she actually needed. Sometimes it was me in the room, other times it was over on the time I had taken to think about it.
I still occasionally launch myself out of bed and she is nearly three
I use an exercise ball and gently bounce mine to sleep, saves your back and knees.
I was always under the impression that the faster you go to them, the more reassured they are and the less they will bother next time (as in, I know someone will come when I call, so no need to yell!) - so I used to go to mine like a rocket and often he never really woke. He settled back to sleep because he didn't have time to get fully conscious.
Sometimes though they can cry out and they are just dreaming or a bit uncomfy and they don't wake anyway. So I'd go and stand there straight away, see if they are awake, if they cry out again and look fretful then I go in and feed (or rock or whatever) as they are clearly going to need help and the longer you leave it the more conscious they get and further out of their sleep iyswim. And then the harder they will be to settle again.
Btw I don't believe in self settling. They either need you or they don't and it's not dictated by a conscious decision making process. I think babies need us to settle them sometimes, and to try and train them out of that is a bit futile and a bit unfair.
But saying that, often yes they do just go back to sleep if you don't do anything.
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