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Self soothing, do they learn or need to be taught?

(3 Posts)
MusicMum18 Wed 04-Nov-15 09:33:09

My lo is 6.5 months old, and struggles to sleep. I've breastfed to sleep since birth, not intentionally but it just happened. She feeds, falls asleep then I put her down.

However at the mo she wakes up every 2 hours to feed in the night. Health visitor said it because she's hungry and needs more food. This ties in with the fact that her weight has dipped slightly. So been giving loads more, doing combination of baby led and purée to get the food down her. Been dining this for a week and has made no difference to getting up 2 hourly at night. How long does it take for the night time feeds to slow down feeds?

The other cause of lots of nighttime feeds could be that she can't self soothe. She seems to prefer sleeping on me after feeds. When I transfer to cot it's hit and miss whether she sleeps for half hour, 2 hours or wakes immediately and won't go back down. The last few days I've let her sleep on me so I know she's getting sleep as otherwise she gets overtired and cranky.

Then again weaning might not be to do with it...I've read that babies wake up afteer falling asleep on mum when they wake and find themselves in cot. Understandable really. So could prob be that she can't self soothe? Will she learn to do this when she's ready? Or do I have to teach her? If so I don't want to let her cry it out I don't agree with it, no judgement on others it's just not for us.

I don't mind letting lo sleep on me. I see breastfeeding about nurturing not just feeding. If lo needs comfort I feel I should give it to her. If that's what she wants, if she doesn't then that's fine too. I'm not forcing her to sleep on me, it seems like it's the only way to get her to sleep or nap.

So, what should I do? Let her sleep after nursing on me, and cope with nighttime feedings in the hope they will start to decrease? Hope that she'll learn to self soothe?

I struggle with the two approaches...
1. Baby led - they're so little, can't communicate so give them what they need to soothe and calm them.

2 to take control. Put into routine and make baby sleep.

My heart says 1, so far this is what we've done and she's happy most of time unless tired.

The feeding councillor at hospital advised me not to force any sleeping patterns as she said this can increase adrenalin in babies and make them stressed. She said research has been done to show this is not good for babies emotional development. Other people have said I'm making rod for own back nursing to sleep.

Is the lack of sleep at night due to weaning or because she can't self soothe?

If it's weaning then I can just keep going as I am and wait for feeds to decrease.

Or is it self soothing? Will she learn to do this or would I have to teach?

I'm sooooooooooo confused about what to do, if anything!

FATEdestiny Wed 04-Nov-15 10:34:31

Your post reads like a lot of parental guilt and anxiety.

Worry less and just do what you feel most comfortable and happy with. There are two side to doing this - the first is accepting that if you have happy feeding to sleep and accepting the fact that you are needed to get baby to sleep, then just do this without worry of what you 'should be doing'.

The flip side is to accept that it is also OK to have structure and routine to your day. You seen to fear this like it is bad, through some illogical irrational anxiety. This is resulting in your seemingly discounting it as an option. It might be right for you. It might not. It is not bad to have order, structure and routine in a baby's life.

"advised me not to force any sleeping patterns". How is it physically possible to force anyone to sleep? What I think the advisor was talking about (and you are concerned about) is the Gina Ford method of "it is 11am, you must go to sleep baby so I will leave you to cry until you do so". I can see good reason why this is bad.

This is not the only method to introduce routine. Most methods are baby-led. It is about encouraging baby to sleep frequently and for as long as possible. Not forcing them. So, for example, noticing the time when baby wakes and thinking usually my baby gets over-tired and grumpy if awake for more than 2 hours. So noting the time when waking and planning milk feeds and solids meals around this structure so that you are ready to try and settle baby to sleep at a certain time.

Then, for example, noticing if baby is tired still after the sleep. Using this to inform your next nap time to think my baby needs a longer nap than this, I will try to settle back to sleep when she wakes.

These are not forcing baby. But they are "taking control" as you put it. Nothing to be worried about in doing this. You are the parent afterall. You are able to think for your baby sometimes and help your baby when needed.

So to go full circle. Give yourself the option to do either option. Or a mixture of both. There is no black and white. These are not: Baby led is good and parental judgment is bad. Parental judgment is baby led anyway

Do what feels right and lose the guilt you are harbouring with both options.

MusicMum18 Wed 04-Nov-15 11:46:58

Thank you so much for your reply, I am feeling very anxious, partly I am certain by the complete lack of sleep! Plus I have friends who follow GinaFord to the letter and I feel like they question my methods.
I've just thought more about the last few days and the does seem to be a routine of sorts...wake brekkie, play, nap, wake, play, lunch, play, nap, wake, play tea, bath, bed. So maybe I should clock watch less and just follow Los lead more rathere than trying to force anything and getting stressy when baby doesn't comply!!
I know there's nothing wrong with a routine, I think I'm still adjusting to life with a baby, in that I'm still realising they need constant attention! We'll my lo does anyway. It's so hard when dh is at work, I'm cooking tea and she cries...the other night i put tea on which I burnt and ended up I the sink, food all over the floor as blw, and toys everywhere. So many women seem to have far 'easier' babies, although I suppose you don't know what goes on behind closed doors!

Thanks so much for your advice, I will follow Los lead I think, it has generally been working so far.

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