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Controlled crying for 16mth old night wakings?

(5 Posts)
fishalive Sun 29-Nov-15 18:55:35

DD feeds til sleepy, then I pop her in the cot and she's goes to sleep ok. Sometimes I sit in her room (pitch black) whilst she sods about but she will go off by herself.

However, she wakes up sporadically every night. Sometimes it's as 10pm, it's mostly around midnight, and occasionally 2:30am.

I tend to take her straight into bed with me where she wants to feed and she will then wake a further 2-3 times to be fed, before waking for the day at 6:30/6:45. She now sits up and messes around for ages so I know co-sleeping has got to stop.

I'm knackered. I know I've made a rod for my own back but don't know how to now break it.

I've never done controlled crying and she is a velcro baby so I know she will be hysterical. But something's got to change.

I could feed her back to sleep when wakes and pop her in the cot but I feel that might just be delaying breaking another habit. Plus it's cold at night now and I'll be sat up for ages and suspect I'll cave and take her back into bed with me for conveniences sake.

So how do I do controlled crying? Go in to soothe her in 2min increments? How long do I stay in there for? Does she need to be calm before I leave the room again? I've never "walked out" on her so she will go nuts and I am concerned about asking DH and other DC.... I could sit in there and do gradual retreat instead I guess but I'm wondering if a gentler approach will just drag it on and actually something a bit more hard and fast will get the message across a bit better and quicker.

Ugh. Any words of wisdom or tips to share please??

Am at the end of my tether. I need more than 3 hours consecutive sleep!!

fishalive Sun 29-Nov-15 18:56:47

*concerned about waking DH

fishalive Sun 29-Nov-15 22:21:17

Argh. I felt so determined earlier bit now I'm tired I feel a bit more of a pushover....

Must remember how grim it was when she tossed and turned and messed around for 2.5 hrs in the middle of the night last night.

FATEdestiny Sun 29-Nov-15 23:51:42

Its a personal choice, but at 16 months I would do CIO rather than CC.

I assume that by now you know the cause of her cries? So you will know if she needs you (hunger, in pain, uncomfortable so needs a nappy change). I would absolutely not recommend this for a younger (<12m) baby, But at this age, your sporadic presence may well be the cause of more anxiety, not less.

If it was me I would go in upon crying. Feed if you feel it is needed and I would also do a nappy change (for now, when this is new) so that you can be certain she's not wet or dirty. At the same time check she's not too hot/cold, wont lose her comforter/dummy and that generally she is well, just needs to go back to sleep.

At this point I would just put into cot, say nan night, walk out and shut the door. This, incidentally, is what you'll need to do at bedtime too.

Then switch the monitor down so you are not stressing yourself needlessly and leave her to it. It may take a long time first couple of nights but she will soon get it. Just keep telling yourself that you have checked she has all she needs and that she is just crying because she needs to go to sleep. You will recognise if the crying changes and she needs you. If the crying remains the same then she just needs to go to sleep. If you start noticing brief pauses in the crying (which you will) this is her just begging to learn to go to sleep.

You'll need to do the same and bedtime and nap times for this to be effective.

Alternatively, if you want to do CC it involves you going in at increasingly long increments of time - 1m, 2m, 3m, 4m and so on. You don't expect to calm baby when you go in, just show that you are there. So you go in, ascertain that all is well and she just needs to go to sleep, say nan night and leave again.

So I believe that the only 'benefit' to CC over CIO at this age (neither re recommended under 12 months, for anyone reading this) is that it elevates some of the parental guilt because she have to stay up and live through it with baby. With CIO you can just go to bed - you'll unlikely sleep listening to your distressed baby, but at least you are in bed.

I do not believe there is any benefit to the child in using CC over CIO. Indeed I believe that the winding-down 'giving in to sleep' pattern that emerges is disrupted by the parent popping in and out - so their presence makes getting to sleep take longer and overall increases the stress levels compared to CIO.

OP - There are gentler sleep training methods and you can get lots of help and support with gentler sleep training methods if you need to. But equally, don't feel bad about using methods that involve crying and don't let others make you feel guilty about your choice. It's hard no matter what you do flowers

fishalive Mon 30-Nov-15 13:40:48

Thank you for this balanced post!

So she woke just before midnight. I waited a little longer than normal to go in but she was ramping up so went in and picked her up. She was very cross that we weren't immediately going into my room/bed (pointing at the door etc) but eventually calmed down. I put her back in the cot and she got upset again, and we repeated this picking up and putting down about 4/5 times. Eventually I managed to kind of cuddle her whilst holding her down in the cot and preventing her legs from kneeling (would've been an impressive twister move and was less forceful than it sounds) until she relaxed. I could then rub her back for a bit whilst she stayed down. Then I just stood there for a bit and could tell her gently to "lay down" and rubbed her back once or twice if she sat up. But she was definitely starting to understand that she would be staying in the cot and needed to lie down.

I tried creeping out a gazillion times and our creaky floorboards were driving me mad as they would disturb her and signify I was trying to leave the room and she'd sit bold up right and we'd be back to square one. But I managed to leave her properly and sneak into my own bed (alone! bliss! DH in the spare room!) at about 1am.

She then woke at 3.30am and we basically went through the same routine but not for as long and she was back asleep within 30 mins. She then woke for the day at about 7.30am! She was upset to be alone in her room but I think I'll start putting some of her favourite books in so she sees them when she wakes up.

So, this might not sound like it, but it feels like progress. We went through a similar process getting her to initially go to sleep in the cot, so I think I just need to be consistent with this really and doesn't feel quite as harsh as CC or CIO. I nearly caved a couple of times when she was howling but kept saying to her "this is your bed and you need to sleep in here all night every night now". She's just not used to being on her own when she wakes up and given that she's quite a fiery character I don't think she is ever going to do this on her own accord.

We'll see what tonight will bring I guess!

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