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My self settler has given up on self settling, why oh why?

(16 Posts)
FifiFerusha Mon 18-Jan-16 22:02:24

My nearly 6 month old had cracked it. In the past two weeks I had put him down for naps and bedtime and within 20 ish mins(sometimes less, sometimes more) he would be asleep, no tears unless something was wrong. Now he is not self settling, three days now. He has learnt to wriggle his body up to the top corner of his cot and then I have to go in and move him down. This makes him cry or cry more if he hasn't started (feel bad sad)He likes to be left to it really so I think my intrusion is getting in the way but don't want him to bang his head or hurt himself. And, certainly don't want him to cry.

However, there may be other issues at work. I have to feed him in nap sleep transitions otherwise he will only nap for 30 mins(was 45 a week ago) . Has he got used to this? How do I wean him off, no tears? I have also got his awake time wrong I think. How do I follow an average awake time of two to three hours for a short napper. I have got to the point of giving up and saying ' you know what, I just can't get it right'. I outright don't understand his tired cues and that is very embarrassing.

Had got so far with the self settling and now want to cry myself. . .all that hard work down the pan. Does anyone have a similar experiences? Do you think laying him on his front will help or confuse him?

Thank u from much appreciative, serial, sleep poster x

FATEdestiny Mon 18-Jan-16 22:18:59

Sleep changes loads of times in the first year - don't beat yourself up about it. Sleep development isn't linear.

I recall this phase when baby is first learning about movement. I went back to swaddling for a bit, baby was quite old for this (5 months I think?) but we had swaddled previously and she loves it. A tightly tucked in blanket also helps to 'pin down' baby to one spot. Likewise a firm, reassuring hand placed on the chest/shoulder.

The key in this development is teaching baby that while you now can move around, that the physical skill is there and is developing, but baby needs to learn that in order to sleep he needs to be still. So you need to find ways and help him be still to go to sleep, until this lesson is learnt (and a new issue replaces it!).

I have to feed him in nap sleep transitions

This isn't great. You might get away with it for another few months but time will come when baby will be tired and want to sleep, but not hungry and not wanting milk. Milk intake takes a nose-dive between 6 to 12 months, so unless you break this association it will be a problem waiting to happen in the future.

It's not immediately a problem so prioritise accordingly, but I would seek to find new ways for baby to settle back to sleep independently (or not wake until no longer tired). I just wrote a massive post about gradual withdrawal if you are interested. It's on another current thread on the sleep board about self-settling. Holly I think the OP was?

FATEdestiny Mon 18-Jan-16 22:23:42

FifiFerusha Mon 18-Jan-16 22:52:47

Thank u, was hoping you would come to my rescue( again). I guess in nap transition I was worried about going back to shh stroking, patting, firm hand on chest, rocking etc felt I had got so far with self settling. Yet, I was feeding to sleep, so same same. However, I had started feeding on wake ups but it seems now that on these wakes ups he wants a longer nap,whereas before wanted to be awake and feeding. So this is where the problems began. I was just so reluctant to attempt methods when I know he can do it but have read your post to HOlly and it made me think that maybe I need to use steps on the transition just as I had to for months for the start of the naps for settling with no tears.

So, I will try our old shhhh stroke on nap transition for a week and see if I can let him learn to do it by himself. Is this a good idea? And then feed on when I think he really wants to be awake. In the meantime, what should be the awake time for a short napper and what should I aim for. As you told me previously the 2'3 4 hour awake times would fit in well with family life but he is just not ready yet. Have some Inbetween work to do first. Also got some habitual wakings at 4am in the morning. I am being lazy and feeding back to sleep but perhaps I should develop a similar soothing method at these times.

Also, I could never swaddle him, he hated it from young. Did I do it wrong? He used to unravel it with kicks. .now I am sure he would do the same and suck the blanket. He sucks material to sleep when he can self settle. I try and put him under a blanket tucked in really tight but he seems determined to get out of it now. Would putting hi. On chest be a jo go? But really, once he starts crawling would I be back here again with a similar issue?

FifiFerusha Mon 18-Jan-16 23:10:25

Sorry about typos, hope you get what I mean? Haha x

FATEdestiny Mon 18-Jan-16 23:14:15

Sounds good to me. With Gradual Withdrawal shush patting, there may be some times of one step forward then three steps backwards. The way that GW works is that you can move both ways - withdraw when needed but then more reassurance when needed. But increasing (rather than decreasing) reassurance usually means it is quicker to get back to where you were.

2, 3, 4 only works for twice a day nappers, and sometimes it doesn't fit for those. You would want to be having two naps of 1-2h each for it to realistically work.

If your DS is still having short naps, they need to be frequent. I favour EASY (Eat, Awake, Sleep, You time in regular, predictable cycles) routine for frequent naps. With EASY you don't pay any attention to the number of naps a day or the length of those naps - you just pay attention to awake time.

In our house, 30-45 minute naps would be followed by an awake time of 80-120 minutes. Limiting awake time really was key for us, no. It wasn't until naps started extending that awake time naturally got longer and so naps were less frequent. But naps extending has to come first - deciding to make naps less frequent and then hoping that naps get longer is unlikely to work.

FifiFerusha Mon 18-Jan-16 23:33:44

I agree, I have also been trying to following EASY but my awake times weren't allowing it as it focuses on an hour and a half napping babies. Think I have been pushing DS too long. Not much I can do when a morning school runs involved at 8.30 until 9 and he refuses to sleep In pram and wakes at 6 am(oh the joy...but we love em) but In all I will just try and get him down when he needs it. Will try x x thank u. And yet again, do I need to relax? smile x x

FifiFerusha Mon 18-Jan-16 23:35:52

Just re read your message and thought. Perhaps I have been getting the concept of EASY wrong x

FATEdestiny Tue 19-Jan-16 00:09:40

EASY doesn't involve specific times, just repeated structure. It is baby-led not clock led.

Eat - First baby has a feed
Awake - Then we have a play for as long as baby stays happy and content
Sleep - Baby has a nap as soon as no longer happy and content
You time - I have a bit of time to myself while baby naps
Eat - Then baby wakes so has another feed
Awake - Play for as long as baby stays happy and content
Sleep - Baby has a nap as soon as no longer happy and content
You time - I have a bit of time to myself while baby naps
Eat - Then baby wakes so has another feed
Awake - Play for as long as baby stays happy and content
Sleep - Baby has a nap as soon as no longer happy and content
You time - I have a bit of time to myself while baby naps

repeat, repeat, repeat

It's essentially baby-led. Your baby will sleep as long as he wants to, I always try to extend naps but it doesn't always work. Then pay attention to how long baby can spend being happy and content without you having to work too hard at it. The sleep time and awake time are likely to develop into a predictable - but baby lead - pattern.

Personally, I use crying as a tired-sign, so it is all very simple. I expect my baby will be happy and content when awake. Given baby will have had a feed upon waking so crying wont be hunger, the first sign of upset grumpiness will be telling me baby is tired. I don't tolerate an unhappy baby. If baby is not happy and content, then I'll be trying to get her to sleep.

So a while noticing how long baby usually naps and how long he can spend happy and awake - you will start to be able to notice EASY cycle lengths. For my DD it was 2hourly usually, sometimes 2.5h from E to Y.

Once you have a more predictable structure to your day, you can start manipulating it to suit family life. Like you, I have school runs so would stretch and shrink EASY cycles around school time, so that it works right within the school runs (mostly anyway).

FATEdestiny Tue 19-Jan-16 00:19:04

Not much I can do when a morning school runs involved at 8.30 until 9 and he refuses to sleep In pram and wakes at 6 am

My DD always refuses to sleep in the pram/car too.

For a 6am wake up, my DD would have had two feeds and one nap all before school.

I'd have done a 6am feed, 7.30am nap (works nicely to free up time to get older children ready for school). Then make sure I woke baby for 8.15am if not already awake - to give time for another feed before leaving for school at 8.30am. Then the school run would be the awake time for that EASY cycle, meaning another nap when you are home after the school run.

FifiFerusha Tue 19-Jan-16 09:55:51

Thank u. I like your take on EASY. I am trying to get back on track with it as it worked really well with DS at 3 months. I started getting into it and bought a book etc...but my baby just didn't do all the things he was suppose ha. I think your view is better 'baby led EASY'.

Also, good idea about getting him to nap earlier before the run I have little bit of a problem though that on average he takes 20 mins to settle. Is this normal? I used to put him in the pram in the porch and rock it while throwing commands at DD but he doesn't like that now smile

This morning was a bit more ideal thoug. He woke at 6, and he fell back to sleep while feeding so I put him down and he was awake at 7. Just managed to rush back home to get him down for a nap. Went up around 910, nap routine done etc and he fell to sleep himself at about 9.35. I kind of left him to move around the cot. He is sleeping diagonally but no danger so I am pleased with thatsmile

FATEdestiny Tue 19-Jan-16 11:03:39

I've never bought the book so I don't know the 'official' way of doing it. My way of doing things just always worked for us and sort-of just developed naturally. Maybe I should write my own book! lol

I'm not certain how to advise you really because I have always moved on from EASY by the time baby is 6 months old. So when I was using it, naps at home were in the bouncy chair with me foot bouncing from the sofa. That allowed my hands to be free to plait hair, sign home-school diaries and assist with older children getting dressed - and all the other stuff of mornings.

The thing is, I am not sure if you could still use a bouncy chair over 6 months? So maybe settling into the pushchair is the best answer for you? I'm not sure. Our naps didn't move upstairs into the cot until they extended and at that point the focus moved on teaching self-settling using gradual withdrawal. Until then I was just bouncing to sleep for naps.

You will also have weaning to consider. We had moved on from EASY because by the time weaning started, so EASY for us was all just about lots of daytime milk feeds without needing to consider solids and mealtimes. This brings another added complication in your situation.

FifiFerusha Tue 19-Jan-16 13:11:38

Yes it does. He is on two small meals and a few finger foods at family tea( just plays with them but that's fine). I try and give him a feed before a meal but doesn't always go to plan. It is wierd about the nap this morning. .self settled and napped for 1 hr and a half exactly. He did this last time I moaned on mumsnet ha. Just wish I knew how and why. They happen once in a blue moon so potential is there. So feeling more positive today smile I also know he has had a good feed and his lunch before his second nap( ended up in mid activity) so is screeching to sleep,in his way, right now. Therefore, he is not hungry so won't feed in transition and see what happens.

. . .and yes, you should write a book ;)

Lilipot15 Tue 19-Jan-16 21:53:18

Fate, I think you should write a book. I am curious - what is your job, apart from being a MN sleep guru and obviously being very busy with your own DC? Feel free not to answer if that is too nosy!
I have seen you give such good advice on plenty of sleep threads (including my own, which was much appreciated)

FATEdestiny Tue 19-Jan-16 22:14:44

apart from being a MN sleep guru

lol. Professionally I am a secondary school science/chemistry teacher. But I gave up work in 2007 to be a stay at home Mum. Since then I have dived into various Mum-friendly voluntary roles - Brownies, PTA, school governor, running a couple of parent and toddler groups, reading buddy at school. That kind of thing.

Most things to do with parenting I have either been through myself, or I know someone who has been through it. I am one of those annoying types of Mums who seems to know everyone and will chat with anyone. I learn a lot of stuff by listening to other peoples parenting stories.

I cant claim to be super busy with my own children to be honest - three are school age now and youngest is easy peesy. There was a time I had three children under 5 and that was very busy. The very busy Mums are those working full time while parenting, not me.

Lilipot15 Tue 19-Jan-16 23:00:03

Fate, thank you - I have often wondered! Add MN sleep guru to your list of roles in life
Your advice here is sensible and much appreciated and you sound like a fab person to know.
In fact, I had to think twice, as there is someone I know like you in my (small) town, but her youngest is school age.

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