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10 months regression

(7 Posts)
moonprayer Sat 30-Jan-16 20:42:19

Dd had really bad four month regression, lasting for near three/four months (if it is!) and then I trained her, with some tears for both me and her. Since then she's an angel baby, sleeping all by herself and through the night. Well, up to now. We went on holiday during Christmas for one week, and she was definitely disrupted. And then she got a bad cold when we came back lasting for another eight days. And then her two big teeth burst out, another one week. Then, all my hard work of training her were wasted! Everything went back to zero. She couldn't fall asleep by herself, couldn't settle herself when she woke up in the middle of the night. She was standing up in the cot, screaming for mummy. Every night after 10 o'clock, she woke up crying every two hours.
I am back to work next week, and am really desperate and so upset and angry about myself. So, what's the point of sleep training?! Who said it only takes several days to go back to normal?!! Now I have been re-training her with tears for nearly two weeks. no improvement at all, if not getting worse.
Who could tell me what I should do? What did I do wrong? I just couldn't afford another four months long regression!

FATEdestiny Sat 30-Jan-16 22:36:08

I'm not sure you will want to hear this, but periods of "re-training" are likely to be needed for the next 4 or 5 years. Not really full-on re-retraining, but periods of a few days of tough love here and there.

When my children are poorly, rather than spending ages in their room when they are hurting I let then come snuggle in our bed. This might mean a 4 year old in my bed for a week until the sore throat goes. Then 6 months later in my bed for a few days with ear ache. Then a week of snotty nose and headache... and so on.

After all of these is "awww, but Mummy & Daddy's bed is so snuggly, I want to stay". And we have a period of getting up, back to bed, waking up, back to bed - tears and tough love to re-establish The Rules.

Same goes for other significant changes in routine. Late nights at Christmas. Complete change of routine on holiday. Sleepover week with Nana. These all upset the apple cart and child will resist going back to normal.

Once you have established with your child what 'The Rules' regarding bedtime and night time are - then the more you reaffirm them the easier and quicker they will be to re-establish.

But to have the expectation that you'll never need to use tough-love bedtime training ever again is a little unrealistic. It's only realistic if your bedtime/nighttime routines never change and you always maintain the same approaches and routines - even on holiday and when poorly etc.

Is that helpful? Or is it bloody awful to hear? I'm sorry flowers

If it is any consolation, if you are consist in approach it will get much easier and quicker each time you have to re-visit sleep training.

moonprayer Sun 31-Jan-16 13:13:01

Thank you FATE very much for your reply. I understand about the consistency, but then sometimes I do have doubt about whether I am using the right method. Previously I trained her with controlled crying and it took about three four days to work. But this time, it's been two weeks, it should have been working, right? I suspect she has some separation anxiety and maybe the old way is not working? I told myself it should be working within days, but now I am not sure this is working.... And I just couldn't bear more tears after these two weeks.. And cannot imagine it would be like this EVERY TIME when she gets some developmental milestones or traveling or illness....

FATEdestiny Sun 31-Jan-16 21:43:30

Ah right. I hadn't realised you meant controlled crying, I had assumed a gentle method because of her age.

In that case, did you set up an alternate mechanism for her to gain comfort and security in the night? I am thinking a snuggle toy she is really attached to, or a dummy, or both. Just something she can cuddle into when she needs some reassurance in the night if she wakes.

It sounds like you are her primary source of reassurance in the night. While all is well then she probably wasn't waking at all so didn't need any reassurance. But at the times when things are disturbed, she wakes and needs comfort, security and reassurance so she shouts for you.

I would set up a much gentler way to teach her that she doesn't need your reassurance to get back to sleep. Not by simply removing that comfort, but instead by slowly showing her that she needs you less and less.

A process called gradual withdrawal basically means giving her all of the reassurance she needs to be able to go to sleep in the cot, without being picked up, and stay giving that reassurance until asleep.

Then over time, slowly and gradually reduce the amount of reassurance she needs to get to sleep.

Reduce patting and shushing to just patting. Then just a firm hand on chest/back. Then firm hand at first, removed when settled. Then hand on chest briefly to resettle and retreat away from the bed, returning only if she stirs.

This is no quick fix. It will take time and patience. But rather than just removing her source of reassurance (ie you) this way teachers her she doesn't need your presence to feel secure and comforted, without denying her reassurance.

The good thing is that once done and out the other side, "revisits" after hiccups like your recent one are quick and easy to solve.

moonprayer Sun 31-Jan-16 22:17:51

Hi FATE, thank you so much. I really appreciate your detailed reply. It is very helpful. Yes I was using controlled crying when she was about eight months after four months of 'four months old regression'. I was a bit worried about it but still did in that way. I preferred the gradual method, but I remember when I tried on my first baby, I always got stuck in the middle stage and just couldn't move forward, as he was always needing some patting or he would just cry so I was never able to train him successfully. Even now he still needs to hold my hands for comforting (and he is three now). So, in general, is there a timeframe for the gradual withdrawal method? Roughly how long should it take? Three weeks? I am ok with that as long as I know it would work and wouldn't be just endless. Thank you again!

FATEdestiny Sun 31-Jan-16 22:29:32

Roughly how long should it take? Three weeks?

Eeek. Much longer than that.

It depends on the level of distress you are willing to create because it can be speeded up. But my way of doing it involves no distress at all, so every tiny change is only done when the previous change is fully established and the next step so small that it does not create any distress at all.

We started from newborn with my daughter and it took until she was 12 months to reach the point she could go from awake to asleep in her cot alone at bedtime and wake-ups.


You can speed up the whole process. Still being there to reassure her (rather than leaving her alone as with CC), but speeding up the steps to withdraw. It will create distress and crying, but the key thing is you stay with her always reassuring.

If you search for a thread called 'what worked for us', the opening post explains in detail how someone did a speeded up GW process with her older baby.

moonprayer Sun 31-Jan-16 22:39:33

I see you must be a very patient, loving and caring parent. I will give it a try, no matter how long it takes this time. Thank you for everything. Your words really bring me some confidence and mean a lot to me. All the best to you!

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