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Sleep training (very gentle) hand hold please!

(28 Posts)
kittentits Sat 26-Mar-16 22:35:18

Baby is 13 months and since birth has coslept and breastfed to sleep. I'm not averse to continuing either practice (controversial - if you think I need to stop this thread probably isn't for you) but I do need a few hours in the evening to myself. We've managed to get to the stage where he doesn't need to be fed to sleep which is massive. He is a bottle refuser so night times were solely my job until about three months ago. He will now happily have a feed (which he sometimes refuses) while dh reads him and the 4 year old a story, then let dh rock him to sleep and put him down sleeping in his cot in our room. He will then sleep generally for a couple of hours (four at the absolute max), with dh going up to rock him if he wakes. There will come a certain point in the night (usually about 11pm but sometimes earlier) past which he will absolutely NOT SETTLE for anything other than boob, at which point I go up, and we cosleep and feed to sleep for the rest of the night, he wakes roughly every couple of hours until about 7am.

We've moved his cot into his own room now, working on the theory that being in our room is disturbing him - him smelling my milk, dh snoring etc.
What we are aiming for is not rocking or feeding him back to sleep, or at the very least pushing that stage back a little. He's a very full on baby during the day so feeding all night, and much of the day, is taking it out of me and leaving me less able to give time to my other children.

As I've been typing this, dh has been up with him, patting and shushing him to sleep. I think he was up there about half an hour. Baby was crying for most of it but I reassured myself he was not hungry or in pain, just a bit confused because this is new for him. I'm telling myself he NEEDS to sleep, we NEED to do this. I've never sleep trained before, my others haven't needed it but this one breaks the mould!

He's asleep now.

What's worrying me (sorry I know this is disjointed, I'm very tired) is that dh is able to be firm but gentle with him. His perseverance has led to him being able to nap without being fed to sleep (though it still has to be on one of us or in the car or pushchair and it's "when it happens" as opposed to routine) and go to bed without me. However he works shifts. More often than not he's here in the evenings, but on a late shift he doesn't get home until 10pm. This messes things up because the others play up more when he's not here, I have to deal with them all whilst trying to sort the baby and I'm just not sure if I can. He's SO attached to breastfeeding, I'm worried if I try to settle him it won't work and he will just scream and scream until I feed him, at which point I will have undone any progress we have made.
Also on an early shift he starts at 7.30am, I'll feel like crap if he's been up settling the baby all night then has to get up and work!

I really am rambling now. I think I'm just looking for reassurance that we are doing the right thing, tips from those who have been in this situation (and again, if you sleep trained from birth and don't believe in Co sleeping - good for you but not relevant here) and some hand holding please!

kittentits Sat 26-Mar-16 22:36:01

Crap I meant to post this in sleep topic. Will get it moved. Sorry.

BertieBotts Sat 26-Mar-16 22:40:05

Ahh don't worry.

Have you read The No Cry Sleep Solution? That's excellent for the kind of thing you're looking to change.

If you've tried everything in there and it isn't working, or you want the short cut, look up Jay Gordon's nightweaning (it's online). That one does involve some crying but it's breastfeeding and co-sleeping friendly. And it's written in a lovely reassuring way.

Good luck, whatever you decide.

Coldtoeswarmheart Sat 26-Mar-16 22:42:14

DD was an utter nightmare. We found that DH could settle her better than I could, as she expected to feed back to sleep with me.

I was truly going to completely break down if it carried on (I'd gone back to work and was beyond sleep deprived) so I ended up doing what DH told me he did. DD was nowhere near as settled with me and she did do a lot of crying, but finally settled down at about 15 months, which (coincidentally?) was when she self-weaned.

Coldtoeswarmheart Sat 26-Mar-16 22:43:16

And YY to the No Cry Sleep Solution book - that's what we worked from too.

northdownmummy Sat 26-Mar-16 22:48:47

Watching this thread because I think that'll be me in a few months. Looking to steal any advice now to malt it easier to stop boobing to sleep

cakesonatrain Sat 26-Mar-16 22:53:58

I think you are doing a reasonable thing.
However, it's not terrible to still co-sleep/feed to sleep if that works. I know it means it's always you, but if baby needs shushing /rocking that's just as time-consuming.

RufusTheReindeer Sat 26-Mar-16 23:01:07

Co slept with ds1 til he was just over a year old and breast fed til 18 months

We really stuggled with getting him to sleep and eventually did 3 days of sleep training, he cried for about 20 mins the first night. We both agreed that we would only let him cry for a set amount of time, and agreed 30. minutes. Dh was having to hold me down, i was crying as much as ds1

10 minutes the 2nd night and 5 on the third...ish. If the 2nd night hadnt gone well i think i may have given up

He stayed in his cot in our room for another few months and then moved into his own room

He didnt really seem to stir much in the night...but i am quite a deep sleeper so if he did whimper i may not have noticed

Hope it goes ok for you

kittentits Sat 26-Mar-16 23:01:41

I will look up the No Cry Solution, that sounds like my ideal! I am soft, I know this. If it were entirely down to me I would just keep going on like this until he gave up of his own free will but as a family we can't sustain it.

RevoltingPeasant Sat 26-Mar-16 23:09:57

OP I was in a similar situation about 6 mis ago, though DD was younger.

One night my mum was over. I was heading off up the stairs to see to DD and she looked at me like I was mad. "That baby is tired, in her bed where she should be, and not hungry or in pain. So finish your dinner and leave her be. She's fine."

It was very hard because I was used to always going to her. I'd tried NCSS too. It made a bit of difference. My mum got me to listen to her cries and realise they were tired cries, not distressed ones.

I left her. She settled after a bit. She slept through that night. And, every night since except when teething. She wakes up perhaps once for milk around 4-5 am but has recently dropped even that. Honestly that one night was like a bloody revelation.

I mean this kindly but a 13 mo does not need milk in the night. It's a habit thing now.

There is nothing in the world wrong with a comfort habit of nursing BUT it's knackering you. Iiwy I'd put DC in a cot in your room, so there is still the closeness, and have a nursing ban from bedtime to say 3-4 am, at least. No rocking etc , a loving comforting bedtime routine, then pop into cot, cherry night night and downstairs.

I bet you'd see a big difference in a few days.

kittentits Sat 26-Mar-16 23:20:33

cakes this is where I'm coming from. I'd happily carry on but a) it HURTS sometimes, and like many other things it's so much worse in the middle of the night when everyone else is sleeping. I have felt like crying sometimes. And b) nobody gets enough sleep. It works in as much as he goes back to sleep without crying, but he then wakes up again and again and again, my sleep is broken, as is his.

Also I have a friend's wedding coming up. It would be the end of the friendship if I didn't go. As it is I'm planning on taking my parents to look after him during the ceremony, and skipping the reception so I can be with him. Which probably won't go down well but it's the best I can do under the circumstances. I don't want it to be a thing forever because people will lose all understanding. I have very few friends anyway I can't lose them all!

He's still asleep...

kittentits Sat 26-Mar-16 23:27:12

Revolting I can see sense in that. We can't put him in our room now, we've just moved house and no longer have room for his cot in our room.

He'd scream if he was left, he absolutely would, and I can't deal with it. I know it's tired cries, I know he's not hungry but I still just can't leave my baby to cry. Aside from that it's not fair on the others, they need their sleep.

I do appreciate your perspective and absolutely agree that it's just habit, it's just a hard one to break when he's not old enough to understand.

RevoltingPeasant Sat 26-Mar-16 23:33:47

OP flowers it's super tough and there is no right way

I felt thr same as you but I was going back to work in a v demanding job and NEEDED sleep.

Don't underestimate your own need for sleep. Just make sure you take care of you.

kittentits Sun 27-Mar-16 02:00:51

Hoping someone is still up. He's just woken up and I decided to go and try. DH is here and willing but I know if I put it off I will end up leaving it all to him then not coping when he's not here and I have to. I don't know how long it took, it felt like ages, but I did it!! I didn't pick him up, I shushed him and gently patted his tummy, stopping him from rolling onto his knees and getting up. He was angry but I knew he was still tired because he was doing the sort of groany cry he does when he's being rocked to sleep. After a while I sat down on the floor next to his cot and carried on the patting. The shushing seemed to annoy him so I stopped that. He slowly got quieter and quieter, a few loud outbursts when he started to drop off but was fighting it, then he eventually gave in and went to sleep. I made the patting more gentle then stopped altogether. Then crept out of the room. At no point was he so upset that I couldn't handle it, I knew it was just tiredness. DH says it was about 20 minutes, which means things are going in the right direction because his turn took about half an hour.

I'm now wondering what I do about naps tomorrow. Part of me thinks it is too much for him to move house and stop feeding to sleep altogether in one go so I should let him feed to sleep for naps. But then I think that might confuse him that I do it in the day but not at night, and it might make nights harder. Help, anyone?

Jillyonaplate Sun 27-Mar-16 03:42:44

Well done - that's fantastic! I would be tempted to not feed to sleep for tomorrow's nap after tonight's success.

kittentits Sun 27-Mar-16 07:38:43

So! There were lots of wake ups last night. None took more than about 15 mins to settle him, some were more like 5 mins. He's fast asleep now, having last woken about about 5. 10. I think I am going to do the same for naps, it wouldn't feel right feeding him to sleep in the day but not night. I will try to stick to a big feed in the morning and one before bed. It's the holidays so I don't have any school runs to do, hopefully by the time school starts again he will be in more of a routine. Four year old does afternoons at school which makes things tricky.

I'm so tired today but feeling pretty proud of myself and him!

Wish me luck fir today and thanks so much for your support last night!

NotWithoutMyMerkin Sun 27-Mar-16 07:52:56

Night weaning will fix it for you - offer bottled milk or water by no breast after bedtime.

Imo whilst we can be logical about babies crying "they're safe, warm, dry, fed" babies are not capable of this logic themselves. They just want comfort and it is bloody unfair to not give it as they may well be frightened and unable to calm themselves.

We night weaned but continued to cuddle and give lots and lots and lots of reassurance. Within a week she had stopped waking for milk and was able to resettle herself almost every time

kittentits Sun 27-Mar-16 08:19:08

Oh and for the first time EVER he's not had so much as one night feed. I went to him for every wake up since dh is on the early shift today and it really wasnt as bad as I was expecting.

I think I will let him fall asleep on me today but not feed him to sleep.

He's still in bed! I'm pottering around surrounded by boxes and bags, trying to find new homes for things, and he's snoring away! I won't let him sleep in too long but right now I'm just marvelling at the freedom!

kittentits Sun 27-Mar-16 08:23:09

Merkin a week is great! I think you're right, the feeding is the key. The four year old had already been sleeping through and night weaned for months by the time he went into his own bed, it was just cosleeping and he moved out when he started showing us that he wanted more space,he was about 10 months. Took a couple of weeks to adjust but he was fine when he went into his own room.

MangosteenSoda Sun 27-Mar-16 08:40:43

I started by writing off a few nights- not an issue as I hardly got any sleep anyway - and would only feed DS after X number of hours from previous feed. I started at 3 hours. When he woke up before that , I held and comforted him, but didn't feed.

Once he started waking closer to 3 hours, I made the new target 4 hours. Quite a process, but it worked.

Creampastry Sun 27-Mar-16 09:42:09

I did the Gina ford method....it was tough and I gave in a few times but once I cracked it, it was worth it! I also increased my alcohol intake significantly too during the process!! It's bloody hard but you can do it!

BeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 27-Mar-16 12:42:16

Hi all - we're just moving this over to Sleep for the OP.

kittentits Sun 27-Mar-16 14:20:42

Thanks Becca flowers

Today is going well, really well! I made the decision to put him down for naps, as I figured it would be too confusing for him otherwise. After having to wake him up just after half past eight this morning, he was more cheerful than he has been in a while. About two hours after he first got up he was getting stressy so I took him upstairs, laid him in bed and shush patted him. About five minutes and a bit of groaning later he was asleep. A blissful 45 minutes, which is about standard for his morning nap.
Then this afternoon we went out for a walk in the buggy, dropped the 4 year old off at party. He looked tired while we were out so I put him down again not long after we got home. A bit more crying this time but still only took about ten minutes before he was asleep, he's been down about half an hour now.

Sorry I know this is boring but I really am amazed at how simply (I won't say easily, I'm still not keen on hearing him cry, and it's tiring sitting on the floor patting him) this is going. I really hope it lasts because it really will change our lives.

BertieBotts Sun 27-Mar-16 14:44:48

Keep going! <waves pompoms>

weebairn Sun 27-Mar-16 18:22:45

We night weaned DD2 at 14 months old. We had to anyway as I work night shifts.

We did it very very slowly and gently. it took about 2 months. She was feeding about 4 times in the night. We started by identifying a milk-free time - initially I think it was midnight-3am. If she woke for any reason in that time my boyfriend would settle her, or try, in the spare room. Gradually we extended, first to the evening, then to the morning.

He offered water in a sippy cup, and cuddles, and mainly co-slept with her for those months. The rest of the time she was in her cot - she now almost always sleeps in her cot in her sister's room (sister thankfully sleeps like the dead). There were some tears. But he was always with her.

A month after she stopped feeding at night she stopped waking too. Could have been coincidence. Life has been transformed… She is 18 months now. We still bf, but only in the morning, so my evenings are unrestricted.

I work shifts so sometimes miss bedtimes and mornings and nights, so we kind of had to do some of it, but I wanted to anyway as I was tired, and after a year I figured we could do it in a way that met her needs and mine (like you I was all about the bf and co-sleeping with a young baby).

Happy to answer any questions as it did work well for us, though it was not an overnight thing.

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