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Putting baby down when drowsy but awake

(22 Posts)
Absy Wed 08-Jun-16 17:09:11

Hi, I'm hugely confused about this and would like guidance / ideas.

DS is 3 months and at the last weigh in the midwife said I should be putting him down to sleep when he's drowsy but awake.
Generally DS sleeps quite well - at night he does a 4-6 hour stretch, feeds and then goes back to sleep for an hour or 2, another feed and then back to sleep again. During the day he is predictable at napping - every 1.5 to 2 hours he will conk out for half an hour to an hour. For daytime, he either sleeps in the sling (which I use as a chance to go out and do stuff, and the noise seems to soothe rather than bother him) or in his Moses basket, but I have to rock him to sleep. At night he has a routine, which generally ends with a feed and then he goes to sleep. He's EBF.
When I put him in the Moses basket, he's solidly asleep and until about 2 weeks ago, during the day he would only nap in the sling or in my arms, but now is happy with being put down (so I think he's developed to that stage).

After the midwife said this, I started trying to put him down when he was drowsy but he would wake up, so I basically did pick up / put down. It was kind of working until yesterday when he cried the whole time, fell asleep from exhaustion and then woke up crying. He then fed and fell asleep on my chest which makes me think he still needs that reassurance to sleep. When my DM has looked after him, she said he wakes up as soon as I leave the room.

I'm torn (I've been googling myself crazy) as on the one hand there's all these things saying the baby needs to learn to fall asleep on his own and settle, that it's better to do it around this age than have big problems later, and others saying that's bollocks and what the baby is learning is that if they cry their mother won't come. If he wakes up during the night (mid sleep cycle) he gets himself back to sleep again so I don't think he has issues with that.

Any advice? Sorry this is so long

WellErrr Wed 08-Jun-16 17:10:35

I've never met a baby this works for.

3 months is far too small for any kind of sleep training. Just breastfeed to sleep then put him in his cot. Easy peasy.

WellErrr Wed 08-Jun-16 17:11:24

Ps you will not be 'making a rod for your own back' etc. Mine were bf to sleep and were and are fantastic sleepers.

Absy Wed 08-Jun-16 17:13:56

That's what I was thinking - he's really young. The midwife was really insistent on it, and this is my first (so I'm generally clueless) so it threw me.

I'm just going to see how it goes and hopefully I won't be bouncing and feeding him to sleep when he's 18.

WellErrr Wed 08-Jun-16 17:15:53

You won't be!

If anything, feeding to sleep makes them associate going to sleep with comfort and love, rather than fear and confusion.

Follow your gut.

DartmoorDoughnut Wed 08-Jun-16 17:15:54

I fed to sleep and DS now goes down with no issues. Do whatever works for you

ThisIslandGirl Wed 08-Jun-16 17:17:56

I agree with WellErr. My DS is 6 months old and I have always bf him to sleep. He is now gradually taking himself off when awake, turning away and starting to go to sleep on his own. Not always but it's starting to happen more and more. I say if you are happy bfing to sleep just do it, save yourself the stress and ignore (my old HV was full of useless advice like this hmm)

MistressMerryWeather Wed 08-Jun-16 17:25:07

Even my ff DS's would take their bottle and fall asleep snuggled on me at 3 months. He sounds like he's has great little routine going and I wouldn't be messing with that.

It's a slightly old-fashioned attitude IMO, let her insist away. Just nod and smile if she brings it up again.

CarlGrimesMissingEye Wed 08-Jun-16 17:30:39

My son has gone down awake or drowsy and dropped off since he was tiny. But I know very few other kids who can do it. His sister couldn't go to sleep without us with her until she was nearly 3 despite trying very plan in al the books.

So what I'm saying is all kids are different. If he can't do it try remember babies are only tiny for a short while and this too shall pass.

Timetogrowup2016 Wed 08-Jun-16 17:53:58

His only 3 months bless him. All he knows is his mummy.
My health visitor suggested I leave my 3.5 month old to cry as long she knows mummy is their. I just nodded and said "ok" but I won't be doing that.
Your doing just fine by the sounds of it. At 3 months they barely know their not a part of you anymore.
Do what ever works for you

AliceInHinterland Wed 08-Jun-16 18:02:12

I didn't think midwives actually have much experience of older babies other than any of their own so I'd be inclined to think it's just her own personal opinion.

MonkeyBrainsInPickle Fri 10-Jun-16 14:47:28

I'm in the 'it's bollocks' camp. Three months is too young for most babies to self settle. I didn't do any sleep training with DD and she started self-setting all by herself at around 8 months-ish.

I never ask the Health Visitor for advice. I do do my own research and then do what I want. I'm pretty assertive when I see Health Visitors etc as the medical profession were bloody useless after DD was born and I have very little faith in them (another story for another time).

MumOnACornishFarm Fri 10-Jun-16 15:06:55

My DS 11 months still needs help to fall asleep, but that usually means a feed (bottle) then cuddling for 10 mins. So it's not a great hardship. Once he's asleep he's a brilliant sleeper (1 hour morning nap, 2 hour afternoon nap, solid 12 hours each night). I think he is now old enough to start slowly transitioning to fall asleep by himself, but I'm still not going to rush it.

I think you drew the short straw with your MW, as I did with my HV. After my HV insisting that my 9th percentile EBF newborn was overfed, I take everything with a pinch of salt. Your MW may have known hundreds of mothers & babies, but she doesn't know your baby better than you. Trust your instinct, you'll both be just fine.

Handsoffmysweets Fri 10-Jun-16 18:01:46

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. I've yet to meet a baby who could be put down 'drowsy' at that age without it being a real battle. At that age as others have said, they need love, reassurance and comfort and often that comes in the form of a nice cuddle and milk to sleep. In the grand scheme of things it's really not a big deal and I'm pretty sure you won't be doing this when LO is 21. Babies find their own way eventually. With all of mine they needed to be fed to sleep and then at different stages they started to feel happy to be left drowsy and then fully awake in their cribs. IMO it's one of my favourite things about being a mum. Snuggling up to your LO and watching them drop off to sleep in your arms after you know they're warm and well fed. The best and only piece of advice I ever listened to was from someone who told me (after the birth of DC1) 'do what feels right for you, don't worry about what anybody else is doing' x

Handsoffmysweets Fri 10-Jun-16 18:06:37

Oh and I'm saying this as someone who had a LO who required a right performance to go to sleep - bottle, swaddle, sway, sshhh, rock - everything short of a full on Irish jig. He grew out of it by 5 months and now asks to go to bed!

Gillian1980 Fri 10-Jun-16 21:30:10

My dd did this from 3-9 months with no training involved - she was so easy, just popped her in her cot and said night night and she'd go straight to sleep!

Then the dreaded sleep regression kicked in! Now I'm rocking her to sleep which often has to be attempted several times.

So, I wouldn't worry about it at all - even if your baby did go down drowsy but awake it could all change again (several times) over the next few months. I'd do whatever works for you both 😊

Absy Thu 16-Jun-16 17:48:42

Thanks all! That's the second HV / MW ego was s bit crap (I had another telling me 5 days pp that he might need to go to a and e as he'd lost too much weight, and was then surprised when I started crying ...)

I do need to trust him. He's managed to start going to bed earlier when I was worried it was too late and yes, feeding a baby to sleep and having them snuggle is not the worst thing in the world to do ... (It's probably one of the best)

Absy Thu 30-Jun-16 18:02:21

By way of an update if anyone has this issue in future:
We had to take a couple of can trips recently (normally just use public transport) and despite my best planning, DS was always awake but due a nap at the time. He doesn't like cars - he tends to cry when we're in them (London baby ... He prefers the tube). For the first can journey - he started crying a couple of minutes into the journey and I knew he was tired, but obviously couldn't pick him up. I just chatted calmly to him, and after a couple of minutes he fell asleep - for 2 hours! He got taken out of the car, was cooed over and photographed (we were at a wedding) and only briefly woke up when there was loud singing. A similar thing (though shorter nap) happened in a second car journey. I decided to try putting him down when drowsy and not rocking / feeding him to sleep on a day where he seemed OK (we've just been through two days of fever, but he's back to normal). First nap - he cried a bit so I picked him up, he calmed down, put him down - same thing about three times, but on the third he just closed his eyes and went to sleep. Next couple of naps - I put him down as he was falling asleep / just after and he quite happily stayed asleep. He's now just woken up halfway through a nap so I put a white noise on, he closed his eyes and is now fast asleep.

So - firstly I'm hoping this continues and secondly it seems that once a baby is ready to fall asleep on their own, they'll be able to do it (just watch out for signs that they're ready). Thank freaking goodness - I had visions of having to feed him to sleep when he goes to university! Thank you to all the posters for your advice! It really helped me to just wait until DS was ready (rather than when the health visitor said I should do it)

Absy Thu 30-Jun-16 18:02:45

I mean cab trips, not can

Fomalhaut Thu 30-Jun-16 19:13:56

Keep trying is my advice, but don't push it.

Ds was able to go down sleepy but awake between 4-6 months. After that he refused.

Keep giving him the opportunity to do it every few days, pop him in the cot and if he's relaxed, kiss good night and leave. If he gets upset go back in and resettle. He might surprise you. If he doesn't, don't make a battle of it - you'll just give him a fear of bedtime. Give him a chance to go it but if it's not working do whatever you need to!

Absy Thu 30-Jun-16 22:29:25

Thanks! I'm going to keep trying with daytime. Nighttime is more difficult as he tends to feed to sleep then, so for now I'll leave that as it is

Cakescakescakes Thu 30-Jun-16 22:32:55

Feeding to sleep is the biggest perk of breastfeeding. It's so peaceful and calm. Don't let anyone tell you it's a negative! All the babies I know (inc my own 2) just outgrew the need to be fed to sleep eventually.

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