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How long should I leave my baby to self-settle?

(47 Posts)
mallorcanmummy Tue 19-Jul-16 19:33:35

To clarify, I am NOT talking about leaving him crying.

My DS is 14 wo. Everything I've read talks about not leaving them crying, which I don't do, and don't want to do. I can't find any information on what to do with a baby who is happy to be put in his cot while sleepy, but then takes ages to actually go to sleep!

I put him down at night (after bath, boob and look at a book) when sleepy, and when sleepy for a nap during the day. If I time it exactly right, which is rare, he will go off in 5 mins or so. But usually, it will take maybe 15, or up 50 30mins before he sleeps. In this time, he wriggles, grunts and talks to himself and is starting to suck/cuddle his blankie toy. He sounds a bit frustrated but he gives me a big smile when i go to check him. In fact, he seems happier to be in his cot than in my arms. He often gets angry if I pick him up to 'help' him/rock him to sleep. I usually sit on the floor where he can't see me and get up to give him a stroke/kiss every now and again. Sometimes he takes the dummy, but not always and sometimes he will take it after 20mins or so and then goes off quite quickly. If he does start crying, I always pick him up and usually rock him to sleep.

I feel guilty for leaving him there so long, even though he is happy enough. Should I rock him to sleep, which is always quicker, but we have to get through a few minutes of angry crying, or leave him for possibly half hr/40mins?

So far tonight, it's been 30 mins and I can tell he's getting frustrated but he cries more when I pick him up. I'm tempted to offer him the boob again to calm him down. He won't fall asleep on it, he never does.

Any advice? I'm not sure what to do! Thanks?

DowntonDiva Tue 19-Jul-16 19:42:59

Sounds like he's happy but just takes time to fall asleep? If so I'd be tempted to leave him to it, keep an eye on him with a monitor and let him self settle.

LBOCS2 Tue 19-Jul-16 19:45:28

I think I would leave him until he falls asleep, as long as he's not upset.

mallorcanmummy Tue 19-Jul-16 19:50:52

Sorry, I forgot to say, he naps for EXACTLY 45 mins at a time during the day, every time. So it's frustrating that I often spend as long as he sleeps for trying to get him to sleep!

To update tonight, I gave him boob for a couple of minutes before he cried so I burped him, then I rocked him to sleep in less than 5 mins with the dummy before the dummy fell out and I put him in the cot.

PotteringAlong Tue 19-Jul-16 19:52:47

As long as he's happy, be happy to leave him to it. I would always pick them up if they're distressed.

DoodleCat Tue 19-Jul-16 19:53:27

Leave him if he's happy, why would you intervene?! Both of mine won't go to sleep on their own so I really encourage you to encourage this behaviour!! If he cries then go but otherwise enjoy the peace :-)

Can you tell i wish mine were the same... 😃

mallorcanmummy Tue 19-Jul-16 19:54:19

Thanks for the replies. That's generally how I feel too. Do you think I might be putting him down too early? Maybe read another story before putting him in the cot?

And might I be 'restarting' his process by picking him up every now and again? Would it be better to just leave him completely but obviously keep an eye on him?

mallorcanmummy Tue 19-Jul-16 19:55:58

Doodle I know I should be happy, and I am! and I know I'm incredibly lucky! It's just that it takes soooo long sometimes!

MiddleClassProblem Tue 19-Jul-16 19:57:55

He's not in any harm, he's just doing his thing, just let him be and see what happens. It's hard to to interfere sometimes but you just have to wait some things out. Maybe find something you can do to distract yourself.

LBOCS2 Tue 19-Jul-16 19:58:22

No, I think there's nothing wrong with a child learning how to unwind, themselves, with no stimulus. So what if it takes him 45 minutes to sleep? Sometimes it takes me 45 minutes to sleep! My 13wk old spent almost an hour looking at the leaves of a tree I'd parked her under today, she wasn't fussing so I left her to it.

mallorcanmummy Tue 19-Jul-16 20:03:26

Yes, MiddleClassProblem Finding something to distract myself with would be a good idea. My DH keeps telling me that too. It's hard though.

I know I'm being ridiculous, and probably a bit of an overthinking first-time Mum, but I think it's a bit of attachment parent type guilt, as in 'he should be in arms most of the time' etc.

villainousbroodmare Tue 19-Jul-16 20:05:58

I definitely wouldn't pick the baby up as long as they are not upset. DS is the same and often chats to himself for an hour. Also don't rush to pick up when they wake up at that typical 45 min mark. Judge the mood and try replacing the soother and lying them down if they seem dozy and mellow.

mallorcanmummy Tue 19-Jul-16 20:07:34

LBOCS2 Yep, DS is happy to do that for that long too!.

I need to give myself a good talking to, tell myself I'm lucky I've got such an 'easy' / 'independent' / 'whatever you want to call it' baby, relax and let him do his thing as MCP said.

Thank you all for reassuring me! Now I"m off for a wine

MiddleClassProblem Tue 19-Jul-16 20:08:55

Don't worry, it's a common way to feel. When DD went in her own room for the first time I just stared at the monitor all night. She didn't give a crap. Get a book, do some sketching, colouring, knitting, crosswords, whatever might give you even a minute to pop your brain else where to not check the monitor, look over (depending on where you are). Before you know it, you won't be able to remember it any other way x

mallorcanmummy Tue 19-Jul-16 20:10:05

villainous yes, I think I do pick him up too soon after his naps. Sometimes he seems wide awake and smiley, but there are definitely times when he could do with longer. Today he woke up after his 45mins, a bit grizzly, DH picked him up for a cuddle before he went back to work, gave him to me then I spend about an hour getting him back down for another 45mins! grrr...

Jenijena Tue 19-Jul-16 20:12:51

My 15 week old will gurgle for only 5 minutes before full on crying and has never gone from gurgling to sleep, so consider yourself lucky!!!

mallorcanmummy Tue 19-Jul-16 20:13:57

Ooh, good idea MCP I blew up some of Millie Marotta's animal postcards to colour and frame for DS' room while on Maternity leave before he arrived but didn't finish them. I'd forgotten all about them. I'll get back on it.

mallorcanmummy Tue 19-Jul-16 20:15:47

jenijena I do! I really do. I often tell DH that. Especially when DS does have a bit of a meltdown and DH panics as we aren't really used to it!

Iggi999 Tue 19-Jul-16 20:18:36

Is he sleeping on his own? That is something if do at 14 weeks but presumably you've made your own assessment of the risks.
(I mention it as I genuinely didn't know about the recommendation to keep them with you when asleep for dc1)

DollyBarton Tue 19-Jul-16 20:18:58

Leave him to it and go grab a well earned glass of wine as you crack into a box set. If you have the monitor on you don't need to be checking often either. Let him sleep. He'll make it VERY clear when he actually needs you. Sounds like you have a great baby!

DownstairsMixUp Tue 19-Jul-16 20:19:43

Honestly you are doing fine. My youngest ds is 2 in August and has done that since about that age to, he only just fell asleep and often sings to himself now whereas it used to be grunts/coos. Think it is just their way of settling themselves. As long as they arent crying it's not a problem.

crayfish Tue 19-Jul-16 20:22:39

DS was the same, I just left him to it (and had a much needed rest myself!). As long as he wasn't crying and seemed content I didn't worry. Occasionally it took him nearly an hour to sleep but it gradually came down, although even now he's one it can be 15 minutes. I also take a long time to get to sleep so I figure he takes after me!

Have you read anything by Janet Lansbury/Magda Gerber? I thought I wanted to practice attachment parenting but found it very hard when my DC got older and started to get more challenging. I've found a respectful approach to be much more my style and frees me of a lot of the guilt and self doubt I had with the attachment style.

Having had terrible sleeping babies - 1 truly horrific who needed rocking, walking, shushing, feeding, you name it about 18 hours a day - who have taken years to learn how to 'fall' asleep for various reasons and still often need a mammoth amount of winding down I would say you are doing exactly the right thing in leaving your baby to it (and I say that as someone who opened the thread thinking don't leave your baby because I assumed they'd be crying) - I would say the best thing you can do is try and relax, take your time and maybe read another story if it helps and find something to focus on while your baby settles (kindle/YouTube/MN) so you are just being present rather than 'getting' him to sleep. It sounds like you've been blessed with a child who is able to fall asleep without too much assistance. In my experience this is rare but if you read some of the Janet Lansbury stuff it may just be that you are in tune with what your baby needs even though it feels like you 'should' be doing more. Have a Google and start feeling more confident in your parenting skills wink

villainousbroodmare Tue 19-Jul-16 20:24:53

I read somewhere - dunno how true it is - that whatever you are doing to get your infant to sleep at three months, you are likely to be doing for the next two years. So I decided to keep it as simple as possible: say goodnight, into the cot, white noise giraffe, dummy, fluffy rabbit, walk out.
I will go back as many times as necessary and say sssshh and replace the dummy, maybe place him lying down, but I never take him out of the cot unless he's really crying (v rare) or has a dirty nappy (rarer still). Obviously if he's unwell it's different.
My (fantastic) mother looked after him during the day for a couple of weeks and absolutely couldn't bear to hear a single murmur. So she started a series of comforting tricks like lullabies and buggy rides and a little thing that projects penguin lights onto the ceiling. It then became hard to get back to our simple routine but she would be the first to say now that the less you interfere, the better.

Itsaplayonwords Tue 19-Jul-16 20:29:26

I agree that you are lucky to have a baby who is happy to do this but at the same time I understand your desire to go to him. DD1 still has trouble self soothing now at 2 1/2 and that's because we constantly cuddled, rocked and fed her to sleep. If DD2 (4 weeks) will happily lay in her cot then I will remind myself of the alternative in order to stop myself from going to her. I think you could be right that each time you go to him you're in effect restarting the process. Maybe try leaving him and see if he'll settle any quicker. If you're concerned that he might be bored while he's laying awake then maybe get a mobile if you don't have one already.

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