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How do I get my 8 month old to self soothe? Or just bloody sleep?

(21 Posts)
lilyb84 Mon 19-Sep-16 16:14:00

He starts at a childminder in 4 weeks and currently only naps by feeding to sleep, or being held in the sling, which obviously isn't going to work when I'm not there to do either of those things. He used to sleep in his pram but currently hates that so it's a no go. He also feeds to sleep at night and then wakes every 1-2 hours most nights, 3 if I'm lucky. He 'feeds' at each wake and cries if I don't give him boob.

I need him to be able to self settle but honestly am at a loss as to how to do this. Last night I tried putting him in his cot awake. He cried, continued to cry through all my patting, shushing and cuddling, until he was screaming bloody murder even though I was holding him. He didn't stop until I offered boob, then calmed down. I waited a few minutes until he was clearly just sucking then transferred him to the cot. He cried. I picked him up and cuddled him, put him down and he cried. Repeated twice more and he eventually went to sleep. But he was still sobbing in his sleep and I was in pieces by that point.

I just tried to get him off for a daytime nap. Put him in his cot, he screamed. Pick up, cuddle, repeated until again he was screaming regardless of me holding him and I had to offer boob. I then tried to transfer him to the cot when he'd finished but he immediately woke and started screaming. Cuddle and repeat until I just gave up and he's now wide awake despite being very tired and clearly needing a nap.

Please somebody help, I feel awful doing this to him and am clearly not doing it right! How on earth do you get babies to self settle?!

FATEdestiny Mon 19-Sep-16 18:32:43

How on earth do you get babies to self settle

Children need something to help them feel comforted enough to sleep right through until about school age If not breastfeeding to sleep, you first need a plan of what you intend to replace that with.

Dummies are the world's greatest invention for independent no-crying sleep. Otherwise something else to suck - toy, muslin, fingers. And/or something to cuddle, but I'm my experience this takes until around 12 months to establish.

Once a plan for alternate comfort is in place, then work on replacing bf with the new comforter.

Your op suggests you are rushing things. A jump from being bf to sleep in mums area to bring expected to sleep alone in cot away from mum and without sucking - that's all a step too much.

Start off aiming to unlatch just before asleep then cuddle to sleep. Next step just cuddling to sleep without bf. Next step is working in how asleep baby is when being out in cot.

lilyb84 Mon 19-Sep-16 18:42:00

Thank you - I keep getting told to put him in his cot and leave him but hadn't thought about an in-between step. He does cuddle to sleep occasionally so we're partway there, although usually he needs to feed first. I've never managed more than one successful cot transfer in daytime after feeding or cuddling to sleep in 8 months although he will sometimes happily be rolled onto the bed next to me. I'm just feeling the pressure now I'm going back to work in 4 weeks - nothing I've tried in 8 months has worked and I just don't see it happening. Thanks for your advice smile

Raaaaaah Tue 20-Sep-16 12:37:15

Just a bit reassurance. We have three kids. I think that you will find that DS will be just fine and most likely better with the childminder than you. Just be really open with the childminder from the outset. I personally wouldn't go near a dummy now. The only one of my children who has had a dummy is the youngest and she is by far the worst sleeper. We are in the process of getting rid of it at the moment as although it helped her get off to sleep she was waking every 40 mins for it.

Rachyabbadabbadoo Tue 20-Sep-16 12:43:30

Poor you, my DD was exactly the same. Tried controlled crying but it never worked, same result you had. Once you've managed to settled him without feeding it might be worth looking up "managed retreat". Its a better way of settling babies who find it hard to self-soothe, and involves moving from cuddling, to putting them in the cot but staying close by (my little one used told my hand for ages!), and then moving further away. I too was so worried about leaving DD with a childminder as she was very fussy about where she had her naps, but it will and does work out!

lilyb84 Tue 20-Sep-16 13:51:38

Thanks all - I was feeling good about it until we met with the childminder on Saturday and she seemed quite firm on him needing to be able to settle himself. He fed to sleep earlier today and once again I couldn't transfer him even after a long cuddle - he just wants to be on or next to me when I'm here! I think you're right that I'll just need to be honest with the childminder and ask her to help for the first couple of weeks. I'll look into managed retreat as well but he literally screams the minute I put him down regardless of cuddling etc unless it's night and he's down for his 'long' sleep (hahaha) at which point a herd of elephants wouldn't wake him. Sadly he only reaches that stage once a day grin

fluffikins Tue 20-Sep-16 15:14:31

You are paying your childminder so they need to be respectful of your parenting methods to a certain degree. If he doesn't self settle and you don't want to go through controlled crying then you shouldn't have to. He will adapt to the childminder setting but may still need some support from them, which they should offer.

My dd only fed or was rocked/pram walked to sleep but at nursery she can be held to sleep quite easily and then transferred into a bed.

If you're not happy with their approach id start looking for a new childminder or be very firm with how you want your child being soothed to sleep

sianihedgehog Tue 20-Sep-16 15:29:41

It's developmental - they get there in time even if you do nothing to help! And your childminder will have a thousand tricks from experience. My boy only fed to sleep or slept in the pram when he went to the childminder but she managed to cuddle him to sleep and rock him in the pram, and even put him in the cot sleepy and have him settle himself.

lilyb84 Tue 20-Sep-16 15:50:29

You're right, I need to be firm - something I'm not great at but clearly I need to grow some mummy balls. She was also saying he'll need formula during the day (he's exclusively bf at present and I won't have time to express - if I could even get him to drink from a bottle/cup...) which is something else I wasn't planning on doing and has now got me very stressed as he won't take a bottle or cup and has no interest in formula! Time to be a bit more assertive I think...

Thanks for your reassurance and advice.

fluffikins Tue 20-Sep-16 19:25:38

How old is he?

Have you tried a straw cup? Mine went for one of those after refusing ALL bottles. I did express but only needed to provide 1-2 cups belt that was because she was nearly 1. But because it was MY milk in it she treated those cups like a security blanket at nursery which was quite sweet and helped her.

If you're going back to work they legally need to give you time to express and a place to do it

lilyb84 Tue 20-Sep-16 20:03:45

I've bought every kind of cup under the sun. But in fairness I haven't tried bm in any of them recently - he did take some from a sippy cup once or twice a few months ago.

My problems are a) not having time to express at work as it's going to be hard enough doing my job in the hours between dropping my ds off and picking him up (I'm in London with an almost 3 hour total commute) so I'm going to be pretty much working through breaks as it is. Plus pumps are so bloody expensive! But maybe I do need to start looking into this as an option and working on him taking bm from a cup. He's 8 months old today and will be 9 months just about when I go back.

tiredybear Tue 20-Sep-16 22:02:34

yes, definitely be more assertive, the child minder is working for you and should be experienced enough to come up with solutions with you, not give you orders!

I think self soothing comes a lot lately, your LO is still quite little. My 17mo still can't self soothe! Could the child minder wear them in a sling to get them off to sleep for naps?

Avebury Tue 20-Sep-16 22:06:35

I don't want to stress you out but have you definitely clicked with this childminder? She sounds quite rigid and not very reassuring and that's the last thing you need when you are transitioning back to work.

lilyb84 Wed 21-Sep-16 09:50:55

That makes me feel a lot better tiredybear!

Avebury I'll be honest, no, I haven't clicked with her - but my husband really likes her and her setting, her references were absolutely glowing (both mums I spoke to said she's like a home from home and will help with anything we need help with) and we're a bit limited for choice in terms of location - there aren't many childminders in the area who are located conveniently for my commute. Given what other mums have said I'm hoping that when it comes to it I'll get more of a warm feeling from her! At the very least I'm going to try to stick to her routine for food and naps for the next few weeks so my ds is used to eating and sleeping at the same times he will be there. Having spoken to friends with older children I've heard a lot of stories of babies not sleeping for the first week and being total nightmares then finally managing to fall asleep by themselves when they need to so I live in hope!

fluffikins Wed 21-Sep-16 19:09:54

Id try bm in a cup, if he takes to it you can slowly mix in formula a teaspoon at a time or something until he's on formula, if that's what you want but if you want to continue bf then your work should support you in expressing. If he's full time bf you'll need to buy a pump anyway otherwise you'll explode and get mastitis if you go cold turkey

fluffikins Wed 21-Sep-16 19:10:32

You may also want to prepare yourself for reverse cycling

lilyb84 Wed 21-Sep-16 20:22:41

Thanks! I've been trying to cut down feeds in the day with the aim that he'll be just on solids and water while at the childminder with bf just morning and evening (and probably all night). Others have told me they've done this and my mum seemed okay with the idea when I mentioned it - she's a health visitor. But the childminder said he'd need some milk even if just as a comfort, and of course the whole time he's with me he wants boob on demand and gets really upset if he doesn't get it so I'm struggling to reduce the amount of feeds in the day. Think I'm going to have to express after all - I guess the hassle will be outweighed by me not having to try giving him formula.

Sorry, I've derailed my own sleep thread with all this feeding talk grin

fluffikins Wed 21-Sep-16 20:37:27

How old is he? 8/9 months? Id take it at a week at a time. If it helps mine are no solids and took no bottle when she went to nursery but was fine and now she eats like a horse. She's allergic to cows milk so has no milk at all during the day as she hates the replacements.

Believeitornot Wed 21-Sep-16 20:41:12

Just do what works for you at home. Don't engage with this chat with your childminder as he will settle differently for her.
I spent a longtime getting ds used to a cot from 9 months (feed to sleep then in the cot). When we got a nanny he settled likes dream for her and still didn't for me grin

Don't ignore your instinct though. If you don't click with your cm then revisit your feelings and change if need be. Despite what your dh says!

Blueskies32 Wed 21-Sep-16 21:46:50

My baby refused formula/bottles but at 9 months I tried again with a bit of banana mixed in, had a few sips, offered this every afternoon, less banana each time, now happy to just drink formula- Just an idea

teancakepls Sat 24-Sep-16 09:22:54

My 10 month old started at nursery 3 weeks ago- sounds exactly like your LO- only boob to sleep or pram, and flatly refused formula in a bottle. But nursery has managed to get him to sleep and they've even got him to have a bottle once a day! They have ways of making it work.

My advice is to relax and enjoy these last few weeks of maternity leave. Your LO will be fine. And the childminder sounds a little too overbearing, IMO.

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