Is the 'bad habits' view point old fashioned?(14 Posts)
I am new here and so utterly desperate for a solution to my baby's sleep 'problems'. She is almost six month and is breastfed. She used to be an amazing sleeper but since 4 months has begun waking anything from 2-5 (and sometimes more) times a night. She never sleeps longer than 40 minutes in the day, unless in the sling, where I can choose to bounce her back off to sleep when she wakes after her first sleep cycle if she still seems tired. My instinct was always that she was in bad habits and was used to being fed or bounced to sleep. However, I sought advice from la leche league and they said that 'bad habits' is an outdated concept and they advised to offer the breast first at every waking. Since adopting this approach, my baby has begun to wake even more often - every 90 minutes - and actually puked after the third feed at 1am last night. Surely this isn't right?! In the end, I patted her bum to sleep whilst she cried a bit (really tough for me) instead of feeding and she slept for 3 hours (a good stint for us). I am so confused and all I want to do is right by baby. I have become scared of the 'if you don't meet your child's needs at night it will damage your attachment' discourse/never let baby cry/co-sleep is best/always breast feed to sleep/you need to o change if our expectations & not your baby etc and don't know what to do! So is the bad habits theory outdated? Should i just put up with it for the good of my baby and struggle on? HELP
It's so hard! I think the bad habits/making a rod for your own back hing is a bit outdated BUT La Leche League obviously have their own agenda as well.
I know it's not much help, but is just say so what works for you. I think bum-patting and getting a three-hour stint sounds pretty good! With my DD, I cuddled her to sleep until she was about a year old, then spent another 6 months + sitting nearby and stroking her to sleep. Which is bonkers by some people's standards, but she almost always slept through, and now at almost two goes to bed quite cheerfully (yelling "sleep well, mum!").
It depends whether feeding to sleep is a problem for you. You need to look after yourself as well, and if your permanently knackered then find another way. If you're not bothered about it but just worried about creating bad habits, I wouldn't be. It won't be forever.
It is so hard, and every baby is different. I think we can all become bogged down by the advice we recieve. The best advice I can give you (sorry! More advice!) is to follow your instincts. Do what you feel your baby needs at that moment- be it a feed, nappy change or rocked to sleep. You can read their signs better than any book, as you are there with your baby at that moment.
Actually, that's a really helpful way of thinking about it. Thank you scarydinosaurs
Yes scarydinosaur that is really good advice
I agree with scary - we rocked and fed to sleep until about 10 months old when we tried putting her down and stroking her etc instead. She hated it so we stopped then tried agai a few weeks later. Rocking to sleep wasn't a problem for me and I wasn't going to make bed time stressful and tearful for no reason. She eventually accepted bring stroked to sleep and then gradually moved to the point where I could put her down and leave her to self settle. I think the worst 'habit' you can get into is making going to sleep a battle (sometimes it's unavoidable but if she's happy being rocked and so are you then why make a fight where there isn't one?)
Thank you ca55. I am happy to feed her to sleep once or twice a night but when I have fed her 3 times in 4 hours and she is not accepting any other way, it feels like an assault on my boobs! I do like the idea of keeping trying other ways until she is ready and I think I have already decided that feeding her every single time she wakes is not the approach and that it makes things worse, which is the 'bad habit' viewpoint which is supposed to be outdated! Argghhh!
I am not happy to rock her to sleep. It can take 20 minutes and then she is often awake 45 minutes later. It's not worth the effort! I would though do it if she stayed asleep. X
Bad habits don't matter if they work in your favour. The problem is that some parents are too anxious or not confident enough to fix bad habits when they become an issue.
I don't subscribe to rod for your back stuff but then I've always happily fixed these habits when they start to cause a problem. Kids are smart and flexible in my experience and with consistancy and confidence any habit can be redirected in a day or two.
We used to rock at first waking, and then often she'd fall back to sleep and then wake later wanting milk. It stretched out those night feeds. Growth spurts do mean their intake of milk can seem insane- but it soon passes.
My ds 1 was a terrible sleeper (think being rocked for 90 mins each night to get to sleep plus again during the night) . So much so that I banned anyone from holding ds2 to sleep. From day 1 he went into his got awake and self soothed.....until 4 months sleep regression, when he began waking and we brought him into our bed just to get some sleep. He does self settle now but still wakes every night and sleeps in our bed.
Do what you need to do. A very nice health visitor once told me that every single mammal species sleeps with their young in the nest- except humans. Babies are nocturnal at birth, obviously they will call out for you at night, it's a survival instinct. We tried to override it with ds2 but it didn't work. They are little for such a short time, I would suggest just do whatever gets you some sleep and comforts your baby.
(I say this even after a night of about 4 hours sleep with poorly baby!)
I think you can definately create bad sleeping habits in babies and children.
In my view the "problem" is that the Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting lobbies advocate a baby's dependence on mum to get to sleep, then set unrealistic expectations on the progress of that dependance (or "bad habit).
While bfing, sling, cosleeping will be grown out if eventually, it is likely to be around school age. Should a parent (mother) want to be less relied upon in the years before, it is likely she'll need to use a sleep tsininv method that causes distress. This goes completely against the AP ethos and therein is the paradox.
There are ways that you can encourage independant sleeping from the newborn phase without ever creating any distress. The most simplest of these methods is using a dummy. But there are loads of other techniques too.
Thank you all so much.
These replies have helped put it into perspective a bit. I also managed to get her to sleep in her cot for the first time in the day! A little bum patting, with some white noise and some sushing did the trick, along with an item of my clothing. There was a small amount of whinging but it was hardly anything and, more importantly, I was comfortable with it. Then I lay down next to the white noise and for the first time since she was born, got some sleep myself in the day time! Yes, she woke after half an hour, moaning, but I patted and shushed, she moaned a little more, and fell back to sleep! Now I have had a peaceful lunch. No sling. No sore legs from bouncing baby in it. Just a little while of me time
Thanks in particular for the advice 'do what works for you and comforts your baby' x
And the bit about having the confidence to change things x
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