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HELP. Back to work, baby won't settle.

(8 Posts)
RedLemonade Wed 16-Nov-16 11:58:50

I've been posting in dribs and drabs about this and got good advice but I really need a solid plan and some inspiration.

I'm back to work in 3 weeks. It's 9-1 five days a week. I have a 2yr old DD1 and a nearly 4 month old DD2. We have a lovely PT nanny who has minded DD1 at home since she was tiny and she'll be looking after both when I return to work.

Problem is DD2 will only nap in sling or on me if BF or rocked to sleep (by me). We got into mainly sling naps as it's quick and easy and least disruptive to DD1 plus DD2 needs LOTS of naps.
Not unusual for her age, she lasts 40-60 mins awake before needing sleep, then naps 30-45 mins or so.
So until naps consolidate that's potentially 3-4 naps while I'm at work depending on length.

It's just too much to have CM spending an age trying to settle her. Not fair on DD1 either.

I don't know what to do.

Sling is out as CM can't use for various valid reasons. DD1 won't relax in her arms (so far anyway) so rocking to sleep would prob not work. Only other option is bouncer or buggy but she has so far worked herself into an overtired mess when we attempt either and I just don't know which if any to persist with.

I think maybe buggy would be best? (That's what we did for DD1, though she was happy in buggy from the off.) Then at least CM can be in same room as DD1 and DD2 won't be overstimulated by light and toys? So should I just try buggy for most/all naps for next few weeks and suck up the crying? I hate having to put her through this. Sleep training in general is not for me and she's so so little it's just cruel but I just feel so pressured by return to work deadline.

Sorry for epic post. I'm just tired and so sad about it and getting myself into a bit of a state. I really need help with making a workable plan and sticking to it.

Any advice would be much appreciated sad. Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read thisflowers

FATEdestiny Wed 16-Nov-16 13:02:51

Sleep training in general is not for me and she's so so little it's just cruel but I just feel so pressured by return to work deadline.

I completely understand that. It's the returning to work deadline that's the big pressure here.

It's all very well reading my baby-led-take-your-time posts on no-distress ways to develop good sleeping habits, but I can do things with baby at a slower pace without any time pressures.

We live in the Tal works and your real world has a set of indisputable facts:

- you are not going to be there to settle baby to sleep in the mornings
- your baby will need to go to sleep during that time
- your nanny can't or is unsuccessful using current settling techniques
- other settling techniques makes her get worked up and distressed.

So really, Step 1 is accepting the situation as it is. Shes got to sleep and getting to sleep is going to be hard because she'll cry.

Step 2 is ensuring your nanny accepts this and that you both trust each other to do your best for the children even If that means baby getting very worked up.

It will be no good for your nanny if your expectations are unrealistic. She needs to be able to say to you things like "baby really struggled today, screamed loads and hasn't had enough sleep", without you guilt-tripping about this. It's a basic fact of your situation.

So on to sleeping solutions. Firstly the great news - baby's sleep changes on a physiological level at around 4 months old. So given it's a time for disturbed sleep anyway, it's as gooder time as any to change to more sustainable settling methods.

When you are home and at night, I would start working on settling in the cot. Lots of reassurance, cudfling up, reassuring hand on chest - bedside (3 sided) cot makes this easier.

Cot naps are not realistic for the nanny in the morning though. I assume she goes out with the children? I'd move morning naps into the pushchair. A dummy is a fantastic settling aid.

Dummies. Are. Ace.

I'd do pushchsir walking where possible. Pushchsir stationary rocking when home. Dummy for comfort sucking. Kerp reinserting dummy. Full tummy. Then just keep going until asleep. There will be crying, but it simply has to happen.

FATEdestiny Wed 16-Nov-16 13:05:01

Sorry about the typos. Fat fingers and silly autocorrect on my phone.

"We live in the real world and your real world has a set of indisputable facts:"

RedLemonade Wed 16-Nov-16 18:24:08

Thank you so much FATE. I find myself nodding along to all your posts on this board so I really appreciate your advice.

You're absolutely right about realistic expectations- neither nanny nor I like crying but I'll have to just lay out that there will be some until DD gets used to this and we'll have to just muddle through as best we can. Honesty is really important and at least if she has an unsettled morning I can make up for it with long sling naps in the afternoon. I do think our nanny was reluctant to press on with the buggy because she knows I'm as soft as she is and probably needed me to strengthen my own resolve first.

We have a three sided cot and DD does sleep there most of the night, and more recently with the side up, so I know she is capable of sleep without being in contact with me. I've been doing very gentle conditioning since the early days for night time sleep- very much along your lines I think of sleeping through independently as a 1-2 year project and am a big fan of the NCSS so have been guided by those principles.

For now though I have to be pragmatic so buggy naps are what we'll work on as I do think that would be best for all concerned.

My mum also urged persisting with the dummy so we're going to work on that too. She does love sucking so I just know she'd love it if she would just accept it!

I'm also going to try sticking a t-shirt I've worn into the buggy with her to see if she might take some comfort from that. Anything really!

I'll take her out in it for a walk in the morning just before her nap time and see if I can lull her into it.

At least I now feel I have a plan and am more realistic/resigned to some upset as we transition. I don't have any other option sadly. But I'm happy that at least I have clearer objectives now.

Thank you again so much for your inputflowers. I'll update this down the line for others in the same boat!

RedLemonade Wed 16-Nov-16 19:40:01


She was all calm and smiley and milk drunk at bedtime so I just popped it in for a try and after a bit of foostering she took it. I was even able to put her in cot half-awake and she sucked herself to sleep!

Granted she then woke when it fell out so i rocked her to sleep, but just the fact that she accepted it is a huge win.

I'll try her again tomorrow with it for naps and in buggy and see.

Do people ever just use them for naps and not nighttime? She's pretty good as is at night so don't want to complicate matters either!

FATEdestiny Wed 16-Nov-16 20:32:30

That sounds like great progress!

I use a dummy for all sleep times. After 12 months I use the dummy only for sleep times. I have a ribbon sewn into the sleeping bag with a dummy attached. That's the only dummy. So the dummy is only used when in the cot and in the sleeping bag.

My plan from the baby months was free use of dummy up to 6 months (since the first 6 months are mostly about skeroibg anyway) then gradual change from 6-12 months so that by 12m only the people who pit dd to bed ever saw her dummy.

Depends on your priorities. Dentists recommend not using a dummy past 12 months. Psychologists say babies need a source of comfort to sleep until school age and I value the ease of the dummy. I justify to myself that dummy is only in the mouth for 10 mins to get to sleep, that's a very tiny amount of time. I am more judgmental of parents who give their toddler a dummy all the time. That's just my view though.

Granted she then woke when it fell out

Setting your expectations is helpful. When baby goes to sleep their body relaxes, including the mouth and has muscles. Dummy does fall out. It's not meant to stay in all the time. The dummy is to get to sleep. Lots of people assume a dummy is to stay asleep, it's not.

Once baby has relaxed to sleep, if baby easily wakes up that is a separate issue unrelated to the dummy. Light sleeping like this is usually tackled just by getting more sleep (good sleep promotes better sleep).

The expectation of dummy use is that dummy will be sucked to get to sleep, which takes 5-20 mins usually. Then you can move the dropped dummy away. Baby wakes and it's the rush to reinsert dummy before baby wakes fully.

A baby doesn't have the manual dexterity to reinsert his own dummy for some time yet. Like all skill milestones it is child-dependant but ususlly happens around 8-10 months old. So you will need to reinsert the dummy for him if he wakes until then.

RedLemonade Wed 16-Nov-16 21:04:34

Thank you!

DD1 used a dummy just for sleep till age 2 so I've no problem with them in that setting. The sewn on ribbon is a great idea. That was the one issue we had- her waking to hunt for the dummy!

Tonight DD2 was definitely only lightly asleep when she drifted off so I was expecting she'd wake when it fell out. She usually goes down in cot initially and then stirs and then goes into a deeper sleep once I rock her for a few more minutes so that wasn't an issue for me. I was just so pleased she took it and obviously felt comforted by it.

A small victory but I really needed a small victory today!

FATEdestiny Wed 16-Nov-16 21:08:28

A small victory is a victory nonetheless. grin

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