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Someone talk me through sleep training and what's worked / hasn't for you?

(14 Posts)
bestofboth Sat 26-Nov-16 21:32:50

DS is 18 months old. To go to bed at night he needs to be super duper tired (which means sometimes we have to wait till 10/11 until we get him to bed). He then will have a bottle and a cuddle and he'll fall asleep. We then wait about 20 minutes to put him into his cot otherwise if we try move him too soon he will wake up.
It's so draining having to do this. I don't mind him having a bottle at night time, he only has a bottle then anyway.
I've been reading up on "controlled crying" and other sleep training but I really want like a walk through step by step guide on what you do.
I would love for dinner to be at 5, bath at half 6, and then in bed for 7/ half 7. What has worked for you and what hasn't?

FATEdestiny Sat 26-Nov-16 22:49:09

So firstly, does he have a comforter of any kind? Dummy, snuggle blanket, special toy - anything like that?

Because of if I want to replace parental settling (ie feeding to sleep in your arms) with independant settling then this can only work if he had access to something to give comfort when you're not there.

If there is nothing then he will develop his own comforting ritual - rocking, stroking himself, head side to side, or whatever - it's just any method is going to be more difficult for him without established independant comfort he can access.

If he had a comforter already, then honestly I think the easiest and kindest thing to do in your situation would be to just bite the bullet and tolerate a load of screaming for a few days.

The bottom line is he needs to learn to go to sleep in the cot, without being held. He also needs to seperate milk and sleep (So I'd give the bottle downstairs before going up to bed).

How you do that is up to you. There are 3 main options

■ Controlled Crying. Put in cot with comforter. Say a mantra "sleep time now, nan night" or whatever and leave. Go back after a few minutes. Don't aim to resettle or pick up, just repeat the mantra and leave.

■ Gradual Withdrawal. Put in cot with comforter. Say a mantra "Sleep time now. Lie down quietly. Nan night" or whatever. Lie baby down and get a seat next to the cot. Every time there is a murmur or any movement to get up, lie back down and repeat the mantra. Firm hand on chest. Lots of eye contact, care, compassion through the frustrated crying. But you stay there at all times, being firm, consistantvand calm.

■ Cry it Out. Ensure all needs are met (not ill, right temprature, had access to comforter at all times), put in cot, say nan night, leave and do not go back in.

I favour GW but it will take the longest.

Also look at his daytime sleep and overall routine. Aim for 7pm-8pm bedtime with a nap about 12pm-3pm.

PacificDogwod Sat 26-Nov-16 22:56:11

The only thing that really truly 'worked' was time passing - each of my 4 DSs eventually slept through on their own when they were ready (between 16 weeks and 2 years).

Here's what we tried:
Co-sleeping, CC, baby nest, swaddling, PUPD, rapid return, No Cry Sleep Solution, once tried an antihistamine (did not work), GW - and probably a few that I have now forgotten.

Different things work for different children.
Different strategies work at different times.

Do whatever you need to do to survive and to maximise sleep for everybody, whether it is endorsed in whatever book or by whatever 'expert' or not IMO.

FATEdestiny Sat 26-Nov-16 23:08:30

once tried an antihistamine (did not work)

Do you remember Medised? I used to love Medised. Like Calpol but with antihistamine to knock them out. Even the brand name suggests "sedative". Great stuff until they banned it.

PacificDogwod Sun 27-Nov-16 09:52:39

Great stuff until they banned it.

Yeah, except it never worked for any of mine grin

I did find that sleep begat sleep - the more they slept, the more likely they were to have a good night's sleep overnight. I know this is not true of all babies/toddlers, but it very much was my experience.
Also, bear in mind that from the very start different children need different amounts of sleep. DS1 is now 13 and still needs far less sleep than DS2(12) who could sleep whole days away hmm and has been like that from when he was tiny.

FATEdestiny Sun 27-Nov-16 10:05:43

the more they slept, the more likely they were to have a good night's sleep overnight. I know this is not true of all babies/toddlers

I think it is true for all babies and toddlers.

But conversely to yours - my 12 year old who was a non sleeper now could sleep for England. Whereas my 11 year old super-chilled very deep sleeper now has less sleep than he really needs.

Compare to my 7 year old who was one of those mythical sleeping through by 7 weeks old, he is the one who needs less sleep than the others. He can sleep anywhere and at any time, just needs less sleep.

Jury is still out on my 2 year old. So far she sleeps more than her peers. But she's still a toddler so is still within the more sleep = better sleep phase. We shall see how her "sleep personality" developed she gets older.

BertrandRussell Sun 27-Nov-16 10:11:52

If he goes to sleep at 10 and then sleeps through then I'd be wary of doing anything that might screw that up, to be honest.

What makes him tired- does he need to be physically tired, or might spending some time doing some challenging puzzles and stuff help? it sounds daft, but one of mine found jigsaws exhausting!

littleostrich Sun 27-Nov-16 11:01:14

My DS is a few months older than yours and used to be exactly the same. Now he is asleep by 7.30 every night and wakes at 7am. Honestly, a few months ago this seemed completely impossible but somehow we've done it... I never liked the idea of CC so kind of created my own strategy based on various bits of advice from others. It may not be the best option or work for everyone but it seems to have worked for us!

The first thing I did was create a solid bedtime routine - we didn't have this previously.

So I started taking him upstairs at 7pm. He'd have a bath and get ready for bed, then we'd sit in his room and read some books. Low lighting, calming voice, etc - trying to help him wind down. He drinks a cup of milk while we are reading.

Then I would turn the lights off and put him in his cot (with his muslin cloth that he uses for comfort). At first I stayed in his room, I sat on the floor and quietly sang little lullabies until he fell asleep - at this point the goal was getting him used to falling asleep in his own bed rather than elsewhere. If he tried to sit or stand up, I'd just lie him back down. The first few nights it took over an hour but I was determined to stick with it.

After about a week, he was getting used to this routine so I started to leave the room. I'd put him to bed, say goodnight and leave, but stay in my bedroom next door so I could hear him. If he cried I'd go back in, lie him down, make sure he had his dummy and comfort but not say anything, then leave again. And repeat until he fell asleep.

Quite quickly I found that I didn't need to go back in, he knew it was bedtime so he'd lie there until he fell asleep. Sometimes I hear him talking to himself but he doesn't whine or cry now - I can put him to bed and he will go off to sleep on his own. He also knows when it's time to start the routine, he starts pulling me towards the stairs when it's approaching 7pm as he wants to go up for his bath!

Sorry this post is so long but there may be some ideas for you to try.

scrumptiouscrumpets Sun 27-Nov-16 12:29:59

Does he get enough exercise outside in the afternoon? And have you tried "no screens" after 5 pm? No ipad, phone, TV etc.

Nottalotta Mon 28-Nov-16 18:43:32

Gradual withdrawal has worked really well for us. I have read that you can do it in ten days, we have/are taking weeks over it as we are going very gradually
There have been virtually no tears. I do a consistent bedtime routine play upstairs half an hour. Bath, sleeping bag, two books and into cot awake with milk. Mobile light thing goes on and he watches that while drinking milk. He finishes milk long before falling asleep.

I started by having to stand over the cot patting and singing to prevent tears. Gradually worked my way our of the room. Few setbacks with teething and the last two nights are the first in weeks where I've had to cuddle him to sleep as has been really poorly. But I feel confident we can pick it up again.

Ktnich89 Fri 02-Dec-16 11:04:23

Hi everyone,
This is my first time on here so hope I'm doing it right.
I have a 4 1-2 month son will be 5 month on the 12th Dec, he is BF. I would like some help how to train him to sleep longer at night because it is killing me not getting much sleep.
He used to sleep quite well would do a 6 hour stint till midnight and then one or two more feeds after that which was manageable but from 4 months he kept waking up I thought It was sleep regression but it's not & now he doesn't do his 6 hour stint at all maybe 3 hours at the beginning of the night (bedtime 6:30-7 if i can get to that time) then can be every 2 hours, I do feed him when he wakes then he'll go to sleep but now when I put him down he wakes up. He used to self soothe himself but now doesn't,so difficult to get him back to sleep. He has dummy sometimes in the day when he naps but will not have it at night. Any advice would be great.

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 02-Dec-16 11:34:44

Ktnich I suggest you start your own thread through the Sleep board, perhaps? What a four month old requires is very different to an 18 month old and we'll end up with two very different lines of discussion.

OP - when is your DS's nap that he's not tired until 10-11 at night? That's very late. As FATE said upthread, it should start around 12 noon. From about 18mo I would never let either of mine nap past 2pm, otherwise they wouldn't have been tired enough for a 7-8pm bedtime.

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 02-Dec-16 11:37:33

I'm another strong advocate of very gradual withdrawal too. I think it's emotionally more appropriate and is more likely to stick that CC or CIO. You need to support a baby/toddler to know that sleep is safe, not punish them into it.

FATEdestiny Fri 02-Dec-16 12:52:00


You'd be better starting a seperate thread. But I'm summery, have you tried a dummy? Are you feeding loads more over 24h than you were? Because calorific need goes up massively at 4 months and if baby doesn't get enough calories during the day she will need more at night.

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