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Gradual retreat when sleeping on mattress rather than in cot?

(5 Posts)
QueenRefusenik Fri 09-Dec-16 15:11:10

I just typed out a massively long post and then deleted it - who has time to read a novel, especially one quite that boring!

Basically, I have a cot-dodging, multiply-waking 11 month old and the situation we have reluctantly ended up in is that he is fed or cuddled to sleep on a double mattress in the floor next to his (unused!) cot, then I sneak out till his next waking. I end up co-sleeping from the early hours on and no offence to anyone who chooses to co-sleep, but it's really not working for md and I need some strategy for sorting the situation out.

CIO is not for me, I'd entertain CC but think it would be too much of a leap from our current situation. We've had some success with the no-cry sleep solution /Pantley pull-off in the past but rather hit a wall after achieving the 'not always feeding to sleep' stage. I'd like to try some form of gradual retreat and am prepared for it to take (a lot of!) time, I just want to feel like we're making progress, however slow. But how practical can it be when the baby isn't in a cot and can just crawl after me? Will we need to incorporate a load of 'get ds back into the cot' stages before even starting the retreat bit?! I'm just wondering if anyone has successfully done it or if I'm being ridiculous and we need to get him back into his cot first?

Still quite long, sorry!

FATEdestiny Fri 09-Dec-16 21:20:46

GW would be great, suits your situation perfectly and you already have time-frame expectations set (it's not likely to be a quick fix).

how practical can it be when the baby isn't in a cot and can just crawl after me?

This sounds like you might have the wrong idea of what GW is. It's not 'slowly seek out the room and hope he doesn't crawl after me'. It's always being close enough to not cause distress, but with a view that over the days/weeks/months ahead you don't need to be as close for baby to not feel distressed.

You make tiny baby-step changes. Keep doing this until baby asleep, seek out ninja style once baby is fully asleep and never before (baby needs to trust you'll always stay). Then once the tiny change is fully embedded, make another little change.


- start feeding to sleep on floor mattress. Stay until asleep.
- feed to almost asleep, cuddle to deep sleep lying next to each other. Stay until asleep.
- feed to drowsy, cuddle to deep sleep
- feed sitting up, lie down together, introduce 'firm hand on chest/back' to show your reassuring presence, cuddle to sleep.
- make the cuddle less engulfing by leaning out of the embrace slightly. Hand on chest/back but small personal space created. Cuddle close if distressed, lean back when settled. Stay until asleep.
- feed sitting up. Lie down for quick (20second kind of quick) cuddle then lean out if cuddle. Stay right next to baby, hand on chest, but leaning out from cuddle.
- Feed. Quick cuddle. Lie facing upwards or downwards (rather than facing baby) with hand on chest/back. Roll over and cuddle close if distressed, roll out when settled.
- Feed. Cuddle. Establish that you just have hand on chest/back but roll into your front/back and largely ignore child as they go to sleep.
- create some space. Hand on chest for reassurance, but space between where you lie and where baby lies. Always go back if extra reassurance us needed, then extract yourself when settled. Always stay until asleep.

At this point I'd change the room arrangement. Remove one side off the cot, put the floor mattress on a bed and butt the two up together.

- Baby in cot. Your hand on chest/back. You lie on bed. Lie close and cuddle up to offer extra reassurance through the change.
- baby in cot. Your hand on chest/back. You on bed with a gap between the two of you.
- remove hand off back/chest when settled, return it (with gentle patting) if distressed.
- feed. Into cot. Hand on back/chest and slight pat to settle. Then remove hand you lie on bed and stay there until asleep. Get this fully established.

Drum roll.... side back on cot. You'll now be putting baby down (awake, no less!) In the cot.

- as above but with side back on the cot. Feed. Into cot. Hand on back/chest and slight pat to settle. Then you lie on bed and stay there until asleep. Reach back in and pay if distressed, remove hand when settled. Stay on bed until fully asleep.
- settle as normal, lie on bed and roll to face away from cot as baby goes to sleep. Roll back and shush/pat if needed. Then roll back.
- feed, settle, lie at opposite end of bed.
- feed, settle, sit upright at end of bed
- feed, settle, sit on end of bed for a few minutes then stand. Stay until asleep.
- feed, settle, stand straight up and wait (stood) at other side of bed. Stay until asleep always go back if distressed then extract yourself when settled.
- feed, settle, wait by the door
- feed, settle, pop in and out of room.. and so on.

At various points during Gradual Withdrawal you have to roll back through thexsyeps. When poorly for example you might have to go back several steps. But once better you just accelerate back through them.

QueenRefusenik Sat 10-Dec-16 14:20:33

This is awesome, FATE! I really appreciate it. Going to print this out and pin it up!/wish me luck...

chloe31 Tue 03-Jan-17 10:59:02

Hi @queenrefusenik, wondered how this went? We are in similar situation with our 18 month old, though she is cuddled not fed to sleep at the mo. If I try and not cuddle her, she just clambers into my lap! Any tips gratefully received!

QueenRefusenik Fri 27-Jan-17 13:08:48

Hi @chloe31, sorry, just noticed your post! We are still working on gradual (think, infinitesimal...) retreat and he is getting a bit better. We only had 3 wake-ups last night, only one in the rubbish small hours 12-6. I'm just not sure I can claim any credit - much of that is down to him going to nursery now, where he apparently happily naps on a mat without being fed or cuddled. These people clearly have access to good drugs! The one thing that I think has helped is being absolutely consistent that when the light is off he needs to be lying down, still and quiet. It sometimes takes him a while to manage all three, but he clearly knows he SHOULD now. We just kept on lying him down, over and over, shushing and not quite pinning him down, but keeping a firm hand on him to dissuade rolling about. He's got the message now, I think! I hope... Good luck!

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