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Struggling with bedtime

(4 Posts)
JedBartlet Thu 15-Dec-16 20:37:43

DS has just turned 1. Until last week I have always fed him to sleep but I have now stopped breastfeeding which he and I have both been fine with.
He has one nap per day. I put him in his cot fully awake and leave the room and he self settles without a peep so I know he is totally capable of self settling and feeding is not the only way he knows how to sleep.
Bedtime is a nightmare. On the rare occasions he didn't fall asleep feeding, and since I have stopped, it is such a battle to get him down. He cries when I leave the room. Cries if I stay in the room sitting in a chair. The only way he is happy is either me bending over the cot with a hand on his back (eventually he will go to sleep like this but it is fucking killing my back) or if I pick him up. Once I pick him up he wakes up more and the whole process starts again.
Does anyone have any advice?! I absolutely hate leaving him crying but I am running out of alternatives.

FATEdestiny Thu 15-Dec-16 21:42:03

I would do gradual withdrawal. It's not a quick fix but gives the healthest sleeping habits longer term.

It's about making tiny changes gradually, over time, towards the end-point you are aiming for. And you'll need to get some back support in the shorter term if you are struggling with your back.

Bending over the cot with a hand on his back is a good start point. Do this consistantly until asleep, then seek out ninja style once fully asleep. He needs to trust you'll always give him enough comfort until he is asleep. Always.

Once one small step is accepted without any distress, make another tiny step towards your end-point. For example:

- bending over the cot with a hand on his back until asleep
- bending over the cot with a hand on his back until settled. Remove hand when settled but stay bent into the cot. Put hand back if distressed. Remove again once settled.
- bending over the cot with a hand on his back until settled. Remove hand when settled and stand. Put hand back if distressed. Stand again once settled.
- bend into cot to initially settle, then stand. If distressed put hand on chest from standing position. Remove when settled.
- bend into cot to settle initially, then stand and turn slightly away from the cot. Still stand right nect to cot and bend into the cot if distressed. Wait until asleep then seek out.
- settle, stand next to cot but face the doorway. Stay until asleep.
- settle, take a step away from the cot, face the doorway. Always go back if extra reassurance is needed, then withdraw when settled. Stay until asleep.
- settle, walk to doorway but stay in room. Return if distressed then withdraw when settled. Stay until asleep.
- settle, wait outside open doir until asleep.
- settle, wait for a few mins by door then come and go, checking every few mins
- settle, stay upstairs until asleep. Close door once asleep
- settle, close door, leave.

JedBartlet Thu 15-Dec-16 23:20:51

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond so helpfully! This is definitely worth considering. We are kind of doing this but all in one go at the moment - so I start with my hand on him then take it off when he's calm and stand up then put it back if he moves or cries. Then I try standing and stepping back and again going back if he cries. I usually end up hand on back til asleep though so I can definitely see the benefit of doing it slowly step by step over time.

FATEdestiny Fri 16-Dec-16 08:06:41

That's a mistake many make with GW, so you're not alone.

It's all about trust. Baby needs to know without any doubt that you will always give him enough comfort to not be distressed. That removed removes the battle: "MUMMY! MUMMY! DON'T GO! DON'T GO MUMMY! SHE MIGHT GO SOON, OH NO DON'T GO MUMMY" (is the anxiety that stops him calming and settling to sleep). Once he trusts you'll always stay, he loses that axiety a.d settled more easily.

So the first step involves leaning into the cot all the time it taking him to settle. Every night. Night after night. Until he trusts you'll stay and the anxiety stops.

Once he trusts you'll stay, then make a little change and do that every night, all the time it takes for him to sleep.

Once that's accepted, then make the next change. And so on...

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