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Help help please - sleep routine and (kind) sleep training for an 8 month old

(5 Posts)
shalalala Wed 04-Jan-17 21:03:42

Desperately looking for advice. Our almost 8 months DD has started waking frequently at night and we would like to do some kind sleep training to encourage her to fall asleep on her own. I'm not willing to do controlled crying. Any nips on how we can do sleep training and on her routine?

Some background:
EBF for 6 months and is now BF morning and evening with 1/2 bottles and solids throughout the day
Wakes up late - 8.30/9am
Quite a bad napper. Will nap if in the car or walked about but takes a lot of effort to get her to nap in her cot. Generally only naps for 30 mins but occasionally has started getting a bit longer if we have been out in her pram
When she does fall asleep on us she is very hard to get into her cot without waking up
Used to sleep through but now wakes up around 10.30/11pm and then again a few times in the night. She will feed if I offer it but I know isn't really hungry

Average routine
8.30/9am wake up. Breastfeed
930/10 Breakfast
1130 nap (normally 30 mins)
1230 offer bottle but generally only have 3/4oz
1 lunch
2.30 nap (normally 30 mins)
3.30 offer bottle but generally only 3/4oz
4.30 nap (normally 30 mins and sometimes misses this one)
5.30 tea
6.30 bottle (3/4oz)
7.15 bedtime routine and final breastfeed around 8

Heirhelp Wed 04-Jan-17 21:07:43

I am following. I have recently bought a Fitbit not realising it tells you how many times you wake up. DD wakes up on average 18 times a night and still has two bottles of milk. She mostly cosleeps. She has a similar ish milk/food routine to your DD with increasing amount of milks during the day, 1oz for breakfast increasing up to 8oz for night feeds. She has two 2 hour naps.

FATEdestiny Wed 04-Jan-17 21:53:09

Are you feeding her to sleep at bedtime?

The kindest and gentliest of sleep training would be to feed at every wake up. This is not about hunger, her breastfeeding in the night is all about comfort.

Babies need some form of comfort to relax enough to go to sleep. This might be a dummy or a comforter toy. A muslin to suck or rhythmic movements. Some babies tickle themself (ears cheeks) and some hair twiddle. And many babies breastfeed for comfort.

So if you want to stop needing to breastfeed at every wake up, this is only going to work if you replace it with an alternate kind of comfort that she can access without you.

She goes to sleep during the day with movement (pushchair and car), so the movement there is the comfort instead of breastfeeding.

She is struggling to link sleep cycles and that's why naps are short. This is probably because of over tiredness. If you tackle the over tiredness, she's likely to link sleep cycles and sleep more deeply, so not wake up as often.

Could you make your cot into a sidecar cot? Just remove one side off your full sized cot and use bungie cots to lash it to your bed. Then feed baby in there and make no attempt to move her, just extract yourself back into your bed.

shalalala Wed 04-Jan-17 22:08:08

Thank you. Yes feeding to sleep and if she doesn't fall asleep my husband (he is better that I) shushes and rocks her to sleep. She is sleeping in her own room.
Any tips to tackle naps too?

FATEdestiny Wed 04-Jan-17 22:30:14

If I was in your position I would sharpen the focus of your efforts. Just saying you are tackling her "sleep" is too broad.

First I would tackle the over tiredness (and not the method of getting to sleep).

Good sleep promotes better sleep. So a child getting lots of sleep is easier to get to sleep, sleeps more deeply when asleep and so wakes less frequently. So the overall result is increasingly better quality sleep.

The converse is true. Poor sleep = harder to get to sleep and light sleeping = wakes more frequently = harder to get back to sleep and shorter naps. Poor sleep spirals into worse sleep.

So if you can first of all get baby sleeping as much as possible, as easily as possible and as frequently as possible.

I would cosleep for naps with my top off and feed boob access. Indeed i would be utilizing comfort sucking at the very first stirring awake to try to lull back to sleep without waking.

Aim for about 90 minutes awake time between waking fom one nap and going to sleep next nap.

Then aim to get baby back to sleep with as little fuss and as quick as possible at night. The sidecar cot will help with this. Get to baby quickly and feed to sleep.

The point is simply to get baby sleeping more. Don't make sleep s a challenge by "training" baby to do something else. In fact make it easy. So do all you can to get baby sleeping more.

Once sleep quantity and quality improves, only then would I start reducing baby's dependant on parental help to get to sleep.

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