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Starting sleep training today (gradual withdrawal). Any advice welcomed

(11 Posts)
Pirandello24 Tue 24-Jan-17 14:04:56

DS is 7 months and his sleep ranges from tolerable (4-5 wakings a night) to completely unbearable (up to 15 wakings a night). It's been the latter for the past few nights and we are losing the will to live. I've read the Andrea Grace's gentle sleep solutions book and we're starting the gradual withdrawal method tonight. One thing we're confused with though is night feedings. Will it not be confusing for DS if we're trying to encourage him to settle by himself before 10.30pm, but then feeding him when he wakes after this time? (albeit with reducing each feed by a minute a night). Also if you have used this method, any other advice about how to make this a success would be really gratefully received. We really need this to work to stop us losing our minds.

FATEdestiny Tue 24-Jan-17 16:09:26

I have no idea about the specifics of that particular authors methods, but have used my version of gradual withdrawal very successfully. I am a massive advocate of GW.

In terms of night feeds, my philosophy would be to have an alternate soithing method that isn't feeding. I used dummy and firm hand on chest. I also had a cosleeper cot for lots of skin contact reassurance in the cot.

Then at every single wake up I'd always try to resettle first with the dummy and reaching and cuddling into the cot. I'd always try that for a good 10 minutes first, then if not settling, then I'd feed.

Also seperate feeding and sleeping at bedtime and nap times. Use your alternate in-cot ways of comforting instead.

But as I said, I don't know if this specifically matched with the method this woman is advocating.

Nottalotta Tue 24-Jan-17 19:49:03

I have done gradual withdrawal with ds, and it's been fabulous. I started it at about a year though so probably very different to your situation.

I concentrated on bedtime, as had previously fed to sleep for every single bedtime. This had stopped working so needed an alternative. I had a pretty well established routine set up (bath, pj's, two stories, and mobile/lightshow) I introduced a cup of cows milk, so stories would end, kiss and cuddle, milk and into cot with lightshow on.

I did comfort ds, I spent a few days leaning into his cot, patting, singing etc as I didn't want to leave him crying, even being right there. I withdrew very slowly. But again, we had no real crying, sometimes some tired complaining. We are 6 months down the line now, and same routine, but I can put him in the cot, light off and mobile on, and leave the room.

Obviously age and natural progression will have had an influence here, but since doing gw he is able to resettle himself at night. Whereas before we started he would always wake after a few hours, then several times a night, he generally goes to sleep 7 or 7.30 and sleeps until 4.30-5.30. He does stir in the night but settles back down again.

I can't really advise re night feeds as was probably feeding ds every couple of hours at 7 months!

Pirandello24 Tue 24-Jan-17 19:54:37

Thank you both for your posts. He's already woken since being put down and DP is in there trying to shush him. It is heartbreaking, he's just screaming and screaming. Don't know if we can see this through.

Oly5 Tue 24-Jan-17 19:59:38

7 months is young for gradual retreat. I dos it with mine about 16 months when they genuinely
Don't need a night feed.
Don't leave a seven month old crying.
He still needs his feeds so if persevere and try when he's a bit older. Retreat does work wonderfully but in my experience the babies are older

Oly5 Tue 24-Jan-17 20:00:07

"I would persevere.."
Sorry for typos!

Pirandello24 Tue 24-Jan-17 20:03:51

Hi Oly5, I am still going to feed him during the night, we are just trying to settle him in the cot rather than pick up in the hope he will wake less and cry for us. We don't know what else to do- we can't carry on like this. Are there any alternatives you would recommend for this age?

Pirandello24 Tue 24-Jan-17 20:05:16

Nottalotta- it's really nice to hear your success story- gives me hope!

Pirandello24 Tue 24-Jan-17 20:06:38

Fate- DS won't take a dummy, would you recommend a comforter at this age?

FATEdestiny Tue 24-Jan-17 21:30:10

In my experience you can't force a comforter. Two of my children bonded with a comfort toy, two didn't. With all four children I just started putting a selection of (safe) baby soft toys in the cot from about 9 months and by 12 months, the ones who has a comforter had "chosen" theirs.

Are there any alternatives you would recommend for this age?

How about lying together and cosleeping?

Nottalotta Tue 24-Jan-17 22:40:32

I wondered if 7 months might be too early pirandello not through any great experience, but because I think it worked so well for me because ds was ready.

I can't bear to leave him crying, hence gw taking nit the suggested 10 days, but a couple of months in reality. Although it could have been a bit quicker.

Ds was the baby who wouldn't be put down. He woke every 40 minutes overnight which resulted in us Co sleeping from a few weeks old. He had to be in a sling/pram/car/breastfed for naps. I was astonished that within a week of starting gw, I could put him in his cot awake, and sit with him til he fell asleep.

So there is indeed hope. You may need something else in the meantime though.

As I said above, I only did it at bedtime. Once he woke he was bf back to sleep. I still Co slept from a certain point which got later and later. Then he slept through til 5 am without a night feed so I took that opportunity to stop night feeds. Again, older than your ds and again I think it was good timing.

I know how hard it is, I've posted on this board a lot and had some great advice. Lots of good advice from Fate too.

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