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Sorry if this has been done to hell - I need sleep help!

(24 Posts)
LubiLooLoo Sun 05-Mar-17 11:06:07

Hello everyone! I would really appreciate some advice.

I've read all the help and handouts available online, but I need some reality from real life mums and dads.

I'm sleep training my DS at 10 months! Let me explain: me and my son have been co-sleeping. And I thought he was getting himself off to sleep quite nicely, but I realise now that I'm his sleep association. It's got to the point that I'm starting back to work soon and know I've got to get it down now, or pay the price! He wakes several times in the night still... when co-sleeping I often didn't even notice he'd woken as he rolls over to me and goes back to sleep 9 times out of 10.

So after a week or so of trying to settle him in a crib, and both me and my DH ending up with crazy back pain. The baby now has a comfy mattress on the floor of his baby proofed bedroom. I like the Montessori idea, so I'm happy with this and my back is much better!

After research, me and my husband decided to do the pick up/ put down method. We been kind of doing this method since we put him In his own room, but felt we should 'hammer down' on it. We have had a good routine in place for a while, he has a nice dinner with us (no tv), bath, feed and lullaby and then sleep. We also got him a Lulla doll to be his new sleep crutch, which he instantly fell asleep with for his 2 daytime naps. So I thought we were in good stead. First night of PUPD sleep training, as expected, woke up 10-12 times. Next night... chaos. After 2 hours of him screaming at us, we gave up and he ended up back in my bed.

I know you're going to stay we shouldn't have caved, and I agree, but after one night of an hour or 2 sleep, both me and husband where in tears ourselves by 2 am on the second. Especially as neither of us has had a full night sleep in 6 months! I mean there was NOTHING we could do to stop him crying.

Now today, it's 11, far gone his nap time, and he won't settle, which is unusual. He's usually pretty good at his nap routine during the day.

I feel like I've broken my child and I'm not sure how to fix it. I really want to avoid a crying out or controlled crying method, but I feel like we are going to have to soon.

I've read everything I could find about this, but I realise he's a little older and already has his own sleep associations that I need to break. Have any of you done anything similar? Is there a trick in missing? How do you keep your cool when you haven't slept all night?

I know persistence is key, and it won't fix instantly, but I just feel like I've unraveled all his ability to sleep in the matter of nights!

FATEdestiny Sun 05-Mar-17 11:25:22

Can you lie down with him, on his floor mattress, until he goes to sleep and then extract yourself once he is asleep?

LubiLooLoo Sun 05-Mar-17 11:32:09

That is what I have been doing in the past, but he wakes up between 4-12 times a night, which is what sparked the UPPD method. I think the problem is every time he realised I'm no longer led net to him, he cries.

FATEdestiny Sun 05-Mar-17 11:46:57

What are you actually doing to get baby to sleep?

LubiLooLoo Sun 05-Mar-17 12:25:14

We have our bed time routine, or bath, pjs, last feed and lullaby, then we are doing the pick up put down method.

FATEdestiny Sun 05-Mar-17 12:40:17

What are you doing in the PUPD method?

LubiLooLoo Sun 05-Mar-17 13:44:21

It's a no cry method, where you pick up and sooth the baby when he cries, as soon as he stops crying, I put him down facing away from me and pat his back. If he settles great, if not repeat.

LubiLooLoo Sun 05-Mar-17 13:45:24

It does work sometimes, but needs a lot of patience, untill last night when it hit the fan!

OohNoDooEy Sun 05-Mar-17 13:48:25

Pupd isn't usually great for children older than 6 months, it's too much stimulation when they should be sleeping.

If you don't want to do cc/cio, gradual withdrawal is a more age appropriate option

phoenixtherabbit Sun 05-Mar-17 13:54:40

My son used to be a great sleeper. He's ten months old. He wakes up around three hours after we put him to bed (settles fine on his own when we put him to bed - he cuddles a small muslin square for comfort) and screams. Almost like a ahhhh where am I where is mum and dad scream.

If we pick him up he settles instantly, but then screams worse when I out him back down.

So recently I've just gone in, given him his dummy back if he's lost it (throws it out the cot a lot) given him his muslin and given him a kiss said goodnight love you, closed the door and waited outside. Sometimes he'll settle instantly. Sometimes I have to do this up to five times.

Obviously if he doesn't stop crying after that or gets worse I would go and get him, if it's a poorly cry or he needs changing I will not do this and do whatever else I need to do instead.

It has been working so far, oh and I never say anything else or turn any lights on (landing light usually on so not pitch black but still dark so he knows it's bed time)

So far so good, we've had a few nights like the good old days where he's slept through!

I don't know whether there's a name for this method and I haven't rtft so I'm sorry if I'm repeating x

FATEdestiny Sun 05-Mar-17 14:03:00

Sorry, yes, I know what the pupd method is blush

I meant how you are doing it with your DS and how he takes to aspects of it. For example:

- does he settle as soon as you pick him up, does he not change the level of upset, does it take a while to calm him down, in which case how long?

- some people put down and walk away, some put down and stay giving reassurance, some do half-and-half. You mention you face him away from you, why do you do this?

- some allow a settling time, whereby baby might grumble/cry but won't be picked up immediately. Others pick up immediately there is any upset.

- you say you pat his back. Can you elaborate on this? Does it settle and calm him usually? If he calms when do you stop? What happens when you stop?

Im actually not a fan on PUPD, I much prefer my version of Gradual Withdrawal for no crying, gentle sleep training. But I can help with PUPD if this is the method you want to use.

On the night you have up after 2h, what was happening that night? Not generic "I was doing PUPD", i mean the specifics of what was/wasn't calming him down. What you did, how it worked or didn't work.

If you are using a no crying, gentle method, you don't really want lots of distress to the point you give up. You didn't "fail" by giving up. It suggests either:
- the way you are doing PUPD is not working and needs to change
Or
- PUPD isn't working and you need to change to a different gentle method
Or
- You need to change your expectations, because they may be unrealistic.

LubiLooLoo Sun 05-Mar-17 15:02:14

Oh I'm sorry FATE. I miss understood.

So if he wakes crying, I pick him up and rock him and rub his back, saying something similar to, "shhh shhh sleepy time."

Sometimes he calms as soon as I pick him up others he continues to cry, even try to push and shove me away just to continue to cry in his bed. Rocking usually calms this in 5-10 mins. Once he has been calm for a while, I put him down. Sleeping advice on baby Center website says to face him away from you, because they can worry if you suddenly disappear when they wake up. I usually leave my hand on his back for reassurance and don't leave his room until he is fully asleep. I don't pick him again unless he cries or sits up. I just rub his back to calm him if he grumbles until he stops.

To be honest I don't mind what technique I use, I just chose UPUD because it was the closest to what we did naturally anyway, so I thought it would be more familiar for him.

On the worst night I was using UPPD as I described, but there was no settling. He would clam after a bit of rocking, I'd put him down and he would immediately get back up again. I'd put him down again and try to comfort him by shhhhing and rubbing his back, he'd eventually have enough and start crying again, so we went back to holding him and rocking. It was just ever ending.

I know sleep training takes weeks not days. And is something we have to stick to for the long run, and I want to avoid changing my tactics because of bumps along the way.

I was wondering about GW method. But not sure there is space in the nursery to do it as it's just bed and door. And with having dogs and cats, I'm weary of leaving the door open.

Thanks for your response FATE. I do appreciate the time you're taking to walk me through.

FATEdestiny Sun 05-Mar-17 15:39:47

I'm just trying to get it straight in my mind what's happening, so I can tey to help.

□ So you were cosleeping. Baby was waking, but going back to sleep easily, often without you noticing.
□ You moved to a floor bed in baby's own room, you may lay down to get him to sleep. He was still waking, now you had to get out of bed and lie with him to get him back to sleep
□ You don't want to be getting up in the night (understandable) so you have a PUPD plan to get baby settling independantly.
□ You realise gentle sleep methods are not quick fixes and know you'll have broken sleep while he learns.

Is this right?

So firstly - the best possible answer to give you all the most sleep is to just embrace cosleeping. Stop fighting against it as a bad thing and make it work for you all. Maybe a cosleeper cot for DS. Or a superkingsized bed. Or a family floor bed.

If this isn't possible or acceptable, next thing is to set your expectations. You are going to be going back to work knackered and still having broken nights sleep. Gentle sleep methods take many months to establish.

Balance up the priorities:

- getting good sleep yourself when back at work (by embracing cosleeping)
- coping with broken nights sleep when back at work for the long-term benefit of DS independantly sleeping (by gentle sleep training)
- Wanting your sleep and wanting DS sleeping independantly by not long after his 1st birthday (by distressing, lots of crying sleep training like CC or CIO)

If we go for gentle sleep training, and given your start point (cosleeping) I would suggest that the thing that will be most successful in calming baby down isn't picking him up, it is lying with him (mimicing cosleeping).

The benefit of lying with him rather than picking up, is it reaches him to go to sleep in-situ, in his bed. It teaches him that the comfort comes while he is lying in bed, at the moment comfort comes only when removed from being laid on his bed. That's not giving great subconscious messages.

I would then work on the dependancy of lying with him. For example:

- Start off cuddling up on his mattress, staying until asleep, sneeking out once asleep. Yes, he'll still wake often. He will do throughout this process. You just repeat the same thing at all wake-ups. If you are not expecting wake-ups, your expectations are wrong.

- Start off cuddling on his mattress to settle him, then 'lean out' of the cuddle so you face the ceiling. Still next to him. Still hand on his chest. Back to cuddle if distressed, lean out once settled. Stay to aslerp. Repeat every wake up.

- Cuddle until settled, then shuffle very slightly away as you face the ceiling, hand on chest. Return to cuddle if distressed, withdraw once calm. Stay until asleep, repeat every wake up.

- Cuddle until settled, then face the ceiling but no hand on chest. If distressed put hand on him and pat of needed, withdraw hand once calm. Stay until asleep, repeat every wake up.

- Cuddle until settled, then roll 180 deg to face away from him. If distressed, turn onto your back and use your hand on him to calm, turn back over once calm. Stay until asleep, repeat every wake up.

- Hand on him to settle, then turn away and move yourself to edge of the bed. Roll over back to him if needed, roll back once settled. Stay until asleep, repeat every wake up.

- Hand on him to settle, roll to edge of bed and sit yourself up. Hand on him to settle if needed, just sitting quietly if settled. Stay until asleep, repeat every wake up.

- Hand on him to settle, sit a little away from mattress. Return as needed, then withdraw.

- Settle in bed, stand away from mattress. Sit and reassure if needed, stand and withdraw once calm.

- Settle in bed, wait by doorway until aslerp. Return if needed, withdraw when calm

...and so on (I won't continue to hire you with the details, I'm sure you get it)

FATEdestiny Sun 05-Mar-17 15:45:07

Re: facing away from you. It's your reassurance he needs. That will involve eye contact as well as physical contact. The idea is to help him feel secure while knowing you aren't there. Not hoping he doesn't realise you are not there.

Also bear in mind that through regression (if he's poorly, teething, over tired, whatever) you may have to go backwards through the steps. But this is done knowing you will work back through the process of withdrawing once better again.

Also your expectations of this taking weeks not days. You need to adjust those to accepting it will take several months. I'd say allow for 6 months or so.

lifeisaconundrumattimes Sun 05-Mar-17 15:57:19

What fate has explained above is what we did when my son was around 5 months old.

My husband and I took turns every night sitting up with him, gradually going through the steps. We started from a co-sleeping point too. I would lie on the bed and cuddle him to sleep and then once asleep, I moved just a little further away every few days, until we were just holding his hand, then his finger etc.

Important for us was that we stayed in the room all evening, so whenever he stirred, we were right there next to him to give him a quick pat or a shhh. I guess it taught him that when he woke he was alright and was able to get back to sleep himself.

Eventually at 6 months he was able to settle himself back to sleep when he woke, most of the time. Not all the time, but enough for us. And he got better over time too once he had the idea.

PUPD just angered my son as soon as we put him down again.

LubiLooLoo Sun 05-Mar-17 16:11:57

Wow thank you guys! Especially you FATE.

Me and husband are chatting over our options!

I always like co-sleeping but felt maybe (as he was still waking up at night) that it wasn't helping him learn to sleep.

If I did go back to co-sleeping, when do you stop? Will I have to at some point do something like this withdraw method? Or will it just happen over time?

I'm glad that what I have been doing (up to the point of doing the PUPD method) has been roughly correct. I see my friends babies sleeping through the night, and I was worried I was doing the wrong thing by my DS.

LubiLooLoo Sun 05-Mar-17 16:29:10

And one more question(before I think you profusely for your advice)

How important is it that his naps are in the bed he sleep in at night?

He quite happily falls asleep on daddies lap watching cartoons and snuggled up on his feeding pillow during the day. I've been making an effort to take him into his bedroom and make him take his naps on his bed. Is this something I should continue doing to help with his sleep associations?

teaandbiscuitsforme Sun 05-Mar-17 16:31:58

I carried on co-sleeping with my DD when I went back to work because I knew I'd get the most amount of sleep. We decided to wait until she was 16 months to change things so it went like this:

16 months - Introduced a single bed in her room (no need to move to a big bed at a later date). I BF to sleep and then BF to sleep at any wake ups.

16-17 months - Own bed, BF to sleep. DH would go in for any wake ups between 10 and 5 and lie down with her to go back to sleep. I would BF before 10 or after 5. This stage was more to do with night weaning though.

17 months - BF to sleep in bed. DH would lie in bed and cuddle for any wake ups. Only had a night or two and she started sleeping through.

21 months - DS was born so DH started putting DD to bed, cuddling to sleep. She's now 23 months and he just reads a story, tucks her in and leaves. She has a soft toy as a comforter.

Good luck with whichever path you choose. We were very happy with how it went with DD so waiting until she was a bit older suited us.

FATEdestiny Sun 05-Mar-17 16:34:29

If you decide to embrace cosleeping, you need realistic expectations. Studies (on the Sarah Ockwell-Smith website) show young children don't have the capacity to sleep without comfort until about school age. Maybe 3-6 years old, depending on the child. At that point, decent bribery should get you out of cosleeping.

So if you are baby's source of comfort, you're likely to be needed to help him get to sleep until school-ish age. It might be though that you establish a comforter toy, while at the same time cosleeping.

There are in-between things you could do. For example you can take one side off most cotbeds. You can use leg-raises to make the cot match your bed mattress height, even with high sides on the cot. Then wedge cot to the side of your bed.

Baby then has a seperate space to you, while also being able to comfort.

TittyGolightly Sun 05-Mar-17 16:44:01

I did go back to co-sleeping, when do you stop? Will I have to at some point do something like this withdraw method? Or will it just happen over time?

We let DD decide. Proper bed went into her room at 18 months and by 2 she was choosing to sleep in here most of the time. At 6 she still sneaks in with us once or twice a week. It's no issue. She won't want to do it when she's 15!

TittyGolightly Sun 05-Mar-17 16:44:16

*in there

FATEdestiny Sun 05-Mar-17 16:50:12

She won't want to do it when she's 15!

Well... I'm not so sure...

My 12 year old DD still pops into our bed occassionally. Very occassionally, mind you.

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that she may still be doing it aged 15? I quite like it when my eldest occassionally comes into our bed. It's usually to do with feeling insecure. She was in our bed the night before her first day at secondary school, for example. And often if she has fall-ours with friends, when feeling insecure, she'll appear at our bedside in the middle of the night.

TittyGolightly Sun 05-Mar-17 17:51:59

I'm sure I won't mind either way, to be honest. I still sit on the end of my nan's bed when I visit for a bedtime chat and I'm in my 30s!

lifeisaconundrumattimes Sun 05-Mar-17 22:01:36

We co slept until good 'habits' had been instilled. Think he was maybe 6/7 months when we moved him into his own cot. BUT we bought him into bed with us anytime he woke up (usually only once) as it was a sure fire way of settling him. One of us could have probably rocked him back to sleep but at 2am we just bought him in for a cuddle. Definitely the easiest option! Eventually he stopped waking, so now he's in his own bed all night.

Honestly, embrace what works and only worry if it causes issues. I wouldn't worry about co sleeping until you don't want to do it anymore... If that makes sense? Most things, I have found, resolve themselves without issue when the timing is right. Do not worry about creating bad habits! I rocked my son to sleep every night until suddenly it stopped working as he was laughing at me and poking my eyes! I out him down in his cot and he fell asleep quickly on his own. He was ready to do so and he 'communicated' that in the best way he could.

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