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Gradual retreat - how do you retreat??

(27 Posts)
flisspot Fri 21-Apr-17 15:57:16


Just that really... my almost 9mo just keeps standing up etc, shouting (in a playing type way) until she decides she's tired after about 40 mins, then goes to sleep. No crying generally. Me or DH sit in chair beside the cot, laying her back down every few mins. So how do you get to the bit where you retreat?? Been at this for two weeks and every evening has been the same, give it take.

stuckinthehouse Fri 21-Apr-17 16:09:57

Every night move the chair 5cm closer to the door, then eventually outside the door, then start standing instead of sitting. Then every night close the door a bit further, then start standing at the top of the stairs and, then every night go down a step. Eventually you will make it to the sofa! It takes forever but that's how you do it.

Sorry, you did ask!

FATEdestiny Fri 21-Apr-17 16:45:49


It sounds like you are mostly just ignoring baby, which isn't conducive to GW with a baby. It's a process of actively teaching baby

Many babies need to actively be taught (ie it doesnt come naturally) that when in the cot she needs to lie down, be still and be quiet.

Until your baby has learnt this, there is no withdrawing. The withdrawing starts when baby is at the pint of getting in the cot, lying down, staying still and being quiet - all without fuss or issue.

So it stars off with you being very proactive around sleep time. This involves bending over into the cot, firm hand n baby's chest/back to keep baby still and offer your reassuring presence. I would keep the dummy continually on baby's mouth through this, so baby is quiet and still. Any shuffling or moving, still with your firm hands or maybe some patting. Certainly no getting up, resettling back down immediately this happens.

Lots of eye contact, lots constant of physical touch and always stay until completely asleep. Baby needs to trust you'll stay, then the time it takes for her to switch off and go to sleep will reduce. I wouldn't expect it to take more than 15 minutes usually. More often more like 5-10 minutes.

Then the process of withdrawal:
• bending into cot, firm hand on chest/back. Stay until asleep.
• bending into cot with firm hand, remove hand (but stay bending in) when calm. Return hand if unsettled, withdraw hand when calm. Stay until asleep.
• bending into cot with firm hand to settle, stand when calm. Return to bending with firm hand if unsettled, withdraw once calm and still. Stay until asleep.
• bend into cot to settle, stand and turn side-on (rather than facing) to the cot when settled. Return if unsettled, withdraw when calm. Stay until asleep.
• settle initially then step away from cot. Return if needed. Otherwise just wait until asleep.
• settle initially then wait by the door. Always return to cot if not settled, back to firm hand on chest/back. But always re-withdraw once calm. Always stay until asleep.
• settle in cot, then whisper you are just going to do something (put towels bavk back in bathroom for example) and you'll be right back. Only leave for 30 secs or do just once. Then wait by door, in sight, until asleep
• make your little upstairs chores more frequent, keep popping back to doorway frequently until asleep.
• settle in cot, promise you will stay upstairs and leave door open until he is asleep.
• Now he is going to sleep completely independantly, close door as soon as you leave but always go in to her if unsettled, then withdraw once calm.

Blossom789 Sat 22-Apr-17 19:49:54

Out of interest what age is this good to start??

flisspot Sat 22-Apr-17 20:14:29

Thanks - I've done tonight getting her to lay down by keeping a hand on her. Seemed to help!!

MrsJayy Sat 22-Apr-17 20:17:27

Was going to say what fate did but not so detailed print that out and refer back to it but yeah do all that.

FATEdestiny Sat 22-Apr-17 21:33:26

Blossom789, I started from newborn using a sidecar cot.

GW is not terribly useful in the first 6/12 weeks since such a tiny baby only feeds and sleeps so very difficult to seperate separate the two. But the principles can be used literally from Day 1 - like finding ways for baby to be content to sleep independantly, rather than while being held.

Once baby starts to have more awake time, that's when I seperate feeding and going to sleep and focusing on in-cot settling with a view to gradually withdraw. So from before 3 months old.

The older baby is, the more unwelcome habits that might have to be intaught so the more difficult (but by no means impossible) gradual withdrawal is.

There's a poster (*@Nottalotta*) who successfully used gradual withdrawal with her son when he was about 12 months old, I think.

Blossom789 Sun 23-Apr-17 03:37:33

Interesting i may start with DS- 14 week. Can you do it during the night too after a night feed (not thinking to do it now! But DS feeds is fast asleep wakes when put in cot and stares at me- only started this last week but it's driving me crazy!)

FATEdestiny Sun 23-Apr-17 09:44:00

You can do it when you like. This young it will be all about making baby feel settled and content to go to sleep in their cot, using as much help as baby needs for that.

Daytime naps will be trickier, some babies need less input to go to sleep and will be fine in the cot.

My children have needed more help to go to sleep in the daytime, so I had daytime naps in the bouncer (so that perpetual movement can be used to extend nap length)

Again same principle though - offer every kind of help baby needs to feel content to go to sleep without being held (dummy, movement, your cuddles in-situ). Then over time reduce dependency on them.

Gradual Withdrawal isn't a quick fix though. Bear in mind it could take to 12 months to reach the ideal point of putting child standing into cot with comforter and leave, child putting themself to sleep.

Blossom789 Sun 23-Apr-17 10:04:22

That's good to know, thanks. DS has started waking whenever put down in crib which is helped by putting my hands on his chest (sometimes) so following this as a guide may work.

We don't use a dummy at the moment, I'm not opposed to them but in the past he hasn't settled with them. Is it worth trying again? If we did would this only be used to settle then take it away or use all the time?

FATEdestiny Sun 23-Apr-17 10:39:09

It's up to you Blossom. I am a huge fan of the dummy, I think it is the perfect no-crying independant sleeping tool. So that will make be give a biased opinion, I know lots of other people would refuse to even consider a dumny regardless and that is their prerogative.

Dumny is not a necessary part of gradual withdrawal. It can be done without it.

The fundamental principles of GW is to give every possible bit of help baby needs to ger to sleep independantly (ie not feeding to sleep and co sleeping), then reduce the dependant on them over time.

Some of the most useful 'tools' for making sleeping independantly easy include:

- swaddling and put down to sleep as a newborn, rather than being held to sleep.
- dummy to suck rather than comfort sucking at the breast
- sidecar cot rather than co sleeping
- naps in something that moves (bouncer, pushchair etc) rather than being rocked to sleep in arms.

These are tools that recreate the natural things baby takes comfort from (being held, feeding to sleep, sleeping with mum, being rocked in your arms) but in an independant sleeping way.

Then over the weeks/months, slowly and gradually reduce baby's dependence on you, so baby develops their own methods of self-comfirting and you are no longer required to help with that comforting.

It's got to start from the point of feeling comforted (ie not upset or crying) in the cot. That often needs a lot of active support initially.

sofreakingtired Mon 12-Jun-17 09:14:05

Hi. FATE are you there? I've been doing this for a while now, with the holding down etc, but am not getting anywhere!! She can still be awake up to a good hour depending on the day, and I am waiting until she's yawning / eye rubbing before I take her up. Sometimes she's out straight away though. Half the time she just laughs if I try to keep her down, and she won't stay down at all for my DH. She's so wriggly and strong it's unbelievable. Any advice? I still haven't managed to move away from beside the cot! Thanks smile

sofreakingtired Mon 12-Jun-17 09:14:27

Sorry - should say I am the OP, I name changed!

TheChineseChicken Mon 12-Jun-17 09:22:09

Sorry if I have misunderstood or am missing the point here but from your OP it seems that your baby spends time in the cot before sleeping happily making noises etc but not crying. Is there a reason you sit with them and don't just put them in the cot and leave them to it? Perhaps if you aren't there they would fall asleep faster? It sounds like they aren't upset or crying. This is what we do with DD - she will spend maybe 5-10 minutes playing, moving around, chatting away (we can hear on the monitor) then will eventually fall asleep.

As I said, apologies if that's a bad suggestion!

dementedpixie Mon 12-Jun-17 09:29:29

If they aren't crying or upset why are you staying in the room? I didn't wait for mine to be asleep before we left the room or they get used to you always being there. Go back in if they cry or get upset

sofreakingtired Mon 12-Jun-17 09:39:03

Thanks both! Yes, as soon as I leave the room she cries. Gets hysterical if I leave her for more than a minute or so. She's always been like that. We tried CC before this and it was torture. Did it for a week or so and was never less than an hour before she went to sleep so we gave up. That was a couple of months ago though.

I just seem to constantly be putting her back down. My DH tried leaving her standing while in the room the other day and she just screamed at him for a good half hour.

I just don't know what to do for the best! She's happy if I'm in the room and keep putting her down, I just want to get to the "drop and leave" point as am back to work in 7 weeks so my DM and nursery will have to deal with all of this and I want it to be as easy as possible for them!

FATEdestiny Mon 12-Jun-17 10:47:51

Sofreakingtired - she's either not tired when being out to sleep. Or more likely is over tired. Yawning and eye running at at the latter end of the tiredness scale. Baby probably was tired 30m/1h earlier than that.

The best time for a nap is at the 'just-tired' point. This is before tger e are any outward signs of being tired. The more you learn your baby's sleep ques, the better you can get at spotting the just-tired point because you can anticipate and predict when baby will be there.

I would imagine on the days she goes to sleep easily and with little fuss, you got the timing right for naptime.

sofreakingtired Mon 12-Jun-17 13:07:44

Thanks Fate. Will have to try and spot better.

TheChineseChicken Mon 12-Jun-17 15:25:35

What is your current nap and bedtime schedule? I have found in the past that difficulty at putting down for sleep is due to too short awake time

sofreakingtired Mon 12-Jun-17 16:23:11

She currently wakes at 6-7, naps approx 8:30-9:30 depending on waking time for anything from 30 mins to two hours. Then approx three hours later for 30 mins to an hour (more if I can get her to stay asleep if she's had a shorter morning nap, but it's rare she'll go longer than an hour). Last nap always done by 3:30, then bed time at 7.

sofreakingtired Mon 12-Jun-17 16:24:58

I haven't brought bed time earlier as my DH gets home around 6:15 and she's so excited to see him she wouldn't settle much before 7 anyway...

TheChineseChicken Tue 13-Jun-17 10:00:42

Sounds like reasonable awake times and plenty of time between last nap and bedtime. I guess like FATE says it's a case of trying to put her down before she gets too tired

sofreakingtired Tue 13-Jun-17 10:15:58

Thanks again. I think teeth aren't helping the matter at the moment causing extra waking as well (up 1-3 last night on top of it all). Fingers crossed I can get this cracked!

Nottalotta Tue 13-Jun-17 16:12:33

Sorry not rtft, but yes I did this with ds at 12 months when he stopped feeding to sleep. He was a baby that wouldn't be put down awake at all prior to this. I'll do a more detailed reply if you want later.

Nottalotta Tue 13-Jun-17 20:18:54

Still not rtft.......

Ds1 was a baby who didn't want to be put down to sleep, and believe me I tried. All of his naps, until about 7 months were on me, in car or moving pram. If the pram stopped he woke up. We did some in the bouncy chair but again, stop bouncing and he woke. He never just fell to sleep on his own.

Around 11 months, he stopped falling asleep while bf at bedtime. So I bf, then cuddled but he was quite resistant. I was also pregnant again and back at work.

What I did......already had a firm routine. Bath, pj's, stories, bf with mobile on, into cot asleep. I started offering cup of milk at 12 months and he preferred that to bf after only a few days. So then I put him in the cot with his milk (bad apparently....) put the mobile on and leant into the cot patting, singing, whatever it took to avoid crying. First night wasn't too bad but second took 75 minutes. Then 60, 55 etc. After a few nights I sat on the floor next to the cot. I gradually moved further away and he started falling to sleep in around 20 minutes. I got to being able to put him in the cot, he'd just lay there, I would leave and sit at the top of the stairs until asleep.

Things took a step back when I had ds2 as my husband didn't do the routine or put him to bed in the same way. Ds is going through an unsettled patch so I'm currently sitting on the spare bed in his room until he's asleep.

Our first real go though involved no crying at all, I was amazed at how well it worked.
I did do it slightly differently to Fate though in that he did bounce around, stand up etc and I would just pat the mattress and say 'lie down'. The firm hand resulted in screaming and I would have needed both hands to hold him down.

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