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It's just not working any more...

(29 Posts)
HerculesParrot Wed 10-May-17 18:08:09

My 8 month old has previously been fed to sleep at night, bounced to sleep in the day. She would sleep in the pushchair or sling but this took longer to achieve and was less reliable. Now the feeding and bouncer look like going the same way. It takes an age to get her off for daytime naps - up to half an hour of bouncing. I've tried putting her down earlier to account for this and to off-set possible overtiredness, and also putting her down later in case she's not tired. No difference - it takes forever. Feeding to sleep at night works, but I have lost the ability to unlatch her and get her into cot without her waking. It takes me 3 or 4 goes every night, no matter how deep a sleep she seems to be in. I need to start getting her to settle in the cot.

So my question is how? I have tried sitting next to her stroking her tummy, and once or twice she's dropped off after half an hour, but mostly she just squiggles about, gets cross and starts shouting. She's never had a dummy, she has a snuggly toy, but to be honest I'm not sure she really differentiates between that and any of the other toys she enthusiastically chews. What do you actually do to get them to sleep? Or do you just sit out the crying and eventually it gets better?!

When making this rod for my own back I at least assumed I'd have some choice in when I dealt with it! grin

missanony Wed 10-May-17 18:15:22

Try sitting next to her but doing nothing, no talking or stroking, just sat there facing away.

Try a snooze shade for the pushchair

Chuffingchuff Wed 10-May-17 19:39:55

In exactly the same position with the bedtime sleep. So hoping for some good advice confused

jazzandh Wed 10-May-17 19:48:18

DS2 was like this...he ended up being a determined tummy sleeper - so pram and bouncy chair just ended up not working for him at all.

One day after he had been thrashing about I rolled him over and that was it...(didn't stop 5am wake-ups...but he certainly went to sleep with no problem)

Millipede170 Wed 10-May-17 20:57:15

I was going to say similar, have you tried sleeping her on her side? (Or front if she is able to flip herself back over) It helped my wean my DS off the boob to resettle during the night. Now he is able to crawl and get himself comfortable in his cot, he never sleeps on his back. Always side or front. And he's so much more settled.

LalaLeona Wed 10-May-17 21:10:57

could try very loud shush patting, it worked for me at that age but did take a while

FATEdestiny Wed 10-May-17 21:27:09

I think it is reasonable to assume that is baby doesn't have something to suck on going to sleep in the cot, they are likely to cry while going to sleep. How do you feel about that? Because you need some realistic expectations.

Could you take one side off the cot and sidecar it to your bed? Transferring a sleeping baby is never a good idea, you need baby to go to sleep where she will stay. If you sidecar the cot, at least you can cuddle up to help baby learn to settle in there.

HerculesParrot Thu 11-May-17 10:14:49

Thanks - some things to think about.

I need to keep one or even both hands on her or she just rolls around incessantly. It may be worth seeing if she'll go off better on her tummy so I'll try that.

She would never take a dummy, and will go off in the bouncer without anything to suck, so I'm looking for anything else that might help in cot (obviously motion is out, and we can't get this cot in our room). She does a sort of 'descending whinge' for five or so minutes as she drops of in bouncer, which is fine, but I can't ride out extended crying, especially when it doesn't actually seem to be getting us anywhere.

Pushchair with sun shade might work but I'll save it for when desperate - I can't get her back into the house without waking her, so along with the time it takes to get her off I'd be pounding the streets for two hours per nap!

foxessocks Thu 11-May-17 10:19:53

I'm in exactly the same situation be back when I've got baby to sleep!!!!

primaryboodle Thu 11-May-17 10:20:59

I could have written your post. From 8-9 months it got worse and worse as feeding to sleep was taking upwards of an hour including at night and couldnt unlatch at all (previously this had been fine). One night after 1.5 hours of feed,unlatch,wake and repeat i put her in the cot and went downstairs for a breather - wothin 5 mins she was asleep! So i carried on and within a week she was being put down awake and sleeping through and didnt even whinge at being put down (had 2/3 mins of whinging on the nights leading up to this).

I was totally against controlled crying but she wasnt crying, just whinging and now she and I are so much happier. Couldnt hurt to try?

HerculesParrot Thu 11-May-17 11:16:27

I need to have a careful think about controlled crying. I'm not absolutely opposed to it, but probably not yet desperate enough. There's no point starting it unless I'm absolutely going to stick to it rigorously - I fear I'm likely to give in, and then she's been upset and all I've done is reinforce that she gets fed if she keeps crying. I think you have to be determined to make controlled crying work!

Millipede170 Thu 11-May-17 19:23:14

I know it's a controversial subject (CC) and someone will get upset whatever one says. But, I tried it with my DS and after a few nights it was clear that he wasn't going to do 40 mins or whatever of whining and then go off - it was hours sometimes (inconsistent each night) and he was really genuinely upset. There didn't seem to be any improvement and we were both finding it extremely stressful. Lots of people told me to hold my nerve and push through but actually it just felt wrong, and I thought sod this, it's up to me and I want to stop! So yes give it a go if you want to, and your LO might simmer down really quickly. But it's not a magic bullet for every baby and definitely know that you can stop if it's too awful x

primaryboodle Thu 11-May-17 20:28:54

I totally agree millipede, just suggesting you try and see what happens. For what it's worth I think she just became developmentally ready to go down by herself - we didn't 'do' controlled crying - by fluke I discovered that actually she was fairly happy to drop off by herself. I definitely don't think I would've had the resolve to set out intentionally to do it.. even if it doesn't work now lots can change in a few weeks

FATEdestiny Thu 11-May-17 20:51:01

I don't think controlled crying at 7 months is going to be any sort of right answer.

But getting baby to settle in the cot may involve some crying. But you there trying to reassure, show compassion and teach independant sleep all the time. Especially so since baby liked your firm hands as contact when going to sleep, I definitely wouldn't deny that by leaving baby al9ne to cry.

CluelessMummy Thu 11-May-17 21:03:48

There are gentle methods of CC, but yes, you will have to listen to some crying. We tried a method whereby our DD was only left for 1, 2 and 3 minute intervals, but I appreciate even this might be too much for you and I'd say you really do have to be at the end of your rope if you find any sort of upset hard. With our DD, her sleeps were sorted within three days and for us it was absolutely worth it - not least because DD lost what seemed like a fear of her cot, sleep or both in the process and actually appears happy about going to bed.

HerculesParrot Sat 13-May-17 10:49:15

Hmmm. Does the following sound like a realistic plan:
Last feed in room with low light on
Unlatch before she falls asleep
Into cot and sit with hands on chest/gentle stroking till she drops off

I am going to be sitting listening to her cry (I suppose this is what I meant by "controlled crying" - I wouldn't actually leave her). If she got properly distressed I think I would need to pick her up, although I'd be worried this might be counterproductive. I think it's more likely to be a 'protest' cry, but if we're going to endure some crying I want to make sure I get it right!

If the above sounds reasonable, what would you do for night wakings? These are only occasional but she often doesn't wake fully and five minutes on the boob sends her off. Would it be best to aim for settling in-cot then too, or just work on initial bedtime first and rely on boob to reduce general sleep disruption?

museumum Sat 13-May-17 10:55:35

I stopped feeding to sleep at this age. Gave a bf earlier evening then warm milk in a sippy cup with stories with daddy before bed and into cot in the dark on his own, he cried a bit but literally 6mins was the worst night, usually it was less than 2/3mins. Compared to 30-40mins if we cuddled/rocked or anything else this seemed the kinder route.

At 10mo he started sleeping through.

riddles26 Sat 13-May-17 14:00:49

My daughter was 5 months when I had a similar problem in the evening in that her last feed got longer and longer and she just wouldn't unlatch. She was also a terrible napper and had started waking every 90 minutes at this stage so we used a sleep consultant to help (Prior to the 4 month regression she used to sleep through the night and settle herself in the night if she did wake up for any reason).

The sleep consultant made me cap her last feed at 20 minutes and put her in the cot wide awake to settle herself to sleep - I admit I was skeptical and did not think for a second it would work. We had agreed on PU/PD for sleep training to get her to settle if she protested - but from the first night she just went to sleep within 5 minutes - a bit like what primary said. I couldn't believe it! (She has done that pretty much every night since as well)

In terms of naps, she gave us a routine (similar to the 7-7 one in most baby books) and feed times and told us to follow a nap time routine and get her used to a comforter when sleeping. We were to use PU/PD for naps and continue using it for an hour. If she didn't sleep in that time, forget about the nap and move onto the next one. She settled herself to sleep for every nap from the date we started the training and we have only needed to use the technique a handful of times. It has been about a month now (she is 6.5 months) and I follow our little ritual, put her in her cot and walk out the door. Occasionally she may protest and whinge, but generally she chats to herself and falls asleep - nothing to suck, no movement and no tears.

riddles26 Sat 13-May-17 14:05:01

I forgot to add, if she does wake mid nap, I now use CC to decide whether to go to her or not as if I go in when she needs to go back to sleep, it just escalates the situation and she gets even more distressed that I am there and not picking her up. Of course, as her mum I know when she is crying because she is distressed and needs me and when she is trying to get herself back to sleep and only ever use CC in the latter situation.
Prior to this, I used PU/PD so I was there and she was never crying alone (this is when I realised me being there was making things worse when she needed to go back to sleep)

HerculesParrot Sat 13-May-17 14:12:06

I worry about PU/PD that she's going to think she's getting a feed every time I pick her up, and things will get worse when she doesn't. Leaving her on cot feels mean, but at least I'm there and she can see she has to stay there - if that makes sense?!

riddles26 Sat 13-May-17 14:19:07

I used PU/PD because she was under 6 months. If she was older, I probably would have done what you are saying and used as gentle as possible CC.

Everyone has their own opinion on CC - as a health professional who has seen the negative health effects of long term sleep deprivation and read the literature and evidence both for and against CC, I am completely for it in the right circumstances to encourage good sleep habits. As a mother, I know I struggle to implement it as my emotions get in the way but I try break past my emotions and use it where appropriate.

HerculesParrot Sat 13-May-17 14:32:40

I am completely for it in the right circumstances to encourage good sleep habits. As a mother, I know I struggle to implement it as my emotions get in the way

This is where I'm at! I don't want to start unless I'm going to be consistent and do it properly. It's the worst of both worlds to start it then give in! I need to make a decision and get stern with myself!

riddles26 Sat 13-May-17 14:42:55

You are totally correct about consistency. Starting it and being inconsistent is the worst thing you can do as baby won't know what you want them to do if not consistent in how you handle the situation then she will cry even more which is impossible to handle.

Can your partner help you in staying strong? Although we have been lucky with not too many tears from when we started the whole process, having each other to keep us strong really helped. Once you see the results, it does get easier to keep that consistency in your approach and you get to know the sounds and cries so well that you know instantly when they actually need you

FATEdestiny Sat 13-May-17 15:06:41

Does the following sound like a realistic plan:
Last feed in room with low light on
Unlatch before she falls asleep
Into cot and sit with hands on chest/gentle stroking till she drops off

That sounds like a great start point to me.

The aim would be to completely seperate feeding and sleeping, so that the bedtime feed happens half an hour or so before sleep time and she goes from awake to asleep in the cot.

From the point you are now, how quickly you progress to that stage comes down to how urgent it is for you to get your baby sleeping independantly.

You may be absolutely unable/unwilling to comfort your baby at sleep time anymore, in which case you can go straight to leaving baby to cry. The other end of the scale is not wanting to give rise to any preventable distress in baby, so taking the longer term, slow, kind and gradual view but with the view towards independant sleep (as opposed to just cosleeping, which many may choose).

I'm of the more gentle route to independant sleep. But it's no quick fix so needs realistic expectations. I started from newborn with gentle gradual withdrawal, it took until 12 months to reach the point of 'put in cot standing, say night and leave' stage. But I've never ever tolerated any crying / shouting / grumbling / "singing" (or whatever word is used for a child vocsluding unhappiness) in the process at any time - hence it took a longer time than controlled crying at 5 months would have done.

If the above sounds reasonable, what would you do for night wakings? These are only occasional but she often doesn't wake fully and five minutes on the boob sends her off.

I'm not really sure where on the scale you lie in terms of how harsh you want to be, so it's hard to advise. You strike me as much more of a gentle parent, who's only stopped feeding to sleep because it's stopped working, rather than because you dictate you want it to stop (?)

In which case, if feeding in the night works - do it. There's no need on not to, comforting your child is not harmful to independant sleep.

Progress towards independant sleep at bedtime and naptime - so unlatching sooner and doing gradually more of the settling in-cot rather than at the Brest. Then gradually less in-cot settling. At least then yoy will have alternate comforting methods in your arsenal.

Try alternate comforting in the night, sometimes it may work but if not, there's always the breast. In time he may either just wake less frequently anyway, or be more tolerant of in-cot settling.

I'm not sure if I'm reading you right in this though. There at faster methods to get there, less gentle and more crying. You don't have to take the gentle route if it's not your parenting style.

HerculesParrot Sat 13-May-17 22:22:50

Thanks Fate, gentle is definitely what I'm aiming for! I was happy with the feeding to sleep for the foreseeable future, but since it seems to be getting less effective it seemed like a good time to start moving towards independent settling.

It sounds like you're suggesting gradually breaking off the feed earlier in the process (so I'd probably build up to the scenario I outlined above, rather than start with that on day one) then progress to separating the feed from being put down more and more as we go on. Is that right?

I'll stick with boobs for night wakings for now if that won't adversely affect the initial bedtime, and just work on the place we have the problem!

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