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Can anyone talk me through the gradual retreat method, please?

(5 Posts)
rosetintedspectacles Thu 25-May-17 09:40:37

I have a very, VERY clingy 8 and a half month old daughter whose sleep has been getting steadily worse for about 2 months now. For about a month after the end of the 4 month regression she was waking up just once a night, but now we're back to 2/3/4+ wake ups per night and sometimes she's awake for an 1-2hours at a time.

She always falls asleep feeding before bed and has awful separation anxiety so gets so upset being put down in the cot if she's awake, so I can't do the whole 'shush pat' thing because she works herself into such a state.

I think I need to help her self soothe so would like to try the gradual retreat method, so wondered if anyone could talk me through it in very gradual steps please?

Thank you!

BibbidiBobbidi Thu 25-May-17 09:51:16

I'm not sure on that method but my DD was similar to this at that age.

I got a cuddly blankie, and for the first couple of nights I put it down my top whilst I was feeding her so that it smelt of me when I put her down.

When I put her down and she started crying I gave it to her and she sucked on it until she fell asleep.

I also brought an Ewan (life saver for us!) and put that on every night.

Every time she woke up I would give her the blankie and put the sheep back on and come out. She would eventually self settle.

She's 13 months now and when she wakes in the night she'll grizzle a bit until she finds the blankie and then she goes back to sleep.

Have you tried anything like that? It's awful when they're this clingy isn't it!

MissCookiee Thu 25-May-17 10:06:35

I had this same problem and this worked brilliantly for me, but it required a lot of strength and patience.

Lay your dc in their bed, read them a story etc do the normal bedtime routine. Then sit on their bed with your back to them and don't move. They may cry, pull at you, scream whatever but don't give in. Occasionally you can lay them back down if need me and calmly but firmly say to them "no it's bed time now"

The whole point is the fact that you're still there while the go off to sleep.

Once they start getting better you can ease you way gradually out of the room (eg, don't sit on their bed anymore, sit on the floor, then next night sit a bit more closer to the door and so on) until you're out the room and you'll be able to say "goodnight" and walk out without any problems. This really worked for me, it's not easy but at least you're still there so it's better than controlled crying method.

FATEdestiny Thu 25-May-17 13:49:53

Are you cosleeping rosetintedspectacles or putting baby in the cot completely asleep?

The most gentle way to do this would be to start off in a sidecar cot (normal cot with 1 side removed and wedges up to your bed). Is this something you could do? It is worth removing furniture (chest of drawers, for example) and rearranging furniture to allow for fitting in the cot, if space is a problem

lorisparkle Thu 25-May-17 14:06:11

When we did gradual withdrawal/ retreat we started with 'not feeding' . So I would rock him, sing to him, anything except feed him to sleep. He did cry but I was there comforting him. After a few days we went onto just holding him which again caused him to cry but I was there and sang to him. After a few days we moved onto to him in the cot and us comforting him. This was tricky but we got there. Then we sat next to the cot with less interaction and then moved gradually away from the cot until we were out of the room. It was a long process but noticed an increase in the times between wake ups as the process went along. In the night we would always comfort a bit more than we did to get him to sleep. I was feeding him to sleep regularly at night so I gradually increased the time between feeds by trying to comfort him without feeding him unless I had to !

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