Those who have sleep trained(60 Posts)
I wanted some advice from anyone who has sleep trained please.
I have a 7 month old daughter who was historically an awful napper (i.e. she wouldn't nap at all). Until 4 month regression, she would sleep well at night but napping would be hard work (usually impossible) to achieve. She was just too interested in the world to allow herself to sleep.
When the night sleep fell apart due to regression, we had to do something because she was so distressed with overtiredness and we used a sleep consultant who set us into a routine. Following her instructions to the letter worked and we got her sleeping at set times with practically no protest.
We are now a few months down the line and I have been adjusting her awake times according to her signals and age but I've found if we ever need to deviate from her routine to go out somewhere, everything falls apart - mainly because she is too damn alert and wants to see everything anywhere except her pitch black bedroom with white noise blaring loudly. If I put a shade on her car seat/pram, she cries before she goes to sleep which I struggle to deal with.
I naively thought that once we had followed the same process for months, she would go to sleep at her nap time because that's what she was used to doing at that time everyday and she would be tired but no luck. How does everyone else deal with this? I don't go out much at her nap times but sometimes it's unavoidable and if she doesn't sleep, she gets really cranky.
As for taking her out past bedtime, she also refuses to sleep. I almost always put her to bed then go out but there are rare occasions where we may need to go somewhere with her and it all becomes a big mess.
We have a few weddings to go to this summer and a holiday booked and all I can see myself doing is stressing about her (lack of) sleep right now. I want to enjoy these things but I can't see that happening as things are right now. Can anyone offer advice please?
Sorry if she is in a good routine at 7 months then you have to front it out. My son was closer to 2.5 before we could mess around with sleep timings. He is now 5 and late bedtimes still cause havoc. The way I reasoned it was that after all the awful sleep now that we were getting good sleep that was more valuable than dinners out etc since it's for a limited period of time. The upshot of being super consistent on sleep is that he now sleeps better than almost all his peers.
Not advice sorry, but I have a crap sleeper and wondering how your sleep consultant got her sleeping well...was it CC or did just routines and white noise get her off to sleep and sleeping longer?
Big fan of sleep training here and also used an excellent consultant.
You might need to adjust the routine. What times are the naps and what is she eating & drinking?
I have three dc and we've sleep trained them all. The downside is that you can end up a slave to the routine which is why a lot of people get put off trying it.
My 11 month old rarely has a bad night if we disrupt her routine but she can only nap for 45 mins in the buggy rather than 2 hours in her bed so we know if we are out at nap time she will be cranky for the afternoon.
My middle one is nearly three and she's just becoming more flexible. My eldest is 5.5 and can stay up late for weddings etc and not really notice at all!
For your holidays I would plan your days to allow for naps. Take it in turns to take her back to the hotel and rest when she naps. You can try bedtime in the buggy so you can have dinner out but generally we eat early with the kids on holiday and then get them to bed at normal-ish time and drink wine on the balcony 😬
Thanks luchi - I feared that may be the case. I am completely happy to stick to the routine and be home for nap and sleep times most of the time but she sleeps right through lunch and dinner and I'm currently wondering how we will manage meals while in holiday if she doesn't sleep in the pram. Did you just deal with the fall out for the few times that you did have to go out? I totally agree that having consistent sleep definitely trumps going out in general
Grayfig - we used pick up/ put down with some shush-patting to train her. Took longer than CC but she was only 4 months so CC wasn't appropriate imo.
Another believer in not messing with the routine! DD1 is 2y9m and we can't do anything in the afternoon or it messes with her nap and we have overtired grumpiness to deal with. I can't let her fall asleep anywhere else as she naps for 5 mins, thinks she's slept then spends the rest of the day in a screaming, overtired, nap-refusing state. We had to sleep train her as a baby.
DD2 was always much easier, napped easily and was more flexible - I would mess with her routine as she doesn't mind!
On the bright side DD1 usually sleeps for 11 hours at night and has a 2/3 hour nap - it's amazing and I never thought we'd get here given the sleep refusing baby we had.
Are you walking in the pushchair and have you got the white noise blaring (use an app on a mobile phone if needed)? Could you introduce a comfort item that you can use away from the cot? If it really bugs you you may have to move to having one nap a day in the pushchair at home until she gets used to it?
For his first 8 months DS would only nap in his cot in a dark room. It was great in that I could put him down and leave him to get stuff done at home, but rubbish because he wouldn't nap when out so it was really restrictive. He then lost the ability to self settle with learning how to stand so we had to start napping him in his pushchair. Once he was used to it, all we had to do was push it back and forwards a few times and he'd sleep pretty much anywhere. Pushchair naps didn't stop him learning to sleep through, and we moved him back into his cot for naps at 2 with no trouble. I loved the flexibility so much for DD our priority is getting her to nap in pushchairs well.
Lapin her routine is as follows:
6.30am wake up (should be 7 but can't get her to sleep until then no matter what I do)
7am breastfeed then solids. Usually yoghurt with fruit or eggs
9.20am 40 minute nap
11.30am lunch. Vegetables/ pasta /casserole
12.20pm 2-2.5hour nap. Usually ends up being closer to 2 hours
5pm dinner veg/casserole/pasta etc
5.45pm bath, massage, breastfeed
She isn't on 3 full solid meals a day yet and weaning is a mixture of BLW and me feeding her. Meals tend to be what we are eating but adapted for her. We are vegetarian so she doesn't have any meat or fish.
She was (reluctantly) having a 30 minute catnap at 4.30pm but this became increasingly difficult to achieve so we dropped it recently.
Is there anything you can suggest to tweak it?
she sleeps right through lunch and dinner
When is your holiday? As you are adjusting naps based on her queues you might find that times have changed by holiday.
Also we find we can change times (gradually) as long as we stick to the nap process (milk, book, etc) and its ok.
Thanks so much for all your replies.
RNBrie - I was put off a routine for just that reason initially but things couldn't have got worse than they were so we went with it. I have accepted it's how things are, and while family complain how inflexible I am, it works for her which is the most important thing.
Like your one, her afternoon nap is cut short if in a buggy and then she is cranky but generally goes down ok at night. If we put her down late at night then she wakes more frequently and then starts the downwards spiral to overtiredness
My issue with holiday is that we start preparing her for bed at 5.45 so too early to have dinner for us! (Having early dinner by 6/6.30 would be no issue though.) Long nap also falls right through lunch so it will mean we don't get to eat any meals as a couple if we get her back to her room for sleeps so I am keen to try find some sort of an alternative. Sounds like nailing a pram sleep is the way forward
Newmum - my daughter is exactly like your eldest! You have given me hope for the future (for her and any other children I may have!)
Mrs P - yes we walk the pushchair with white noise (not blaring but definitely there) and she has her comforter. This was part of the strategy from the sleep consultant. If I can achieve what you have managed in terms of pushchair sleep, I may just be able to manage all these things! You've given me a target! Thanks
Sorry but that looks like an amazing routine for 7 months!
If you want to have lunch together then you could move her second nap later (slowly - 5 mins a day). But regarding dinner can you holiday somewhere self catering so you can put her to bed and then eat?
Routine looks great, only thing I would suggest is to push the lunchtime nap back slightly so it's more like 12.45-3 and then you'll get closer to a 7pm bedtime and she might wake a bit later for you too.
3rd nap is definitely gone by this stage so that's right.
Also I know there is no meat or fish involved but could you try eggs? Great source of protein. Also annabel marcel has a great lentil and sweet potato stew that is filling and full of protein & iron.
As for holidays I would do a snooze shade on the pram and accept there'll be a bit of grumbling before she goes to sleep
It generally is fantastic and I am happy with it most of the time. She does wake 1-2 times at night for breastfeed but that is no problem for me.
If I moved her second nap later - would her awake time between first and second be too long? She doesn't get cranky between the 2 naps at the moment but that's because I get her down earlier rather than later.
Sorry lapin, I forgot to mention that she does get lentils in her meals frequently for protein. Eggs are often breakfast - would you recommend them for lunch or dinner instead?
I'm getting early morning wake ups (around 5-5.30am with refusal to go back to sleep) every few days at the moment - would you recommend a longer or earlier morning nap to compensate for this?
From what you are all saying, pram naps seem the way forward!
If you move the morning nap earlier or make it longer then you reinforce the early waking.
Keep it at 40 mins max.
Is the bedroom completely blacked out? I would try and make dinner as filling as possible too.
Blacking out the bedroom completely moved the early wake ups from 4.30am to 5-5.30 but getting her back to sleep on the early days is impossible as she's fully alert and wants to play. We can often ignore her but she doesn't go to sleep - plays herself until we wake up at 6.30. I've not changed the morning nap yet but the early starts still tend to happen anyway.
It's not everyday at the moment but I fear we may be heading that way!
I will try keep dinner as the heavier meal and lunch as a lighter one
Yes and maybe make the last breastfeed a tiny bit later, otherwise it is a long time before the next drink/food
Just a bit of advice for the future, as at 7mo my son was in a silmilarly strict routine as your DD, which was both a blessing and a curse. When he went down to one nap (around 13 mo) we made a concerted effort to be more flexible with the timing. So now depending on what we're doing he will go down as early as 11 or as late as 13 - 13.30 depending on what we're doing. That definitely takes some of the pressure off.
Also, I think you've done amazingly to get her sleeping so well. Ignore family complaining about your inflexibility - I think it's hard to understand the importance of sleep unless you've had a bad sleeper yourself.
She wakes up around 2-3am for a breastfeed and then is happy to wait until 7am before the next one.
I asked the sleep consultant about dreamfeeding but she said not to introduce it as she was over 4 months and would probably go through the night by 7.
I imagine the main reason she isn't going through the night yet is that I am relaxed about her food intake and following BLW more than feeding her. This doesn't bother me though, I just want her to stay asleep until 6.30-7 as she isn't hungry for a feed before 7.
Hi sounds like your little one is doing fab! I just wanted to say that looking backn(my little boy is 17 months now) I wish I hadn't stuck so rigidly to a routine.... I used to stress out so much over it and to be honest he just wasn't ready to sleep through the night until he was past 1 and we missed out on a few baby classes/family parties/ meeting with friends etc because I was so worried about his routine and making sure he could get his usual naps. I take a much more laid back approach now and some days he will have one long nap, some days a couple of short ones, it depends on what we are doing and I must say he is more adaptable than I gave him credit for! Enjoy your little one and head away for days etc and try not to stress over sleeping too much
Oh I see. I would have long dropped that night feed by now and I also drop the dreamfeed as soon as protein is established. However that's only possible if 3 really good meals are being eaten per day. If you are doing BLW and not a huge amount is going in then yes keep the night feed. Do you put her back down awake after that feed?
Thanks sand - I hope we can eventually achieve that flexibility too, it will definitely make life easier.
I had plans of being a flexible 'take things as they come' parent but it just doesn't suit her that way. I've accepted it but as a ftm, I really struggle to stand upto family members who have raised multiple children and accuse me of being inflexible (their children would fall asleep when out in the evening and could be transferred to bed easily). Problem is, they also don't like it when they see her cranky and refusing to detach herself from me when she is overtired I've learnt the hard way that I just can't win and I have to stand my ground
Yes I do lapin and she puts herself to sleep. I don't mind if she sleeps through the night yet or not though.
Thanks willpower. You are describing my mental state perfectly - I am stressing so much about an upcoming family wedding and how I am going to manage her sleep. My problem isn't her sleep at night, it's the naps - she will refuse to go to sleep if I deviate from the routine. Once she starts on that downwards spiral of overtiredness, I really struggle to get her out of it and we end up having so many tears of exhaustion from her - this is why I hold onto her routine so tightly. I desperately want to try be a bit more flexible too, it seems like the pram is going to be the solution for that in my case. Fingers crossed it works!
Totally agree, my routine had to be adhered to or my child got very unhappy. In the routine she was so content.
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