Sleep training plan, 12 m/o, have I missed anything?(14 Posts)
Any help appreciated, I am at my wits end and can't go on.
Both DP and I work, him a 9-5, me shift work. We are on our knees and struggling to function. I know sleep training isn't everyone's bag, but we're desperate.
We've fallen into a trap where we bottle feed to sleep, sometimes DD then gets up and sings and stands in her cot, sometimes she sleeps. We then dream feed at 10pm, and one of us sleeps on a matress in her room. She wakes at about 2am for a bottle, then sometimes wants to get up and play (I know, awful routine, it's just sort of crept up on us).
So, my plan is bath, bottle whilst cuddling, then into cot awake. Leave her, going in after 2 minutes if she's crying and laying her down and shusshing her, no cuddles or picking up.
Offering water at night, just shusshing her after 2 minutes of crying, as many times as necessary.
She is quite strong willed and has ocassionaly been sick in her cot through screaming when we've not responded quickly enough to her crying (when we are at wits end).
Because she knows there is endless milk available by night she isn't always a great eater during the day.
Does my plan sound OK? She isn't teething etc, and no medical issues.
Regarding your bedtime routine, I would suggest bottle then bath, to completely seperate feeding and sleeping.
I’m not sure it’s a routine you’ve fallen into and more could be that maybe she is learning to walk etc? I’ve no advice on the sleep training but wanted to assure you it’s very unlikely it’s your fault!
What I mean is during developmental leaps etc they tend to be very wakeful at night. My 8 month old is currently learning to crawl and her sleep is awful at the mo but just a phase.
Thanks cat, that's great to know, I feel like we've let her and ourselves down by allowing this, reassurance is very welcome! She is learning to walk, and seems keen to practice at 3am
Thanks fate, you're right about seperating cot with milk for her, hadn't thought of that.
I'd agree with fate. At 12 months you can still break the milk = sleep habit before it become too established. Because I did what was easiest breast/bottle to sleep and endless milk in the night I've now got a 4 yr old who needs a cow cup of milk to get to sleep.
We didn't connect bath to sleep as we wanted sleep routine to be short and sweet (less areas where DS could kick off at). So our sleep routine is having fruit/veg/milk starting around 30 mins before bedtime. Then bedtime is change diaper, into pyjamas, brush teeth and up to bedroom, where we read a book or 2, with him sitting on our laps. From there he goes into his bed. We have a musical star we pull and leave.
When we sleep trained we did a version of yours, which was I went in after 1-2-3-4 (etc) minutes every time he started to cry. IN that time I patted him/shushed him/spoke to him calmly until he had calmed down a bit rather than hysterical, but not more than 1 minute, and went back out again, every time pulling the star.
For us this worked within 3 nights or so. First night took around 45 minutes in total (this was still shorter than previously when we sat with him!), then around 35, then around 15, then he slept with no input. This also meant that during the night he could fall asleep alone, so he was sleeping longer between wanting milk.
Thanks so much! I've been at work, sorry for delay.
Red that's my fear, hopefully breaking this cycle now is short term hardship for long term reward.
Abrahamkin thanks for your very thorough reply, sounds like sensible stuff.
Would you have just offered water at night at 12 months too to break the waking for milk cycle?
I did the same as you with dc1 (fed to sleep) and then at 9 months had to sleep train. My one tip if you have another is to get in the habit of feeding when they wake up, right from birth, and then get them to sleep in a variety of ways (rocking/pram/swing). So instead of wake-play-feed-sleep, wake-feed-play-sleep. I did this with dc2 and 3 and they have self settled from the start, and dc2 slept through a couple of years earlier than dc1 did!
I used to offer him milk when he woke up (I was still breastfeeding so would offer that as it was easier than fetching anything else!). However, water sounds more boring. Or, can you start diluting the formula slowly so it gets less interesting?
I must admit when we switched over to giving water though, he still used to wake up (sometimes just for a sip!). I think it was more the comfort of us being there that he looked for. He never woke up to play at that age at 2am though! He's finally 2.5 yo and sleeping through consistently (when he's not sick!), so not sure I am the best example to follow on what to give at night.
I know that going in at intervals works for a lot of people but it didn't for DD - she didn't calm down. Instead we just sat quietly by the bed, occasionally shushing, laying her back down as needed, but mostly just sitting. Going in and out agitated her, as did patting/stroking/firm hand on chest. We've broken the feed-to-sleep at bedtime habit in about 6-8 weeks of doing this absolutely consistently. At first it took 20-30 minutes and a bit of crying. We're down to about 10 (on average) and an occasional grumble.
We haven't tackled night wakings yet - I don't have the stamina quite yet, but am hoping it'll be easier now we have a better bedtime routine. But I guess we'll see!
We did the sitting quietly for quite a while here and it worked (and is a bit gentler). But around 10 months I could see that we were annoying him there, which is why we tried the in and out. So potentially need to try a few options
We did the sitting quietly thing too... DD was bf to sleep for almost a year and just leaving her and checking in was too big a step for her, she was beside herself, so we tried gradual retreat.
The first night of just sitting by the cot took almost 2 hours but by the end of the month we could just pop her in the cot and go.
I know a long bedtime routine isn't for everyone but we found it worked getting her prepared and having lots of attention and chilling leading up to going to bed... Dinner, then quiet play (no screens), milk and banana, bath, teeth, pj's, story, nursery rhyme, bed. We don't always do all of this now (18 months) some nights we just have a nappy change and a song and off she goes, but I do think that it helped
Apparently bananas help release sleepy chemicals in the brain (not sure how true this is, someone at baby group told me and it worked for us too) plus giving her a snack before bed reassured me that she wouldn't waste away in the night, so we stopped the night feeds at the same time, offered water but no milk, and no cuddles or playing, just shhhh and reassurance. She instantly ate better in the daytime and slept through the night for the first time 4 days after we started.
Good luck! It's a rough time but the hard work is worth it
Sorry that was an essay! hope it helps a bit!
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