Gradual retreat? How?(9 Posts)
Ds had serious sleep problems and literally slept no more than an hour for 18m. This nearly broke me physically and mentally
At 18m he finally got it and now will sleep through mostly
But... he will only go to sleep with one of us lying next to him. And it takes two hours to get him to sleep. Obviously this is a huge improvement on how it was before but I’d like to be able to not spend hours a day doing this.
I’ve read the what worked for us thread, I’ve read about gradual retreat. But I can’t get started - if I move at all before he’s deeply asleep he gets distressed. If I try to sit rather than lie he gets distressed.
How can I start getting him to sleep on his own? I’m not against a bit of crying in principle but our 18m hell taught us that crying methods make our kid a hundred times worse.
Any ideas? How do I get him to sleep without me there?
Really really gradually. I did it with Ds1 when he was 12 months. He'd always been fed to sleep then cuddled/rocked for a few weeks. He had never napped in his cot etc. Co slept.
I already had quite a firm routine. Bath, pj's, 2 stories then would be to sleep with mobile on. I swapped the bf out for a sippy cup of milk. It took him about a week to prefer the cup. Then once he was used to that, I did the routine then put him in the cot with the milk, mobile on. For r nights I stoodles eating into his cot singing patting swishing whatever it took to prevent tears . 1st night wasn't too bad. 2nd 75 minutes. 3rd 60 . By night 5 I was able to sit down arm through bars. I took ages over it. Months. But it worked. We had a blip when ds 2 was born and my husband messed it up but other than that I've been able to put him in the cot, mobile on and leave the room for a year now (2yrs 4 months now)
Are you laying on a bed with him?
Yes. He’s 2. We are well past the cot stage (not that he ever slept in a cot mind, he’s batter his face against it and scream until he drew blood ... sigh.) god even remembering those days makes me sweat
The problem is that if I move at all before he’s deeply asleep he gets distressed. I dont see how I can gradually retreat - the advice is to go before they are totally asleep and gradually go from there, but getting started seems tricky. He’s in his own bed, which is small, so I can’t wriggle away easily.
Yeah, the patting.. the swishing... tried all that when he was younger. It just made it all worse. God it was hellish... all this ‘they will calm down’ stuff, just never worked
Anyway, it’s all much better now, he generally does sleep. I just feel it’s be best if he got to the point we could tuck him in and leave him to it.
There’s a really good thread on here about gradual retreat - it’s called what worked for us.
I’ve read the method - just wondering how in practice to do it with a kid who won’t accept that ‘when they are almost asleep, do x’ bit.
We had sleep consultation- and sleep specialists at the hospital ... they all said variations on the same thing, we followed their advice to the letter, and it made everything worse 😁
Maybe I should just let him fall asleep like this and suck it up? It’s much better than it was before, and he will grow out of it eventually... hopefully...
The problem is that if I move at all before he’s deeply asleep he gets distressed
So the first step, before you start any kind of retreating, I'd developing the trust that you will always give as much comfort as baby needs. If right now that means lying on the bed cuddled close and not moving until deeply asleep - do exactly that. Make no attempt, at all, to move.
You mention it taking 2h. That's down to lack of trust. He keeps himself awake, forced himself to stay awake and not properly relax - because he knows that the second he looks like he might go to sleep, you sneek out. So he fights against that because he doesn't want you to. Remove that battle and get the time it takes him to go to sleep right down. Give yourself over to a complete commitment to comfort as much as he needs without any attempt at anything else.
Once the trust is there, then start the withdrawal....
So when you think he's ready, make the slight change from the outset. So this is not a case of lying in bed until nearly asleep then sitting up. It's about making a small change. Maybe your first change will be lying on the bed with only 1 arm around DS instead of both.
Next change might be lying on the bed not cuddling. But still stay right tger e until asleep. If even that is too far, cuddle to settle then move your arm to your side when calm. Cuddle with arm as needed, but put arm back at your side when calm.
Next step might be you lying next to him face down, instead of facing him. Next step facing away from him. Next step too half of your body on the bed, legs off the side of the bed. In all of these cases continue to hold position right through until asleep.
Agree with you totally on the trust thing - all the sleep advice we had when he was tiny backfired because of that I think. He was simply scared of being left. He’s always had a very strong separation anxiety thing going on.
After a few months of following all the advice we decided to do what you said - just let him know that we were there no matter what. That if he needed us we’d be there.
There can’t be any hanging out of bed shenanigans though 😁 I’m totally broken still after pregnancy (SPD goes after birth my arse it does.)
I’m wondering if just buying a full size single might help..?
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