Desperately need help with 6mo bedtime

(7 Posts)
gbee99 Wed 09-Sep-20 20:05:56

I'm really struggling with bedtime with my 6 mo, it's taking forever and I don't know what to do.

I posted about trying PUPD the other week but it led to lots of crying and I'm just not up to that at the moment. I also think it may have been too much of a change from breastfeeding to sleep.

Since then I've been trying a more gradual approach but it's really drawing out the evening and I'm very tired at the start so have little patience (sadly).

At the moment bedtime goes like this:
Nice routine from about 18:30 of bath, book, feed (breastfeed)
LO falls asleep fairly quickly then sleepy feeds, so I detach after a few mins, wait a few mins before standing up. Stand and hold for a few mins (making sure milk has some time to digest), no rocking, put in cot. LO wakes up and cries (I'm a bit clumsy lifting her into the cot as she's getting heavy). Pick up, try to soothe by swaying or rocking, baby is wide awake and trying to touch my face. Use various methods to get back to sleep. Put in cot praying she doesn't wake back up. Now it's nearly 20:30

I'm aiming towards not breastfeeding to sleep and her self settling, I may be expecting too much at this point but I'm worried that I'm creating bad habits and don't want her to rely on just me. If nothing else I'd just like her to get settled more quickly though.

If helpful for context she's a cat napper through the day. She doesn't have a comforter (not sure how to introduce this), and doesn't use a dummy (I tried but she never took to them).

Any help would be very very much appreciated

OP’s posts: |
beth821 Wed 09-Sep-20 20:08:00

I think you're doing all the right things. Putting on a white noise machine at night and every nap worked well for us. If you pm me your email I can send you something to read which might help.

Greenwhale Wed 09-Sep-20 20:53:07

Afraid I come only with empathy, not advice as I have a 4.5month old and could have written your post.
The "feed followed by lots of 'sleepy feeding' then attempt to put down" cycle can literally last hours and even then we are having almost hourly wakeups which require feeding back to sleep. It's so tiring. And then sticking with the sleep and then putting down or attempting not to feed back to sleep becomes hard as I'm just so tired and need to sleep myself so sometimes I just end up cosleeping which I would really rather not do (small double bed so we are all so squished) .
I hope for both our sakes that there is some light at the end of the tunnel soon for these boob loving babies!

purplefig Wed 09-Sep-20 20:55:21

This worked wonders with our then 5.5 month old:

Dillybear Mon 14-Sep-20 09:27:38

It sounds like the problem is that she doesn’t know how to fall asleep without feeding, and that you are trying to put her down after she’s fallen asleep (so when she’s disturbed she will realise she’s not snuggled up in your arms and will wake fully and cry).

I think a lot of the advice is to separate sleep and feeding - if you’re having problems with it and you want to do that. So, BF at the start of bedtime routine rather than at the end.

Could you try and introduce other sleep associations over a period of time, and then start to move feeding away from bedtime. So, for example - you use/add in white noise and a comforter (that smells of you), possibly a sleep time song and/or phrase, and have those present during the bedtime feed and naps. You could also add in shhhing/patting/stroking during the feed to begin with. Then when you’ve been doing that for a few days and they have become sleep associations, you could start to unlatch her before she falls asleep, and use shh/pat/cuddling to settle her in the cot until she falls asleep. Then move the feed to before bath (or whatever your usual routine is) and settle using these methods. Once that’s working well, you reduce the patting or whatever you’ve found that works, slowly reducing the need for your input. Over time you can get to the point where you put her down fully awake and leave the room and she just gets on with it.

This is a gradual approach and could take weeks and a lot of patience. I did something similar with my DD and she now self settles happily most of the time - I’d say 9/10 times I do her nap/sleep routine, kiss, leave the room and she’s out within 5-10 minutes. (I’m not saying it’s perfect - sometimes she has a bit of a whinge but I really only get involved if she’s upset rather than grumpy.)

It’s probably worth mentioning that even this approach involved some crying, but DD was never alone or not comforted when she was upset (like I say, a grumpy, whingey cry is different from an upset cry). I found that in general once she had started to settle to sleep just with cuddling (no movement/feeding) she adapted very quickly to each change, but that after a couple of days it was like she tried to push back against the change for a day or two and then settled into it. I had to be quite disciplined at those times and just ride it out with her.

Don’t know if this essay is helpful! Hope things improve for you soon smile

gbee99 Mon 14-Sep-20 12:45:37

This has all been really helpful thank you so much. I inadvertently rocked to sleep last night as the LO just wouldn't go to sleep feeding! It took a while but we did get there, so I think I'll try and stick with not feeding to sleep from now on.

I tried a slightly new approach with first nap today, which was to rock and put down just after eyes closed, but she cried as soon as I put her on the mattress. I tried leaving her for a bit (it wasn't a distressed cry), but anyway it basically ended up taking about an hour of picking up, getting drowsy, putting down, waiting a bit depending on type of crying, repeat. I ended up rocking her to mostly asleep in the end. I'm thinking maybe of using that as a starting point now and gradually reducing the amount of my intervention over time.

OP’s posts: |
Dillybear Mon 14-Sep-20 14:30:58

That’s real progress! I would let her get used to this new way of falling asleep for a few days. From what I have understood, feeding to sleep is the strongest sleep association to break so its a big step for her. Gradually you can move towards no movement and just settling her with your arms around her in the cot, and then just next to her, etc. She might adapt to some changes more quickly than others, so it’s worth trying to push her at times but as you have today, take your cues from her as to what she’s able to manage. She will get there though.

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