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how to learn to sleep????????

(17 Posts)
last Mon 23-Sep-02 18:26:39

Decided that after faffing around with being worried about ds's eating and everyhting that I have just been avoiding the big one - sleep. He has never yet (9mth) got himself to sleep. Either in the buggy (rare now), in the car (rarer still - gets furious instead) and best of all on the breast. I think that unless he learns to sleep byhimself at the begining of the evening it is going to be pretty tough and bewildering to tell him he suddenly has to do byhimself through the night. (currently still in our bed so just self-serves). He likes to be put deep asleep in his cot for the evening. If I put him when he is lulled/half asleep (let alone less than this) he wakes up immediately and goes bonkers. I have tried leaving him and/or my dp going to him but it just goes on and on and on. It has to be fast asleep or nothing doing. If we are in the room hates it (if we are not holding him and even if we do hold him cheers up but will not consider sleeping); if we are out of the room hates it. Any thoughts or ideas? How has anybody else done it??? Waiting with baited breath. Thanks.

pupuce Mon 23-Sep-02 19:18:49

Boy.... this isn't going to be easy.... Well that sounds encouraging from me doesn't it

Why do you want to change this and how "desperate" are you to do so ? I ask because I don't think you will find it easy and that IME you need to do it once you are VERY keen and you must persevere.

Read the other sleep thread (waking at 530AM) to see my suggestions but your son knows how to play this one.... As you say he will have to learn to settle on his own and pushchair naps are not as good as bed naps and waiting for your child to be VERY tired is also not good because he will have a more disrupted sleep...

When you say :
I have tried leaving him and/or my dp going to him but it just goes on and on and on

What have you done exactly ?

Happy to help but I need a bit more info on how you are finding this generally.

bayleaf Mon 23-Sep-02 20:02:54

Buy Richard Ferber's 'Solve you Child's Sleep Problems' - It takes you through the whole issue in more detail than you could ever want - it's about £6 on Amazon.

Lindy Mon 23-Sep-02 20:06:45

Last - I had to read your message a few times & must admit I am speechless with admiration that you have had the patience to help get your DS to get to sleep in this way.

My example won't help you as I am pretty heartless & just shut the door firmly on my DS at 3 weeks & left him alone in his cot .... well, it worked for me & he has always gone to bed happily, just having one night feed until 8 months & has always gone through ever since.

Anyway, I realise that's absolutely no use in your case & I wish you luck because I think it will now be pretty tough for you. Does this also mean you have never left him for an evening out?

genia Mon 23-Sep-02 22:17:13

We are in exactly the same situation. Our ds is 10 months old and always goes to sleep breastfeeding - he then wakes up roughly every 2 hours a night after that and feeds himself back to sleep. Having spent the first 2 or at the most 4 hours of the night in his cot (if he is deeply asleep enough I can put him back there after his feeds), he then shares my bed (dp in another room - I couldn't sleep with both ds and him as he snores and I would be paranoid about him rolling over onto ds). During the day ds used to sleep also in his buggy a lot but does that less as well, he is mainly fed to sleep for his naps and I rest as well because I am so knackered from the night... He also sleeps in his car seat if going somewhere happens to coincide with when he is sleepy. I too do not know what to do - the extent to which my days and nights centre around Julian's sleep is getting ridiculous. My friend who was in the same situation if not worse because her daughter was feeding herself back to sleep roughly every hour, contacted a sleep clinic here in London and now, wonder of wonders, she sleeps from roughly 7.30pm to 5.30am. The first step in all of this was her mother not feeding her at night at all which apparently didn't take very long for her to get used to. If you are in London I could give you the number of the sleep clinic - let me know...
I know I too should try to stop feeding Julian at night but I am always so tired at bedtime that I am constantly putting it off as I know there is going to be a fair amount of disruption. I tried to give him water one night but he thought I was mad - I've also tried a dummy but he just sucked that for ages and then asked for milk...
Anyway, just to say that I'm glad we are not the only people in this situation.....
"The No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley might also be another solution, I am a bit sceptical about this myself at this stage as Julian's habits seem to be so entrenched but you never know...
Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.

last Tue 24-Sep-02 14:54:01

Thanks. Genia - I am the same. keep putting off dealing with this because by the end of the day we are all so tired that I always think we will start tommorrow. Same with the day time nap - better to know he will sleep for an hour and be O.K for the rest of the day than endless walking around with him in the pram, hoping he will give himself 30 minutes with the sure knolwedge that he will get fretful at 5.00 and then not eat supper properly and generally be upset. I am in London and would love the number of the sleep clinic, although I feel a bit odd about bringing in help as I have yet to REALLY try changing things myself. My ds has got so determined that he now will not accept feeding sitting up. He likes us both to be lieing down. Also there is a bit of me that feels quite lassez-faire about it all. That it will all sort its self out and until me or ds or dp are unhappy with it none of us are going to be determined enought to change it. Having said that my dp is begining to really want his bed and me back and says we have got to start the change as ds is not willingly going to give up ambrosia on tap with a cuddle thrown in at the centre of the action. Did you actually try the Pantley? if so what happened? And have you tried Ferber?
Pupuce - i mean he cries for an hour and a half. And by the end of that he was not near sleep but in a total state. Or that is longest I have left it. It felt all the more defeating as he had been on the cusp of sleep the moment before. He used to have music that we used to get him back to sleep in the evenings before I came to bed. Used to work like a charm - not any more; makes him even more pissed off because he knows what it means. And just to finsish this list of woes - he was sleeping 8.00 pm-11.00pm and now wakes up once, usually twice in this time. I no longer feed then, but put his music on. This now means he will cry until I come up to bed on the nights I am heartless; or I go to bed early. A really boring new habit. I am going to look at both the Pantley and Ferber. But basically at a loss. I want a fairy to make him magically sleep.

Enid Tue 24-Sep-02 14:57:51

Dear last and genia, I think you both deserve a medal for still being able to function with your sleep record.

Just to say that controlled crying sounds like the only way to crack it, but be warned that friends of mine that did it at 9 months had to listen to their son cry for almost 3 hours on the first night. They persevered however and after 3 nights he slept through and has always been a brilliant sleeper since - he's also a thoroughly lovely cheerful little boy so it clearly did him no harm.

Tillysmummy Tue 24-Sep-02 15:17:40

Dear Last and Genia,

I don't konw what to say really to help. I too admire you both for coping so well on so little sleep. I haven't ever had to do controlled crying with dd. She slept with me on and off for a while until 3 months because it was easier with the feeding. She would always start the night in her crib next to the bed and then in the early hours ended up with us in bed. I stopped this at 3 months when we decided we needed our space but more importantly none of us slept well and disturbed each other so I moved her into her own room. This was no problem because she was too young to form habits and I made sure she was very familiar with her nursery from Day 1 and her cot by always changing her in there and putting her in her cot to play for a good while each day.

It sounds like you are into a habit with your ds'. I am sure that they are only feeding for comfort. If they are getting enough calories during the day then they don't need to feed at night but it's a vicious circle because in order for them to get enough calories you need to stop feeding them at night to make them take more during their waking hours.

I am afraid that it looks like a couple of bad nights to get them into a good sleep routine. Have you tried putting them in their cot for play time so it has pleasant associations ? Also, how about just staying in the room and gently singing or soothing them by stroking them in their cot ? I did this with dd when she played up and she may scream for a while but eventually she would calm down. I also whispered to her which helped telling her how much I loved her and how much she needed her sleep so that she could grow big and strong and be nice and fresh for when she woke and we played together (!) - I know you're probably all thinking i'm bonkers but it really did work.

Re: bad habits, they are bound to want to be with you and close to you all the time, dd does and she often cries out in the night either through fear or possibly teeth but either dh or I always pop briefly in an reassure her. They are very aware of you and where you are from about 9 months and I think it makes things even harder.

Sorry I can't be much help. I am sending you tons of cyber sympathy because I think you need it and I think you have done fantastically well. I do also think your DH is right Last, you do need some time to yourselves and it is a positive thing for your ds to learn to sleep on his own and be confident without you. I really hope all goes well for you both and so sorry if this is a bit waffley and doesn't make much sense.

Tillysmummy Tue 24-Sep-02 15:20:06

Also sorry if this sounds condescending, not intended that way at all, just typed in a hurry at work !

pupuce Tue 24-Sep-02 16:02:25

Last and Genia,

Well... I really think that you can change things only when YOU decide to change them... Last you have said it yourself :
"as I have yet to REALLY try changing things myself"
There are many ways of doing CC. I have not had to do it myself but be wary of doing it from friends telling you how to do it (especially if they haven't done it themselves)... read the books and see how it is done and why it is done that way....
I do agree that these kids are not waking up out of hunger but as a habit... if the habit is OK with you then fine but if it is starting to be unmanageable.... then you need to take action.

I do have 1 serious piece of advice... if you do CC ... then do it PROPERLY and for as long as needed because I know plenty of mums who start it for 2 nights and then give up (or have some other reason why they can't continue that night)... the result is 2 horrible evenings and back to square one. It serves no purpose. Do it when you know you will be home with no visitors for at least 4 to 5 nights in a row. Do it with confidence.

DH always comment when he hears stories like this : This mother is letting this happen to her... babies need structure (to an extent).
One thing some experts say as well is that the later you tackle this... the hardest. 10 months old is still fairly young so it might not be as hard. The 2 or 3 mums I know who have done this with success only needed 3 nights... if that's any consolation
Good luck

Jaybee Tue 24-Sep-02 16:45:48

I got myself into a similar habit when my ds was about 8 months old - I used to bath him then bring him downstairs for his bottle then put him to bed although he started climbing down and playing!! Decided to tackle this on a week when DH was away on a course - put him in is cot, kissed him goodnight, went outside the door (him screaming) - counted to 40, returned, kissed him goodnight again, went outside the door counted to 80, returned kissed him goodnight again - timed two minutes, then five minutes, then 15 minutes, gradually extending the time but always returning for the kiss! Eventually settled after about two hours, second night took about 1.5 hours, third night nearly three hours, fourth about half an hour, fifth about 20 minutes, then settled virtually immediately. I was working full time and I got absolutely nothing else done that week - dh returned to a very untidy house, piles of ironing but a cured child!! You have to really want to do this and be quite hard hearted but you need to get there before you have a five year old going to sleep on your knee on the sofa!!!

percy Tue 24-Sep-02 21:38:56

Hi genia and last .

I had almost exactly the same problem with my son at about 8months old - he was still feeding every 3 or so hours through the night. In the end, my dh and I followed a really fantastic book's advice on controlled crying. I think it is called the good sleep guide - but it is the book this CRY-SIS recommend. It talks you through the whole preparation process before controlled crying begins and then also the controlled crying phase. It only took three nights - it was dreadful but sooooooooooooo worth it. Cannot recommend this book enough - very short too, can read in an hour or two.

best of luck, let us know how you get on. Oh by the way, son is now 2 and a half, and sleeps through the night like a dream!!! it does end!!!!

Tissy Wed 25-Sep-02 20:11:48

Hi, Pantley worked for us... to a degree. Dd was being breastfed to sleep, and woke frequently in the night for more feeds. The nipple removal trick worked- ie removing the nipple before the baby is completely asleep, so she gets used to being drowsy without a nipple in her mouth. She certainly started to wake less and less, and is now only waking once or twice. A partial success. I haven't been able to get past this stage onto "putting the baby awake but drowsy into her cot and watching her fall asleep", but this may be due to a lack of application on my part. One of these days, when I've got time (must spend less on the computer!)I'll read the book again and give it another go.I couldn't face CC, my husband even less so. The sound of dd's heart-rending cries were too much for us, even after just five minutes!!

mears Thu 26-Sep-02 20:12:44

Jasper - this advice may help with your little one after reading about him on the exclusive B/F thread.

yuyee Thu 16-Jan-03 05:18:12

last and genia, glad to hear there are people in the same boat. My dd is 6 mo old, breastfeeds to sleep, sleeps w/ me (dh is in another bed) and from about 4 mo old, she wakes up for the breast every 1-2 hr. She used to wake up only after 3 hrs in the first 4 months, and even had a few 4 and 5 hr stretches at about 2 mo old. No matter where I put her down (bed/crib/sofa), if she's not in deep sleep, she'll wake up screaming and it takes a while to get her back to sleep again. At naptime, she used to nurse also. I worked at it till I got her to fall asleep on my shoulder while I sing to/pat her w/ the bathroom fan on for all naps. I even got to the point of putting her in crib for the first 1/2 hr (she always wakes up at 1/2 hr in her nap and I used to always hold her or lie down to feed her for the whole nap.) But she wouldn't take any of that in the last few days, just drives me crazy to have to go back to feeding her to nap again, or I will have to deal with a super cranky baby. I feel like she's winning me back.

Tried letting my dh deal with her last week. He had to hold her/have her on his chest almost the whole night but it proved that she could live with only one (or even less) night feeding at midnight. She then became extremely clingy to me, especially before bedtime. She now doesn't even want dh put her in pajamas as usual. Makes me wonder if we had done the right thing and sort of give up. (Also makes me question what people say about CC that babies don't remember being mad at you when they wake up next morning!!) Besides, none of us got good sleep anyway. dd took longer to settle back w/o the feed, dh didn't sleep well w/ 16 lbs weight on him, I just kept waking up everytime I heard dd cry. Now I just feed her till at some point in the night when I give up and let my dh deal with her.

Tried Pantley, it seemed good at first, she let go of the nipple sooner and sooner, then suddenly she became more determined in keeping it in her mouth!! She used to nurse 15-20 min to sleep, now it's more than an hour and as soon as I take it out, her eyes pop open! Never got to the point where she wakes up less yet! Again, I think she's winning me back.

Sounds like my dd and last's ds are very similar. She hates all the bedtime routine I tried. The music thing used keep her asleep for a while, too. Not anymore! She now starts to cry when I bring out her good-night book. She just wants to fast-forward to the breast part and makes sure I stay there. Oh, and I have to pretty much go to bed with her every night.

last, I'm with you about kinda hoping she'll grow out of it. Don't think we can do CC, my dh is even less willing to let her cry. Too many books and too many people (and ironically, your story and ginea's) say she won't do it on her own, it just shakes my confidence. Would love to hear more of the "they grow out of it" stories than "they can be trained with X hrs of crying". I think this is why we're still in this situation.

One good advice I got: Whatever you want to try, try it when you feel well-rested (I know that's hard to find for us). It makes you be able to deal with the crying / failure better.

tomps Tue 21-Jan-03 21:44:25

yuyee - I left you a message on the breastfeeding to sleep thread also - there is hope - it can be done without lots of crying - they can grow out of it - don't worry !

bloss Tue 21-Jan-03 22:38:56

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