This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Sleep training reassurance(25 Posts)
On day 2 of sleep training and feeling like such a horrible mum! Looking for some reassurance that I'm doing the right thing or advice on how what to do.
DS is 10 months old and has basically never had a full daytime nap in his cot. The majority of naps have been on me either in a sling or my arms after a period of walking around to get him to nod off. He will also nap in the car or the pushchair on occasion.
Have decided we need to get him napping in his cot independently for a few reasons. I am currently pregnant and conscious that I may struggle with the sling as I get bigger (and DS gets bigger). Also am going back to work soon (albeit not for very long until my next mat leave). I figure if he is napping independently this might make things a bit more manageable with the new baby.
I have taken the side off the cot and the spare bed is up against it. At nap time I place him in the cot and lie next to him with my arms around him cuddling him and pat/shush as well. Yesterday it took 45 mins and today 55 mins of doing this with him crying and screaming until he fell asleep. I have then been able to leave and keep an eye on him on the baby monitor and he has slept for 2-2.5 hrs.
Yesterday I found it so horrible and was really hoping that the crying time would reduce today but it didn't. Perhaps I am expecting too much too soon. Do I just need continue doing this until he gets used to it? Any idea how long this will take? Or should I be doing anything differently?
Just in case it's relevant his night time sleep is much better and he doesn't seem to mind being put down in the cot. From 3-6 months he completely slept through and since 6 months he wakes up 3/4 times a night but is usually fairly easy to settle with a cuddle or an arm across him. I have also been trying to reduce intervention at night and leaving him a couple of minutes to see if he settles himself which works about 50% of the time.
Is it just reassurance you are looking for or also advice? Please read this before you decide to embark on any type of sleep training: www.google.co.uk/amp/s/sarahockwell-smith.com/2015/05/14/ten-reasons-to-not-sleep-train-your-baby/amp/
I hope it opens your eyes and helps you accept that all you are going through is normal and there is only so much you can do.
Thanks for your response. That article has just made me feel even worse though.
I'd really welcome any advice! I'm trying to do this as gently as possible by cuddling him the whole time that he's crying but I'm really not sure what else to do. I could just carry on as we are with the sling for a bit longer but I'm really starting to struggle and as I said I'm going back to work soon so it will have to stop then anyway.
Can I just add the positives of sleep training. We did controlled crying with DS and it worked brilliantly. He was 10 months when we did it as I was on my knees from lack of sleep. Since then he's always slept 12 hours plus right through (give it take). His naps were always easy after as well. There's loads on the internet but I would say keep it up as it worked for us (and DS doesn't seem damaged in anyway )
To be honest, with DD we found that being there with her but not giving her what she wanted (cuddles) made it worse. We did the shhhhing and patting and disappearing chair ing for weeks and it was shit and useless. We then did CC and it worked in a matter of days.
Get a sleep consultant, for the sake of £100-£300 you can get situation/child specific advice.
I’m on day 5 and our lives have changed immeasurably, no tears at all, the lady we used/are using is keen on setting the scene so that the baby/child doesn’t need help to settle back to sleep. Not not responding when they ask for a response.
He now settles himself for naps, I don’t have to feed him to sleep, I can settle with a shh/pat.
We’re now working on longer stretches at night and DP settling him. I don’t doubt those can be fixed too.
Sorry to jump on but can I ask @FTEngineerM how have there been no tears? I thought you just had to accept there would be some crying when trying to encourage independent sleep!
I've been trying to get my nearly 8 month old to fall to sleep by himself but every time I let go of his hand he cries.
@BourbonBiscuits20 me too that’s why I gave up hope of anyone being able to help and resigned myself to living with absolute hell, I was trying various ‘methods’ I’d read online myself with no avail. In the end we were in a right mess, taking up to 2 hours to settle for a nap, sometimes 3 hours (!!!!) to settle for night time sleep then he’d wake up every 45mins-1hr overnight, I was broken.
Now I’m no sleep expert and we’re only on day 6 now so I have no idea what can change in your specific circumstances but gosh I wish I called/had a consultation sooner, I don’t know why I was a martyr and just suffering, I suppose I thought I was doing the right thing.
The lady we enlisted to help wasn’t of the mind that it was training them how to go to sleep, especially as we have a ‘sensitive baby’ who wakes up as soon as something changes, but to set the scene so they have the best chance of doing it naturally.
We have changed our behaviour not the DCs, on the 3rd day I think it was, I got the vibe he didn’t want to be cuddled to sleep so I placed him on the bed and he just snuggled into his blanket and went to sleep. I cried.
I resented the idea for months because I didn’t want to put dc through and upset but eventually I was so exhausted I agreed to try and I feel silly now, I should have done it months ago when the problem started.
It doesn’t happen in one go as I said in pp, there’s still stuff we’re working on with DP settling and night wakings have halved but our goal is 1-2 wakings not 5!
I'm not sure gentle and sleep staining go together.
I'm not sure gentle and sleep staining go together.
there are LOADS of ways to gently sleep train. Just google it.
OP, have you read The Gentle Sleep book? It’s got some great advice for helping your child to sleep in a more gentle way.
I think the ‘cry it out’ method is very confusing for the child and can lead to a breakdown in trust. It’s a strange concept to expect them to trust you will be there for them in the day when they need you but when the sun comes down, they are just expected to be fine being alone.
I do really sympathise with how exhausting it is. My two have both been terrible sleepers and cosleeping has been a life saver for me. At about 20 months, something just clicked and they both mostly sleep though now.
Also OP, don’t worry about your DS being a contact napper. Both of mine did that too and it’s amazing how you can adapt when a new baby is born. What will the age difference be?
@Ohalrightthen I disagree. But we are all different hey.
*@Ohalrightthen* I disagree. But we are all different hey.
You think sleep training can never be gentle? Can you expand?
So, for example, the disappearing chair method? what's ungentle (inventing a word for convenience) about that? Or about really, really gradually reducing the amount of rocking/feeding/singing/bouncing you do with the baby so they slowly learn to sleep by themselves? That's all sleep training, and often can be done with no tears at all.
I am not sure why you are being told that cry it out is damaging when you are not even doing this in any form. You are lying next to your child comforting. Honestly dont feel bad. It is ok for our children to feel sad/cross/frustrated when we change things but you are right there with him helping him through these emotions. This is how your child learns emotional resilience, by setting limits with love and supporting them through the emotions.
Sarah Ockwell Smith makes a lot of claims some with no evidence at all and others she cherry picks studies. She appears to have no qualifications in psychology/neuroscience/child development.
Don't feel bad, it works (we used the Lucy Wolfe book at roughly 9/10 months) and you'll both be so much happier afterwards. I don't regret it for a moment, yes there are some hard nights to begin with but I promise you it gets better so quickly and you genuinely question why you didn't do it earlier!
I agree with a previous poster about hiring a sleep consultant, there are some good ones for about £100-£150 and in hindsight I would have done that, as I needed the hand hold that I was doing the right thing!! Good luck and don't let anyone make you feel bad x
It might be that he would prefer to have some space to go to sleep. 45 mins of crying while you hold or cuddle him says to me that method is not working.
I would be more inclined to put him in his own space and do spaced soothing. He might surprise you
@GenevaMaybe I dont think 45 minutes is that long when the average baby cries for 70 minutes when doing modified extinction, which I think is what spaced soothing is.
I’ve seen a lot of babies go through sleep training and very very rarely did they cry for longer than 30 mins. Very rarely. Normally if it goes on for longer there is something else happening (incorrect technique, over or undertired, hungry, in some sort of discomfort eg teething)
That is not my experience at all (also observed many babies go through sleep training). This systemic review also states that average length of crying for the first two nights of modified extinction is 70 minutes. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5
In my experience, when using modified extinction a baby might cry for less time overall but their cry is a much more distressed cry. And then baby often passes out from exhaustion still sobbing in their sleep. Whereas as stay and support approach babies eventually lie down and settle peacefully. Not always. Some babies take to modified extinction well and never get very upset and settle quickly, especially if they are younger than 4 months. I agree that there isnt one approach that suits all babies but I dont think crying for 45 minutes, whilst being comforted, means it isnt the right approach.
Sorry, I hope this one works.
Ah ok. Yes I am not talking about any of those three techniques.
This study found average crying duration on night one of sleep training less, at 43minutes.
After a week crying was down to just over 8 minutes.
@GenevaMaybe Is spaced soothing not just another name for modified extinction or controlled crying? Or is it another method?
@3WildOnes it’s a type of spaced soothing/controlled crying where the gaps between visits do not get longer and where the soothing is very specific. So it doesn’t fit any of those 3 categories in that review.