How long does it take to learn to self settle?

(11 Posts)
Lullabywishes Thu 04-Mar-21 04:20:55

DD is four months old and the sleep regression started 2.5 weeks ago. I had a week of waking every 1-2 hours overnight, a week of calm, and now we have returned to the 2 hourly nighttime torture routine. I HATE it. I am struggling not to feel white hot rage when she wakes me after I have just managed to fall asleep after her last wake up.

I am teaching her to self settle for naps and bedtime but overnight I breastfeed her back to sleep. Is there anything else I can do to help her learn how to self settle at night? She definitely doesn’t need to feed as often as she wakes as she was sleeping for at least five hours after bedtime before the regression. Should I try and limit overnight feeds to three hourly and resettle her in other ways? During the day and at bedtime I place her in the cot, pat the mattress and shush her until calm/drowsy and then leave her for six minutes to try and fall asleep on her own. I will intervene if she cries more than a ‘grizzle’ and return to pat and shush. She is learning quickly and often puts herself to sleep.

OP’s posts: |
Lullabywishes Thu 04-Mar-21 04:23:51

I should add that I know the real problem is that I am a terrible sleeper and get bouts of insomnia after the first couple of wakes overnight. If I could get back to sleep quickly it would be ok. She sleeps from about 7am-6pm so even factoring in the wake ups I should have enough time to sleep if I actually could!

OP’s posts: |
Ajahd Thu 04-Mar-21 05:14:39

So I 'think' we are on the other side of the regression, but it's tough. He's 23 weeks now and started around 16/17 weeks, he's probably been sleeping well for a few nights.

He can hardly self settle. He screams (always has done) for 10-30 minutes before sleep, despite cuddles rocking and dummy. We now hold his hand and try to soothe him while he 'winds down', but it's not self soothing.

Last night he went down at 7pm, briefly woke for his dummy at 10.30pm (totally unlike him to wake at this time) and then he woke for his bottle that he normally has around midnight/1ish at 4.45am!!

Previously he was waking every 1-2 hours and waking at 5am, it really is hard but just know its not forever and persevere. Try to nap during the day if you can, even 20 minutes can help you get through.

Snorkello Thu 04-Mar-21 07:19:10

Sorry to hear you’re having a hard time.

I’ve had insomnia throughout, and it’s been really difficult to deal with broken sleep. I’ve had nights that I’ve been up from anywhere between 1 and 3 and not able to get back to sleep, and haven’t been able to nap in the day either.

It does get better, I promise. In the meantime, I understand how frustrating it can be.

I’ve never found self soothing to work for mine at that age, but we have co-slept to help with getting everyone back to sleep better. Would it be safe for you to try? Do some research on it and see if it’s for you. It definitely helped us.

Can your DP help at all?

I’ve had moments of tears/frustration so please know it’s normal. I’ve dealt with this by acknowledging it’s not dc, it’s me, and I take a break. The last thing you need is extra mum guilt over being angry with your baby when really your justifiably exhausted and it’s not dc’s fault. Right now they need lots of cuddles and on demand feeding to develop the secure feeling that will enable them to sleep better long term. It’s worth seeing it as a short term investment in time, and you will see the benefits of sleep/milk on demand as they grow. Mine is a few months older and sleeps great now. It was well worth following dc’s lead, and I’m finally getting more sleep.

I’ve also embraced the insomnia, and accepted the sleepless nights. It’s not forever, and right now you need to relax and take care of yourself anyway you can.

Short term, can you get family to help for a few hours a day so you can take a break/nap?

Lullabywishes Thu 04-Mar-21 23:13:23

Thank you for responding. I think I needed to hear that it ends!
My OH is very helpful and will get up at 5am before going to work for the day and take her (this is often when she wakes and needs a lot of resettling) so I can go back to sleep.
My MIL has come over in the day before when DD was a newborn but tbh it is a lot of faff and I find it hard to relax knowing my baby is away from me with someone other than OH.

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Dkfhenzkghsm Thu 04-Mar-21 23:17:40

It's developmental, you can't teach it. The only thing you might be teaching is that she's alone, which is not what you want her to learn.

OnlyFoolsnMothers Fri 05-Mar-21 03:04:26

In the middle of 4 month regression myself- it’s absolute hell, so you have my sympathies.

I know it’s hard but your baby really is too young to be taught to self settle, both at bed time and overnight. The former you can do from 6 months, I sleep trained by first around 8 months.
As for overnight, fees your baby when they wake up, don’t leave them hungry at this age. You really aren’t right in saying they don’t need a feed- and I 10000% get it when your exhausted body is screaming “but I fed you an hr ago”.

It passes - promise!


Uponmytiptoes Fri 05-Mar-21 03:25:35


It's developmental, you can't teach it. The only thing you might be teaching is that she's alone, which is not what you want her to learn.

Exactly what I was going to say.

OP can you self settle? When you can't sleep or you feel scared or even just a bit out of sorts?
Do you just lie there silently until you fall asleep again or do you do something to distract yourself? Get a hot drink/watch tv/read a book etc?

Your baby can't do those things and they need you. It's hard for the parent but it's perfectly normal.

This idea that babies/children should basically be self sufficient is not only outdated it's damaging and cruel.

Please sooth your baby, they need you.

FingersXssd83 Fri 05-Mar-21 03:31:40

We went through the sleep regression in January. Lasted the whole month and was awful. Baby finally started sleeping 3-4 hour stretches after a solid 4-5 weeks of hell. Don't think anything can be taught really, but you will get beyond it x

Snorkello Fri 05-Mar-21 06:25:25

Feel you when you say about the MIL. I know so many mothers who find it hard to ask for help and find it difficult if it’s anyone but their partner. I really struggled with this with my first.

Again, I’ve just accepted that I need a break in order to be the best mum I can be. So when you’re ready, do take advantage of any help offered. It takes a village etc.

Hope last night was better smile

3WildOnes Sun 07-Mar-21 18:45:33

Does baby have a dummy? All of mine have self settled from around 8 weeks but they had the comfort of sucking a dummy and the feeling of being held by being swaddled. She is probably too old to be swaddled now.
I personally wouldn’t leave to cry at such a young age.
I think it took about two weeks from when I first started trying at 6 weeks until they were self settling on a regular basis at 8 weeks. I just kept trying, if they cried I picked them up and cuddled to sleep.
In the night if they woke I would pop the dummy back in and see if they settled, if not I would feed.
I disagree that it is entirely developmental.

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