How do I (or do I) sleep train?

(18 Posts)
Needausername99 Tue 09-Mar-21 11:03:54

DS is 9mo. From 6 weeks to 4 months he slept 7-7 so I thought I was onto a winner sleep wise...

Since 4 months, it has gone hugely downhill and is getting worse.

DS now really fights both day and night time sleep. He stirs every hour through the night and wakes around 4 or 5 for the day.

I've considered sleep training but the practicalities are hard with an older child whose sleep I don't want to disturb. I also read threads where people call sleep training cruel and others who say it was a gamechanger.

Is it worth trying and, if so, how do I do it without being 'cruel'?

OP’s posts: |
AnneLovesGilbert Tue 09-Mar-21 11:08:38

You don’t have to sleep train. If you bring him into bed with you at 5 would he go back to sleep for an hour or two? Is he teething? How does he nap best during the day - in a sling, buggy, with white noise? Is he warm or cool enough at night?

MaMaD1990 Tue 09-Mar-21 11:28:03

I did sleep training with my DD quite young and it really was a game changer. When people say sleep training, a lot of posters jump to the conclusion that you will lock your child in their room screaming for hours on end. In reality, there are lots of methods you can use that feel right for you. I did the supernanny version where I put DD down as normal, left the room and let her cry for 2 minutes. Went back in put her down again and left the room and let her cry for 4 minutes, each time doubling the time you leave them to cry (2, 4, 8, 16 etc). There is also the moving chair technique which is gentler. It just depends on how you feel about it and what is best for your family. There is no harm giving it a go but I would say stick with it for a week or so, it can take some time for them to get the hang of it. I'd also make sure he isn't ill, teething, having a sleep regression or hungry and make sure you've got a good bedtime routine down. Good luck!

AnneLovesGilbert Tue 09-Mar-21 11:59:17

You can’t ever be sure they’re not ill, teething, the wrong temperature or having a regression.

I was losing my mind with DD waking up one night, couldn’t work out what was going on and she woke up covered in chicken pox. You just can’t always know. And even if you check for physical issues 9 months is a time of enormous change and development and they need reassurance while they’re processing it all in their young growing brains.

zzzebra Tue 09-Mar-21 12:11:03

We sleep trained, although at around 4 months.

Spending a hour trying to rock DD to sleep and then 1-2hourly wake ups all night, play the lack of support because of lockdown, had absolutely ruined my MH.

We also did the super nanny version of 2 minutes, then 4 minutes, then 8 minutes, etc. As she was only 4 months she was still sleeping in our room so I was there the whole time. Eventually at 6-7months we had to do it again but without me in the room.

It was harder first time around as she didn't know how to self settle and I was in the room. She did cry, max we got to was 10minutes of crying, which is a lifetime!

A lot of people are anti sleep training. I'm not sure I would have done it if we weren't in lockdown. But I was at complete breaking point with no access to support.

Now with my second I intend to do the same. Getting better sleep did so much good for my relationship with my DD.

Disclaimer: She still doesn't sleep through the night at 18months but we went from hourly wake ups that took 30minutes ti resettle, to 3-4 hourly wake ups that take 5 minutes to resettle.

eensyweensySpider Tue 09-Mar-21 12:32:31

No advice OP, 4 months was very significant for us too! Honestly, each to their own and I'm not an advocate at all, I haven't planned it but I ended up not sleep training our 12m DS. I just didn't see the point. He's been sleeping with me / us, he cuddles and reaches for hand contact at night (probably as often as your LO stirs) but doesn't actually wake up and sleeps through, no issues. He does nap by himself during the day, 2x 1 hr. I've decided to let him stay as long as he needs / wants as he is a happy, independent and all around balanced little boy. Whatever works for you OP, and whatever works for your DC thanks

rjilk Tue 09-Mar-21 14:53:20

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Knitsewthread Tue 09-Mar-21 19:42:38

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

@AnneLovesGilbert he used to go back off in bed with me but normally fights it now if I try unfortunately. He's had 4 teeth through in quick succession - teething seems to be a continuous gripe for him I find! In the day, I have to cuddle to sleep. He'll then sleep for about 20 mins if I move him to his cot or longer if he stays in my arms. Used to be at least an hour but now much shorter. Will sleep ages being walked in his pram.

I'm really torn. Every morning I decide I've had enough and will try it that night. Then every evening I cave in and think maybe it's just a phase he'll grow out of.

He is really grumpy due to tiredness in the daytime though which makes me feel I'm doing wrong by him but not helping him sleep better at night (as well as obviously wanting that for my sake too!)

Keha Tue 09-Mar-21 22:11:53

We've not sleep trained, but sleep has naturally improved. She is 12 months and we feed/pat to sleep but it is quite quick and we can plonk her in the cot and she stays asleep. She does wake in the night, but does stretches of more like 3-4 hours. I do cosleep when she wakes me up because I can't be bothered even taking 5 minutes to get her back in the cot! Although this isn't the "ideal" of putting them in a cot and coming back 12 hours later it feels quite manageable. I would say her sleep got better around 6/7 months, got worse 8/9 then better about 10 months.

Needausername99 Tue 09-Mar-21 22:36:11

That's interesting @Keha. He has had small bouts of improvement and I've read there's a sleep regression around now so perhaps we should just give him a bit longer.

Whilst a 12 hour stretch would be lovely, a good 3-4 with a quick settle upon waking would be great right now!

OP’s posts: |
Tfro Tue 09-Mar-21 23:39:14

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Tfro Tue 09-Mar-21 23:40:03

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Hardbackwriter Wed 10-Mar-21 16:22:09

We did gradual retreat at 8 months (Google 'mumsnet what worked for us' for a thread on the method which describes more or less exactly what we did - it is gentler in that you don't leave them alone, but he did cry). For us it was a game changer and improved everything - including our ability to be the engaged, happy parents we wanted to be - so much. I've just had my second and wouldn't hesitate to do the same thing with him if we were struggling to the same extent. That said, it isn't compulsory or necessary - I know lots of bad sleepers who weren't sleep trained and while some of them are still pretty bad sleepers now (they're all coming up to 3) a lot of them the issue has resolved itself, and they're all happy, healthy children. You have to be committed to do it if you are going to do a sleep training method - doing it inconsistently is the worst of all worlds - so you have to be sure that it's your least worst option. It was easier for us because DS was also miserable with the situation - he had long upset awake periods in the night because he'd wake and nothing would work to resettle him; I think it's harder to feel confident that it's the right thing if the baby is happily cosleeping and it's only the parents who are suffering.

OhToBeASeahorse Wed 10-Mar-21 16:34:48

We did gradual retreat with our first born at 8 months but i hired a sleep consultant because i wanted to be confident he was getting enough day time sleep too.
It took a few weeks but he was never upset and I dont feel he was in any way harmed by it. He went from waking up umpteen times a night to sleeping through. If course there was teething etc which upset things but he would then go back to sleeping through.
You have to do what works for you. The only thing I would say is choose a path and stick to it

OhToBeASeahorse Wed 10-Mar-21 16:37:23

I've literally just repeated @Hardbackwriter!

Not sure how it will work with number 2....

Namechangeforthewin Wed 10-Mar-21 16:39:24

I slept trained my 1st and she's now 11 and she sleeps horribly still.
My other 2 I never sleep trained the 3 year old has started to sleep through this week by that I mean not coming into our bed until 7am. 1 year old is down to 2 wake ups but quick settles. I do believe in they will get it themselves in time. If you need to do it then go for it. There's lots of gentle methods.

Hardbackwriter Wed 10-Mar-21 16:56:16


I've literally just repeated *@Hardbackwriter*!

Not sure how it will work with number 2....

Ha, always nice to see that other people agree with you! I hope that we'll be luckier (and maybe also a bit more mindful of not getting into unhelpful habits) and DS2 will be a better sleeper, but not holding my breath - he's only 3 weeks at the moment so too soon to tell as he feeds a million times a night but that seems standard for newborns, those lucky/lying few who get ones who 'slept through from the day we brought them home' aside!

ManicPixie Wed 10-Mar-21 18:36:30

We did sleep training at 5 months and don’t regret it for a second. A lot of people say they tentatively tried it after a year but I’ve no idea why you’d endure the toll it takes for that long - especially when there’s no data whatsoever to show sleep training has adverse effects on development.

So I guess what I’m saying is: go for it! Research different methods and find the one you’re most comfortable with.

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