Gentle self soothing training - what am I doing wrong?

(48 Posts)
FiloFaxx Tue 06-Apr-21 16:34:41

To cut a long story short my daughter is almost 6 months old. Sleep has never been great. She never liked a dummy but got used to it but it's ended up being a hassle and ruining her sleep. We have gradually reduced it and she's sleeping so much better without it especially for naps.

The issue is during the night. I'm following advice froma sleep course but didn't agree with not picking her up when she was crying but feel that makes her worse! I've been trying to hand on chest and ssshing to soothe but it really doesn't work. What should I do instead of that or picking up?

At the moment she has three naps. The last one has turned to an evening/bedtime nap then another feed about 9pm then she sleeps through until 3amish then it all goes wrong. I've tried a feed at that time (bottle) and she isn't really interested.

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FATEdestiny Tue 06-Apr-21 19:23:11

What should I do instead of that or picking up?

Gentle (no crying or minimal crying) methods would be:

(1) Cosleep and feed/cuddle to sleep
(3) Dummy

If you're wanting baby to sleep independently and not wanting to deal with baby crying, why on earth stop using the dummy? It's the only way to achieve independant sleep without any crying.

Without a dummy, baby will cry. There is not much more to it than that. Feed to sleep and cosleep? Or find ways to cope with baby crying.

JustPootlingAlong Tue 06-Apr-21 19:29:38

If baby won't take a dummy, try a comforter.

My DD was the same and refused a dummy but loves her comforter and it has really helped her with self soothing and sleeping.

Just remember, if you find a comforter that baby likes, make sure to have plenty of spares. We have 7 'Lambies' so that we can wash them regularly as they stink after one night of my DD chewing on them and also means we have plenty of spares should any get lost.

FiloFaxx Tue 06-Apr-21 19:45:30

@FATEdestiny I pointed out in my post about the issues the dummy was having. To expand on that, she was waking up every half an hour-an hour because the dummy was falling out and waking her up constantly. Sleep has improved but that's what I'm asking here if there other ways to comfort without a dummy or the ssshing without picking up to help with the 3am wake up. If there isn't then fair enough I was just wondering if I was missing something or doing something wrong as I understood the ssshing to be instead of a dummy. I know you probably didn't mean to come across a bit rude in your post but I was genuinely asking for help here.

@JustPootlingAlong thank you for this suggestion. I have been putting something in for her falling asleep but been taking it out to keep the cot clear but putting it back in at 3am doesn't seem to be working either xx

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Nix2020 Tue 06-Apr-21 19:48:42

I'd drop down to two naps. Use huckleberry to time them. Are you feeding at 3am. He might be hungry? That's why he won't go back over.

FiloFaxx Tue 06-Apr-21 19:58:04

@Nix2020 I've tried a feed at that time a couple of times and one time she drank it but still didn't settle then the other time she didn't want it. We're on to 3/4 naps as some can be quite short x

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Ess1981 Tue 06-Apr-21 21:22:53

I'd agree with trying to drop the number of naps, or shortening them where possible. Or maybe try power naps? She may sleep longer at night as a result. Something that worked for me when soothing my babies was to give the baby something to hold in both hands, like a teddy or the end of a blanket. I realized that I'm the same too - even now as an adult I still like holding something like the duvet in both hands as I go off to sleep 😴 we had issues with giving my daughter a dummy and gave her a muslin cloth instead; she liked the cloth next to her face at first and then started to suck it over time and soothed herself off to sleep that way. Not sure if that's any help but hugs to you, it's not easy being up every night. I hope things improve soon xoxo


FiloFaxx Wed 07-Apr-21 09:20:12

@Ess1981 thank you for your reply. Her naps have always been quite short anyway so cutting out would be a struggle but yesterday she had two naps because the afternoon one was two hours!

Last night was better as she actually went to bed at 7:30pm, woke at 11pm for a feed and slept until 4:45am when she just needed resettled and she slept until 6:30am.

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Booksandtea84 Wed 07-Apr-21 12:04:30

Isn't 6 months when they have another big leap/growth spurt? She might be going through some development so struggling w sleep. Comforter sounds good. I don't agree that babies all need a dummy. My 4 month old sleeps fine without. I also wouldn't co sleep as that just ties you down and you have to work hard to go back to separate sleeping later on unless you're massively into attachment parenting.
Swishing, patting, picking up when crying, and repeatedly so might work... if you aren't too bothered about crying. Obvs within reason. Usually the crying is more of a grumble as in why the heck do I have to sleep and personally I can deal w that but if it ends up being a full on distressed cry that's different.

Anyway, it's such a toughie, solidarity, it will improve. If they can have one good night they can have more!

Booksandtea84 Wed 07-Apr-21 12:06:48

@FATEdestiny I really don't understand why your responses to so many mums on here asking for advice is so aggressive/rude/patronising? I get you have 4 kids and are the fount of all knowledge but is it really necessary to talk down to ppl like that? If you can't be friendly and kind, then it's better not to say anything.

FATEdestiny Wed 07-Apr-21 13:17:06

Cheers. If I look through my posts, almost all posters thank me for the help. I think I'm kind, friendly and helpful

That's the last month. I could post sleep threads I've helped on over the last 6 or 8 years and you'll find much the same. There will be thousands of posts to look through.

Yes, we all have off days. The OP got me on one of those, so I graciously backed out. But overwhelmingly I feel I give to others far more than I take.

I get that I sometimes assume knowledge that those I speak to don't automatically "get", and this can come across as brisk. I take feedback on that (and have in the past) and do my best to maintain the/warm and fluffy as much as I can. I am only human though. I make mistakes.

As for "fount of all knowledge". I'm a sleep consultant. Its my job.

People pay me for the stuff I write here. Quid pro quo to be kind and give back from the (metaphorical) community of other mums that have helped me in the past.

Sorry I don't meet your high standards all if the time @Booksandtea84. I will (genuinely) take more time to step away when my offline life gets stressful, so that I don't appear rude or snappy online. Its never my intention, but I have off days.

I hope that helps. OP - sorry you got me on an off day. I meant no offence (Dummies are ACE though - you'll notice that theme in all of my posts)

FiloFaxx Wed 07-Apr-21 13:49:04

@Booksandtea84 I'd love to think it is a 6 month growth spurt but with her sleep being rubbish for so long I've passed the thinking it's just a phase as it's always happening 😂 however it's only been a week since removing the dummy and it is getting better so maybe it'll be even better after another phase 🤞 I'm exactly the same as you with the crying. Grumbling etc I can handle but when it's distressed I'm struggling to let her "cry it out" which in turn is probably causing inconsistencies 🤦🏻‍♀️

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FiloFaxx Wed 07-Apr-21 13:58:27

@FATEdestiny thank you for acknowledging and apologising but of course we all have off days. I know my posts yesterday were from coming from exhaustion and desperation and maybe took it more personally than you intended. Sorry you were having a stressful day yesterday.

RE dummies. Life saver with my first but just been a struggle with this one. Maybe I should have asked for advice on that before removing I dunno but it was every half an hour / hour of it falling out, her waking, me putting it in then start over. Without it she's been sleeping better blocks especially with naps it's completely different!

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Ess1981 Wed 07-Apr-21 14:09:45

@FiloFaxx I'm so glad you had a better night last night! 😊🤩 xxx

fistasledge Wed 07-Apr-21 14:10:39

Hey OP

I'm by no means an expert but I can totally relate! My DS is 15 months and 6 months was when we ditched the dummy as, like you, every time it fell out, he woke up and cried. So I didn't find it the life saver others did!! Sometimes it was 20+ times a night.

I agree about introducing a comforter and this massively helped. It was also this age that naps started to increase from max 40 mins to nearly 2 hours as they're able to link sleep cycles.

Below are the steps we took. I can only offer this along with a caveat that one rule doesn't work for everyone!

Bedtime routine. Consistent every night and milk given before a story, bath etc.

We introduced a singsong rhyme that became associated with sleep. Now, whenever I start to sing it, I get yawns from DS. We pick up the comforter, cuddle with DS, draw the blind and sing our song.

I put DS down with the comforter and sit in a chair right over the cot so he could see me. I put my hand in the cot and stroke, soothe, hum or shush. I didn't this for 1 minute. Then took my hand away and shushed/hummed/use voice to comfort for 2 mins. Then put the hand back in for 1 minute...then took hand away for 2 mins. I repeated this until he was asleep.

First night took 30 ish mins and he didn't get too upset.

Second night repeat. But, if he didn't get upset and need it, I didn't put my hand in but just gently soothed with voice.

Third night I moved the chair back so he couldn't see me. I only got up and went over to put my hand in if he needed it. But I kept up the shushing and humming if he got upset

By night 4 I just sat in the room silently til he was asleep and didn't need to intervene

Alongside him being able to get to sleep on his own, it coincided with him not waking. I could almost draw a graph linking the two.

After a week I was able to just put him down and leave. I also found that picking him up just made it all worse and when I put him back down again, he almost had to restart the whole calming down process.

I used the rhyme and same technique for naps and his naps also slowly increased.

As I said, some methods work for different babies but the key is to be absolutely consistent!

FiloFaxx Wed 07-Apr-21 20:59:02

@Ess1981thank you 😘 tonight isn't going as well 😬 has a few tears from both of us but she's now asleep so see when she wakes again for her feed.

@fistasledge thank you for your reply. I need to stay consistent but I've already been picking her up when it gets too much. I'll try singing a song to see if it helps that she realises. I've been saying "sleepy time" etc and goodnight and kisses and keeping that consist ten. As I said above it didn't go as well tonight in shattered already 🙈

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Ess1981 Tue 13-Apr-21 23:10:40

@FiloFaxx I hope things have improved a bit for you since last week xxx

FiloFaxx Thu 15-Apr-21 10:00:24


*@FiloFaxx* I hope things have improved a bit for you since last week xxx

Thanks for checking in @Ess1981 that's really nice of you.

Its been up and down but we've got teething now so that's playing a part!

We're still trial and error for bedtime routine and good sleep. Later bedtime means we all get uninterrupted sleep through the night. But she won't nap about 8ish when she's tired she'd rather go to bed for the night which is fine except she then wakes at 3am again and nothing really calms her 🙈

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Ess1981 Thu 15-Apr-21 21:44:16

@FiloFaxx you must be shattered flowers it's difficult when nothing you try works fully, not to mention teething too! Dentinox and Calpol worked for us, hubby would insist on using Dentinox every night religiously which is so funny now as he's usually so relaxed about life in general grin

Hang in there; you know where to come if you want to chat or vent 🤗 xx

Stormwhale Thu 15-Apr-21 21:54:15

6 months is far too young for any sort of sleep training imo. Of course she wants to be held, she is a tiny baby, completely vulnerable without her parents to care for her. It wouldn't make sense for a tiny infant to be happy to be left totally alone. Babies wake in the night, because they are babies. Sorry to be harsh, but I feel strongly that sleep training is cruel. Pick your baby up, cuddle her, give her the comfort she needs.

Before any one jumps on me, my dc2 is nearly 2, still doesn't sleep, so I know exactly how hard sleep deprivation is. Sure I could have solved it by teaching him that noone will comfort him when he cries, but to me that is barbaric.

Stormwhale Thu 15-Apr-21 21:55:36

You are trying to go against your instincts here to follow this training. Doesn't that tell you it is wrong?

FiloFaxx Thu 15-Apr-21 22:32:28


*@FiloFaxx* you must be shattered flowers it's difficult when nothing you try works fully, not to mention teething too! Dentinox and Calpol worked for us, hubby would insist on using Dentinox every night religiously which is so funny now as he's usually so relaxed about life in general grin

Hang in there; you know where to come if you want to chat or vent 🤗 xx

Thanks very much for your advice. Been using calpol and teething gel through the night to take the edge off for her. Must be so sore. Xx

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FiloFaxx Thu 15-Apr-21 22:40:13

@Stormwhale thanks for your reply. I do totally get what you're saying but I did say in my original post that when I picked her up it seemed to make her worse (and even worse again when put down again). Then in a later post I've said I'm still picking her up and I am continuing to do so now as well. As you say it was going against my instinct to follow the training I mentioned.

As I said in to my reply earlier on as well when I posted I was exhausted and desparate and couldn't understand how the training worked for some but not me x

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FiloFaxx Tue 20-Apr-21 14:28:56

Just to update everyone - I've found my "thing" for soothing 😂 singing Twinkle Twinkle, holding then as I'm lowering her into her then when she's in bed ❤️ thanks @fistasledge for your suggestion of a song and thanks to everyone else for your replies.

So just to confirm again, I tried to follow a sleep training course when losing the dummy which helped with naps but didn't work for us for night wakings. Now I've found a way to make sure I can settle her during the night when I put her back into bed (she's fine in my arms). Maybe time has also been a factor as well but thanks for everyone's advice and opinions xx

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FiloFaxx Tue 20-Apr-21 14:30:22

Lowering her into bed that should read**

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