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Sleep training dilemma for AP type...

(65 Posts)
alittleteapot Sat 05-Apr-08 09:57:02

DD is 10mo and still waking every half an hour in the evening, sometimes more, and will only be settled by bfing. Sometimes she gets frustrated because she's too full to eat but still wants the comfort. It's time to sleep train her as she so wants to sleep for longer but just doesn't know how. 12 till 6 is better as we co-sleep.

We've been thinking about doing a Jay Gordon style thing where you sit with them while they get to sleep (crying, inevitably.) This is supposedly the AP type of sleep training - even Dr Sears is OK with the dad comforting them to sleep through tears. My thing is, isn't it worse to sit there and ignore their tears, whereas a "light" version of controlled crying - where you go in every 30 secs up to a couple of mins, shows them you are responding to them rather than just sitting their ignoring them?

The argument about sitting with them is they feel angry and frustrated but they do not feel scared and abandoned, which makes sense, but they still feel ignored, plus you're there as a distraction. I'm thinking out loud really but just wondered what people thought before we take the plunge (don't want to but have tried all the no-cry techniques and we've got nowhere.)

Fillyjonk Sat 05-Apr-08 10:18:21

ok first of all I just want to say its very normal to still be bfding to sleep at this age. I am also assuming you've tried elizabeth pantley?

Ok, in this situation here is what I would do

Establish a routine centring around her NAP, not her bedtime. Naps are less stressful. I think a lot of kids have problems slightly later because they have associated bedtime with grumpy parents wanting them to go to sleep. I know I have. My way round this was for them to learn to get themselves to sleep at nap time.

you need a routine-bath (2 baths a day is ok!), story, bed or whatever. do it for daytime naps and when that is established, do it at night too.

JodieG1 Sat 05-Apr-08 10:21:58

My ds2 was the same at that age, he's much better now he's 14 months but still wakes during the night to bf. I really would just carry on bf him, he will grow out of it. I also co-sleep.

I'm ap and would not do cc, even going in every 30 secs.

SirDigbyChickenCaesar Sat 05-Apr-08 10:28:41

we did it with DS (although he was much older). I (dressed in many layers) would just cuddle and hold him first. Being denied something that you love and comforts you (ie the boob) would be a big shock to a baby. hold her comfort her and tell her that you love her. SHE WILL CRY. ANd don't forget that this isn't a quick fix. do it in stages. for a few nights hold her to sleep. then lay with her...etc etc.

have you tried going to sleep with her in the early part of the night, then after a couple hrs of sleep yourself, getting up and doing some grown up things then returning to bed around midnight?

As I remember it, Dr Jay Gordon's recommendation is not to sit up with them but to actually be in the family bed with them, holding/cuddling/patting/rocking whatever except feeding feeding them. I also remember that he doesn't recommend it for below 12 months but I understand your desperation.

At ten months, dd was waking like this in the early part of the night and bf all night long too. I think it is normal normal behaviour of very intelligent and sensitive babies.

alittleteapot Sat 05-Apr-08 10:45:33

I think I'd just carry on but it's difficult when you also have adult relationships and a household to maintain. Also, I'm worried she WON"T grow out of it and that once she's walking it will be even harder. Also, I don't really want her out of our bed yet but not sure how to do this without.

Kiskidee - have tried lying with her but she still wakes every 30 mins - hangover from cluster feeding as a younger baby. When did your DD stop doing this?

The other thing is I want to try for another before too long but not yet fertile because so much bfing... I know that's having cake and eating it but haven't got all the time in the world...

Will talk to DP again - think maybe a purer Jay Gordon approach for us.

JodieG1 Sat 05-Apr-08 12:36:43

She will grow out of it at some point. Ds2 was walking at 9 months. I also have dd (6) and ds1 (4.6) and do all the household stuff too.

I have a dh also. Personally I feel it's such a short amount of time relatively that they are young for and we should allow them their comforts/needs.

10 months is still v young imo. My periods returned even when feeding ds2 4-5 times a night and at least 10 times a day at about 10-11 months. He now feeds 2-3 times a night and about 6 or so times a day. He eats good meals too and snacks.

I've just accepted that this is the way it will be for a short time and got on with it. I'll miss the night feeds and day feeds when they're gone so am making the most of them. They grow up far too quickly imo.

Seemed like only yesterday I brought dd home from scbu and now she's 6.

BabiesEverywhere Sat 05-Apr-08 14:54:20

If she settles when breastfed, I would continue doing that. She can't overfeed and if she comfort sucks what is wrong with that. She could be having a growth spurt in which case a few days extra nursing sessions might see her sleeping better.

We have had ups and downs with our DD's sleeping patterns but I have always nursed her and put her back to sleep again and 99 times out of 100, she'll go straight back to sleep. I couldn't stand to listen to her cry when I know I could stop it so quickly and easily.

I weighed up my DD's and my distress at her crying versus a few minutes feeding, for me it wasn't worth it but YMMV.

you can try staying in bed with her till she starts to wake up and as she is becoming active but still asleep, pat her down. it may or may not work. over a few nights, she will probably stop waking up. I would try patting back to a deeper sleep and with the next waking, feed her then try to pat back on the third waking. If at anypoint they seem to be waking up more than falling back, just feed back to sleep.

i agree that this time in a baby's life is so short and fleeting. It won't be long she will want to be in her own room. Promise. Enjoy the time you can.

Re: grown up time. Parents make all sorts of similar sacrifices in order to look after their children in the early days. Later on, when the children are older, difficult times like these are what hold couples together. For example, some couples, work shift patterns so that one partner is at home to do childcare while the other is at work and then swap shifts. This type of accomodation may come out of necessity but in the big picture, we make choices like these.

In our culture, there is a big emphasis on time away from the kids, which always seems a theme of guru books. When we shut the doors on our kids at a young age, we teach them to shut the door on us when they are able to do that.

My dd is nearly 3. We coslept so that everyone can get the most sleep, not because we believed in a philosophy. I am also lucky enough to be brought up in a culture where parents routinely roomshare or bedshare so it was easier for me to turn to dh and say, ffs, she will sleep with us because I can't get her to sleep alone. From around 2.5 yo she had her nights when she wanted to sleep in her bed, in her room eventhough we have never, not even gently, persuaded her to start. Now she wants to sleep in her room every night and sleeps there from 8-9pm till 5-6 am. There have been no tears from any of us to reach this stage. For some kids it happens sooner.

When there is no push to get into their own space, they make the move when they are developmentally ready to do it. Our job is to listen to their cues respond to them.

The link is from a very wise woman which i reread the other day. It doesn't apply to your case directly but I think you can put the framework of where you are into this picture.

as a final thought. my dd who is allergic to cow's milk and egg took longer to wean onto solids as most children do. it means she fed a lot more at night for a longer period of time. I am now pg with my second and once I got to 5 wks, i realised taht her feeding 2x between midnight and 6 am was too tiring for me. (this is only a couple months ago and she will be 3 in a couple weeks) I expected a lot of tears weaning her off those 2 feeds but i was pleasantly surprised that she only mumbled, rolled over and went back to sleep. By the following week, she was 'sleeping through' and demanding to be in her own bed. I suppose I could have gently persuaded her earlier but to be honest, dh and I have grown to love her company in bed for so long, we didn't consider it and last night for the first time in two weeks, she slept in with us because I was too tired with pg and the flu to go to her room with her. everyone slept like throught.

alittleteapot Sat 05-Apr-08 23:29:23

kiskidee that makes convincing reading. i have lots more thoughts about this but tired now and going to go to bed. thanks for all your thoughts today though.

theUrbanNixie Sat 05-Apr-08 23:46:13

teapot - i feel your pain. my ds is 15 months and has only slept through once or twice in his life! i was talking about it with my HV and she said I had 4 options:

1) Controlled crying
2) Rapid return (where you go in every 5 minutes till they sleep)
3) Gradual withdrawal (staying with them them till they fall asleep then gradually over a series of weeks move further and further out of the door)
4) Leave things as they are.

Currently we're co-sleeping and he always nurses to sleep. I wouldnt have a problem with that, but he's now started to not sleep unless he has the breast in his mouth. And it's driving me up the fecking wall!

We've pretty much decided on option 2 but we need to sort his room out first and I think i might be dragging my heels a little bit.

it's a right bugger isn't it??!

teapot, feel free to CAT me if you like.

JodieG1 Sun 06-Apr-08 22:53:49

I have to add, my ds2 has never slept through ever, he's 15 months in a week. The least he's done is 2/3 times a night.

I co-sleep, I bf and it's doable. Far more than getting up and going to another room to feed him every night, at least this way I get to doze

If you feel you can do it then I really think it's great to. I love the night feeds now, I was worried about them a few months ago and then I realised they wouldn't last forever and that it wouldn't be (relatively) long until they were stopped forever.

alittleteapot Mon 07-Apr-08 13:59:10

Thanks everyone. Am very conflicted. On one hand feel strong pull to AP route. Just sit it out and answer her wants believing they are her needs. Love co-sleeping. Hate idea of letting her cry.

On other hand: think she is in a bit of a rut with the evenings and would herself feel happier if she could sleep for longer periods (last night waking every 10/15 mins but quickly asleep with boob) - I remember a brief time at primary school when I caught that blinking habit. I knew I wanted to stop but couldn't for ages. I feel there's an analogy for DD and evening sleep. Also, I know if she slept for longer periods I would have more time to tidy up, make lovely food and recharge myself ready to be great mum next day. Likewise if she was able to go down for the odd nap in the day not only in sling or buggy. There's an argument that those improvements in all our lives will outweigh any brief trauma by sleep training.

My other thing about sleep training is that the fact that it seems to work so well suggests that on some level the child is also getting an outcome it wants. If you were to withold food for two days and let them cry they wouldn't suddenly give up food. But the fact that so many sleep trained babies go on to sleep so much better suggests that on some level that's what they really need to do - they don't know how.

Sorry, this is turning into a bit of an essay, but it's on my mind so much. I think the question of sleep training becomes so loaded for new parents especialy those with AP sensibilities. There's a comparison with the strong desire to have a natural birth. When it came down to it a caesarian or whatever would have been fine - what mattered was a healthy DD. I wonder if sleep training becomes a bit of a red herring.

Don't know. We're talking about it again tonight. We do need to do something. Elizabeth Pantley not working. Keep changing my mind re which way next.

Thanks for all your posts.

PS Jodie - repspect to you that you get all your household stuff done - I can't - maybe I'm just not organised enough. I wouldn't mind at all if DD wanted to feed 2-3 or even 4-5 times a night. It's just the very frequent waking in the evenings that feels wrong for ALL of us, including her...

Sorry - that was long!!!

JodieG1 Mon 07-Apr-08 15:25:50

I really do understand where you're coming from. Ds2 was exactly the same, he used to wake frequently all evening, it did stop though and now he goes to sleep about 6.30pm and usually wakes for milk at about 11pm.

When he's ill he wakes up every hour or so all evening and night but night time at the moment is 2-3 feeds.

I really understand how you feel and I felt the same, however, I am so glad that I stuck it out. Have a look at Dr Sears website and his advice on sleep
I agree with his views and think he gives fantastic advice. Some research has suggested that controlled crying does have a long term effect on a baby but a lot of people don't want to believe that.

Don't get me wrong, I have bad days when nothing gets done but I generally try and keep on top of things during the day. I cook all my own food too, I have to or ds2 won't eat it lol, fussy so and so.

Dr Sears also explains why babies wake a lot and it makes you think about it more.

glimmer Mon 07-Apr-08 17:51:17

This is a very interesting discussion. I find AP ideas very intriguing and very much like the idea of responding to DS (19 weeks) needs. But I also believe that responding to needs really goes both ways and believe that our society needs more INTERdependent people.

I wanted to co-sleep, but when we did, DS fed every hour and by the end of the night I hadn't sleep well, and he started to have reflux and digestion problems. He sleeps now next to me in his own crib and the 50cm have made a big difference for us and I feel we are BOTH happier. This is just what works best for us.

The same is really the case for sleeping/resettling. I sense that DS is frustrated himself that he can't resettle when he wakes up, but when I BF him every hour or so, all the milk is coming back up again and he is unhappy. So now I try to resettle him between midnight and 5am when he wakes up, which is hard work and yes, I use a dummy, although I don't really want to. When he manages to go back to sleep he seems almost proud of it (obviously I could make this up). But this is a big issue for me as well, because I do not want him to feel abandoned/hungry and yes, I would find it weird to not pick him up when he cries, but on the other side you could tell him why you do it and I am sure he understand on some level.

I very much like your considerations about babies wanting to be able to resettle themselves, littleteapot. I think if you feel this is the right thing for you and your son, then I would go for it.

TheBlonde Mon 07-Apr-08 18:01:32

Don't know anything about sleep training apart from I always put mine down for naps and to bed while still awake, stick some soothing music on for them and hope for the best

Are you sure she's not waking due to teething pain?

zulubump Tue 08-Apr-08 08:26:52

teapot I would love to hear more about things you try and how they work out. I am having trouble with my 6 month old who loves to be cuddled and rocked to sleep and is very sensitive to being put down again. She wants/needs to sleep from about 7pm onwards. She is usually blissfully asleep in my arms after a bath & breasfeed, but will often wake as soon as I put her down, no matter how slowly and carefully. This can lead to an evening of a lot of crying and picking up and putting down. Yesterday I was determined not to pick her up again and to try and sooth her by patting/ rubbing her belly etc. But it drove her barmy and in the end my dh picked her up. I'd love for her to be able to cope with being put down just half drowsy, but can't see how to do this without a lot of tears. Is it worth it and would she just grow out of this need anyway?

Good luck with your dd teapot

BabiesEverywhere Tue 08-Apr-08 09:15:36

zulubump, If you are not doing it already, try putting her down in her pram or moses basket next to the sofa downstairs with you and that way it is easy to pick her up again. Or wear her in a sling in the evening and put her to your bed, her cot or moses basket when you go to bed. It is normal for a 6 month old baby to want to be close or to be held by mum.

glimmer Tue 08-Apr-08 09:40:39

Just to add another thought. If AP means responding to the babies needs and the baby has a need to sleep but can't get there because it hasn't learned yet how to settle, then it would be the AP way to help it find sleep. Well, that doesn't necessarily mean sleep training, but it could. Like giving somebody a fishing rod rather then the fish ... DYSWIM?

I think the important part is to listen to the baby IYSWIM.

i find the phrase 'learn to settle' a bit misleading and loaded. Loaded because to be able to 'learn' is seen as an positive thing in this society which values self sufficiency sometimes above most other things. Misleading because babies reach a developmental stage where they acquire the ability to settle themselves with little or no imput from us. When babies have not yet reached that developmental milestone, they can become 'conditioned' to accepting that they ought to lie quietly. Some babies accept this conditioning more willingly than others. Some babies will cry unendingly for hours on end if left without being picked up. Some babies are more easy going and accept the state of things rather more easily it seems.

I say these things with the view that the human brain is the least developed of all the primates at birth. It develops rapidly in the first year so to work on the basis that at 6 months or 9 months or whatever, they should be able to 'learn to settle themselves' is a big leap of faith imo.

glimmer Tue 08-Apr-08 14:59:18

Good point kiskideesameanoldmother. I will think about your words.

It's just that our son is often sooo tired and he seems to want to sleep but doesn't get there. Yes -- we are helping in any way possible, but at times I get/got so tense because the whole day seems to be dominated by catching the right moment to put him in sling/pram/cot or nurse him to sleep. And then there are the times when we miss this moment and he cries and cries and cries and it is heartbreaking. This situation is not good for anybody.

Sorry didn't mean to hijack - it's just something I think a lot about at the moment.

awww glimmer, I have the t-shirt wrt the mummy angst and the tired baby. Have you seen the book 'the social baby' by lynne murray and liz andrews? it is very good for teaching parents how to read the body language of babies. very good when you think that it is the first and for many months, except for crying the only way that babies are trying to communicate with us. it is done with video stills and very little reading which for a tired babybrain, is most helpful.

at 19 weeks, i think that there would be a lot of gain for you if you were to invest in a copy of this book. I think it is great even up to a year old.

glimmer Tue 08-Apr-08 18:23:02

Kiskid -- sorry, I don't understand your last post, especially the "I have the t-shirt wrt the mummy angst and the tired baby". Do you mean it's a common thing of mothers to say? But doesn't that mean that is IS a problem for many mothers? Do you think this is not valid argument/problem?

I have a copy of the social baby and I love it! I agree that often there are many, many clues before a child cries. E.g. I know when my son is hungry or tired long, long before he cries. But I do not know how I can help him find sleep (is this a wording you would agree with?) Now, I do know how to deal with the hunger problem :-)

It's not unlike adults isn't it? I am often tired and know I should go to bed, but I enjoy e.g. the company of friends/knitting/a book and do not go to bed and thus am tired the next day. Well, I am responsible for the consequences of my actions, but my son surely isn't.

zulubump Tue 08-Apr-08 19:23:54

Lots of interesting thoughts. Kiskidee I am interested in your earlier comment that "babies reach a developmental stage where they acquire the ability to settle themselves with little or no imput from us". Is that something that has been researched and proven? And what age is that, well what is the range of ages it usually happens in? If you happen to know? Is 6 months just too early to expect this? I seem to know a lot of people with babies that actually prefer to be put down awake in order to go off to sleep. I do enjoy my cuddles with my dd to get her off to sleep, but sometimes I'd love it if she could do it all herself!

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