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Controlled crying and pick up/put down - are they the same thing and are they humane as I'm about to give in

(45 Posts)
Gangle Wed 23-Jul-08 22:07:11

Currently trying what I think is the latter with DS, 16 weeks, and feel the worse mummy in the world. I've never been able to leave him cry before but has reached the point where he is exhausted as he has given up napping during the day and fights sleep all evening. I first tried to put him to bed at 8.15 this evening after bath, cuddles etc. He's still crying now although I've been in to pick up and comfort several times. He stopped crying each time and seemed to fall asleep but wakes the minute I put him down. On the verge of caving in - should I stick with it or give in?

FAQ Wed 23-Jul-08 22:09:14

they're not the same thing.

I know it's exhausting (I've been there with DS1 when he was tiny) - but pick up/put down all you can really do right now.

Could you put him in the pram and push him back wards and forwards in there (just for tonight) to give yourself a rest?

Habbibu Wed 23-Jul-08 22:12:57

16 weeks - do you think he might be having a growth spurt? More milk might help. I used to cuddle dd to a deep sleep at that age - so that I could pick up her arm and drop it without her noticing - and then wait a few mins more. He doesn't have to learn to self-settle at this age - it doesn't mean he won't do it later.

Gangle Wed 23-Jul-08 22:13:13

Thanks FAQ. Did think about the pram but copped out and did that last night and I want to at least try the pick up and put down, just to see if it works. I'm staying with my parents and the moment and it's only my mum being here that's making me strong enough to do it though am wondering if it was a good idea doing it away from home. Just heartbreaking though isn't it?

Gangle Wed 23-Jul-08 22:16:04

Thanks Habbibu. I've been thinking all along that he will learn to self settle but people keep telling me it doesn't get easier as they get older and starting when he is younger will make it easier in the long run. Really don't know what to think but his sleep habits have been progressively worse over the last few weeks with him stopping napping in the day and refusing to settle in the evening. Feel I need to do something rather than ignore the problem.

FAQ Wed 23-Jul-08 22:19:30

I think if you're not at home at the moment tbh it would probably just be easier on you both to use the pram again, if you're both tired again tomorrow, tomorrow night will be even harder.

Then perhaps once you're back home again start trying the pick up/put down method (I've never actually used this with any success - but I know there are LOTS of MN'ers who have and can advise you can better). Once you're at home in his familiar surroundings it should be easier.

You have my sympathies - been there done, that and got the t-shirt with the poor sleepers.

Gangle Wed 23-Jul-08 22:23:36

Worried that if I give in now though we'll be back to square one tomorrow. His cries are slowly getting weaker. Is it cruel though and is what I'm doing controlled crying?

FAQ Wed 23-Jul-08 22:30:28

if you're going back to him regularly then yes it's CC - and TBH (and I used it at 6 months with DS1) he's too young for it.

You may be back to square one tomorrow, but I would do what is easiest while you're away from home - so that you can relax and enjoy yourself, and then worry about sorting his sleeping out once you're back in his familiar surroundings.


Gangle Wed 23-Jul-08 23:07:47

What I don't get it how it's ok if they're over 6 months but not if less. Surely they are more aware at 6 months and it's harder to teach them anything. DS has finally gone to sleep - fell into a light sleep in my arms but didn't wake up when I put him in cot BUT, think this is down to sheer exhaustion rather than him having "learned" how to fall asleep on his own. So, end result is both of us upset and me having less of an evening than if I'd been holding him all night. Completely depressed and at a loss what to do.

Habbibu Thu 24-Jul-08 09:11:59

I'd say the opposite, Gangle - as they get older it's a lot easier to explain stuff to them - they understand language a long time before they're able to speak. He'll also be more confident and more secure as he gets older. Please don't worry about cuddling him to sleep - if I could do one thing differently with dd, it would be to stop worrying about feeding her to sleep - kept seeing websites, etc saying they MUST learn to self settle VERY EARLY. But it didn't feel right (and I liked feeding her to sleep), so when she gave that up, we then started a gentle gradual withdrawal, with lots of explanation of what we were doing. This was at about 7-8 months, and it worked really well. Look at this way - a person whose age you can still easily count in weeks is very very young. Ignore any "rod for own back" comments. They're unhelpful and wrong.

CoteDAzur Thu 24-Jul-08 09:27:14

Gangle - On the advice of DD's paediatrician here in France, we stopped night feeds at 4 months and did a version of cc & pick up/put down to get her back to sleep when she woke up in the night. She said it is easier at this stage, as after six months sleep issues get more ingrained and harder to deal with, and that most children with sleep issues persisting beyond 6 months tend not to sleep through before 2 years.

I get attacked by some MNers whenever I say this but it was the single best advice we ever got on parenting. We were up for several hours the first night, much less second night, and she slept through on third night and every night since then (except when sick/teething/etc).

The important thing is to be consistent. And not to backtrack out of exhaustion and desperation. It will only take a couple of nights. Hang in there.

Gangle Thu 24-Jul-08 18:46:54

thanks CoteAzur. Just put DS to bed and crying has started so here we go for the second night. Awful awful time but he (and I!) are both exhausted as he clearly doesn't know how/when to fall asleep. He has been awake all day and completely irritable and overtired so something has to change. About to cry myself though so just hope this works.

FAQ Thu 24-Jul-08 18:50:22

stopped night feeds at 4 months?? Bloody hell. I wouldn't go anywhere near that paediatrician grin

Sleep issues are DEFINITELY much easier to deal with after 6 months because their level of understanding is greater (and because they are in general not requiring so many night feeds).

Gangle Thu 24-Jul-08 18:56:30

DS is fine about nights feed - last night he went to sleep about 10.30/10.45 and woke at 5am to feed. It's just getting him to settle that's the problem. However, I read they should be able to last through the night from the time they are about 12lbs providing they feed enough during the day. DS is over 16lbs and a complete guzzler during the day so happy he's not hungry. FAQ, how much more does a 6 month old understand? Most books I've read say that sleep problems just get more and more entrenched. I said I would never let DS cry but it's also painful to see him exhausted and bad tempered because he has so little sleep.

LadySanders Thu 24-Jul-08 18:57:49

at the risk of wading in, it seems to be a very personal thing as to whether or not you can bear to do the CC thing.

i didn't with ds1 and he didn't start sleeping through til nearly a year old. now have 5 month old ds2 and doesn't look like he will sleep through anytime soon either. it doesn't sound like you are convinced that the crying is a good idea, so if you're not comfortable with it, don't feel you must do it.

one thing i would say is that maybe you are trying too late a bedtime - there's no science to this at all, but for me and lots of friends 7pm appears to be the 'magic time' at which babies/toddlers can go to bed more easily. might be overtired by 8.15pm especiall if no sleep during day.

LadySanders Thu 24-Jul-08 18:59:49

i also keep reading that thing about being able to sleep through once they weight 12lbs and i'd say it bears no resemblance to real life. ds2 was 12lbs by the time he was about 2 weeks old and is now 22lbs but clearly still starving at night time despite feeding all through the day.

Gangle Thu 24-Jul-08 19:03:40

Very very close to caving in but he has cried most the day and been so grumpy that I'm almost getting immune to it! I do have doubts but feel I should try this for 3 or 4 nights just to see if it helps.

FAQ Thu 24-Jul-08 19:03:59

ignore all the weight/feeding nonsense - babies don't read the text books before they come out - so have no idea grin (all 3 of mine have been different).

Babies change rapidly - you'll be amazed at the difference between your DS now -and in just 2 months time smile

I did CC with DS1 at 6 months old, worked a dream - don't think it would have worked earlier for him.

DS2 - didn't need to do anything at all. He slept through from 3 weeks old of his own accord!!!

DS3 - didn't do anything with him either. Hdidn't sleep through properly until he was about 8/9 months old - and still needs to scream for 10 minutes before he goes to sleep (he's 14 months now).

As you're away from home I really would wait until you get back to surroundings that he knows and try something like pick up/put down.

Even most ardent supporters of CC say don't use it until 6 months at the earliest - and many say 9 months!

FAQ Thu 24-Jul-08 19:04:35

oh meant to say - all my DS's have been huge.

Gangle Thu 24-Jul-08 19:20:56

thanks FAQ. But what if DS has been crying on and off most of the day anyway because he is so exhausted? He currently only sleeps when I sleep, i.e. 6 or 7 hours a night which is way way too little for a 16 weeker and makes me worried about whether he has enough sleep for growth and development. The advice is so completely contradictory - some say don't do CC (and I was firmly with this school of thought until this week), others say they have to learn to fall asleep themselves, and the younger they learn the better. Very very close to caving in - back to dinner with one hand . . .

janx Thu 24-Jul-08 19:41:59

I really do sympathize with you - my boy is 7 months and is a terror for sleeping. My dd slept from 7pm-7am from 6 months, but they are all different. We tried the PU/PD and it did seem to be working, but then we went on holiday and it all went pear shaped. He wakes up every three hours for a feed - but it is more for comfort - tbh I have just given up and gone back to bfeeding him. I just don't need anymore stress right now - what I am trying to do is gradually cut down the length of feeding time at night - good luck and keep saying to yourself - it is just a phase

Habbibu Thu 24-Jul-08 19:54:36

Gangle - you need to find a way that suits you both, and stuff the books. Also agree that the 12lb is bollocks - dd was nearly 11lb at birth, and fed for Scotland, so sleeping through was out of the question at 12lb. Does he nap when you are out and about in a pushchair or sling? DD was a shocking napper when very small - I walked for miles just to make sure she had some sleep in the day. She all by herself turned into an amazing clockwork napper at about 9 months... I was very worried about the "learn to fall asleep thing" and "don't feed to sleep" - mum (who worked for years in residential care for babies) told me to STOP READING THINGS in no uncertain terms. Boy, was she right. That said, one book I did dip into was the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley - didn't use the "system" per se, but did get lots of useful ideas from it.

janx Thu 24-Jul-08 20:17:48

I agree with Habbibu about the Elizabeth Pantley book - seems the most human one and also have lots of different scenerios.

AuntyJ Thu 24-Jul-08 21:45:01

Gangle - we did pu/pd @ 5mths ds was a terrible sleeper after having dd who slept through @ 14wks this was a big shock.
I bought the Baby Whisperer book - Solves All Your Problems. Its a thick book dont be put off I found it incredibly useful and easy to follow.
One thing I would say wait until you are back @ home as everything will be familier to your baby. Also start the routine with day time naps as you will be less exhausted. It took 2 days & nights of pu/pd for us to be able to put him down without crying. Nap times are great I just put him down in his cot and he goes straight to sleep. Night time it works 90% of the time but tonight for example I think it was just too hot in the room. The great thing is when he wakes he will just settle himself at night.
I hope this helps

PiperG Thu 24-Jul-08 21:47:51

Hi Gangle
Oh I sympathise so much - I have an eight month old DS who has been a terrible sleeper for so long. We are now trying gradual withdrawal, as Habbibu mentioned above. We still have a long way to go, but it really does seem to be helping him learn to settle at bedtime and when he wakes in the night. We've been doing it for a week or so and already have gone from him screaming blue murder when I put him in the cot to me being able to lie him down in it at bedtime and simply have my hand resting on him with a little bit of stroking. Definitely worth a try - it's such a gentle method to help them learn to settle and sleep better.

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