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some advice on controlled crying with a 15 month old please

(10 Posts)
zulubump Sat 17-Jan-09 19:52:21

Please help if you can, I'm having a nightmare.

My 15 month dd has always been a difficult one when it comes to sleep. She can sleep through the night but we have had far more nights that are very difficult and long-lasting phases of awful sleep.

A recent awful phase has prompted me to try cc, though it's not something I ever really wanted to do. But I felt like I was turning into psycho mummy in the day due to lack of sleep and thought it might be kinder all round. So far we are on to night 7 of cc (though I think I've just b*ggered things up a bit tonight). So far things have gone like this

night 1: about 40 mins of crying (very upset sobbing) before conking out and sleeping through

night 2: about 25 mins of crying (not as upset as night 1) before falling asleep and sleeping through

night 3: only 5-10 mins of grumbling, then 30 mins or so of shuffling about before sleeping through (at this point feeling v pleased with results!)

night 4: dh put dd to bed and this seemed to totally throw things - she sobbed as long and loudly as night 1 before falling asleep

nights 5 & 6: I put dd to bed but exactly same results as night 4

Also noticed that in the day dd has been a lot more prone to crying and being generally short-tempered and sensitive.

Tonight she was crying and sobbing before I put her in the cot and I couldn't bear it so ended up hugging her to calm her down and she fell asleep in my arms. Only to wake up when I put her down and continue sobbing. I've left her with dh now as I don't know what to do anymore. Don't know what he's doing with her at the moment though.

Oh god please help me work out what to do for the best. I don't want to be psycho mummy from lack of sleep again, but I don't want dd to be miserable either!

LadyBez Sat 17-Jan-09 20:12:15

Haven't really got any tips, but am going through a very similar thing with my 17mo dd. It sounded so similar from start to finish I thought I would post!

I've been getting tenser and tenser throughout the afternoon as bedtime approaches because we have had similar all week and every little squeak (even if it's from the telly!) and my ears prick up like a dogs ears!

It worked straight away with my 1st ds, (CC that is) and I have had to use it off and on with dd for a couple of months now, but I have made things worse by settling her down by cuddling her in my bed and she has got used to it. I think it is a case of perserverance, keep being consistent and she will get the message and settle herself, but for some it takes longer I suppose.

The thing about my own situation that annoys me is that dd is a thumb sucker so by definition she should be able to settle herself but she just doesn't!

Anyway, I bet we're not alone, and keep sticking it out, in a couple of days it'll be fine again, I'm sure!

zulubump Sat 17-Jan-09 20:23:23

Thanks ladybez, from a bit of a search through previous threads on sleep it does seem that cc doesn't work easily for every child. I'm just not sure how to play the next few evenings. Dh stayed with her tonight just rubbing her back until she fell asleep. I don't mind staying with her in the evenings while she falls asleep provided it doesn't take ages (30 mins or more is too much for me) and provided she doesn't then start waking in the night and needing us. But seems you can't do one without the other.

Ladybez have you put your dd down in her cot awake after cuddles in your bed and then done cc until she is asleep?

LadyBez Sat 17-Jan-09 20:38:57

I have, yeah, and it did work in the past but this week she seems to have developed a real stubborn thing (she has finally learnt to say no, previously she has been a very positive little thing!)

She has started to go to sleep on her own but if she wakes in the night I can pretty much guarantee a 2 hour stretch before she will wear herself out again and drop off. Unfortunately I have to let her cry herself to sleep and it is heartbreaking but she seems to get more angry by my presence (if I am not holding her that is). But yeah, she has been moved to her cot fully aware of where she is going and that she is going to be left and often she would be happier about it because our bed is not really bug enough for her and I think she prefers silence, and also, I can't help but keep kissing her little chubby cheeks all the time - she's glad to get rid of me sometimes! But currently as soon as you say the word cot or tired she says "no", and if you attempt to pick her up she arches her back and screams a very angry cry!

I have to see the funny side though: Thursday night was the first night this week that she had not kicked up a stink about being put to bed and by 8pm I was sitting with my feet up while dh started some DIY - just painting I thought. Anyway, he picked up a piece of wood from his cabinet he is building, took it to the room underneath DDs room and commenced sawing. I let him off the hook first time as she didn't wake but then he did it again and she DID wake and I went bonkers! He's never going to live that one down, I tell you!

Amyway, as if by magic, she has woken up! Better go...or should I? I really don't know any more!

zulubump Sat 17-Jan-09 22:21:39

I don't know anymore either! Hope your night goes well. Your dd sounds so similar to mine If she wakes in the night it's usually a 2 hr stretch before she drops off again. We've enjoyed 6 nights of sleeping through this week thanks to cc - record for dd! But we'll see what happens tonight!

DaddyJ Sat 17-Jan-09 23:29:42

Don't laugh, but I think you are nearly there!

You have established that she can settle herself.
You have also established that she hates being left by herself. you need to negotiate.

How can she fall asleep by herself without feeling abandoned?

In our dd's case I worked out that it was closing the door
that she hated. So now after singing a few songs to her
I say 'right, time for sleep, Daddy will go now, no crying,
door will stay open, yes?' And she says 'no crying, door open!'
And that's it smile

Apologies that I cannot tell you specifically what the solution
in your case will be - I don't know your dd's personality, likes/dislikes.

Work out a compromise that makes everyone happy.

Lotster Sat 17-Jan-09 23:52:29

Have you tried going in every 5 or 10 mins, laying her down and sshhing and walking out, till she calms?

I found that quite good, and then moved to standing outside my son's door ssshh shh shh'ing for a while every 10 mins until he calmed.

Whilst I believe the theory that a child who is sure of you, is actually more likely to be a confident child and stike out on their own, whereas one that feels ignored can become clingy and whingy; I think that taking them out of their bed/room cuddling to sleep is a bad way to go. I wanted him to feel safe and not ignored, but not spend hours treading the boards. Hence why I tried the hands-off yet re-assuring style above. Did work for us.

It does sound like you've broken the back of it though. All else fails, you could try an Autofade light. Something I introduced recently when my son (now 2.5) who had slept really well, suddenly started demanding a light on, or not wanting me to leave.
You set the brightness, then press a button to fade it out over 15 mins, really lulls them to sleep.

Good luck anyway.

zulubump Sun 18-Jan-09 16:19:12

Thanks for the replies, I think you are all right that dd needs a bit more reassurance that we are around while she falls asleep. We were just peeking around the door to do the checks on her during cc because she seemed to get more upset when we actually went in the room to check on her and then just left again. But I think that was a mistake. Tonight I think we'll try doing as some of you have suggested and leave her door a bit more open and go in every 5-10 mins to lie her down and shush her. Fingers crossed it's a bit less traumatic than the last few nights.

Jess99dee Sun 10-Jul-11 21:50:36


Must send a quik message with the time I have to say IM GOING THROUGH THE SAME!! im so glad im not alone!! Ive been feeling so nasty to my son doing this control crying!! hearing him scream and cry is making me cry and im tensing up and I think im having less sleep because i cant switch off to all this at night! sad i needed to try this because he was never sleeping and i was crying for i was so tired i couldnt do anything in the day! sad this was last choice, ive wanted/needed to do it for months but put it off because i just havent wanted to do it! now its come to it, i feel like ive done bad by my son..he sleeps after the cry session but through the day hes grumpy, screams at anyone trying to make him laugh, music...hes pulling my hand to go outside all the time if i dont he cries, hes had a bard tummy, not been drinking or eating tha much...what to do! thing is through this ive stopped breastfeedin to, i loved it! but hes all i feel is guilt and he hates me! my partner is the one putting him in his cot and last few days hes hated him! doesnt want to go to him,screaming at now its even harder to do cooking etc! sad and to top it off he wont go near the stairs as he thinks we are taking him to bed! xxxxxxx what to do?!

TheRealMBJ Sun 10-Jul-11 21:59:51

Hi all. Just popping in to say that CC really does not work for every child and every family. We tried at 15 months and it was a disaster! (DS is a terrible sleeper though so I don't have any advice) it just made DS, DH and me to very very unhappy and there was NO improvement in his slepp after 3 weeks. (I feel really guilty about it btw)

We stepped back and although he doesn't sleep through yet (18 months now) he is becoming easier and easier to settle and is sleeping for longer stretches.

I think it is important to decide whether things are working for her (and you) and reassess if you feel the need to.

Also, Mill Pond has had rave reviews on here and they aren't that expensive. They will apparently work with your whole family and help you find a solution to suit you.

Good luck

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