Sleep training!(43 Posts)
Hi everyone. Hopefully i'm doing this correctly as this is my first message.
My son is 12 weeks old and will not have naps or go to sleep at night unless he is being fed and falls asleep in my arms, or I hold him. I have tried putting him to bed awake but this is proving to be difficult. He then wakes up 45 minutes later obviously still tired and VERY cranky.I realise he is having difficulty getting himself back to sleep but I can't leave him to cry as the midwife and health visitor have suggested. How can I encourage him to sleep without resorting to this. Any suggestions would be greatly apppeciated as I am very sleep deprived myself. Thankyou.
P.S Was it wrong of me to allow my baby to be loved or fed to sleep? So many things leave you doubting your parenting abilities and the choices you make.
Hi Shellbell, welcome to MN!
Have you tried a bear for him to snuggle, or a dummy? My 4 month old goes in his cot awake at night occasionally and I put the lullaby light show mobile on and he goes off on his own. Also he snuggles up to a soft cloth bear. A lot of the time he falls asleep feeding. As for during the day, I mostly have to rock him to sleep. Think 12 weeks might be a bit young yet to always expect him to go to sleep on his own without rocking or something.
Hi Queeneagle, thanks for your response. Yeah he has a dummy which does appear to soothe him from time to time but he does sometimes wake if it drops out of his mouth. I was thinking about a small bear or something but am so worried about SIDS that i'd stress myself out worrying he'd roll on it or something! Can't u tell i'm a first time mother? I thought 12 weeks was a bit young also until I started reading far too many bloody books about reinforcing bad habits (by letting baby fall asleep on you, nursing to sleep) I want the best possible sleeping habits for my son and I just feel so stressed out at the moment. I feel guilty for allowing him to be cuddled to sleep and very neurotic!!!
Bin the books! Some babies need much more physical support than others - dummies, cuddles, swaddling etc - my ds was one. My dd isn't. Just different children with different needs. There is nothing at all wrong with cuddling your little baby to sleep. If you want to change things, that's fine, you'll get advice here. But if you don't, that's fine too. They aren't little for long. It's normal to feed/cuddle babies to sleep. Does he wake a lot at night? My ds did until he was nearly nine months, then we did a short and relatively painless bit of cc and it's all been fine ever since. Horrid first nine months, but nearly three years on he is a great sleeper. Trust yourself.
Thanks Aloha, that's exactly what my mom said! Deacon does love to be held close to me & I love holding him. I have tried the whole 'whisperer' thing (which just left me stressed out when things didn't go to plan) in an attempt to alleviate his night time wakings. He has a dream feed between 10 and 11, wakes up around 2, then between four and five (he thinks its playtime more often than not) if I do manage to get him back to sleep (very rarely) he sleeps till 8.30 ish. Each feeding takes on average an 40 minutes, I have to slow him down because he suffers with reflux when he guzzles. Sometimes he is wide awake after being fed and really doesn't settle until his next feed despite only having a night light on, no nappy change unless its necessary and no talking. Is this a normal pattern of night time waking? I have tried upping his feeds in the day but he is just not interested. Any suggestions?
Hi Shellbell. My dd is 17 weeks and only just beginning to go longer at night - i.e. we were feeding 2 or 3 times a night about the same times as you until this week and probably still will be for a while. Totally normal.
I used a hideous looking but nice sounding cot toy with my son and am using it again with dd It really helps get her (& us) off to sleep - it's a Fisher Price Lights & Sound Aquarium. Ours is 4 years old but I think the new version is called 'Ocean Wonder Aquarium' and you can get it in Argos for £24. It makes the sound of waves crashing gently for about 10 mins.
Don't worry about rocking to sleep at this stage. Do what feels right. Good luck.
Cheers Magscat, your posting has made me feel so much better. I seem to be surrounded by people who's babies are sleeping through the night it makes you feel so inadequate. It's very reassuring to know my son is perfectly normal! I will certainly be purchasing one of those!! Does your baby nap during the day? If so, for how long? My son seems to get tired soooo quickly, at the first sign of tiredneess I put him down for a nap but I never seem to be quick enough and he quickly gets overtired.
Honest shellbell, it's not you. Don't blame yourself. Your son came out of you a human being in his own right, with his own personality and own needs. The books tend to make you doubt yourself and feel like a failure just because your child - who is, remember, his own person - doesn't conform to the rules of someone who has never even clapped eyes on him.
My ds sounds a LOT like your boy. It was very hard. But he's so gorgeous now - the need for cuddles is still there and that's wonderful. He still has a dummy at night. He is just 'needy' that way, but he loves his nursery days, and is just so bright and fab. I hate the fact that I too felt a 'failure' because he didn't sleep and couldn't go into a routine until he was about nine months old.
Honestly, bin the books!
My dd is totally different - I'm not but she is. They are their own people.
ps - I was also surrounded by people whose babies slept through the night and sometimes I felt dreadful. My dd has started sleeping all night at 11 weeks and I cannot believe it. Now I know why they didn't understand. An easy baby is a very different parenting experience, but I wouldn't swap my lovely boy for anyone.
Thanks Aloha, I really am gonna get rid of them stupid books, they have made the last few weeks of being a mommy far more stressful than I ever imagined. I don't think the sleep deprivation helps, everything always seems sooooooo much worse when you're knackered. I am going to concentrate on the positives now, like the fact that I have a beautiful baby boy that I love more than life itself.
Went to bed feeling oh so positive, didn't last long. Up at 1, 2.30, 4, 5.30 . Fed him each time but didn't seem to want much- an ounce here & there. Not running a fever, not uncomfortable I think to myself. Maybe it's cos he had his vaccinations yesterday that he's out of sorts, although H.V said that would make him sleep!!!! Started the day at 6.30, has has 2 ounces of his bottle does not seem interested and is playing on his playmat. Going out today so at least he'll have his naps who knows what tonight will bring!?
Oh Hub, sorry you had a crap night. Vaccinations can definately make them feel out of sorts for a day or two. Did you give him any Calpol? You are allowed to give 2.5 ml when they've had jabs. Helps them sleep. He'll sort himself out soon.
Re. day sleeps - my dd doesn't do them much! She sometimes goes a whole day with no more than an hour - can be in one nap and then she's awake for 6 or more hours straight. Sometimes she has 3 x 20 minutes. Ocassionally she'll have 2 hours - but not for a while now. It makes for a difficult time because I can't predict what she is going to do and plan to go out (she's totally breast fed at the moment - won't take a bottle) but I'm a lot less stressed out if I just go with it than when I was trying to get her into a fixed routine.
Just to re-inforce that they are all different. I did the Gina Ford thing with my first child. It suited him and he slept pretty much as her routine describes. I started the exact same way with my new daughter and she has always resisted. I mean really resisted - she fights going to sleep in the day like you would not believe. Doesn't seem to effect her ability to sleep nights though so I binned the damn book weeks ago and we are much happier for it. The routines are great if they work but not worth stressing for weeks over if they just don't suit you or your baby.
Our DS (nearly 15 weeks) is much the same -- he just can't go to sleep on his own. The feeding and holding aren't working so well any more, either -- I sometimes think he'd be awake 24/7 left to his own devices. When you say you did "the whole 'whisperer' thing", which method of hers are you talking about?
I'm not bothered about DS not sleeping "by the book" but it does bother me that he won't nap in the day (although with a big battle I can get him to nap in the morning) and gets increasingly cranky as the day wears on, obviously tired. I really want to enable him to sleep when he's tired -- if he isn't, then I don't mind his being awake.
I'm surprised your midwife/health visitor have told you to leave him to cry. Mine don't suggest "sleep training" as such until 6 months. They do suggest that I am "firm" with him, though -- whatever that means, as they don't get any more specific than that.
If you want to read a nice encouraging book, try The No-Cry Sleep Solution. It won't necessarily solve all your problems but it will probably make you feel better about your parenting choices.
None of this helps you much, I know. But you're definitely not alone. I too am surrounded by women whose babies happily settle themselves down to sleep, and I know it can make you feel inadequate when the truth is your baby is just different. I have also talked to several people whose now-much-older children were like this, though, and they all started sleeping eventually and turned out just fine. When we look back this will just be a tiny blip in our memory(hard to imagine now, I know).
Shell - really sorry - just realised I got confused about who I was talking to and called you Hub. . I blame lack of sleep!!
I tried the EASY routine- up at 7, feeding every 2 and a half to 3 hrs, looking for tired cues and reacting straight away. The day is as follows EAT, ACTIVITY, SLEEP, than some time for YOU. Only trouble is Deacon doesn't exhibit any tired signs as such until he is screaming the place down and I had a big battle on my hands to get him to sleep when he is overtired. The story is much the same now. In fact just a minute ago he was sitting in his chair playing happily. All of a sudden he's screaming and I know he's tired so I drop everything, hold him for a little while to unwind, put him in his cot and he screams the place down. I just haven't got the energy for a fight! So I give in and let him sleep on me. Have tried the 'shush pat' several times but you try shushing and patting when your arms ache so much they feel like they could drop off and you are struggling to keep your eyes open let alone function!
I must admit I am less stressed than I was whilst following a routine during the day. We do have a rigid routine at night though. Deacon loves the bath just hates getting out so a bottle is always on hand for the moment he starts screaming!
I feel the same, I wouldn't be bothered if he was awake all day as most of the time he is a joy, so happy and smiley. But it's terrible for both of us when he is in that state.
It's good to know this won't last forever. I just want what every mother wants- my son to have healthy sleeping habits. Oh, and a good nights kip!!!
Hi Magscat, yeah I did. Gave him some upon return from the docs and before bed. He also had some this morning as he definately wasn't himself. I think my posting this morning reflected my mood but I feel a little better about it now. I keep telling myself that tonight will be different, maybe I 'll get three hrs straight! What do you think about turning his mobile on in his cot? Have tried a couple of times in the past and he screamed, but he seems so much more interested in things now. Hopefully it will bring some sleep associations.
Do you mean the lights & sound mobile? We have it fastened to the side of her cot and what I do is play the sound for the last 10 mins or so of feeding (so she associates the noise with feeding & comfort) then start it again as I leave her in her cot and creep out - she's usually half asleep then. If she wakes & cries again, sometimes I can get away with switching the noise on again & sometimes I feed her a bit more. I tend not to use the light function as she's too interested & I think it's more noticeable when it stops.
Not sure if this is what you meant but hope it helps.
Don't get disheartened if it doesn't work straight away. Maybe it'll take a few goes for him to associate the sound with comfort - don't know if this is even what's going on psychologically - maybe it's just a nice sleepy noise! Good luck.
Shellbell, havent had time to read all the previous replies, but I too had to bin the baby whisperer book (in fact DH burnt it!!) as I started to read it as was anxious about Ds's sleep and frequent feeds it just made me feel even more inadequate and had me in tears for a whole day!! My Ds is 11 weeks and will only ever fall asleep if rocked, held, fed etc etc. I spend hours pacing up and down with him willing him to sleep ! Its so frustrating when you know they are tired (yawns etc) but they get more and more alert! He has in the last week also started screaming everytime he gets tired! If its not one thing its another I think and all you can do is try and go with the flow and do whatever you feel is best. I also agree that 12 weeks is way to young to get themselves off to sleep from fully awake. My friend had good advice that whatever bad habit you think you are creating at this age, will have turned into something totally different by the next week and then again the week after so you can spend all your time anxious about something that will sort itself out! She did then point out that the one thing that is a HUGE problem when they are 6 months wil be something we dont even know about yet! Oh joy!!
Hang on in there and take each day as it comes and when you are having a bad one, look me up on here as I'll probably be having an even worse one!!
hi shellbell, would support you on cuddling to sleep, but once asleep should be put down asap as this will help them get use to cot more then body contact for to long - feeding to sleep i also had to do with my ds but phased it out as quickly as i could by not offering long time to feed and encouraging dummy. my dd was very different to ds and settle straight away by herself. other thing would be if you are confident enough that you know deacons room well no light at all when feeding during the night and recommend blackout curtains or blinds for early morning waking they really help.
Hi Magscat, I used a mobile that I had purchased for Deacon before he was born. He seems to like it more now. I did what you suggested and played it a few minutes before his feed ended. He went to bed drowsy but awake! I didn't need to go into him at all! His dad did a dream feed at 10 (I was in bed at 9) The next thing I know it's 5.30, and he's starving. I'm over the moon. Also I fed him, and he amused himself in his cot until 7am. I can't tell you how much better I feel today. I had so much more energy with him this morning, it's just been wonderful! He's having a nap at the mo, fell asleep on me whilst feeding. Took him upstairs to his room and putting him in his gro bag didn't wake him. He's been asleep since 8! Hoorah! I'm not saying all my problems are solved but the world really does seem a better palce after a few hrs of undisturbed kip!!!
Hello Tipex, thanks so much for the advice. Your friend has got it spot on, it puts everything into perspective doesn't it? That book is the baine of my life. I'm sure it probably works for some people and that's fine but it was a nightmare for me. I think I should burn my copy too! It totally made me neurotic, and I felt like such a failure- sooooooooo stressed out! I'd look around at other mom's and think about how carefree and relaxed they were. How did they do it? I know now, they let there babies take the lead and decide what they wanted and needed.
Hi Frankie, tar for the advice. I quickly discovered with Deacon that he is sensitive to light so have a blackout blind which is down all the time in his nursery. I can't believe it but he actually went to bed awake last night, drowsy but awake- hoorah!!!!!
Congrats Shellbell. Really chuffed for you. Just a word of caution though - don't panic if it doesn't go like clockwork again tonight. It may well do, but personally I reckon most of this parenting lark is 2 steps forward, one back.
Anyway, not trying to be pessimistic, just to encourage you just in case. You're right - sleep deprivation is a terrible, terrible thing and it's really hard to explain to someone who hasn't been through it so it can really get you down.
Good luck again for tonight.
Hi I have found this thread very interesting as my ds is the complete opposite, he hates being rocked to sleep he prefers to be left alone in his cot where he will suck his thumb and chat to his toy bunny. He always loves to fall asleep when taken for walk in the pram. He gets very upset if he doesnt get his sleep,especially if he misses a nap this can lead to a drive in the car which helps him to sleep. If I try to hold him and rock him to sleep he can get more stressed. Weird. Goes to prove point that every baby is different.
my DS slept through very early 11wks ish (lucky *** I know) he learnt to fall asleep very easy it kind of happened by accident once he stopped zonking soon as he was winded we would put him down slightly groogym and leave him. He would gurggle and grumble and maybe cry out once or twice but as long as i left him he dropped of. We did this very early he was oing to slep himslf by 7 wks so ever got used to being rockd etc. I ave a friend with a baby a few monhs older than mine he was still waking at 9 months several times a night just to be rocked. It took her a while torecgogise he was just doing what he was used to i think the earlir u get them used to it the easier it will be.
Excuse typos but add message bit is not letting me edit without having to retype the whole thing as it eats up old text
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