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I hate sleep training and I'm crap at it (long rant)

(26 Posts)
bunnybunyip Mon 17-Aug-09 21:19:05

When I was pregnant with DS 6 months ago, I dutifully read lots of baby care books from the library and decided the baby whisperer seemed like a good middle road.
For several hellish weeks when DS was 1-2 months I obsessively sat upright shushing and patting for up to 4 hours a day often for hakf the night. Hardly ever worked but DS would eventually be exhausted and fall asleep. I grew to feel nauseated at the sound of shushing and was really annoying to DH telling him that his natural rocking of baby was the wrong way to do it. Gave up when I worked out would get far more sleep co-sleeping and feeding him off to sleep.
So why 2 nights ago did I decide to try PUPD?
Another 40 mins of hell with DS screaming and being lifted up and down every 30 seconds. By this time he was so het up even feeding him wouldn't work and we were up until nearly midnight.
I'm writing this to remind myself JUST SAY NO TO SLEEPTRAINING TECHNIQUES!

hayleybop Tue 18-Aug-09 12:15:48

I threw away the baby whispere book as it made me feel like crap as nothing worked. Dont read anymore books like that, even the no cry sleep solution made me feel pissed off...Feed your baby to sleep and then when she dosnt need milk in the night just stop feeding her....easy to say, hard to do but just follow your natural instincs and it will be o.k. shushing and rubbing the back good. With my 1st DD I spent alot of time up in the nights hushing and patting ect...I cant be bothered with DD2 who is 9 months, she wakes me up and I feed her, I know I shouldnt but because I am so tired I forget and then think pants when I've done it again but I'm sure she will grow out of it..She's going to be my last baby so just enjoying her snuggly body next to mine in her cot with sides down.
It's so difficult when they dont sleep through and nobody understands what your going through unless they are in the same position....
A nice gently gently book I can recommend though is the baby sleep book by william and Martha's not written by some wierdo child minder super nanny idiot routine mad person. It's techniques 100's of parents have tryed, they are against CC and points out the dangers of it....I think there is so much advice out there you should just pick and choose the bits you like best....

BertieBotts Tue 18-Aug-09 12:22:41

Read Three In A Bed - it is the perfect antidote to sleeptraining manuals

Also, the most comforting thing I ever heard was that in Japan, it's usual for babies to be laid down to sleep in moses baskets/carrycots around the family during the day, including the evening, and only taken upstairs to sleep when the parents go to bed. Which is exactly what we did, until DS got mobile! Now we are a little more stuck... but have recently found that he is happy to be sat in his buggy watching what is going on and falls asleep in there, so we can still take him up when we go, if he won't settle earlier in the evening.

Oh and my last most important piece of advice - never try to "fix" anything that isn't broken!! As long as it works for you, it's fine and don't care what anybody says or thinks.

IsItMeOr Tue 18-Aug-09 12:24:41

Step away from the sleep books bunny!

I empathise. We have been vaguely doing PUPD (although I think DH is better than me - I tend to cuddle and rock him until he's pretty much asleep and then think, oh, I'm supposed to put him down awake, aren't I?), but DS sleeps so much better than he did from 6-13 weeks, tbh, we're fairly happy with what he does now. I have a suspicion we may expect better things once he passes the six month mark though!

MrsBadger Tue 18-Aug-09 12:26:39

could this be the 4m growth spurt?

if so, it will pass

and even if it isn;t, it;ll pass anyway

when the time does come, this article by Jay Gordon is pure gold

IsItMeOr Tue 18-Aug-09 12:26:44

Wise words BertieBotts - I was saying something similar to my DH yesterday when I saw that he had got one of our sleep books out again!

heartmoonshadow Tue 18-Aug-09 16:07:32


I know this is a little premature because my baby is only 6 weeks old. We found using the moses basket and then taking him with us when we go great until he discovered falling asleep on mummy or daddy!!! We live in a bungalow so defining sleep areas and awake areas is more difficult. Anyway I accidently one day a couple of weeks ago fell asleep with him on my bed - he was safe in the middle of us and he squirmed his way up to my pillow - this seemed to be the magic he needed so now my pillow is his mattress. I think it just comforts him to smell me and be comfy in his moses basket.

It has also been useful when sitting on settee as he can fall asleep on the pillow next to us and not rely solely on us cuddling him to sleep, it protects from any leaky nappies too. It is practical because easily washed and replaced when needed I just keep rotating my pillows.

Don't know if this would help.


Supercherry Tue 18-Aug-09 16:23:14

Heartmoonshadow, while that sounds lovely, it's not recommended by SIDS as a baby could theoretcially suffocate lying on a pillow.

preggersplayspop Tue 18-Aug-09 16:33:20

I hated the Baby Whisperer books. So patronising.

I let DS sleep on my shoulder most of the time. God, I loved putting my feet up to watch the telly while he dozed on me.

DS was a terrible sleeper but now naps for England and has recently started sleeping through the night (ok, he's 2...). (the only things that worked for us were co-sleeping, feeding to sleep and lots of cuddles). Even as a tiny baby he would look at me like I was completely bonkers if I started that shushing and patting business.

NanaNina Tue 18-Aug-09 17:36:30

What on earth is PUPD and what is all this "shushing and patting" about. I had young babies over 30 years ago but have baby GC so on site to find out a bit about modern things. I never read any baby books and just went with my instinct as I think many of us did in those days. Mind I was worried about Heartmoonshadow - it is dangerous for babies to sleep on pillows at such a young age as they could easily suffocate.

Good luck to all you new moms and I am just thankful it is all over for me because I can still recall the broken nights but the thing to remember is that it all passes...........until the next stage...........and the next and so on. Being a mother is a life "sentence" I tell you, but still wonderful.

IsItMeOr Tue 18-Aug-09 17:56:12

Hi NanaNina - your GC are lucky to have such a devoted nana. PUPD is Pick Up and Put Down, a technique that is supposed to help babies learn to settle themselves to sleep. You pick them up if they are crying, then put them down as soon as they stop, and repeat until they go to sleep. I think it is one of the baby whisperer ideas, but I think she may have more specific instructions than that (eg I don't think she likes you to jiggle babies).

fluce Tue 18-Aug-09 18:14:35

Its actually really great to hear that - as we have tried everything with our DS. PUPD just ended with everyone in tears, the moving chair technique just didn't work as he just couldn't bear not being with me so we now co-sleep and everyone sleeps!! I hope it is a phase and we will regain our bed to ourselves but until he's old enough to handle the separation i'm not going to push it.

messalina Tue 18-Aug-09 23:33:51

Hate the Baby Whisperer too - always the poor parents' fault in those stupid case studies and I thought her sleep training ideas were pants. I was dead set against sleep training but when work was looming and DD, aged 7m, was still waking once or twice a night (small fry for many mothers, but I was sick of it, and also anxious about what would happen to her teeth when they came through if I carried on night-feeding), the HV set me up with a very concrete easy-to-follow routine and it worked by night five. Involved holding DD's hand when she woke up and whispering the same phrase calmly till she stopped crying, something like Go back to sleep. I was meant to do this till she went back to sleep again, but I just waited until she had calmed down, then went back to bed to see what happened. If she cried again, I gave her 5 or 10 minutes and then started it over again. I think this was controlled crying and not quite what the HV had recommended (in fact definitely NOT) but it did actually WORK after four nights and she is now 11m and has slept throught the night every night since. Talk to your HV about it if you haven't already. I was very sceptical about sleep training and thought it would be exhausting and hideous but it wasn't that bad and it did actually work.

OmicronPersei8 Wed 19-Aug-09 00:03:08

I found a lot of baby books disheartening. The 'no-cry sleep solution' was the one book that wasn't. It had lots of gentle ideas - including for if you co-sleep - that can help if you want a bit more sleep. But I can say that I've now gone down the road of not being worried/annoyed (well not too much) about night waking. My first child wasn't fed to sleep or at night past 7 months and still woke four times a night, this time round I'm much more relaxed!

I think you find what works for you - I have friends who need routine etc in their own lives, they're a lot more 'formal' in their approach. They'd be miserable doing things my way. One thing you do learn as time goes by is to change things to fit your parenting style and child.

Also 'What mothers do: especially when it looks like nothing' is a lovely book to read, not a parenting manual just a good description of what a great job you do already!

ches Thu 20-Aug-09 04:40:48

I tried pick up/put down. DS screamed for an hour and a half every night. Went back to nursing to sleep. Then I tried Pantley Pulloff. A year and a half later he still holds on for dear life until I tell him to let go. Then I tried Dr. Jay. 10 days. bwahahahaha Six months later if I tell him he can't nurse back to sleep he throws a paddy on the floor for 2 min. So not tear-free by any means.

IMO sleep training only works if the baby is already ready to sleep through. People say "I've worked really hard to get DS to settle himself." and I think what does that mean? You did CC or you were lucky? Believe me, I've worked bloody hard these past 30 months, and my son finally slept through last night from 9pm - 5:30 am with me waking him once at 10:30 to put his bum on the potty. Three nights before he woke up at least 10 times because his teeth hurt.

Shells Thu 20-Aug-09 06:43:16

Ches, poor you. You must be so tired.
But I agree - some babies are just not sleepers. I was so disheartened when my first didn't sleep well but now that he's 8 and only sleeps 9 hours a night I just know that he's a kid who doesn't need a lot of sleep. Its the hand you're dealt.

IsItMeOr Thu 20-Aug-09 09:45:05

Thanks for sharing your experiences ches and Shells - you are corroborating my suspicions that babies/children sleep through when they are ready. I believe controlled crying will "work" if the goal is to get your baby to sleep through the night, but I don't want to go down that route, because I have read Margot Sunderland's book. I am sceptical about the ability to teach babies anything before they are ready to do it - seems to me all you can do is keep giving them opportunities to roll, sit up, go to sleep without being rocked (but without being left to cry uncuddled, in our house), eat solids and so on. I hope that eventually DS will get all these things in his own time. We are lucky that DH can quite often cuddle our DS back to sleep when he wakes up in the night, so normally just a couple of night feeds at 5 months, which I think is pretty good. But I regard that as good luck, rather than anything we have instilled into him.

bunnybunyip Thu 20-Aug-09 10:21:42

Thanks everyone, interesting to read your experiences and I think I will pick up "the baby sleep book" from the library (I am so addicted to baby care books I can't help myself but at least this one sounds comforting). The book that made me feel most positive about parenting was "the idle parent"; has anyone read that? OK, some impractical ideas about home schooling and things but if you ignore those if makes parenting sounds fun.
I read "what mothers do" whilst still in the hospital with DS on neonatal unit and it all seemed extremely unlikely at the time but it is now ringing alot of bells!
I have given up working out "growth spurts" as DS was 2 months premature I'm never sure when he is supposed to be spurting, plus he is so large I think he is on a continuous one!

nappyaddict Fri 21-Aug-09 02:23:52

Have you tried the No Cry Sleep Solution book?

bunnybunyip Fri 21-Aug-09 16:55:49

Hello, I have been reading the baby sleep book (which is the same authors as the no cry sleep book I believe) today, and it makes alot of sense. It has made me feel alot happier about the situation. I don't really have to do anything differently as the suggestions are the same as what we have been doing naturally, but is nice to be reassured that we are along the right track. I wish I had picked it up first instead of baby whisperer.

colditz Fri 21-Aug-09 16:59:21

Ahhh give it up. Cuddle him in your bed. He'll grow out of it.

iamaLeafontheWind Fri 21-Aug-09 19:11:59

Another vote here for the Sears book, he's a paediatrician and she's had loads of kids. I can't think of any better qualifications. I'm always suspicious of books written by nannies, I don't know if they appreciate how much louder my baby's crying sounds to me than to anyone else.

nappyaddict Sat 22-Aug-09 01:29:28

I don't know who the Baby Sleep Book is writeen by but the NCSS is written by Elizabeth Pantley.

runningmonkey Mon 24-Aug-09 12:57:43

Oh thanks for this thread, it has made me feel so much better. is it me or do most of the techniques involve a degree of CC?

Have a v poor sleeping 12 week old and have read NCSS, Baby whisperer, etc and feel like a right old failure as we have 'resorted' to co-sleeping and feeding to sleep. I just can't bear the wailing involved in trying to get DD to self-settle - putting her down sleepy but awake just wakes her up and I know we can all get some sleep if we just have her in our bed.

Only problem is that she will not nap in the day apart from on me or in sling or v v v rarely in the car so I have no time to myself at all (apart from any time DH plays with her in the morning and evening during the week or if he holds her for naps at the weekend).

bunnybunyip Mon 24-Aug-09 22:50:59

You sound exactly like me runningmonkey. The baby sleep book basically reassured me (and DH, who was insistent that DS should be sleeping through by now as seeming all of his friends have perfect babies) that co-sleeping and feeding to sleep is by no means failing but in fact leads to happier, less anxious babies.
It is a pain not being able to put them down, but a friend of mine was jealous of me when DS slept on me all evening a couple of days ago as she said her baby would never settle down to sleep whilst cuddling her. You do get a nice cuddle and are forced to sit down for a while, you just have to adjust your expectations of what you can get done.

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