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Controlled crying and night feeds - does it work?

(31 Posts)
IsItMeOr Sun 18-Oct-09 22:16:58

I know this is probably going to start a riot, so please be gentle with me.

7mo DS has never been a great sleeper, although we did have a couple of months from about 3-5mo when he only woke up twice in the night for Bfeeds once he'd settled (which took about 45mins iirc). For the past couple of months, his sleeping has seemed to get gradually worse, and currently he seems to need 3 night feeds. He also wakes up 2 plus extra times when DH is able to rock him to sleep without me feeding him.

We are getting very tired. DS is teething at the mo, and our usually sunny baby has become very whingey particularly at the end of last week. I find that harder to cope with than the night-waking tbh. But DH and I are SO tired, and just keep disagreeing about what to do about it.

DH is now suggesting that we try controlled crying. I really, really don't feel like doing this, so have put in an order for the No-Cry Sleep Solution and the Sears Baby Sleep Book. I've also offered to try doing all the night wakings on nights when DH is going to be at home the next day. My position is that I think this is probably a phase that we just need to survive as best we can.

Anyways, my question is whether anybody knows whether controlled crying is even an option when the baby is still Bfeeding at night (I'd estimate that DS might be getting as much as half of his 24hr intake of milk at night at the mo, as he is so distractable during the day)? My limited understanding of the technique suggests that controlled crying would not be compatible with 3 proper night feeds (20-25mins of proper sucking). Does anybody know?

IsItMeOr Sun 18-Oct-09 22:56:38

Have I scared everyone off?

hanaflower Sun 18-Oct-09 22:58:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 18-Oct-09 22:59:53

Message withdrawn

MegBusset Sun 18-Oct-09 23:01:28

We did it with DS1 at 9mo to cut out the night feeds (and it was very effective) but really, if you don't want to do it then don't feel you have to -- it's not the only way! The NCSS is full of ideas that might help.

Do you co-sleep? This saved my sanity when DS1 was at his worst.

MegBusset Sun 18-Oct-09 23:04:18

Also, if he is distractible during the day then can you feed him in a quiet, dark room -- that might help tank him up in the daytime so he's less hungry in the night.

IsItMeOr Sun 18-Oct-09 23:05:31

Sorry, understand that teething is not something CC can address. I guess I was just venting about why this seems to be coming to a head for me and DH.

Also toyed with putting "" around work in the thread title, as I appreciate that's an issue.

I just meant, do those who advocate CC explain a way that it could be done while still night feeding. DH and I haven't been able to find anything in the books we have so far that do that. The Millpond Clinic one seems pretty light on detail.

Yes, only child, and the rate we're going likely to stay that way (weak/watery smile).

IsItMeOr Sun 18-Oct-09 23:08:33

Hello Meg - yes, I've been feeding his day feeds in his darkened room as soon as he wakes up from naps, but he just doesn't really seem to have the capacity to take much in - when I do feel I've managed to persuade him to take a bit more, he always sicks it up very shortly afterwards.

Arggghhh, this is such a mess! I'm wondering if the most productive thing I can do right now is try to see a BFing counsellor, but is there much they can do with a 7mo?

IsItMeOr Sun 18-Oct-09 23:10:37

Hello again Meg, please can you give a few more details about how it went when you used it - did you just have one night feed, or were you still doing several? Did you get rid of them all at once? Was there a particular reason why it seemed right to do it at 9 months?

MegBusset Sun 18-Oct-09 23:11:13

I suppose you could do it based on a 'core night' whereby you pick a stretch of sleep when you don't want to feed them (eg 11pm-5am) and do CC for wakings within that window. But then it would maybe be confusing for the LO to get fed sometimes and not others?

Could you not co-sleep for a couple of months and see how things go -- once he is more established on solids, and not teething, you might find his sleep improves by itself. If not then CC could always be an option once he's a little older.

MegBusset Sun 18-Oct-09 23:14:40

X-posted, sorry.

DS1 was an appalling sleeper who could not get to sleep or stay asleep without the boob. Five wakings would be a good night for us -- 10+ wakings were not uncommon. Tried all the NCSS ideas to no avail. Even co-sleeping I got very little sleep and eventually (having been so tired that I fell down the stairs while holding DS1) one night I decided that something Had To Be Done. I really was desperate and (looking back) probably verging on PND.

So we did CC and he went from 10+ wakings/feeds to sleeping through in three nights.

IsItMeOr Sun 18-Oct-09 23:29:42

Oh Meg, poor you. I had a slip on the stairs last week while holding ds, but fortunately managed to land on my (well-padded) bottom, graze my elbows and ds just smiled at dh who came sprinting from the other room. I think I would be totally desperate if dh didn't do such a lot during the night and on the days he's at home.

Like you, 4-5 wakes is our best night at the mo, but on the nights with 8-9 wakes, dh manages to rock ds to sleep.

Really not sure about co-sleeping, as feels like a backward step, but will talk to dh about it.

Thank you for sharing your experience.

nomoresleep Mon 19-Oct-09 14:01:19

Isitmeor - I have a similar situation. DS is 6.5 months and has always been a rubbish sleeper but has recently deteriorated to waking every 45-90 minutes. DP can often rock back to sleep but when it's me in the room, DS will only settle with boob. From about 4.30am onwards DS pretty much needs the nipple in his mouth the whole time and basically suckles constantly.

We are also looking at sleep training and unsure about the approach....NCSS didn't work, definitely not doing CIO, reluctant to do CC, think PUPD doesn't work for lots of kids, want to adapt Jay Gordon's method but unsure how...don't want to cut feeds out completely.

We co-sleep but it's still exhausting. Also have DD (4) with whom we also co-sleep (she too was a rubbish sleeper!). I once swore I'd never do sleep training but it's taking too much of a toll.

Let me know what you decide to do!

Bubbaluv Mon 19-Oct-09 14:52:15

Haven't read all the other posts but in my experience (and I don't care who flames me) there is absolutely no need for a baby of that age to wake at night to feed. It's just a habit which can be quickly and easily broken. It's never as bad as you imagine either, and once you've done it you will be kicking yourself for not doing it earlier.
I just use the pillow over the head method (over my head, not the babies!! grin)
Put baby to bed, go to bed myslef, pillow over head - feed no earlier than 5am.
3 nights and you're home and hosed and feeling like a whole new woman.

iwantitnow Mon 19-Oct-09 15:05:24

My DS wakes for 2-3 night feeds, he is 7 months, two front teeth coming through and recovering from a cold. I also have a toddler to look after all day so no rest for me. He doesn't take much during the day either, refuses when I try and feed him more often. Vowed not to do CC before a year but its impacting the whole family, especially my DD as well as my physical and mental health so as soon as DS is over his cold we are going cold turkey, no feeding 11-5am. DH will go to him. I don't ever let them cry for more than 30mins though, check at 5-10-15 minute intervals and then feed/rock or whatever. DH has more patience and no boobs.

I will sleep in the loft so no pillow needed over head. With DD I had to have a G&T and put the TV on loudly as DH settled her to sleep, luckily DS self settles but he still doesn't sleep through. ARghhhhh.

I find my DS eats so much solids at dinner time that he takes any hardly milk at bedtime so no wonder he normally wakes between 10-11pm. Tried moving dinner earlier but no help really.

I did find that once DD slept through the night she would feed when wakindg at 7am, unsurprisingly DS never hungry then...

At times it feels I have PND but I really knows its just serious sleep deprivation.

Hugs to all of us in this position.

IsItMeOr Mon 19-Oct-09 16:18:44

Thanks for sharing, it really does help to hear others have experienced similar.

Hugs much appreciated and returned smile

Will let you know where we got to if I don't go postal first...although, that could just mean going on strike these days, which is looking quite tempting!

Off to try to get ds to take a nap...

Elffriend Tue 20-Oct-09 15:58:07

late to thread but hey...!

Yes, I would say CC can be compatible but there are number of things to consider.

I think there are a couple of separate issues here. One is that it does seem that your DS is getting a lot of his feeds during the night so you might want to look at gently starting to shift the balance to more daytime feeding if at all possible and try to gradually elimiate at least one of the night feeds (e.g. if there is a 5am feed make that a quicker slurp then cut out!) Does he BF to sleep?

Otherwise, you need to determine why DS is crying the other times. If it is hunger or teething pain then CC is not going to be the answer anyway. If it just that he is coming into light sleep and can't fall back to sleep himself then yes, CC might be an option of those times. If this is the case, there will be a pattern to his waking/crying times and a diference to his cry. If you are going to do CC, those are the times to do it.

Sorry, complicated answer. Quick answer is yes, can be compatible. Longer answer is that it is trickier!

If you are going to try CC than you might want to also get the Richard Ferber book to consider alongside the No Cry Solution etc.

Good luck.

there are all sorts of factors to think about.

Louby3000 Tue 20-Oct-09 16:09:19

Just wanted to share- My DS is 10m and has slept thru for the last 3 nights. He has NEVER not a once slpetthru before. We stopped feeding him at night and did some very gentel CC. He is on 3 good solid food meals a day plus 2 snacks a 3 bfeeds. I knew in my heart that he didnt really need the breast but he would feed lustily 3-5 times a night, he took it because I offered itanything for him just to go back to sleep! So we reached our tipping point.
Key things- do you BF your baby to sleep, or do they settle themselves at bedtime? If the answer is no then you need to crack this 1st and get good bedtime routine on the go. Dinner, play, bath, pjs/growbag,2 stories, BF in our room lights on, then into his room, little cuddle, into bed. CC for uis consists of 2 mins cry- go in lay him down say something reassuring, leave. Repeat as necessary making gaps longer, up to 20mins max. We found staying in the room rocking, shhing, tummy rubbing ect was just pissing him off more. Sometimes it wored but I think we were just distracting him from settling. Now he can settle himself to sleep. I chsoe to continue with the CC and stopped night feeds. We are doing well with it, and I was very against it.

IsItMeOr Tue 20-Oct-09 16:41:54

Ooh, that's interesting to hear about Elffriend and Louby.

DH told me had ordered Richard Ferber book, so that's on its way too. No idea when we're going to be able to read any of them mind.

I wonder if I might feel differently if DS were just a little bit older? He seems so young still, and has so many new things happening. Was there a reason why 10months seemed right time for you Louby? DS is still only playing with his solids, and his digestion is totally up the spout (e.g. lots of straining when he failed to settle for naps today, with no "results" so to speak).

TBH, I think you guys are persuading me that it probably isn't the right time to try CC yet, as DS is probably crying for other reasons. But will read and think some more and let you know...

Louby3000 Tue 20-Oct-09 16:55:25

We had just had it with a lack of sleep and up until a couple of weeks ago, I felt that DS was too little, teething, had a cold, or whatever for us to do it, also things were getting progressively worse. BF to sleep stopped working and he was waking more often.
The only thing I would like to pass onto you is that you have to be 100% behind whatever sleep training you want to try and it will be TOUGH at first. It will probably get worse before it gets better. Good luck with it. I hope you get some rest

lollipopmother Tue 20-Oct-09 21:31:37

Isitmeor - I decided to stop night feeds with my DD when she was 7.5m old, she was taking at least two full on feeds at night, which wasn't including the 22:00 dream feed or the 6am morning feed. One night I just decided that enough was enough because she was feeding more at night than in the day. It took 3 nights of cuddling her back to sleep instead of feeding her. The first night she was really angry with me but I stuck with it and by the third night she was fine.

Unfortunately she still wakes up and it certainly isn't for a bf as she's now 13m and she's been fully weaned for the last 2 weeks, hasn't been fed at night for yonks.

I think that it's hard to make a decision to stop feeding at night when you're bfing because you've always got that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you don't know how much milk they've had and that they could be starving. But at 7 months I don't think it unreasonable for your LO to be going without at night.

I think you should tackle the night feeds before you try CC though as CC is a bit extreme in my eyes, cuddle or shh back to sleep to get over the milk issue and then reassess if LO still wakes.

IsItMeOr Tue 20-Oct-09 21:36:53

Thanks lollipop, more food for thought.

And a big thank you again to all the posters - I was worried this might become a hideous thread, but you have all been so helpful.

ches Wed 21-Oct-09 05:01:39

I agree that night weaning does not stop night waking for all babies. Some are just rubbish sleepers and parents find stopping feeding to sleep means that the quick and certain get-baby-back-to-sleep method no longer works.

In addition to day feeding in a darkened room, you can give your baby a soft toy to hold (always the same one). I gave DS his "Lambert" who is fluffy on one side and satiny on the other. The textures kept his fingers occupied and need to explore satisfied and kept him at the breast longer. "Lambert" is still his best friend, and when he was a little over two we discovered that "Lambert" is a "she!"

IsItMeOr Wed 21-Oct-09 08:15:20

ches, you have confirmed one of my fears - at least BFing will calm ds down in most circumstances, even if it won't actually send him to sleep. Had a horror moment last night when he wouldn't latch on - poor thing is constipated, and was crying with pain with it sad. After about an hour with me/dh cuddling and a dirty nappy, I was able to feed him and he went back off to sleep - phew!

That's a lovely story about Lambert. I'll give it a try with his taggie. He has Mr Bunny in his cot with him, but could be she'll be Mrs Bunny in due course wink.

Fufulina Wed 21-Oct-09 08:27:55

Hi Isitmeor - my DD is 10 months old and iirc at the age of your DS she went through a really bad patch, sleep-wise. I was the walking dead and she was having 2 or 3 feeds a night as well. I toyed and toyed with 'doing something' but before I had chance to do anything - it had passed (it was for about 3 weeks, I think) and she was down to 2 night feeds and no other wakings. That was really doable.

Then at about 8 months old we dropped the second night feed (I went from giving her both boobs at the second feed to one boob only, then dropped that with shusshing - took about 2 nights I think).

The final hurdle, when she was about 8 and a half months old and I was convinced she was getting enough food and enough milk in the day and could honestly say that she wasn't hungry at night (I didn't feel comfortable with this before 8 and a half months) - I did the same with the last night feed. So down to one boob only for a week, and then shushhed. First night was two hours of crying at 1am. Second night was one hour of whinging and she's slept through for 11 and a half to 12 hours ever since. To qualify - I think she was absolutely ready and was eating enough food (we're BLW) in the day.

So - I think my point is that it will pass! And the only thing I 'did' was to help her drop the night feeds when the rest of her sleep was all good - she was only waking for boob IYSWIM.


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