View Full Version : How Do I Do It???
Okay girls – I need help.
I am looking for advice, referrals to books, websites, ANYTHING that is going to help me learn how to help my 12 week old bubba go to sleep on his own and re-settle himself when he wakes. Perhaps also advice, info, help on taking his dummy away from him for his sleeps. Here is our background…..
Oscar was being swaddled and rocked to sleep in my arms for every sleep (day and night). I have recently decided to stop swaddling him as he is a houdini and escapes from them, often with the wraps then ending up around his neck and face and I don’t want him strangling himself or suffocating himself. I’m not interested in info on swaddling as I’ve tried it all – every conceivable wrap sold on the market at the moment and every homemade version ever heard of – the whole swaddling thing has totally done my head in! I have switched him to sleeping bags now. In the last week before switching to sleeping bags I started swaddling him and then putting him down straight away to self settle – he wasn’t too bad at this and only protested for a little while, but now that he isn’t being swaddled he is finding it more difficult to self settle (misses the security???). Also, when he wakes during the night (and not due for a feed) he cries out for his dummy, which has fallen out of his mouth during sleep. When I go in to put the dummy back in he goes ‘suck, suck, spit’ – ‘suck, suck, spit’, so I end up standing there for an hour trying to get him to take his dummy again, then he gets more frustrated and becomes more awake and the whole cycle starts again. He also won’t sleep past 4am or 5am at the latest, no matter what time he goes down for the night. He has regular sleeps during the day (a total of around 3-4 hours spread over 2/3 naps). Sometimes in the day, for the sake of my sanity and him getting some much needed sleep I simply cave in and sit on the couch with him in my arms for the entire sleep :( .
How do I teach him to go to sleep (and re-settle) on his own and without his dummy?? I’m looking for stories of how YOU did it – real life stories. So JanetF, here’s your time to shine – bring on the info, but please don’t bombard me with ‘research’ – I’m not interested in what some academic who probably has never had kids has to say – I want to know how REAL MUMS have done it – and no info on co-sleeping please as A) I’m not keen on it personally and B) even if I was we can’t do it as we have a water bed. Do I let him cry – if so how long? How can I do it without letting him cry? How do I take his dummy away and not break his little heart?
I am a believer that you can replace one sleeping/settling habit with another - I have had to do that with DD2 several times as each method has needed to change. I started off rocking and patting her in my arms, but when my arms where in danger of falling off I needed to find a different method, then that method needed replacing etc.
The easiest way of getting my babies to sleep has always been to breast feed them until they are drowsy and full and off they go. But if you aren't breastfeeding, or want a different method here is my 2 cents worth.
One hints that I was told with DD1 that worked was that if you can get them to the point where they are almost asleep then let them go to sleep on their own they will learn to do it themselves. So whatever method you adopt, so it until they are drowsy and almost asleep, then stop and let them go off on their own.
It sounds like it is time for the dummy to go as it isn't helping him sleep - it is stopping him sleeping. To achieve a change from the dummy you are going to need to come up with a new plan. One that has worked for me is lying them down on their side and putting one had on their shoulder and patting their hip/bottom with the other hand. Once they start to calm you can slow the rhythm right down to a slow beat then just rest your hand then remove it. Once they are into the pattern of being patted to sleep you can slowly cut down the time spent patting until they get to the point that a couple of pats on the bum are enough to signal it is time to sleep.
If baby is distressed without his dummy, pick him up, cuddle him until he is calm, and then back down into bed for more patting.
I agree with Draught that having them drowsy is the absolute best way to teach them to sleep on their own. At 3 months (or a little earlier) we were experiencing the same as you. I would spend ages trying to get Ry to sleep at night. If he wouldn't go down by 7, I was unable to get him down before 11 - I also tried all types of swaddling.
We eventually tried controlled crying (led by Hubby). DS was quite adaptable to it so it only really took about 3 nights for a dramatic change and dramatic it was. We would go to sleep on his own, in the early days maybe one night out of 6 or 7 took effort, the rest were pretty straight forward. My DH's self-proclaimed kid-tip - "Put the baby safely in the cot, walk away and close the door" - strangely enough it worked and made me feel like a bit of a goose for all the effort and frustration I had gone through in the past. Obviously if DS was crying more than a whimper, I would go and check on him.
As for the dummy, I use one as well with DS but only for his day sleeps or if he is unwell. For night sleeps I avoided it because a good girlfriend had experienced the same problem as you - getting up all night to put it back in. Not sure how you will rid him of this without crying at this age - I'm not much help there I'm afraid ! But let me know when you work it out as I'd like to get rid of it for our day sleeps too.
Best of Luck !
I'm not sure if they have them in all states but in Victoria they have sleep centres. Half of my 1st mum's group has been to them and said they are fantastic! :) Try googling TWEDDLE for more info on the centre. DD was a lttle Jaundice when she was born so slept quite a lot, however we were pating and rocking her to sleep in our arms until one night DH was asleep and I was rock, rock, rocking away until I just HAD to go to the loo! I put her in her cot - still awake - thinking I would come back, but she went to sleep on her own!!! Now I do that every night - get her up, feed her, change her nappy - only if she has done a poo - and put her straight back down and then she is asleep!
She is no longer Jaundice but is a good sleeper - some days! ;)
During the day is a bit different - we feed play sleep - but instead of me going on I recommend getting the book "SLEEP RIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT" it's the Tweddle Slepp centre's Book, it taught me about tired cues and when the right time to put DD down to sleep was - We would wait until she cried - WRONG!!! It's way before then! ok well good luck I hope this helps! :)
Thanks girls. I had to do the sleepy put down today as he wouldn't settle on his own, and it worked until he was through that light phase of sleep (around 20 mins) and then he wanted to be picked up again. I'm confident that nothing is wrong with him as whenever I pick him up and cuddle him he calms straight away - guess he's just a bit of a mumma's boy!!! :D
I really empathise with you. I have a very alert 8 week old girl who really doesn't like being put down to sleep and will protest and then fall asleep as soon as I pick her up.
I agree with the earlier comments about putting a sleepy baby to bed - quite often I think Lucy is tired but she's actually not and putting her down just makes her cranky.
We used the "It's time to sleep" method which has worked for us. However, it involves swaddling. Have you read "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Harvey Karp? the methods he recommends to settle a baby have really worked for us (and can also be used to aid sleep). I suggest this as his method of swaddling is quite different in that it is a very firm (almost tight) swaddle which I would defy any baby to unravel. Our little girl hated being swaddled at first but his technique is literally like triggering a switch - she just goes silent and relaxes immediately. I liked both "It's time to sleep" and "The Happiest Baby on the Block" (in particular) as our baby is never left alone.
Two comments I would make (which you probably already know so I'm sorry if I'm teaching you to suck eggs) is that at this age, every day is different - what works for us one day doesn't work the next. Second, I understand that until they are 6 months old most babies have no ability to recall - any technique needs to be repeated each time you want your baby to go to sleep. this is very draining and quite often when I just don't have the energy Lucy sleeps in my arms.
I realise this isn't the answer you are necessarily looking for - but understand that you are not alone and all we can do is keep trying.
I must admit I've had the same trouble over the months with my now 13mth old DD. We have had all the experiences of B/F to sleep in the early days and rocking to sleep. They worked but caused problems in the end as our arms would drop off as she got bigger and bigger.
We have tried controlled crying but to be honest I hate it and I'm sure our hearts weren't in it and it didn't work for us.
We have used the pick up put down method advocated by the Baby Whisperer (she is on foxtel and also has a book and website). Basically the method is to take them into their room, cuddle, kiss, time for sleep etc and put them down. If they cry etc or stand up, you can pick them up and another cuddle and put down again as soon as they are settled. Eventually they stop fighting you and are happy to lie there. She advocates talking to them in a calm voice (ie don't ignore them thinking you will keep them up) and also gentle patting of their bum as you go. It worked for us with the first time taking about 1 hour to settle but working on the theory it gets better we kept it up. She knew I was there and she drifted off to sleep eventually with usually only my hand on her for comfort. The theory is PC parenting, Patient and Consistent so if you have the patience - it will work.
I hope this helps anyone with sleep problems, it certainly tests us. We have had a lot of sleep issues over the 1st year, most had to do with putting down at the wrong time..once we worked out the timing it has seems to improve aswell, she is generally happier to go to sleep.
I also had difficulty with my bub settling up until 7/8 weeks. I was originally advised by a lactation consultant to rock to sleep (big mistake!!) and at about 6 weeks referred to self settling notes that the early childhood centre provided. This basically advised that you put the baby to bed awake, try to comfort him/her say with some gentle words and then leave the room. If after a few minutes the baby is still unsettled go in and pat and once calm leave again. This may need to be repeated several times. Patting is done by placing one hand on the chest and then with a cupped hand rhythmically patting on the bottom if on the side or just above the nappy if on the back to calm. Your baby may get sleepier with the patting, but you must leave before he nods off. Initially it may take a few attempts to settle and the length of time going in will be dictated by the type of crying. He may just be whiney and if so you should leave him.
I also thought that bubs hated wrapping as he fought and fought it, but I finally found using a cot sheet and wrapping arms up so that they can be munched on works. I would still perservere with the wrapping (maybe just with a singlet and nappy on) until you have established the self settling - which will probably take 1-2 weeks to bed in. Being wrapped also helps with the patting. Once he is able to get off to sleep himself, you could then move to a sleeping bag. This is what I did at around 4 months. My baby is almost 9 mths and he sleeps in a sleeping bag for all sleeps bar the afternoon where I still wrap him as he finds it comforting.
I'm not sure if its SIDs friendly, but I give my baby a small soft face washer to nuzzle into for his morning sleep when in the sleeping bag and that works a treat. I just stay around until he falls asleep then remove it from the cot.
In terms of settling, whether you use patting or another method, I think you need to be consistent. Try also to use the same cues such as "its time for bed" or "sleepytime".
Believe me once he is able to self settle, life will be so much easier! It just takes time to bed things in so to speak!
Hope things are better soon. :)
Thanks for all your advice and tips! I think that consistency has been my problem. I start trying to let him self-settle, but then some nights I can't watch him squirm and be upset so I rock him - so I've probably been sending him mixed messages :( . I like the sounds of the pick up and put down method and the gentle rock and pat method -anything that still says I can go in and sooth him - I hate listening to him cry, I'm even terrible at listening to him make the usual "I'm trying to get to sleep" grunts and groans. I think he does miss the security of the wrapping, as he settles much better if I hold his arms down at his side while he is trying to settle, but I don't want to go back to wrapping and confuse him all over again :confused: So I think it's more a point of training myself now to be consistent (and stop holding him for his entire sleeps during the day :o - but he's just sooooo damn adorable *sigh* ). Next step is the dummy....... if only he would keep it in his mouth I wouldn't have a problem with it. In the last couple of days (during playtime) he's found his thumb, so I'm hoping that if I leave him for a minute or two at a time when he loses his dummy overnight he may start to find his thumb and go back off to sleep. What the hey - I'm already saving for his braces anyway!!!!
So JanetF, here’s your time to shine – bring on the info, but please don’t bombard me with ‘research’ – I’m not interested in what some academic who probably has never had kids has to say – I want to know how REAL MUMS have done it
Couldn't agree more. We all want to know real, evidence based information in respect to our children, not inaccurate information based on fear and ignorance. Which is why I love JanetF's helpful provision of information from real parents, such as Pinky McKay, Dr Sears, etc. Last time I checked, JanetF herself was a real Mum. So she's used the information she provides, and found it to work. Real people, real stories, real evidence based information. I've spoken to Pinky myself; she couldn't be more real. If I ever saw JanetF posting information that was anything less than "real", I think I'd faint. :)
How blessed we are to have open forums in a free world where such a wealth of information is at our fingertips to pick and choose from. :)
We have used the pick up put down method advocated by the Baby Whisperer (she is on foxtel and also has a book and website).
Hi Carol, we also followed a lot of advice from the Baby Whisperer (Tracy Hogg). I find her programs really informative and there was a great one on tantrums that I used recently :p
Is it still on Fox ? I haven't seen it in a while.
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