Sleep training

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Baby is about 6.25 months. Right now, she sleeps in bed with my wife and I. The good thing is, she sleeps through the night, every night, waking up only a little bit to nurse. The bad thing is, she never ever sleeps unless she is in bed with my wife or on top of my wife on the couch. She has slept on me like once, and she never sleeps on her own. This means she doesn't really nap very much, maybe an hour/hour and a half per day at most, if my wife has time to sit on the couch and let her nap on top of her.

So we're talking about sleep training. The main reasons we want her to sleep in the crib or cosleeper are related to convenience for us: it would be nice if we could put her down for a nap on her own for an couple of hours each day while we get other things done, and my wife would like to be able to stretch out while she sleeps. But I'm also not sure if the baby isn't getting enough sleep, since we don't go to bed until about 10 (though the baby usually falls asleep around 9) and she doesn't really nap. She seems pretty energetic, but the baby books talk about babies going to bed at like 6:30 or 7 and napping 2-3 hours during the day.

So: should we try to sleep train or just be happy that the baby sleeps through the night? Any good sleep training tips or methods or books to recommend?

congratulations (n/a), Wednesday, 2 February 2011 02:55 (eight years ago) link

We're thinking about starting out by trying to sleep in the cosleeper for at least part of the night, since she'll still be able to see us and go to bed at the same time as us but hopefully get used to sleeping on her own. But maybe it's better to just go full-out and try to get her in the crib first?

congratulations (n/a), Wednesday, 2 February 2011 02:56 (eight years ago) link

"She seems pretty energetic, but the baby books talk about babies going to bed at like 6:30 or 7 and napping 2-3 hours during the day."

So I don't have any advice for your particular situation (as my baby is 1) younger than yours and 2) doesn't have many sleep issues at this point) but I can say that you shouldn't worry about what baby books say is the norm. If you daughter wasn't getting enough sleep you'd probably know by this point since she'd be flipping out left and right from exhaustion and you'd have torn half your hair out.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 2 February 2011 03:33 (eight years ago) link

yeah probably. still would be nice to sleep train for our convenience.

last night we tried waiting until she fell asleep in bed with us then transferring her to the cosleeper, which had been warming up with a heating pad. didn't work, she basically woke up and started crying right away.

congratulations (n/a), Wednesday, 2 February 2011 14:53 (eight years ago) link

Actually I do have one other suggestion (gleaned from conversations from other parents at group). Assuming you have a normal routine (i.e. M-F 9-5, etc) try to make any routine changes happen on Friday evenings, that way you can make a couple of attempts (put baby down in new way, fuss, sooth, try again, etc) on a couple of nights where you can both sleep late the next day if things don't work out immediately.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 2 February 2011 15:17 (eight years ago) link

going to try to put this into effect starting on Friday. kinda worried. we decided to just go all-out and try to get her to nap in the crib and sleep in at night at the same time, figured it would send fewer mixed messages. she is not going to be happy about it though.

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 15 February 2011 22:22 (eight years ago) link

well this sucks

congratulations (n/a), Saturday, 19 February 2011 02:42 (eight years ago) link

my wife and i did the cry it out method, cole took to that in 3 days. Of course he has been a fantastic sleeper since the day he was born.

OLD MAN YELLS AT SHOUT RAP (chrisv2010), Wednesday, 2 March 2011 21:32 (eight years ago) link

how's it goin n/a?

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 3 March 2011 01:24 (eight years ago) link

ugh. i think i posted about it on another thread but we're essentially taking a break from it for now, at least for a short while. the first weekend we tried a couple of variations on no-cry solutions. it turns out they are bullshit, they pretty much all rely on some amount of crying. then we got into an issue about the noise with our upstairs neighbors that kind of put things on hold. we got that settled down, with the understanding that we'd try to keep the noise down if possible. so then we came up with a new method where first we'd try to get her used to sleeping in the cosleeper next to us, thinking maybe if she could see us and be in the bedroom with us, it might be easier. the idea was then once she was used to that, we'd move the cosleeper further from the bed, then into the next room, etc. however, my wife has trouble waking up enough to move the baby into the cosleeper continuously through the night (understandably). and now the baby is teething pretty badly, so we decided to wait until the worst of that blows over before we get back into serious sleep training. we need to figure it out. i wish we could just do a cry-it-out method but we really can't with these neighbors. we even talked about my wife taking the baby to her mom's house for a week to try and get started on real sleep training (ie crying it out).

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 3 March 2011 02:51 (eight years ago) link

are you sure you want to do cry it out? read all the pro/anti articles?

Vicky, Thursday, 3 March 2011 11:29 (eight years ago) link

im all for the crying it out. we also bought these rockabye baby cd's which i put on my ipod and played for him which seemed to help.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51DPGVED9SL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

and this thing called the sleep sheep.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qqb5TqHsL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

OLD MAN YELLS AT SHOUT RAP (chrisv2010), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:52 (eight years ago) link

and nick the idea of sarah taking her to her mothers seems like a viable option.

OLD MAN YELLS AT SHOUT RAP (chrisv2010), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:52 (eight years ago) link

ha, we have the sleep sheep. it's not that i really want her to cry it out, i'm just not sure what else is going to work. she's so dependent on being next to my wife and nursing to be able to sleep. she literally does not sleep at all unless she is right next to my wife. and like i said, the "no-cry" solutions we looked at still involved crying, you just let the baby cry for a certain amount of time (some of them have you wait like 5 minutes, others have you pick her up as soon as she starts crying) before you comfort her. so there's going to be crying no matter what.

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:56 (eight years ago) link

thats what we did, first night 5 minutes, second night 10, etc...30 max. by night three he was out instantly.

OLD MAN YELLS AT SHOUT RAP (chrisv2010), Thursday, 3 March 2011 16:18 (eight years ago) link

also that is one reason why my wife and i refused to let him sleep in the bed with us since day one...cole was in his crib within a week and sleeping on his stomach. YEAH WE ARE HORRIBLE! Haha.

OLD MAN YELLS AT SHOUT RAP (chrisv2010), Thursday, 3 March 2011 16:19 (eight years ago) link

on his stomach?? i'm calling the police.

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 3 March 2011 16:26 (eight years ago) link

exactly. he was completely miserable on his back.

OLD MAN YELLS AT SHOUT RAP (chrisv2010), Thursday, 3 March 2011 16:30 (eight years ago) link

definitely wait until the teething has passed to try anything fwiw

but yeah there's gonna be some crying. you just have to suck it up. yr neighbors have to be told to fuck off, basically.

ridiculous, uncalled for slap (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 3 March 2011 19:33 (eight years ago) link

There is going to be crying, it's how much there is that makes the difference. Whether you agree with recent studies about the effects of prolonged crying on a baby's brain (and I don't mean 30 minutes crying, proper crying it out is shutting the door and leaving them no matter what). I agree that the neighbours need to mind their own and buy ear plugs if they're really having such a hard time with it.

Vicky, Friday, 4 March 2011 09:29 (eight years ago) link

"Whether you agree with recent studies about the effects of prolonged crying on a baby's brain"

It's nonsense. No one knows anything and they certainly can't isolate that three/four nights of even the most severe cry-it-out sleep training has had any long term effect on anyone. Probably all of our parents were sleep trained that way and sure they're all psychos but they aren't any whackier than the next gen of Ferberized or gentle sleep folks.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Saturday, 5 March 2011 18:32 (eight years ago) link

Should clarify I mean that it's nonsense as it applies to sleep training or scheduling or whatever. Obviously neglecting a screaming child for hours, days on end appears to be pretty harmful.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Saturday, 5 March 2011 21:34 (eight years ago) link

Like I said, do your reading up and reach your own conclusions (unless you're a scientist yourself!) IMO there's no right or wrong way to do it (Though obviously some things are beyond the pale) Personally I can't stand the 'it didn't do us/them/me any harm way of thinking about it without doing research, and for me personally my problem with crying it out isn't just about chemicals in the brain, I don't want to leave my baby to cry for a couple of evenings so that they get to the point where they stop crying because they know no-one's going to come to them.

As I said, other parents read the research and reach different opinions to mine? That's just fine.

n/a, did you decide what to do, did you have another crack at it this weekend?

Vicky, Monday, 7 March 2011 08:55 (eight years ago) link

no. i think my wife is going to take her to her mom's house next week. btw she checked out the newest edition of Ferber's book, and the whole intro is about how he thinks he has a bad rep as the "cry it out" guy, and what he really believes in is "controlled crying," which doesn't really sound that different from the no-cry methods we read about. also he says he regrets not writing more about co-sleeping in the past.

congratulations (n/a), Monday, 7 March 2011 13:58 (eight years ago) link

she'll come home all set.

OLD MAN YELLS AT SHOUT RAP (chrisv2010), Monday, 7 March 2011 15:13 (eight years ago) link

Fingers crossed here that she will.

I agree that Ferber was portrayed as the bad guy, from what I've read he definitely doesn't recommend the traditional cry it out method, I feel quite sorry for him really.

Did you read any co-sleeping books beforehand? I didn't really co-sleep with A, he slept in the moses basket next to the bed though he did often end up staying in the bed with us. I'm thinking that it would probably be safer to do it properly this time and need to find a good book or two to read...

Vicky, Monday, 7 March 2011 15:24 (eight years ago) link

"I don't want to leave my baby to cry for a couple of evenings so that they get to the point where they stop crying because they know no-one's going to come to them."

I'm more into my baby learning to sooth themselves to sleep so my wife and I aren't waking up every two hours to reassure him. Feel like both of us are better parents when we aren't exhausted.

"As I said, other parents read the research and reach different opinions to mine?"

What research exactly are you talking about? I've read a bit on this and I don't believe there are any studies which indicate that controlled crying/CIO sleep-training/sleep-scheduling cause "brain damage" or whatever nonsense baby fear mongers are been pedaling this week (look closely at any of the research papers cited for example by Dr Sears and you'll find every one of them basically address either a) babies who experience severe trauma and neglect or b) babies who are already on the extreme end of fussy/crying). The only study I've heard actually on this subject at all is one done in Australia recently which basically concluded that controlled crying results in better rested infants and saner parents.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 7 March 2011 15:35 (eight years ago) link

Right, crying it out is not the same as controlled crying and all the other methods out there. Crying it out is closing the door on your LO and leaving them to it. I've done sleep training, A has cried, just not with me shutting the door and leaving him to it. Thought I'd made enough of a distinction, but obviously not.

And as for the role cortisone can play on a baby's brain

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/apr/21/leaving-baby-to-cry-brain-development-damage And there's a section in 'The science of parenting' book that I can't find much of a reference to online http://www.amazon.co.uk/Science-Parenting-Jaak-Panksepp/dp/0756618800

Have to go and pick A up now otherwise I'd see what else I could point to.

I really don't think we feel all that differently, just a misunderstanding over terminology...

Vicky, Monday, 7 March 2011 16:18 (eight years ago) link

Penelope Leach doesn't cite one study which claims controlled crying or CIO causes brain damage (because these studies do not exist). That Sunderland book is similar nonsense, I imagine, although I confess I haven't read it. I have read <a href=http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/handout2.asp>;this</a> which gets cited quite a bit with Sunderland and it's a <a href=http://mainstreamparenting.com/2008/06/25/of-sources-and-straw-houses-the-annotated-dr-sears-handout-on-cio/>;joke</a>.

The question is not whether or not cortisol plays a part in brain development. It's whether or not the limited crying present in cry-it-out causes deleterious effects on infant brain development. And again every study indicates that it does not.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 7 March 2011 16:45 (eight years ago) link

Penelope Leach doesn't cite one study which claims controlled crying or CIO causes brain damage (because these studies do not exist)

Oh, I must have missed the bit where I said they did. Silly me. Except I have never said that CIO causes brain damage.

Alex, do you actually believe that CIO is an acceptable method of sleep control, as opposed to controlled crying, or are you just arguing for arguing's sake?

Vicky, Monday, 7 March 2011 21:41 (eight years ago) link

"Except I have never said that CIO causes brain damage."

Hey you cited her article, not me. It sez it right in the url. Also you alluded to "recent studies about the effects of prolonged crying on a baby's brain", I assumed you were talking about her "recent studies".

I think people should do what they find works for them. But no I don't think even full blown night/nap time CIO is "unacceptable" in principle.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 7 March 2011 22:03 (eight years ago) link

honestly the idea of "let them cry until they stop" seems like it could be - depending on the situation - i.e. if they're colicky or whatever that could be... two hours? - horrendously disturbing for the parents, regardless of whatever's going on with the baby. my own breaking point is probably 15 minutes at the outside.

40% chill and 100% negative (Tracer Hand), Monday, 7 March 2011 23:28 (eight years ago) link

listening to yr kid cry while you do nothing = the feeling that time has stopped

even so, it must be done, at least to some extent, if they are ever gonna learn to sleep without you

You hurt me deeply. You hurt me deeply in my heart. (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 7 March 2011 23:36 (eight years ago) link

i definitely feel bad about letting her cry for any extended period of time. i feel like if i was going to do a real cry it out method, it would have had to have been when she was really little. but now that she's 7+ months and understands connections a little more, i think just leaving her in her crib in the dark with no response and no phase-in would make her think either that something was wrong or that she was in trouble, making it less likely that she would fall asleep. i think my wife is going to do one of the graduated methods where you let them cry a little longer each night before responding and soothing.

congratulations (n/a), Monday, 7 March 2011 23:39 (eight years ago) link

^^^that was mostly what we did but even then you still have to sit through like 10 straight minutes of crying. and then 15 straight minutes of crying. and then 20 straight minutes of crying. etc. then eventually it stops and they only cry a little bit before putting themselves to sleep each night.

You hurt me deeply. You hurt me deeply in my heart. (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 8 March 2011 00:05 (eight years ago) link

and then eventually they don't cry at all.

You hurt me deeply. You hurt me deeply in my heart. (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 8 March 2011 00:05 (eight years ago) link

nick, cole was around 7-8 months when we started the cry it out with him.

OLD MAN YELLS AT SHOUT RAP (chrisv2010), Tuesday, 8 March 2011 14:37 (eight years ago) link

Hi.

We're going to get a pack n play for the sleep training, take it home afterwards and set it up in the nursery, and then switch her to the crib a little while later. Fingers crossed!

Vicky, I did do quite a bit of reading about cosleeping before we had the baby. I was really into attachment parenting a la Sears/Motherhood Magazine and still mostly am, but something had to give. As it is, I can't ever leave the house in the evening. No one, not even Nick, can get her to sleep. There are lots of other reasons, but anyway, yeah, I'm kind of shocked by how much I'm feeling Ferber.

KitCat, Tuesday, 8 March 2011 19:19 (eight years ago) link

thats how it started with cole, and we didn't do co-sleeping. we rocked him to sleep for 7 months, then my wife went out for the night and i rocked him for 4 hours straight and he would not sleep. I got in the car with him and drove around for an hour and he passed out. The next night, we started the cry it out/ferber.

OLD MAN YELLS AT SHOUT RAP (chrisv2010), Tuesday, 8 March 2011 20:08 (eight years ago) link

"when my wife went out for the night and i rocked him for 4 hours straight and he would not sleep"

Ouch. I'm joke around that Dalton can't stand my touch because when I lay him down to sleep he's out in minutes whereas he tortures my wife for like half an hour plus sometimes.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 8 March 2011 20:40 (eight years ago) link

he'd fall asleep for two minutes, wake up, cry, fall asleep, wake up cry. I put him in and out of the crib like 15 times. I was ready to pull my hair out.

OLD MAN YELLS AT SHOUT RAP (chrisv2010), Tuesday, 8 March 2011 20:43 (eight years ago) link

KitCat, I'm with you on something having to give! I always fed A to sleep but it was the two hourly waking that drove me insane, to the point where I'd be walking through a park and just burst into tears I was so tired. So yeah, night 'weaning' was started when he was around 7 months old. I didn't totally night wean him, but definitely tried to ensure that he wasn't just wanting a snack out of habit! I hate how people assume that attachment parenting is rigid and can't involve any sleep training at all, it's crap. It's just how you do it.

In fact I hate the labelling that happens. You decide what works for you, some will be one style, others will be something different. Does it matter so long as you and baby are happy? I hadn't heard of attachment parenting until A was over 12 months old. It sounds as though it's quite similar to how I like to parent, but some of it is very different indeed.

Vicky, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 15:30 (eight years ago) link

I feel like the biggest issue I have with attachment parenting is that the many its biggest proponents (both in print and even more noticeably on parenting message boards--not a dig at anyone here seriously) strike me as completely crazy/inflexible/judgmental (not that mainstream parents on message boards are anything to write home about either--although I can understand their knee-jerk defensiveness a little better). Which is too bad because most of AP I find personally really compelling (it largely was how my mother parented me and how my wife and I are parenting out son).

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 9 March 2011 16:26 (eight years ago) link

parents can be self-righteous about just about anything

congratulations (n/a), Wednesday, 9 March 2011 16:33 (eight years ago) link

lol too true!

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 9 March 2011 16:46 (eight years ago) link

two weeks pass...

How did this end up going (we are rapidly approaching to the "okay you're in your room for the night and we'll see you in the morning" point ourselves)?

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Thursday, 24 March 2011 14:37 (eight years ago) link

it seems to have worked well. it was very successful while my wife and baby were at my mother-in-law's. since they've been back, we've had a couple of nights where she fell asleep very quickly and slept through most of the night without much fussing, and a couple of nights where she was a little fussier off and on (but still slept on her own). we're still figuring some things out, like what conditions are necessary, how quiet we have to be once she falls asleep, and the timing. right now we're tiptoing around the apartment and whispering once she falls asleep, which is kind of annoying. the main problems we're having now are 1) she's been waking up really early most mornings, like around 5 a.m., which is only about 9 hours of sleep, and 2) she won't nap in the cosleeper at all, no matter how tired she gets. for 1) we're trying to figure out if 9 hours is just the max she'll sleep or if other things are waking her up and she'll sleep longer once take care of them. for 2), I guess we'll need to get some blackout curtains for the nursery and then just work harder on training her to nap in the pack and play.

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 24 March 2011 14:45 (eight years ago) link

fyi we ended up using the Ferber method, though as I noted above, it's not really that different from the no-cry methods. basically he gives you a table of times where each night you let them cry a little longer before going in and soothing them, but I think even at the longest, you're only letting them cry for 20 minutes.

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 24 March 2011 14:46 (eight years ago) link

Yeah I've read a fair portion of the Ferber and Weissbluth books now. We're probably starting with Ferber (when I see we, I mean me, my wife despite being even more exhausted than I am has an absolutely visceral reaction to hearing the baby cry so she's sleeping upstairs for the nights while I am doing this) for at least the recommended 7-9 days. I'm not looking forward to it, but it beats where I'm at and so far our various "no-cry" interventions appear to simply be making him cry more.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Thursday, 24 March 2011 14:56 (eight years ago) link

thats what we did nick...well done.

Get me two meatball sandwiches Utah, TWO! (chrisv2010), Thursday, 24 March 2011 16:34 (eight years ago) link

we feel like J is in a transitional napping place right now. he still does a short morning nap around 9am or so, and a longer afternoon nap from 1:30-3pm roughly. we're thinking we'll eliminate the morning nap pretty soon, though J can still be crabby enough that it seems necessary for the time being.

marcos, Friday, 13 September 2013 13:27 (six years ago) link

The long afternoon nap is a beautiful thing. I think my enjoyment of life went up like 50% once that happened -- you have more time do do stuff with the family on weekend mornings cuz you don't have to rush back, and then you get a nice long afternoon break.

#fomo that's the motto (Hurting 2), Friday, 13 September 2013 14:06 (six years ago) link

yea i'm excited about going down to one nap. i remember when we we're still at 3 naps a day and it seemed like you basically couldn't do anything (though we took a lot of long walks with J sleeping in the ergo). going down to 2 naps seemed like our day totally opened up, though it doesn't feel that way anymore

marcos, Friday, 13 September 2013 14:09 (six years ago) link

Obvs can never really know if there was some deeper trauma from it though.

― #fomo that's the motto (Hurting 2), Thursday, September 12, 2013 4:47 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i seriously doubt it. i know a lot of my fears relating to this I project on them.

For example, there are different kinds of cries, especially when they get older and more cognizant, and you start to learn the differences.

This is definitely key.

"Max's Original Starship" Vol. 3 (sunny successor), Friday, 13 September 2013 14:37 (six years ago) link

Beatrice was such a terrible sleeper as an infant. she'd sleep for max an hour at a time. Usually more like 10-20 minutes. We ended up buying a miracle blanket after trying pretty much everything else and she got a solid 8-12 hrs a night from that point on. Even when she grew out of it she maybe woke up one a night.

"Max's Original Starship" Vol. 3 (sunny successor), Friday, 13 September 2013 14:45 (six years ago) link

ha, the miracle blanket! it's amazing: 1) how much things change week to week, month to month, in that first year; and 2) how much i totally forget about those earlier changes! i had to think for a few minutes, "miracle blanket, miracle blanket, i know i've heard about this" and i google it and remember that, oh yea, we put J in that swaddle every day in the first 3 months. lol

marcos, Friday, 13 September 2013 14:50 (six years ago) link

it really is a miracle!!

"Max's Original Starship" Vol. 3 (sunny successor), Friday, 13 September 2013 21:09 (six years ago) link

its the only thing i give at baby showers and it never ever gets used. im not sure why. i did give one to pp's best friend and his wife fairly recently and when their kiddo was a few months old we got a 2am text just saying "THANK YOU"

"Max's Original Starship" Vol. 3 (sunny successor), Friday, 13 September 2013 21:11 (six years ago) link

miracle blanket never did anything for us, at least no more than standard swaddling, but i know it works for lots of people

we've started a new routine where we put her down but only stay in her room for 10 minutes (telling her how much time is left), then we leave, we close her bedroom door most of the way but i sit in the hallway where she can see me but can't talk to me. it's still an incremental move to her going to sleep by herself but this way i can play on my phone while waiting for her to fall asleep instead of just sitting in the dark, which makes it more tolerable. she had an epic tantrum the first night but since then it's been pretty smooth.

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 13 September 2013 21:12 (six years ago) link

I have no idea why I started reading this thread, but a couple of my friends have been won over by this. I had to google it to even find out wtf it is:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Easidream-Ewan-the-Dream-Sheep/dp/B0040JSN7Y

kinder, Sunday, 15 September 2013 16:46 (six years ago) link

xp yea as i mentioned we used the miracle blanket all the time b/c it was much easier to get a cozy swaddling wrap than by using a regular blanket. so we appreciated the 4 or 5 blankets we received as gifts from people

marcos, Monday, 16 September 2013 14:16 (six years ago) link

lol naps, after the first six months we should have been so lucky

Euler, Monday, 16 September 2013 14:18 (six years ago) link

as to "sleep training": I'm just glad we made it out alive and still married.

Euler, Monday, 16 September 2013 14:19 (six years ago) link

^^^ this

"Max's Original Starship" Vol. 3 (sunny successor), Monday, 16 September 2013 14:29 (six years ago) link

four years pass...

never thought to see if there was a sleep training thread on ILX. Here's what I just posted to some private facebook group:

Hello, Dad here looking for some help for my wife and our baby Opal. Sorry for this epic post but this seems like a great community and I thought I’d reach out.

Opal has been a “spirited”(fussy!) baby since birth. Initially she’d only sleep on one of us, she hated the bassinet no matter what we tried. We moved onto careful co-sleeping (mattress on floor) and that was ok for a little bit but eventually Opal would just be up every 20 minutes kicking and fussing and crying, so nobody was getting any sleep.

So around 4mo on the recommendation of our pediatrician we did a full cry it out training in her crib in the nursery. Everybody said “oh it will take 2 nights, maybe 3”. Over a week later she was finally sleeping through the night, however she would cry and scream every time she went down, and she would only nap while being carried outside in an ergo…no crib, no stroller, just walking outside, which got very trying for my wife. A month later she was still screaming to sleep and not napping well.

SO, around 5 months and a week we hired a sleep consultant. She gave us good tips and helped come up with a Ferber-style interval training program to try to fix nights and get naps going and it was pretty successful. Within a few weeks she was going down around 6:30 and sleeping until 6-ish, with 1 night feeding around 1 or 2 am. She finally started napping however never long enough.

The real problem through all of this is even when it was going well, she would cry and scream her head off overtime she went down, every nap, every evening! Usually less than 15 minutes (if more in the evening we’d soothe her without picking up and that would work).

So we felt like it was working and was trying to accept the fact that maybe she’s one of those babies that just has to cry like crazy every time they go to sleep. But then the sleeping habits started to get worse again.

We hit 8 months and think we’re dealing with an 8 month sleep regression (and it wasn’t perfect before that), plus she’s definitely teething, and maybe transitioning naps. Then last saturday was daylight savings time and she got a cold this week, so it’s been really bad!

We know the cold will pass but we’re trying to figure out why her naps are so short, often we’ll put her down and she’ll cry for 15 minutes, sleep for 20, then wake up crying.

I’m not sure what other information is helpful, she doesn’t have any sleep crutches (we think), she nurses a while before she goes down. We have a simple ritual and there are days where she’ll have been up for a few hours, she’ll rub her eyes and yawn, we put on the sound machine, read a little bit, sing a song, she seems sleepy, we put her down awake…and soon as we leave she cries for 15 minutes. We get her home and she sleeps in her crib for every nap. Her third nap is often nonexistent, it seems like she’s transitioning, but the first two naps are still often really short. We feel like we’re struggling with several issues at once and not sure what else to try.

dan selzer, Sunday, 12 November 2017 20:08 (two years ago) link

Sounds like you're having it pretty rough, my sympathies. It's awful when teething & a cold & everything hits all at once. Our daughter is 20 months now and she's always been a terrible daytime napper, taking ages to go down and then waking like clockwork after 25 minutes. I think she was a bit older than yours, maybe a year, when we spoke to a sleep consultant and really tried to sort it, with modest results. In theory the problem was that she wasn't connecting sleep cycles so we had to try and help her do that - in practice that involved being in with her and, before she was due to wake up (either by timing or by her breathing becoming louder/shallower), starting to 'sh-pat' - rub her back (she was on her front by then) and go 'shhhh', and keep doing it as she woke up in the hope that a) she would go back to sleep and b) longer term she would managed to do it without assistance. We had some success with a), b) not so much. She did start to nap for longer but we pretty much always stayed in with her, maybe she did go a bit longer without assistance or go back easier if she did wake but we never achieved the dream of getting quality down time while she slept for an hour or more unassisted. Writing this it's incredible how much I seem to have forgotten given that it seemed to occupy our every waking moment at the time! I think at the beginning we really did have to persist with the sh-patting, even if it seemed like she was wide awake & upset and would never go back she eventually would, even if it took another 10-15 mins; gradually it got better till you could rest your hand on her just in in case but she barely woke or went back easily if she did.

Monogo doesn't socialise (ledge), Monday, 13 November 2017 09:15 (two years ago) link

thank you, that's interesting, but goes against some of the theories of sleep training, where you're creating a crutch and she won't be able to go back to sleep without you there. We do that at night if she wakes up and screams for over 15 minutes, go in with the interval check and pat and shh, but she's too alert during naps. If she even goes down soon as we walk in the room she lifts her head alert and crying!

dan selzer, Monday, 13 November 2017 20:47 (two years ago) link

Dan, firstly sorry to hear this, sounds terrible and have seen friends and relatives going through the same, takes such a toll on everyone.

I have an odd perspective on this as my wife is Chinese and first few years of our children's lives were in China with her family. Coming back to the UK we were surprised at all the sleep training stuff our friends and my family were talking about, this is completely unheard-of in China, but then we found out they kept their babies in different bedrooms, structured days to what seemed like an insane amount, followed huge lists of arcane, often contradictory rules - it all sounds like following an instruction manual for an exotic pet, not doing the very normal thing people have done since the start of time. Not saying it was easy for us, anything but, but I'm not sure how it's such a traumatic experience for all of us over here when we are awash with people who are supposed to be studying it. I'm not really a "wisdom of the east" guy usually, but really sounds like we've got something wrong in this particular case.

So anyway, a hippyish friend has said that our experiences tie in to this - http://www.continuum-concept.org/cc_defined.html - cannot vouch for it personally at all, but she swears by it, though it looks like a complete lifestyle transplant for a couple of years at least. Worth a look if you are desperate at least.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 13 November 2017 22:35 (two years ago) link

thank you, that's interesting, but goes against some of the theories of sleep training, where you're creating a crutch and she won't be able to go back to sleep without you there.

yeah well that's more or less correct; although we haven't really chanced it she probably could go for an hour or more without us there now, but that's after the best part of a year and dropping down to one nap.

Continuum concept, attachment parenting, gentle parenting, I would imagine many western parents looking for answers have come across those or similar ideas. That's more the route we've gone down, partly from inclination and partly because although naps were bad she wasn't really much of a crying baby at all & it really would have felt wrong. At the risk of sounding judgmental I do think we in the west are too quick to try and force routines & separate sleeping - I think we can all agree that capitalism is the real enemy here. (otoh I'm sure not every Chinese baby sleeps happily through the night either!) At a certain point I'm sure you have to try whatever works for you as well as for her and it sounds like you've reached that point, Dan, I hope you find something that works.

Monogo doesn't socialise (ledge), Tuesday, 14 November 2017 09:37 (two years ago) link

To be clear our older son didn't sleep through the night until he was nearly 2, but it was alright, he needed a feed or to be held, we'd all be back to sleep within half an hour. But when I hear my sister describe nights taking care of her baby it sounds like a nightmare.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 14 November 2017 11:50 (two years ago) link

we were theoretically ok w/ attachment parenting but it didn't work. Our baby was so fussy that she wouldn't even sleep, she'd kick and scream through the night causing neither her or my wife to get any sleep, which just wasn't tenable.

now both her and I have a bad cold so it's a bit of a mess around here!

dan selzer, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 13:17 (two years ago) link

We thought we were finally getting somewhere with nights - more or less sleeping through till 4am - then she got a cold and it all went downhill. That was over a month ago and she's only just getting better!

Monogo doesn't socialise (ledge), Tuesday, 14 November 2017 14:02 (two years ago) link

colds will always be rough. best to embrace chaos and regroup after recovery. there's truth in some of the continuum concept stuff, but their description of western hospital birth is outdated. for example, I think most hospitals do skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth now, if it's safe. the appeal to evolution within the text also feels a bit overplayed. we would not have evolved into today's low infant mortality rates without the modern hospital birth. for the whole population, there must be an optimum somewhere between the hospital and continuum concept birthing center approach. on a case by case basis, I would never judge someone for doing whatever works for them (if it's safe for all of course).

we did sleep training at around 6 months. I stayed up for all of one night, soothing the baby every so often but never picking him up. he has slept through the night (when not sick) ever since. lately he wakes up around 4:30 or 5AM, though, which is a separate problem. strength to all struggling with it itt. I'll be joining you once again here shortly.

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Tuesday, 14 November 2017 17:48 (two years ago) link

I finally read that link about the Continuum Concept. As mentioned above, I think conventional wisdom of western practices now are certainly somewhere in between. My take on these things is that there is no one right answer and you have to pick and choose and see what works. Our hospital was very much about skin-to-skin.

As I mentioned above, we would've been happy to follow that concept, or "attachment parenting", but our baby wouldn't let us! I've read a lot about fussy/"spirited" babies, that something like 17% of babies are just born wired a certain way where she was very very hard to please. We were forced into sleep training as the only way to allow her to get any sleep...and likewise us.

Back to the continuum concept link, we do have scheduled naps, and somewhat scheduled feedings, but based on her needs as well. I think that page presents two extremes that don't really represent the reality. Yes, cry it out and interval checks and things like are needed, but I wouldn't say we "belittle or punish" her for crying!

dan selzer, Wednesday, 15 November 2017 04:26 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

I am possibly about to embark on some kind of sleep training. after half term. and after the teeth are through. I am dubious that anything will work but I gotta try something. we still rock him to sleep and he's almost a toddler.

kinder, Thursday, 14 February 2019 23:28 (nine months ago) link

Since the posts above…she’s been great. Around 1 year she finally got good. There were some bumps but for the most part she sleeps from 7:30 pm to 7:00 am give or take whiteout too much fuss. And 1 nap at 12:30 which was sometimes over 2 hours but a few weeks ago she hit a regression caused by mental leaps and only sleeps around an hour. Sometimes less. She doesn’t scream but she lies in bed singing and telling stories. I think her mind is just a mile a minute.

Still I consider ourselves lucky after a hellish first year. Being forced into training has gotten us to a point where she’s now a better sleeper than most. At least at night and her nap. She still won’t just nap anywhere.

dan selzer, Friday, 15 February 2019 00:30 (nine months ago) link

With ophelia it went so easy, but elisabeth was three hellish years. I was a zombie. Literally didn't know if it was day/night. I wonder now if I just should have done co-sleeping. I feel guilty. :-(

nathom, Friday, 15 February 2019 07:35 (nine months ago) link

I never got into co-sleeping despite trying it as the only way to get sleep some nights.

So with my eldest, turns out in retrospect he was a great sleeper. We had an awful first 3 months with him, colic/awful screaming most nights, but it eventually settled and he was sleeping through, 12 hours, by about 9 months. Because I still thought of him as a bad sleeper every little blip worried me that he was regressing or whatever. At one year he had a period of being awake about 2-4am and would only be rocked and couldn't be put down! But he's a super sleeper, has been since he got over that.

The baby wasn't so bad to start with and is veeeery slowly improving but every tiny thing throws him. The worst issue is the rocking to sleep. I'm sure with the eldest I just put him in his cot and waited for him to fall asleep. The baby just screams if you leave him in the cot.

kinder, Friday, 15 February 2019 21:35 (nine months ago) link

Oh and the 5 month and 8/9/10 month regressions were bad

kinder, Friday, 15 February 2019 21:37 (nine months ago) link

So Casper is a nightmare at sleeping, and he's nearly 13 months now. Emma's broken. What can we do?

Context: he slept quite well as a small baby in the first 4/5 months - only waking 2/3 times a night for a big feed, which was way better than Nora. Then diagnosis, steroids, chemo, 50+ nights in hospital etc blew that out of the window.

Since November he's been on the new treatment and effectively not poorly from his disease - no steroids, no chemo, only one night in hospital (with a temperature) since then, so we've been able to establish something close to a normal routine.

Since January he's been in a cot alongside Em's bed (our bed; I'm still in the spare room), which is open and level with Em's bed for easy access. He wakes every 1-2 hours in the night, and some of those wakings are still relatively big feeds. We put him down circa 7 and he's normally out by 7:30/8pm, but he pretty much never gets through to 10pm (our bedtime and his meds time) without waking at least once and needing settling. Those wakings are happening less often and he is settling quicker overall, but it's still rubbish.

I generally take him and his sister downstairs about 6am so Em can have 90 minutes extra unbroken while I give them breakfast and get Nora ready for nursery.

Em desperately needs some longer periods of unbroken sleep.

Because of his illness and everything we've been through we're very, very loathe to put him through anything stressful like harsh sleep training. He's also, despite his very cheerful demeanour in photos, a stroppy little bastard who cries immediately if he doesn't get what he wants (and then stops instantly if you give him the tinfoil / duplo / toast / sharp kitchen knife / whatever he was reaching for etc etc).

We're generally 'gentle' and baby-led in our approach, but pragmatic, to a degree. What can we do?

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 27 February 2019 09:33 (nine months ago) link

I'm leaving off until the 1-year-crazies (technical term) subside tbh. both of mine had periods of waking for HOURS around the time they turned 1, so C is still doing that. Also dropping a nap and has constipation a lot so I think that can wake him.

I can send over the notes I got from someone if you like that I'm planning to use? They sound a bit ambitious though...

Oh and C was a total chilled out baby but now is a totally stroppy demanding DIVO too.

kinder, Wednesday, 27 February 2019 12:53 (nine months ago) link

I've read plenty of anecdotes that imply that the babies that are easier sleepers at the beginning are eventually not. Opal was a nightmare for most of the first year forcing pretty early and pretty intense sleep training but for the last year (she's nearly 2) she's been fantastic at night. The ferber style interval sleep training is a pain but it might work and isn't as harsh as extinction/cry it out. It took a while but worked for us.

dan selzer, Wednesday, 27 February 2019 13:03 (nine months ago) link

does he feed every time he wakes? Mine used to be ok with a 11pm feed then just being rocked by me/ his dad in future wakings but recently won't stand for that and screams for a feed much more often which is often just for comfort as he doesn't actually feed much and just tries to get away (then cries for milk if you let him )

kinder, Wednesday, 27 February 2019 13:05 (nine months ago) link

my understanding of sleep training is all about the crutches, and any time you feed a child to calm them/put them to sleep, it's going to reinforce the association. By that age, so long as they're getting their nutrition, kids should have no problem sleeping through the night, so when they're crying to be fed after bedtime, it's not really because they're hungry.

dan selzer, Wednesday, 27 February 2019 15:52 (nine months ago) link

yeah I thought we got out of that habit but somehow we've gotten back into it for the sake of getting some sleep.

kinder, Wednesday, 27 February 2019 17:15 (nine months ago) link

so. it begins. I'm timing it so one of the worst nights should be when I'm out...

kinder, Tuesday, 5 March 2019 22:14 (nine months ago) link

you might be surprised! when we did "ferberization" i think it literally took like 2 nights and then it was done.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 22:28 (nine months ago) link

yeah it's like two-three nights that really suck and then it's ok

na (NA), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 22:29 (nine months ago) link

starting with holding him but not rocking, for a couple of nights. The tough bit will be leaving him to sleep in his cot.
He's toddling around now! I mean, not now. But in general!

kinder, Tuesday, 5 March 2019 22:37 (nine months ago) link

ferberization took us several attempts over several months and each attempt lasting for a few weeks! I think she just had to be ready. Now it's a breeze.

dan selzer, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 01:27 (nine months ago) link

Birds tweeting.
Sunlight playfully peeking through the curtains.
The strange experience of waking up in the morning of my own accord and not too a screaming baby...
(really it's raining and I expect the recycling lorry woke me up but still, he slept 8 hours after a few evening wake-ups and didn't have a night feed...)

it's probably coincidence though, that and having pooed loads in the day so that wasn't waking him up. I hardly think one evening has changed anything, but I'll take a win where I can!

kinder, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 08:00 (nine months ago) link

so - I never genuinely thought it'd work - but - touch wood - it seems to be going well. Far better than I ever expected!
We (mainly him indoors) have done 3 days of putting him down in his cot (rather than letting him get to sleep in our arms). Staying with him, singing, shushing, putting him back down 100 times. No feeding after bedtime too (which is why he's doing it not me).
First night - an hour of screaming and crying before he tired himself out, then another hour or so when waking up at 11pm. Pretty horrible but then he slept until 7.30.
2nd night - about 20 mins crying at first but not as bad as the first night, then about 10 mins when waking up around 9pm then slept til 6.30! 9.5 hours which is unheard of.
3rd night - got up lots when trying to put him to bed but didn't cry much. couple of short wake ups and one long one.

Next step is to not stay right by the cot but we'll see...

kinder, Monday, 11 March 2019 13:26 (nine months ago) link

Ferberization didn't really work for us. I think a lot of it is about the kid.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 11 March 2019 14:25 (nine months ago) link

I just looked at the wiki for the ferber method and i feel this sentence: "A few babies are capable of sleeping through the night at three months, and most are capable of sleeping through the night at six months" is lacking an all-caps drudge siren CITATION NEEDED.

what if bod was one of us (ledge), Monday, 11 March 2019 14:28 (nine months ago) link

yeah, we tried it at six months. We tried it for three or four painful weeks. We made a second attempt a few months later that did temporarily work but wore off when we moved. K has had persistent sleep problems since. With E we just co-slept and she naturally transitioned to sleeping on her own around a year and is much less anxious at night. But I really believe it depends on the kid, because I know co-sleepers who were still in the bed with the kid at 6.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 11 March 2019 15:04 (nine months ago) link

Ours has just turned 3 and we're still in with her. We never tried ferber or anthing like that, she wasn't waking a great deal or for long periods but it was persistent and ultimately it was easier to be in the room with her and shush her back than actually having to get out of bed to do it. Obviously she's institutionalised to it now and it's hard to see how we'll break it, but otoh it's not so bad when she doesn't have a cold or whatever. Which of course is most of the time.

what if bod was one of us (ledge), Monday, 11 March 2019 15:19 (nine months ago) link

I keep reading it as 'febreezisation'

kinder, Monday, 11 March 2019 18:03 (nine months ago) link

my baby is 13 months btw, I wouldn't really bother trying much before that (with my two) let alone at 3 or 6 months!

kinder, Monday, 11 March 2019 18:04 (nine months ago) link

Birds tweeting.
Sunlight playfully peeking through the curtains.
The strange experience of waking up in the morning of my own accord and not too a screaming baby...

The first time that happened for me I ran to my kid's room in a panic, assuming some horrible tragedy had befallen him during the night.

early rejecter, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 15:10 (eight months ago) link

haha! I've been there.

kinder, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 17:47 (eight months ago) link


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