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Sleep Training Advice...

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  • 1 Post By LadieBug
  • 4 Post By LilHerndon
  • 4 Post By marybeth76
  • 4 Post By kbpeanut

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July 19th, 2013, 11:46 AM
kbpeanut's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: north county san diego, ca
Posts: 13,284
***First of all, I do not intend for this to be a debate of parenting styles. We all have our own views and opinions of what is best for our own children, so please, no judging (and none will be given in return!)***

I do not believe in sleep training, per se. But by sleep training, in this regard, I mean CIO or any variation thereof (babywise, Dr Spock, etc).

BUT, I will be the first to admit that we need to change something about Scooter's nighttime routine. Right now, it's as such:

* At 8pm, go upstairs to quiet nursery, dim lights.
* Either bathtime or quiet play time.
* Following the bath or play, jammies and book (if he's not starving!)
* Nursing to sleep
* Transfer to crib - almost 99% of the time, this is around 10-1030.

As you can see, the bedtime routine takes a while. Now, sometimes, we start later, but that usually has no impact on the final time in crib. Seems like whatever we do to try and get him to bed earlier, he doesn't fall asleep until about 1015-1030.

About 75% of the time, he'll stay asleep, and sleep through the night, until about 630-7am. The other 25% of the time, he'll wake up, and DH will walk him back to sleep, about 10 minutes. On the rare occasion, he'll pitch a fit, and I'll need to nurse him more.

All this is fine, and honestly, he sleeps through the night, and I LOVE nursing him to sleep. BUT, just recently, DH brought up the fact that he thinks we need to let him start to learn to fall asleep on his own.

I agree, it's a skill he must learn. He's never been one to do so. I still rock him to sleep for naps, and nurse him to bed at night. He will fall asleep on his own in the car or in his swing on occasion, but he usually needs to be "put" to sleep. And I'm ok with this. And I will always be ok with this. But, I totally understand and respect DH's point of view.

The problem is, we don't agree on how to go about starting to teach this new behavior.

DH doesn't want to use CIO, but he wants to let him fuss in bed. He wants to put him to bed awake, but drowsy, which I don't mind, but he 100% of the time falls asleep nursing, which he needs to eat before bed.

So, what do to? Wake him up after he's fallen asleep nursing, just to put him to bed? He will cry if so. And if it's "fussing", I'm ok with it, but we don't agree on the timing. I say 1 minute or less to start, DH says 5. And then there is the question of what is considered crying, fussing, complaining, etc. Bottom line is, we don't agree, but we are both listening to what each other wants, and trying to come to a solution.

That being said, I am open to suggestions.


Thanks *Kiliki* for my amazingly perfect siggy!


Our TTC Journey | Pregnancy Journals: Nugget (or here) and Baxter (or here)
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July 19th, 2013, 11:54 AM
MammaWannaBe's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,018
I definitely understand how that would be an issue. I'm trying to think about what we do and it's basically a bottle before bed so she has a full tummy, but she's usually pretty much half asleep when we put her down.

Could you maybe agree to try one method for a few nights and if it doesn't work try the other? Like start off with the 1-2 minutes of fussing and if that doesn't work, maybe it just takes him a little longer and then you can try your DH's suggestion for length of time?

I don't know a lot about CIO. I think that it is important that they learn to put themselves to sleep, in fact the more I think about it, the more I realize that for the most part Vivi needs some sort of soothing as well especially during naptime and it would be great to find a method that allows her to calm herself into sleep. I'm not sure I may wait till she is older though.

Great conversation starter though Karin! I wish I had something more helpful to add, but I am interested to see what other people think.

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July 19th, 2013, 12:05 PM
Sawyers_Mommy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,690
I'm sorry, I don't really have any advice. Like Mere said, Maybe you could try one method and if it doesn't work try the other?

I don't believe in the CIO method either (not saying you're wrong if you do). I used to lay Marshall down, awake but sleepy and he'd go to sleep on his own. Anymore I either have to rock him to sleep but a lot of times he starts crying as soon as I lay him down. I can't handle do that back and forth until he's fully out of it because I have Sawyer and it's tiring on my part as well. What I will do is let him fuss for a few min and if he hasn't stopped in say, 2-5min I'll go in there and pick him up for a min or two then try again. Sometimes I have to do this 4 or 5 times, some nights he falls asleep while eating his bottle and other nights I can lay him down drowsy and he falls asleep. And to me fussing is like grunting, about to cry but isn't yet. If that makes sense lol. If he's full blown crying then I don't leave him in there. Oh and this is just how Marshall is but a lot of times when I lay him down he'll break out into a cry that sounds like some one broke his little heart and I used to pick him right back up but I've found that if I don't within 10sec he goes either to sleep or fusses so he's just crying to get me to pick him up.

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July 19th, 2013, 12:51 PM
Host of March '10 PR
Join Date: May 2009
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I don't know ... I'm caught in sleep-deprived baby-wants-to-play-at-3am land. So I kind of feel what you are going through. I think we are all in some sort of this phase right now... how to get baby to sleep well. And for every family its going to be different and a lot of trial and error to figure out what works.

I/m trying to put a sentence together but I cant think straight at the moment. I will come back when I get a little more sleep. Which might be in 18 years

For now I'll add this:

nursingmama likes this.

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July 19th, 2013, 01:00 PM
Expecting #2
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,295
DH and I are in the same boat as you! We actually talked to the pedi about this at Ember's 6 month appointment. Ember used to STTN and lately she has been waking up once in the middle of the night. I feed her and she really doesnt even open her eyes. She just whines a little and when she doesnt fall back asleep to being rocked and starts to cry, I feed her immediately. The pedi said as long as she ate her normal amount during the day, she shouldnt be hungry. I thought it was teething or maybe she just needs to eat more now that she is a little older. Pedi said to let her CIO for up to 15 minutes so she can learn to self-sooth.

I am not opposed to CIO, but really don't want to do that method if I can avoid it. We used to put Ember down when she was awake and drowsy and give her the paci and she would put herself to sleep. Now she refuses the paci and usually she falls asleep eating (which she didnt before) and then we put her in her bassinet. I think that part of the reason why Ember wakes and whines in the middle of the night is because she can't self-sooth after waking, not that she is hungry. At the same time, I don't know for sure she isnt hungry, so I feed her instead of letting her cry.

Sometimes she has trouble putting herself to sleep for naps and she needs soothing. Right now, I dont mind soothing her and I am hoping it will get easier for her as she gets older.

Since Ember falls asleep eating now I am in the same place as you. I dont want to wake a sleeping baby and she needs to eat. We know she needs to learn to self sooth, so I usually give her a lovey. That helps for naps sometimes. DH was reading the other day about SIDS and stuffed animals and now he doesnt want to let her have her lovey at night and for naps. I am okay with the lovey since she is still in our room and can watch her.

To help Ember learn to self-sooth, we really work on it for naps since she isnt falling asleep eating then. Hopefully that will be enough to help her learn to self-sooth.

I am not really much help as I am in the same boat as you are, but maybe working on it at nap times and introducing a lovey could help. If you aren't opposing to using a lovey. We have the stuffed animal head ones and the aden and anais security blankets.

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July 20th, 2013, 09:35 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chicago!
Posts: 2,636
So I need to give my DH some props because he is the reason that Parker now goes down almost completely without a fight and has been sleeping through the night or waking up only once to get his paci fast (but no eating). Now we went from going to bed at random times depending on when we could get him asleep and always having a middle of the night feeding to putting him down in his crib awake at 9pm and him falling asleep on his own and STTN, so it was a BIG change.

The way we did it wasn't really a CIO method but it was more that then anything else I suppose. We also have a wifi camera in his room so I can watch him through my cell phone, and that has been SO helpful with my fear of SIDS lol. So we start by putting him to bed awake, we allow him to have a few stuffed animals so he ends up playing for at least 10-15 minutes by himself. Then he realizes he's tired and one of two things happens - either he wiggles for 5-10 minutes and falls asleep or starts fussing. From the moment we hear him start to fuss/cry we put on a timer for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes if he's still fussing we will go in, give him his paci, rub his back (yes he sleeps on his stomach, i know it freaks me out to no end, but he HATES his back and screams bloody murder when he's on it, so I check his camera ALL the time lol), and leave after 2 minutes in his room. Then when he starts fussing again (if he does) set a timer for 5 minutes, and if he is still fussing after 5 minutes then go in for another 2. After that go 10 minutes after he starts fussing and keep it at 10 minutes. The first 3-5 nights will be rough and will take a few times going in there, but Parker really had it after the first 2 nights. He still fusses a little but not much, we've only been doing this for a week. This way it's not a full CIO method since you are reassuring them you're there, but it does give them the opportunity to put themselves to sleep. I had it easy - DH did this method while I was at work for 3 nights and got him used to it so I didn't have to hear the crying (and I would've broke and gone in earlier than supposed to lol). Parker is no worse off doing this and he sleeps SO much better since he can self soothe. It may not be for everyone, but it's helped us out. Hope you ladies can figure out a method that works for you!

Always remembering our angel babies - 4/2011 (ectopic), 4/2012 (chemical) and
Angel Twins 5/23/14 (at 7 weeks 2 days)

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July 21st, 2013, 01:31 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,110
Well, here is my opinion. And please keep in mind that this IS just my opinion and I am not belittling anyone who does things differently. I am NOT judging OR arguing, but I want to give you the basis behind my thought processes.

I see "sleep training" sort of the way that I see "potty training". I think it's kind of one of those things that if you just leave them alone, they'll eventually get it without a lot of stress and hassle on your part. We didn't train our kids to sleep and we didn't train them to potty. We just provided the space and helped them as long as they needed it, and somewhere along the way they learned to do these things on their own.

I also think that 6 months old is still VERY young and while sleep training may achieve the results you desire, you have to ask yourself, at what cost? It may seem like your baby is adapting fairly easily, but to me, the thought that my baby is learning and accepting that mommy will not always respond to his needs is kind of heart-breaking. At least when they're a little older they will know that you are still there somewhere even though they can't see you. Right now I can imagine that it might honestly be terrifying to an infant to wake up and see no caregivers, and to call for somebody and get no response.

I am also ok with a little bit of fussing, but not crying. Anyway, my advice is to keep doing things as you are doing them, especially if you are getting enough rest (although if it were me I would probably try to get him asleep a little earlier, that just seems really late for a baby this young and I know Lincoln is a mess if he stays up that late). Then when he's a bit older, revisit some of this. I know sometimes it seems like you must get these things taken care of NOW, but really, he will be a year old before you can blink twice. If things are peaceful in your home, I'd really just let it sit for a bit. Also, nursing a baby to sleep is infinitely precious and it's not something that you're going to have forever, so I would treasure it for as long as possible.

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July 22nd, 2013, 06:51 AM
kbpeanut's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: north county san diego, ca
Posts: 13,284
Thanks ladies for all the advice and sharing! Basically, I am of the mindset that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" but DH HS expressed an opinion on something so I wanted to at least respect his wishes and try a compromise. I would be most happy to nurse Bax to sleep every night until he is no longer nursing (which if I have my druthers, will be a long time ). While DH wants him to self soothe, I feel far to strongly about letting him fuss too long or, as MB said, wake up and get no response (or too much of a delay). My opinion is that this could create more sleep problems in the future than a little extra coddling now. But, I was willing to try a compromise since my real issue is that he is going to bed waaaay too late (for his taste and mine) and bedtime shouldn't take this long.

So last night we tried something. Usually he starts fussing right around 715. Rather than give him a snack, or try and keep him happy we started bedtime then. Upstairs to quiet, bath time, jammies, quiet play/story time, nursing. I cut his nursing off when he was done eating and has switched to obvious comfort nursing. We put him in crib. He started fussing. We stayed in the room and waited exactly 2 min ( he never escalate to crying). DH picked him up and walked him a bit to calm him. Put him back. He fussed after about 1 min. We let him fuss for 2 min again. I picked him up, calmed him til drowsy, put him down, drowsy by eyes open. I stayed close to him in crib and shhhh-shhh'ed him a few times and he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

That has never happened. Ever. We waited for about 10 min next to his crib and he stayed asleep. That was 930. He hasn't gone to sleep that early since he was an infant and waking up every 2 hours to eat. He stayed asleep until 1245, and woke up clearly hungry. I fed him then back to sleep until 630.

This was he best night we've had in a while. We are going to try and keep this exact routine and see if it works. We already cut an hour off his bedtime. We didn't have to let him cry. It still went against every instinct to even let him fuss but I was ok since he was really just fussing and not crying or upset. It seemed to work. Lets see how tonight goes!

Thanks again for all the input , opinions, and advice.

Thanks *Kiliki* for my amazingly perfect siggy!


Our TTC Journey | Pregnancy Journals: Nugget (or here) and Baxter (or here)
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July 22nd, 2013, 09:39 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,134
That is awesome that it worked! Yay!

That's along the lines of things that have worked for us, too. If he seems fussy early, I'll start the bedtime routine early, and he's usually asleep pretty quickly.

I'll sometimes rock him all the way to sleep with his last bottle, not because he always needs it, but because sometimes I need it. He's with his sitter all day, and this time is short, I just want to soak it in. I know that having a baby who can relax without me is important, and we're doing things to help him feel comfortable acting independently, but when if he's a frustrating teenager I want to be able to close my eyes, count to three, remember how I felt rocking him to sleep, and then respond peacefully knowing that adolescence is temporary. (I know that sounds ridiculous.)

Our LO recently exhibited signs of stranger danger and separation anxiety, like, hard. And that's negatively affected his ability to go to sleep and self-soothe. We did something similar to what we originally did when we started working on getting him to sleep through the night - putting him down, giving him a time to fuss, and then helping him in a small way the first time and eventually working up to a diaper change or feeding if necessary (i.e., not always responding with a bottle).

For going to sleep at night, I find that a lullaby CD is so helpful. We don't use it every night anymore, so he doesn't need it, but if he's restless and won't relax, a CD while I'm cuddling him that continues to play after I leave the room seems to help.

I read somewhere that sometimes when they're asleep and then seem to wake up and fuss, they're not really awake until we come in and disturb them, it's a normal cycle of heavy-light-heavy sleep. That made me less jumpy about middle of the night fusses.
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