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Thread: Gentle Self-settling: on the right track?

  1. #19

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    Ooooh, Beckles, a woman after my own heart


  2. #20
    julesr Guest

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    I SO know where you are coming from. I had terrible problems with my DS - only 40 minutes of sleep at a time during the day, it would take 40 minutes to settle him for the 40 minute nap, sometimes we couldn't get him to go down to sleep at night till after 10.00pm, and I rang the maternal child health line when he was 8 weeks old and was told (in a very disapproving tone) that he already had a sleep association problem because I would feed him just before sleep which just made me feel worse. DH wanted me to leave DS to cry which I tried and I was just a mess, tears were pouring down my face. DH and I had a few arguments about it but we didn't do it again. DH was more frustrated because he could see I was suffering from lack of sleep and wanted to help me.

    What drove me bananas was that EVERYONE always asks "is he sleeping through" and I got myself quite tied up in knots because I thought he was SUPPOSED to be sleeping through and that I was doing something wrong.

    We then had some people over for dinner who already had kids and they also told me to let him CIO - I felt so peer-pressured and tried it again but burst into tears in front of them all after a couple of minutes and went and got DS. I could feel the "she's a new mum, she'll learn" vibes which made me feel quite insecure but CIO just didn't feel right.

    The day I decided that I was just going to do what worked and to just accept that DS was not able to sleep through the night was the same day I suddenly felt much more comfortable being a mummy.

    DS is now 6 months old and still doesn't sleep through the night but he does have at least one sleep of anywhere between 1.5-2.5 hours and another 40 minute sleep every day. He goes to bed at about 7.00pm and wakes 2 to 3 times a night for a quick breastfeed (I'm back in bed in 15-20 minutes) and wakes up between 6-7 am. Usually he will have a stretch of 4-6 hours in the early evening, and the wakings are closer together in the wee hours. He's gotten to this stage by himself.

    Some things I have discovered which helped us get to this stage - my diet was a problem - I breastfeed. This was the biggie. I have cut out caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, icecream, anything overly processed. I make sure I have meat at least once a day and plenty of vegetables. The difference this made was noticeable in less than 48 hours, he was so much easier to settle. Anytime I have any of these things, it is noticeable by the end of the day, we have an absolute devil of a time getting him off to sleep. Chocolate gives him really bad wind. (On the bright side, I've got great skin and my pre-pregnancy clothes fit beautifully!)

    We use the Music for Dreaming CD. If he isn't asleep by the end of Track 2, we know he's not going to go to sleep, and we get him up again and try again in a while.

    DH puts DS to sleep by sitting on a fitball and bouncing him gently off to sleep. I used to do this too until DS got too big, I just didn't have the upper body strength, so now I feed him in the rocking chair. Sometimes DS doesn't want a feed but will be happy to be rocked and cuddled. This will take a bit longer than feeding, but it's another tool.

    In the early hours, we will often bring him into bed with us. DH or I will cuddle him and he will go off to sleep again for at least another hour. The big smiles when DS wakes and sees both mummy and daddy are there are just wonderful.

    Every day, I kept going. If he only had a couple of short sleeps, I would let him have another sleep late in the day and push back his bedtime. His bedtime ritual is always the same. We always do bathtime, a bit of a play, bedtime story, breastfeed or bounce to sleep with the "magic CD". I wanted to cut out the playtime but for some reason DS won't settle straight from bath to bed, he needs an "interval".

    I take him out somewhere every day and try to give him lots of fairly active playtime on his playmat to help tucker him out.

    I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I have to put DS into daycare, in terms of getting him to have a nap, but I'm starting to try putting him in his cot when he's not quite asleep to see if he can get the rest of the way by himself. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't, but I'm just gently persevering. DS simply cannot allow himself to drift off to sleep, he can't shut down, he might miss something!

    I'm a much happier and more confident mummy now because I did what was in my heart.
    Last edited by julesr; April 3rd, 2007 at 10:56 AM.

  3. #21

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    Yep Jules, it seems that everyone asking me about how we're sleeping just seems to contribute to sleep anxiety. And in my experience, anxiety about sleep is just as bad as sleep deprivation.

    Our self-settling is actually going really well, thanks to the hammock - it makes it so easy to just bounce her off to sleep. I always try to see if she can doze off without the bouncing and let her whinge for a bit - when she's whinging, I put my hand on her chest and sshh her just so that she knows that I'm there. If that doesn't work, then I'll bounce the hammock and she usually drops off within a few minutes. The catnaps are also improving which is good - fingers crossed.

    For me, the gentle self-settling is working really well - and it frustrates me that the early childhood nurses don't suggest this as a first step for "sleep training".

    I've also relaxed a lot about the whole sleep issue - it helps to realise that babies change so often, it's impossible to find patterns of "progression". For eg. I was blessed to have 3 sleep through the nights last week, and just as I got excited about it - she went back to 1 wake-up (not so bad, since I was quite happy with the one wake-up), and then went back to the 3 wake-ups. I'm not stressing about it though, like everything with babies, she'll change back again in her own good time.

  4. #22

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    it helps to realise that babies change so often, it's impossible to find patterns of "progression".
    Sweets, you have hit the absolute nail on the head there........

    It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job, well done!

  5. #23

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    Jules,
    You would think that i had written that post! that is exactly what lachlan used to to (or still does) 40 mins at a time through the day and up through the night. i did exactly what you did 'what ever worked' despite everyone telling me (including Paeds) that he needs to cry himself to sleep. If i was to hear the words "He has to learn....." one more time i was going to snap. Anyway, i found that once he started crawling and being more active he has started to sleep a bit better, we now have an hour and a half sleep in the morning and an hour and a half in the after noon. Bedtime at 7, wakes at 11pm and then again at about 3-4am and then anywhere between 6-7. I found rocking him to sleep worked but somewhere around the 5-6 month mark he just didnt want to be rocked anymore, i think the warmer weather helped with this. He just wanted to be put down and he would send himself off to sleep. he now does this for every sleep. When he is tired its straight to bed, no feeds and he will go off on his own.

    It just goes to show that you can leave your kids to scream for hours at a time, causing both you and them stress and when you think about it they all end up in the same place dont they?? they will all eventually sleep through, some just take longer than others. the sooner you accept it the sooner you can relax and enjoy all the precious happy moments that you have with them not the crying and sleep issues!!

  6. #24

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    Loved your post Jules. It's great to get feedback from other mums that helps confirm you're on the right track even when you know you really are. I've been flat out and now Angus is teething a bit so I've been with him most of the day and too exhausted/busy to get back in here at night.

    Lucy - we've been putting the CD on every day time sleep and he has now had a number of 1.5 - 2 hr sleeps! Thank you thank you.

    We were away over Easter and have been dealing with teeth ouchies this week so things are a bit all over the place but he slept from 7.30pm til 5.45am this morning. I was awake from 5 as I was about to explode but had gone to sleep by 9 so I had 8 hours in a row!

  7. #25

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    he slept from 7.30pm til 5.45am
    That is fantastic!! Good on you Angus!! (And well done Mummy!!)

  8. #26

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    RE: the catnapping issue
    My little lad (now 6 1/2 months) decided at 3 weeks that sleeping during the day was for the birds! I struggled through the next two months, sobbing, stressing, tearing my hair out trying to make him sleep longer than 40 mins (sometimes 20) during the day, because everything I'd read (common story here) said that 40 mins did 'nothing'. But the little one basically slept through the night from around 11 weeks of his own accord. (give or take growth spurts and now teething). And eventually I saw the child health nurse, who said calmly.. 'it's fine... as long as he's sleeping well at night' (there are some good ones out there).
    so i let go, and he sleeps for 40 mins almost exactly, 3 times a day. And mostly 11 hours at night.
    do what's right for your baby!
    cheers
    Bid

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