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Thread: Help with self-settling

  1. #1
    kathok Guest

    Default Help with self-settling

    My bubs is 5 1/2 months old now I am thinking I need to get a bit more organised with our sleeping routines. I would love some feedback on how I can change what I am doing gradually. My aim would be for her to self-settle for all sleeps (without emotionally crying- ie tears) and not have to be wrapped. She is still exclusively bf and I have been demand feeding her. I'm going to start her on solids soon but will still be bf'ing her as well.

    For nights we have a pretty good routine: She has a bath at about 6.20pm and then a feed. I then burp her, put her down while she is still partly awake and wrap her with her arms in. She self-settles herself and goes to sleep within 10 mins usually. She sometimes sleeps though until about 6am but can wake for a night feed between 1.30 and 3am. Not sure if I should be trying to get her to go back to sleep without a feed or not? Atm I just feed her and she self-settles and goes back to sleep.

    For day sleeps it is a bit more random. She seems to usually have between 2 and 3 sleeps a day (apart from the rare but horrible days when she decides she wants five 1 hour sleeps ) I still feed and burp her before putting her down when awake and wrapping her. Sometimes this works well and she self settles and has a good sleep. Occasionally though, the timing is out as she is hungry but not really sleepy yet and I end up either having to cuddle, re-wrap her numerous times while she is crying her little heart out. Sometimes if she is just yelling rather than truly crying she will eventually self-settle and go to sleep. Most of the time though she and I are way too upset and I get her up. Unfortunately after these occasions I have to wait until she needs another feed to try again and often she is overtired by this time.



    Wrapping during the day is hard also. I use flanelette at night and it is stiffer and harder to get out of than the muslin wrap I use for days. She often gets herself loose and then wakes herself up fully. There is little chance of getting her to self settle once she has done this. I would like to wean her of wrapping but I would like to get her sleeping routine in place first. I don't want to try and change too much at the one time iykwim.

    I am happy with the night routine (apart from the ? about night feeds) but I think I really need to come up with a more adaptable routine for days. I would like to do the whole feed, play sleep routine (to eliminate waking from burps and the above situation) but I don't think she is quite good enough with the self-setting yet to do this. Has anyone got any hints on how I can help her to be better at this? There has to be a way to teach them how to self-settle without the crying? I really don't want to use CC, she is way too little to understand!
    Last edited by kathok; December 28th, 2007 at 11:10 AM.

  2. #2

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    Hi Kathok

    This is what I've found with my 4.5 month old. If I misread her signs and feed her when she's only a little hungry then she will have mini-feeds all day and in turn, mini-sleeps all day. It's a bit easier for me to know when she's had a mini-feed because I bottle feed. But perhaps the 5 naps a day with your daughter is being caused by her not having a full feed which means she has a shorter sleep. So now I make sure that if she's a bit whingy, I'll move her somewhere and show her something new because sometimes she's not hungry she's just bored.

    But definitely no point trying to get a hungry baby to sleep and sometimes instead of doing feed, play, sleep she wants to do feed, play, feed, sleep. I just go with the flow.

    I also found that if I tried too hard to get her to sleep because I thought she 'should' have a sleep, we would both end up frustrated. So if she's in her crib looking wide awake, I get her out. If she's looking sleepy but frustrated that she can't get to sleep, then I'll give her a BIG, long cuddle and say lots of soothing words in a soft voice like "ahhhhhh .... poor baby" over and over again. She seems to like this and it calms her down a lot. If she's not calming down, then I give her another feed but that's kind of the last thing we try.

    On the wrapping, I think yes, start gradually. When I used to wrap, I would also say "shhhh ... sleepy time now" so over time she started to associate the words with sleep as well as the wrapping. But because she was getting out of her wraps and waking herself up, I just started wrapping her legs and then stopped altogether because the words alone would work.

    I think the verbal stuff is very important; or at least it seems to have worked a treat for us. Sometimes if I hear her thrashing around in the middle of the night, I just say "shhhh ... sleepy time" and I can actually hear her stop what she's doing, give a big sigh and go back to sleep.

    On the night feeding, I guess trust your judgement. If she's hungry, feed her but if she just needs a cuddle then try that first. Again, it was easy for me to work out which she wanted because I was bottle feeding so if by the time I'd picked her up and brought her down to the kitchen with me to make up a bottle she was asleep on my shoulder ... there was my answer.

    Oh, and forgot to say that we did the whole self-settling thing VERY gradually. In the early days I was very strict about only comforting her enough to get her relaxed or in a light sleep but not into a deep sleep. Sometimes I would have to go back three or four times - but like I said, I wouldn't keep on doing this unless I could see that she was actually tired, not just me thinking that she 'should' be tired. It would have been easier to rock her fully to sleep but I kept to my resolve and it did work a treat and she now sleeps beautifully. But it took a lot of perserverance.

    Good luck with it all! And hope that made sense. Have serious Ramble Head on today!

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