Sleep training my six month old and really worried

(36 Posts)
Moominmamma86 Mon 01-Apr-13 22:38:56

I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to sleep and my six month old. Bless him, he's got so used to breastfeeding to sleep and I know I shouldnt have allowed him to build up that association so much but I didn't know how else to get him to settle. Recently he hasn't even been settling well with that and his bedtimes seem to be getting gradually later, with lots of toing and froing from the cot. I just feel I'm being used as a dummy which is getting too much, he is not getting the sleep he needs or learning to settle himself and my partner and I are ending up with no evening left.

Anyway, tonight after the usual bedtime routine (bath, feed etc) we put him down and he started to cry but instead of going to him we just... left him to it sad
It felt very sad to listen to him cry but once we started I thought we should follow it through and be consistent, or in a way we're just confusing him and being unkind. I didn't think it would take too long as I know he's tired but he probably cried for half an hour and turned himself right round in his cot.

I feel very bad now. Have I damaged him somehow? Will he feel we've abandoned him? What should we do tomorrow night? Stick with the approach as we've started now, or try something less hardcore? Please advise or reassure...

lifesobeautiful Fri 05-Apr-13 15:17:48

Hear hear Rorow! I hate to see people being judged for different methods when they're just trying their best. I shall remember your post when my next DD arrives and I'm feeling guilty/worried about various things. Thank you!

waterrat Fri 05-Apr-13 11:36:35

moomin don't worry you haven't hurt your baby or damaged them - my friend was telling me the other day that her sister cried for the first year solidly! but was the happiest toddler and now the happiest adult.

But - I do think that it's unncessary to leave them like that crying - there are gentler ways of teaching them to fall asleep on their own. And don't feel bad about wanting that, as my DS did wake less once he could settle himself - and I didn't want to have to feed him to sleep every time, I wanted his dad to be able to put him to bed.

Sit next to the cot, when she cries stroke/ pat/ sing - but don't pick her up. That's one method. Might be easier if your partner does it if you are breastfeeding.

Or - you could do pick up put down, pick up cuddle, wait till stop crying, put them down, as soon as they start to cry pick up again. but they get sleepier and sleeper and eventually stop crying and fall asleep.

Rororowmeboat Fri 05-Apr-13 11:00:21

Ps regarding feeding to sleep I do think that it is generally what BF babies do really and it definitely isn't a rod for your back. I bf my baby until 13 months and he pretty fed to sleep every night (it was just taking him off the breast and putting him in the cot which was the nightmare!)

squidgers - it really makes me laugh when people pronounce on mumsnet what they think child health professionals would and wouldn't advocate. My HV and many other HV and paediatricians I have met discuss CC as a technique, along with the numerous 'expert' books written about it by child health professionals, Dr Feber, Dr Christopher Green, my baby week by week etc. I'm a doctor, my mum is a child psychologist and out of all the friends with babies I know it is actually the doctors (inc paediatricians) who have used CC! Just because you don't agree with it don't assume the whole medical community is behind you.

We are all trying are best for a children and doing what we feel is best for our children - every child and mum is different, don't make people feel bad if that is what works for them.

You have not damaged your baby don't worry. My dd did not respond to any other methods. Going in patting her back , gradual retreat etc served no purpose but to maybe her even more upset. If this isn't what you want to do then try something else but if 30 mins is the first night it's not likely to be as long again if you try again tomorrow. Honestly it can work in 3/4 days. I know alot of people feel its cruel but everyone needs to sleep its just as cruel to have your other children kept awake all night too.

Do your research and decide what you want to do and stick to it smile

SquidgersMummy Thu 04-Apr-13 22:35:37

Rororomeaboat, it's not just about cortisol levels - what would a baby understand about such an episode - they would not be able to infer or learn anything about sleep - they stop crying because they give up in a helpless/hopeless state because they learn that no one is coming despite the fact they are crying. Not a lesson I'd like my dc to learn. Very few child health professionals advocate controlled crying techniques anymore.

SquidgersMummy Thu 04-Apr-13 22:28:52

My dd is 8 mths and we feed to sleep. It's what bf babies do. The sleep board is a good place to get some advice. Don't want to bash you but I think 6 mths is a bit young to be left to cry. What sense will he make of it? If I were you I'd hop over to the sleep board - lots of friendly posters there. X

Rororowmeboat Thu 04-Apr-13 18:20:30
Rororowmeboat Thu 04-Apr-13 18:14:56

OP - you have not harmed your baby, do not worry. Do not feel guilty. Do not read any more messages after my one!

I did CIO with DS when nearly 6 months - 30 mins 1st night, 10 mins second and a grizzle on the third. My son was the same as yours breastfeeding and would only want me - it would take me hours of settling (& crying on his part to get to sleep).

Controlled crying, gradual withdrawal, pick up put down method and any other 'gentle' methods made him cry sooooooooooo much more than CIO. He would get infuriated every time I put him down, edged away from him, everytime I went back in the room - he would roar and I would be back at square one.

In the end we did CIO when I was at the end of my tether and really unwell and I just couldn't try and settle him anymore - it was the best thing I did. I felt terrible and it was awful and I convinced myself (by reading mumsnet) that I had damaged him forever. The next morning he woke up with a wonderful smile and I was so relieved. Second night he understood more and took 10 mins, third night was a grizzle. Since I have never had an issue getting him to bed (& he is 18 months now).

The worst thing you can do (now that you have done it once) is not stick with it - then it has all been for nothing. Stick with it for tonight and tomorrow and I promise you will see a massive improvement! Oh and there is absolutely no research that Leaving baby to cry in a short sleep training method leads to development problems - believe me I've researched!

And anyway CIO for me and my son meant a whole lot less crying than the gentler methods - so different babies sometimes need different things.

DrGarnettsEasterMixture Thu 04-Apr-13 16:16:44

Hi OP, why don't you come over to the sleep board? Lots of good advice from people going through the same thing, with different methods of helping babies to get the hang of sleeping.

Pick up put down, gradual retreat and controlled crying are all different options-just leaving a baby is called crying it out.

6 months seems like a good sort of age to be starting to think about sleep training-I hope you find a method you're happy with, as I think crying it out can be tough all round, and there are gentler ways you and baby might be a bit happier with.

lifesobeautiful Thu 04-Apr-13 08:24:23

Sorry Rockchick - yes, you're right, there is a difference between controlled crying and the crying-it-out method. I meant sleep training, which is why I put sleeping, controlled crying etc. Should have been clearer.

Rockchick1984 Thu 04-Apr-13 00:26:19

Lifesobeautiful there's a world of difference between controlled crying, and simply leaving a baby to sob alone for half an hour hmm

MajaBiene Wed 03-Apr-13 23:58:13

The OP hasn't mentioned controlled crying has she?

lifesobeautiful Wed 03-Apr-13 23:49:24

Read this advice from Mumsnet re: sleeping and various methods of controlled crying etc OP. You might get some good tips. And try not to get upset by angry comments (as the article says - CC is one of the most controversial subjects on Mumsnet).

Tons of people advocate varying methods of sleep training - many of whom are mothers as well as midwives and paediatric nurses. You haven't damaged your child. I know lots of kind, lovely, affectionate, warm and doting mothers who've used sleep training methods from as early as 6 months - and their toddlers are perfectly happy - and they sleep well!

http://www.mumsnet.com/babies/sleep-training-and-controlled-crying

BeaWheesht Wed 03-Apr-13 22:08:18

Please don't leave him again, he needs you.

MajaBiene Wed 03-Apr-13 22:07:05

Did you really leave a 6 month old to cry alone for 30 minutes? I find that really shocking to be honest!

I doubt you've caused any long term damage, babies are pretty resilient. But you have put him through a really frightening, upsetting and shocking experience. Try to see it from your little baby's position - he is utterly reliant on you and you just left him to cry until he was so exhausted he passed out with no idea where you were or if you'd come back.

Why not try something like pick-up/put-down? Even controlled crying is better than shutting the door and ignoring.

NanoNinja Wed 03-Apr-13 21:56:45

Similar situation - six mo who breast feeds to sleep. But I have been getting a bit worried about it because I want him to be able to put him down for naps in the day without feeding or rocking. For past four days have been trying gradual retreat (not retreated much yet). It's a bit tedious, but it does seem to be working slowly. Don't have the nerves for anything involving crying!

DIYandEatCake Tue 02-Apr-13 22:50:27

Dd was a dreadful sleeper at that age, for us the solution was only putting her to bed when she was tired enough to bf to sleep and transfer to cot without waking up, and then cosleeping from her first wake up. If it's any reassurance, her sleep improved and we stopped cosleeping when she was about 11mo, she also stopped bf to sleep and learned to settle herself happily, without us really doing anything. At 2 now she happily goes to bed about 8.00, sleeps through the night and wanders into our room between 7and 7.30am. Couldn't have seen that coming a year and a half ago! What I'm saying is don't worry about bad habits, do whatever keeps you all happiest for now. If that's sleep training then take a bit of time to do some reading and thinking first to get your plan straight, and go into it gently, 6mo is really too young to understand much.

allchik Tue 02-Apr-13 08:05:25

I think its a bit harsh to call you 'cruel' your obv upset by the experience and to be fair I can understand why you gave it a go.
If you look hard enough u can find research to back up and argue any point,YOU HAVE NOT DAMAGED YOUR CHILD!
You could try breaking the link more slowly,leave for a few mins but if he starts sobbing go to him,dnt pick up but stroke down his nose making soothing noises,then after a wk go to him stroking his nose but make no noise etc.It may have come as a shock to ur son,this may ease him into it?
However,you need to do what you think is best. I use this method with my dd,dnt leave her if shes sobbing,n do sometimes cuddle her to sleep too cus we both enjoy it! My sister and many of my friends have done the hardcore 'shut the door and dnt go bk' method and all children are fine,good luck x

lifesobeautiful Tue 02-Apr-13 07:41:10

Don't beat yourself up too badly - you're only trying to get some sleep which is very important for your happiness and your DS, and your bubba needs to learn to get to sleep eventually by himself too. Discussions on controlled crying on here always ignite fierce controversy....so don't take too many angry/outraged comments to heart. People anti-CC flock in angrily when anyone mentions it... Lots of people - professionals and those just desperate to get some sleep back have successfully attempted controlled crying. You haven't damaged him by doing that for one night.

If I was you I'd get a book about it - and try possibly a less strong method than crying it out. Although I do know some babies who were distracted by the return and pat type of method and did better when just left to cry a bit (and I don't mean hours of crying - I mean like 20 minutes).

I used to let my DS cry for a short while - like maybe 5/7 minutes, go in and rub his back and murmur softly to him, then leave. Then go back in, rub his back, etc. I didn't take him out of his cot unless he was really upset. And he's always been a brilliant sleeper. I just couldn't cope with the sleepless nights and not having an evening. Emotionally or physically. But I do think some parents don't seem to need as much sleep. I needed it! Good luck - and don't worry!

MrsHiddleston Tue 02-Apr-13 07:30:02

IMO far too young for cry it out. I can recommend the baby whisperer (you'll have to google), but not at 6 months.

nethunsreject Tue 02-Apr-13 07:27:47

There are much gentler ways of stopping feeding to sleep if that's what you want to do. Don't leave him to cry. If it feels wrong, there's probably a reason for that! Like above suggestion, no cry sleep solution is good. I know it's hard being sleep deprived so finding support for that will help you.

heidihole Tue 02-Apr-13 07:25:21

cry it out is much too harsh at 6months sad

yellowhousewithareddoor Tue 02-Apr-13 07:25:19

He's too young to understand why you've left him or even if you're ever coming back at that age. I night weaned at a year, but still offered comfort and now at 15months regularly sleeps through.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 02-Apr-13 07:17:40

I wouldn't leave my 2 year old to cry and cry all alone.

I think what you are doing is cruel, and yes there is evidence that it can be damaging.

Read up on the effects of raised cortisol in very young children before tonight.

I can't believe you've just taken away being fed to sleep and replaced it with nothing.

Fairylea Tue 02-Apr-13 07:13:38

Also do you have an actual dummy ?? If you give him that at the end of the feed it might help.... ?

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