Author Topic: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?  (Read 1018 times)

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Offline cath~

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SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« on: November 15, 2011, 10:52:51 am »
Hello,

I've read the FAQ on SA in toddlers and it all sounds like really sensible and good advice but then when I try to apply it to bedtime with my 13mo I am unsure whether I am providing enough/too much reassurance or if I am developing a bad habit.

I went back to work at the start of September (about 2.5 months ago), 3 days/week, and over the last month DD has become increasingly attached/clingy to me - I think she is very worried about me leaving her.  For example, she does not like it when I pass her to DH (but is fine if she chooses to go to him and he picks her up) and gets upset when I go to have a shower in the morning.  Oddly, she is fine when I actually leave the house in the morning and waves me off quite cheerily.

Anyway, at bedtime she goes down fine for DH (he does the bedtime routine, ending with a story and sings twinkle twinkle little star, puts her down in her cot, leaves the room and that's it, she falls asleep quietly on her own).  However, when I put her down, she starts whining.  I leave her for a bit but when it escalates (usually after a minute or so) I go back in, lie her down (she is almost always standing), put a hand on her legs and say 'sleepy time, mummy loves you'.  This pretty much always quietens her straight away and I leave the room immediately (or within 10 seconds max if she takes a few secs to stop whining/crying).  However, she starts whining again almost immediately so we repeat the whole thing (I wait a bit, wi, pd, wo..).  This usually happens several times before, after about 15-20 mins, she is quiet and falls asleep.  I am finding it really frustrating, especially when I know how well she goes down for DH!

Really, my question is, do you think I am allowing her to manipulate me by responding too soon to her 'whines'? She doesn't do this to anyone else (but then, she wasn't 'attached' to anyone else like she was to me before I went back to work).  Or, on the other hand, should I respond sooner to her whines, before they escalate?  She is clearly worried at the moment about me leaving her so I want to reassure her but at the same time I don't want her learning to manipulate me.

I'm finding it really hard to figure out how much comfort is enough and how much is too much.  I don't want to make things worse by not providing enough reassurance.

Is it OK to go in to her more often (i.e. when she has been whining for a while but not actually crying) provided I just wi, pd, wo and don't hang around, or should I try letting her whine/cry a little longer to see if she settles herself?  I guess I only let her whine/cry for around 2 mins max before I go in.  It feels like ages when I'm waiting outside her room but does this sound like too long/not long enough to you?

Thanks for reading this (I know I get a tad waffly and repetitive when asking a qn - sorry!)

Any advice, or just btdt reassurance that I'm doing the right thing and that things will improve would really be appreciated!

TIA
DD1 - 8 years old
DD2 - 5 years old

Offline Roseii

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Re: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2011, 11:01:18 am »
Hi there Cath :)

Def sounds like a touch of SA. Perhaps you could do a slightly longer WD with her?
We generally say if they are just whining/mantra crying you don't need to go in too quickly, it's the desperate/I need you cries that need a quicker response. Having said that I'm sure you're worried she will escalate if you don't respond quickly? (This is always my worry anyway!)

You're absolutely doing the right thing by WI (I didn't even PD but she is still young so that's your call) "sleepy phrase" WO, don't hang around, even if she is still whining, the idea is she knows you're there, not that you "settle" her as such everytime kwim?
Blessed mum to two home-birthed darling water babies

hey you with the pretty face, welcome to the human race


Offline cath~

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Re: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2011, 13:34:51 pm »
Thanks very much for your reply Charli - it's good to know I'm going about it in generally the right way.  I will def bear in mind what you said about me not actually 'settling' her as such and will just leave straight away each time (unless genuinely upset of course!).

Will try giving her a bit longer when she's whining too and wait for 'proper' crying before I go in.  She always calms v quickly when I do go in anyway.

I might try without the pd too, but I'm not sure she'd lie down on her own, although I guess she would eventually so maybe I'll go for it as it would be good in the long run even if things take a bit longer to start with...

Thanks for the encouragement.  SA is such a frustrating stage!  I can't wait til it's over... (and we have the next challenge to face!).
DD1 - 8 years old
DD2 - 5 years old

Offline Roseii

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Re: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2011, 14:38:19 pm »
heehee yes, feels like there's always something ;) Don't feel like you HAVE to wait for the proper crying, just try and judge whether the whining is actually going to escalate or not.
Blessed mum to two home-birthed darling water babies

hey you with the pretty face, welcome to the human race


Offline We Three

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Re: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2011, 15:04:29 pm »
Does your dd have a lovey/blankie/special comfort item?  I found with dd that once she became attached to her lovey, she might whine or protest a bit, but then grab her lovey and re-settle herself.   Might be worth making a lovey part of your WD? 

Offline cath~

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Re: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2011, 19:11:43 pm »
Right, so I was all set to apply these suggestions to bedtime this evening and she went to straight to sleep on her own!!  One short whiney-cry as I left the room, another small one when I creaked on a floorboard outside her room and she settled herself straight to sleep!  I think that's probably the fourth time ever she's done that for me (we call it 'drop and run' in our house)! 

She did seem really sleepy though as I was reading her story so I'm sure that helped.  (I'm not surprised she was tired, she was up at 4.15 am screaming this morning and only got another 30 mins sleep after that before breakfast!)

Anyway, long may this kind of bedtime continue!  However, assuming it doesn't I will def be applying you suggestions.

Amelia - thanks for suggesting the lovey too.  It's something I've tried to introduce before but she's never taken to it.  It (a cloth bear thing) is always in her cot (along with a few other soft toys) but she hasn't adopted it or anything else by herself.  I did try for quite a while (a few months ago) to hold it between her and me before I put her down and when comforting her but she would usually grab it and throw it on the floor so I gave up.  I might see if I have any luck introducing it at story time before bed, but I have a feeling it will end up on the floor again...  I would love her to adopt something she can comfort herself with though, although it's hard to imagine her snuggling up to something and calming herself - it's just not her style!  She never even snuggles up to me or DH for comfort and never falls asleep on us.
DD1 - 8 years old
DD2 - 5 years old

Offline cath~

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Re: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 12:38:09 pm »
Just had to post an update because it was quite funny...

I just put L down for her nap and thought I would try and involve her 'lovey' as part of the wind-down. 

Part of her nap routine is that after I put her in her sleeping bag, I pick her up and we go to the window and sing "twinkle twinkle little star" a couple of times, then I put her down in her cot.  So, I thought I'd hold the lovey close to us whilst singing the song and then put them both down together.  But, as soon as I picked up the lovey she started laughing hysterically!  ::) She then grabbed it and threw it on the floor - more laughing!

Needless to say, our 'wind-down' wasn't that calming today (and she took a bit longer than usual to settle to sleep afterwards).

I did say 'K [her lovey] wants to hear the song too because he wants to nap with you', but that didn't make any difference..  :P

I had to wiwo a couple of times before she was asleep and at once point I did notice that the was holding and kind of stroking the ear of her sheep between her thumb and finger, so perhaps I will try involving the sheep for tonight's winddown and see if she can form an attachment to that instead.  The thing that is 'supposed' to be a lovey she doesn't really seem that interested in at all, just finds it funny!
DD1 - 8 years old
DD2 - 5 years old

Offline We Three

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Re: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2011, 14:26:20 pm »
LOL....just go with it...if she is developing an attachment to anything at all, then so be it!  Is her lovey funny looking?   ;D   ;)   Go with the sheep then!   :)   Maybe during wd, you could snuggle her and both of you rub his ear...and when you do wi/wo, try placing the sheep in her hand when you lay her down. 

Offline cath~

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Re: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2011, 08:53:15 am »
Amelia - no, her lovey isn't really funny looking at all.  She's been finding the oddest things funny this week though ::) (I have no idea why!) so perhaps she's just in a giggly mood atm...

Going to try the sheep tonight.

Big success at bedtime last night though - another 'drop and run' and I didn't have to go back in at all.  Seems that by the time I asked for help she was just turning a corner (touch wood) anyway!
DD1 - 8 years old
DD2 - 5 years old

Offline Roseii

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Re: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2011, 22:23:26 pm »
Seems that by the time I asked for help she was just turning a corner (touch wood) anyway!

Sometimes I tell DH "right this is it, we need to get firm tonight, stick to wiwo or whatever" and it's like the LO hears me and sleeps well that night!! Glad you're getting on well :)
Blessed mum to two home-birthed darling water babies

hey you with the pretty face, welcome to the human race


Offline cath~

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Re: SA at bedtime: how much reassurance is enough/too much?
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2011, 08:13:25 am »
Thanks Charli.  So far so good...
DD1 - 8 years old
DD2 - 5 years old