Author Topic: Going to attempt Gentle Sleep Training for my 12 month old starting tonight.  (Read 1586 times)

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Offline kcmarie122

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So tonight is the night.  My LO (Josie) has been waking 1-3 times a night for awhile now.  I got into the bad habit early on that I would always nurse her when she woke at night.  I justified it because she always went right back to sleep without a peep.  Well, if she was only waking once a night I would probably just live with it until she just grew out of it.  But she's been consistently waking at least twice a night, sometimes three times a night the past 2-3 months and honestly, I'm just exhausted and want/need really, to sleep. 

So this coming week both my DH and I are off work and we've been planning for the last three weeks that this week would be the sleep training week.  I am determined to succeed but I have mixed feelings about the way we go about it.  I'm definitely NOT doing cry it out in the most traditional sense.  However, we all know that there is no sleep training with NO crying. So I was just looking for a little support as we do this. 

A little background:
-Josie can fall asleep at nap times and bedtime on her own, however, I do nurse her right before her sleeping times.  She is awake 95% of the time when I lay her down and oftentimes rolls around and plays before falling to sleep. 
-I work 12 hour shifts so when I'm working, my husband puts her to bed and he gives her a bottle then.  Again, she is always awake when he lays her down (she really doesn't like the bottle all that much but tolerates it from him.) but she falls asleep on her own.
-Josie usually sleeps from 8:30pm to 7 or 8 am.  She usually naps twice a day for about an hour or so each nap.  She usually wakes at night between 11pm and 1am, then again between 4a and 6am.
-I have tried letting her fuss a bit at night before going to her (up to 10 min) but she just gets gradually louder and louder and more upset the longer I wait. 
-a few times she has woken up only an hour or so after bedtime and I know she got enough to eat before bed so I have tried to resettle her without nursing and she just gets MAD.  Those couple times I just held her right at her crib side (no bouncing or rocking) and just waited for her to calm down.  That took at least 20-30 minutes of her screaming bloody murder in my ear until she quieted enough for me to lay her down.  Then I laid her down and she fussed a bit more but finally fell asleep.  Both times she ended up waking again after another hour and I just ended up nursing her at that point.  I'm sure this is a preview of what I can expect during this sleep training.

My doctor has said it is fine (and encouraged) to stop the night feedings at this time.  So that is the goal.

Here is her basic EAS plan but it's really more like AES (I know, I know...bad).

Wake/Nurse: 7:00
Nurse: 9:45
Sleep: 10:00-11:00
Nurse: 11:00 (not usually a long session)
Eat: 1:00pm
Nurse: 2:45pm
Sleep:  3:00-4:00pm or 4:30
Nurse: 5:00 (usually not for long)
Eat: 6:30pm
Nurse: 8:00pm
Sleep: 8:30pm

(I don't always nurse after a nap, just if I think she didn't get enough (wasn't that hungry) before her nap.)

So my plan for tonight is to completely stop all night nursing until 5:00am.  I will make sure she eats well before I lay her down for bed (maybe even offer an additional bottle to top her off.)  Then, when she wakes, I will go to her but not nurse her.  I'll just talk to her and tell her it's not time to wake up yet and that it's sleepy time.  I will play her glow seahorse (which I have been working on getting her attached to and it's going pretty well).

This is where I'm not sure what to do.  I'm not sure if I should leave the room and let her cry, possibly go in at intervals, or stay and offer verbal support while she is crying. 

Sometimes at nap time she resists briefly and will cry.  I always just play her seahorse and leave the room.  She never cries more than 2-3 minutes.  So she's used to that but I know she will be a LOT more upset because she won't have a full tummy and the comfort that comes from nursing beforehand.

I don't mind staying and just offering verbal, comforting support, but I'm not sure if it is going to prolong the crying episode and end up being harder for her in the long run.

I'm prepared to stay in there all night if I have to but I just want to do the right thing for her.  This is so hard...

Once we hit 5:00am (at least the first night) I will nurse her when she wakes up but I turn the lights on as if it is time to wake up. (I usually nurse her in a bed right in her room.)  I may just let her stay up at that point and attempt an extra nap.  I will gradually move that 5:00 am time later and later through the week.  Obviously if she ends up sleeping later on her own, I wouldn't wake her.  That 5:00 is just going to be my cutoff point as to when I will nurse her.  I just don't want it to be a "nurse and then back to bed" event because I'm trying to break her of that habit. 

Any thoughts before tonight? 

Offline lauradj

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Good for you, recognizing what needs to change.  I know you've already mentioned you're not a fan of CIO and I will also add that we will not support either CIO or CC (whereby you walk in and out of the room at longer intervals while your baby is left crying).  I wonder if it might be better to get your DH to start the sleep training, given your DD attachment to being BF back to sleep.  It also prevents you from giving in and BF if your nerves get frazzled.  Dads are often really great at starting the sleep training and it would allow him to feel like he's really contributing to your DD's development.
I've attached a few links below to help you along.  Essentially, yes, you can expect some crying the first several nights but the most important thing to remember is that you are not leaving her alone to cry, you are staying and supporting her as she learns to sleep independently.  Also, make sure you can distinguish between fussing/mantra cry and her 'I need you!' cry, as confusing the two will make the process unnecessarily challenging for everyone.
Do you have Tracy's book TBWSAYP?  She has a whole chapter on PU/PD which is incredibly detailed and covers a variety of scenarios.  I do think your LO is probably ready to begin the 2-1 transition.  The NW and the short daytime naps tell me she's likely UT for all bedtimes.  Many babies begin the transition around this time and you may find that routine change puts an end to the NW's with minimal sleep training needed.  Have a read over the links and let me know if you have any questions.  Good luck!!  ;D

Average A times- BOOKMARK ME!!
From 2 to 1 nap transition (10-12m and older)
How long will it take for PU/PD success?
PU/PD Survival Strategies ~ How NOT to give up


Offline kcmarie122

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Thank you for your feedback. It is much appreciated.  Thank you for letting me know about the forums stance on CC.  It definitely is not something I want to do.  It's just amazing how many people I have asked for advice keep telling me that staying with her the whole time is going to make it harder on her...and that's the last thing I want to do.  I know it sounds dumb but when you hear it enough you start to question yourself. 

I do have the BWSAYP book and I have read the PU/PD chapters several times (although it's been a few months...I admit).   I also read the tips I found here and from what I read, when a child is over 1, you don't really pick them up anymore.  So that's what I was planning.  Just using my voice and laying next to the crib to let her know I was there.

I'm definitely familiar with her mantra cry.  That's what she does when she fusses before a nap which is why I leave her in there alone at those times. 

As for my husband doing the first night, He is in the CC camp.  I just don't think he is going to be willing to tough it out...especially the first night. 

I will definitely think about transitioning to one nap.  I have considered that.  She was always a terrible napper (20-30 minutes) so I feel like she's napping great right now.  She goes down so easy at every nap/bedtime.  But it's good to have an outside opinion from someone who doesn't know that history to compare to.  She has done 1 nap here and there and did ok.  But I'm not sure about every day. 

The problem is...this is our time to do it.  There is not going to be another time where we have this long break from work.  So I don't think I can wait.  :(

Do you think I should try keeping her to one nap starting now, during the sleep training?

Offline kcmarie122

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So now my husband is saying he WILL do it.  His said he would support me in the way I want it done.  However, I'm still having mixed feelings.  In general he's not able to soothe her like I can....but then again, she's sorta used to that with him anyway.  He let's her cry more in general...even during the day when he's watching her.  I tend to pick her up more often when she's whining and I carry her around a lot in a baby carrier. 

He's going to be a lot more likely to just call out his "comforting" phrases and leave it at that.

So I'm conflicted...I could soothe her more but she's going to want to nurse more from me too.  Whereas that is not an option with my husband.

It's almost bedtime...argh!


Offline kcmarie122

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Well, she's down for the night.  I think I'm going to do it tonight at least.  My husband said he'd relieve me if/when I need a break.  I hope she doesn't pick tonight to wake up at 11:00 or it's going to be a LONG night.  I'm saying a prayer she doesn't wake up until 1 or 2 in the morning.

I have couch cushions next to her crib so I can lay down next to her after she realizes I'm not going to pick her up and nurse her.  I guess my voice and a calming touch will be far better than leaving her to cry all alone. 

(I also have ear plugs ready.  :-\  I already have bad hearing and she can scream REALLY loud when she wants to.)


Offline MasynSpencerElliotte

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Hope it is going okay! I would really consider shifting to one nap (or at the very least cutting one nap back to a catnap and bringing them closer together - that morning A is quite short so might be adding to the night time woes).
Heidi




Offline lauradj

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I'm glad to hear DH is on board.  Definitely comforting phrases are the way to go.  When I do PU/PD with my 16 month I do pick him up once, just once, to calm him.  After he's calm, I put him down and tell him "You're alright, you're just going to sleep.", "You're safe, Mommy/Daddy is here.  It's time to go back to sleep." for a few minutes while stroking his head.  If he remains calm, I repeat the bed time phrases, "I love you, sleep tight, I'll see you in the morning." and then I leave.  If he's still upset, I keep stroking his head until his "I need you cry" subsides, and then I tell him I'm going to stay with him for a few minutes while he settles himself and I go sit in the chair.  I count to 3-5 minutes and unless he's actually crying, I say good night and leave.  I leave because if I stay too long, he ramps up every time he looks over and sees me.  If I leave, he does his mantra cry for 2-3 minutes and then quiets down.
Don't forget that Tracy encourages each parent to have a go for 2-3 nights and then the next parent takes over for the next 2-3 nights.  That's one of the reasons I suggested DH start, so he can take the weekend shifts.  Try not to switch parents during the PU/PD because that will stimulate your DD and then the new parent will have to start all over again. 
Sometimes, poor hearing can be such blessing!  My MIL says she went steadily more deaf with each of her four children.  Fair enough! 


Offline kcmarie122

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Thank you so much for your replies.  I am definitely going to think about shifting to 1 nap.  I agree that her morning awake time is short.  But since she always goes down so easy, I figured I was putting her down at the right time, not OT or UT.  Especially since there are many times she sleeps 1.5 hours in the morning.  She does tend to have only 1 longer nap in a day though.  If she has a 1.5 hour nap in the morning, the afternoon nap is always shorter, usually 45 min to 1hr.  So maybe if we did 1 (hopefully) longer nap that would be best.

So as for last night...it went surprisingly well.  I am trying to remain logical and convince myself that tonight is probably not going to go nearly as well because she is going to realize this new "routine" is here to stay.    I know she will continue to need a lot of reinforcement of the same thing over and over again.

So she woke up at 11:30pm.  She just fussed at first and I waited.  Then once she began to escalate, I put in my earplugs and went into her room.  (Before I had laid her down at bedtime, I had put several couch cushions, a pillow and a blanket on the floor just next to her crib so that I could at least be comfortable while comforting her.  I knew that would help me keep my calm longer if I wasn't uncomfortable, aching or cold.) 

So I went into her room and knelt down, activated her glow/lullabye seahorse and told her that it was night night time and that she needed to go back to sleep.  Of course she started crying immediately once she realized I wasn't picking her up.  I laid down next to the crib and just kept talking to her when her cries would escalate into the "I need you" cry.  In between those, she went into her mantra cry and would actually pause crying every few moments.  She actually never stood or sat up thankfully.  She just continued to lay on her tummy.  She would arch up (like upward dog yoga move) and cry hard and I would talk to her.  Then she'd lay her head down, mantra cry and pause here and there.  During those mantra cry moments, I tried to be quiet.  This went on for probably an hour, I can't really say because I didn't have a clock.  There were a few moments I thought she was going to fall asleep but then she'd start back up again.  I totally kept my cool the whole time.  Having the earplugs and that comfy spot to lay REALLY helped.  Finally, she (and I) fell asleep.  I woke up at 2:30 am and all was quiet.  I don't know how long I had slept but at that point I carefully snuck out of the room.   

I went back to bed and tried to sleep since I didn't know when she'd be up again.  Around 5:05am, she woke up.  I couldn't believe she woke up right at my "cut off time" as to when I'd planned to give in, get her up for the day (to avoid the nurse and then back to sleep routine) and feed her.  I decided right then that I was NOT going to do that but was going to try and get her to go back to sleep once more.  I went to her room but as I approached I could tell she was just fussing a bit here and there.  I hesitated going in.  She actually started talking to herself a little bit so I sat outside her door for about 5 minutes thinking she'd eventually escalate but then all of a sudden, she was quiet.  I waited a few more minutes and then went back to bed.  I checked the monitor and she looked to be asleep.  She actually fell back to sleep completely on her own and slept until 7:30 in the morning!!!!  I was so happy I didn't go in her room.  I was so proud of her!! 

So I really only had 1 stretch of PD (even though I never actually had to put her down) and then she slept through on her own.  I was sooooo relieved!  I also know now that she is totally capable of sleeping through the night without eating.  So that made me feel a lot better too. Yay!

Thanks for the advice about not switching parents too frequently.  I guess I will do it again tonight for sure, maybe tomorrow too.  I never really considered switching parents right in the midst of a PD episode.  I can see how that would be bad.  But I hope tonight is not too bad.  Even if she wakes up and I have to do PD more than once, hopefully each time will be shorter than last night. 

Crossing my fingers and saying LOTS of prayers for another good night!!

Kacy

Offline lauradj

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Congratulations to both you and DD!  What a big step  :D  I think that was a good call on your part to set up the cushions on the floor.  You could do that again tonight and then over the next several nights (depending on your progress), you could begin to either a) move the cushions closer to the door, or b) move yourself to a chair and move that closer to the door.  Eventually you'll be able to leave completely.  That's also great that you hesitated before going in this morning.  DS will often 'wake' around 6 and chat to himself for a minute or two before conking out again for another 30-60 minutes.  You may very well start the new year refreshed after a full nights sleep!   


Offline Truly Blessed

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Just popping on with extra (HUGS) Honey, I fell into the same trap when DS was 10 months which is when I found BW, used PD and DS was sleeping through by night 4 :) DS was waking every 1.5 hours through the night before this, I was completely exhausted!

Well done on your progress so far!  :-* :-*
x.



Offline kcmarie122

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Thank you all so much!  I am so happy it's going so well and I can see a light at the end of the tunnel now!  I wish we could have done this a month earlier (when I reached my breaking point and we decided that sleep training needed to be done).  The anticipation of how it would go (and expecting the worst) was not fun.

Ok, so last night...

Last night went pretty well again but I do have a question about how we handled it and how we might do it a little different if the same thing happens tonight.

So we put her to bed like normal at 8:30pm.  Her first NW was at 3:30am.  When she first woke up, she was just fussing a little bit here and there.  Then she'd stop and do a little moaning thing for a few minutes.  This was VERY similar to what had happened the night before at 5:00am when she actually ended up falling back to sleep completely on her own within 10 minutes.  So obviously, I decided to wait again thinking maybe she'd go back to sleep without me going in there.

Well, she continued that pattern for much longer.  She would mantra cry for 1 minute, then stop completely for a minute.  Wiggle around and then mantra cry again and then be quiet again.  Then occasional moaning/humming (almost meditative...lol, she does it sometime when she's nursing).  Then occasional periods of silence for a few minutes.  Well, this went on for 45 minutes.  At that time, she started to escalate a little bit more but still had periods of silence.  It was almost like she was yelling for me, then waiting for me to come.  Then yelling for me, then waiting for me to come (like she was thinking, my mommy just must not be hearing me...lol!).  I finally decided to go to her just so she'd know, "yes, mommy hears you, but it's time to go back to sleep.  Obviously she did not like that message and got mad and cried much harder but only for a few minutes this time, maybe 5 minutes.  I provided the same verbal comforting/laying next to her crib, that I had done the night before and she was asleep within 10 minutes.  She did not wake up again until 8am.

So I'm wondering if I should have gone to her sooner.  Did I wait too long?  My intention wasn't to leave her up there crying alone and I honestly don't feel like she was in distress.  It really sounded like a mantra cry and/or just her being quiet.   What should I do if the same thing happens tonight?  Should I go to her sooner and then maybe do the gradual withdrawal, like was mentioned above, and keep moving the cushions farther from the crib each night?  I'm totally fine with that.  It didn't take her long to fall asleep once I got in there but that was probably partly because she had been awake for 45 minutes prior to me going in there.  How long should I let her Mantra cry before going in? 

Thanks in advance for your advice!!


Offline Truly Blessed

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Hi Hun,

My gut tells me (and obviously I could be wrong!) that she was really sleepy but occasionally shouting because she felt she should, out of habit almost, because this is new and she's figuring it out in her head. I think I would have done the same thing, if she wasn't sounding upset, then IMHO you did the right thing in waiting it out. If there is a possibility that you can stay out of the room I think it may be wise to do so, unless you feel she needs you. GW is wonderful and if it's necessary, great, I am a big fan, but trust your instincts, they're your best tool :)

We'll see what the others have to say no doubt, lots of words of wisdom coming your way.

Good Luck for tonight x.



Offline lauradj

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I agree ^^^ you did the right thing by waiting.  After 45 minutes I likely would have gone in as well, though if you don't need to tonight, fantastic!


Offline kcmarie122

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Hmmm...I tried to post earlier but when I came back, I see it didn't go through. 

She did it!  She slept through the night all by herself.  I put her down at 8:30 pm and she woke up at 7:30am.  Not a peep in between! Wow!  I can't believe that.  I know it is not necessarily going to be like that every night from now on but at least now I know how to handle the wake-ups and I know she can do it.  Hopefully we can all stay healthy for awhile to avoid confusing things again. 

Thank you all so much for your help.  It was so helpful knowing I could come here with questions!!! 

Thank you!!!!
Kacy and Josie! (and our whole family really)

Offline MasynSpencerElliotte

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Yay! Awesome update...yeah things will go off the rails unfortunately but nice to have a good plan for how to ride stuff out.
Heidi