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I completely ruined her sleep , how do I fix it?


14 replies to this topic

#1 PandoBox

Posted 06 May 2019 - 08:21 PM

For the first year of her life DD was a great sleeper (for a baby). Sure she woke like all babies but she always settled herself to sleep.
From around the time she's turned 12 months her sleep has gone down hill slowly. She started teething and I helped her develop a habit of needing to hold my hand to sleep. She now cannot fall asleep OR go back to sleep for any of her sleeps without holding my hand.  Tonight I thought would be a good night to try and break this habit by just SITTING by her cot and not holding her hand but she kept getting up and whinging, sticking her hands through the cot that I caved in and once again she fell asleep holding my hand.


How can I break this habit? We have plenty of other sleep cues and a great routine. How can I do it WITHOUT crying out.

#2 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 06 May 2019 - 08:26 PM

Maybe similarly to the Pantly pull off? It’s for babies used to feeding to sleep, but I seem to recall you remove the nipple (or your hand) as they are falling asleep, and over time gently break the habit.

#3 Apageintime

Posted 06 May 2019 - 09:16 PM

Sounds like a lovely way to connect and not a bad habit at all.

I bet she'll find something else when she's ready

#4 Mrs Zee

Posted 06 May 2019 - 09:23 PM

View PostApageintime, on 06 May 2019 - 09:16 PM, said:

Sounds like a lovely way to connect and not a bad habit at all.

I bet she'll find something else when she's ready

This OP. Comforting your baby however they need is not a habit that needs breaking.

#5 a letter to Elise.

Posted 06 May 2019 - 09:29 PM

Is there a reason why it concerns you? Is she wanting you to do it multiple times overnight?

Unless she’s waking constantly for you to hold her hand, I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s a sweet little way she’s connecting with you when tired, and much easier than having to rock or lay down with her! It’s very normal for them to want that kind of comfort from you.

If you are looking for gentle ways to break the habit, I highly recommend Elizabeth pantleys books.

#6 PandoBox

Posted 06 May 2019 - 09:39 PM

View Posta letter to Elise., on 06 May 2019 - 09:29 PM, said:

Is there a reason why it concerns you? Is she wanting you to do it multiple times overnight?


It concerns me because she wakes over night and she needs the comforting until she falls back asleep..each time..this can sometimes mean an hour at 2am..she will almost always wake over night at least once. I just worry that it will last for years unless I break the habit. What if its still happening when she's 5 and what if I have another baby then? She is now a toddler so I feel she should be able to fall asleep without my hand at least sometimes.

#7 Mrs Zee

Posted 06 May 2019 - 09:44 PM

View PostPandoBox, on 06 May 2019 - 09:39 PM, said:

It concerns me because she wakes over night and she needs the comforting until she falls back asleep..each time..this can sometimes mean an hour at 2am..she will almost always wake over night at least once. I just worry that it will last for years unless I break the habit. What if its still happening when she's 5 and what if I have another baby then? She is now a toddler so I feel she should be able to fall asleep without my hand at least sometimes.

You know what? Those are all big "what ifs". Yes, it's exhausting right now, but I promise you, you won't be doing this forever. A toddler is still such a baby. I have an 8 and 11 year old and it helps remind me how little my toddler really is and just how quickly it's all gone.

Even as adults we often still need some sort of comfort to fall asleep. It just shifts and changes over the years.

#8 Wonderstruck

Posted 06 May 2019 - 09:50 PM

OP. I can imagine it is hard an exhausting for you and you are well within your rights to want to work on some self settling so you can get some sleep. If the hand holding works and you're happy to do it then roll with it but if you're wanting to move away from it - that's ok too.

I would try and introduce a comforter or something she can hold. We use a jelly cat small bunny as they're easily replaced and soft.

There may be a little crying but gradually reducing the amount of hand holding and encouraging the comforter will likely get you there.

You could do a little responsive settling too which may help.

I get that people will tell you it's ok and normal but ultimately you need to balance both your needs and you will both likely be able to get more sleep once she can sleep without your hand to resettle or get to sleep.

Your local sleep school hotline will likely have some gentle methods and advice too.

Good luck :)

#9 Noodlez

Posted 06 May 2019 - 09:51 PM

It could be worse OP my DS use to fall asleep holding my hair and he would do this throughout the night when he woke (we co-slept). Holding my hair I could live with but he had a habit of getting a fairy fine strand and pulling it. I was considering sleeping with a shower cap at one point.

I am pleased to say at 8 he no longer has to pull my hair to go to sleep.

#10 Noodlez

Posted 06 May 2019 - 09:56 PM

View PostWonderstruck, on 06 May 2019 - 09:50 PM, said:


I get that people will tell you it's ok and normal but ultimately you need to balance both your needs and you will both likely be able to get more sleep once she can sleep without your hand to resettle or get to sleep.


These are very wise words and I second this 100%

#11 a letter to Elise.

Posted 06 May 2019 - 10:04 PM

Ok, I can understand why you’d want to break the habit. An hour at 2 am isn’t much fun!  

I think the pps suggestion of a comfort item might be helpful. She could start by holding your hand, and you could hold the item as well, and then gradually work on getting her to hold it instead.

Otherwise, you could try holding it til she’s sleepy, and gently move it away.

But try not to worry about the habit. I have older children too, and it’s incredibly unlikely that she’ll still be doing it at 5, even if you do nothing to change it. It feels like an eternity when you in the midst of it, but she will grow and change, and go to sleep in different ways.

#12 MissMilla

Posted 07 May 2019 - 12:50 AM

My DD did this too when she was little. I got her a small soft toy that she picked and i would first hold her hand and the leg of the soft toy together. After a week or so i managed to just sit there while she was holding the toy. Another week and i didnt have to sit anymore.
She actually only used her toy for a couple months, after that she didnt have any interest anymore.

Just saw someone already suggested this.

Edited by MissMilla, 07 May 2019 - 12:51 AM.


#13 Amica

Posted 07 May 2019 - 03:05 AM

Does she have a father that can go and hold her hand?

#14 eponee

Posted 07 May 2019 - 07:32 AM

View Post22Fruitmincepies, on 06 May 2019 - 08:26 PM, said:

Maybe similarly to the Pantly pull off? It’s for babies used to feeding to sleep, but I seem to recall you remove the nipple (or your hand) as they are falling asleep, and over time gently break the habit.

Am I the only one that read this as 'panty pull-off'  I know it's referring to Elizabeth Pantley

#15 iwanttosleepin

Posted 08 May 2019 - 11:38 AM

Does your little one have a comfort toy.  My middle child got his comfort toy as a toddler rather than a baby.  And he's still got it and he's now 10 years old.

I found that a comfort toy has been a fantastic part of his growing journey.  We've moved around the world, travelled, etc and as long as he has this toy he's happy.  Everything can change but the toy stays the same.

I must admit its not the original one as thank goodness it was easily replaceable and I think he's actually on the 10th one or so.  He knows that its not the original, but he knows the one he has now is the last one I have.  Which is a lie as I have one more which I am giving him for his 21st birthday.

My younger child who is only 4 also has a comfort thing but its a muslin sheet.  Much less cool than the toy the older child has and much stinkier.



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