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How to teach bub to self settle? ..
Without letting them cry out


30 replies to this topic

#1 newbubz

Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:11 PM

My LO is 6 months old this week and has never self settled to sleep. He always falls asleep on the breast after/during a feed at night time and I always have to hold him to sleep for day sleeps and then transfer him to the cot.

I read over and over again that you should put bub to bed awake so they learn to fall asleep unaided and I would love to do this but my DH works night shift so sleeps til 10pm before work so I can't just let bub cry to get used to going to sleep on his own. I have tried over the months putting him to bed awake and then patting him, sing to him, create a routine at bed time etc but he just won't self settle to sleep (cries, arches his back, twists and turns etc).

Any suggestions? I just don't know how to go about sleep 'training' him without a lot of crying involved!

#2 Dionysus

Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:18 PM

Are you happy doing what you are doing? Cuddling, feeding to sleep? If yes, then just continue.

I had a set sleep routine for dd in that it was always bath, book, boob/bottle, lullabies and bed. I fed to sleep if needed, rocked, cuddled, patted - whatever it took. But, did keep as much of the routine the same as possible.

By 12 months, she had dropped to one nap per day of about 3 hours and slept 7:30 - 7:00. Self-settled for every sleep. She is now 2.5 yrs and a brilliant sleeper - still naps.

Feeding to sleep did not create bad habits and, in fact, I miss those sleepy cuddles!

#3 *mylittleprince*

Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:21 PM

I like the hands on settling method. Are you still swaddling? I would wrap bub, put him down and then pat and ssh for say a minute or two. Leave for a little while and come back and pat and sshh. It's not like controlled crying where you leave them for a certain amount of time. It is important to respond to his needs and you can do this by listening to the type of cry. e.g. moaning verse hysterical.

These might be useful:

http://www.tresillian.net/tresillian-tips/...-12-months.html

http://www.tresillian.net/tresillian-tips/...-14-months.html

Good luck/

#4 newbubz

Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for those quick responses original.gif The thing I'm most over is the 2 to 3 hourly feeds throughout the night but that's a seperate issue!

We have a similar bedtime routine as you Mel, but does always end up feeding to sleep at around 7pm.

Appreciate those links MLP. He was always swaddled til 4.5 months in the bassinete but since moving him to the cot I've only tried to swaddle twice but he's houdini and escaped as he's just too big now.


#5 carolinej

Posted 04 March 2012 - 11:19 PM

I don't think there is a way to break those habits without some protesting/crying involved.  If you are consistant and stick with it, you should have the habits changed in a few days.  Can DH just use earplugs until then?  The protesting might only last 10 minutes or so anyway.

#6 katevin

Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:09 PM

I recently went for a day stay at Tweddle (sleep school in Vic) and typed up a copy of their settling techniques...if you'd like a copy I can email it to you, as I think it'd be far too long to post.

Just shoot me a PM if you're interested original.gif

P.S. As a PP said, I don't think there is any way of teaching bub a new habit without some crying involved though sad.gif

#7 bikingbubs

Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:17 PM

I didnt 'teach' my DS to self settle, he just started doing it.  I was quite happy feeding him to sleep/back to sleep when required then one day he changed! I kind of had a feeling I could just leave him so I tried it, and he proved that mummy insinct is very accurate! original.gif This was at around 6/7 months old...

#8 Molly Joyce

Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:56 PM

Tranquil Baby is a fantastic sleep school in your own home.  Very flexible with their routines. [website address removed by Mod]

#9 luey08

Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:46 PM

I want to Torrens house sleep school in Adelaide and they use a single bed sheet to wrap them.  



#10 ~A Poetic Winter~

Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:53 PM

QUOTE (bikingbubs @ 05/03/2012, 01:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I didnt 'teach' my DS to self settle, he just started doing it.  I was quite happy feeding him to sleep/back to sleep when required then one day he changed! I kind of had a feeling I could just leave him so I tried it, and he proved that mummy insinct is very accurate! original.gif This was at around 6/7 months old...


tthumbs.gif

Eventually they sort themselves out and go off to sleep without your help original.gif

The night feeds thing, can you co-sleep so he can feed when he wants to without too much disturbance to yourself?

#11 AryaStar

Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:12 PM

Honestly, I would never try and teach my baby to self-settle because a book told me I should. And I don't say that to be mean I say that as a parent of a baby that did not do anything according to what the books told me he "should" be doing.

All it did was frustrate me even more, upset him because I wasn't meeting his needs and made me feel like I was doing something "wrong". It can become a vicious cycle with lots of misery and tears for both.

The most liberating day for me was the day I decided I wasn't going to pay those books heed anymore. I started just doing what my baby responded best to and what worked for us. For us it was lots of rocking and feeding to sleep. At times I despaired that I would be rocking him to sleep when he was 18.

He did eventually sort himself out. Forget all the talk of "bad habits" and "creating a rod for you own back". Your baby may simply not be ready for it just yet. I'm not a fan of extreme methods unless extreme circumstances call for it  original.gif  

The night feedings are a pain I know but that frequency is not excessive or unusual for a six month old. Sleep disturbances and frequent night wakings are very common at that stage for developmental reasons. I see lots of sleep-related threads on EB and they seem to peak around the 4 - 7 month mark.

Edited by Shady Lane, 07 March 2012 - 01:15 PM.


#12 Guest_senecio_*

Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:50 AM

Shady Lane, love your post!  original.gif  

OP, I agree with the PPs who have said if you're not unhappy with what you're doing, don't change it just because some books tell you that what you're doing is wrong. Instead, I'd recommend Dr William Sears' books 'Nighttime Parenting' and 'Attachment Parenting'. When I was getting all stressed out because the books told me I was doing things wrong, William Sears reassured me that I was actually doing everything right. To paraphrase Sears: 'Since when has feeding a baby to sleep been a sin?'

Once I decided that all the 'other books' were wrong and stopped worrying about what I 'should' be doing, things became a whole lot easier.

If you are genuinely unhappy with the situation (and not just because of what the books say), however, then my advice is redundant!

#13 carolinej

Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:41 AM

I don't understand why people would want to feed/pat/rock/drive  their baby to sleep.  What is so wrong with putting a baby to bed awake (fed, cuddled) so they drift off to sleep themselves?  The only thing I did with my babies was make sure they were awake when I put them down.  They then didn't need me to "get them to sleep" and have been perfect sleepers since birth to now.

As far as I can see, the problems arise when a baby has been aided to sleep, and the parent can't take it any more. I can understand that, as the baby will cry for the patting/rocking/feeding to sleep, and no parent wants their baby to cry.

So why do it in the first place?


#14 TotesAmazeballs

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:01 AM

Yes because it is just that simple carolinej.
Majority of babies will not just go to sleep on their own from the get go. So parents do what they can in the meantime. Good for you that your babies didn't need anything, but that isn't how it is for most people.


#15 carolinej

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:06 AM

QUOTE (KittyMoggyAlleycat @ 10/03/2012, 12:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes because it is just that simple carolinej.
Majority of babies will not just go to sleep on their own from the get go. So parents do what they can in the meantime. Good for you that your babies didn't need anything, but that isn't how it is for most people.


But it's not just me.  It was the same for my sister's 3 kids, and my entire mother's group who had first babies they were still rocking to sleep at 18m followed this tip for their second babies- and they all slept perfectly.  I can't tell you exactly how many people I am basing this on, but it would definitely be over 20.  That's not to say I think there are not other issues that mean the odd time a baby needs a pat or more cuddles to settle, just that if you do it ALL the time, that's what the baby will come to need in order to sleep.

#16 Lakey

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:15 AM

Caroline, our first child was absolutely perfect, put her to bed awake every time and she put herself to sleep anywhere, would fall asleep in pram, at weddings, strange bed etc.

We did absolutely nothing different for our 2nd child, he is 6 m/o and is only just learning how to self settle now.  For the first 4 months of his life he screamed and cried, would only sleep one sleep cycle at a time, everything medical was ruled out, it was his temperament.  

We have just taken his dummy away to see if that will help him sleep at night, what do you suggest when he screams and arches and has tears running down his face, rubbing his eyes so i know he's tired?  I can pat him, sshhh him, sing till I'm blue in the face, he will not calm down.  I cannot watch him like this, i have to pick him up and comfort him.  But i do want him to learn to self settle, catch 22...


#17 Chillax

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:37 AM

QUOTE (carolinej @ 10/03/2012, 10:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't understand why people would want to feed/pat/rock/drive  their baby to sleep.  What is so wrong with putting a baby to bed awake (fed, cuddled) so they drift off to sleep themselves?  The only thing I did with my babies was make sure they were awake when I put them down.  They then didn't need me to "get them to sleep" and have been perfect sleepers since birth to now.

As far as I can see, the problems arise when a baby has been aided to sleep, and the parent can't take it any more. I can understand that, as the baby will cry for the patting/rocking/feeding to sleep, and no parent wants their baby to cry.

So why do it in the first place?


Sorry, but  laugh.gif

It's easy to think it's something you've just done "right" when it all goes that well. All of my kids are so different and I can assure you it's not anything ive done differently. Sone kids self-settle easily. Some don't.

I couldn't agree with all of Shady's post more. An absolute gem and some stellar advice for you OP.

#18 trishalishous

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:51 AM

my ' perfect sleeper' likes to be cuddled to sleep sometimes still.
i figure they are little for such a short time, i want as many cuddles as i can get!
like PP i think self settling is a skill they learn when ready.

#19 Lucretia Borgia

Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:11 PM

I too agree with Shady Lane, and also so much depends on the personality of the individual child....my new born lulled me into a false sense of security in hospital by being incredibly easy to get to sleep...he would happily lie awake in his hospital cot then drift off to sleep....i thought i had one of those so called "perfect" sleepers...however that has stopped now and he does require some assistance, some days/nights more than others....the one time I did leave him in his cot to grizzle and "cry it out" for a bit I regretted it because the crying got more hysterical, I eventually picked him up and he let out a massive burp! Guess there is a reason why we do all that rocking and patting after all. Do what you feel is right OP...My first son was incredibly hard to get to sleep and required some high maintenance settling but he is now a perfect sleeper and has been that way since he was around 8 months....so it will pass....

#20 kissy10

Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:16 PM

QUOTE (carolinej @ 10/03/2012, 11:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't understand why people would want to feed/pat/rock/drive  their baby to sleep.  What is so wrong with putting a baby to bed awake (fed, cuddled) so they drift off to sleep themselves?  The only thing I did with my babies was make sure they were awake when I put them down.  They then didn't need me to "get them to sleep" and have been perfect sleepers since birth to now.

As far as I can see, the problems arise when a baby has been aided to sleep, and the parent can't take it any more. I can understand that, as the baby will cry for the patting/rocking/feeding to sleep, and no parent wants their baby to cry.

So why do it in the first place?


Do you want a medal? They sleep because you are the perfect parent rolleyes.gif





#21 TotesAmazeballs

Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:18 PM

QUOTE (carolinej @ 10/03/2012, 12:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But it's not just me.  It was the same for my sister's 3 kids, and my entire mother's group who had first babies they were still rocking to sleep at 18m followed this tip for their second babies- and they all slept perfectly.  I can't tell you exactly how many people I am basing this on, but it would definitely be over 20.  That's not to say I think there are not other issues that mean the odd time a baby needs a pat or more cuddles to settle, just that if you do it ALL the time, that's what the baby will come to need in order to sleep.


Well I am yet to meet one baby who has self settled from the get go. And I know A LOT of babies.
Step out of your little bubble for one second and realise that these parents are not doing anything wrong. They are doing whatever they can to get their baby to sleep.

#22 Jenflea

Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:42 PM

My Paed told us to wrap the baby and put her in the cot and let her drift off to sleep.
YEAH RIGHT!!
She just screamed and screamed.

Your baby has been in your  womb being lulled to sleep by the movement of your body. I don't see how you can expect them to suddenly stop that as soon as they come out into this world of loud sounds, lights and stimulation.
My daughter needed to be rocked and fed  to sleep for months, then she gradually grew out of that and around 17 months(when she started sleeping till 4 or 5 AM before waking) she started being able to be put in the cot drowsy, but nearly asleep and I sit with her until she falls asleep.

At 21 months(a few weeks ago) she was able to drift off by herself with me popping in and out of the room if she started whinging.

Of course, now her night sleeps are fine, her day nap has turned to CR*P!!! Waking after 25 minutes and needing to be resettled to get the proper sleep she needs still.

#23 meggs1

Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:02 PM

QUOTE (carolinej @ 10/03/2012, 11:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't understand why people would want to feed/pat/rock/drive  their baby to sleep.  What is so wrong with putting a baby to bed awake (fed, cuddled) so they drift off to sleep themselves?  The only thing I did with my babies was make sure they were awake when I put them down.  They then didn't need me to "get them to sleep" and have been perfect sleepers since birth to now.

As far as I can see, the problems arise when a baby has been aided to sleep, and the parent can't take it any more. I can understand that, as the baby will cry for the patting/rocking/feeding to sleep, and no parent wants their baby to cry.

So why do it in the first place?


Because some babies don't "drift off" der.   They scream and scream and scream from the get go.  Babies are different.    Just like some adults need to read in bed or listen to the radio or whatever and some just "drift off".

#24 carolinej

Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:16 PM

I guess it's just a fluke then, that everyone I know who didn't aide their kids to sleep settles well 99% of the time.  We are all just very lucky I guess  original.gif

The baby that arches its back and can't settle (and everything medical has been ruled out), sounds overtired.

#25 Ingrid the Swan

Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:18 PM

OP, we are trying a modified version of this at the moment: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/cam...tml/context/613

DD already settled quite well by patting, but the waking at night was taking a huge amount of time to settle and both DP and I were struggling.

By modified I mean that instead of having a quiet room, I sing softly to myself while in with her. DD always responded really well to my singing - as a newborn, not much else could get her to sleep at night.

She's taken to it really well so far - but then, we are only two days into settling without patting. She grizles a bit but we do pick her up if she gets distressed - it's only happened once so far. It's meaning that, for the first wake overnight, I can just sing a little and she's asleep within 5 minutes again (not the half hour plus it was taking to feed and pat). The second wake at 5-6am it's not working as well and we need to feed her - but considering we'd had almost uninterrupted sleep before that second wake, it feels so much better.



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