Sleep Training?

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Ever since bub was born I’ve loved holding him in my arms as any Mum does. But I became susceptible to the two big no no’s: feeding him to sleep and holding him while he slept. Friends would berate me for this saying it would cause problems for him later but I didn’t care. Bub hated going in the cot and I couldn’t bear to hear him cry so I would hold him in my arms and feed him until he fell asleep.

Now he is nearly 7 months, over 9kg and a habit has formed. Bub and I are co-sleeping, safely of course. My husband is in the spare room during the week and I am absolutely exhausted from holding bub during the night. Supernanny we have a problem!
I’m so confused with all the sleep stuff and Google is a minefield! What is the right thing to do? I cannot bear the thought of controlled crying but is this the only option? So many books say their techniques aren’t controlled crying but that is exactly what it is. I have heard various reports that this is damaging for the child in the long run and I know there are two sides to this argument so what is the answer? As a new Mum I’m at a complete loss as to what to do so I got a referral from my Doc and head over to Tresillian day-stay with much trepidation.

On arrival there is a Mum in the reception area with a quilt/doona, 2 kids and a look that says, ‘don’t f**k with me!’ I am taken to a lounge area where three other Mums are sitting silently. We are collectively thinking ‘What are we doing here?’ One mum leaves early exclaiming ‘This isn’t for me!’ I am led away by a nurse to an office and go through tedious paperwork. Then I am given new techniques to settle bub. The information is delivered in a caring way with no judgement at all. We discuss some of the methods I have come across in my google travels and the nurse reiterates my fears that some methods of controlled crying are indeed harmful for the baby which will become evident in later years.

With any new routine though there is an element of crying and the nurse showed me the different levels when bub was ready to go for a nap. I was told to try and resist the urge to pick him up at the slightest grizzle. During the whole process I was told to cuddle him, comfort him and stroke him when he became distressed. Bub needs to learn to settle himself and me jumping to pick him up at every cry is not giving him the opportunity to do so. After half an hour of me going in and out of the room where bub was in his cot, cuddling him and soothing him he fell asleep. This is a first for me as he never sleeps in the cot at home during the day. Admittedly this victory was short because he woke after 20mins but it was a start. During the whole time I was there the nurse kept saying to me that Tresillian is just there to advise and it’s up to me in the end. She also said that people contact Tresillian as a last resort and she didn’t think I was ready yet, like the woman in reception I presume.

In all honesty I don’t think I am either. As soon as I got home it was a different story and when bub started crying I folded. I find the whole process extremely difficult. Even though I am sleep deprived I am enjoying co-sleeping and having him near me. I am not ready to let him sleep in his own room as advised. I love having him sleep in my arms and watching him all snug and content. At the end of the day he’s just a little baby who wants his Mum. I know there are lots of Mums out there who are great at sleep training but I’m not one of them. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I am never going to have a full night’s sleep and I’m ok with that for now. Check in on me in a month!

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30 Comments

  • Cassandra says:

    At the end of the day, you can only do what makes you and bub happy… I can’t see the point in pulling your hair out if something you’re doing doesn’t feel right.
    My daughter is almost 15 months now.. we co-sleep & breastfeed too. Most nights Daddy gets kicked out of bed by Hannah and ends up in the spare bed in our granny flat! The only downside to this is that it’s taking a while to make baby number three!!! hehehe!

  • Thank you so much for your comment. It’s made me feel much better. There are so many different views and you’re right it’s just about what makes us happy! Good luck with No.3! ;-)x

  • Penny says:

    Just go with your gut. That’s all you can do honey. I honestly don’t think children turn into spoilt brats if they get their mummy every sleep and I don’t believe kids that were control cried grow up to be murders. I think you have to do what’s best for you and your baby. XX

  • Exactly right! Thanks for the comment and support.

  • Pink Ronnie says:

    One of my early childhood nurses said something that’s so true: If it’s not a problem for you, then it’s not a problem.
    Ronnie xo

  • Love that! Thank you x

  • She sounds like a very wise woman, to realise you weren’t ready yet. 🙂

    I demand fed and co slept with the first two, but did it differently with the second two, and it made the world of difference. I enjoyed having kids that could settle themselves and learn to sleep through early on.
    But you need to do what works for you, because if you don’t beleive in it, it will be halfhearted and that is no good for any of you. Whatever you do in parenting, consistency is key. Xxx

  • Thanks Jess, much appreciated. I am loving the IBOT experience and all the support. x

  • Whatever you do, you are doing it as the best mum you know how to be. Unless you want to change his sleeping patterns then it’s this way you want. I offer no further advice..seems like you “may” have had enough.
    Good sleeping.. Denyse
    From #TeamIbot Lovely to visit you here.

  • Thank you so much, I’m loving #TeamIbot. I’ll come and visit you too!

  • Erin says:

    Well done for being brave enough to do what is right for you! I found it hard as a first-time mum to ignore the “experts” & do what was best for our family (took me until my first son was about 7 months to feel comfortable with my decisions).

  • Thanks Erin, it is difficult knowing the right thing to do at times. We can only do our best. x

  • jean + amy says:

    Thanks for sharing, Mama Stylista! I completely agree with Denyse’s comment! Best of luck, and thank you for reading! 🙂

  • Naomi says:

    I agree with Denyse too, just enjoy these amazing moments!

    p.s cute pic 🙂

  • Its hard isn’t it. I did the same as you for awhile and it bit me in the backside. He would want to be fed back to sleep when he lightly stirred on the hour! I resorted to some controlled ‘comforting’ as they say. I hated every minute of it but it has worked. In saying that, he is nearly twelve months old and he has never once slept through. He wakes at about 11.30 for a feed and often one other time, tends to be either 3am or 5.30am. I would like just ONE full nights sleep! I wish you all the best with it – you certainly have one beautiful baby! Thanks for linking up with Twinkle in the Eye and Flash Blog Friday 🙂

  • Thanks for your comment Bree.It is getting more difficult I must admit. Much as I love co-sleeping I think it’s making him wake more in the night. I have to feed him back to sleep quite often. Might have to bite the bullet! Thanks for the opportunity to link up! x

  • gretchen9449 says:

    I have 2 children, boy 11 and girl 20. When my daughter was born, the controlled crying method was all the rage thanks to Dr Christopher Green’s Toddler Taming book (for mums of babies 0-4 yrs).
    But, like you, as a new mother I was unable to stand outside my baby’s room hearing those cries, so I’d end up going in and holding, walking, and comforting her. Somehow we worked things out eventually with a combination of holding, comforting and letting her cry, just maybe not as long as the experts were saying.
    With my son, before 6 months old and still being breast fed, I’d let him fall asleep in my arms, but after 6 months old came the time to teach him how to sleep in his cot.
    I would lay him down in the cot after his feed, (bath, playtime on the mat, etc), turn on the clown mobile above the cot, kiss him, say goodnight, he’d cry of course, but after about 10 mins he’d end up just watching the mobile, and the eyes would get heavy and voila! asleep, not every time of course, but this was the bedtime routine I was establishing for him to settle.
    20 minutes crying was the usual with him until he nodded off. The cries start out intensely but become further and further spaced apart as baby’s tired (and crying makes him/her even more tired) so he or she will eventually fall asleep quite exhausted from it all.
    Continuously going in to settle them just upsets them more, that’s sad for them seeing mum leave so many times.
    As long as the baby’s just crying it out because he/she’s tired and needs a sleep, and its not a distress cry, all should be ok, the baby will settle in the cot, and you’ll get some important time-out for yourself, even if that’s just long enough to have a cup of tea, that can help!
    If the baby does wake up 20 mins into the sleep, or perhaps 45 mins later (i.e. 1 sleep cycle) and you think they need to sleep longer, don’t go in straight away, just wait 5 minutes or so to see if the cries develop, because sometimes the baby just may put him or herself back to sleep, and that will then be a deep, regenerating sleep. Good luck!

  • nminogue says:

    Hello mama stylista. Love your blog by the way! As the mother of a three month old baby boy, I can definitely empathize with your situation when it comes to settling my son at night. I am also ‘guilty’ of the co- sleeping dependency syndrome, and will nurse my baby back to sleep at the slightest stir. I’m a real believer in following whatever works for the family is the best plan of action to follow, and not feeling the need to conform to the latest baby psycho babble. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with a routine…for me it is about discovering the balance between conformity and ‘rebellion’. I’m still figuring that out. In the meantime, I’m happy feeling that closeness to my baby for as long as I can!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Mama! Finally made it back – my first comment didn’t publish so will try again 🙂
    Firstly, your little man is adorable, I can see why it’s hard to leave his side! It’s great to read the above comments, and receive support from other mums, I think this is really important for us as we come from the same planet!
    My first born is now 5. He also had trouble falling & staying asleep. We ended up co-sleeping (safely) with him. He now falls asleep without us (but with his favorite toy) and has turned out just fine.
    The second baby is now 5 and a half months, for the first 3 months I held him for the day sleeps as he just wouldn’t stay asleep in his bassinet or cot for longer than half an hour. By 6pm at night he would scream the house down as he was over tired. So I kept holding him to avoid the 6pm meltdown. Then at 4 months, we gave it another whirl. Day sleeps were great – this then undone the night sleep pattern! He woke up every two hours (on the dot) for 4 weeks straight. Needless to say it has been an exhausting time. Once he hit 5 months, his day and night sleeps improved after trying, trying and trying again! We take it day by day.
    I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here. Nobody is in your exact situation but you. You are an amazing loving mum, and you are doing a great job. If something works for you, I say do it. Trust your heart. They are only this little for such a small period if time – I blinked and my baby was 5. Although I am tired and not looking my best, I am cherishing every moment, each time he does wake up (even at 2am) I give him the biggest cuddles and kisses because one day, he wont need me so much anymore.
    Best wishes & hugs, Dorz x

  • gretchen9449 says:

    I’m noticing that a trend of today is co-sleeping, and a point is made that it is “safely”. Baby sleeping in the big bed with mum and dad…. hmmm I do wonder how baby will ever learn to sleep in their own space. Sometimes this kind of thing is done more for mum’s convenience for nightly breast feeds etc., but perhaps baby’s needs should come first.
    Having the bassinet in the main bedroom with mum and dad is good for the first 3 months, but I found hubby was rather insistent that it end after awhile. Couples do need time to themselves.

  • Michelle Izzy says:

    Awww you can’t look at that photo and not smile! Gorgeous 🙂

  • Jackie K says:

    I hear you – this was a bit like me. I ended up taking my twins to “sleep school” and it did help a lot. It wasn’t a magic bullet, but they did give me some good tips and plenty of comfort and encouragement.
    Babies aren’t computers that you can program, so never believe any one or any program who claims they can all be “trained”. That place you went to sounds good.

    Also you have to work to your own comfort level. Like you I enjoyed comforting my babies and I also didn’t like the really really strict to-the-minute routines, so I knew that the downside of that was I would put up with more crying/sleep problems than someone else who adopted a very strict routine. You have to do what YOU’RE happy with – and a sleep school can help you work that out and give you some perspective and confidence.
    I hope it worked out for you all!

  • Such a cutie!

    Seriously, figuring out sleeps the hardest possible part about a baby I reckon. We have tried all different things with Mia, but in the end we have just been lucky that she seems to mostly have figured it out by herself. She puts herself to sleep now at night, but she just suddenly started doing it one night, before then she would cry and cry, even with me holding her. I still can’t get her to go to sleep during the day though without sitting on the rocker with her till she nods off, and then comes the heart-stopping moment of putting her in the cot and hoping she stays asleep, but I’m not too worried, everything will work itself out in the end I figure.

    I hope things are looking up for you a little now and you’ve found what works best for you.

    P.S. I am still loving my iPad, it’s the bestest!

  • So cute! I also did all the wrong things with my second daughter. She’s normal now, so it didn’t do any long term damage. Rachel xx

  • katepickle says:

    If it helps… I co-slept with my twins for the first 18 months of their lives (sometimes in bed with me, sometimes sharing a cot next to our bed) and when we moved house they moved to their own room and have slept there ever since, no problems… they are almost 9 now.

    So I really think you just have to find a way that works for you. A way that gets you the most sleep and if that is sleeping with your baby then so be it… it won’t last forever and one day you will miss it.

  • Awww, look at that little love bug. We have a 19 month old who cries to come in for snuggles at 5am.. sometime 4am.. I am exhausted but I love snuggles from her.

  • Rhianna SG says:

    It is so tough working out what is going to be the best, not just for now but in the future. Trust your instincts and listen to your heart.

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  • Angel Villa says:

    Sleepy sleepy time is a respite from parenthood. Infants do tend to sleep a lot and they are so adorable when they sleep. Sleepy Angels are my favorite baby shower invite.

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