Crying. The baby sleep blues.

Sad and stressful few days where we’ve had to step up our approach on sleep. Unfortunately things have got to a point where both my and Bub’s sleep is so poor that it’s disrupting his quality of life both day and night. With a heavy heart we’ve started on a sleep approach that means some tears.

Despite my optimistic post of a few weeks back about our success with the Pantley Pull Off this didn’t continue. Bub would come off the boob and fall asleep in my arms pretty easily. But after a few days he began to wake up again within minutes of falling asleep. It escalated till he was waking up quickly whether I did the Pull Off or not. I tried sitting holding him for a long time after he fell asleep to ensure he was in a deep sleep but he’d still wake within five minutes of being put down. A nightmare situation that reduced our sleep even further. Despite having read a mountain of sleep books and websites I have not come across this before and didn’t know what to do. I tried a variation where I fed in a side-lying position and then left him lying where he was but after a successful first night he then began to wake every hour. Arghh!!!

We’ve now started on a variation of the Baby Whisperer’s pick-up/put-down. She proposes a middle way between cry it out and no-cry whereby you stay with your baby whilst they settle themselves in their cot. You are there to prevent the fear of abandonment but not to prevent the crying or to help them get to sleep. They get to sleep on their own. Despite never wanting to go down a crying route I felt I had no option. It seemed like the next step for us.

Last night was awful. Poor Bub cried more being put down than he ever has in his life. It took over two hours for him to fall asleep. A really dreadful time for me and for him. I was with him the whole time and downstairs my partner was almost in tears too. But he eventually went to sleep and actually slept for a long time, probably due to exhaustion. I hardly slept though and was super stressed out all night. I didn’t know what I’d do if he woke every hour or two – would I feed him, refuse it, how would I cope? So fortunately we were saved that trauma as he only woke once, perhaps also down to exhaustion.

Today he definitely was different. He got sad if I left him lying on the bed or the floor. He always wanted to be cuddled (and I was very happy to oblige). I think I can definitely see that the crying affected him and how he was with me. Perhaps in some ways this was even more awful than the crying last night. I wimped out on naptime today and we did both naps in the car – avoiding both crying and feeding to sleep.

I was dreading tonight’s bedtime. I kept doing just one extra story to try to spin our our bedtime routine. But eventually he had to go into the bed and I sat with him where he could see me. I was so relieved when it went much more smoothly. Still crying but off and on and not so desperately sad. He fell asleep after 30 minutes and I was with him the whole time. I’m really not sure how the rest of the night will go as he won’t be as exhausted as last night. Plus we also have a track record of good first night, awful second and subsequent nights. But hopefully it’ll be ok. My nerves can’t take it otherwise. Fingers, toes and everything crossed…


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8 Responses to “Crying. The baby sleep blues.”

  1. Crying. The baby sleep blues. « Jenmum's adventures in parenting | Says:

    […] this link: Crying. The baby sleep blues. « Jenmum's adventures in parenting […]

  2. Natasha Says:

    I’m about to start sleep training next week and I’m dreading it. At the moment Alexander (the baby, 7 months) and I sleep on a futon in the spare room while my husband has our bed. Until he grew out of it, baby used to sleep in a carry cot beside us and then in the bed next to me but as he now rolls both ways and fast I can’t risk having him so high off the floor so for the last month it’s been the futon and my back is not happy.

    I feed him to sleep every night – there’s no other way of making him go down (apart from being in his buggy) and on a good night he’ll do a chunk of sleep early on from say 7.30 until 1 but after that it feels like he’s either constantly attached to my boob or cying or fidgeting keeping me awake. I lie on my side and feed him and change sides to give the other boob now and again – last night I think I changed sides 3 or 4 times but there were multiple wakings and I don’t feel great.

    I usually judge a night on whether I’ve actually ever managed to sleep long enough to dream. It’s so bitty, you know.

    So next week the cotbed arrives.

    I don’t know whether to keep him in our room to start with or to give him his own room from the outset.

    I really don’t want him to cry. I’ve read about ‘learned helplessness’ and raised cortisol levels and I don’t want to break my little boy’s spirit.

    I need to sleep better though because I don’t have the energy to play with him as much as I’d like to during the day. I forget every other word when I’m talking and where I’ve put anything.

    We are hoping to try the pick up put down method that you mentioned but two of my husband’s friends said that they had to do controlled crying in the end and I really don’t want to go down that route. I want Alexander to know that I’m there for him always – it’s so hard isn’t it?

    • jenmum Says:

      My heart goes out to you on this. It is just so very hard to know the right thing to do.  Thanks for posting as it’s so reassuring to know I’m not the only one in this position. 

      At seven months according to the Baby Whisperer you are not doing much picking up in pu/pd. In doing the technique it seemed to me that he found any picking up very distracting and frustrating. Ditto for putting a hand on him – he kept pushing it away. So I stuck to resting my head on the cot where he can see me and saying comforting words if he was crying. If not I just stayed still and quiet and tried not to distract him.

      It mat reassure you to know that he has gone down progressively more quickly each time (though we are only on day 3) so I’m hoping the crying part will be short lived and soon he’ll be able to settle himself without.

      He’s a very lively sociable boy in the daytimes and very distractible during feeding etc. On reflection I’m wondering if he might have found it increasingly hard to fall asleep in the arms of me or my partner for this reason, hence needing more and more rocking, boob etc. Perhaps we were inadvertently causing the sleeping difficulties we were trying so hard to solve? Oh well, time may tell perhaps.

      All the best with Alexander, I really hope things go as smoothly as possible and he soon adapts to the new approach.

  3. Natasha Says:

    He sounds very similar to my boy. He’s ever so smiley and sociable and into everything during the day. I have to take him upstairs to a quiet room to feed him because if I have the telly on he keeps pulling away to look at it,ditto other people around and if I try to read a book he grabs it (also my hair if I don’t tie it back).

    Last night I did the pantley pull off thing and put him down next to me still semi awake and then put my hand on his back if he started to whinge and we had fewer wakings. I think once or twice I got him back to sleep without any feeding at all.

    I feel a new woman today – but I know enough not to call it a success after one night!

  4. sheridan Says:

    DS was an awful sleeper, and did not sleep through until about 19mo. DD was born when he was 15 mo. Hmmmmm. Before she was born I was DESPERATE to get him to settle alone at night without the boob. He was still having Bf morning and night at 14mo. (Try that at 8 mo pregnant!). So, the HV advised Controlled Crying. I tried it. It was dreadful. for 2 nights I tried, Then, seeing how my ds was a wreck and SO nervous and scared afterwards, I told the HV and my husband to stuff it and followed the managed retreat route instead. I heartily recommend it. It took 4 weeks, but when DD arrived, he was actually taking himself to bed! I started off lying alongside, then sitting, then moving the chair an inch a night till I was outside the room, then doing something noisy (tidying, singing) in my room. It worked like a dream and with no ill effects. I must add that he self weaned from the boob 2 weeks before DD arrived, my colostrum having come in, and that must have helped too. With DD I did managed retreat from 4mo, and she has always been a fab sleeper. I also stopped her night BF at 10mo, being a much harsher mummy the second time around!

    • jenmum Says:

      Thanks for the insight. I was trying a managed retreat with the Pantley Pull Off with little success. Fortunately Bub has taken to the new approach really well and apart from days 1 and 2 seems quite happy to put himself asleep. I think perhaps I was disturbing/distracting him with my efforts to help him to sleep in the end as He is sleeping so much better now it is unbelievable!

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