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Old 04-15-2013, 08:27 AM   #1
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Healthy Sleep Habits

I NEED to teach my 17 month old to be a better sleeper. DD was a terrible sleeper also, even still at 4 she frequently wakes and has bad dreams. As of now, our 17 month old wakes several times at night screaming. He may be fighting an ear infection, so we are treating that naturally. But we still rock him to sleep, for naps and for nighttime. We rocked DD until well after DS was born, and i know I can't go through that again... We need to have him learn to fall asleep by himself without CIO.

What did you do to instill healthy, natural sleep habits? I've been reading Dr. Sears book, natural baby books and the No-Cry Sleep Solution. I would really appreciate concrete ideas and tips to help DS learn to fall asleep without being rocked.

TIA.

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Old 04-15-2013, 10:05 AM   #2
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Re: Healthy Sleep Habits

I think if he has been rocked since day 1, it is going to be a really hard fight to get him to go to sleep on his own w/o it. Esp if you don't want him to cry - at all - I think it will be amazingly tough to do that.

First, have you tried to put him to bed without rocking him? What happens?

What is your bedtime routine like? Do you have any other things in your routine? Bath, story, etc? Something else besides the rocking?

Could you maybe try to decrease the time spent rocking him? Rather than just stopping altogether? Maybe cut back 2 minutes per night until you're down to 5 minutes of rocking. Do that for a few weeks, and then just try one night to put him to bed without the rocking, and see how it goes?

Is he in a regular bed or still in a crib? Could you just swing and sway him in your arms as you are walking with him to lay him down in his bed?

As far as the nightmares... are they night terrors? Or nightmares? With night terrors, kids will scream awfully in their sleep, but still be sleeping. Sometimes they might have their eyes wide open, or be actively trying to fight "something" or get away from "something" ... but they are actually asleep completely. Nightmares typically involve a child waking up crying or screaming, but they are awake. I ask b/c you deal with nightmares differently than night terrors.

Last edited by Kiliki; 04-15-2013 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:52 AM   #3
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I would also look into the 18 month sleep regression. Might be part of why he's waking so much at night.
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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Re: Healthy Sleep Habits

My 18 month old is still waking several times a night too. We always rock to sleep for nap and night. As a result he has no self soothing techniques and each wake up we have to have a bottle and rock to sleep. Sometimes takes an hour or more to get him back to sleep. It happens at least once a night, usually more. I can't do it anymore.

I honestly don't think there is a solution that will be tear free. I cannot do the traditional CIO either,but this is what I am doing. We started Saturday at nap time. We rock with a bottle in his room and then I lay him down. I sit in the glider while he falls asleep. Obviously he isn't happy about this. I talk minimally, usually say it's time to sleep, or nigh nigh Henry. I do some sshhing as well. If he gets really upset I will rub his back or head for a minute or two but I'm careful not to let him fall asleep this way because I don't want to replace one crutch with another.

At night we rock with a bottle, brush teeth, read for five or ten minutes and then same routine as above. So far he is still crying every time he is laid down but it is getting better. Today at nap he was practically forcing a cry out. He needs to workon his fake crying....not very believable.

Motn is still a crapshoot. Previously when he woke he was given a bottle each time because it was the path of least resistance. Obviously an 18 month old does not need a bottle every two or three hours. So, at his first waking I give him a bottle and then he goes back to bed. The first night this worked well. He went right back to sleep. Too good to be true, right? It was. Last night he was up from 12:30 to 3:30. He had his bottle and was just pissed. He wasn't even crying the whole time, just restless and couldn't fall into a good sleep so every time I thought he was out I would try to leave and he would wake back up. Finally back to sleep at 3:30 and slept til 8.

My plan is to cut down the amount of milk in that motn bottle and eventually offer him a sippy of water when he wakes. I'm hoping he will find its not worth it to get up.

I know this was long and all about me. Just wanted to share what we are doing. And knowing you're not alone sometimes helps too. I feel like our approach will probably take a long time to get to just laying him down and walking away, but it's a little gentler than traditional CIO (no judgement to those who do it). I hope it works. New baby is coming in July and I may lose my mind if he is still waking at night.

Last edited by hollydawn; 04-15-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:28 PM   #5
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I would try rocking him until you can tell he is just on the verge of sleep, then try putting him down. He is likely to jolt to full attention at that point, at which time you can either try to get him to lay down by staying cribside and singing/rubbing his back/whatever soothes him, or you can go back to the rocker and rock again until he is on the verge of sleep then return to crib. Either way I would expect some fussing and a few long evenings.

For my 14 month old I had to sit on the floor next to the crib for a while, but now I can either lay on the twin bed that's in his room (he's in a crib), or sit in the rocker. Once I see he is about to drift off I quietly leave. We also use a white noise machine that plays continuously (no shut off timer), and we play a CD of instrumental lullabies while he's falling asleep. I figure I'd rather him rely on those things, which if necessary can accompany him to college, whereas I cannot
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:55 PM   #6
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Re: Healthy Sleep Habits

I forgot to add, we run a white machine too non stop. He can hear a pin drop so this helps a little. Now if only I could figure out how to keep the floor from creaking.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:06 PM   #7
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Re: Healthy Sleep Habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiliki View Post
I think if he has been rocked since day 1, it is going to be a really hard fight to get him to go to sleep on his own w/o it. Esp if you don't want him to cry - at all - I think it will be amazingly tough to do that.

First, have you tried to put him to bed without rocking him? What happens?

What is your bedtime routine like? Do you have any other things in your routine? Bath, story, etc? Something else besides the rocking?

Could you maybe try to decrease the time spent rocking him? Rather than just stopping altogether? Maybe cut back 2 minutes per night until you're down to 5 minutes of rocking. Do that for a few weeks, and then just try one night to put him to bed without the rocking, and see how it goes?

Is he in a regular bed or still in a crib? Could you just swing and sway him in your arms as you are walking with him to lay him down in his bed?
our nighttime routine is fairly consistent: bath, teeth brush, books, prayers, bed. if we just lay him in bed, he either screams or plays in the crib. when he gets up in the middle of the night i've tried just sitting with him and rubbing his back, he calms down a little bit- to a point where i think he's back asleep, but then he wakes up fully and screams.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hollydawn View Post
My 18 month old is still waking several times a night too. We always rock to sleep for nap and night. As a result he has no self soothing techniques and each wake up we have to have a bottle and rock to sleep. Sometimes takes an hour or more to get him back to sleep. It happens at least once a night, usually more. I can't do it anymore.

I honestly don't think there is a solution that will be tear free. I cannot do the traditional CIO either,but this is what I am doing. We started Saturday at nap time. We rock with a bottle in his room and then I lay him down. I sit in the glider while he falls asleep. Obviously he isn't happy about this. I talk minimally, usually say it's time to sleep, or nigh nigh Henry. I do some sshhing as well. If he gets really upset I will rub his back or head for a minute or two but I'm careful not to let him fall asleep this way because I don't want to replace one crutch with another.

At night we rock with a bottle, brush teeth, read for five or ten minutes and then same routine as above. So far he is still crying every time he is laid down but it is getting better. Today at nap he was practically forcing a cry out. He needs to workon his fake crying....not very believable.

Motn is still a crapshoot. Previously when he woke he was given a bottle each time because it was the path of least resistance. Obviously an 18 month old does not need a bottle every two or three hours. So, at his first waking I give him a bottle and then he goes back to bed. The first night this worked well. He went right back to sleep. Too good to be true, right? It was. Last night he was up from 12:30 to 3:30. He had his bottle and was just pissed. He wasn't even crying the whole time, just restless and couldn't fall into a good sleep so every time I thought he was out I would try to leave and he would wake back up. Finally back to sleep at 3:30 and slept til 8.

My plan is to cut down the amount of milk in that motn bottle and eventually offer him a sippy of water when he wakes. I'm hoping he will find its not worth it to get up.

I know this was long and all about me. Just wanted to share what we are doing. And knowing you're not alone sometimes helps too. I feel like our approach will probably take a long time to get to just laying him down and walking away, but it's a little gentler than traditional CIO (no judgement to those who do it). I hope it works. New baby is coming in July and I may lose my mind if he is still waking at night.
i appreciate this. i think we'll end up going through something like this. no transition we do will be easy for him, i think there will be tears no matter what. but he's older now, so i feel more comfortable having some tears at bedtime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleFluff View Post
I would try rocking him until you can tell he is just on the verge of sleep, then try putting him down. He is likely to jolt to full attention at that point, at which time you can either try to get him to lay down by staying cribside and singing/rubbing his back/whatever soothes him, or you can go back to the rocker and rock again until he is on the verge of sleep then return to crib. Either way I would expect some fussing and a few long evenings.

For my 14 month old I had to sit on the floor next to the crib for a while, but now I can either lay on the twin bed that's in his room (he's in a crib), or sit in the rocker. Once I see he is about to drift off I quietly leave. We also use a white noise machine that plays continuously (no shut off timer), and we play a CD of instrumental lullabies while he's falling asleep. I figure I'd rather him rely on those things, which if necessary can accompany him to college, whereas I cannot
we've tried with DS to put him in a crib before he's fully asleep, and he does the "body jerk" and wakes up and sssssccccccccccccccccccccccreams! we tried to when DD away from us at night by sitting with her and sneaking out... but once the new baby came, it got to the point where DH was falling asleep on the floor in her room because she couldn't be by herself to fall asleep. just unhealthy habits we had with her, i don't want to go through that again with DS.
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She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue...
Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:54 PM   #8
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Re: Healthy Sleep Habits

Just wanted to let you know my ds had no tears tonight at bedtime. Tonight was day three. It could have been because he was too busy planning his middle of the night shenanigans, but I'm hopeful!

Good luck!
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:05 PM   #9
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Re: Healthy Sleep Habits

First, if you have read Pantley or Sears, you know that it is totally normal for kids to wake up multiple times at night until they are up to two years old (or older). Infants and toddlers have very different needs from their sleep, and thus, sleep very differently from adults. I'm not lecturing you, I've just come across way too many parents who have the mistaken idea that a child - any child - is "supposed to" sleep through the night.
Second, one of your statements stood out to me - that he wakes up multiple times at night screaming. Have you done any research on infant and toddler sleep disorders? They are ridiculously common, yet many of the "baby sleep" books completely leave out any mention of them, and pediatricians seem totally clueless about anything beyond CIO. Yet, after months of research and a visit to Vanderbilt Sleep Center, I can tell you that they happen - A LOT.
Issues like restless leg, talking during sleep, "confusional arousal", and night terrors are very common to young children. Restless leg in particular can start in infancy. Definitely do a little research, and if what you read seems to fit with your DS' behavior, get a referral to a sleep specialist. These things can be genetic, and especially if you are noticing those tendencies ("bad dreams", frequent night waking, etc.) in both of your children...you may want to take a closer look.
There is no easy, quick fix for a child who wakes up in the middle of the night. Simply because there are a million and one reasons why it happens. It may be a sleep disorder, a growth spurt, or just a need for added comfort and security. (I have had a hunch for a long time that infants have growing pains just like teenagers do, but again - nobody really talks about it.)
The important thing is to remember that none of these issues are bad or intended to frustrate you, and that your DS needs as much compassion and consistency as you can give him while you work through his needs.
Swap nights with your DH (if you can - are you BFing your son?) so that you are at least both getting a decent night's sleep every other night.
We did end up doing CIO very gently once I knew that my DS was old enough to understand what I expected of him. (For the record, I am not a fan of CIO before that point.) Before that, we co-slept, then moved him to a mattress on our floor, then moved him (and the mattress) into his room and sat near him until he fell asleep. Then, around 18mos or 20mos, gradually worked up to leaving him by himself to fall asleep. He didn't like it the first couple of days, but at least I knew that he was aware that I was still in the building and that he was safe. We also did not EVER make him cry it out if he was having a sleep episode.
I know that that method may not realy apply to you, but hopefully it will help generate some ideas.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about sleep disorders!
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:53 AM   #10
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Re: Healthy Sleep Habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by TooBusyBearcubs View Post
Second, one of your statements stood out to me - that he wakes up multiple times at night screaming. Have you done any research on infant and toddler sleep disorders? They are ridiculously common, yet many of the "baby sleep" books completely leave out any mention of them, and pediatricians seem totally clueless about anything beyond CIO. Yet, after months of research and a visit to Vanderbilt Sleep Center, I can tell you that they happen - A LOT.
Issues like restless leg, talking during sleep, "confusional arousal", and night terrors are very common to young children. Restless leg in particular can start in infancy. Definitely do a little research, and if what you read seems to fit with your DS' behavior, get a referral to a sleep specialist. These things can be genetic, and especially if you are noticing those tendencies ("bad dreams", frequent night waking, etc.) in both of your children...you may want to take a closer look.

I know that that method may not realy apply to you, but hopefully it will help generate some ideas.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about sleep disorders!

that is REALLY good advice, thank you. my daughter has disrupted sleep often, too. she'll cry out, talk, get very restless, and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. some research is needed.
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Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
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