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I hate the concept of self soothing

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Today was DD's 6 month old check up.  I like our ped very much, except I think he's a very "traditional" doctor and sometimes I come away feeling like I'm a crappy parent.  Today he asked if dd falls asleep on her own.  She doesn't.  I nurse her to sleep.  He told me learning to fall asleep is a learned behavior and that I should start giving her opportunities to do so to prevent sleep problems.  Ugh.  I have tried it and it doesn't seem to work, she just cries, and it takes about 45 mins longer for her to fall asleep than if I just nurse her.  I suppose if I stuck with it she would eventually get better at it, but it just seems like so much work that I don't really want to.  But, I don't want her to have sleep problems. Part of me thinks he's full of crap, but part of me wonders if he's right. Sooo, mamas, did you nurse your little one to sleep and did they end up with sleep problems?


On a somewhat separate (but still related) note, dd has issues staying asleep at nighttime.  I can nurse her down, but she will wake 45 mins and need to be nursed, or cuddled, until she falls asleep. And sometimes she will stay asleep after that, and other times she will wake multiple times and need help falling asleep until it is my bedtime and I crawl in next to her.  Cause she sleeps just fine if I'm there. ;-) I know all the websites say the solution is to get her to fall asleep on her own, so she can resettle on her own.  And if I knew it would work and she would fall asleep at bedtime and stay asleep, I would probably be more sold on putting the work in to get her to self soothe.  But if it wouldn't have that result, I don't want to spend time and tears teaching my baby a skill I don't really think she needs. Mamas, did you have this problem and did teaching your baby to fall asleep independently help?


Bleah.  I hate sleep training.

post #2 of 36

ohh i hate the push for that, also. here is my experience with the oldest 3 of my 4 children. the first was bottlefed/used pacifier but i treated naps/bedtime the same as my breastfed babies. every baby gets rocked and nursed to sleep(substitue pacifier for nursing for my oldest). during the night, if they wake up and fuss enough to wake me up, they got nursed back to sleep. sometimes rocked, depending on whether i was ready for bed. when they were older, i guess maybe close to 2 years? we rocked every night and nursed, but not to sleep. they were all able to be put in bed at that age and go right to sleep! i think what causes sleep problems when they are older is not being comforted to sleep as babies! i can remember being small and screaming in my bed every night bc it was dark and i was terrified. also i wet the bed and was severely punished for it. i still have a hard time at night.


this thing your ped said is just one of those myths. keep doing what you feel is right.  


my 8 month old also wakes to nurse every 45 minutes all night. my 3rd child did that, too, until she was 16 months and suddenly slept ALL NIGHT one night and never woke at night again lol this really sucks as it takes me forever to fall asleep whenever i'm awake but it will pass, someday :) it is sleep-cycle related...where we usually come out of deep sleep and turn over and go back into a deep sleep, our babies can't do that and need help getting through that light sleep phase. some develop that sooner than others!

post #3 of 36

oh- and while i have to nurse my baby to sleep, my 17 year old daughter can turn on some loud "upbeat" music and walk around with the baby and it knocks her right out lol so obviously she can fall asleep without the boob. babies do need comfort, though, and that is good and ok.

post #4 of 36
Hey, just had to add my 2 cents...trust your gut feeling, mama. There is no guarantee sleep training will do anything except stress your little one out cuz she doesn't know you're trying to teach her to go to sleep wink1.gif. Your baby's sleep is none of your Ped's business, too. It's perfectly normal for a little person to need mama at night, that's how human beings are made. Both my kids were "nurse all nighters", and my 3 yo still gets snuggled to sleep, but dozes off on her own too. My 1 year old sleeps longer stretches now, but still wakes up to nurse two or three times a night, so we sleep together. Spending hours putting your kids to sleep over the years is a reality of parenthood. But in ten or twenty years, you will still have beautiful memories of snuggling a warm baby in your arms smile.gif. If you are looking for gentle ways to transition your child to more independent sleep habits, I would recommend Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution. But, the best sleep solution for your family is the one in which everyone gets the most sleep.
post #5 of 36
The term self soothe gets me. When people propose this preposterous idea, doesn't it seem like a fun question to pose to adults:). "Actually, no doctor. My baby is not very good at self soothing and neither am I. How do you self soothe?".

It is perfectly normal for a baby to need a caregiver to help them fall asleep - if breastfeeding is the way things go in a particular family - as in yours - falling asleep on the boob is the way nature intended. Safe, secure, nurturing...soothing:)

Youre doing a great job mama! Feel free to ignore your pediatricians parenting advice - which is different from medical advice:)
post #6 of 36
And the concept of self-soothing is probably a myth in babies anyway. There was a small study done recently that tested stress hormone levels in babies left to "self-settle" ie cry themselves to sleep. By night 3 they had stopped crying but their stress hormone levels were the same as when they cried. So they hadn't learned to manage the stress of being left alone, they'd just learned not to cry.

OP, I still feed my 2yo to sleep. She went through periods of waking after every sleep cycle and needing to be resettled but In between were periods of sleeping for 2-3 hours before first waking. Now she falls asleep about 8:30pm and doesn't usually wake for a feed until 3am-ish. She still sleep with us and I get up at 8:30 after she's asleep and go back to bed for the night around 10pm. Some might not consider that good sleeping but she is well rested and has never been left to cry. I'm happy with those outcomes.
post #7 of 36

I bedshared and night nursed my five babies anywhere from 2 to 4 years. The oldest three had zero problems transitioning and going to sleep on their own. #4 goes to sleep on her own reluctantly and usually ends up back in our bed by morning. #5 still sleeps in our bed but is not nursing. 

I think personality has a lot to do with it. Whether your baby learns from deliberate training now or naturally falls into the right pattern, she'll get it eventually.

post #8 of 36

I could set my clock by that 45 minute wake time after nursing them to bed the first time!  Both my children did that (well, DD2 still does - she is only 14 m/o).  I know that the second time around I'm a lot more relaxed about this routine; I felt so trapped sometimes with DD1 since I was the only one who could help her sleep.  DD1 didn't start sleeping well until we nightweaned around 2 y/o when I was pregnant with DD2 but now she sleeps amazingly well in our family bed, despite DD2 waking and fussing at times.  I can already see signs that DD2 will do the same once she is a little older.  I've personally believe human babies are supposed to wake often to nurse and be comforted by their mama, as a safety and survival mechanism, and that helps me feel more relaxed about it all.  Best wishes with your baby's sleep journey!

post #9 of 36

Eh, it works out.  By two all of mine have been in their own beds, sleeping all night, without issues of crying or whatever.  Just wait until they are ready and ease them into it.  Interestingly, my younger ones have transitioned sooner and easier than the older ones.  I think because they want to be like the big kids. 

post #10 of 36
I could have written this exact post, OP...DD is almost 11 months. She has a hard time getting past the first sleep cycle. If she manages it, she will usually only wake 1 time to nurse in the night. If she wakes with the first cycle, it can take me 3 hrs to get her back to sleep. Nursing doesn't always work anymore. I'm finding it hard because getting her back to sleep involves a lot of crying, even though I never leave her alone. I try rocking, lying down with her, etc, but she fights sleep so hard and just cries and cries. I feel bad because I feel like she is almost CIO although I never leave her. She is crying in my arms or next to me in the bed. My pedi encourages self-soothing also, but is not worth the wear and tear for me. I believe/hope that one day she will start sleeping better on her own because she is more mature and hasn't had bedtime become something scary by being left alone.
post #11 of 36
Rducky...is she eating solids yet? When mine have done that, it is usually because they are hungry or thirsty. A quick snack...handed to them to eat in bed in the dark while I rock or whatever, usually does the trick. Another possibility is teething. A sipee cup of ice water can help that.
post #12 of 36

My 14 mo. old still nurses to sleep for naps and bedtime (we co-sleep).  I agree with other PPs - I think it's a survival mechanism, it's how human babies are wired (to be close to mama), and I think the alternatives are horrendous.  I think "self-soothing" is an archaic myth that I hope disappears soon, along with other "advice" like formula is better than breastmilk, etc. eyesroll.gif  I absolutely believe that babies are still stressed to the max - they just learn that crying will get them nowhere, that no one will come, so what's the use?  


To me, that is surely what causes sleep issues later on - they come to associate the night with terror, and they can't trust their parents to come if they are scared.  I mean, I can't even imagine how crappy that would feel as a young kid - to know that when I cry alone in the dark, nobody will come - let alone as a brand-new, immobile, defenseless infant?  The way we treat babies is downright inhumane sometimes.  Like they aren't people.  I mean, really - "sleep training"?  What are they, dogs?  I'm a grown woman and if I cry, DH better take notice and come running! lol.gif


OP - I would continue to do whatever makes sense for your family.  It's all about meeting the needs of baby, mama and family.  Every baby is different - my own DS has been rather high needs since birth, which led me to AP out of sheer necessity!  I do know easy going babies that can pass out anywhere, but that doesn't mean we should try to force all babies to, ykwim?  There is no one-size-fits-all prescription.  It's about your needs and the needs of your baby (not your pediatrician!).  


hug.gif This is a HUGE part of being a mother (IME) - building your own confidence in your gut instincts and your role as an expert on your baby - and standing up for yourself. thumb.gif

post #13 of 36

One other thought - even though I nurse DS to sleep, for a while he was having a really hard time winding down and going to sleep.  What made a BIG difference was when we started EC and I'd offer him the potty before bed.  We all know that a bedtime bathroom trip can do wonders!  Poor kid - he was probably anxious because he knew he had to pee, but was worried he'd have to sleep in a wet diaper. greensad.gif


Just wanted to throw that out there - even occasional EC or offering at wake-ups and before bed could help.  Perhaps that could also be part of your LO's wake-up after 45 min., rducky?  The snack idea is also a good one.  But maybe needing a new diaper or anxiety over having to go could be part of it?  Something to consider, anyway.  Good luck!

post #14 of 36

Yeah..sleep-training just boggles my mind.  Our strange culture seems to think the only care babies need is a clean diaper and food...their emotional needs are just as important.  This nonsense all started in the 1920's when parents were told not to cuddle their kids, just give them a hand shake lol...we havent come very far in 2012 have we?  My dd is a preteen and I never let her cio..well once but it was horrible and I gave in after a couple minutes...and she sleeps great.  I just don't get the weird sleep advice....how can a baby screaming all night teach them to "self soothe?"  BS,,,its called giving up.  And I dont mean if your baby is screaming for hours and you set him or her down for a sec and leave the room before you lose it...you gotta do what you gotta do.  But telling mothers to ignore their instincts when their heart is breaking for their crying baby and all they want is mommy just pisses me off.  You are doing great mama, keep trusting your heart. 

post #15 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the encouragement, all.  I was kinda bummed about the visit last night, and kept telling myself that he was wrong, and only I know what's best for my baby.  And that she will outgrow it eventually and I would rather her feel comforted to sleep than forced into independence too early and not have a healthy sleep attitude, etc.  But then there's that small part of me that thinks "Is he right?"  It's so hard to get away from the sleep training advice now.  It's so pushed on mamas, and I am a FTM so I know I'm more vulnerable to all the advice than seasoned moms, but it's tough to wonder if you are doing something "wrong", or maybe not "wrong", but if you did something differently your baby would all of a sudden sleep like a rock and you could spend the evening with your husband downstairs instead of both of us hanging out, whispering in the bedroom, watching "Lost" with subtitles so that when your baby wakes up you can get her back to sleep asap.  Cause yes, that's what we do..... It's so tempting to think there's a quick fix..... But at what price??  Katelove's comment about there still being stress hormones in babies on the third day of a cry it out program is heart breaking. :-(  I would hate for dd to feel stressed about sleeping. 


Honestly, I like nursing her to sleep.  It's just the waking up 45 mins later I would change if I could.  I'm telling myself she'll grow out of that.

It's good to hear I'm not the only mama whose baby wakes up 45 mins into bedtime....  I know that if I stayed with her she wouldn't wake (we cosleep) but I'm not about to go to bed at 7pm.  I'd much rather watch "Lost".


Pickle18, I agree that learning to navigate and defend my choices is a huge part of being a momma.  I'm just not good at those things....  Hate having to "defend" a parenting choice because why is it under attack anyways? Argh...  I just wish it were more mainstream to consistently meet babies' needs without trying to push them to independence.  Why do drs, or sleep trainers, act like you are making a wrong choice by nursing to sleep, co-sleeping, etc?  What do they care if you are happy with the situation?  That's part of what was frustrating for me at the dr.  I hadn't complained about nursing her to sleep, he just advised not to do it and acted like it would lead to poor sleep later.  That's what concerned me, but if you guys have had babies grow out of it and become fine sleepers than I say to heck with that advice!


On the bright side, we've watched (or read, rather) 5 seasons of Lost since dd was born.  haha. smile.gif See, I'm accomplishing things!

post #16 of 36

Is there any reason why you'll need her to fall asleep without nursing in the next few months? Do you have an evening work schedule, or are you planning trips without her?


If not, then just do what works! I nurse my son to sleep, too. I call it "Parenting: the Easy Way" (TM)

post #17 of 36
Some great suggestions. I will try them and see if anything helps. I feel that part of the problem for my daughter is learning to live with her increased mobility (fast crawling, standing without support, etc). She wants to be on the go all the time and seems to have trouble calming down even though we follow a bed time routine which includes some quiet time. If she wakes up, she instantly stands up in bed. It's kinda funny some times...

I agree about developing parenting confidence. I am currently trying to make my inlaws understand why I won't do CIO. My MIL is desperate to have DD stay with her and she doesn't get that we're not ready for that yet, especially since we're still BFing with no plan to stop anytime soon. So much unsolicited advice, especially for FTMs.
post #18 of 36
Sleepless in America has a good section about our national sleep issues and how early sleep training contributes to sleep problems later in life, not prevents them. Maybe you could read that to reinforce what you already know and then give a copy to your pediatrician too smile.gif
post #19 of 36
Originally Posted by aaahmyeye View Post

Today was DD's 6 month old check up.  I like our ped very much, except I think he's a very "traditional" doctor and sometimes I come away feeling like I'm a crappy parent.  Today he asked if dd falls asleep on her own.  She doesn't.  I nurse her to sleep.  He told me learning to fall asleep is a learned behavior and that I should start giving her opportunities to do so to prevent sleep problems.  Ugh.  I have tried it and it doesn't seem to work, she just cries, and it takes about 45 mins longer for her to fall asleep than if I just nurse her.

You just have the perfect recipe to create sleep problems right here.


I would tell the doc, thank you, I am not interested in parenting advice. Please make sure she is on the right track medically, I can handle the parenting part.

post #20 of 36

I was the same way. I would and still do vascillate between listening to my gut and fretting about the mainstream way.


My DD is 17 months old and she has been full time bedsharing since 5 months. She needs the boob to fall asleep unless she is in her stroller or the car or the Ergo. She also used to wake up every 45 minutes. Slowly, but surely, things are getting "better" - she slept 7 hours in a row two nights in a row while we were on vacation. Usually she wakes up twice a night, after I go to bed. But you know what, she is happy, I am happy, we both get sleep, and I actually love how easy it is, even though she can't fall asleep without help, mostly mine. 


I would say, you are doing a great job fulfilling your LOs needs and things are as they should be for such a young baby. 

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