Does my baby need to learn to self-settle? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 10-13-2012, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He's 7.5 months and he cannot settle himself at ALL. I hear other moms talking about self settling a lot and it makes me a little worried that I'm doing something wrong.
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#2 of 22 Old 10-13-2012, 01:43 AM
 
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Not at that age in my opinion. They don't have the cognitive abilities or life experience to be able to reassure themselves when, for example, they wake up alone in the dark. They can't tell themselves that you're just outside and it will be light in a few hours and they won't be alone forever. It is totally reasonable for them to require you to provide that security and reassurance.

There is also some research which shows that babies don't "self-settle" in the sense that their stress levels go down and they relax. Instead they simply stop crying but their stress hormones remain elevated. Quite a difference.
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#3 of 22 Old 10-13-2012, 04:25 PM
 
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The moms who talk about self settling for an infant all most likely practice cry it out sleep training. Attachment parenting does not support CIO for the reasons Katelove mentioned. Baby stops crying but not because she relaxes and settles to sleep but because she gives up on help coming and shuts down. I have an 18 month old and she doesn't self soothe at all. Sometimes though she will talk/whine in her sleep for a couple of seconds and then continues to sleep peacefully and quietly. This is not self soothing - she never woke up. If she wakes up, she needs me for comfort/nursing/nurturing.
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#4 of 22 Old 10-15-2012, 04:08 PM
 
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As far as I can tell, babies tend to do things when THEY are ready.  I think trying to teach a baby to do something he or she is not ready to do is more harmful than letting them develop at their own pace.
 

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#5 of 22 Old 10-15-2012, 05:47 PM
 
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I often wonder the same thing.  My DD is 8.5 months and is still up at least 3-4 times every night.  But I do also think that it is a lot to ask of a BABY to be able to settle themselves.  Some people may be lucky enough to have a baby with a temperment where they are able to self-soothe naturally, while others may be conditioned to appear to self-soothe as no one responds to their cries.  They are babies for SUCH a short time.  I personally feel like you can't "spoil" a child with love, you know? Responding to a baby's cries, any cry, is certainly the loving thing to do.  I remember just a month ago, I was at my wits end because DD would not nap at all without me there with her.  Now I can reliably put her down for at least an hour at least twice a day.  Why? Not because of anything different I've done, she's just able to sleep on her own for some time now, she's ready for that.  I feel that she will be able to settle herself in other ways in her time as well.  So hang in there and enjoy!


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#6 of 22 Old 10-22-2012, 06:05 PM
 
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Yep.  Totally agree with everyone who posted above.
 

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#7 of 22 Old 10-22-2012, 06:55 PM
 
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My son looks for me basically 99% of the time to settle into anything.....and I'm ok with that love.gif I feel confident that bc he is an attached little guy he will develop these skills in time. You are doing a great job!
 


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#8 of 22 Old 10-26-2012, 05:00 AM
 
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Agree with above posted.

 

Even my 4.75 year old needs help to settle down again occasionally in the night. Last night my DH was woken up at 3 am to a little boy poking him in the arm asking him for help to go back to sleep. Things can feel scary in the dark in the middle of the night. My DH went to lie down with DS and fell asleep with him for 3 hours (DS fell asleep as soon as DH was in the bed with him)

 

My 4.5 mon old will occasionally wake in the night beside me (or occasionally before I come to bed) but not want to nurse and after a few minutes of her light cooing and wiggling will drift off back to sleep (DS never did this as a baby) They have different temperaments.

 

Their is nothing wrong with your baby or with you just keep responding to your baby and listening to your instincts.  As they grow and develop they will learn that sleep is pleasant and that if they ever feel they need you in the night you will be there to help them that is the only thing that will help them develop the ability to self settle.


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#9 of 22 Old 10-26-2012, 07:50 AM
 
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I'm really torn about this question too.  My 9-month-old looks to me for 100% of all reassurance, calming, settling.  All day, all night.  Her doctor - a cosleeping, AP mother herself - suggested yesterday that this pattern is starting to get dysfunctional.  Not because nursing or mama-settling is bad, but because I'm so sleep deprived I can't function, my husband and I have no real relationship or intimacy, my daughter can't sleep more than an hour or two without my presence, none of us are happy with our sleeping arrangements, it's just chaos.

 

I don't believe in CIO methods or in forcing my baby to do anything she's not ready for.  Philosophically I'm much closer to attachment parenting.  But isn't there anything in the middle?  It seems like I always feel caught between two extremes - sometimes the AP perspective sounds like we're supposed to just bend over backwards and wait till they outgrow it.  The flip side is to cry it out and force the child to adapt.  Any tips on parenting somewhere in between?  Surely there are loving, attentive, reassuring ways to teach babies some basic skills.

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#10 of 22 Old 10-27-2012, 10:18 AM
 
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Zirconia, there are some approaches in the middle but they tend to be very work intensive in the short term. Some moms (myself included) try but can't make it work because it's even more effort and the energy just isn't there and AP methods are easier in the moment. Some babies respond better than others though so it may work for you much better than it does for others. Look up the "no cry sleep solution" and read it if you're interested. It basically is a very gentle way of breaking the nursing-sleep association which can help a lot in baby settling for daddy grandma, etc. It's not an overnight fix, doesn't involve crying, but can be a lengthy process. Look into it and see if it resonates with you.
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#11 of 22 Old 10-28-2012, 08:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by skycheattraffic View Post

Some moms (myself included) try but can't make it work because it's even more effort and the energy just isn't there and AP methods are easier in the moment.

 

 

You said it!  The book should be called, "Your Baby May Not Cry, But At 2am I Bet You Will!!"  Sorry, after 9 months of no more than 2 hours' uninterrupted sleep, I get to feeling a bit sarcastic.  :)

 

In the spirit of the original thread question, though, I think what's most important is to remember that "Settle Yourself" doesn't mean "Fend For Yourself."  It's more about very gently introducing baby to new ways of doing things.  So you keep trying, keep suggesting, keep encouraging bits of independence, but don't expect baby to go for it every time, and always be ready to nurture if/when it's needed.  In my opinion, that's very much compatible with attachment parenting, it's just very difficult and most days I have no idea how to do it in the moment.  So I give myself a break and trust that it's OK - and in fact, wonderful - to comfort and nurture my baby, and independence will indeed come with time.  Then I find myself in the back seat of the car, hanging a boob over into the car seat, and I think, "This is truly nuts," and I come back to read about self-settling...  dizzy.gif

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#12 of 22 Old 10-28-2012, 12:23 PM
 
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At my daughter's four month check-up, our pediatrician said that she should be self-soothing and sleeping through the night at this age.  After that I started to doubt my nursing-on-demand and co-sleeping approach, because she's nowhere near there yet.  I've since decided to relax about it and just do whatever feels right for us, which at four and a half months old, is being close to my baby and comforting her whenever she needs it.  I'm a full-time student and spend long days away from her (fortunately she's with her dad, though), so it feels even more important to me that I'm able to comfort her at night when I'm with her.

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#13 of 22 Old 10-28-2012, 12:49 PM
 
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You'd think pediatricians would have some common sense, but it seems to be otherwise for most.

Babies grow into children. Children grow into adults. Do you know any adult who can't sleep? I don't.

Everyone benefits from feeling secure. Some like physical closeness. When they are grown, and as they grow, one of their love languages is/will be touch. That's OK. Make your peace with have a child who wants touch to feel loved and secure, and you'll be happier.

And stop comparing. We are all unique. Cherish it.
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#14 of 22 Old 10-29-2012, 01:48 AM
 
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Lol... It is 3:30am and this topic is precisely why I came on here... smile.gif I can totally relate to what you are saying Zirconia, I feel the chaos here too... Up 6 times a night sometimes with my 8 month old and then having to manage him and a "spirited" 3 year old during the day. I co-slept for the first few months but couldn't keep it up because I felt so hyper-aware of where he was in the bed that I didn't sleep at all. My husband has slept on the basement couch since our DS was born and between that and my short temper due to lack of sleep, things get tense.

With my daughter we did do a middle of the road method at about 9.5 months and skycheattraffic is right, it was a tonne of work but we ended up with great results! It was 9 nights of me hovered over my daughter in her crib for up to 2hrs at a time rubbing her back and soothing her down and I definitely turned zombie-like in the process! smile.gif

It feels inconceivable to go through that again when I know how useless I will be during the day but at the same time I feel like something has to give!

Until I feel like that trigger has to be pulled, I too have instead chosen to focus on finding moments of helping him learn to self settle in gentle ways.

My son will sometimes wake up and make 'whiney' noises.... Not crying,, just low level whines that I equate to "Mom? I'm awake in here...are you coming?" not a cry which feels like "MOM! I am distressed and need you!". I feel inclined to let him wade through these whiney sessions in hopes he will just eventually go back to sleep... It so far hasn't worked and usually escalates to full crying at which time I go in. But on a few occassions he has drifted back off!

I pray he can learn to sleep better soon...
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#15 of 22 Old 10-29-2012, 05:42 AM
 
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You'd think pediatricians would have some common sense, but it seems to be otherwise for most.
Babies grow into children. Children grow into adults. Do you know any adult who can't sleep? I don't.
Everyone benefits from feeling secure. Some like physical closeness. When they are grown, and as they grow, one of their love languages is/will be touch. That's OK. Make your peace with have a child who wants touch to feel loved and secure, and you'll be happier.
And stop comparing. We are all unique. Cherish it.

truedat.gif I so agree with this. When I get questioned about our sleeping choices, or constant baby wearing I always answer with a smile on my face.....do you know any 18 year old men that still need to sleep with their mama...I don't!!!

 

In my heart I know this type of AP parenting is right for me, even when it makes me feel a little batty, I just can't imagine responding to him right away, and letting him know this place (my arms, body, house) are safe for him to grow and learn. In my observations as a nanny and teacher for the past 10 years children that are really attached to their parent's actually become more independent and confident as early childhood children, and are not clingy....bc they are confident! AP is a lot of work, but I think in the long run it is SO worth it. In 10 years I will look back and WISH my little guy would snuggle with me like that again, and I am sure I will miss this time, as demanding as it may be grouphug.gif


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#16 of 22 Old 11-01-2012, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Zirconia View Post

Then I find myself in the back seat of the car, hanging a boob over into the car seat, and I think, "This is truly nuts," and I come back to read about self-settling...  dizzy.gif

I had my boob out today while sitting crouched over the carseat...thinking the same thing!
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#17 of 22 Old 11-02-2012, 03:40 PM
 
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No not at all. My 2 year old still needs plenty of help to settle. It's totally natural to need help to settle to sleep. I wouldn't deprive my babes of that.

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#18 of 22 Old 11-02-2012, 03:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Zirconia View Post

 

 

Then I find myself in the back seat of the car, hanging a boob over into the car seat, and I think, "This is truly nuts," 

 

Ha I do this all the time, but my LO is only 5 weeks old. 

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#19 of 22 Old 11-02-2012, 04:43 PM
 
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My daughter is almost three years old and just before 2 years I reached a breaking point with constant sleep deprevation and night waking. I realized that we were responding more or less the same way as when she was a newborn and she wasn't a newborn anymore. I realized that at 2 years old, the night feedings were hurting both of us.  Neither of us got enough sleep, and I wasn't as good a parent. While I would always feed a newborn on demand all night, I realized that my expectations had to shift as my daughter grew and that was healthy for both of us. I'm not sure if you'd call it "self-soothing" but she now sleeps without breastfeeding at night, although she does wake up a couple of times.  

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#20 of 22 Old 11-05-2012, 04:06 AM
 
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My daughter is almost three years old and just before 2 years I reached a breaking point with constant sleep deprevation and night waking. I realized that we were responding more or less the same way as when she was a newborn and she wasn't a newborn anymore. I realized that at 2 years old, the night feedings were hurting both of us.  Neither of us got enough sleep, and I wasn't as good a parent. While I would always feed a newborn on demand all night, I realized that my expectations had to shift as my daughter grew and that was healthy for both of us. I'm not sure if you'd call it "self-soothing" but she now sleeps without breastfeeding at night, although she does wake up a couple of times.  

This is night weaning, perfectly compatible with AP if done gently. I'm slowly nudging my 19 month old in that direction although she's down to 2 or occasionally one waking which is TOTALLY manageable for me. Self settling is an infant or young toddler going from awake to asleep without any parental support.
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#21 of 22 Old 11-05-2012, 09:07 AM
 
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Hi Zirconia,

 

I just wanted to chime in with some BTDT support. hug.gif  Cosleeping and demand nursing has worked wonderfully for us, but I remember a time at around 9 months that I was exhausted. 8-10 month olds have a lot going on developmentally (plus it can be the peak of separation anxiety!) and it can be hard for them to sleep regardless of parenting approach. What got me through the sleep regression that preceded my toddler's beginning to walk and accompanied some teething was reading some AP blogs and old threads here--turned out that a lot of mamas found themselves pretty tired right before some big developmental leaps around that age, and that it soon got better for those who kept on keeping on.  We kept up with demand nursing, cosleeping, walking and rocking when DD needed help resettling, and as soon as that phase passed our sleep improved a lot.  You're doing awesome!
 


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#22 of 22 Old 11-05-2012, 09:26 AM
 
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Hi OtherSoul!

 

At 7 1/2 months, my Little Miss certainly didn't self settle.  We've been bed-sharing since her birth, and while we established a nighttime routine and a bedtime, we never used a "sleep method" other than just sitting with her and soothing her to sleep, and then re-soothing as needed through the night... until now.  Until recently, after her nighttime routine, she'd nurse herself to sleep pretty quickly, and we could slip out and go on with our evening.  (Usually.  Sometimes she would hear bears, and then we'd all be up watching TV *gasp horror* and eating snacks until we crashed from exhaustion in a big puddle of tired family.)  But recently she has been refusing to settle down with us in the room, she's been happily nursing and then wanting to play all night.  Since she's 13 months now, I decided to try sticking her in her co-sleeper (which has been set to the pack-n-play height for safety) and leaving.  It worked.  We can't believe it.  She's asleep after about 10 minutes of chatting with her baby doll.  No tears.  My point is, sleep is really important to children, they need plenty of it, and yes, at some point they do have to learn to "lay down and go to sleep", but 7.5 months probably isn't that point, and heck, 24.5 months might not be that point either for your Little One.  Ours gave us a hint that she was ready to put herself to sleep, and we tried it.  If she'd cried, we'd have tried something else.  Hang in there! 

 

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