sleep training advice please

Roberta - posted on 01/08/2011 ( 12 moms have responded )

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i have two kids, 1 and 3 years old. my 1 year old is not wanting to be away from me,especially in his sleep. he wakes up alot during night crying and wont calm down when i console him, unless i pick him up. he only stays sleeping for long periods of time on me, not in his bed. This clingyness just started to get really bad, especially since he just got over serious flu and being horribly sick for weeks. I need him to sleep in his bed, and i know he'll still wake up with wet diaper and for bottle, but how do i get rid of the anxiety around him not being near me 24/7? My 3 year old also needs to be sleep trained to give up milk bottles that she needs for comfort, how? and how do i sleep train without having one kid cry/scream and wake up the other one?

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Renae - posted on 01/09/2011

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The book Katherine suggested is very good, it gives a range of methods and encourages you to tailor your own way of doing it that suits you and your children.



The first thing for you to know is that it is NEVER necessary to leave a baby/toddler to cry in order to teach them to go to sleep on their own or to sleep through the night.



I can help you, but first I need to know from you what sort of help you are looking for. My first instinct is to give you instructions for 2 withdrawal methods, one for each child (different ages so slightly different approach for each) to withdraw them from their dependancies, deal with any anxiety issues and ultimately teach them to sleep. However, you need to understand that a no-cry withdrawal method, while it will cause zero distress to you or your children, requires time, committment and patience. If the dependancy is as bad as you describe, I would expect your youngest to take 3-4 months and your 3 year old to take about a month (if it is just the bottle dependancy we are breaking). If you think you are able to commit to this, then I will give you some instructions. I will need to know where you are starting from - that is, what you currently do to get both of them to sleep at bedtime and during the night and how long it takes.



If the above does not sound like what you are looking for, you can use a crying method. Although, I am hesitant about this with your 1 year old. Occasionally, crying methods dont work, and when they do fail, they fail miserably and usually on kids who have very strong dependancies on the mother to go to sleep and stay asleep and cannot sleep without her - its as though it is too big of a shock to their system. However, if you decide to go this route, I would rather you do it with cry interpretation so let me know and I will tell you how to listen for a severe distress cry. I also think that you should rule out control crying (Ferberising) completely, if your sons dependany is as bad as you say, I dont think it will work and if it does the result will be very short lived. I think that the rise-fall-rise of stress levels that goes on in a baby's brain during CC will be too much for him and it will just go on and on and he will never go to sleep. - I might be wrong, I am basing this on 1 paragraph of information from you, not exactly a diagnostic consult! I would say he would be better off being left to cry without being checked on until he goes to sleep so the stress level remains constant (rather than peaking and falling, peaking and falling...), this method also has about a 20% greater chance of success than CC.



The big thing to know about crying methods is that they are not permanent and need to be repeated around 4 times per year. This is because they are not behavioural modification like a withdrawal method which is usually a permanent change.



Your other option is a "combination" method, in this case with your 1 year old probably 20 minutes settling (cuddling when they cry and laying back down in bed when they stop, over and over) alternated with 20 minutes crying. I'm not normally a fan of these methods though, but you can probably find specific instructions by googling it. Tizzie Hall (Save Our Sleep), Patricia whats-her-name? (Sleeping Like a Baby) and quite a few other books use combination methods.



I will check back later to see if you want me to elaborate on any of the above.



PS - the number 1 cause of clingyness is overtiredness. A 1 year old would normally need 2 day naps of 1.5-2.5 hours each.

Sara - posted on 01/09/2011

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Honestly, IMO the best sleep book is "How to solve you child's sleep problems" by Richard Ferber. Even if you don't employ his method, it has a lot of really great info about sleeping and children of all ages. Good luck!

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Roberta - posted on 01/15/2011

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hi Renae, thanks, i will start trying to sleep train even though my boy is going through separation anxiety. (I think he still is because he was recently horribly sick for 2 weeks and puked in his sleep etc... and was so scared. so now he wants me all the time for security, like when he was sick) as for my 3 year old, no charts dont work for her yet. we did sticker rewards with potty but now she no longer wants/needs stickers. i dont know what her 'price' is, but interesting thought, makes sense! i need to figure it out... my boy only gets a couple 1/2 hr to 45 min. naps a day, not great.

Renae - posted on 01/15/2011

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On the point about your 3 year old waking up the baby, do rewards charts work with her? Some psychologists say that every child has a price, there is something they want enough to stop the behaviour. Someone asked me recently what she can do with a boy who told her that no punishment is worse than the fun of being naughty, so I told her that may be true, but there must be a reward that is better than the fun of being naughty. Turned out it was a monthly trip to the water slides park - she now has the best behaved child on the planet! :)

Renae - posted on 01/15/2011

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Roberta, if you are using the methods in the no-cry sleep solution, you can sleep train regardless of separation anxiety, if anything it will help it. Only the crying methods can not be done during SA, well they could if they really wanted to I guess, but it greatly reduces the success rates and makes the process take much longer. SA peaks in most boys at 8 months, so he should be on the other side of it soon anyhow.

Roberta - posted on 01/14/2011

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so i got the books for infant and toddler - the no cry sleep solution! woohoo! my 1 year old is going thru separation anxiety so i wont sleep train him right now, but my soon-to-be 3 year old is about to get sleep trained! thanks soooo much for all your helpful advice! i can't wait to read the book and start!

Roberta - posted on 01/11/2011

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thanks for the help. and by the way renae, the clingyness/tiredness is so true - thats my 1 year old son... my 3 year old daughter doesnt like to let her 1 year old brother sleep, so many times she yells/wakes him up from his nap and he doesnt get proper rest. it s soooo frustrating. i have white noise in background for him, i give her time outs, nothing seems to work, and the poor babe never seems to get 2 proper naps a day. i don't know what to do about it, i have him in a quiet room upstairs with white noise, i keep her downstairs occupied. but when she is in a mood and decides to wake up her brother time outs dont even deter her...

Roberta - posted on 01/11/2011

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hi renae, please dont worry about offending me, i appreciate any and all advice! i honestly would rather do a no cry solution no matter how tough, its still easier than having one child cry it out and wake the other - 2 crying awake kids both wanting me and milk at same time isnt easy! i have to get ahold of the book and read it through, hopefully i can make a plan soon... thanks again!

Renae - posted on 01/09/2011

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Hi Roberta, I wasn't sure from your original post how you felt about CIO, I thought maybe that was what you wanted to do, so I was trying not to offend you by giving you a few options.

I find some people have a bit of trouble with no-cry sleep solution book because it has lots of options and encourages you to work out your own plan - which is great, but for some people they find it a bit overwhelming. So get hold of the book and have a good look at it, and if you think you can work out a plan go for it - otherwise let me know and I'll send you a gradual withdrawal plan for each child.

Yes the Ferber books have good sleep information, but to be honest so do most baby sleep books, including Elizabeth Pantley's (from memory - been a long time since I looked at it!).

Just remember if you do come back to me for a plan I need to know where your starting point is, i.e. how they currently go to sleep. All the best :)

Roberta - posted on 01/09/2011

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thank you! the no cry sleep solution sounds perfect for me and I believe in behavior mod and am used to the idea, especially of permanency with it! , but i still want to read and educate myself about sleep/kids so the Richard Ferber book sounds informative too. I cant have too much knowledge or help! the combination method sounds too hard honestly, and if one kid is crying the other will wake up, and i really have my hands full. it's tough, hubby isnt usually home to help. so both kids up and crying at same time doesnt work... Thanks for the very helpful advice/suggestions!

Renae - posted on 01/09/2011

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@Sara B - I had not read your post when I posted, I think we were typing at the same time, so my comments about ferberising where not in response to your post. Glad it worked for you. :) And yes he does give a lot of very good general information about baby sleep.

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