Help! Any suggestions on getting my 9 week old baby to self-settle?

Gabriela - posted on 05/09/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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I recently put my 9 week old boy on a Save Our Sleep routine, problem is, he won't self-settle. According to the book (Save Our Sleep), I'm supposed to swaddle him and put him in his bassinet awake. Walk out of the room and let him settle on his own. If I can't stand his protests, and more than 6 minutes of continuos protests (no 5 second breaks) have passed, I ca go in and either pat him or rub his belly until he settles, or if I have patted or rubbed for 22 minutes I can take a 10 min break and start over again. You will usually get some protests, and then a very high pitched protest which usually gets parents rushing in, and then they fall asleep and this usually happens before the 6 mins are up (that was the case with my eldest daughter). However, my little boy will start protesting and then it seems to me that he goes into an emotional cry. He won't settle in the six minutes and then I can go in and pat him for 1 1/2 hours and he still hasn't fallen asleep. What's worse, even if I pick him up and comfort him, he'll continue to cry. Then I'll keep him up until he's next programed sleep ad he'll be nearly switching off while you try to keep him awake. Then I put him in his bassinet, and it's the same story over again and no settling. So far, during the day I usually end up wrapping him to me (all his 5.3 Kg) so he'll fall asleep. And at night, I'm patting him to sleep... And at night he seems to sleep best on his tummy in my bed. Yes, I know, not a safe sleeping place or position, but it's even less safe to have a sleep deprived mom. So any suggestions on getting him to self-settle will be greatly appreciated.

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Lisa - posted on 05/11/2012

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It's great that you found this method to work for your first child and that the routines are working with your second, however, all babies are different. Maybe your second just can't self-soothe yet? I had twins who came 6 1/2 weeks early and were only 3lbs, 6oz each but were otherwise perfectly healthy. Same weight, exact same routine as they were put on a 4hr waking/feeding schedule in the NICU for their first 3 weeks of life and yet had totally different needs. When I brought them home I had them in a co-sleeper next to me but that quickly became obsolete. My daughter would fuss until I put her in her own room in her own crib - she wanted peace and quiet and darkness. She started sleeping 8 hr stretches by 2 months all by herself. My son, on the other hand, would fuss even if he was a foot away from me - he had to be right up next to me or he just wouldn't sleep. He woke up to feed a lot more than my daughter, yet their maintained equal weight for about 6 months. My babies are now 6 1/2 years old and still have their own sleep needs - my son is the one who goes right to sleep on his own and sleeps like a rock and my daughter wakes often and wants to sleep in our room! They seemed to switch sleep temperaments at about 3 1/2 yrs. My point is, every baby has different needs. I respect your desire to follow this book's advice, but I urge you to take it as just advice, not an absolute truth for all babies. Follow your instincts and give each child what they need. I know sleep deprivation - believe me - but it really is such a short time and you are building the basis for your relationship with your child. They learn if they can trust you, if you'll be there for them anytime or not. I decided to be available to my children 24/7, not just during daylight hours. They'll be losing those baby teeth and riding bikes before you know it so hold them as much as you can while you can. I can barely pick mine up now! :) Good luck! Lisa

Shawnn - posted on 05/11/2012

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Oh boy... And the day a kid will totally fit into a routine, and not have ANY variation, will be the day pigs fly! LOL

I love that idea, though. Let me know if it works. "I know what he wants when he cries because I know the next step in the routine"...

What if your child just wants to be held? And doesn't need fed, diapered, cleaned, etc? What if he just wants his momma to hold him? Does your "method" account for that in your "routine"

Just curious! I'm glad mine are graduating now...LOLOL

Shawnn - posted on 05/11/2012

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Ah, but Gabriela, your 9 week old son is most definitely NOT your 2 year old daughter.

He has different needs, and has different ways of responding to things. Your children will never, ever be or do things exactly the same, and you have to be ready to adjust your parenting methods, NOT expect a 9 week old to know what you want/expect of him and be pleased about doing it!

FYI, my 1st son would not go to sleep without being cuddled, no matter what. My second was a self settler from 2 weeks on, so each kid is different, and it's not the kids that need to adjust.

It actually broke my heart that my 2nd son wasn't a cuddler like my first, but I didn't lose any sleep over it, I just adjusted to him.
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If you've attempted this method, hours of recommended actions, etc, and your son is still not adhering to your method, then I suggest you find what works for him, rather than letting him scream, and then forcing him to stay awake, and then letting him scream and then forcing him to stay awake.

You may like this opinion, and you may not. HOWEVER, I'd like to point this out: You asked for opinions and input. If you only wanted full support of your method, you should have stated that in the very first sentence of the post. Please be an adult about the responses instead of getting snippy with everyone for not telling you what you want to hear.

Tina - posted on 05/11/2012

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babies learn to settle from their parents. Like my son when ever I tried to get him to sleep I would rub his forehead to get him to settle to this day when he's trying to go to sleep he will rub his forehead both of my children have their favourite type of blanket that helps them to settle and even a toy like my son has a frog that plays music for 10 minutes my daughter has a seahorse that does the sane thing. It helps them settle. I also use a pacifer.

Louise - posted on 05/10/2012

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Chuck the book out and do what is best for your son. At 9 weeks he is far to young to self settle. You are looking at more like 5 months for self settling to work well. I have three kids that are all good sleepers. Move your baby to a cot and his own room now before you get stuck with a child that can only sleep with you in your bed. Place him in his cot asleep at first after a bottle on his back. Leave the room until he wakes to feed. After a bottle a baby of this age is normally asleep so place him back in his bed on his back.

As your child gets older then let them self soothe during the day in a cot or playpen cot with a mobile over the top and noise in the back ground. I put my kids down for day naps in the lounge surrounded by noise and in the light and they slept in their rooms in the dark during the night. All three have slept through the night from an early age and never had any problems at all.

Please think about the babies position if you are going to co sleep, placing a baby on its tummy on a soft mattress will cause spinal problems over time. You are also doubling your chances of SIDS.

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Johnny - posted on 05/11/2012

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If this book suggests that you can sleep train a 9 week old, I would toss it in the trash. I KNOW you asked HOW, but you shouldn't be. While some new infants are excellent sleepers, mine was for the first two months before she got colic. Others are not. There is signifiant research in this area suggesting that not only is it developmentally inappropriate to sleep train babies this young, but it may be damaging. If a child will easily settle, then by all means let them. However, if they need more contact and support, it can harm them to deprive them of this.

I can tell you aren't getting the responses you are hoping for, and you are probably mad because you think that you should be getting more support. Tough. This isn't just about YOU, it is about your baby and many mothers can't stand to see them being put through this kind of treatment at such a young age. We have all been there, completely sleep-deprived and worn out. Right now I'm at work after being up most of the night with my feverish 3 year old and I'm 4 months along with my second child. I get exhaustion. But this is what we signed up for. Suck it up.

Gabriela - posted on 05/11/2012

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Happy, as you said, you haven't read the book, and you haven't tried it out. It's actually a very good book and it worked beautifully with my 2 yo daughter. Babies thrive in routines and end up not needing to cry for anything because they learn that all their needs are being met. I fact, my 9 wk old is following his routine despite the self-settling issues, and because of it, he wakes only twice during the night compared with 8 or 9 times as he was doing the day before we started it. And I know what he needs if he does cry, because I know what's next in the routine.

Happy - posted on 05/11/2012

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I read what you told her. The book is full of lies and is damaging to babies. Just wanted to make sure you knew that.

Gabriela - posted on 05/11/2012

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Happy, thank you for your reply but I'll tell you the same I said to Louis: I asked "how do I get him to self-settle?" not whether you like the SOS book or not.

Happy - posted on 05/11/2012

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Never read the book, never heard of the book but from you describe it is garbage! Get rid of the book and pick up your baby!!! How in the WORLD parents think that a child who has been held and cuddled for 9 months can just automatically soothe themselves at 7,8,9,10 weeks, whatever, is BEYOND me!!! Any baby that does "settle" is NOT settling, they are just giving up realizing that their Mom is NOT going to come and comfort them. That makes me incredibly sad and angry!

Gabriela - posted on 05/10/2012

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Thanks for your reply Louise, however my question was "how do I get him to self-settle?", not whether he's too young to do it or not.

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