Would controlled crying work in this situation?

User - posted on 12/07/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My little boy is turning 1 and he's always been easy to put to bed and sleep. He's been having two naps during the day, 1 1/2 hr each and sleeping about 12 hours per night. During the day I rock him to sleep, which is no longer desirable as he used to take 10 minutes to fall asleep, but now he's taking 30. At night, after a good and consistent bedtime routine he would always be put in his cot to sleep and sleep on his own. That all changed recently. With separation anxiety peaking, he won't let me leave the nursery as soon as I put him down. If I'm lucky during his day naps he'll be drowsy enough not to wake up, if he does he will start screaming as soon as I turn to leave, I tried patting him on the back and stay with him for a while until he was calm enough, it worked for about two weeks but now nothing will do. As soon as I say goodnight, he stands up and cries until I come back, last night he slept after about 30 minutes of alternate crying and having me going there to calm him down. Once he's asleep he will sleep well overnight, but putting him to sleep is making me very upset and anxious. I actually dread his nap and bedtimes. I was wondering if anyone has been through this and if controlled crying works in this situation, since it's not a middle of the night I-don't-want-to-sleep kind of thing, but more a 'i can't let mummy out of my sight' situation.

Thanks for all your help as I am feeling quite emotionally depleted right now for allowing him to cry for that long (never done it before) and terrified of having to do it again. I read stories and sing to him for about 10-15 minutes before I put him in bed, but once he's down, it takes him about 30-40 minutes to fall asleep. I don't know what to do!

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Stifler's - posted on 12/08/2011

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Maybe he is trying to cut the 2 naps to 1. That's a very difficult stage.

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Tina - posted on 12/17/2011

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Great news, Monica! I'm also very glad you did not use any crying method - and obviously your son is too!

Belinda - posted on 12/16/2011

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Congrats Monica! and well done for reading his signs and responding so well to them.

User - posted on 12/16/2011

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Just an update. I started out by rocking him until he was asleep but gradually started to put him in the cot when he was very drowsy and just scratched his head a little bit and then leave and he is finally accepting to be on his own again and even chats to himself for a little while before going to sleep on his own. So glad I did not use any crying method as he's sorting himself out again. Hopefully it will last. Thanks to all who replied.

User - posted on 12/12/2011

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I hate the cry out method, I think it's unfair and cruel. Controlled crying is not really 'cry it out', as you go and reassure your baby in intervals. But it turned out I'm a wuss even for the controlled crying method as I can't listen to him cry and not comfort him. I decided to rock him to sleep and when I started doing it consistently in his nursery, in the dark, he is falling asleep quite easily and settling as soon as I put him down, so at this point I won't be using any crying method, but it is still far from the self settling thing he used to have. As far as I'm concerned nothing changed, it's just separation anxiety as he's fine when I am in the room with him, and separation anxiety peaks at certain times in life, so hopefully it's just a phase. I will certainly buy that book if the rocking situation stops achieving results. Thanks for your suggestions, very helpful.

Tina - posted on 12/12/2011

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Please, please, DO NOT let him "cry it out". It will only break the bond of trust between you, making things harder. I had some problems of my own when my son was about 5 months old - he could never sleep on his own, never napped in his cot, always had to be held/rocked/strolled around, etc.

Fortunately, I came across a brilliant book, i.e. The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (by Teaching You How to Ask the Right Questions), by Tracy Hogg. I ordered it online - and it saved my life! Definitely get it, if you can, it gives some sound advice on how to deal with sleeping, eating, behaviour, and other issues of babies and toddlers until about the age of three.

Now, you say he was a great sleeper, but that changed recently - what happened? This is the question you should first ask yourself, and the answer will probably help you find the solution to the problem at hand.

As for some practical advice, when you put him down for his nap/nighttime sleep, go through your established routine (bath, bottle, hug, pat on the back, whatever), then put him in his cot. As soon as he starts crying, hug him or pick him up and hold him, comforting him with your voice, until he calms down. Then put him back to bed. If he starts crying again, hug him or pick him up etc. DO THIS AS MANY TIMES AS YOU HAVE TO. I know, I know, it sounds pretty tiresome - it can be, for the first couple of days you use the method. But, IT WORKS! That is, if you are consistent with this approach. The secret is, you accomplish two things at the same time: You comfort your child, showing him you are there for him, maintaining his trust, and at the same time you show him you mean business. Yes, now it is time to sleep! Remember: YOU HAVE TO BE CONSISTENT. If you are, then your child in three to four days TOPS will sleep (pardon the pun) like a baby! It has worked for my son! Just Google The Baby Whisperer method and you will find more info.

Tracy - posted on 12/09/2011

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From the age of 6 months to a year my daughter woke every 2 hours. She wasn't a cuddler so that was out of the question. Finally after 6 months of no sleep I decided to sleep train her. The first night I rubbed her back until she finally fell asleep. She kicked and screamed and threw herself around the crib for and hour and a half before she finally went to sleep. The next night I put her down and left the room. I tried going back into her room to console her but that seemed to aggrivate her. So I had to just let her cry it out. Very hard to listen to. But she eventually drifted off. It took a week before she would just fall asleep. It still takes her about half to one hour to fall asleep but she just talks to herself and plays. She'll be 2 in Feb. Have patience and it will work it just takes time.

Belinda - posted on 12/08/2011

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I really recommend not cutting down to 1 nap at this age. On average 1 year olds need 2 naps a day, totalling about 2.25-2.5 hours. Consider shortening the morning nap if you are concerned about how long he is napping. Cutting short naps tends to lad to less sleep at night (strange but true) unless the child is ready for cutting down on naps. Dropping the second nap usually occurs around 18 months.

I do agree with an earlier poster who said that if this is seperation anxiety then letting him cry won't help. if it it makes you so anxious, do not do it. There are other options out there! Good Luck

Stifler's - posted on 12/08/2011

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It's realyl hard for a few weeks to cut the naps. They are tired and want to go to bed by 1030 then want to go to bed for the night at 630 sometimes. Mine did anyway. But eventually he got into going to nap at 12 and bed at 730

Sara - posted on 12/08/2011

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for me personally I had to do the same thing for my now 2 yr old from months 6-8/9... she wouldn't go to sleep for anything unless in my arms and rocking her or patting her hiney or holding my hand.. I eventually had enough and was too tired and worn out to do it anymore and the pediatrician told me to let her cry it out. I didn't want to do it because I felt bad but sometimes babies need to learn to put themselves to sleep. That was the best decision i made! the first night was the roughest! She literally cried for almost two hours, I did check on her every so often to make sure she wasn't throwing up or anything, which she wasn't she just wanted mommy to hold her and I wasn't having it.. After that the next night got easier and the next easier and so on and finally after about a week she was sleeping on her own with no problem and actually got excited to sleep and now over a year later she's sleeping like a champ in her own big girl bed! good luck with what you decide is best for you and your child!

User - posted on 12/08/2011

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Thanks a lot for the replies. Last night I rocked him to sleep and put him down when he was very drowsy, he complained for 2 minutes but that was it. I will also try only 1 nap a day as he's pushing his waking hours later and later, and hopefully, being very tired will help him fall asleep easier.

[deleted account]

If it's seperation anxiety I don't think leaving him to cry will help at all. Unfortunately I don't have any answers for you as my 3 year 8 month old son holds my hand EVERY night to fall asleep (we share a room). He nursed to sleep for every nap and every night at bedtime (though it didn't always put him to sleep) til 3.25 years.....

If his crying is upsetting to you then I don't think it's the right answer for your family. Only you can figure out what the right answer IS though. Good luck!!

Aniesha - posted on 12/08/2011

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I think it's more stressful to listen to your child cry, so I personally would never do it.

Kate - posted on 12/07/2011

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I believe that if you are upset for letting him cry then that might not be the right situation for you. Mothers instincts go a long way. I have twin 2.5 year olds and when they were going through this phase I stayed in the room since I didn't want to break the trust/bond I have with them (so tiring and draining). It was a hard 2 months of me rocking/bouncing them as they started taking longer to fall asleep (I did one baby while the other was in a little rocker on the floor, then it was her turn). So while I was bouncing them I started another routine where I would rub their backs or head and slowly stopped the bouncing so they learned another way to fall asleep. Shortly after that I would lay them down and rub their backs and phase that out until I would just sit next to them. At 2.5 they are excellent sleepers.

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