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Sleep school - How did you know?


29 replies to this topic

#1 Funwith3

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:59 PM

For those of you who have taken your babies to sleep school, or who have sought out professional help to get your babies to sleep -

How did you know you needed sleep school?

Was there a certain age that you used as a deadline? Ie if baby doesn't start sleeping properly by 6 months I'll call the sleep school. Or was there a certain point that you thought "I've had enough!"??? What was your baby doing that made you think you needed professional help.

I'm torn between thinking I have a normal baby, and thinking my baby is unreasonable!! Here's what she does over a 24 hour period. Please tell me is it acceptable, or not?

At 10 weeks old, with a dream feed, she would sleep through the night from about 7pm til 7am. At 4 months old, this stopped. She's now 8 months old. She is breast fed and has solids three times a day. I breast feed her to sleep for every sleep (my bad  sad.gif )...

She has two sleeps a day - each for about 1.5-2 hours. Occasionally she will also have a late afternoon nap in the car if we're out. I try to get her to bed at 7pm. She wakes again at about 7:45pm so I feed her back to sleep. Sometimes she wakes AGAIN at 8:30pm (or thereabouts) and again I feed her. I do a dream feed at about 11pm, but sometimes she'll beat me to it by waking at 10:30pm. We usually get a good block here until about 4am. Again I feed her. She wakes in the morning at about 7am.

Sometimes it's better than this. Sometimes it's worse.

Is she a normal 8 month old, or is there a problem here?

#2 Ally'smum

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:06 PM

I would have been thrilled with what you are describing.

DD only ever did 45 minute sleeps in the day and it would take about 45 minutes to go to sleep.

At night she cried from when we put her in bed at 7pm, to when I fed her again at 10pm (if I lasted that long, I would usually pick her up and hold her to sleep) then she would feed at 1, wake at 4 and then be up from 6.

I was so tired I couldn't function properly, that is when we went to sleep school.

#3 FeralHez

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:09 PM

Sounds a lot like my DD at that age, so I would think normal - including the sleeping through for a while then changing up again.

I rolled with it and she is still not the best sleeper at 16 months but I have not 'sleep trained' or 'tough loved' her as I know some of my friends' better sleepers have been.

I would consider trying to pull her off the boob before she's fully asleep, (look up Pantley if you haven't tried it) - pull her off as soon as she's asleep, then a little earlier, and a little earlier, until you can put her down groggy but awake and full. This could take a good couple of weeks of patience, but you *may* find she doesn't want boob every wake then (break the sleep association).

Good luck, broken sleep sucks.

ETA I have just realised this doesn't answer anything about sleep schools. I have considered it on bad nights but am too wuss to do it I think.

Edited by HezzaB, 04 February 2013 - 08:11 PM.


#4 Funwith3

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:11 PM

QUOTE (loggedin @ 04/02/2013, 09:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
At night she cried from when we put her in bed at 7pm, to when I fed her again at 10pm (if I lasted that long, I would usually pick her up and hold her to sleep) then she would feed at 1, wake at 4 and then be up from 6.


My DD would cry too if I left her, which is what has got me into the habit of just feeding her every time she cries.

But 1am, 4am and then 6am - that's not nice! We have definitely had a few of those though.

#5 a letter to Elise.

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:12 PM

Sounds pretty much identical to my DD who is 7.5 months. She was sleeping through (from 8-5.30) for a couple of months, and when she go her new teeth, she stopped, and hasn't started again.

She generally goes to bed at about 7.30. She often wakes about 40 minutes later, and I give her the other side. She'll sleep till about 12.30, wake and feed, and then wake and feed again at about 4. she's up for the day at about 7am. Sometimes she skips the 12.30 feed, and wakes at about 3am instead.

Lately I've been finding it tough - 1 wake up doesn't bother me, but sometimes I'm up 3 or 4 times. At this stage I don't feel like we need sleep school. She has been getting lots of teeth lately (number 6 is coming through at the moment), and I think this is contributing to the sleep issues. I'm happy to wait it out a bit longer, and I just try to go to bed earlier.

I know the nurses and sleep schools tell you they don't need milk overnight, but I think 12 hours is a long time. I'm happy with one feed overnight for quite some time yet. If need be, I will get DH involved in the settling, to try and get her off to sleep without feeding.

#6 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:15 PM

When I couldn't handle the horrible screamsat every bed time and naptime I went to sleep school the first time. Then at an older age when I realised I had no energy to bea good mum during the day because of sleep depravation I went the second time. So basically each time it was when I could take it no more.

#7 mandala

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:15 PM

DS was like that AFTER sleep school! But we'd also had supply issues along the way, and he didn't feed to sleep.

What stopped him from waking up overnight asking for a feed? No idea. He just stopped one night, about two days before turning 8 months.

The reason we went to sleep school was because I felt like I was failing my son in every respect. Nothing I tried helped, and it was just getting worse. I was close to walking out the door.  

What you're describing doesn't sound that abnormal, or that bad, to me, but it doesn't matter what I think - it matters how you and your partner and your baby are coping. And if it's too much for you, you're allowed to want it to be better and allowed to ask for help. original.gif

#8 Funwith3

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:18 PM

QUOTE (loggedin @ 04/02/2013, 09:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was so tired I couldn't function properly, that is when we went to sleep school.


I forgot to ask - did sleep school help you? Did they do a controlled crying type of method?

QUOTE (Matthias' mum @ 04/02/2013, 09:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Lately I've been finding it tough - 1 wake up doesn't bother me, but sometimes I'm up 3 or 4 times. At this stage I don't feel like we need sleep school. She has been getting lots of teeth lately (number 6 is coming through at the moment), and I think this is contributing to the sleep issues.


No I don't mind one wake up either - I think it's the evening part I hate. I just want to relax!!! My DD has no teeth yet (!!!!!) I can't believe yours is coming up to 6 teeth!

#9 Feral_Pooks

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:22 PM

That does sound within the realms of normal. Perhaps one or two of those night feeds are more for comfort than nutrition. If its a problem for YOU then it's a problem. If feeding to sleep and a few short night wakings are ok for you, then it's not a problem. Does that make sense? Part of what sleep school can do is modify our expectations and behaviours as parents, it's not just about changing the child's behaviour.

I knew I needed sleep school because the lack of sleep was leading to me falling apart in every sense. DS was not quite 6 months old and had about 4/5 15/20minute naps, but only if I held him and didn't move. Otherwise, he simply wouldn't sleep and screamed and carried on. from about 8pm til midnight we would have screaming, feeding, dozing, waking and repeat sessions until he passed out and didn't wake when I put him down. Then I would get about 4 or 5 hours sleep. Then I would be up with him for 2-3 hours and then he would start the short naps in my arms thing again.

#10 Funwith3

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:25 PM

QUOTE (Pooks_ @ 04/02/2013, 09:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I knew I needed sleep school because the lack of sleep was leading to me falling apart in every sense. DS was not quite 6 months old and had about 4/5 15/20minute naps, but only if I held him and didn't move. Otherwise, he simply wouldn't sleep and screamed and carried on. from about 8pm til midnight we would have screaming, feeding, dozing, waking and repeat sessions until he passed out and didn't wake when I put him down. Then I would get about 4 or 5 hours sleep. Then I would be up with him for 2-3 hours and then he would start the short naps in my arms thing again.


Pooks that sounds unbearable!!! I'm starting to think we're ok  original.gif

#11 bjk76

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:25 PM

Doesn't sound too bad to me. I honestly don't think the 'feed to sleep' association is a bad one - unless it is affecting you too much. I think basically that you go to sleep school when you reach a crisis point i.e. you can't imagine going on the way you are for much longer.

DS slept well until 6 months when separation anxiety hit and he started waking every couple of hours overnight, when I'd feed him back to sleep. It was really tough getting up and feeding him and then trying to get him back in his cot without him waking up again and it disturbed my sleep too. I ended up getting a sleep consultant/nanny to come out for a 3 hour (?) consultation and she gave me some tips which helped him sleep better. I used Night Nannies, and I think they're in capital cities, if you want to give them a go, but you have to pay for them privately, unlike a lot of sleep schools. The nanny came out during the day and was maybe $160 in total. I didn't end up following her recommendations 100% as DS seemed to be constantly sick/teething and I didn't want to add in extra things, but things did improve.

Anyway, I ended up co-sleeping with him and that helped with the frequent wake-ups, as both of us could go straight back to sleep and not have to worry about getting up and moving elsewhere. We sleep on a double bed on the floor of DS's room and DH sleeps in 'our' bed in 'our' room (my old room!). But anyway, this is something I'm happy with and I feel like I can continue until DS starts sleeping through the night by himself. Now he's stopped teething he wakes about every 4 hours for a snack. He's nearly 2 and they're meant to start self-settling naturally between 2 and 3, if they haven't already.

So, if I were you, I'd look into getting a sleep nanny to come out, or to get a referral to a sleep school, as it sounds like you're not that happy with the situation you're in. I really didn't want to do any form of controlled crying/comforting with DS, so once I started getting enough sleep, I thought I was happy to continue this way.

#12 Jenferal

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:28 PM

That sounds pretty normal to me.
I also fed to sleep when my baby was younger, your milk contains hormones which help them sleep so to me, it was natural to feed to sleep.
I only stopped feeding overnight once she slept a longer block of 6 or so hours in one go, but that wasn't till maybe 17 months.
Our 4 month sleep regression lasted AGES!
You could try not feeding as much overnight, but it depends on the baby. Some take to it ok, some don't.
if she's in bed by about 7, i wouldn't feed her again at 7.45 if she wakes. try to resettle her if possible, by rocking or patting etc, so she learns eventually to get herself back to sleep.

I assume you do a good sized feed right before bed? That should last her at least 2 or 3 hours or longer by 8 months. try to stretch out the feeds at night unless she is REALLY upset and rocking or patting isn't cutting it. it may take a few days to get her used to the less feeds at night.

As to sleep school, if it's affecting you and the family and you've tried other methods, then it's time for professional help I think.

#13 a letter to Elise.

Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:42 PM

I can't believe she has 6 teeth either! And she is such a tiny little thing. DS had no teeth at this age.

I know what you mean about the evenings. I tend to have to resettle (or just feed) once or twice after she goes to bed, and by the time it's all finished, I'm tired and just want to go to bed myself. It's frustrating because I don't really get any downtime in the evenings. I do disappear for a couple of hours in the afternoon on Sundays to get some time alone. Normally just upstairs to read a book, but it's helping to get me through at the moment.

I just keep reminding myself that its only for a short time. I'll get my evenings back in a few months, and then I'll probably want another baby, and that will be the end of free time again!  biggrin.gif

#14 summermama

Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:44 PM

Sounds normal, but then I've been to sleep school with both of mine! I knew I needed sleep school - my baby was happy but I was not coping with the lack of sleep, and what I was doing couldn't go on, I was about to have a breakdown.  

So I think if you are coping then don't bother with sleep school, your bub will grow out of it eventually, but if you are having a hard time then absolutely ask for help.

#15 Feral_Pooks

Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:28 PM

QUOTE (summermama @ 04/02/2013, 10:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So I think if you are coping then don't bother with sleep school, your bub will grow out of it eventually, but if you are having a hard time then absolutely ask for help.


Sums it up beautifully.

#16 Quirk

Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:12 PM

I considered sleep school so many times, I was even booked in once and cancelled it the night before! I felt, and I don't know why I felt this way, that by going to sleep school, I was giving up on his ability to get there eventually by himself. It was as if I was saying, I have no confidence in you. This probably made no sense to anyone but me.

DS woke on average 8-13 times per night.
Every. Night. Without. Fail.
His longest stretch of sleep in his entire first year of life was around 2 hours.

We had a whiteboard in the kitchen, every time he woke, I would write the time on the board after I had got him to sleep. Then, I would add them up in the morning. A great night, one that got us all excited, was when he only woke 7 times.

This went on until he was 13 months old. He then just worked it out himself. Now, he sleeps 12 hours a night, 3 hours in the day.

I never allowed him to cry it out. I always went in to him. By saying this, I'm not judging those who do, it's just what I needed to do.

I look back now and wonder how the hell I survived. I have 2 other children, a DP who worked away and no family support. But I did, and again, whether or not it makes no sense at all, I am so glad I didn't go to sleep school. BUT, that is just me, and how I needed to do things original.gif

ETA: I also fed to sleep as well, have done with all 3. Obviously not at every wake-up, but whenever I felt he needed it and anytime I felt it might just give me an extra 30 minutes sleep!

Edited by Quirk, 04 February 2013 - 11:15 PM.


#17 jaskat

Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:37 PM

QUOTE (summermama @ 04/02/2013, 10:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So I think if you are coping then don't bother with sleep school, your bub will grow out of it eventually, but if you are having a hard time then absolutely ask for help.

This.

I called the sleep school when my eldest was about 8 months old.  I was getting up 7 - 8 times per night and was exhausted.  Hubby was on some pretty serious drugs for a chronic condition at the time and I was jumping up every time I heard him so that he didn't disturb hubby.... so totally created the rod for my own back.  When I called and spoke to the nurse she told me I was on the waiting list and that it could be a few weeks but I got a call two days later and I was in the day after that.  I think they must have heard the desperation in my voice.  I don't think I could have survived without it (ok, being overly dramatic.... I would have, but my sanity might have suffered).

With my third child, he woke more often that I thought he should have and until he was older than I thought was normal but I was different and it didn't bother me.  I fed him back to sleep and crawled back into bed knowing it wouldn't last forever.

Every child is different and you are different with every child.



#18 Quirk

Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:46 PM

QUOTE
Every child is different and you are different with every child.

This sums it up perfectly!

Funnily enough, after coping with up to 13 wake-ups a night, if DS wakes once in the night now and I have to get up, I whinge and moan as if it's the worst thing in the world! Ah, how times have changed!

#19 MummaBirdy

Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:38 AM

I truly feel sleep school gave us the beautiful gift of sleep for the whole family!
We were at crisis point, DD was 11.5 months old and had only 9-10 hours total sleep in 24  hours. She only slept in 1/2 hour blocks during the day (since very early on) on it would take anywhere from 45 mins-1.5 hours to settle her (feeding to sleep, rocking, patting, you name it). A good night was 2 hours sleep in a row. DD and i co slept with my husband in another room. I felt like a ghost of my former self.

#20 Contrebasse

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:59 AM

QUOTE (Funwith3 @ 04/02/2013, 08:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
At 10 weeks old, with a dream feed, she would sleep through the night from about 7pm til 7am. At 4 months old, this stopped. She's now 8 months old. She is breast fed and has solids three times a day. I breast feed her to sleep for every sleep (my bad  sad.gif )...

She has two sleeps a day - each for about 1.5-2 hours. Occasionally she will also have a late afternoon nap in the car if we're out. I try to get her to bed at 7pm. She wakes again at about 7:45pm so I feed her back to sleep. Sometimes she wakes AGAIN at 8:30pm (or thereabouts) and again I feed her. I do a dream feed at about 11pm, but sometimes she'll beat me to it by waking at 10:30pm. We usually get a good block here until about 4am. Again I feed her. She wakes in the morning at about 7am.

Sometimes it's better than this. Sometimes it's worse.

Is she a normal 8 month old, or is there a problem here?


Sounds very similar to my 8 month old. We haven't gone down the sleep school path, but I recently decided that something needed to change - mainly because I am about to go to work. (I can do 1 or 2 wake ups, but more than that and I am exhausted.)

We decided to stop feeding to sleep, but not to leave her to cry - would try shhing, patting, singing etc., and failing that would just stay in the room with her until she fell asleep. (I moved a camping mattress in there). I won't lie to you, it was hard - she cried for an hour and a half the first night, even with lots of cuddles and patting. She is a lot better after a week or two, but some nights is still upset at bedtime. Once she is asleep though, she usually stays that way until at least 4am. If she wakes before midnight I will resettle, but after that I just feed her.

So I would say that it can work, but even a more 'gentle' method can still involve lots of crying. Once you start, you kind of have to follow through, otherwise it's confusing for them. So you need to be sure that you and DH are both ready to commit to it. You might prefer to keep the status quo if you can live with it.

One other thing to consider - once they can stand in the cot, but can't yet reason or communicate, it is a little harder...

#21 melaine

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:08 AM

OP - I went to sleep school with my 8 month old because he took an hour to settle in the day (cuddling, patting, letting him self settle - all involved screaming) and then slept for one sleep cycle.

Manageable, until he then started the same overnight. 40 mins of sleep followed by 'resettling' and repeat from 10.30pm till 6am. We did get a block from 7.30 to 10.30 which was heaven.


Within a week of sleep school he was sleeping from 11pm to 6.30a, without waking. His entire personality changed when he got more sleep.

(Our sleep habits had formed after his reflux had been inadequately treated. Once we increased meds etc it improved but those habits were still there and that's what sleep school helped us work on. WE tweaked routine, the way we settled and resettled, use of dummy etc - but we didn't leave him to 'cry it out'. There was less crying involved than when we had been cuddling him to sleep.)

#22 Spartacus

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:09 AM

Totally normal - a sic hour stretch overnight is great! Then one feed and another three hours. You have a dream sleeper!

Mine were too busy exploring the world at 8-9 months to eat enough and would wake several times in the first couple of hours after going to bed. (they do the same now at school age, but once you're five years old, mean mummy says bedtime is bedtime. )

#23 Betty_D

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:13 AM

My bub was very similar to yours - ie good sleeper at a young age, progressively getting worse around 4 months old, and then by about 9 months I was getting up every 1.5 - 2 hours to settle, with a lot of rocking / co-sleeping / driving around  etc.

I knew I was ready for sleep school by this stage because I felt close to breaking point. I had run out of settling techniques that worked, and I was just too exhausted to function or enjoy motherhood.


#24 sophiasmum

Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:21 AM

Everyone has different tolerances for what they will put up with & what they think is acceptable sleep behaviour for a baby at that age.

Personally I would not be happy with any night waking, I think the food & milk they have during the day should be enough to sustain them through the night.

I would also not be feeding to sleep at that age because I prefer to put down & walk away, freeing me up to do other things. And the sleep association means no one else could put my baby to bed.

So yes I would be speaking to sleep school for assistance with breaking these habits. But other mums may think your problems are nothing compared to theirs.

FWIW I went to residential sleep school for a week with DD1 when she was 3 mths because she was a difficult to handle reflux baby, I was rocking her to sleep & it was taking longer & longer, and bascially we had no routine. It was the best thing I ever did.

I sought their advice for breaking the wrapping habit with DD1 at 8 mths & DS at 3 mths.

And I sought their advice for stopping the night waking with DD2 just after the 4 mth wonder week sleep regression.

Everything they told me to do worked.

#25 Mamabug

Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:26 AM

I knew when we were so sleep deprived that our marriage was about to end, I was terrified Himself would die in a workplace incident (dangerous industry)...but the real kicker was when I fell asleep while driving in the middle of the day with all three babies in the car.

I have been with three of my four children, all of them had reflux and unsettled sleep patterns.

DS - we went at 12 months.
DD2 - 8 months
DD3 - 12 months. She also went for medical reasons - not putting on weight, bowels not working, so she was closely observed for food issues while we were there as well.

As for PP - I have a four year who still likes to be wrapped when she is feeling particularly unwell! My 17mo is still wrapped for each sleep.



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Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.