View Full Version : Weissbluth sleep question

09-26-2003, 06:01 PM
OK, I am biting the bullet here and doing something different to get Nate to sleep longer and more consistently. I've been back and forth between Weissbluth's more CIO approach and Pantley's "gentle" approach and unfortunately, I keep reaching the conclusion that the gentle approach doesn't work for my little stinker as he is up every 2.5 hours all night long. I currently have a cold and just cannot handle the sleep deprivation any longer.

As anyone who has read it can attest, Weissbluth's book (I've read the 2nd edition, I think) doesn't offer concrete steps to take. I can get Nate to sleep at night, but what do I do when he wakes up after 2,3,4 hours of sleep? What do you do when your child wakes up? He currently sleeps w/ a lovey in his crib in his room. Do you acknowledge the waking? Do I go in and tell him that everyone needs sleep including mommy and daddy? Do I ignore him until he goes back to sleep? What?

09-26-2003, 06:42 PM
Ryden currently wakes up often during the night. I use to just go in and stick the paci in w/o waiting to see what he was really doing. Once I stopped automatically going in, I realized he was just laying there talking to himself. I'm still sleep deprived b/c I wake up when he's talking (even w/o the monitor on, I can hear him). I just wait him out. When he's done talking he usually fusses for about five minutes and then goes back to sleep. When he's hungry he wakes up and does more of a wimper/cry thing, so I know to go in and feed him. So I guess my only advice is to figure out what he's doing when he's awake and then decide if it requires you to go in.

09-26-2003, 07:05 PM
Caroline, what does he do when he wakes up? How long do you wait to go in there? If he isn't screaming, I wouldn't go in. Colin often talks or fusses during the night for a few minutes, and when I used to go in, he would wake up. When I stopped going in, he stopped waking up.

The gentle approach didn't work for us either - going in would just get him more and more worked up.

Are you still nursing?

09-26-2003, 07:13 PM
He usually cries when he wakes up. It starts off with a whimper and just sort of escalates to crying or even screaming until I (or my husband) get up and go in there. I usually wait about 5 minutes to see if he's going to re-settle or not (and it's usually not). On nights where I am just so tired that even his crying doesn't keep me awake, it will take him up to an hour to fall back to sleep. But I know he can get himself back to sleep because we have a video monitor and I've seen him cry out, fuss, rub his face around and settle back down to sleep.

I'm still nursing. He breastfed twice and ate a whole jar full of Earth's Best first bananas (he usually only eats 1/2 jar) in the 3.5 hours before he went to sleep, so I know that he didn't go to bed hungry.

09-26-2003, 07:28 PM
DS did not sleep through the night until he was about 11 months old. He would fall to sleep on his own, but would not go back to sleep by himself when he woke up in the middle of the night. I used to nurse him back to sleep in the middle of the night because he would never soothe himself back to sleep - it was just the fastest thing to do. This is probably not what you want to hear though...

If he seems upset, I would definitely go in to make sure that nothing is wrong. If nothing is wrong, then maybe you can get him set up like you do when he goes to sleep at the beginning of the night - with his lovey and music, if you have something like that in his crib, tell him it is time to sleep, and see what happens.

Good luck. They really DO start sleeping through the night at some point!

09-26-2003, 07:57 PM
How many times would your son wake up in the middle of the night? Last night, Nate woke up 5 times if you don't count the times that he'd fall back asleep and wake up 2-5 minutes later...if you count those, he woke up 10 times. I honestly do not think he wakes because something is wrong, but wakes because he's in the habit of waking and/or wants to be social with us. At one point last night, I brought him into bed with me in a stupid effort to get some sleep. He finished nursing and then started talking to us and batting at us in a very, "Hey Mom, hey Dad! Let's play!" way.

If he got up once or even twice/night, I'd be OK. But he seems to be the sort of kid who thinks that if 1-2 wakings are good, 5-6 are even better!

He also has a hard time getting to sleep on his own.

09-26-2003, 08:47 PM
After DS got past about 6 months old, he would wake up usually one or two times a night (sometimes 3, but that was more rare).

Ok, if it was me, this is what I would do. I would first try to get him to go to sleep on his own at nap time and at night time. For this, I did follow Weissbluth to a T (except for the part where he says not to leave the house until 4pm!). I used his suggested sleep times, and it was not at all bad, and did not take long at all. What have you been doing at these times to get Nate to sleep?

THEN, once he can get to sleep on his own, I would deal with the night time wakenings. I know, I know it is awful right now, but I think it would be too much crying and too much to deal with for him all at once. Plus, once he can consistently go to sleep on his own, you have a better chance that he can soothe himself to sleep when he wakes up at night. Now, Weissbluth is pretty clear on this part - if he wakes up at night, go in and check on him, make sure everything is ok and then leave and do not go back in. For me, I could not do this, but since you asked, that is what he says to do.

I also checked my Burton White book, because I remembered he addressed this in a less harsh way. He says to go in and check on your child, say something as you approach the crib, and then it is all business. If he needs to be changed, change him in the crib. Then leave and wait 30 minutes. If he is still crying, go back in, check again, give reassurance and say that it is time to sleep, leave and do not go back.

What time are you putting Nate to bed at night? Also, do you have your monitor set low? I keep mine on low, and we also have a white noise machine in our room. That way, every little murmur and rustle doesn't wake me up - just the cries. When he wakes up, have you tried nursing him in his room and putting him right back in his crib? If he realizes night time isn't for socializing, maybe he will stop getting up. Just brainstorming...

Every child and every circumstance is different, so you have to use your intuition too to know what Nate will respond to. I really do feel for you, because both my boys had different sleep issues, and it is hard. Hang in there, and let us know how it is going and how you are doing!

*Edited to add missing word.

09-26-2003, 09:54 PM
Caroline, what is his daily sleep "schedule"? And, yes, how do you get him to sleep at naps and at bedtime?

Another thought - try giving him a dose of Tylenol (or Motrin) when he goes to bed. Maybe there is some serious teething going on here, and that is what is waking him up at night. Teething pain can start long before you can see the teeth ready to pop through.

09-27-2003, 10:47 AM
I have the 3rd edition of Weissbluth and he says it is normal for children up until they are 9 months of age to get up twice a nite to eat but any other nite waking should be ignored. I know that would be hard to do......just passing along the information. I am not anti CIO but we just haven't done it yet.....I keep seeing (small)improvements in his sleep so I am not ready for CIO but we have considered that route and may have to go that route some day. GL!!!

09-27-2003, 05:31 PM
Every time I see a pattern, it changes, but for the past 2 weeks, he's been going down for a nap around 9 a.m. and again around 1-2 p.m. We start the bedtime routine around 5-5:30 p.m. and he goes down between 5:30-6:30, generally -- all within Weissbluth's suggestions, I think. For naps, I usually nurse him either to sleep or to just-about-to-sleep. Same with bedtime. I think this is part of the problem. I had been nursing him to almost-sleep and then putting him down and he'd sometimes cry for about 1-2 minutes and then sleep, but it was so hard to guess when he was going to cry for a minute or cry for half an hour. If he was still crying after my attempt to put him down, my husband would rock him until he was asleep and then put him down.

I nurse him in the rocking chair in his room before naps and bedtime. Also during nightwakings. I just brought him into my bed a few nights ago out of desperation. Before bed/naptime, I keep all the lights off and the blackout curtains closed. We also play a CD of lullabyes -- the first 5 are for bedtime. The last 4 are for naptime.

He cut 3 of his (currently 4) teeth 2 weeks ago. They're not all the way in, but they are all definitely through the gumline. Motrin/Tylenol don't seem to have any effect on his night-waking, to be honest.

I have a video monitor so I can see him. I keep the sound off on the monitor b/c if he's crying, I can hear it without the monitor.

When he has woken up close after a previous waking/nursing session (so I know he's not hungry), I have gone in and said something to the effect of Burton White's suggestion. If he was complaining before I go in, he is generally screaming after I leave.

09-27-2003, 07:16 PM
I think you might be right about the nursing thing, it sounds like he associates falling asleep with nursing so you might want to try getting him to associate something else (my ds sucks his thumb, but maybe a pacifier or lovey would work?) I would try rocking him to sleep rather than nursing and try to eliminate the nursing right before sleep-especially for naps and at bedtime. By the way, if I go in when my ds is fussing to reassure him he just loses it and wants to get up-that never worked for me either. Good luck!!!
Emily \r\nmom of Charlie born 11/02

09-28-2003, 01:46 PM
Here's what worked for us when my daughter had a very similar waking pattern.

Up until that point I nursed her at every waking because I knew it would get her back to sleep immediately. But it got to the point that she was waking every couple hours, I had been fighting a cold for what seemed like weeks, and I just felt like the walking dead. I read everything I could find and realized that the so-called gentle methods would have been torture for my daughter. She had always protested if I tried to cut nursing short before she was done, so slowly decreasing nursing time was not a possibility. She's also thrived on consistency in everything so the gradual approach seemed to go completely against her nature.

So I picked a night and a time that I wanted her to sleep until, that we would nurse at 5 (she's always been an early riser) but she needed to sleep until then. When she cryed out that night at around 9 I went in, offered her water, laid her back down and told her it was time for sleep, and covered her again with her favorite blanket. A very abbreviated version of her bedtime routine, we started calling it the "re-tuck". She did cry, but she was approaching the 1 yr mark and by then she had a clearly angry cry, and we decided we would wait through that and listen for signs that she was distressed rather than protesting. It wasn't easy but it only lasted for 20-40 minutes or so, definitely under an hour. There were a few more wakings over the next couple days, but it took her less time to get back to sleep after each one. We still do the whole "re-tuck" routine if she wakes even now and she goes straight back to sleep. At least for us the CIO portion of all this was very small, not ongoing hours and nights of screaming.

I did feel the need to acknowledge the waking, to let her know we were still here but that it was time for sleep. It also gave me a chance to assure myself that she was really ok and offer her water if she was waking for thirst.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I remember how hard this was and how uprepared I was for how exhausting the second half of the first year was compared to the first!


10-01-2003, 11:59 PM
Let me start out by saying that I have not read anyone's "sleep" books at this point. So I was kind of surprised to see several people saying that they're putting their little ones down to bed as early as 5 or 6 pm? I'm just curious as to why the books recommend putting babies down so early. I don't put my DD down until 8-9pm, and about 95% of the time she sleeps through the night until 6-7:30am.

I too have been nursing her to sleep for pretty much every nap and at bedtime, and I'm beginning to think that may be my downfall as well. Mainly just because it makes it so hard to leave her with a babysitter on rare occasions, because it's really hard for the sitter to get her to sleep if she gets tired. However, after starting to encounter nights where she wakes up as soon as I set her down in the crib, I'm REALLY beginning to question whether it's time to let her CIO or try one of the other "methods". Has anyone successfully made it from always nursing to sleep to getting them to sleep on their own w/o the (dreaded on my part) CIO method?

10-02-2003, 11:53 AM
First, you are soooooo lucky if she sleeps through the night from 8 or 9 until 6:30 or 7. The reason that I put Nate down at 6ish is because he's exhausted by the end of the day. I haven't been successful at getting him to take a third nap -- he'll confuse it w/ bedtime, sleep for 2+ hours and if I wake him before or even at 2 hours, he is cranky and crying and miserable. Which makes me miserable.

Everyone has to decide what is right for them and for their baby. If you don't want to let your daughter cry *at all*, you might try reading The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. She has lots of suggestions for how to transition your child out of nursing to sleep to falling asleep on his/her own. None of them worked for my child and we did have to resort to some crying to get him to sleep.


10-14-2003, 03:36 PM
We started following the Weissbluth approach when Cade was six months. It absolutly changed our lives for the better! :) Before following Weissbluth, we would go in the room and try to soothe him even give him a bottle, but this made it worse and he cried hysterically after we left so I had even less sleep. He usually was not hungry and thought it was time to play instead.

After starting Weissbluth, I started turning his monitor down as I would wake up every time he did. Before I turned it down, I did notice that if he woke up he would fuss or talk for few minutes and put himself back to sleep. It seems like over time he woke up less and less at night and we never really had a problem with night waking after that. We tried to stick pretty closely to the three nap schedule until he outgrew his third nap. I always hated waking him up from his third nap, but it seemed like once he started sleeping through the night he would wake up from the third nap on his own.

We are huge Weissbluth fans. I know now that the gentle approach would have never worked with Cade. I'm sure it works with some children, but I guess it depends on the child.

Mom of Cade 6/16/02

10-15-2003, 02:44 PM
I have been reading the conversations on this topic and could use a little help myself. I have a 16 month old who is still not sleeping throuh the night. She just had two more teeth break throuh the gum ad we just got her to stop taking a bottle. We tried leeting her CIO, but she would climb out of her crib and fall on the floor. So, we moved her to a toddler bed a few months ago. The only problem with that is that when we made her CIO, she would come walking into our room. We just tried putting a baby gate up on her door, but she has figured out how to crawl over it now too. She is so stubborn and I am at a loss as to wt to do? Any suggestions?

10-15-2003, 03:51 PM
There was a mom in my mom's group that had a similar problem. She posed her question to the last speaker that is a counselor and was there to talk about attachment problems. He said it is a war of wills and one she should try to win. She also put a gate up to keep her in her room and she would later find her asleep on the floor by the gate. He said that was ok, eventually she would give up since she was not getting anywhere and for now she might want to put a blanket down by the gate. I know that may sound a little harsh to some, but that is what he suggested.

Mom of Cade 6/16/02

10-15-2003, 04:04 PM
I am glad to hear that I am not the only one with this problem! I have put a gate up at her door and I also put a blanket and pillow next to it with a sippy cup. She has managed to climb up the gate and get over it. She is a stubborn one! I can't think of any other way to keep her in her room and to go to sleep. She is tired when she wakes up. It isn't like she wants to play or anything. I don't know how to convince her to just fall back asleep.