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transitioning from walking/bouncing/dancing to laying down to sleep

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  • transitioning from walking/bouncing/dancing to laying down to sleep

    Well after much thought - dh and I have decided we need change. We have been dancing our son to sleep at bedtime and naps for almost a year now. Some nights it goes very well - others and mostly lately, not so well - sometimes well over an hour, only to have him wake up an hour later for the hourly nursing to begin. I have posted on here before about trying to change things and have not committed to anything because of fear of crying, not following through, lack of sleep ect. I am very much in need of change as my patience is running low and frustration is running high - not a good combination for bedtime - and it's not fair to my LO.

    I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this? How did it work for you? How long did it take? (hours per night - number of nights). How did it weigh on you emotionally?

    I fear for the crying - a lot. How can I be doing the right thing if he's crying? I already feel guilty and wonder if this is any different than cio. I just don't know what else to do. I'm confused about ap - this doesn't seem to fit because I know he's going to resist the change and I won't be doing the one thing that can fix things. But than I think about family balance and the present routine is definitely not working for all parties involved.

    The plan is to follow our same bedtime routine - bath, teeth, playtime on bed (reading books, giggles, massage ect). Than instead of the usual (lights out, nurse in the rocking chair, than music and dancing) - we are going to lay down in the bed with him (nurse) and hope that eventually he will fall asleep on his own with us in the bed.

    I will do whatever I can to help - soothe him, rub his back, sing, nurse him as often as he wants, even hold him - just no movements (rocking, bouncing ect).

    anyone ever try anything like this either to stop dancing/walking around or rocking to laying down with baby?

    Anyone have any suggestions or alternatives?

    thanks so much!

  • #2
    If no one is responding - does this mean I'm about to do something I will regret? Does anyone have any alternative solutions? Or maybe ways I can make the transition as gentle as possible? ds is teething pretty bad so we've postponed for a little bit.

    Has no one had to make changes like this ever? Or do you continue to rock, dance, wrap baby to sleep as long as it takes? What happens when another baby comes into picture? I'm ok with parenting him to sleep of course and would never leave him to cry unneccessarily, especially ever alone.

    Just looking to change things for his sake and ours.


    • #3

      You do have to get to the stage where some things need to change. You simply cannot rock/dance your baby to sleep forever as not only do they get bigger and heavier but you also want him to learn other ways of falling asleep. I'm sorry I cannot remember how old your LO is.... we stopped the bouncing thing at around 4-6 months. It took quite a few weeks but was well worth it. I had to stop simply as I have a bad back and once DS got past the tiny baby stage it was just not working for us anymore.

      One of the Sears catch phrases is 'if you resent it, change it'. You are not making your baby CIO if you are right there with them. CIO is the absence of the parent and just leaving baby to work it out on their own. In saying that there are of course more gentle approaches that will limit the AMOUNT of crying, but TBH you are probably still going to have a few tears if this is the only sleep association that your LO has.

      If I were you I would think about what your end goal is. Is your end goal to have him falling asleep on his own or to still be a huge part of his sleep associations? Once again it all depends on the age of your LO. I think that the feeding to sleep thing sounds great.... that is if you are willing to continue feeding him to sleep every night, because you will essentially be replacing the bouncing with the feeding. My initial reaction and what I would do in your situation would be to slowly over time (whatever amount of time feels right for you and your LO) would be to lower the intensity and time of the rocking. So every night or so cut back a little bit, that way he is still falling asleep the way that he has always done, but you are creating less and less of the actual falling asleep 'help'.

      Its so hard to say as I can only go by what my LO is like and how he would react, not knowing your LO its safe to say that any advise given is probably just words. We replaced the rocking with feeding to sleep as he was still so little at the time. We stopped the feeding to sleep at about 15 months and of course that was a lot harder than stopping the rocking as he was that much older (I was pregnant and really needed more rest so the night weaning was all part of that).

      So, what is your end goal? Are you still happy to parent to sleep? Are you still happy to be spending 30 min to an hour feeding if thats what it takes? Is it the bouncing that is the problem or the time spent bouncing? If its the bouncing than I say go for feeding him to sleep... no reason he wont love that and with any luck there will be very few tears. If its the time spent than you *could* end up in the same position in a few months asking how you get him to sleep faster while feeding him.

      I actually really love this book It has lots of different ideas for transitioning through the stages of sleep.

      GL. I know its hard. It will change, my LO was the worst sleeper ever and ALWAYS took at least an hour to fall asleep once he was past the newborn stage. He is now 20 months and goes to sleep on his own in his own room within five min (in a big bed too!). Its just a matter of time and every child is different. The trick is to find something that works for everybody in the family! - now if you know how to make him take his naps I am all ears!!!!!!!


      • #4
        I'm sorry I didn't respond. I had a playgroup today and have been cleaning like a banshee!

        Slow adjustment- gentle step-- it is certainly appropriate for you to change things.

        I imagine him saying to you
        "I like it when you bounce me MAMA what are you doing! It is different! I am not used to this new thing"

        What you could be saying to him with your gentle words and actions
        "I know you like it, I hear that you are used to it, I hear you sweetie. I want to try a new thing and we will do it gently. let us do __ mins of bouncing then laying down together, Mama is still here with you and I love you"

        Maybe every night lesson the bouncing amount. Maybe start with the laying down.Try to think of baby steps you can take to ease the transition on him. Yes, he may still cry and be upset but allow him to express his feeling for the change. That does not mean you are doing somthing you should not. That means you should try to make it easier in some way. That does not mean give in, but try bit by bit.
        Let us know how it goes. Give yourself a week or two!
        I'm thinking of you!


        • #5
          i didn't respond, not b/c you're dong anything wrong, but b/c you asked for people who'd been in your situation. i've never bounced/rocked mine to sleep, we just started laying down next to them from birth, so i couldn't speak to your experience.

          i agree w/PP, that if you resent it, change it. part of AP is meeting the needs of the entire family. just be gentle and respectful.


          • #6
            Thank you very much to everyone that responded. It is the kind of advice and support I was looking for. I truly appretiate it.

            I understand there is going to be tears - he has known this association of sleep for his whole life. It almost seems as though he needs change too - as it's like he's becoming 'immune' to it. It takes longer and longer to get him to sleep and sometimes we have to dance pretty hard or run on spot. I was actually jogging aroung the bed the other night!!! Ridiculous, I know..... He will be one year at the end of the month so I fell he understands when we will talk to him about the change.

            I plan to do it gradually and as gently as possible - the end goal would be to have him falling asleep on his own. I will help in the beginning anyway I can by nursing, soothing voice ect but I don't want to go through all this and wind up having to repeat it all in 6 months or a year because I went from bouncing to sleep to nursing to sleep. So although I will help - I will make sure he is not falling asleep while nursing.

            We just found out that I am expecting again, unexpectedly. :-) so this comes at a good time to make changes. I don't want to be forced in 7-8 months from now to make changes quickly because we have a new baby coming. I'm ds would not respond well to that.

            I am definitely going to miss parenting him to sleep as I love cuddling him in the rocking chair once he's asleep or laying in the bed with him once he falls asleep.

            I would love the end result to be for me to lay with him in bed until he falls asleep - that would be ok too. At least we could still cuddle!! :-)

            Thank you all again - sometimes it's nice to know that others have been in your shoes and it's all worked out for the best even though there may have been some 'uncomfortable' nights or moments to get there.


            • #7
              Oh yay! Congrats on the impending addition to your family!!!!

              Well if your end goal is to sleep on his own then I think you are wise to not feed the whole way to sleep.... in a way you are ahead of the curve as from our experience stopping the feeding to sleep was a lot harder than stopping the rocking.

              Do you have a partner that can perhaps start to take a bigger role in the whole sleep thing? We have now got to the point where Dad does ALL of the night time parenting. And apparently Mum does not read the books anywhere near as well as Dad does! Its meant that I am getting the much needed sleep and Dad and DS are getting wonderful bonding time which is going to be so important once the little one arrives. I just felt that I didnt want it to be a situation of 'oh, Mum has no more time for me now that my sister has arrived'..... of course we can only keep our fingers crossed that it will all go as smoothly once she HAS arrived.

              We also made the change very slowly. We had a pretty loose schedual sorted out of a change every two to three weeks... some of the changes were taken to very quickly and others took a little longer than two weeks. Our first move was to stop feeding to sleep (or rocking to sleep for you), this took the longest amount of time and was the hardest part. Then once that was done Dad started to take more of a role in things..... that is why if you would like to do this you already have an advantage as Dad can just jump in at any time and start with the rocking!

              GL. sounds like you have got it sorted!


              • #8
                A Cautionary Tale

                With my first child, I had never heard of AP or co-sleeping or anything like that. She slept in her own crib for naps, nighttime etc. We didn't have her CIO until she was an older infant (she got responded to immediately when she was very little). When she was 7 mos, we started the CIO method. It took a week of crying but then it stopped.

                I share this with some reservations because I know that that isn't the best thing to do. I know that now but I didn't know it then. When you know better, you do better, right? By the time my 2nd child came, we knew about AP and co-sleeping and have used that method since birth. (We're having some troubles, though, as I posted in this forum today.)

                On the one hand, my toddler is a "good" sleeper. She is put into her crib after a bedtime routine and then she falls asleep on her own. She sleeps all night and then wakes up happy and talking in the morning. My baby is now not a "good" sleeper - and I don't even mind the nightwaking (since we co-sleep and just nurse laying down) but she is seeming to be dependent upon my breast for pacifying the whole time she is sleeping. However, while the toddler is a "good" sleeper, she is an anxious - sometimes sullen - toddler. And while the baby is a "bad" sleeper, she is a very happy bouncy baby.

                I hope you are able to find a good sleeping/soothing solution. Sleep issues are so hard because when we are not rested, everything else seems worse in proportion. I just wanted to share my "cautionary tale" about the different temperaments of my kiddos after having different sleep experiences.


                • #9
                  I just wanted to let everyone know that it's been about a month since we started making changes. We are doing it very slowly as there was much crying the first few nights.

                  I will say there has definitely been improvement. We now are still bouncing/dancing to sleep but are trying to lessen each time. So now as soon as he gets sleepy/drowsy we lay down in the bed and let him finish falling asleep there. Some nights we have to try 4-5 times, some nights he goes down right away.

                  He is getting used to the change and with that some nights he will even sleep 3 hour stretches after which is a godsend compared to the every hour wakings/feedings before.

                  When should I push the envelope to do even less dancing??

                  Should I wait till he's completely used to what we're doing now?



                  • #10
                    Oh good! That is nice to hear some progress.
                    It sounds like you are feeling better about things too.
                    Maybe on a great day or a super tired out baby day you could push a little more. Use your mommy sense to tell if today would be a good day to push. Alternatively, if he is super sensitive I would let it be.
                    Keep us updated!

                    ooh....I spelled everything right first try!


                    • #11
                      Hi everyone!

                      I just wanted to post an update to the success!!

                      After I last wrote - we continued what we were doing for much of the summer because we were travelling back and forth to camp for 2 months and routines were off we decided not to push the envelope.

                      We've been home now for a couple weeks and were needing to work on things further. DH totally stepped up to the plate and we decided that for at least 5 nights he would put ds to bed. We made the decision to stop bouncing/dancing all together and we would focus on that completely. We have been slowly making the transition to one nap also so ds is EXHAUSTED by the time 7 pm bedtime rolls around....which is helping us push the envelope for sure.

                      So it's been 3 nights and tonight ds fell asleep beside dh LAYING DOWN IN BED within 15 minutes!!!!!! And no crying!!! I'm so relieved I could cry.

                      I have been going out to the garden and garage and keeping busy so I'm not in the house in case there was a lot of protesting that I couldn't handle. I have to say I expected it to be so much worse. I'm glad we waited until we knew ds understood when we explained to him what would happen. The first 2 nights - he cried and protested a bit but was asleep within half an hour.

                      Tonight after nursing in the rocking chair I said to ds - ok, you're going to go lay down in the bed with daddy now and go to sleep - and he got off my lap and crawled into bed with dh and laid his head down!! So that makes me feel good.

                      So I have one question.....

                      when would be a good time for me to try out the new routine?? Should I give it a few more nights? Do you think he will expect the old routine with me??

                      Thanks so much for all your helpful advice!! Truly appreciated! !


                      • #12
                        glad your family found a good solution! do you mean you taking over laying down and dh not being there at all? is there a reason why dh can't continue to do it? can you take turns? what about you both laying down w/him?


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PaxMamma View Post
                          glad your family found a good solution! do you mean you taking over laying down and dh not being there at all? is there a reason why dh can't continue to do it? can you take turns? what about you both laying down w/him?
                          I don't want to take over all together - but there will come a time when dh goes back to work (he's on strike right now and usually works shift work) and he won't be here for bedtimes on occasion. We would like to take turns. That's usually what we do.

                          I'm just concerned that he might associate the new routine with how daddy puts him to sleep and may not cooperate as nicely with me??


                          • #14
                            THis might work for him as a transition - I use it when my DD has a really rough night falling asleep (we cuddle in bed to sleep):
                            I lay her on top of me while I'm on my back = face on my boobs, my head and shoulders propped on a pillow and my knees bent up. I sway my knees back an forth and hum our bedtime song (twinkle twinkle) and rub or pat her back or head, and then I slowly decrease the swaying over 15 minutes or so... might be a good transition move for you?


                            • #15
                              if dh has to go back to work, i'd try transitioning by having you join in on their routine for several nights, then practice taking turns before his work starts. i don't know your child, but if the routine is the exact same w/both of you, then he ought to accept the same thing no matter who is there.