From about 3 months Owen became very alert and wasn’t in the sleepy newborn haze anymore where they just fall asleep straight away after a feed. Nope, no such luck. Instead of trusting myself and reading my baby’s cues, I was too busy downloading books or buying books on techniques to get my baby to sleep better or to self settle. To be honest, I think it’s all trial and error. Not every baby is going to fit the mould for the ‘Save Our Sleep’ routine, the ‘No Cry Sleep Solution’, or that dreadful book ‘The Gift of Sleep’. These methods definitely work for some people, others there’s no way your baby will conform, and some are just cruel in my opinion. We, as adults, sleep when we’re tired so why not the same for babies? You can’t always watch the clock and think, ‘I’ll put him to bed at 2pm and he’ll sleep for 2 hours’. That’s just wishful thinking and setting yourself up for disappointment and then you get all worked up because they won’t resettle past that first sleep cycle. I’m talking about day sleeps here, because they were a massive struggle for us until recently. I was getting 40 minutes on the dot from my little guy but I have a friend who’s baby only does 10-20 minutes so I’m lucky in comparison.
My problem was that I was keeping him up for too long. At 3-4 months I was keeping my little guy up for the maximum recommended 1.5 hours and 99% of the time there would be hysterics to get him to sleep, it was just too much for him and I would have to rock him to sleep every time. So I decided to do things a bit earlier and put him in his bed at 1hour, 1hr 15 max, and settle him in the cot. There would be a little grizzling but they were just protesting cries. I would sit with him and shush him, wait until he was droopy-eyed and leave the room. I used a dummy though and he settles fairly quickly with that. Now he doesn’t fall asleep if I try and rock him, it only settles him so I can put him down and try again. Which is good, he’s getting used to the change.
For bedtime in the evening I’m sure you’ve read about routine etc. Mine goes like this. 6pm bath, then bottle roughly 6.15pm. He faffs about a little bit towards the end so we burp burp burp, read a book and usually he’ll take more from his bottle after that. Then it’s more burps, a cuddle from mum and dad, into bed, lullaby on, kiss on the head and lights out. Usually he sucks on his fingers to self settle but now he’s started teething he just wants to chew on them so I’ve reluctantly given him a dummy to start the process off and he doesn’t need it for the rest of the night thank god. I don’t need that!
What is the best lesson you have learnt about babies sleeping ‘on the job’?
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