Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have a well behaved sleeping child! He was in hospital for the first month of his life due to being premature, by this time he was in a good routine, feeding every 4 hours. By the time I got to take my little precious home, we were feeding him every 4 hours regardless of him being asleep or not. Thankfully, within a couple of weeks we gave up, as we were dream feeding - which I do not believe in this. So by 2 and a half months, he was sleeping through the night from 8-6 ish, then I would put him into my bed and he would sleep until 9ish. After 2 more weeks, he was fast asleep in a cot in his bed for around 12 hours a night. Almost 3 years later, I have no night time disturbances ever, peace and bliss - a good thing for me, as I am super grumpy without sleep due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (basically means I have a slight excuse to be a lazy sleepy cow haha!)
As so many of mummies and daddies will be pulling their hairs out whilst screaming babies at 2 am! I dread having another child, as I will not be as lucky the second time round so I decided it would be a good idea, to have some experiences from fellow #mummybloggers and #pbloggers to share their ways of overcoming the stressful sleeping regimes of a baby;
Alfie's always been a brilliant sleeper, I think it helps that he's so chilled out. He started sleeping through from 3weeks or so, for the first four months Alfie used to go to bed at 11 and wake up about7 but that was fine with me I still felt refreshed in the morning. He goes to bed more at around 9 now and will wake up at about8 and he has2 naps in the day which are about an hour.
Alfie is very good at self soothing and if I put him in his cot he manages to fall asleep within 10mins, he does like to have his soother while falling asleep though.
I do try and create a relaxing environment for when Alfie is settling down before bed, we dim the lights, have the candles flickering and the tele on low. He soon falls asleep and it makes me sleepy too!
I know I'm very lucky to have a good sleeper because a lot of my friends babies still wake lots in the night and they're older than Alfie.
When the lovely Gemma asked me if I would write about how I deal with my baby’s sleeping patterns – it really got me thinking, how do I cope?
I didn’t really start thinking about a sleep routine until Daisy hit three months. Like most babies she was wilful and unpredictable and I was lucky to get a solid six hours sleep from 12-6am pretty quickly, most nights! She was alert, responsive and loved napping in her pram; it was really me that started to want to introduce a night routine for her. And, although it was tough, it made the world of difference.
At 7 and half months, Daisy is now sleeping almost 12 hours, unless she is ravaged by those damn teeth. We started with nightly baths and a bedtime story plus the wonderful Lullabies app, which was a Godsend. What started as a trial period, has become familiar and fun way to wind down and send Miss D off to the land of nod! For us, the decision to put Daisy in her own room was also a great help. We moved her to her own nursery at 4 and half months and this instantly meant less disturbance from us AND a little more freedom in the evenings to catch up on things we needed to do.
I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt, through this whole process, is to listen to your instinct. For me, military precision doesn’t work, but honing your intuition as a mother and working with your baby’s needs has done wonders. I am constantly surprised at how naturally Daisy falls into new routines and learns new things – sleep has been no different. I can confidently read her tired signals and I think she is familiar enough with her bedtime routine, to know that it’s time to calm down for the night. The more active she has become, the more rest she needs and we are FINALLY working towards a decent afternoon nap, one that doesn’t involve her sprawled out on the sofa!
My son has always been a tummy sleeper, much to the disapproval of his doctor and health visitors who lectured me against it! Recent studies and evidence did make us nervous about allowing him to sleep on his tummy but when push came to shove, circumstance decided for us. He had a traumatic birth which left him with bad head and neck pain and the only way he was comfortable enough to sleep was on his tummy. This position seemed to really help his wind too as rather than wriggling around struggling with windy pains, when he was on his tummy he’d just lift his tiny bottom in the air and let out a (not so) tiny fart!
At 6 weeks he was getting too big for his Moses basket - the whole thing moved whenever he had a little fidget - so we decided to move him into his big cot in his own room. We had a video monitor and I think the first night, I spent most of the time awake staring at the screen watching him!
He slept through the night from about 12 weeks and from then on mostly he’s slept really well. If he doesn’t sleep well, we know he’s about to get new teeth! Those nights are really bad and he’ll normally end up in our bed, so none of us get much sleep! But we do get little fists and feet in our faces which is just as nice..!
He did have a stage at about 10 months when he would be a little pickle when we put him to bed, so we devised our own technique (much like a timed comforting method) and after a few nights it worked a treat. Now we have a bedtime routine which involves snuggles on Mummy and Daddy’s bed and a bit of The One Show on TV (tends to make him sleepy!!) then he goes down in his cot awake, cuddling Eeyore and slowly drifts off to sleep.
He used to, no matter how hard we tried, wake up at 5am every morning for his milk! But magically over night when he turned 1, he started sleeping until 6.30-7 ish all on his own! Now during the week he wakes then, has his milk and we start the day. BUT at the weekend, he wakes and has his milk like normal then snuggles back into our bed for another snooze! Bliss.x
I guess we have been quite lucky with our little man sleeping through the night. Of course in those first few weeks it was a different story, up at random times for feeding and changing etc. I can’t believe how often I would get up! I kept a diary of feeds, changes and sleeps and was surprised when I looked back at it, as I don’t seem to remember those relentless nights. It was expected but I certainly didn’t realise how tough it would be.
The other half was keen to get Eliot in to a night routine fairly quickly but we were very much ‘baby led’ as advised. One of my friends recommended trying to do the same thing each evening to help establish a routine. So each evening we would bath Eliot and get him ready for bed, he would have his bottle and we would put him in his crib. In the early days I played relaxation music that I listened to when I was pregnant and this seemed to help him go to sleep.
It was around eight or nine weeks when he started to sleep through the night from around 9-10pm until 7-8am. He still does now (fingers crossed) but there is the odd night he will wake and need a little milk to help him go back to sleep, these seem to be more recently. Sometimes he will doze off whilst having his bottle, other times you can put him in his crib and he will go to sleep by himself or he will cry and want you to be there whilst he falls asleep. I’m very eager to get him used to being put in his crib to fall asleep by himself all the time.
I think starting the evening bath (which he loves) just before his last feed really helped us fall into a routine naturally.
During the day Eliot usually cat naps between ten and twenty minutes. He normally gets tired and cranky about two hours after a feed but tries to fight the tiredness. If we go on a car journey he does tend to sleep for longer. I didn’t think this affected his night routine until the other day when he wouldn’t go to sleep until after 11pm.
So as you can see very varied sleep routines, the main thing is carefully think of a plan of attack (figurally speaking of course) and stick with it, concistency is the key to parenting. I personally went with the 'crying' sleeping method that I saw on Super Nanny TV - at first I thought it was cruel, but as you can tell very affective. I would never let him cry for more than 5 minutes at a time, to start off with sometimes it is hard, every 5 minutes of crying you are supposed to go in, calm them without holding, and then as soon as calm, leave the room then start the 5 minutes again. As long as you are consistant.
I am not someone to mess around with stuff like this, I have friends who have 5 years old still up every 2/3 hours, cuddles in their bed etc and waking up at 6am? I am selfish yes, my son sleeps until 8am, earliest at a stretch possible 7am on very very rare occasions! I feel very sorry for those whose children wake up so early, we need sleep just as much as they do!
Please be sure to leave your stories in the comment box as I would really love to know others too!
See you again soooon!
Love, Yummy Mummy xo