Advice

Dreams of sleep

So the clocks go back tonight. Looking forward to an extra hour in bed? No?! What’s that you’ve got a @!**$4! baby who won’t sleep? Oh dear.

Sleep is probably the number one concern of all new (and not so new) parents. Taking a quick look at some other blogs sleep, or why my baby won’t sleep, takes up a lot of words.

Everyone’s experience is different of course, and i think we’ve got off pretty lightly so far. Don’t get me wrong Baby B didn’t sleep through the night until around 20 weeks whereas we have heard of one baby of a friend who was sleeping through at 8 weeks. Let’s assume it’s a lie or it’s just too annoying.

It happened by accident, we couldn’t wake him up from his late feed and went to bed. He didn’t wake up until 630am. So we tried it again the next night. He doesn’t have late feeds anymore.

Recently, we had a bout of illness, our first, and as well as being upsetting it also royally cocked up the carefully managed sleepy routine he’d got into. Then i think he went through some sort of developmental jump (well i know he did because he’s crawling – more of that soon!) so we were back to feeling very woozy in the mornings but once he stopped needing to be on all fours rocking in his cot at 4am things have been better.

In fact, i am almost tempted to do the equivalent of an actor naming the Scottish Play and saying that he now seems to be a good sleeper. But i’m not going to tempt fate or the wrath of other parents. So i didn’t. That sentence didn’t happen.

So what have we learned so far? I’m not sure if any of this is useful but here’s our sleep journey so far. From birth to around 16 weeks he slept in our room in his NCT Nest which was great having him so near and Mrs B was easily able to feed him or pick him up for a cuddle. He slept well during the day in his bouncy chair or in a sling when he was tiny. We never crept around him and he seemed to get used to having chatter and commotion to send him off.

For the first six weeks he was wide awake till 11pm and cried a lot.I remember trying to watch The Tunnel on DVD and basically doing it in ten minute bursts which helped ratchet up the tension. But at seven weeks we started bath time at 6pm or earlier if he was very tired and put him down at 7pm and he took to that really well. Getting our evening back was a major milestone. Since then there are times when he is harder to settle but having grown up time to ourselves has definitely been a salve to our sanity.

We bought some books including Gina Ford but quickly realised it was too regimented for us so we picked the bits we liked and followed our instincts. The two purchases I’d swear by were a swaddle from birth until he could escape and then sleeping bags so we didn’t have to worry about blankets.

We also bought a Red Castle Cocoon and this was AMAZING! It seemed to make Baby B feel secure and stopped him wriggling around and waking himself up. In fact we used to pop him down on it for a nap around the house. Sometimes Raffy our cat would keep an eye on him.

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It also meant we didn’t keep bringing him into our bed. I’m not saying co-sleeping is bad. Up to you but it wasn’t really working for us. Although i did love those snoozy early mornings with Baby B asleep on my chest. If he did that now i wouldn’t be able to breathe. He’s a big lad.

We had to take him off at around 16 weeks as he was rolling and needed more space. Around this time we moved him into his own room and went into his own cot as we’d just had a weekend away and he slept well in a travel cot. Again, the sleeping bags have helped to some extent in keeping him from thrashing around.

We sometimes use them to disguise him as well.

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He doesn’t look very sleepy in this photo does he?

Well, I have no idea what worked and what was pure luck and it may all fall apart and we’ll end up with a five year old who still wakes through the night. But for now we seem to be doing ok. Let’s hope the clocks going back don’t stuff it all up!

What are your experiences of getting your baby to sleep?

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