Have you got more than one baby and wondered how on earth you could produce two completely different children?
Well, that has happened to me.
We had Arabella and feel like she was false advertising for parenting. Not to say she was perfect, but she certainly was a fantastic sleeper.
We very rarely had issues with her sleep and routines. Right from when she was born we were able to put her in her bassinet or her cot and she would fall asleep without any sleeping aids. Camilla on the other hand, has proven to be a little more challenging. And probably what most babies are like.
Camilla has needed rocking to sleep, sometimes boarder-line smothering because she loves my face close to hers and enjoys feeling my breath on her face.
She sometimes needed feeding to fall asleep, to transfer her to the cot would take 4-5 attempts because as soon as I let go she would cry. She was waking 4 times a night and some nights awake for 3-4 hour blocks.
I introduced formula to fill her up at night, I tried different sleep aids, I introduced solids to fill her belly, I tried talking her to sleep, we tried co-sleeping. Changed her daytime routines. You name it, I had tried it. The only thing I never tried was letting her ‘cry it out’.
Morally it didn’t sit well with me. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and for everything I know about brain development and nurturing children, it just didn’t align with my values.
But hear me out. I tried it. It killed me. Literally I think a small part of me broke listening to her cry.
Let me explain how we got here.
I started slowly and started with her daytime sleeps.
I fed her, changed her nappy, put white noise on, had essential oils in her room and a night light. I ensured she didn’t have wind, gave her a cuddle and laid her down.
Every 2-3 minutes I came back in to put my hand on her and say she was going to be okay and that mummy was right here. I would also remind her that it was sleep time, providing positive reinforcement about what time of day it was. I would then walk out. I kept doing this for the first 3 days until eventually she didn’t need me there anymore because she knew what time of day it was.
Just like that, 3 days and she was sleeping longer for her daytime naps and now sleeping through the night. 7pm asleep without any fuss and awake any time from 5:30-7am.
If you’re currently a sleep deprived parent, you will understand how much of a win that is.
Camilla is now such a happier baby throughout the day. It has made a world of difference to us all.
I am certainly not saying that this is 100% the only way to train your baby to sleep and I also don’t believe it is 100% the ‘right’ way, but it certainly worked well for us and I know in my heart that I was never neglecting our baby. I made sure that she knew I was there for her, just without nursing her to sleep.
I was given many other suggestions by other parents on how to support sleep so if the above doesn’t float your boat, the list of suggestions is below for you to try.
Sending all the sleep deprived parents out there all my strength. I’m thinking of you.
- Night light
- Essential oils (lavender in particular)
- White noise
- Comforter that smells like mum or dad
- Stomach sleeping
- Change the wind down routine
- Check the temp in the bedroom
- Is the sleep environment calming
- Follow the midwife mumma for tips
- Little ones sleep app
- Stop the dream feeds
- Kelly Martin Sleep consultant (Lots of people have recommended this)
- Sleep Assessment at CAFHS
- Wait until babe is half asleep in your arms and then transfer to self settle
- Baby sleep school
- Dr Brian Symon
- ABCs of sleep
- Follow the sleep teacher for tips
- Check for silent reflux
- Paediatric & Perinatal Centre
- Follow beyond sleep training project for tips
- Follow Holistic Sleep Mumma for tips
- Follow Katie Williams for tips
Wishing you all the luck in the world and reach out even if you just need to vent or need some extra support.