Check out our photo a day
Menu

How I got my baby to sleep through the night

Fat Mum Slim /

IMG_6352

This is one of the questions that I probably get asked most from readers, in person and in email. I’ve kinda avoided sharing the story on the blog because I think every baby is different, and every parent is different… and I just know how disheartening it is to hear someone’s story, try it yourself and have it not work.

But I also know how awesome it is to get sleep, and if this helps in even the slightest way… then maybe that’s a good thing.

First of all, this is the post I wrote before I got help with Luella’s sleep. Things weren’t good. I felt hopeless and I was so exhausted I couldn’t see straight. So I got help. Before I was even pregnant with Luella I’d seen a local woman on TV sharing how she’s helped loads of children. Her name is Elaine. So one Saturday I emailed her, and it was probably a desperate email, because she called straight away and organised to come later that week.

Now, in hindsight I can see some of the things I was doing wrong. Well, I was doing a lot wrong. And I don’t mean wrong as in ‘smack me, I’m a terrible mother’. Because I was just doing what worked, and what was getting us by. But I kinda needed a reset button to start afresh, but that just feels impossible when you’re getting no sleep.

I didn’t have a routine. I bathed Lulu whenever I wanted to. I’d usually bath before dinner {because she was so cranky around 4pm and she loved baths so I did what I could to make her happy}. I fed her whenever she was cranky, which was all day long, and all night too. I let her sleep in my arms, or where ever worked. And I was anxious, so whenever Lulu slightly whimpered I’d run to her and pick her up assuming that she was awake or ready to be awake, and feed her. I wasn’t giving her a chance to resettle.

Once Elaine arrived we implemented a few things:

♥ We put a sheet up on the cot {as you can see in the first photo} so that when I was sitting by her bed settling her she couldn’t see me.
♥ We put up a blockout sheet on her window. Luella’s bedroom is really light, so we wanted to stop light getting in. I think I’ll probably try taking that off soon because, well… it’s ugly {evidence below}.
♥ We introduced a sleeping aid. I had a little lamb I bought for Lacey to try and get her to sleep, so we used that.
♥ We used a video monitor so I could see and hear everything, and also monitor the room temperature. We just bought a cheapish one on eBay.
♥ Through monitoring the temperature, we could work out which sleeping bag was best for each night.
♥ A dinner/bathtime/bed routine, with Lulu being in bed every night at some time between 6pm and 7pm.

IMG_6354

For about 6 weeks, for every sleep I’d sit beside her bed and put my hand under the hanging sheet and pat her off to sleep. After a while she started to dislike me patting her, so I’d pat the mattress instead which would soothe her off to sleep. After that 6 weeks of patting her for every sleep {and I’d also pat her to resettle if she woke in the middle of the night} she became frustrated with it. So I let her put herself to bed.

I’m an anxious mama, so the thought of her putting herself to bed freaked me out. I thought she’d scream and cry. But instead she wanted to put herself to sleep. She went straight to sleep. I was probably annoying her with all the patting!

For the first two and a bit months, I would dreamfeed her at about midnight. A dreamfeed is where you go in while they’re sleeping and feed them. I did this for longer than I probably needed because I didn’t want her to be hungry.

Once I stopped the dreamfeed she slept through the night. If she wakes, I watch her {through the monitor} and let her grizzle for a bit but she usually just puts herself back to sleep. If she gets upset I go in and settle her myself, and usually I find the next day that she’s unwell or something, so there’s a reason why she’s not sleeping. I go off my routine when she’s sick and feed as much as she needs overnight and as well during the day, and then get back to it when she’s healthy and happy again.

Doing a routine has meant that we’re home a lot. She has two sleeps a day and the first one is almost always at home and the afternoon one has more flexibility. But I have a happier baby. She was craving sleep, but I hadn’t taught her how to sleep. I’m happier. And therefore I’m a better mama and a better wife. Sleep is good.

So, that’s how we did it. I feel like I need to do a disclaimer because I know everyone parents differently, but this is what worked for me. I know I could have continued on the way we were, and yes I was tired, but it wasn’t so much about me, it was about Luella and my family. I knew that if I kept doing what I was doing Lulu might never learn to sleep {like Lacey still doesn’t}, and I thought she deserved a chance at good sleep, and my family deserved a mama and wife that wasn’t losing her mind. It was the best investment I made in my family {I paid around $700, but you can get Elaine just for the dinner/bed/bath routine, or over the phone – I need help all night because I’m a softie and wouldn’t stick to any plan I was given. I needed to be able to listen to Luella’s signs and act accordingly}. I honestly would recommend Elaine to anyone, because she just gets it and tailors plans to each individual child/baby and parent. You can check out her site here.

Mamas, do you have children that sleep?

@Fatmumslim