We’ve nailed it (or at least until the next milestone/ leap/ growth spurt/ teething problem occurs). I finally feel in a good place where I can tell you how I managed to get my son to be a ‘good’ sleeper (for the moment). I certainly feel like I’m tempting fate whilst writing this.
Tobias has come on leaps and bounds since eight months old. He’s been going through from 8pm until 6.30am, undisturbed. The first important tip is to set a manageable routine through the day (this can be changeable and works with the baby but is key). As my favourite saying goes, sleep promotes more sleep. Tobias has always been good at having his morning and afternoon naps, it was always going to bed for the night that we all struggled with. The bedtime routine is now religious and set in stone (as in the order we do things) which I also think helps him wind down and get ready to go to sleep.These are a few things that I have put in place that have led to this positive step and I wanted to share them with you now:
1 – The major change that happened was that Tobias moved into his own room, into his own bed. This wasn’t planned at all, even though at eight months of age it’s definitely a great time to plan to do it. Now there are many reasons that could have affected him; a different room temperature, less noise or no interruptions from me. Who knows, but whatever the implications they seem to have been positive.
2 – Teaching him to self settle. He never falls asleep being rocked, he doesn’t fall asleep feeding or with a dummy and apart from his noise machine (which he could take or leave) he doesn’t have any sleep aids. This has definitely helped towards him being a better sleeper.3 – I’ve also gotten a lot better at waiting before I go to him when he makes a noise. I used to jump up at every cry, I’ve realised that if he does wake he drifts back off easily so I now wait to see if Tobias can settle himself back off. 4 – Another factor that I think has really helped Tobias is introducing solids. Tobias was having up to three feeds during the night plus five during the day but as soon as we got him onto a pattern of three good meals a day, he now doesn’t need any feeds at night.
5 – I used to worry that too much sleep in the day would make him need less during the night but as I mentioned earlier he had two, hour long (sometimes an hour and a half) naps (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). This means he’s not overtired for bedtime and settles well.I’ve also typed up our current routine and the specific bedtime routine we do each day:
6:30-7am – wake up
7:30am – milk feed and play
8am – get up and get dressed
8.30am – breakfast
9am – walk the dogs and play
10am – nap
11am – wake up
11.30am – play or activity out and about
12.30pm – lunch
1pm – play and nappy change
1.30pm – milk feed
4pm – wake up
4.30pm – play
5:30pm – dinner
6pm – watch in the midnight garden
6.30pm – bath
7pm – PJ and read book
7.30pm – Milk feed (bottle of formula)
8pm – bed timeWe used the Ferber method to teach Tobias how to self soothe, it has had mixed reviews but worked for us and I am glad that I stuck it out as after five nights of the training he slept through and has done ever since. The method is cut throats and many a time I ended up crying but fundamentally I kept telling myself this is for his own good. The method is:
Put baby in cot, give kiss, say good night and leave the room.
If baby is crying solidly for three minutes then go in, lay them down, shh them (don’t spend more than two minutes settling them).
Then leave room and wait five minutes before going back in and settle them again.
Then wait for a ten minute period before going in to settle them and repeat process until they fall asleep.
The idea is that everyday you build the waiting period until you don’t need to go in at all. I really hope this helps; it’s been such a life saver for me!