Ahh the elusive sleep! Sleep is something we have been lacking in our house since baby girl arrived 9 months ago. I have done many a crazy thing due to sleep deprivation. With severe reflux along with her multiple, initially undiagnosed allergies she was often uncomfy, which made her hard to settle and she regularly woke to feed or for a cuddle.
Now she is 9 months, we have her reflux a bit better under control and are avoiding all foods except for safe ones she is usually a bit comfier and we have been able to focus on her sleep a bit more. I’m a big fan of following what feels natural for you. I can’t leave her to cry and so I don’t. We are trying some kinder methods to help her to nap and sleep better. So far they seem to be helping so I thought I would share them.
- Nap! Napping is so important. The better they nap the better they sleep. With the morning nap we are now making an effort of keeping to around the same time depending on when she wakes and putting her down in the cot for it. She is also having an after lunch nap. We started by just getting her to nap anyway whether that was in her sling, in our arms or in the car. Once she was consistently doing this at the same time we started putting her down to nap without feeding her first. We wanted to do this so she got used to sleeping in her cot and to try and crack the waking in the night wanting a feed to help her go back to sleep.
Making the room sleep friendly. We have done this with the use of Itzala black out window blinds. We go into the room with her, close them, put her music on and it’s a great sleep cue for her. The black out blinds mean we can make her room dark for every nap and during the summer evenings. Definitely a must have item to help with sleep.
Following a routine. I mentioned this earlier for her naps. We try to follow the same routine for all her sleeps. The way we go into the room, the closing of the blinds and putting her music on. Before bed in the evening most nights we will have a bath and try and do quiet activities on the lead up to bedtime. We always have a cuddle before putting her in her cot and will start sharing books soon (at the moment she tries to eat them). Sometimes she goes in her cot awake, sometimes asleep. With older siblings we can’t follow a strict routine so we try and keep as much the same as we can. If we are going to be out and about we know roughly when she is going to be tired and will pop her in the sling or try and time a car journey.
Make sure they are eating and drinking enough in the day. As I’m still breastfeeding it’s difficult to know how much milk she is having. This meant that when she was waking in the night I would feed her in-case she was hungry. Now I know she is eating well, 3 meals a day plus snacks and having 3 good feeds, first thing, mid afternoon and bedtime, I’m not as worried that she is hungry when she wakes. Instead of instantly offering her milk I’m now trying to settle her with a cuddle or a stroke of the head. Doing this has gradually cut down the amount she is feeding in the night. The No Cry Sleep Solution book explains really well how to unlatch and stop the sucking to sleep if it is also a problem for you.
Relax. If it works for you and you are happy with it then carry on doing it. Don’t listen to other people and how well their baby sleeps. Do what you feel is right for you and for your baby. Try and remember it won’t be forever. Well I hope it isn’t!
Do you have any tips on helping your baby to sleep? I would love to know them.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post