Ok so I am jumping into the deep end here as I shall be writing about our recent sleep training experiences. Every parent either will have or will soon have to go through the fun stuff. When I say fun I in fact mean not fun in the slightest, just so you know.
My son is 18 months now and it’s been a bit of a mini roller coaster with him to date. When they first come into this world they are in control, they tell us what to do and there is no answering back from us. Little baby wears the ever so little trousers in the home so when they want to sleep they will sleep, when they decide they want to wake up for some delicious milk then you better listen and hand it over. Routines tend to not exist in the early stages although doing the whole bathing, soft talking, dimmed lighting thing at a set time every day is a good idea but I’ve found that they tend not to pay too much attention in the beginning.
My son started to use feeding as a soother after a few months old and this was very difficult to break. Some people are against the idea of a dummy/soother and I understand that but for me they are like little helpers and parents need helpers, the more help the better. The trouble was that our boy had never taken to that idea, why have that rubbish when you can have the real thing was his motto, well I’m guessing it is his motto.
I say it was difficult to break because well, when you are starving of sleep it was far easier to pretend he was still hungry and get back to that wonderful dream that was happening a few seconds ago. This was great in the short term but it was getting a little out of control. The more he fed for comfort the less he slept in his cot at nights. All he wanted to do was feed and fall asleep in mums achy arms.
So how to break the habit?
Good question really, Muggins over here had to take over because when he was around his mother he just wanted his quick fix so it was time to properly go back to basics.
He used to go down pretty well at about 7pm but that was because he was breast feeding. He had given up on the bottle by this point which was a shame because he used to take it without any fuss. He would take either expressed milk or baby goats milk which is apparently better for them rather than the regular formula milk. They are sold at health shops and online but I’d advise doing some research on that subject if you’re interested.
When he first woke up from his kip a few hours later he usually wanted to be fed, as I said a bottle was not an option for him back then. If I was lucky then he would be winded and go straight back to sleep but unfortunately that was the exception rather than the rule.
I tried keeping him in the cot and rubbing his back, talking softly with him but that wasn’t really happening. So I tried picking him up and cuddling him, nope that’s not what he wanted either and he is a strong little so and so which was rather difficult because apparently falling out of my arms onto the floor wasn’t anything to worry about from his point of view.
So to get him to take the bottle I tried a new method. I carried him back downstairs into the living room sat him on my lap with a warm bottle of milk on the arm of the chair in full view. Offering him the bottle would result in a karate chop to the bottle and the bottle spilling on my carpet which wasn’t really an option.
He eventually reached out for his bottle himself and started drinking. His mother was peaking through the door grinning like a Cheshire cat probably at the prospect of a full nights sleep coming into view over the horizon.
From that point onwards he started accepting the bottle again and his breastfeeding was phased out during the nights. The children’s mother had to sleep in another room to get our son used to the new sleeping plan and it was remarkably smooth from the point he re-took the bottle again.
I would love to say it all ended happily ever after from that point but the truth is baby teething kicked into gear a few weeks/months down the line and as I said earlier in this article, our son wears the trousers so he got his mother back again in the night.
We needed to take a few steps back for a few weeks but getting back on track was a lot easier the second time round. Our boy is now 18 months old now and is sleeping much better these days.
We’ve had different experiences with all four children when it came to sleeping because all of them obviously have different characteristics, so there is no one rule for all in my opinion. Fortunately all of them have adjusted to normal sleeping patterns so I cannot complain too much especially when I’ve heard stories of 10 year olds not sleeping at all at night time because a routine was not established at a young age.
Do you have a similar or a different experience for sleep time? Do you have any sleep training tips to share? I’d love to hear your views in the comments so what you waiting for?
’till the next time.