Those of you who know me will know that our darling Pippa isn’t really much of a sleeper and never has been. Babies in our NCT group 6 weeks younger than her are already miles ahead of her on the way to the end goal of sleeping through the night that we are all striving for…not to mention the baby 3 days older than her who’s been sleeping through for weeks now!
Pippa was regularly waking every 2-3 hours in the night, mostly for no reason. If it was nearer the 3 hour mark I would obviously feed her, but most of the time, her dummy had fallen out or she just wanted a cuddle. Our main issue was that she couldn’t self settle when she was waking each time and would only ever fall asleep being cuddled. I definitely hadn’t helped the situation as at her slightest whimper I would run in and pick her up so this is what she was now used to.
It was at this point we thought we better start teaching her to self settle…
I started off by putting her in her cot for a nap when she was still awake but when I could see she was tired. By now I know exactly when Pippa has her naps and can read her tired signs like a book so off I went placing her in the cot for nap time. It seemed to work with everyone else’s babies but not mine. She just cried and cried and I know I should have probably persevered for longer and let her cry but I couldn’t. So that failed. It did work once and she drifted off watching the mobile but never since! So now we stick to my ‘sway, pat and shhh’ method of just that, swaying, patting and shhing her to sleep whilst she fights and screams until normally after about 3-5 minutes will pass out! It works so we stick with it for now!!
Night time was easier as she was already sleepy however we still needed to reduce the times she was waking. We had already now established a bit of a bedtime routine as she couldn’t stay awake past 7.30 anymore so it’s now, bath (every other night) around 7, straight into her darkened bedroom for a story with daddy then a warm feed at 7.30ish. We continued with this and then after reading up on sleep training, adopted the following: first time she wakes, pick up and cuddle back to sleep, the following times she wakes just patting and shhing her (I decided to also stroke her head as this calmed her) and only feeding when necessary. Some even suggested dropping one of the feeds so they learn they won’t get fed and therefore sleep through.
Everything I had read said that the babies would learn quickly that they wouldn’t get fed or cuddled every time and eventually be self settling and sleeping through the night (more or less) within about a week. I didn’t have such high hopes for our Pips but she has done really well and is now waking much less throughout the night, to the point she is only waking for 2 feeds at around 1am and 6am now!
It took a few weeks and although she still can’t initially go to sleep without a cuddle/feed, she can now be settled much easier with a stroke of the head and a reassuring hand on her tummy. Although I can’t see her sleeping through the night for a loooong time yet, particularly after last nights escapades:
11pm – 2.5oz
Awake 1.30am until…
2.10 – 2oz…
Awake until 3am
Awake at 4.20am
4.30am – 2oz…
Awake until 5.30am (then I couldn’t take anymore and she slept in my arms until…)
8.30am – 1.5oz
Oh well, good nights and bad nights ey!