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If your baby / young child has been a good sleeper(16 Posts)
Please talk me through your approach to sleep, from the day they were born.
Really keen for my baby to be a good sleeper
My ds is 4 months and currently usually sleeps from about 9 or 10 pm until somewhere between 5 and 7 am, In his Moses basket. Honestly I think it's luck as much as anything, but we did do a few things that I think helped. Swaddling when he was very small, and playing rain noises on a white noise machine, both seemed very effective. His basket is tilted up slightly at the head end to help with wind. He's breast fed on demand, and usually just drops off after his last feed, but if he struggles then I rock him to sleep and then transfer him across to his basket. He's never slept in bed with us, I know it works for a lot of people but it was something I wanted to avoid if at all possible.
For the first week or so he cluster fed pretty much round the clock, and then gradually his routine has emerged, and we've let that guide us. Initially we let him fall asleep when he needed to, but now we've started doing a bedtime routine, bed clothes, rocking him, talking or singing softly, last feed and sleep, I usually start sometime between 7 and 8 pm if possible.
It really is luck though as much as anything though, plus he might have six good nights in a row, and then have a night of being up every 2-3 hours, or really fight sleep and be exhausted and screaming at midnight. it just depends on what's happening with him development wise, and what kind of day he's had. More and more he's needing a quiet dark environment to drop off, too much noise and he fights sleep which makes sense. So what works now might not work in the future. I just try to be aware of his tells, he rubs his eyes and wriggles in a certain way when he's tired, when I spot that I start gently encouraging him to sleep, rather than saying right, 7.30, baby must be asleep now, and trying to settle a non tired baby.
I have 3 children. The first slept the others didn't. Nothing really different between the 3, but my eldest was and still is a back sleeper, a generation ago she would most likely have been a dreadful sleeper if she was on her front or side.
DC slept on me for all naps until about 6 months when I decided that he needed to be able to sleep on his own in preparation for me returning to work when he was 1. I wanted to give myself plenty of time to do it in a way that would cause him any distress, hence the 6 month head start.
I first started ensuring that he would nap on me but only in the bedroom and gradually transitioned to being cuddled by me on the bed, next to me on the bed in a sort of pod I'd created, and then with me as far from him on the other side of the bed as possible. Then I transferred the pod into the cot and managed to get him in there to nap with me right next to him, then across the room. Eventually working up to leaving the room.
The above process took about 2 months, whenever he was upset I moved him back to the previous position, so if he was next to me on the bed I'd move him back to being cuddled for that nap. He did get the idea and once his naps fell into place, so did sleeping through the night.
DC now sleeps 2-2.5 hours a day at 19 months, beams when asked if he wants a nap and giggles as he's put into the cot.
At night, he is changed downstairs into a fresh nappy, pyjamas and his sleeping bag and DH takes him up to bed. He then has stories and nursery rhymes before going into the cot. Currently he's taking a while to get to sleep (not crying) but once asleep he stays asleep until morning.
I don't know if any of that helped or if he would have slept well anyway, but there were no tears or anything and he actively enjoys being put down for a sleep. When he was little he woke every 45 minutes during the night, DH and I thought we were going to die of sleep deprivation!
I do think it is luck of the draw! Or what I like to call the baby gamble
However with ds (3) we have done certain things to help him go to sleep and stay asleep!
When he was diddy we used white noise (all night long) still do now as we have a loud neighbour. He sleeps with a muslin (introduced around a year)
He goes to bed at 7.30, if he gets out he gets put back in no matter what the time before 6am.
He sleeps in pitch black, when he was younger and woke for feeds we kept it dark in his room and didn't engage with him!
Mine are all great sleepers from about 9-10 months on. Certainly from 18months they go down easily and unless sick. But it does take some effort (to different degrees depending on the child) to get them sleeping well.
Sleeping is a skill and it doesn’t come naturally to many kids. So it needs to be taught but lots of people will disagree with that and say some kids are impossible. In my experience regardless of the child you need consistency, a bit of a thick skin at times and good communication of expectations to the child from about 1 onwards when they start to understand.
My nearly one-year-old has always been an incredible sleeper, however we've been co-sleeping since she was born - she started sleeping through the night at only three weeks old. I think in our case thats maybe the reason she sleeps so well, but I know its not everyones cup of tea (I love it though!).
I co sleep with all of mine (4) till over 6 months and they’ve been horrific sleepers, up between 3-10 times a night depending on the baby. But once old enough they all learned to sleep well.
I have no idea how he became such a good sleeper but he did. He wasn’t the best napper and even now will scream like his cot is on fire at times but generally he’s quite good now. We just have to look for his cues and pop him in his cot and he’ll nap for a good hour. He does at his childminder too.
He slept from 10 till 5 when he was 3 weeks old and then gradually settled into 9-7 from about 10 weeks old. I don’t know what we did at all but I know that using white noise early on helped massively. He still likes it now and I’m so glad we did it. He didn’t have a dummy until he went through the four month sleep regression and that’s when that stuck. I’m fine with it in all fairness as he hands it straight over when he wakes up now so knows it’s for bedtime only.
The only things I can think of that I did were always changing his baby grow when he was tiny and making it darker in the evening so he got used to the times changing. He also got a gro bag for sleeping which he associated with bed time. Until he was about eight months old he’d get ready for bed and go to sleep downstairs with us and then we’d put him to bed. We moved him into his own room at four months and we all slept so much better. He’s never slept with us and although I breastfed for his first month he always had formula in the night as I couldn’t express and we could share the load that way.
I think we’ve been quite consistent with his bedtime - even when on holiday (though we don’t talk about the last one we went on...) - and he’s slept 7-7 for about a year now (he’s 2 in August). Some mornings he’ll wake before 7 but I usually have to wake him up and at weekends he might go till 8.
I think we got lucky! I honestly believe it’s just the way they’re made!
DD has been a good sleeper from the outset. I partially put this down to early problems with my milk supply meaning I had to express after every feed, so the minute I finished feeding DD would go in the Moses basket by the window next to my bed where she'd either sleep or look out of the window.
I'm a single mum and I also decided to take the approach of letting DD cry for a couple of minutes while I finished a job or got dressed or whatever. 50% of the time she would stop crying very soon without my input. The impression I get from friends is that a lot of them would wait for hubby to come home from work and was there to hold the baby while they showered etc. as they didn't want to leave baby alone. I don't think this helps.
I consider myself lucky that although my mum (who stayed with me for the first 4 weeks) loves a cuddle she would always put DD in her basket if DD was falling asleep so DD just became accustomed to be left to her own devices.
With the exception of a couple of short lived phases she has been able to self settle from day 1.
It is notable that in our antenatal group the two women who left baby alone in the bedroom while they showered and weren't scared to let them cry a bit (going against current advice which would have you believe you will scar your child for life), and had resolved not to cosleep have by far the two best sleepers of the group. But it honestly could all be a coincidence because all babies are different! I am acutely aware that I may have a very different experience if I have a second child.
I used to let ds cry for a minute while I got sorted and like yours he settled down pretty quick when he knew I’d come back. I used to put him in his Moses basket or on our bed when he was teeny while I showered and would prop him where he could see me while I got ready.
It's down to their natural sleep pattern. I have one brilliant sleeper and one terrible one. Same parenting for both.
I thought mine was but I don't know that others would agree.
I breastfed him to sleep and let him sleep in my bed. Until he was 8 months I kept him with me in the evening until I went to bed. He was never any trouble. If he woke in the night he would feed and barely disturb me. I moved him to his own bed at 2 because he started to irritate me with always pushing the covers off and it made me cold. There was a little lip of difficulty where he'd wake and I'd go in to lie with him and it was driving me crazy until I posted on MN for advice and everyone said "WTF, stop lying with him!"
So I half took their advice - since he could walk and talk, I explained to him when it was bedtime that he could come and find me if he woke up in the night. I put a stairgate on the stairs so he wouldn't fall down. When he woke up, he cried and I called through the wall "Come through, I'm in here" and after a couple of nights I didn't need to shout to him any more, he'd just come in with me. If he lay quietly next to me and went to sleep I let him stay there. If he was moving around or trying to play/talk then I gave him the choice to lie still and quiet in my bed or go back to his. Sometimes he'd walk back to bed on his own and sometimes I had to take him back. He was sleeping through by 2.5 and would only come in to me in the early morning.
Both mine were amazing sleepers but I've always thought it's the luck of the draw. They were naturally serene little buggers. We did a lot of co-sleeping with a Moses basket by the bed and had a soothing bedtime routine with the odd bit of baby massage and lavender oil. I'm a bit of an old hippy...
I'm not sure whether what my DH and I did helped our DC to sleep because, as I said, I think it's very much down to your baby's temperament.
I think it is just down to luck. I have no idea if what I did helped.
Both of mine were fantastic sleepers, when each came home from hospital we made sure they were used to a busy environment and deliberately let them get used to sleeping around a bit of noise ie TV.
Night feeds were done with night light instead of lamp on.
When in their own room I used blackout curtains in nursery, I would follow same routine to put to bed, first a bath then into the nursery and with only the night light on I would dry them give them a quick massage while quietly talking to them then pop their baby-grow on then give them their last feed. I would put them to bed when still awake if possible, I would switch the mobile on and stroke their head for a minute then night light off.
If they woke at night (when night feeds had stopped) I would go into bedroom but not put light on and use light from landing area, soft low soothing voice and check if they needed a nappy change/drink etc. If they didn't I would not lift them out of their cot i would just stoke their head for a minute and return to bed. If they did I would still not turn light on and change them then put straight back in cot.. Obviously when they were poorly I would cuddle them and rock them but was again quite lucky in that respect.
I’m with starlight. DC1, absolutely awful sleeper. DC2, parented pretty much exactly the same, brilliant napper, brilliant sleeper.
To be fair DC2 did have a much more solid routine from much earlier (mainly as DC1 was at school - it took that long to recover from the first round of sleep deprivation!) but honestly I think it’s at least 90% down to the individual child. After DC2 we were well smug, figured we had the whole baby thing cracked. Welcome DC3, busily shattering those illusions
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