Babies are not meant to act like clock work. Neither, they can follow a book. Every baby is different and the way they develop day by day also tend to be different. Some babies are good sleeper naturally but few of them give hard time to their parents. The only thing a parent can do is to establish a routine as soon as they can.
At the beginning, when baby is born we can’t follow any routine. That time the only important thing is to be there for her and give her what she needs. They sleep a lot in their early days. But they don’t have any pattern of sleep. They sleep any time and they get up anytime.
When can you start establishing routine
When baby reaches their 6 weeks they will go through growth spurt as well. At that time a mother should try to look for the cues and start putting them to sleep on particular times. If they don’t sleep don’t get frustrated. Just try to follow similar routine everyday before their night sleep and daytime naps. Put them to sleep during daytime naps and night time on the similar times. Babies will eventually learn to follow the timing by watching their surroundings. Keep the lights as dim as you can and keep it quiet at night so they know it’s night and they should sleep quietly. When putting them to sleep during day do not try to keep it as quiet. You don’t have to tip toe as you won’t be able to do anything if you worry about them to sleep long. They need to learn the difference during day and night. When they grow older their daytime naps will go shorter.
When my girl reached her six weeks, I started following routine before her night sleep of bathing, massaging, changing of pyjamas, low lights and feed. She was and still breastfeeding and she usually dozed off after her feed. Initially it was a struggle because the time I wanted her to sleep was not the time for her feed. So she didn’t know how to put herself to sleep at that stage. Then after a week, she started waking up just after 20 minutes of her sleep. Like I used to start her routine at 9pm and by the time I feed her she used to go to sleep by 10. And then she wake up a lot at 12 then 2 then 5. Because she was exclusively breastfeeding. So you have to be lenient but consistent at that stage.
By the time she reached her 3 months everything went out of the window. I was searching and reading a lot about what I was doing wrong. But couldn’t find anything.
When she was 4 months, I found out about sleep training. There were two methods.
- Cry it out
- No tears (pick up put down)
I read and read and read. There was not a single thing I liked about cry it out. The first method ‘cry it out’ is that you leave your kid in her cot or moses basket after nappy change and feed. And leave the room. The baby will cry but you can’t come until 5 minutes. After 5 minutes you come in room and check if they are ok. If they still cry you let them cry. And next time you come after 10 minutes. Baby will cry and then learn to sleep . Which doesn’t make any sense to me. May be it work for few people but I just can’t see my baby crying and coughing. So I just ignored the idea of cry it out.
Then I read about no tears. I completely swear by it.
Pick up put down
Well this worked for me wonders. I’m going to tell you about it in detail. But just keep that in mind. You have to be consistent and do not compromise at the beginning. No matter you have a night out with your husband or anything in the world. It’s better to have good night tine with hubby everyday rather than once a week. If you want you baby to learn the skill for the rest of their life and some peace for your sleeps, be there for them and start.
What you got to do is after their night time routine. Do not let them sleep after their feed. Well I’m not saying always but just when you are starting your sleep training. If they sleep just try to rub their ear or cheeks or open one leg of the babygrow . Consider that you don’t need to fully wake them up. You need to put them down in their basket when they are sleepy not asleep.
After few seconds they are going to start crying. Don’t let them cry . Pick them up and calm them down. When they stop crying you need to put them down. They will start crying again. Pick them up again and continue doing it till they go to sleep.
First attempts could be failure but for me she learned to sleep on third day. It was so amazing. I stopped all that rocking and moving. And my daughter was sleeping on her own. On the fourth day, I didn’t even need to pick her up. I just patted her on her chest.
She is 6 months now and most of the time she sleep straight after breastfeed. I don’t wake her up if she is in deep sleep. But if she don’t sleep during feed, I use the same method. Now she sleep through the night 10pm to 8am and have 3 regular daytime naps.
The good thing about this method is that you can use the same technique during daytime naps. But I must say determination, patience and consistency is the key.