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Fingers crossed

August 17, 2010

We’re a week into Project Mummy Needs More Sleep, and I think we can cautiously say it’s been a success, with the feeds between 7pm -7am pretty much cut out, and longer periods of sleep.  Last night after needing a few minutes settling to get off to sleep, G  made it through until 5.30 before waking, and I ended up feeding her at around 6.15 or so.  Other nights she’s needed a small amount of settling around 2am, but has then slept until 7.

So, a quick synopsis on what we’re doing:

  • Winter weight merino sleeping bag
  • Cuski sleep comforter
  • White noise ‘sounds of the rainforest’ on repeat
  • Self-settling techniques from Sleep Right, Sleep Tight

This is because it just happened to be a book my mum came across at the second hand store (i.e. completely random selection), and also because it’s recommended by The Sleep Store, who’s advice I’ve found spot on so far.

When she wakes we’re allowing her a few minutes to see if she can get back to sleep.  If she sounds like she’s getting wound up or is calling for us, we go in. Usually she’s standing, so we let her have a hug while she’s standing in her cot (we never lift her out), and then gently lay her down.

Then we commence up to 10 minutes of settling – either patting or rubbing her back, or rocking her gently on her side while shushing her.  When she’s quiet (but not asleep) or 10 minutes have passed, we go out for 2 minutes.  If she’s still crying or upset, we repeat the settling and then go out for 4, 6 etc minutes.  She’s generally out by the time we get to 6 minutes.  If not, I have once or twice given her a feed after 2am, when it’s clear that it’s genuine hunger – but this is miles better than the 2-3 night feeds she was on before.

If we get to a point in the next few weeks where she’s still waking and needing patting (i.e. she’s replaced her reliance on feeding with patting), I think we’ll move to verbal reassuring, especially as she get more used to language.

It is meant to teach babies to self settle in 3-4 nights, and with G it may be even quicker, since she’s great at going off to sleep at bedtime, and just needs to learn her self-settling skills throughout the night now.

From the Sleep Store’s case study of an 8 month old waking every 2-3 hours:

“Verbal reassurance means giving your child the opportunity to self settle, rather than doing something to them or for them to get them back to sleep. Wait 5 minutes before going in, then just go part-way into the room, say your phrase and leave eg ‘mummy knows you can go back to sleep, see you in the morning’. . Shut the door and go to the other end of the house. Yes your child will cry and protest, as they have had months of being told they need a feed to go back to sleep….. Wait 5 mins, then repeat. Then wait 10 mins and repeat. Then 15 mins and repeat.”

I think what we’re doing is a good interim step though – I think it would be hard to go from feeding and lots of physical contact at night straight to this.

It helps that she’s not getting in any way really distressed from this sleep training, which I think is because we worked on getting her able to self-settle at around 5 months.  Hopefully it will be just like riding a bicycle.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 25, 2010 6:22 am

    Your post is inspiring me, Barreness! My wee one has been doing some serious backsliding in the sleep department ever since she started to teeth. I’m going to try some of your tricks (especially the part about giving the baby a few minutes before going in!) tonight.

    Good luck and keep us posted!

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