Everyone has their way of working through sleep habits of a newborn. I have tried most of them. I did slightly different things for my first than I did with my second. I think with my second baby, as I had seen the after effects of not listening to the right people I was a lot more open to trying different techniques. All babies are different and will respond to different things. For example, my eldest loved (and still loves) tapping at bedtime. My second one doesn’t seem to be too bothered. You have to find what works best for you and your family but I found the below really made a difference to me with my second baby.
But a quick note before I start. I absolutely believe in a bedtime routine, i.e. the same things every night/day as they are going to bed. And I try to keep to a time schedule as much as possible. It’s not as easy with two but I do what I can, when I can. And for me that works, for now. Even the little things, like keeping the same night time buddies, (her Kitty Kippin and Fabelab cushion bunny) in her cot with her always; and her shusher is always switched on as soon as she goes in the cot. I was using the badger sleep balm but I have now stopped as I don’t think she needs it.
1. Give it 2 minutes
At about 2 or 3 months I started to be a bit more committed to establishing good sleep patterns for my little Anni. We were very lucky because she was a great night sleeper. But I was struggling in the day time and what I was doing was not working. The maternal health nurse booked a sleep consultant for a home visit. Most things I had been doing in line with what her approach was. But there was 1 difference. I was running in as soon as she would start crying. So, I would put her to sleep, give her a tap and leave the room. As she got older she would wait a bit and then start crying. I would come running. Now, just to be very clear about this, she was not crying hysterically, just grizzling and low intensity cry. The sleep consultant recommended that I wait for 2 minutes (or around 2 minutes) to give Anni a chance to settle herself. But if she doesn’t or if the crying intensifies, go in give her a tap or rub, make sure she is comfy and walk out. For 2 or 3 days I did this (during the day, no issues at night) never letting her crying get intense, and it did the trick.
At the same time as I had this advice, I also was given advise number 2 which I did in conjunction with the above. And it made a world of difference doing these two things together. She went to sleep quickly once in the cot and she is now 1 yr old and sleeps like a trouper!!!
2. Be consistent
A friend of mine went to Masada sleep school with her second, who are absolutely amazing. And for anyone really struggling, a sleep program like this one can make a massive, positive change in your life. But the key piece of advice which she imparted to me, was be consistent when going in to the baby. When you are settling the baby, it is as important to be consistent as in the earlier routine you implement. I was being consistent at the start but not when I was coming back in to resettle. Sometimes I would shush, sometimes I would tap for a bit, rub a bit. So, I found a number of taps (80 slow taps) that seemed to work. At first it was 50 but it wasn’t enough time with her, so I increased it to 80. I would be quiet, no shushing, I would walk in, check her (ie smell her bum), tap her and then walk out. If she didn’t settle, I would wait the 2 minutes or more (or less) and then go back in and do exactly the same thing.
Worked!! Loved it. I love consistency. But more important - babies love consistency!
3. Give her milk 30mins before lunchtime nap
So, getting to sleep was working well. Morning nap, lunch time nap. Getting to sleep was great. But, I was really struggling with the lunch sleep timing - Anni would not sleep for two hours. She was getting to sleep ok, because the getting to sleep methods had worked well. But she was waking up after one sleep cycle. This concerned me because resettling is a really important tool for babies, and if they don’t get enough sleep because they can’t fall back to sleep – it’s not good for anyone! A friend of mine had tried the Little Ones sleep techniques which had worked really well for her bubs and she suggested I try feeding Anni 40min-1hr before I put her to bed - a top up feed.
BINGO!! That did it. It was the final piece of the puzzle for me with Anni. Once I started to do that she started to have her full 2-2.5hr day sleep.
As I said, you have to find what works best for you. All I can do is share what worked for my family. And as you can see, it wasnt just one method or one piece of advise. Don’t be shy to talk to different people and find out what worked for them as you might just find a little hint will make a world of difference.