I can’t believe we are here already!!
My poor baby has not spent one full day at home. We go everywhere together. I have been sooo lucky that he has allowed me to take him to meetings, dinners, football games and many a park in his short life. I have been told that he wants to go back to the hospital to choose a new mother…… poor bub. But what am I suppose to do? I’m breastfeeding and he has two older siblings. They certainly can’t stay at home all day.
Just like my first two, he has been a dream and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without his help.
By now if you have been following my blogs you will know what a stickler I am for a good routine. Although I have been taking Van everywhere and anywhere I am always conscious of his needs, where ever I am. I am what you would call, a clock watcher.
I make a mental note of when he wakes and make sure he is back asleep within the hour (hour and a half max). Where ever I am the sleep routine and the feed routine is the same.
It goes like this….
Wrap, rock, pat (singing the whole time), bed (or pram), tap tap on his shoulder and walk away. Most of the time he will self settle but I have noticed that as he is getting older he is more effected by noise so if it’s noisy when we are out he will need a little rock to get him off.
Now that Van is 12 weeks old I am slowly implementing a new routine. Being a little older he can now stay awake for about an hour and a half, his feeds can be at least 3 hours apart and the aim is to get him to have three definite day sleeps.
They key is to make sure that he is not cat napping, snacking or over tired. Easier said than done I hear you say!
Having been putting him to bed the same way for the past 12 weeks means that settling him is quite easy (most of the time). From the wrap all the way to the tap on his shoulder I can walk away and know that he will usually put himself to sleep. If he wakes in under an hour then I go in, make sure he is still wrapped, pat him on the shoulder to let him know that it’s not time to get up yet, he needs to go back to sleep.
Having two other kids doesn’t afford me the time to be rocking him to sleep a zillion times a day. I am a huge believer in the self settle routine as it means when mum has the kids, she follows my routine and gets the same result. I can relax knowing that if I need to be out at his bed time, Van will respond to mum when she puts him to sleep.
The major key to all of this is to really know your baby. If I was to have a video monitor on Van it would show me that he would wake probably 2 to 3 times during a sleep period. He grunts, he smiles, he grizzles but most of the time he would naturally put himself back to sleep. Seeing him awake for me would be way too tempting and I would probably go in and get him. I’ve only ever had sound monitors and I think it has helped me to teach my babies to sleep because I rely on listening to them only.
I know when he is just grizzling or grunting and I make sure I don’t go in there unless he has really ‘asked’ for me. Babies are noisy! It doesn’t mean they need us going in there every five minutes. Give them some personal space!
This is also the age they can start cat napping so it’s more important than ever that you know your babies cry and if he really needs you to settle him or if he is just noisily putting himself back to sleep.
If he does cat nap, go in and give him a little tap on the shoulder. Don’t make eye contact and when the tapping has settled him walk out. The aim is to teach him that if you go in and give him a tap he will recognise that it isn’t time to get up and after time you will only need a few taps before you can walk out.
If there is one final thing I will say it would be that this takes time and patience. Be repetitive but most of all be confident. Trust that you are teaching your baby how to sleep. I promise that with consistency it won’t take long. Don’t be afraid if you put your baby down awake and he makes a noise straight away, keep walking and give him the benefit of the doubt.
I promise you, there have been many times where I have gone through my routine, put Van down when he is hiccupping or wriggling and I have walked away thinking there is no way he will self settle. It’s at these times when I do walk away listening to him, he settles and goes off to sleep and it’s that much more satisfying. I love it, such a lovely feeling of accomplishment.
I get so many questions on how I work, have three kids and run a house. A routine is a huge part of allowing me to do this but I will do a post on it shortly.
Have any of you used a similar routine for your babies?
Do you think you give your babies enough time to self settle or is it too hard and you feel you have to go in there and pick them up?
I would love to hear from you.
I want to state very clearly that I am not a doctor, midwife or child expert. The information is intended solely for general educational aid and must not be considered medical or health care advise. I am writing on personal experience and the opinion’s expressed here are my own. Please consult your doctor or medical advisor if you require specific information.