I actually just stumbled on your blog today and I love it! I have a question for you. I am a new mum to a 7 week old boy Zachary. At about 5 weeks he stopped wanting to sleep in his Moses basket during the day. I would shhh, pat and put him down and 20 mins later he would wake up howling. This week I thought I’d try self settling and he hated it. I let him cry it out for as long as I could bare and ended up getting him back up and couldn’t resettle him back to sleep. So now I’m rocking the pram for every sleep. Of a night he is perfect we have done the same routine for a few weeks bath, feed then bed and he is only waking up once overnight he can self settle no problems. What do you suggest for his day time sleeps? Should I ‘ve persistent and allow him a few days to get used to settling himself I feel like a horrible mum letting him cry. Thanks for your help!
Hey Brooke, thank you so much for your email. First thing’s first. My favourite book to reference for all my settling issues was Baby Bliss by Jo Ryan. It is fantastic with helping you gain the balance between having a brand new baby and still living your life as well as you can.
I am a big advocate for settling both through the day and night. I have worked throughout all pregnancies and babies so as selfish as it may sound, I needed my babies to be sleeping in, as close to, a routine as possible, otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done.
It is true that some babies need less or more sleep than others. This is where taking the time to learn your baby comes in. Does he get tired and/or agitated during the day? Do you feel like he needs to sleep but just won’t self-settle? 20 minutes is a typical cat nap for a baby of this age and I feel for me, it was important to persist to get him over the cat napping stage. Cat napping is a very easy habit for babies to fall into and in my experience it’s best to get them out of it.
My first baby, Autumn, needed sleep by the book. If she was 10 minutes out she would hit the roof. If she hadn’t slept properly during the day she would be a nightmare to settle at night. She is now 5 and only gave up her day sleep a day go.
I would do the following:
- Settle him with the same routine during the day as you would at night (without the bath). I was a huge fan of a song, wrap, put to bed.
- If you feel he needs it then persist. I generally think they absolutely do need the sleep. Sleep is the time for growing, healing and regeneration but as I said, every baby can be different.
- It generally takes 3 days to help your baby learn to sleep longer, stretch out a feed or alter a routine. Commit to 3 days of trying the same settling routine and by the third consecutive day you should have the result you are after.
- Put him in his cott to sleep during the day. Autumn refused to sleep in prams or out in the lounge room, but if I set her up a porta-cot in a quiet room she was in heaven. I would commit to having him sleep in the same bed for every sleep. Once you have him in the desired routine then you can introduce the pram again.
- I used to find that the moment I couldn’t handle him crying anymore, that last scream just when I would be bolting to the room… that was the moment it suddenly went quiet and when I burst in he would be asleep. And then I would wait for that last cry. If you can’t handle the crying that is absolutely fine too. Patting and shushing with no eye contact works fantastic. Just make sure to pat consistently in the same spot on his shoulder and you can still wait for that last scream where it suddenly gets high pitched, it’s usually them moment before they drift off.
I know Mum’s feel horrible for letting their babies cry but every baby’s cries are different. It’s important to get to learn your baby and really know if he needs you or not. I’m not saying let him scream his box off for hours but I am saying that there is no need to jump to attention every time our babies make a whimper.
I’m sure you are doing a fantastic job and little baby Zachary is an absolute delight!! Take the time to learn how he likes to be held, patted and don’t fall into the trap or get into the habit of rocking him to sleep. Be persistent in teaching him how to self-settle and give up the pat as soon as you can. All I have to do is sing my baby his bedtime song and by the time we have hit the bedroom he is relaxing and can be put in his cott and I can walk out.
It takes time but that is what you can work up to.
I hope I have helped in some way!
Email me if you have anymore questions.