Sleep is one of the biggest topics of conversation between parents, and the source of many a parenting book. No matter where you turn, once your baby is born you are questioned about sleep. Does he go through the night? How are you coping with broken nights? Who gets up in the night? Does he have a sleep prop? When will he sleep through the night? Do you co-sleep? Do you use controlled crying? Do you resort to sleeping on the floor of the nursery?
The fact of the matter is that we, parents and society as a whole, put too much pressure on our babies when it comes to sleep. They’re brand new. They don’t get this need for routines, schedules and clocks. They have basic needs and they need those needs to be met! It’s unreasonable to expect a newborn baby to sleep for longer than four hours at a time, and most (in my experience) rarely go more than two until they’re a little older. Perhaps one of the best sleep solutions a new parent can have is to accept this fact and be prepared for regular wakings through the night?
But what about when your baby is a little older, more established in a daytime routine and perhaps even eating a few solids? Surely then, you can expect him to sleep a little longer through the night? Most babies will naturally adapt and some take longer than others to find their own sleeping patterns. And that’s fine, as long as you are consistent with how your baby falls asleep and where. But what if you’re not happy with how he falls asleep?
Our guest poster today is Mummy’s Little Peeps, and she has a nine month old son who sleeps fine at night… once he eventually succumbs to slumber. She is spending up to two hours getting her baby off to sleep each night and those two hours are precious to any mum. Here is her plea for help:
My youngest child was born five weeks early and spent his first few weeks in Special Care baby unit. During this time, cuddles and kangaroo care was encouraged to help with his development. He has always been a cuddly baby- loves being held and likes to fall asleep knowing that you are close… he really struggles to fall asleep independently.
He will not sleep in his cot during the day and getting him to sleep in the cot at bedtime is a very long drawn out process, despite him being tired and ready for sleep. He will roll, wriggle and kick about fighting sleep- and this can go on and on. He also uses a dummy for sleep, which he has now started to throw out of the cot too. He has a musical glo toy in his cot too.
If we leave the room, he becomes very upset. We do leave him in the cot so that he can try to fall asleep independently- he will do this eventually, but some nights can take up to two hours.I really don’t like the idea of leaving him to cry himself to sleep but admit that I have resorted to this technique. All to no avail though, as he seemingly gets even more distressed.
I also have a two year old boy, so during the day the youngest will sleep in the pram (he does seem to be able to get to sleep in there ok and it is also a lot quiter if the toddler is having a nap). My eldest has never had any problems with sleep and has always been able to fall asleep independently.
I would love to be able just to leave him to fall quietly to sleep by himself, both during the day and at night. Can anyone help?!