THIS challenge was designed for fellow mums to assist in getting Baby Holly to become a better sleeper.
And, in turn, help other mums battling with that all-consuming “sleep deprivation”.
This is how things have progressed so far:
Month One: Baby Holly was swaddled, then placed in her basinette and, more often than not, put herself to sleep. Occassionally, we’d have to rock the basinette gently.
Month Two: Things started to go pear shaped. She became fussy at sleep time and woke every 1-2 hours during the night for a feed. Solution: I’d throw her over my shoulder and pace the floor ’til she fell asleep. I’d then gently lay her down in her cot like she was a hand grenade ready to go off at the slightest jiggle. During the night, she would fall asleep feeding. A bedtime routine was also established.
Month Three: Wrapping her became a problem, with her constantly getting her arms out and startling herself awake. Solution: Put a rolled up muslin underneath her, wrap one side up and around her arm and tuck it back underneath her bottom. Do the same with the other side. Then use another muslin to swaddle her as normal.
Month Four: Just prior to this month, she became so heavy to rock to sleep that my arms started to look like a WWE wrestler’s. So we’d lay her down and pat her head or tummy. One afternoon, in sheer frustration after patting for so long my leg had welded into the side of the cot, our li’l girl took a dummy. To this point, her strong gag reflex had prevented her taking a pipe. Now she only wakes twice a night (heaven!) and it takes little effort to get her to fall asleep. Solution: I’ve now been popping in the dummy, patting her head or tum and, just as she’s about to doze off, I pull it out (as per Pantley’s Gentle Removal Technique). If she whines or fusses, I put it back in and repeat. Still letting her feed to sleep in the middle of the night.
Month Four and a Half: There’s nothing quite like looking at the clock in the hope it says 7am, only to find it’s 11.30pm. Urrrggghhh. I’ve decided this “Sleep Challenge’’ should be renamed “The Sleep Challenged’’. Holly will have one three-hour stretch of sleep, then usually one-hour stints after that. Initially, I put it down to teething. Then, I blamed Wonder Week 19, which is the peak of the fussiness associated with their next developmental leap. She fitted the description: trouble sleeping (ah, hello), demanding attention, loss of appetite, moody, less vocal and sucks fingers more than before (tick, tick and tick). Who knows! What I do know is she refuses to fall asleep on her own, won’t take the pacifier, will only go to sleep if I rock or feed her and my eyes are starting to resemble those of rocker Jon English. Solution: Just get through it. Hopefully it is part of the Wonder Week and she’ll come out the other end a genius. Or not. Will keep trying to settle her in the cot and offering the pacifier, but if all else fails, rock, pat, cuddle, feed … whatever. As long as she gets some sleep.
Next in the series is: Month Five: How do you get a baby to sleep unwrapped?