How To Get Your Baby To Sleep At Night

How To Get Your Baby To Sleep At Night

Variations on a Theme

All these approaches have good points and bad points. Generally, the quickest results mean the most tears. Whichever you choose, stick with it for at least three nights, be prepared for a test night, and be consistent. Some parents have adapted the behavioural approach to fit in with the sort of relationship they have with their children, and feel it works. One mother kept her baby in her bed but patted her back instead of feeding her:

When Hannah was 27 months I decided to stop breastfeeding her as it was starting to annoy me. I couldn’t sit down without her being attached to me. We couldn’t even look at blogs together. Firstly, I stopped feeding her in the day. That was the easiest. I just didn’t sit down and we went out a lot! After a couple of weeks it was going quite well so I decided to stop her feeding in the night too. When she woke up I lay in her bed next to her (firmly on my front!) and patted her on the back until she went to sleep. After a few days she didn’t ask for a feed at bedtime so I decided that was the time to stop altogether.’

Dawn, mother of Rebecca, six, Hannah, four, and Lucy 18 months

Another mother, Kim, knew what would work for her third baby, Eden:

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We’ve started a sleep routine now that Pete’s got a clear stretch at work. The old routine was that I breastfed Eden until she eventually fell asleep on me. Then she might get up and play for a bit, and then I’d feed her again, she played again – she kept going until she was really tired. Yesterday we went upstairs and looked at her brother and sister in bed and asleep. Then we went into her room and read a story, and she lay down and went to sleep with me stroking her hand. She slept for six hours.

At 2am I went in and stroked her hand for six minutes until she calmed down and went out for a couple of minutes. When I went back in she was standing up and I talked to her about the teddies. I had a resigned calm about me – I didn’t force her, I knew I was going to do it. In my heart of hearts I didn’t want to be separated from her, but I’ve had to decide for all our health that I need to do it. I carried on leaving her for two minutes and going in for six. It took 40 minutes. In the end I left her for five minutes and she went off. She woke up at 6am and I brought her into my bed. I felt it was long enough to have gone without a feed.’

Just occasionally a baby cries so hard he vomits:

We were assured that the controlled crying technique would only take two weeks. But it was terrible. It was barbaric. Both her and our suffering was indescribable. She would scream for hours, bang her head against the cot, pull out her hair, stick her fingers down her throat and make herself sick and, worst of all, cut the inside of her mouth with her nails so that when we went in there would be blood dripping from her mouth. ’

How To Get Your Baby To Sleep At Night

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