Propping Baby Up To Sleep
Diane, mother of Sophie, aged 15 months
Many parents find that thinking about the patterns they create during the day as well as at night helps their baby to develop a more regular routine. You may find that a structured day with meals and naps at fairly regular times, give or take ten minutes, gives your child a better chance of a regular bedtime with continuous sleep. If your baby is bathed, fed and sleepy by 6pm, it’s best not to keep him awake waiting for daddy to come home for a cuddle, especially if that could be any time up to 9pm. This doesn’t mean being ruled by the clock. Some days are bound not to fit your pattern. But knowing what your goal is, allows you to respond to your child’s needs while recognizing that flexible routines can provide a reassuring anchor.
My first child was a nightmare for nine months, and needed hospitalisation to check there was no underlying problem, he was that bad. I was a single parent at the time and I feel that that contributed to the problem. However, I really believe that developing a good daytime nap routine was the most important thing I did. Within one week of establishing two daytime naps Sam went from screaming every two hours to sleeping through the night. I also used this for number two – it works!’
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However, some parents feel that routines can get in the way of meeting their own and their children’s needs, and stop them responding to their child as an individual. Many of these parents prefer their children to eat and sleep wherever and whenever they like.
By the time he was five months old Thomas occasionally slept through the night. But reading The Continuum Concept made me realize I did feel odd about the hours of separation from him. I decided to continue to sit up and feed him and gently put him in his cot in the evening. When he woke in the night I’d follow how I felt or how he seemed to feel and either take him in with me or to the guest-room double bed for a feed and sleep or just sit up to feed him to sleep again and pop him back in the cot. The sleeping through stopped immediately. But I feel it worked because I gave myself to him 101 % instead of getting annoyed. When he’d perk up after an hour’s feed from 8pm to 9pm and I’d felt he was just dropping off, I’d laugh and say, “Well we’d better go downstairs and see what daddy’s doing.” The key was to be really and truly willing to share his joy of life.’