I fluked it with Emily (my eldest). She was more a Dream Raider. She found her thumb and self-settled immediately. By three months she was sleeping eight hour stretches. At four months it was closer to ten. *cue smug mummy…
Jess was different. She was our rude awakening into months-long sleep-deprivation. She never found her thumb and kept spitting her dummy across the room. She’d sleep in three hour stretches then wake like clockwork.
Curbing her bad sleep habits became my obsession. We cracked it at twelve months but only after spending a fortune on gizmos. Spare yourself the expense and use my tried-and-tested Sleep Aid Guide instead!
1. VIDEO MONITOR:
I found this a godsend for helping Jess learn to self-settle. Before we invested in one I would rush in at the first squeak. By delaying my entrance for a few minutes (unless she was in obvious distress), she learnt to roll over and go back to sleep.
2. WHITE NOISE:
Ditch the gimmicky sheep and bears. I spent months banging the chuffing things in the middle of the night when baby kept wailing past the ten-minute cut-off setting. Invest in a white noise box instead. They last for longer and are far more effective. To wean Jess off I kept turning the volume down each night until it was barely audible.
3. BLACKOUT BLINDS
A must from the beginning to regulate the circadian rhythm (night and day) and teaching baby that darkness is sleep-time.
In a nutshell:
• The static stuff doesn’t last (3 days max with us).
• The poppers on the Gro Bag blinds rip off too easily – but they’re great for traveling and occasionally use.
• Big liners taped around the window still let light in even when using black gaffer tape around the edges (did I mention I was desperate??) Also it makes your house looks like a squat.
• The best black out blinds are the ones you attach with Velcro. You’ll have to sacrifice the paintwork around your window frame but after a year of no sleep I would have knocked a hole in the wall if needs be.
4. LIGHT SHOWS
Like mobiles but they attach to the side of the cot instead. They’re great for winding baby down for a nap. Jess had a Winnie-The-Poo one that played soft music and projected images onto the ceiling in a slow, continuous rotation. Very soothing and worked a charm.
It might sound obvious but I’m convinced Jess kept waking up because she was cold. Sometimes an extra blanket is all it takes for baby to stay asleep.