Friday, 21 November 2008

Learning to Sleep

What a strange concept - learning to sleep. Or even stranger - not going to sleep even though you are really tired. You've got a free schedule - no laundry to do, no dinner to cook, no house to clean - all you have to do is eat and sleep - I mean what a dream existence - yet our boy screams and screams when it's time to sleep.

He just doesn't know how to put himself to sleep without someone nursing him and rocking him - which has been fine for 17 weeks and 2 days but now we want to be able to put him in his cot and for him to at least try and wind himself down and nod off. Especially during the day which is really our biggest problem he simply will not go to sleep.

So Noah, Mum and I headed off to sleep school - The Hush Baby program is run through the community health clinic is 2 sessions of 3 hours and costs nothing.

Everything the nurse had to say made so much sense and I really already knew (I guess I was hoping for some amazing new insight) but in my head I knew it was going to be difficult to apply to Noah. She told us how babies thrive on routine and like to know what to expect. They need to feel secure that we will come when they need us - secure enough to know that if they just go to sleep we are still near by for them.

Noah has been cuddled and loved as much as, if not more than a lot of babies but when he's so obviously tired and in need of sleep and you try and put him down he just screams. The only method that works is to get him fast asleep in your arms and then gently put him in his cot (and even then there is often several failed attempts before he's down for the night or if it's daytime he's awake again in 15 minutes).

The key to training your baby to self settle is that they must be put in their cot awake so they are aware of going to sleep by themselves - then if they wake themselves up after a sleep cycle (babies sleep in cycles of 45 minutes) they can re-settle themselves instead of crying out for mummy and daddy.

After the class on Wednesday I was pretty fired up and thought Rob and I could give it a red hot go. So Rob offered to do the first session on Wednesday night. He put Noah down in his cot awake and kept his hands on him and gently soothed him - Noah started OK then the crying escalated and he had to be picked up to be calmed back down (all part of the anticipated process). The catch however was that after that first attempt every time Rob put him back down he started crying/screaming straight back at his top register (he should in theory start off calm again and possibly escalate to needing calming again). After about 30 minutes we had to abort the mission and go back to the old method - which worked in about 15 minutes flat and he slept through to 6am with his one night feed as per normal.

I guess we'll try again next month!!!!!!!!!

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Hi thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. It is nice to know someone is listening.


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