When you become a parent, not only do you realise how precious sleep is, but how little importance you gave it your whole life leading up to this moment.?
Once that little bundle of joy bursts into your life, sleep becomes your most precious commodity 每 and most talked about topic with fellow parents.
"How much sleep are you getting?" "You won't believe how many times she woke up last night." "We ended up with both kids in the bed last night" aren't uncommon sentences among a group of parents who are clearly so tired they actually haven't got the brain capacity to talk about anything else.?
But with the introduction of a baby - sleep seems to slip through the cracks like quicksand and before you know it you're surviving on 4-5 hours sleep a night, every week.
This was me only a week ago. My baby girl who's now 8 months was waking every three hours, then every two, then every hour and a half, and before I knew it she was up EVERY FORTY MINUTES.
The only thing that would shut her up and get her back to sleep was to chuck her on the boob for more breast milk 每 but this would just feed the beast and before long I was finding myself becoming a 24/7 milk machine for little Lily. Lucky she's cute.
You see my 8-month-old is sharing a room with my three-year-old and I was terrified if she cried for even a second she'd wake him and in turn he'd wake the whole house and possibly even the whole building.
It's not like I hadn't tried different ways to get her to stay asleep. I'd bought a bunch of different sleeping plans designed by a bunch of different sleeping coaches, I'd been on the phone to Tresillian more times than I could count, I'd been scouring the raising children network daily for any clues as how to fix my broken baby who's sleep only seemed to get worse and worse but nothing seemed to work or stick in my tired parent brain.
Until I came across a plan that worked and fast＃ it was like magic.?
It was a friend who encouraged me to try it and I thought why not, I've tried everything else and I was sick of who I had become 每 eight months of broken sleep had turned me into a grumpy mum and partner.?
I should probably mention this trick is for babies five months or older and is not for the faint hearted - if you can't stand hearing your baby cry this is NOT for you. However if you, like I was, are at your wits end here is what you need to do.
Put your baby to sleep fed but AWAKE 每 and if they start crying set a timer for 5 minutes before going back in.?
This is probably a good time to perhaps put on your favourite show and pour yourself a glass of wine to distract you from the noise 每 you don't need to hear that 每 but short-term pain for long term gain!?
If after five mins they are still crying go in for no longer than 15-20 seconds and give them a little pat. Don't pick them up 每 just a quick 'hey I haven't forgotten you, but you need to work this one out on your own kiddo' and then get out of there as quick as you can. Assume the position with your wine and tv show and set a timer for 10 minutes.
Basically then keep adding five minute intervals to your timer if they're still crying. So five minutes, then ten, then 15, 20 and so on. The first night Lily made it all the way to 20 minutes before figuring out she'd need to get herself to sleep and could no longer rely on my boobs to help her along. As I said, not for the faint hearted.?
Ironically, my three-year-old slept through every single second of crying.?
However night two 每 she halved the time and was asleep in ten. Night three asleep after 5.?
Night four and five 每 straight to sleep. See 每 magic!?
Now you've probably heard of this style of controlled crying before, perhaps you've even tried it. But here's the extra step that I think is the secret to sleep success. Instead of feeding her when she wakes 每 YOU decide when she feeds. You have to set an alarm and feed her when you choose, which I admit is hard those first couple of nights when it's the last thing you want to do.
But it was about getting the power back in my court (for once) and so at 10:30pm and 3:30am I would wake to an alarm and give Lily a dream feed, and just like that, she was no longer being fed on demand.?
Then night two and three are the same but shorten both feeds. Then night four say goodbye to your 10:30pm feed. And by night five, both feeds are goneski and dear Lily has to start getting all those calories during the day 每 which is another hack for getting your baby to feed better once on solids.?
So now not only is she sleeping better (as am I) she's eating better too. Only one week in and Lily is sleeping through the night without waking - this was unheard of a week ago.
Thank god babies learn faster than us sleep deprived parents.?