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Sleep deprivation is something you expect to suffer as a parent but wish you didn’t have to. In my experience it’s predominantly sleep deprived mums, as the dads may ‘sleep’ through the baby waking. Mine certainly did (despite usually being a light sleeper)
There seems to be almost a competition in how long your baby sleeps and when they finally seem to sleep through. I reckon it’s more like desperation and is always good to compare in case you can find any tips on coping yourself, or improving your child’s sleeping habits.
Trying Gina Ford’s Contented Little Baby routine
Sleep routine fails
I’d decided before even getting pregnant that I would follow the Gina Ford* route which is often seen as harsh and regimented, and is all about getting your child into a good routine so they end up being a ‘contented little baby’. It appealed to me as I’m a fan of organisation and I had friends who swore by it for their children. Others had avoided it like the plague as it was too strict and that it didn’t allow you to get out and about during the day as nap times were strict.
At first it seemed to work quite well as N slept a lot and could go a decent time between bottles. However, he just would not be woken for food if he didn’t want to be. I remember one incident where he was asleep under his play gym in the kitchen when I needed to get him awake for the routine. I had loud music playing, I stripped him off to his nappy and stood at the front door with howling January wind and he still slept. At lunch times he wouldn’t nap for longer than an hour and he couldn’t go from 3.30 to bedtime without an extra whole feed. So Gina Ford wasn’t going to work for us.
The one thing that was great was her bedtime routine. We did bath (every other day), massage to lullabies, changed him into a sleepsuit, a final feed and then put him to bed without fail. It worked really well right from the end of week one. N always went to bed in his moses basket and then his cot-bed with no problems.
We also used the outline of her daytime naps. So he had a nap 2 hours-ish post the last waking. Because N rarely napped for longer than 30 minutes, that meant around 4 naps a day. He liked to fight them though, so thank god for vibrating swing seats!
The question at 3 months, was when would he consistently sleep through. Many people give their baby a dream feed when they go to bed at 10-11pm to help the baby then sleep through. N won’t do this because he will generally need a nappy change when waking, and I go to bed earlier before 10 so it would mean a night feed anyway.
He started off waking 3 hourly at the same times, and I was automatically waking in anticipation. I never found the nights feeds too much of a pain. Gradually he went for longer until he was only waking once at between 3.30-5am at 9 weeks. I was pretty pleased with this, especially if he’d then go back to sleep til 6.30-7.
He did have the occasional earlier wake up, late at night when I reckoned he was cold when I’d tried to cool down his room. But he got to sleeping 6.30pm-6-ish am. I just had to wait for it to be consistently every day or stretching the wake up time a bit later so I knew I’ll have 45 mins to be able to fit in my exercise dvd first thing before he wakes up.
My top tip for working on a sleep routine is rely on a good under eye concealer like my favourite Touche Eclat*, the daily necessity for sleep deprived mums.
What sleep routine did your babies have?