I read somewhere the other day, that by six months old, a baby is capable of sleeping through the night. Sleeping through the night. So good I had to say it twice. I often wonder if Frey will ever sleep through the night – or at least for more than a few hours at a time. And then there’s the other major issue before you even get to how long baby will sleep – how do you get them to sleep in the first place? I have written before about my little sleep thief, back in September. Now it’s January, and not much has changed. I thought I’d share some of the things that I’ve tried to help Frey to sleep better, with varying degrees of success. One day we’ll crack it, one day, I will sleep again.
Well, I don’t need much of an excuse to add something sweetly scented to our lives! I use ‘sleepy time’ bath milk with Frey from ‘Herbs on the Hill‘ which is a beautiful shop in Frome, which I follow with their baby massage oil. Both scents are a mixture of lavender and rose geranium. I also use the Aroma Stone from Neals Yard Remedies which is a safe way of burning essential oils without using a candle. I plug this in at bedtime every night with a mixture of lavender and rose geranium essential oils, and I always take it with me if we travel away from home too. This week I’m trying a new blend of essential oils, after asking for advice from an aromatherapist. We’ve gone for a wonderfully soothing blend of chamomile, cedarwood and geranium.
Cranial Osteopathy was recommended to us by a friend, who said it ‘really helped with her baby’s sleeping’. I thought it had to be worth a try. We went to see a lovely osteopath who took down all the details of how Frey sleeps, eats, every aspect of his routine, and even details about my labour and his birth. We had about six sessions, and I have to say that she worked miracles. He would fall asleep in the car instantly on the way home from his sessions, and the night after treatment he came the closest he has ever been to sleeping through the night. We went when he was about six months old and I really thought that our sleeping problems were on their way to being over. Unfortunately we couldn’t finish his sessions due to our holiday in October and subsequent upheavals, and although I’m very tempted to take him back, now he’s that much older I fear he is far too wriggly to stay still enough for an hour’s treatment.
Our bedtime routine has changed a bit recently. I used to read Frey stories as part of play time, and bed time used to be milk, then cuddles, then sleep. However we have been struggling with the actual ‘going to sleep’ part of this routine over the past few weeks, and I was finding myself spending hours trying to ‘do bedtime’ each evening. A friend recommended the book ‘The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep’. The blurb tells me that “The groundbreaking No. 1 bestseller is sure to turn nightly bedtime battles into a loving and special end-of-day ritual. This child-tested, parent-approved story uses an innovative technique that brings a calm end to any child’s day.” I’m on night 4 of reading ‘The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep’ and I think it’s helping. I wondered if it was just that I was reading to Frey that was sending him to sleep, so I’ve tried Paddington Bear and Mog the Cat over the past two nights, but he was still wide awake when I finished those, so I had to move on to ‘The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep’ after I had finished them. He is still only managing a few hours before he wakes up again, but I will say that actually making the ‘arms to cot’ transfer has been smoother since I started reading this book to him, as he seems to fall into a deeper sleep whilst I’m reading.
I know, I know. It’s a ‘rod for my own back’ and all that. But it works. And I don’t have a problem with it at all, because it works. When Frey wakes up in the night after I’ve gone to bed myself, I just pull him in with me, and cuddle him back to sleep. And I admit, again after all the upheaval we have had recently, it’s a comfort for both of us, and we both sleep better, which is the main thing isn’t it? No more getting out of bed in the middle of the night, no more taking him downstairs to sit on the sofa, just co-sleeping. Precious precious sleeping. He still wakes up when he’s in my bed, but he goes back to sleep more quickly, and as I’m not actually getting out of bed to settle him, his nightly wakings turn into a bit of a sleepy blur. The downside of having my baby boy in bed next to me, is that when he’s ready to start his day, whatever time he decides is best for him, be it 4, 5 or 6am, he lets me know by pulling my hair or slapping me about the face. Who needs an alarm clock?!
I did find an image of wrestling for this one, but then thought that the image of the snoozing newborn was much cuter, and a sleeping baby is what we’re trying to achieve isn’t it? Of course I don’t really wrestle my baby to sleep. I’m thinking more of when he is desperate for a nap but just doesn’t want to sleep and gets really sad and cross. So I need to give him a persuasive cuddle to let him know that it’s fine to settle down and relax, while he shouts at me and punches me on the nose, until he finally gives in. And that is how we regularly end up ‘co-sleeping’ on the sofa in the middle of the afternoon.
Are any of the above familiar to you? Do you have any other tried and tested ways of helping baby to sleep? I would love to hear them!
Back at the end of December, it was a normal early evening at our house…