Five ways to help baby to sleep

Five ways to help your baby to sleep

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.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy

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

Cranial Osteopathy

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.

The rabbit who wants to fall asleep

Storytime

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.

Baby Sleep

Co-Sleeping

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?!

Baby Sleep

Wrestling

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!

About The Author

thesparklenest

Mama of a beautiful baby boy, with number two on the way. I’m veggie, vintage loving, a bit of a crafter and a bit of a hippy. I love the countryside and pretty things.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Jessica | 13th Jan 16

    Oh, dear, sweet sleep, how I miss it! I keep reminding myself that at some point, this baby will sleep. and as a result, I will sleep. Right?? Eventually?? I have heard that chiropractic is amazing for getting babies to sleep, too, but it’s expensive!
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    • thesparklenest | 13th Jan 16

      I know, I miss it so much too! The chiropractor was fantastic, I can’t believe he actually slept through the night! But you’re right, it was very expensive, which is another reason I haven’t taken him back for more sessions. I will say though that getting a nights sleep after his first session was the best £30 I’ve ever spent!

  2. Jody Cowan | 14th Jan 16

    My kids are older now. But I do remember this! It was so hard to get my babies to sleep. I remember getting up so many many, many times! I would usually rock them back to sleep and end up sleeping in that chair, too. At least for a while. Sounds like you’re doing really well!
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    • thesparklenest | 14th Jan 16

      Thank you Jody, I’ve fallen asleep in the chair with him many times too, every second of sleep counts :-) x

  3. Nikki Frank-Hamilton | 15th Jan 16

    Girl, where were you 23 years ago? LOL My kids both had colic and would not sleep, they didn’t give us meds for Levi and so I would go for days with no sleep, I would drive an hour to my mom’s house so I could get some zzzz’s. We’d have to pull over on the side of the road cause I couldn’t make it all the way there and Levi would have fallen asleep in the car for a few moments. Then I would wake back up and drive some more. These tips and the meds would have helped immensily! We did end up co-sleeping, he was so miserable, but we would sleep wherever we fell, floors, chairs, sometimes the bed! LOL I remember the days. Good luck!
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    • thesparklenest | 15th Jan 16

      Oh Nikki I don’t think I’ve ever had it that bad! I was lucky Frey didn’t really suffer with colic. But right now I’m full of positive thoughts because I had a whole 6 hours unbroken sleep last night and I’m flying! Although I do remember sleeping on the living room floor with him one night, he was so tiny and full of beans at some silly hour of the morning so I brought him downstairs so he didn’t disturb his sleeping Dad, I put him on his baby gym and he fell asleep there, so I just grabbed a cushion from the sofa and curled up on the floor next to him! Rob found us like that and thought I was crazy, but every second of sleep counts doesn’t it?! x

  4. claire | 27th Jan 16

    this is the bit about having a second bit I am dreading most! sleep deprivation is so hard. My toddler is such an amazing sleeper so I am very out of practice and expecting a big shock to the system come june!! I hope your little improves soon
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    • thesparklenest | 27th Jan 16

      Good luck! I guess it’s lucky that your toddler sleeps well – bank all the sleep you can now! :-) It will be fine, we do adapt don’t we. Before I had a baby I needed 10 hours a night, now if I get 6 I’m flying! x

  5. Claire | 30th Jan 16

    Sleep deprivation is so hard! We were experiencing the exact same thing for nearly 2 months with my 6 month old when I decided to change the routine. Mainly I needed to stop feeding her to sleep, so I tried to putting her in her cot awake, which then leads to hours of patting and shushing to get her to drift off. But I can say that it is working and the patting/shushing episodes are getting shorter. I just need to now crack the frequent night wakings! Good luck with all that you’re trying and I hope that you can get some rest during the day xx

    • thesparklenest | 1st Feb 16

      Thank you Claire, I haven’t got as far as putting him in his cot awake, whenever I do that he just thinks it’s play time! It sounds like you’re doing well :-) x

  6. Becky, Cuddle Fairy | 2nd Feb 16

    I don’t think there’s any magic fix to help babies sleep. Some sleep the night & some done. I think the cranial work is a great idea, I haven’t done it with my kids but have heard good things. No way a child could hold still for an hour though. I brought two of my kids to the osteopath for different concerns & it helped both of them with their respective issues & also to sleep better. I’ve heard great things about that book! I hope it keeps working for you – and lengths the sleep time :) Thanks so much for sharing with #BloggerClubUK x

    • thesparklenest | 2nd Feb 16

      Thanks Becky, he’s doing ok at the moment. But you’re right, I don’t think there is a magic fix, and it’s completely normal for babies to wake up throughout the night! x

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