I know this must be getting insanely boring for any lovely readers out there, and I know I said I was going to relax and accept that Reuben is going to wake up… BUT SERIOUSLY, I don’t get it. Last night we were back to 5 wake ups! He self-settled 3 times and I went to him twice but, all in all, Mike and I had a really bad night’s sleep.
Perhaps it’s judgement…Mike sent me this article called Don’t get up if your baby cries in the night (I can’t believe I now get information on scientific studies from the Daily Mail! Please don’t judge me) and I recon Reuben could tell. The highlights of this study from Temple University, Philadelphia (and they studied 1,200 babies from 6 months to 36 months) are as follows:
– 66% of babies at the age of 6 months sleep through
– The majority of babies who wake in the night are boys
– The mothers of said babies are more likely to breastfeed and/or have post-natal depression.
Well that’s a given for the latter point…with pals of mine, including lovely Alice who writes the blog, more than toast, ‘coming out’ all over the place. Alice wrote an amazing post, Confessional, a few days ago that pretty much sums up how countless women are feeling across the land. Myself included. Alice has mentioned in the comments of my last post about baby sleep (you know, the one where I said I’d stop worrying about sleep, or lack of it, and go with the flow?) that her little Hux is only just sleeping through at 8 months…maybe these boffins are onto something?
Anyway, what they say is to leave your baby if they wake in the night because self-settling is the key to a good night’s kip. You should also put baby to sleep at the same time every night and allow them to self-settle.
I hated self-settling to begin with but now it’s my saviour as it’s the only way to get Reuben to sleep during the day and saved me literally hours at bed time. He’s just not a jiggly me/cuddle me to sleep baby. If there’s something to look at, he’ll do that rather than sleep and just gets crosser and crosser that he is tired! And, if he does fall to sleep he wakes the minute you put him down.
I read this article by the Sleep Lady early on about sleep coaching. It ‘gave me permission’ to use gentle methods of getting Reuben to sleep while he was still so little. But on his 3rd month birthday (if there is such a thing), we were both ready to try again. I put him in his cot and left him to self-settle at 9:15am (for his first nap) and he’s been doing that ever since. And, we’re both much happier. It was tough though so if this isn’t the method for you, this is another good overview article by the Sleep Lady about the different methods of sleep coaching.
Reuben, according to the Temple University study, is what one would call a transitional sleeper – baby sleep cycles are between 1.5 and 2 hours and the babies that sleep through will wake but go back to sleep without crying out. Little Reubinator, the sleep exterminator, does fall back to sleep without much bother but sometimes likes to let us (me) know that he’d like a little cuddle and more importantly a bit of boob.
The funny thing about the study is that they found transitional sleepers tend to be crankier! You may think I am biased but Reuben is honestly the happiest little baby when he’s awake – he looks at anyone who will give him time of day like this…
The good news is a) the tests were for 6 months onwards so we’ve got just over a month before he’s officially one of the statistics above (there’s hope, so time to relax!) and b) I’m going to stick to this methodology of letting him self-settle as much as possible (including at night). As the experts say – consistency is key.
So, that’s it…I promise that I’ll not mention sleep again (apart from at the weekend when, if we get the curtains sorted, we will move Reuben into his own room), and certainly no more sleep experts or tips, and I WILL just go with it!