In my desperate attempts to get some freedom back, aside from singing George Michael’s Freedom to Reuben, I’ve been trying lots of new things. Basically Ruby likes the booby. It’s his preferred method for going to sleep so aside from making it impossible for me to do anything other than feed all day, it doesn’t always work. He’ll eat until he falls asleep but if he is overtired he’ll keep eating until he’s sick.
I can see how all bad habits start here, in these early weeks when you’re gagging for a bit more sleep or time to sterilise your nipple shields or a moment to reheat that cup of tea and spread something on that toast you made 2 hours ago…that’s the limit of my ambitions at the moment. So, you resort to letting your baby fall asleep on your boob, or when that doesn’t work rocking and jiggling or, my worst habit but fill-proof technique for sleep, lying in bed feeding, all the while knowing full well I’m going to regret it in a few months time when I’m no longer a zombie and Rueben is dependent on these tricks for sleep…including in the middle of the night!
So, on one of those days when Reuben was coming up to 4 weeks old and refusing to go to sleep despite being desperate for it and all the tricks had been tried, I did it. I tried him with a dummy. I received a dummy via a giveaway on the Nuby Facebook page and thought I may as well try it. It certainly soothed him then, he was being held by his Grandad, but I find he doesn’t like it much when I’m doing it (he knows I’ve got the real deal) and he needs help to keep it in his mouth otherwise he spits it out.
There’s 2 schools of thought when it comes to dummies…the health visitor one which is dummies help the baby regulate their breath and so prevent cot death, and the baby expert (such as Gina Ford) one who say if your baby gets dependent on a dummy for sleep they’re going to need it every time they wake so say goodbye to having a full night’s sleep.
At the moment Reuben is full of snot at night so I’m having to feed/see to him most hours, sometimes for hours at a time; therefore, the thought of only having to get up to pop a dummy in his mouth sounds heavenly! But, I know I’ll be cursing myself in months to come.
The other alternative is to teach him to self-settle. I’ve done this a few times with limited success. I decided to try after reading a sleep book from my pal and mama of 2, Ania, during an all-nighter with the Reubster. The book, Save Our Sleep: Helping your baby to sleep through the night, from birth to two years, is all about getting your baby into a routine so it is content and you get sleep. Aside for being more regimented than the army, it stipulates that once you have fed, winded and changed your baby, you put your baby down awake for each nap so they can self-settle. It gives a reassuring step-by-step guide to how to do this including the certain cry you can listen out for. This is their protest cry, meaning they are fighting sleep/annoyed that you put them down so you are safe to ignore this and they will soon go to sleep. If the cry is continuous and doesn’t change in pitch then you should see to your baby as they are probably still hungry or need winding some more.
So, I tried this a few times, all the while crying myself, and it did work but I felt like a terrible person, which was confirmed by some of my loved ones. So, I gave up and have reverted to being trapped under my lovely baby while he feeds himself to sleep…which I don’t mind too much as I get lots of cuddles and get to watch back-to-back romcoms on the movie channel. However, this is going to get old when the washing stacks up and my bum starts to resemble the sofa…what should I do to get a bit of my day back?!