How We Managed To Get Our Baby To Sleep
Right from the start our 18 month old baby daughter had always been a terrible sleeper. She had woken constantly through the night since birth and even at the age of 15months was waking a couple of times through the night and giving us a real hard time when it came to putting her down to sleep.
We accepted that from about the age of 10months on, a lot of the reasons for her waking through the night were due to teething pains, and of course there has been the odd cold and fever here and there.
Just When We Thought We Could Get Our Baby to Sleep...
We thought we had cracked getting her down to sleep when she was about 15months old. We would have her say goodnight and then she would walk into her own room, we would put her into her cot, kiss and cuddle her goodnight and then walk out and leave her to put herself to sleep. Of course she was still waking in the night, but because she was putting herself to sleep in the first place, she was getting herself back to sleep a lot quicker in the middle of the night once we had gone in and reassured her.
After about 5 weeks of this (we thought we were doing so well!) she came down with a really bad cold which threw her out of routine. Because she couldn't breathe properly, she wanted a lot of cuddles, back patting and singing to get her to sleep. Even when she appeared to be asleep and we could slip out of the room, her sixth sense would kick in and somehow she knew we weren't there - she would wake up crying and the whole process would start again!!
She soon recovered from her cold, however there was no immediate return to her sleep routine unfortunately. As much as we tried, she would have the biggest tantrums if we were to leave the room before she was well asleep. After about a month (we think we were quite patient!) of having to sit in her room whilst she took up to an hour to fall asleep, we decided enough was enough.
Controlled Crying .. or Not!
So we tried controlled crying:. This resulted in her screaming so much that she would end up vomiting and her entire bed would have to be stripped and remade : not a good result - so we soon gave up on that!
Our Own Method To Get Baby To Sleep
Ever so slowly, over a couple of weeks, we managed by sheer chance, to find a method that eventually worked. After saying her goodnights, whoever put her into bed would give her a quick kiss and cuddle, tell her to roll over and close her eyes (at this age it is lucky that they are learning and understanding words so quickly) and would immediately stand at the end of her cot - eliminating the back rubbing and patting. Every time she rolled over, she was told to lie back down, roll over and close her eyes. She eventually understood things, but was still taking a good 40 minutes of us standing at the end of her cot before she would fall asleep. After a few days we would move from the end of the cot, to a little closer to her door, where she couldn't see us. This involved her getting up repeatedly and looking over her cot for us, only to be told to lie back down, roll over and close her eyes. Eventually, after a few more days of doing this, we would put her down and then immediately walk over to her bedroom door and stand in the doorway - repeating the same processes that we had already done.
After about a week and a half we managed to walk away from the door, but everytime she started her grizzling we would quickly run back (before she got herself too worked up) to stand outside her door, tell her to lie down, roll over and close her eyes and just shoosh her for a few minutes.
It only seem to take us about two weeks and she finally returned to her pattern of being able to put herself to sleep again. What a relief - we could reclaim some of our evening together!!!
Our daughter is now 19months old, and we are happy to say she has been fantastic for about the last 6 weeks. (Touchwood!) She says goodnight and then we put her to bed, give her a kiss and a cuddle, and after a lot of delightful talking to her teddies and song singing from the room she falls asleep on her own - and most of the time now sleeps right through to about 5.30am when she wants a bottle, and then for another couple of hours or so - Bliss!
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