V. is four months old this week and she has, for the past couple of weeks, been sleeping through the night more or less from 7pm to 6.30am. The looks of surprise I get from other people, makes me think this is a rare occurrence. Here’s how we did it.
It all started when we realised that V. was growing out of the Moses basket we bought in June. She was getting ready to bust her arms and legs through the reed sides of the basket like some tiny pink Hulk.
We had a cotbed ready for her but it was never going to fit in our bedroom, so a move out of the Moses basket also meant a move into the nursery. So we thought we may as well bring sleep training into the mix as well and try it in one go.
We had already dipped into the several books on baby sleeping and the one we’ve ended up following (mostly) is Alison Scot-Wright’s The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan.
That’s the first time I have directly named a product. It’s not an endorsement because it may not work for your baby. But I thought it was important to give you the opportunity to judge the process we’re following for yourselves. We’re not following Scot-Wright’s suggestions to the letter. Like issues of breastfeeding, reusable nappies and baby-led weaning, sleep training has devotees in every corner. Don’t listen to them. Take every miracle solution offered with a pinch of salt and try it out for yourselves.
Time and time again, when it comes to raising babies, I think of the Bruce Lee quote “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is useless, and add that which is essential that is your own”.
Back to the sleep training. As I understand Scot-Wright’s basic approach, you put the baby down for regular naps during the day, regardless of how much the baby cries. Same goes for the evening, after bath and final feeding of the night. The parents are allowed back into the room time and time again to comfort the baby should the crying/screaming get too much. But you then have to vacate the baby’s room to allow her learn this skill of putting herself to sleep.
So far, it’s been working well. There are still some much disrupted evenings and daytime naps. And it is hard to say goodbye to her for a full 10 or 12 hours. But she seems happier getting all the sleep.