That inevitable question, no matter where I am. The supermarket, my old work place, out with family, at a baby group.. “Oh he’s gorgeous! Does he sleep through yet?”
Here is a post I wrote when Baby Button was six months old, part of a series where I get into our sleeping patterns — or rather, lack of…
Hearing other Mums at playgroup talk about their babies sleeping through always makes me ache for the sleep I’m missing. Some days all I hear is how babies are sleeping through and how they’ve been sleeping for eight, nine, ten hours since they were mere weeks old. Me? I haven’t had a full nights sleep since I had Baby Button. It’s only recently he’ll go back down some days, meaning I get to stay in bed later than 5am.
Baby Button is six months old and wakes four times on a great night, and sometimes close to ten times on a not-so-great night. People stare at me when I tell them this, and offer advice from gadgets and gizmos like Ollie the Owl, to old wives tales — even sleep training which is often the ‘cry it out’ method. I can’t listen to my son crying, I don’t have the heart for it nor the will of steel. So the only other option is to… Well, to put it plainly, ‘suck it up Buttercup!’.
I’ve tried everything — some against my better judgement, but I tried it. Some things I won’t try, because it makes me uncomfortable, but here’s some of the worst advice I’ve had for trying to get my baby to sleep through:
“A rusk in his night time bottle! Just grind it into a powder and then add it to the milk!”
Have you ever tried attempting to get a rusk into powder form? Or even worse, a sugar free rusk? It’s nigh on impossible and you can never get all the lumps out, meaning you still get a teat that’s gross and full of soggy rusk.
Not to mention the choking risk.
This advice is something people will throw at you, but it really isn’t recommended this day and age — and it didn’t work for us anyway. This is in the same vein as “give him water to fill his belly before bed”. Useless information which isn’t helpful, but it’s something you’ll hear over and over again.
“We have the latest [sleep gadget here].”
I already mentioned our Ollie the Owl, he’s one of a whole range of sleeping aids for children. Ollie is a firm favourite of BB. Not because Ollie aids his sleep particularly, but because he’s comforting — he has been secured to the cot since BB was weeks old, so I guess familiarity means that he seeks comfort with Ollie.
I often wake in the morning to hear him babbling away to the Owl, or poking him in his face. Cute, but no. He didn’t help us with our sleep.
“Don’t let him nap in an afternoon!”
Worst. Advice. Ever.
If he doesn’t have an afternoon nap, he literally enters shut down mode at 6pm and then wakes at 7.30pm refreshed and ready for a good few hours play. Even if he has half an hour on an afternoon, his little body takes that as a nap and when he does settle for the night he will wake a few hours later and go straight back down after a breast feed.
“I sleep with baby in bed with me.”
I haven’t ever been a fan of this for a few reasons.
The first is I move around a lot in bed, I wouldn’t want to roll over onto BB or to wake him when I move.
Second, I know a family friend who coslept with her daughter, and the daughter didn’t sleep on her own until she was almost eight. That’s eight years of sharing a bed with a wriggly child, and it terrified me — I elbow Mike on the best of nights if he’s snoring or wriggly, so it wouldn’t go well.
He sleeps in his own cot, in our room. That will change when we move into our new home where he’ll have his own room, but for now this is a good compromise.
“Just let him cry himself to sleep.”
No no NO. This just isn’t me. I know it’s worked for some of the ladies who I used to go to playgroups with, but my justification for not doing it is they’ve gone back to work so had to do it. Me? I’m blessed enough that my job is to stay home with BB, so really.. My job has night shifts and I’m okay with that. It’s not ideal, but I’d rather get up a few times a night than spend some time listening to my baby cry for me.
“Try my sleep coaching program! It’s only £70!”
Yeah, I’m a stay at home Mum.
I can’t afford that.
To be honest, I find people who post advertisements for sleep coaching on my sleep deprived tweets or blog posts irritating — it’s almost as if they’re taking advantage of Mums stuck at a vulnerable point in motherhood and it doesn’t quite sit right with me.
So there you have it, the worst advice I’ve had for trying to get a full nights sleep. I’m going to be sharing a lot more about our sleeping (or lack of..), so any advice or tips are very welcome!