Helping Your Baby Sleep

When Chloe turned 9 months old, I reached my threshold of sleepless nights. I’d hit breaking point and knew that something needed to be done to help Chloe sleep through the night. No more ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’, I was at the end of my tether, beyond exhausted, and looking at life through bleary-tired-eyes. And If I was tired, it most certainly meant my little angel was tired too. Enough was enough, this mama was on a mission.

Before I continue, I must preface this post with saying that every-baby-is-different and so is every mother. What has worked for me may or may not work for you and your baby/infant. Full disclaimer – I am not a certified sleep coach or claiming to be a sleep expert – this post is based entirely on my research and experience as a full-time mama to one baby girl who has no health concerns, feeding issues or, that I’m aware of, food allergies/sensitivities – all important factors in establishing healthy sleeping patterns (if you are worried about any of these things, please consult your doctor); so it may not be exactly your situation but I hope to share with you enough details and references that you’ll still get some tips, and hopefully, some more sleep!

There’s loads of information in this post, so grab a cuppa, take your time reading through it all, and from one mama to another – trust that you know what’s best for you and your bubba, and that you too shall have a baby who sleeps :)

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The Beginning

When Chloe was 4 weeks old I bought her the Cocoonababy mattress and was stoked that it fit perfectly in the gorgeous vintage bassinet my mum gave me. I had read some very positive reviews on it and thought it may help Chloe begin to do some longer stretches of sleep. It worked like a dream, and from week 4-13 Chloe slept from 10pm-5am, woke for a feed, and then slept again until roughly 8am. Now this didn’t happen every single night, but at least 5 nights a week.

I was thinking…I’ve hit the jackpot! Woo hoo! I couldn’t believe I had a newborn who was ‘sleeping through the night’. The definition of a baby sleeping through the night by the way, is a stretch of 5 consecutive hours without waking, so the fact Chloe had an extra 2 hours on top of that was pretty awesome. I was definitely feeling chuffed and very relieved.

However…

When Chloe was just over 3 months old, she had a growth spurt that really messed up her sleeping rhythm, and this coincided with me slowly bringing her bedtime back earlier. All of a sudden she started waking a few times a night, every night. It dropped back to 1-2 times a night a couple of weeks later, but Chloe was beginning to show signs of feeling restricted in the Cocoonababy (and wouldn’t sleep well with the normal bassinet mattress I had even though it gave her more space), so I knew the next hurdle wasn’t far away…transitioning her into her nursery and cot.

I felt quite emotional about doing this as I really loved having her beside my bed, and even adored hearing her funny little noises, but she was definitely ready for her big girls bed. So, when she was 4.5 months old I ‘trialled’ her in her room and cot for a night. By 11pm she was back in my room, lol. Mainly because I was having separation anxiety!

I decided to slowly get her used to her new environment by putting her down in her cot for daytime naps. By the time she was 5.5 months old she was sleeping in her cot full-time, but it was no easy feat. It was around this time she began to have the dreaded ‘4 month sleep regression’, and this lasted 6 weeks! After the first night of Chloe sleeping in her room, I put our spare mattress beside her cot so I could help her feel secure, and so I was close to her for the several night wakings (up to 9) that were occurring.

I ended up spending 7 nights sleeping in her room, and it took 10 nights for Chloe to adjust to her new night-time environment. The several night wakings finally subsided, but she continued to wake a couple of times per night (more when teething) for feeds until I sleep trained her at 9 months 7 weeks ago. That’s 6 months straight of broken sleep. And these wake ups weren’t just for comfort or because she just didn’t know how to fall back to sleep on her own, she was HUNGRY. More on this later…

I know some of you are probably reading this thinking how lucky I am for mostly only having a couple of night wakings per night (which is considered normal for lots of babies at this age), but it’s the broken sleep that’s so disruptive to our hormones and mood, and a lot of the time I couldn’t fall straight back to sleep (this really contributed to my exhaustion). I honestly don’t know how I would have coped if she woke several times a night for months on end. To the mamas who have or currently are experiencing this, you are a warrior and an amazing mother for enduring this kind of sleep deprivation.

And that’s kinda what it feels like, doesn’t it? Like you have to endure it because you love your baby and this is just how it is – what you’ve been given. However, if the broken sleep is affecting you and your baby – which it undoubtably would be – you really don’t have to endure it, mama, there’s solutions out there and answers to why she is crying.

It’s true that sleep training pulls on your heart strings if you decide to do some form of controlled crying, but from what I’ve experienced it most definitely works (and quickly) and the difference to your wellbeing and your bubba’s wellbeing will have you walking on cloud nine. A friend of mine’s daughter woke up to 20 times a night before she decided to sleep train her at 7 months old, and thank god she did! She was not loving life – how could she? Her little one is now two and has been a 12 hour sleeper ever since (she used and 100% advocates The Sleep Sense Program).

And The Research Begins

I began reading about baby and infant sleep when Chloe was around 3 months old. My cousin gave me her old copy of Dr Marc Weissbluth’s book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, which was a great starting point to learn the science behind baby sleep. Weissbluth is considered one of the world’s leading authorities in sleep training along with Dr Richard Ferber and Dr William Dement. I was looking for a more easy-to-follow routine however (which may be in the most recent edition of his book), so started looking into some online programs.

I downloaded two different programs and thought they both had some great advice and tips that I definitely took on board, but I wasn’t 100% on either of the routines. I was a bit disappointed with one of them in particular, as I found the routine quite unrealistic for the age Chloe was at, and far too generic (this is why you need to do your research or hire a sleep coach for a more personalised approach).

Both programs had similar ‘resettling’ methods which is to stay in the room beside the cot to help your baby feel secure and do things such as shushing and rubbing your baby’s back until she eventually falls asleep…and this could take as long as an hour or more.

I thought I’d test this resettling method. I lasted less than 2 minutes.

It must obviously work for some mothers and babies as I’ve read about this resettling method a few times, but for Chloe and myself it was a definite NO. This was because I found it made Chloe more distressed and very confused having me there but not picking her up and putting her on my boob (which is what she was used to), and to be honest, it just really didn’t suit me. I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting in her nursery and patting and shushing her for minutes on end whilst she cried and screamed. I literally had knots in my stomach.

For the next few months I just continued on the way it was as I told myself a couple of night wakings really wasn’t that bad, and I really didn’t want to go through hearing my baby scream. Because I was already so tired, it just seemed easier to pop her on my boob so I could get us both back to sleep, rather than potentially taking far longer trying some new approach (can you relate?).

The reality, however, was that I was completely exhausted and running my immune system into the ground (why hello there adrenal burnout). I was moody, flat, unenergised, and upset that I was too tired to go to the gym a lot of the time which is a big deal for me as health & fitness are in my top values. Being so sleep deprived was also affecting my relationship with my fiancé because let’s face it, when you’re tired and cranky, you ‘ain’t exactly showing up as your best self. I was still loving motherhood and of course my beautiful baby girl, but I wasn’t loving how I was feeling, and often felt very lonely and stuck in my head. It’s so hard when you’re feeling utterly shattered to be present and not focus on the fact you’re so freaking tired! That feeling of exhaustion can really hang over you like a dark cloud. I can see how it would be totally possible for some mothers to get mis-diagnosed as having post-natal depression, when really all they may need to solve their low mood is some good ol’ fashioned SLEEP.

It’s important to note though that PND is real and common, and most definitely should be talked about. If you feel you may be suffering from this, please reach out for help.

I continued my research and what kept popping up was the term ‘sleep association’. I had known for a while now that feeding Chloe to sleep (she was always a little bit awake when I’d transfer her from the rocking chair to her cot) was considered a negative association, even though I found the very act of it rather positive. In fact, it wasn’t really an issue for me…until it became an issue.

Breaking Point

When Chloe was 8 months old, she suddenly started doing really long feeds at bedtime – sometimes up to one hour. And then she would wake anywhere between 1-3 times in the first hour of going down. This became extremely exhausting because it was only me she wanted, even if I expressed some milk for Gav to give to her, it would never be enough.

This is when her feed to sleep association started to become an issue. I was so over the moon when she reached that stage of going to bed early (Chloe goes to sleep around 6.30pm) as it meant Gav and I could have some alone time together, so when she started waking up sometimes multiple times within the first hour, it was disappointing and tiring. And if I was tired, it most certainly meant Chloe was tired!

This was when I knew something had to be done. I felt mentally ready to give sleep ‘training’ (I prefer sleep ‘encouraging’!) a red hot go.

The first thing I did was order two books from Book Depository that I had been interested in reading for a while, and they were Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Dr Richard Ferber and The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley – two very different approaches. I really wanted to purchase Pinky McKay’s bundle Sleeping Like A Baby & The Truth About Infant Sleep (one is a book and the other an audio where Pantley is one of her featured experts ) but the book was out of stock. FYI – if you’re only interested in gentle sleep solutions that do not use controlled crying or cry it out methods, Pinky McKay is a great resource.

Since these books were being shipped from the UK, it took nearly 2 weeks for them to arrive. I was getting desperate in the meantime, so decided to have a phone consultation with one of the Caroline’s Angels. I’d heard great things about them and thought a phone consult was a good place to start before considering spending the big bucks on a home visit. Both of the angels are midwives and one of them is a child health nurse too, so they are very knowledgeable and experienced.

Caroline Radford was lovely – so supportive and generous in the information and time she shared with me over the phone. We discussed Chloe’s feed to sleep association and she confirmed what I already knew, and then talked me through a slightly different feeding schedule to try. Most of the feeds I did with Chloe were done in her nursery and rocking chair right before I’d put her down, so one of Caroline’s suggestions was to do these feeds out of that environment to eventually break the association, and then put Chloe down still awake after finishing her nap and bedtime routine.

She also was in favour of resettling in the nursery until baby falls asleep (and suggested step-by-step actions to take and what to do if Chloe gets too emotional), so I thought I’d give it another bash and was quickly reminded of why it doesn’t work for us.

Something that Caroline told me really helped me understand the whole hunger thing at night. She explained that the reason Chloe is taking in a substantial amount of milk during these wake ups, is because she is saving part of her nutritional requirement for these feeds as that’s what her body is used to. Just like your body gets used to having breakfast and lunch. This made so much sense to me! So my aim was to slowly encourage her to take in more milk throughout the day.

The schedule Caroline gave me was helpful but I found feeding Chloe out of her nursery and chair made her think it was playtime, so she’d get distracted and not take in as much milk. I probably didn’t try it for long enough (10 days is generally the timeframe suggested for changes in routine), but in the end I didn’t have to because what I tried next was the answer.

Our Solution

Like a stroke of fate, literally 2 hours after my phone consult with Caroline, one of the books I’d ordered arrived – Dr Ferber’s book. I was a bit disheartened as I really wanted to read The No-Cry Sleep Solution first as it sounded more up my alley, but I devoured Dr Ferber’s book in a matter of hours, and by Chloe’s bedtime that evening, had a very clear “Progressive-Waiting Approach” to try. Dr Ferber writes…

“The goal of this approach is to help your child learn a new and more appropriate set of associations with falling asleep so that when he wakes in the middle of the night he will find himself still in the same conditions that were present at bedtime, conditions that he already is used to falling asleep under. But to do this, you must first identify the pattern of associations that is currently interfering with his sleep (and yours) and which he must unlearn.”

This type of technique was familiar to me as I’d thought about trying a different variation of it by Midwife Cath (author of The First Six Weeks), but Dr Ferber’s approach and how he explained it, made me feel like this was an achievable solution.

The Progressive-Waiting Approach (PWA) is a 7 day process (unless it works sooner than this), where every night the length of time you leave your baby increases. For example, for day 1 Dr Ferber suggests first waiting 3 minutes (then briefly go in and check on her so she doesn’t feel abandoned), 5 minutes (go in again if still crying), 10 minutes and then every 10 minutes until she eventually falls asleep (still going in after each interval). Day 2 would be 5-10-12 and then every 12 minutes etc. You follow it the same for naps.

I felt this length of time was too long for us, so on the first night began with 1-3-5 and then every 5 minutes. I had my stopwatch with me, and at each interval went in and tried to sooth Chloe. I instinctually picked her most times (even though its advised not to), but never stayed longer than roughly 1 minute.

By the time we reached 5 minutes I was a sobbing mess and told Gav that I didn’t think I could go on anymore, but he kept telling me that is was a process and to just see what happens for a little while longer…he was my rock and I seriously doubt that I could have continued without him by my side.

We did two more rounds of 5 minutes and by the second round once we got up to 2 minutes her crying started to slow down. Gav said “see, it’s working, she’s crying less!”, but I was convinced she was going to start up again. She did for about 20 seconds, but then by 3 minutes she had completely stopped. Not one little peep out of her until her usual first wake up at 11.30pm!

So in total, it was only 17 minutes of crying. Not much at-all. Of course at the time it felt like eternity, especially as it was our first go at this approach, but I am almost positive that if I stuck to the resettling in the room method as described earlier, it would have taken much longer than 17 minutes and been far more stressful for both of us.

In full transparency, if she had cried for a minute longer I know for sure that I would have given in and waited to read Pantley’s book which arrived the following day. From what I’ve read so far it seems like her process may take longer, but hey, no crying! I’ll most likely follow her book and look into Pinky McKay’s book and resources for baby number 2, but there’s no denying that the PWA worked rather swiftly with Chloe, so we’ll see. One things for sure – the less crying, the better for everyone!

Chloe woke during the night as she usually would, and I still got up for her as it would be unkind to cut out her night feeds straight away. I wanted to do this process gradually, so I’d say it probably took around 10 nights in total for her to start sleeping 11-12 hours straight. I worked on dropping the early morning feed first, and have been dream feeding her ever since at 9.45-10pm. I find it hard some nights to stay up this late, but have found this to be the best time – any earlier and she tends to still wake early morning. So I’m honouring this for now, and will work on dropping the dream feed out in a few more weeks time.

These days, I can gratefully say that Chloe sleeps between 14-15 hours a day (insert happy dancing). She mostly sleeps from around 6.30pm to 6am (occasionally earlier ). Her first nap is 8.30am or 2.5-3 hours after she wakes, and her afternoon nap around 1.30-2pm. She sleeps anywhere from 1-2.5hrs for both naps, and LOVES her cot and ‘sleepy time’.

The above is Chloe’s delightful average, but I’d be lying if I said it was like this every-single-day. It’s not. She’s not a robot, just like adults are not. I’ve never had the expectation that once Chloe was sleeping 11-12 hours straight, it would mean she’d be a perfect sleeper every night. I’m a realist and understand just as I’m sure you do, that things such as teething, illness, feeling too hot or cold, mastering a developmental milestone, digestive issues etc, can disrupt your baby’s sleep. As an example, when Chloe’s second top tooth started to cut through a few weeks ago, she began waking early morning. Because it was always an emotional sounding cry (like she was in pain), I got up for her and soothed her by putting her on my boob. This lasted for 4 days but she only woke in the early mornings, no other time, so I still got a good stretch of sleep. I 100% believe that if I hadn’t gone through the PWA process, she would have woken several times.

I do hear her let out a bit of a whingy cry some nights because she’s probably trying to get herself back to sleep after waking, but if I leave her she usually falls back to sleep within a couple of minutes. And if I’m unsure if she’s woken because she’s too hot or cold, I’ll quietly go into her room and check the temperature. On those mornings she decides to wake early (around 5.15am), I will give her a 10 minute feed with the lights still off and put her back down. Because I don’t want to mess up her sleeping schedule for the rest of the day, I’ll set my alarm for 6.30am at the latest. I rarely wake her when she naps though.

Sleep training your baby doesn’t have to be regimented and strict. You will need to be consistent at the beginning whilst you’re encouraging her to fall asleep on her own with no props (i.e. boob or bottle, dummy, rocking, singing etc) so it doesn’t become confusing for her, but once the new pattern has been set, you can relax and still be nurturing when you know your baby needs you. This has been my experience at least.

I’m still curious to read Pinky McKay’s book and listen to her tele-seminar audio (The Truth About Infant Sleep) where she features leading sleep experts who all offer and advocate gentle ‘no tears’ practical strategies. I can see how long, extended periods of crying may cause adverse changes to a baby’s developing brain, and that is why I’d never let my baby cry it out or cry for long periods of time. Short intervals where you still go in and offer your love and give your baby security is much more gentle and nurturing. I think ‘cry it out’ is really outdated anyway. And from the research I’ve done, I’d personally only consider encouraging my baby to sleep through the night from 6 months on, and no earlier (I’ll briefly explain why later on, but there’s many opinions on this).

Keeping on with McKay’s beliefs, I know in her tele-seminar the experts also discuss new evidence around how “popular approaches to teaching your baby to sleep may have detrimental effects on parent-infant attachment (the basis for your baby’s emotional well-being); and may also negatively affect the normal physiology of breastfeeding, resulting in premature weaning.”

I have to admit that on the first night we tried the PWA, one of the thoughts I had running through my head was exactly the above, namely, parent-infant attachment. It may sound ridiculous, but I was truly worried that Chloe would be upset with me and that our relationship may change in some way. This wasn’t and hasn’t been the case at all. She’s always so happy to see me once she wakes, and there’s been absolutely no change in breastfeeding or any premature weaning signs, however it’s a good idea to keep this in mind.

I’m sorry if I sound like I’m contradicting myself a bit here! I know I’m swaying from one approach to the other. I guess I can only go off my experience and I’ve definitely witnessed success following Dr Ferber’s approach, but I’m also very much in favour of any approach that is gentle, nurturing and results in minimal crying. As the mother of your child, it will be up to you to discern the same thing for your situation. I just hope that by discussing two different techniques and giving you some references, it will give you a very clear direction to begin exploring.

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Naps

Chloe’s always been a relatively good napper. When she was really little, she would quite happily nap in the pram and car seat with no issues at all. When it got to the stage of transitioning Chloe into her nursery and cot, I slowly started to avoid nap times in the pram and car because I wanted her to get used to napping at home in her cot without motion. This took a few weeks.

Whilst I was doing a my researching, I read a lot about ‘wake times’ and how important it is to only have your baby awake for a certain amount of time depending on their age. This really helped me in establishing a successful nap routine for Chloe. I followed this guideline but also closely watched for her natural sleeping rhythm – when she’d naturally start to get sleepy.

I set the 8am morning nap time when Chloe was probably around 6 months old, as this was the time she always seemed ready to sleep. Until very recently, Chloe was always ready (even at nearly 11 months of age) to go back down 2 hours after she’d woken in the morning. Sometimes it would be 2.5 hours, but on average it was 2 hours. Only for the last week, has she been able to hold off 2.5-3 hours. Generally speaking, the first nap of the day should have the shortest wake time from the time your baby arises.

Chloe was on 3 naps a day until around 8-9 months old, and is now on 2 naps a day. The second nap time only became scheduled around the time of sleep encouraging her 6 weeks ago. Up until that time it was based on how many hours she had been awake for. It kind of still is depending on how long her morning nap is for, but I have found the average time to be around 1.30pm. Occasionally a bit later if she sleeps longer than 2 hours in the morning.

To give you an idea of how long your baby should be awake for depending on her age, check out this guide.

When I reached my breaking point when Chloe was 8 months old, her naps also became affected. Instead of being the usual 1-2 hours, they were starting to be more around the 30mins-1hr. This was just another example of what happens to an overtired bubba. Basically, the more your baby sleeps – the more she sleeps – and conversely, the less she sleeps – the less she sleeps.

The Importance Of A Bedtime Routine

This will be instrumental in helping your baby fall asleep. Having a specific routine that you always follow before naps and bedtime will become ‘sleep cues’ for your baby. You’ve no doubt heard about this and have some kind of routine set in place, but is it always exactly the same? Does your baby know what’s going to happen next? This is super important because after some repetition, your baby we begin to realise that this is what happens before she sleeps.

When I became really consistent with Chloe’s bedtime routine, I found it made a big difference in the length of time it took for her to go down. She now understands that it’s ‘sleepy time’ (this is the phrase I use), and most of the time obliges with minimal fuss.

To give you an idea of a routine, here is mine:

Bedtime…

  • 5pm – dinner
  • 5.30 – quiet playtime
  • 5.45pm – bathtime
  • 5.50pm – dry, massage (unless she’s too wiggly!), put pj’s on, rub lavender essential oil on soles of feet (I put a few drops in a roller bottle topped up with fractionated coconut oil)
  • 5.55pm – storytime
  • 6pm – dim lights, put sound machine on (I love this one that plays lullaby’s 15mins in length), breastfeed in rocking chair
  • 6.15-6.30pm – put Chloe in sleeping bag, place in cot awake, lights off, close door

Naps is basically the same; I will feed her breakfast or lunch, let her have some playtime in her room, and then follow it from storytime onwards.

Once again mamas, the above routine is Chloe’s delightful average, but it doesn’t always flow this way. Sometimes she’ll throw me a curveball and just NOT want to go down. There’s so many variables as to why this sometimes happens. When it does happen, I don’t always go back to the PWA (although it’s probably advised that you do to avoid confusion, but that’s easier said than done). I might try letting her play for a while longer to exert some more energy, read her some more books, or even pop her back on my boob for a few minutes (but I’ll always make sure she’s awake when I put her back down). Ever since those first 10 days of being quite strict with the PWA, I’ve found that I can deviate from it occasionally without it bringing us back to square one. Once she’s finally down, there’s generally no wake ups throughout the night. Worst case scenario is that she’ll wake around 5.15am.

A Bunch Of Tips +Tricks

  •  If you choose to do some form of controlled crying, there’s a couple of things I’d recommend doing to help your bubby feel more comfortable: 1. if it’s summer, make the room slightly cooler than normal as once she begins to get upset her body temperature will increase. 2. When you go in to sooth her briefly, have a cool wash cloth with you to wipe her face and remove any snot (I personally can’t stand the thought of my baby having snot running down her face)
  • It’s important to keep your baby’s wake time first thing in the morning at the same time, especially as you begin sleep training her. If you let her sleep in after a very wakeful night, it will throw out the rest of the days schedule and her circadian rhythm.
  • Please make sure you’ve ruled out any underlying health concerns with your baby and also yourself. Infant health and parent mental and physical health are all important factors that influence healthy infant sleep.
  • Midwife Cath who has been a Midwife and Child Health Nurse for over 30 years, recommends waiting until your baby is at least 6 months old OR over 8kg in weight before dropping night feeds. This is because your baby needs to feed up until this point, but only if she wakes – you don’t need to wake her if she’s happily asleep unless your doctor has advised you otherwise.
  • If you can, make sure you have someone with you the first few times you do something like the PWA. You will need the support!
  • If your baby has a feed to sleep association, it is generally advised to change the feeding schedule so it’s away from naps. So you’d feed your baby once she wakes rather than before sleep (with the exception of bedtime). I kind of wish I stuck to this in all honesty, as I know I’m going to have an uphill battle when the time comes for weaning. If you’re happy to let your baby self-wean, and you’re having success (like I have) with allowing your bub to feed before sleep without her waking up throughout the night and needing you to get back to sleep, then it shouldn’t matter.
  • A lot of mums find that their baby begins to sleep much better after the introduction of solids. I did find this to a certain degree, but it certainly wasn’t the answer. One things for sure – you definitely don’t want your baby going to sleep hungry.
  • Pretty much everything you read on this subject will discuss how important the ‘sleep environment’ is. This includes knowing what you should be dressing your baby in depending on the temperature, and things such as keeping the room as dark as possible to help with melatonin production, and using a white noise sound machine. Even though we have blackout blinds in Chloe’s nursery, a lot of light was peeping out the top. I found Gro Anywhere Blinds in Baby Bunting, which are blackout blinds you can stick on glass windows. It worked a treat for us, and you can travel with them too.
  • At about 9-10 months of age, a baby’s sleep periods consolidate so that she wakes up and goes to sleep at around the same times every day, and her sleep spans are longer. So never fear if your baby is younger than this age and not doing this already…it will happen!
  • It can be confusing trying to decide whether to start working on night-time sleep or naps. I’d recommend beginning with night-time, but good naps mean better night-time sleep, and better night-time sleep means better naps, so you can’t go wrong either way.
  • Dr Ferber says that excessive night-time feedings are a major cause of sleep disturbances. In his research, he has found that once your baby is 3 months old, she should not require more than one feed during the night (in addition to a feed at bedtime), and that last night-time feed will probably be given up over the next month or two (which is about a month off from what Midwife Cath believes). He goes on to say in his book that “excessive night-time feedings and the extra nutrients ingested at night will stimulate your child’s digestive system, which should ordinarily be relatively inactive during the night. The process of metabolising those nutrients will alter patterns of functioning in other body systems; it will trigger or inhibit the release of many different hormones and it will raise the body temperature, which is normally low at night. The overall result is that many important biological rhythms that are closely tied to the ability to sleep are disrupted.” Makes sense, huh?
  • Because babies like sucking for comfort, something you can use as an alternative to the breast of dummy, is a small muslin ‘blankie’. If Chloe starts to protest when I place her in the cot, I’ll put the blankie in there so she can suck and play with it for comfort. She’ll often fall asleep holding it in her hand or it will be underneath her. Muslins are very breathable and safe, however I always go into her room once she’s asleep and remove it if I’m able to without disturbing her. Once she turns one, I’ll feel more comfortable about leaving it in there (the recommendation is that your baby sleeps with no toys or blankets in her cot until 12 months).
  • When your baby lets out a sound when she’s sleeping, never get up for her straight away! It’s very normal for babies to makes noises when they’re sleeping. Always wait at least a minute or more if you can.

Final Thoughts…

I really hope this post has given you some tips + guidance, or at the very least, some support. At the end of the day, mama, it will be up to you (and your partner) to determine the best way forward based on your beliefs and lifestyle. I don’t think that mothers should be judged for sleep ‘training’ their baby. A lot of mums work part-time or full-time and have other children to care for, so getting their baby in a healthy sleep routine is paramount to everyone’s wellbeing. In fact, whether a full-time mama or working full-time, decent sleep is 100% important for your wellbeing and sanity. And it’s definitely the truth that…

If you’re happy, everyone else is happy!

As you’ve probably guessed from this epic post, I’ve become rather interested in this topic! So much so, I’m considering getting certified in this area so I can help more mothers professionally, and combine my skills as a certified CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Beautiful You Life Coach, and Personal Trainer (specialising in pre & post natal fitness). I feel so passionate about being a mother and supporting other mothers, and I’m so excited about taking my coaching business in this direction.

In the meantime, I am creating a Mama Radiance package to support and guide you into feeling confident, healthy, and fit. I will combine my knowledge and expertise on postpartum fitness, nutrition and self-care to help you glow from the inside out. Being a mother is a gift in some many ways it blows my mind, but there’s no denying that it’s also extremely tiring, overwhelming and completely consuming – so much so, you often don’t have time for yourself (or know how to create the time). This package will include 2 x 60 minute Skype sessions with me, exercise routines you can do at home, nutritional guidance and 6 weeks of unlimited email support for a very reasonable price. Stay tuned!

And before I wrap up this post, I’ve created a  free Cheat Sheet where I’ve documented my top points from this blog post, including all the important links. All you need to do is click on this link to download it, and you’ll also be the first to know when my Mama Radiance package becomes available (I have limited spaces so it will be first in, first served!).

I’d absolutely love to hear from you! Have you sleep trained your baby? What approach did you use and did it work? Leave your comments below.

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