Before Faith came into this world, several friends who are mothers have warned me, “Treasure your last few months of sleep because once the baby comes out, you would not have such a luxury.”
That prophesy came true and I believe many mothers suffer the same fate (do I see nodding heads?). However, by the end of the second month, the status update was:
1) Faith slept in her own room = no co-sleeping (this has been so from day 1).
2) Faith could sleep through the night from 8+pm to 5am (first feed). After her feed, she would continue sleeping until 7am.
Our initial plan was to shift Faith’s cot into our room after the confinement lady left. However, that didn’t happen because we realised that the cot was too big to go through the door and we were too lazy to dismantle it so, due to our laziness, Faith remained in her room (which turns out to be a blessing!).
I turned to some literature (yes, definitely Gina Ford) in sleep-training Faith but I find the points made in Bringing up Bebe particularly insightful. I wrote a review on this book in a previous post and I’m listing the stuff I do to get Faith to sleep through the night.
1) Differentiating day and night. When Faith wakes up at around 7am, I make sure the windows are opened and would carry her near them and tell her that it is morning. I do this EVERY DAY. In the evening, the hubs and I would dim the lights and ensure that the environment is quiet.
2) Get Faith in the mood to sleep. There is a ritual that I follow quite religiously e.g. cleaning her, singing to her, etc. I’m sure most parents do that.
3) Talk to Faith about bedtime. I believe babies have the ability to understand even at this young age. When I put Faith in the cot, I told her it is bedtime and then leaves the room. She would still play by herself but eventually goes to sleep on her own (note: this does not work all the time).
4) Give her the boobs. Works most of the time, especially when she is really tired.
5) Do “The Pause”. I believe this is the one method that got Faith sleep through the night. Initially, every little sound that Faith made, I would rush into her room and pick her up. However after reading the book, I have learnt to pause.
According to the book, the key to sleeping for longer stretches is for the baby to learn how to connect his sleep cycles on his own. Babies often cry when they’re learning to do so. They can make a noise like an angry frog and yet still be asleep. So from the time the baby is a few weeks old, pause a bit when he cries at night. By rushing in to pick him up, we are not giving the baby a chance to develop the skill of plunging into the next sleep cycle on his own. In fact, the baby will think he needs you to put him back to sleep.
Do note that this is different from letting the baby cry it out. This would take about five minutes or so. If after these few minutes, he’s still crying, it could be that he needs something and that’s when you pick him up.
This gentle sleep-teaching method of The Pause works best in the baby’s first four months.
This method works on Faith and the hubs and I could have our rest. Of course, all babies are different and unique and if all else fails, a little prayer won’t hurt. 🙂
How do you sleep-train your child?