Neiko's sleep and what I've done differently
I will preface this with, we have just hit the four month sleep regression over this way (oh my f*cking god, I forgot how hard this was). So, please take this blog with a grain of salt as thing’s sleep wise have done a 180 and my beautiful, sweet, little darling boy is waking every 1.5 hours from the time he goes down for the night until the moment he wakes for the day!
I think I’m finding these wake ups so hard because he was such a good sleeper before this stage, and I shared that with you. Because of that, you asked and were interested to know what kind of routine I was following. Now, when it comes to anything with my kids, I don’t follow a routine, I go with the flow and let my babes lead the way. We do have structure, but not routine. The reason being, is as a first time mother I let the expectations that I had formed from outside opinions and focusing on what others peoples babies were achieving effect me and Alina. I tried routine, I tried every bloody thing under the sun to get her to sleep through or at least get to a point where she wouldn’t wake 12 times a night! I felt inadequate and like a failure and I just want you to know that I still haven’t got this figured out with Neiko. But, I do believe that by doing a few things differently this time, he does sleep better for it!
Alina as a baby wouldn’t sleep for any of her naps or during the night unless I was breastfeeding her, bouncing around the room rhythmically, and if I dare put her down in her bassinet before the sleep feed dance ritual had put her into deep slumber, she would be wide awake and it’d have to start all over again! I actually swear that is how I spent a majority of her first year and is how I got so fit haha. Why am I sharing this with you? because I want you to know that we all do our best, with what we know! In my opinion there is no right or wrong way to give our child the best, and we really do go to the ends of the earth to do so. When it came to my journey with Alina and her sleep, I was severely sleep deprived and it took me to a very dark place. It took away a lot of the enjoyment of what should have been a beautiful first year and a half and made my motherhood journey feel like something I needed to just get through. When it came to Neiko, I knew a little more and was more confident in my ability to set up somewhat of a healthy sleep structure!
When Neiko was born I was determined to ensure I didn’t set up any ‘negative’ sleep associations. This means, not letting baby depend on certain things to get off to sleep… Things like feeding to sleep, rocking, a dummy etc. Because, when they wake from one sleep cycle to go into the other they need that sleep association to help them get back to sleep.
You’d know that I do use a dummy for Neiko and I was comfortable to use that as personally, I am happy to wean him off of it eventually. He does, I think, use it to get off to sleep as well as comfort but it’s not causing us any issues and when he does wake, it’s not because he’s spat it out and is searching for it, it’s because he needs a feed. Once he spits it, he’ll stay asleep.
Below are the things I have done since birth and I do think it’s helped;
Feeding once he wakes, not feeding to sleep. For example, sleep, feed, play/tummy time, dummy, cuddle, place in bassinet sleepy and he’ll drift off or sometimes I’ll just cuddle him to sleep because it’s my favourite. Don’t EVER feel guilty for cuddling or rocking your baby to sleep, if you’re loving it! If it’s causing you frustration and you can’t get bubs off to sleep any other way, don’t ever feel guilty for reaching out for help or trying some form of sleep training. There are some great sleep consultants out there from what I’ve heard. There is help :)
I aim to only let him have between 1hr to 1hr 45min awake time, any longer than this I notice he gets over tired and it’s harder to get him off to sleep.
He has all of his naps and night sleeps in Love to Dream sleep suits
He was having his day naps downstairs in the Dockatot but as he’s gotten older he naps longer in my room in his bassinet where he has his night sleeps where it’s darker and I have blockout curtains
If I’m out, as long as I stick to my awake time rule he’ll nap anywhere! So sometimes I time that with a car ride so he can nap in his capsule or whilst we’re at the shops etc
At night always around 6.45pm (this is the only routine we have) he has a bath, I have a salt lamp in my bedroom that I put on the dimmest setting and have lights off, I give him a little massage, put his nappy on and dress him, offer him a feed but don’t let him fall asleep on the boob. We instead have a cuddle and he’ll drift off to sleep and i’ll place him in his bassinet. Once he goes down for the night I usually wouldn’t hear from him until 1am, again at 3am (sometimes he’d skip that wake up) and then again at 6am for a feed, sometimes he’d drift off again until 8am!
So, there you have it. Hopefully you found a few things helpful! I honestly am more relaxed the second time around because even on the hard nights and especially at the moment with the sleep regression we’re in the thick of. I know from my experience with Alina that this won’t last forever, it does pass. It’s still hard but it won’t always be this hard. And again, I want to emphasise how important it is to look after ourselves and not concern ourselves with what others are doing or are saying we should do! If you need help, ask for it! There is no right or wrong and you are doing an excellent job!
Lots of love,