Amaya used to sleep well, then I cuddled her too much and that resulted in her wanting to sleep on me and ONLY on me. I didn’t get much sleep because of this. I would cuddle her to sleep then put her in her cot and she would wake up…and we started again from square one. There were nights where I was going to sleep for the first time at 3am. I wasn’t coping and I was so emotional. I knew we couldn’t go on like this, so I reached out to mother’s on social media. I gathered information from an array of woman and implemented what I thought would work best for us. Honestly, these women saved me. They saved my sleep, which meant they saved my sanity. Anyone that has ever had trouble sleeping or a baby will know how much sleep deprivation affects ever aspect of your life. I was miserable – the most miserable I had ever been in my life. I am writing this in hope that it will help another sleepless Mother who is at their wits end…
Amaya used to go to bed at 9:30pm, she would not go to sleep before that. This meant that I had to do her bottles etc. after 9:30pm. I wanted to get her into a better sleep routine not only for myself, but for her. Growing brains and bodies need their rest.When I found out how many hours a baby of her age was meant to be sleeping, it broke my heart. I felt like a failure. We decided that we would do ‘control crying’. I got many comments like “Oh I could never do that, that is so mean” or people would just give me a look. I wasn’t bothered, especially when Amaya started sleeping 12 hours straight a night. I knew that I was doing what was best for our family. Sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind. I wanted Amaya to be able to self settle for when she attends daycare or is being looked after by someone other than myself or Teina.
Teina asked me to pick a bedtime for Amaya, I went with 6:30pm. So, that night, we put Amaya in her cot at 6:30pm and I had to go outside (because I couldn’t listen to her cry). She cried for 1.5 hours before falling asleep. Amaya had a dummy, but never had it in her cot as she would spit it out and I wasn’t playing that game. So we broke two habits, at once – without even realising it. Each night she would cry for less time, it was very difficult for me to keep going – but I persevered. I found that she would get tired from crying and would sleep right through the night. I would go into her room every 10 minutes to pat her, but never picked her up. Sometimes she would get more upset when I would go in there, so I eventually stopped. One week exactly, it took before Amaya didn’t cry when we put her in her cot. I attended a sleep seminar that was held at my work, a few weeks later, just because I wanted to learn more and to find out if I was doing the right thing. The pediatrician who specialises in sleep, told us that all sleep training is control crying, just sometimes called different things. He told us that your child will not suffer any psychological damage from control crying, if they come from a loving home. I felt even more confident in our decision. Now Amaya sleeps from 6:15pm – 6:15am. She does not wake at all through the night. If she does, she goes back to sleep on her own.
When we were doing the sleep training in the beginning, if she did wake through the night, I would go in and pat her for a while, as I didn’t expect her to self settle all the time. As the weeks went by, I stopped going into her room when she woke through the night and allowed her time to self settle. One night, she wasn’t self settling so I did go in and I ended up feeding her, as she was wide awake and that is not like her at all (as soon as I would pick her up she would usually go back to sleep. I have never sat up for hours with Amaya through the night). Lucky I did, as she drank her bottle in under three minutes. I put it down to having a growth spurt and it hasn’t happened since.
Obviously control crying is not for everyone, but I do urge you to at least give it a go. It does take time and equips your child with essential skills. When you are sleep deprived, you can’t be the best Mum you can be, for your child. So don’t ever feel guilty about doing it. Amaya is so much happier now that she gets lots of sleep and it has also resulted in her increasing her day sleeps, not by a lot, but they have definitely increased.
I am so grateful for the advice given to me by other Mother’s! Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help, none of us have our shit together all of the time, so we can definitely learn from each other and help each other. Oh and make sure your babe is warm, often they wake through the night simply because they are cold.
I wish you lots of sleep!
P.S. I was recommended to only do this when babes are 6+ months old!