It seems like these are the only options if you’re having difficulties with your babies sleep. However there are other options and as a mum of a not very good sleeper, it feels like I’ve read and tried them all.
As an attachment parent, we only take on board the advice that is akin to our beliefs.
We’re making real progress.
First a little background. DS has never been the worlds best sleeper, but from 4 months on it got particularly bad. He was waking after every sleep cycle. We persisted with co-sleeping but he would only sleep when I moved away from him in the bed. We only have a double bed so it meant one adult squished or sleeping elsewhere. This worked for about a week before he refused to settle in our bed at all. We moved him to a cot within arms reach and he settled easier but still woke often, to have his dummy replaced.
After 3 months of shitty sleep we started making changes. I’ve used bits and pieces from the following books and finally we’re all getting a good nights sleep.
Sleeping like a baby – Pinky McKay
If you’re after a gentle sleep guide then let Pinky be your go to woman. She explains sleep in such a loving and baby centered way and she expresses the importance of breast-feeding. Her approach to sleep is realistic, there are no quick fixes. There are no routines as Pinky explains that every baby is different.
Pinky details a baby steps program to work towards better sleep and explains that mothers and babies should work through it at their own pace and move onto the next step when they’re ready.
Sleeping Like a Baby was a good starting point for us and gave us some good ideas for a bed time routine and a starting point for getting ready to change his sleep.
The No-Cry Sleep Solution – Elizabeth Pantley
This book had great information on the science of sleep and the setting of the body clock. It stressed the importance of a flexible routine but left the timings up to mum.
The actual settling solution was to pick from a long list of different techniques and then gently apply them with results expected to appear over a few weeks. The techniques range from patting, shooshing, baby massage, and swaddling depending on the age.
There are techniques to try while co-sleeping, we tried these but unfortunately DS would not have a bar of it. He clearly wanted his own space to sleep in.
Again there was a focus on continuing to breastfeed.
Babybliss – Jo Ryan
I will admit I was incredibly apprehensive about even picking up this book, I had heard bad things about it. It seems earlier editions advocated controlled crying or cry it out. However, the current advice is actually very baby friendly.
All the settling is hands on, patting and shooshing. Baby is never left to cry or even ‘grizzle.’ All settling is hands on.
The routines are very strict and we don’t follow them, although I like the idea of an early bedtime and find that DS sleeps better when he goes down for the night earlier.
What’s worked for us
We’ve cherry picked from all three books.
Now I know you’re ‘suppose’ to stick to one approach however I found tips that worked for us from all 3.
Now I know buying books can be expensive, so why not see if you can get them from the library or borrow them from a friend? Or perhaps look for an exerpt? Some eBooks are cheaper then a paper copy. Or perhaps just buy one.
Sleeping Like a Baby is a good general guide. The No-Cry Sleep Solution has lots of settling techniques. Babybliss is a very specific technique but I feel it’s worked for us.
Finally I think the road to good sleep is more like a dance. Some days my son is still shocking, but those days are becoming mess and less frequent. We recently all had the flu and it was back to rocking to sleep and bedsharing. The most important thing to remember is that there is no one size fits all approach for getting baby to sleep, different things work for different families. Keeping an open mind is also important.
And remember it won’t be long before you’ll be up all night wondering why they’re not home yet, listening for that key in the door and that heavy teenage foot on the stairs.