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How this mum avoided baby sleep problems

It was the one big unknown when I was pregnant with my first daughter (who is now almost three years old), how would my baby sleep?

I am one of those people who needs my sleep, I don’t function well without it, but I was prepared. After all, newborns aren’t meant to sleep through. But that didn’t mean we didn’t plan for it as a family. There were big decisions to be made about where to sleep the baby and how to manage the night time.

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SIDs and baby sleep

I was very strict about following the SIDs guidelines. Cassie slept on her back from day one, there was absolutely nothing in her cot to obstruct her breathing (think baby items like toys, blankets, etc.) and I made sure the temperature was perfect. In fact, I would lie down to go to sleep and doubt myself about how tightly I tucked her in and get up to check.

The only rule I struggled with was sleeping the baby in our own room for the first six months.

I am a light sleeper at the best of times PLUS I didn’t want my husband to wake through the night. He still needed to work the next day, so there was no sense both of us being tired. There also wasn’t much he could do. I was the one with the milk!

I know it’s not an opinion that’s shared, but I figured Chris would be much more helpful for me throughout the daytime with some sleep under his belt. And he was.

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Developing a Routine

It took us a week to find a routine that worked for us. And I know it is one that may not be welcomed by many parents, but if there is one thing I learned from day one, it’s that you have to do what works for you. So here is what worked for us:

  • Breastfeed: I would do my last breastfeed of the day at around 5pm. I would sit on the couch for a good hour (the joys of only having one baby – things were very different second time around).
  • Bath: This became part of our routine early on. The consistency was probably more beneficial for Chris than me, but I also believe it’s the perfect way to relax a little baby and prepare them for the night sleep.
  • Pyjama: Next step is PJ time. Often we will have a little cream massage while getting her dressed. I tried to keep it as calm as possible.
  • Sleepsuit: I would then zip her up into her sleepsuit (we never swaddled with wraps overnight as she would fight her way out).
  • Top Up: With the lights out and the white noise on, I would sit in our rocking chair and give Cassie a top up, just to make sure she was nice and full for bedtime.
  • Bedtime: Cassie would either fall asleep on the breast, or I would lie her in her cot awake but settled and walk out. At this point, I went to bed too! I wanted to get as much sleep as I could while she slept.
  • Dream Feed: Chris would come in and do the dream feed a couple of hours later. This meant topping Cassie up, so my first stretch of sleep was sometimes up to six hours! It felt amazing in those early weeks.

Of course, a baby sleep routine is different for every family and there is no one size fits all approach. It’s important to find what works not only for you but for your baby as well. This also means your approach will be different for different kids. By the time I had my second daughter, this routine just wasn’t practical for us with a toddler in the house.

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How this mum avoided baby sleep problems

Felicity Frankish
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