A ‘good’ Sleeper – how we got there

Suddenly Athena has become a really good sleeper. She was what most people would call a ‘good sleeper’ anyway, as in she slept solidly without waking through the night once she was asleep for a good 10 hours or more. The problem used to be getting her to sleep, at bedtime or nap time. Until she was around 11 months she would fall asleep on the boob, and then I would wait an indeterminate amount of time (anywhere from 10 minutes to forty five!) before I deemed it safe to deposit her in her cot. I’ll admit that I did used to wonder if I would still be feeding her to sleep well into childhood, and wondered how we would solve that problem, but like more things it just worked itself out when the time was right!

However around 11 months she started to not fall asleep on the boob anymore, and was too interested in what was going on around her, and seeing as I generally used to sit on the sofa watching the 7 O’clock news (or Netflix!) to feed to sleep this was a bit of a problem! Much as breastfeeding is lovely I didn’t want to get into an on-going pattern of having to sit in complete silence to get her to go to sleep, as when we stay away or are in different surroundings it won’t always be possible. That and I often need to actually get things done of an evening! (I’d say housework but actually blogging or bath times come higher on the list!) There were a couple of nights a month or so ago when it took ages to get her to sleep, only to have her wake up again, and in the end I’d just let her play until she fell asleep in the middle of the floor! I decided that it was time to try and teach her to self soothe, if possible!

a rare nap on the sofa un prompted!

At 12 months we started to introduce cows milk as a drink throughout the day (as she’d be getting it when she is at nursery when I am at work) and then when I was away for bedtime Sam would give her a bottle of slightly warmed milk (I gave up expressing, I hardly got anything out with my manual pump) which would send her off to sleep. After a short time even when I was home we started doing bedtimes with Sam giving her a bottle, lessening the amount each time. This stopped her associating boob with sleep as much. We then started putting her down just as she was falling asleep, so she was being put in her cot awake. Bit by bit as the milk amount got less we’d put her down earlier, until miraculously we’ve now had over a week of putting her in awake, no bottle needed and her not making a fuss at all. She grabs her rabbit comforter thing (which till now she’s shown no interest it) sticks her thumb in and is asleep within a few minutes. I think the excess heat has a played a little bit of a part in this too, as even when she’s super tired she won’t fall asleep on us anymore! That makes me a little sad as I quite enjoyed taking a morning nap with her in bed, but you can’t win them all I guess!

weird sleeping positions

Now even for daytime naps this works, although sometimes she’ll shout a couple of times (it can’t even be described as a cry even, as I’d not let her cry unnecessarily) as a “oi, what do you think you’re doing leaving me in here” type thing, then she’ll lay down and nod off. We don’t have black out blinds in her room, just a regular blind so her room is darker but not pitch black as the sun still gets round the sides, and I’m hoping this means she’ll be able to nap when and wherever we are. When we are at home she generally has a little feed from me pre nap, but I still make sure she gets put down awake (I generally have no option as she doesn’t fall asleep feeding anymore, I cant remember the last time she napped on me!)

So, fingers crossed me writing this post doesn’t mean she decides to stop being a ‘good sleeper’. Now I just wish she’d sleep past 8am on the days when I don’t have to get up for work…

[edit: I wrote this last weekend, since then we’ve had 2 nights of just not wanting to go to sleep, but I think this is due to teething one night and constipation the other! moral of the story, don’t write about how good your kid is at anything, or they will immediately stop being good at it]

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