How to Sleep Train your Dragon… I mean Baby

Oh yes ladies and gentlemen… I went there.

I said the two most dirtiest words in parenting history.

Sleep Train.

Makes me shudder.

I am going to share the tips with you that I have learned thanks to my tiny terrorists and their sleep deprivation techniques.  That have worked for months, but stopped when the day came and I put Orange Juice in my coffee…. and we don’t even own Orange Juice. (dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuun)

Okay, firstly, I want to say, there are no hard and fast rules. There is no quick fix. There is persistence and pe… some other p word… maybe consistency. This may take some time, so do not be discouraged, but there are rules, (i lied) and you must follow these rules.


Rule 1.

If your baby is a newborn, stop reading this shit. Ain’t NOBODY training newborns… from 0-3 months, your baby WILL NOT sleep. As mums would respond to me when I found this out for the fist time (quite shockingly I might add), “Google ‘Fourth Trimester'”. Around 4 months, come back to this, your baby does some random shit around 4 months and becomes more alert than before. Those beady eyes get more starey… and more judgey.

Rule 2.

You want to pick up your baby throughout any of the process, you pick up your damn baby. AIN’T NOBODY TELL YOU OTHERWISE (Don’t know why I am so gangsta). Pick them up, kiss them, DO WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE, crying can make you feel like you’re the worst person in the world. No one will judge you if you do pick them up, and no one will judge you if you don’t – unless there are cameras in your house – no one can tell you what to do (except this blog). Just remember, consistency and persistence, no quick fix, might not work straight away but eventually they’ll snuggle in, even if it takes 30 years.

Rule 3 Expect your baby to not sleep, and embrace it.

Anxiety is my thing here. When babies take 1.5 hours to sleep, I start to get twitchy and nervous, and anxious and think “OH MY FUCKING GOD THIS BABY WILL NEVER SLEEP AND I AM GONNA SPEND MY WHOLE LIFE TRYING TO SETTLE THEM UNTIL I AM 100 YEARS OLD”.. unrealistic, I know, with the way I drink wine, I am not going to live till 100. As soon as you say to yourself, everything else can wait, dishes can wait, peeing can wait, hot coffee can wait, your own sleep and sanity can wait (is this meant to be helpful? I don’t know anymore), as soon as you say to yourself; (and indirectly to your baby) “I HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD, I AM BIGGER, STRONGER, AND WISER THAN YOU, and if you don’t want to sleep after an hour, I’ll get you up and repeat the process again, and I have not failed.” If you feel frustrated, walk away. It’s really okay and better for you both.

Rule 4 Routines do not always work for every baby.

Just because ‘Shmizzie Stall baby Experter’ tells you to feed your baby at 1:45am and express from both nips, stand on your head, and put your baby to sleep, and in 4 hours they will magically wake up in 5 hours to repeat the process, don’t mean it gonna happen. More than likely, it won’t, and that’ll stress you the fuck out even more. So don’t worry, be happy with 45 minute blocks for now, it’ll get longer. (Even if it takes 30 years). Eat, play, sleep does work from 4-5 months. They feed, they lay on the floor amused by the little things, and then they get tired. Much like me.

If you want to read a real baby whisperer, read Pinky Mckay, That Pink Haired spunk knows whats going on here. (She didn’t pay me to write this, although I do eat her boobie bikkies).

Rule 5 Find your baby’s “thing”

Some babies like dummies, some like little square muslin cloths, some like complete darkness. It’s trial and error. My little Sofia likes her dummy, a tiny square (not hazardous to her breathing) triangle of a muslin cloth, and her little mono-brow to be stroked in a downward motion.

I am sure there were more rules, but we will think of them as we go.


 

So at around 4-5 months, babies can have more awake time. This is not textbook. For some it can be 30 minutes, others 1.5 hours. When your baby shows tired signs, for example, jerky movements, yawning, rubbing their little faces with their little puffy fists, squaking like a parakeet in a whingy tone, they look at you as if they’re concerned for your welfare (worried look), batting their eyelids at you, red angry eyebrows- its time, for nigh nighs.

If you’ve been boobing to sleep, or feeding to sleep…good news. This shit ends here. Feed your baby, feed them well. Trust your supply, trust they’ve gotten enough (unless they’re are OBVIOUS signs) and put your baby down to play (see your nurse if you have concerns). During this time, you can have your hot coffee, go to the toilet, mark under your eyes with two black streaks as you prepare yourself for the battle zone. Change their nappy somewhere in there… it’s time.

Note: I have a toddler, and a tiny shoe of a house, and I can get both these mofos to sleep when they both defy it. So if I can do it, you can do it.

I am not going to get into SIDS recommendations. I am not your nurse, they hand out enough brochures to build a safe house you can hide in when your kids don’t sleep. Read them, read them all, google it, learn it, love it.

Put your child safely down in a safe sleeping spot (cot, bassinet, Church Safehouse) ON THEIR BACKS. Wrap them, swaddle, whatever your nurse recommends – Call her/him  and ask her what the best methods are and don’t sue me for my ill advice. (by reading this you agree to never sue me. I only have $2.00 in my account anyway… good luck!)

Leave the room.

Give your baby a chance to settle.

Babies like to stir and grizzle, and a grizzle to me may be a different grizzle to you, but it is not crying. it’s kinda like those parakeet noises.. like waaa weeee… WAAA weee…

Once you hear those WAAAAAAA WAAAAAAAAAA WAAAAAAAAA, you bust into that room like ghost busters and extinguish those cries.

The methods you can use are these:

(At anytime if they are hysterical, pick them up and do whatever feels natural, every step is one closer)

Patting

Think of your babies as snakes and charm them with rhythmic patting regular motions.

You go in there and shhh, replace the dummy, and if they keep crying, you take the dummy out of their mouth and put it back in, repeat this if they don’t catch on the first time. You shhh them, you stroke their little monobrows until they calm down. Once they are calm, you leave the room. You can repeat this process as many times as it takes and as many times as you can handle. If it’s been awhile, do what you need to get them to sleep, or get them up. Make the call and don’t rethink it. You’re doing it right.

You can also shh and pat the cot. Two hands are better than one in this process. Lay them down, stick your hands into their cot and tap the mattress. Tap both hands on and off, go fast like a horse (clip-clop) and then get slower like a heartbeat, if their eyes start to close, get slower and slower until they’re out. If you’re feeling confident, when you see them drowsy, leave the room. (I daydream about things to get myself distracted so I don’t feel anxious)

No Dummy? No problems! There are other ways

Face your snake (I mean baby) on its side, away from you, and pat their bums. (clip clop)

Sing a quiet lullaby, nothing too crazy, and no Whitney. Spare us all.

Sing, count, say the abcs, count the dots on the walls – whatever to keep your patting rhythimic. Try saying “Shhh shhh” on every pat if that helps.

 

If they wake up after 15 minutes, go back in and repeat the process. If it’s after 30-45 minutes and they won’t resettle, they’ve had enough. So repeat the eat, play, sleep process again.

 

Listen I am no expert, I thought about this while I was settling my baby and now that i’ve written it, I think where does this end?

Remember you are their mother, (or father) and you do whatever makes you feel comfortable.

 

God speed. x
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  1. It’s so hard sometimes and for some so ridiculously I-want- to-hit-them easy. My first was a real bear for the first almost 2 years of her life. Made me very edgy about sleep- mama bear wasn’t happy. So glad to see you’re back to blogging!! I missed your humor!! That 4 mth shit is called a sleep regression And there are many of them- the supposed last at 18mths. I googled this hell out of the Internet and read a lot of information from the babysleepsite. I never ordered their services but I read their free stuff!! It was a very hard time… Much love and caffeine to you my friend.

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