Thursday, 23 July 2009

The thing about sleep....

I mentioned to Hunter last night that I am under no illusion that we have won the war, but I think we have certainly canned the battle. Yes, we have been sleep training. And yes, it seems, for the moment to be working. It has been tough, it has been tiring, but I know it will be worth it.

I am sticking my head out here and admitting that yes, I am a Baby wise mom - I know it is controversial, but it works. I truly believe that all children are capable to sleep through the night from an early age. I did however combine the principles of Babysense which I found very useful as a guideline to create the correct sensory environment. Currently I am using Toddlersense as a guide - both of these are South African in origin but available on Amazon and I can really recommend both. I also believe that some children are naturally good sleepers and some not. Some will consistently sleep through the night and some you'll have to teach.

When I was pregnant with The Little Miss a colleague told me about Baby wise - his baby was 5 months old and they were sleeping through consistently. I knew that I could handle most of what a baby will bring as long as I can have a decent night's sleep - so we decided to use Baby wise. I copied my tables, prepared myself to do it from day 1 and decided to let baby sleep in her own room right from the start - we made sure we had an Angelcare monitor to be safe.

The very first night of The Little Miss' life, the staff at the hospital woke her up after 3 hours - she refused to wake up enough to drink. It was terrible. Breastfeeding not well establised, baby not awake enough resulted in much abused nipples. The following morning the Pedi was furious with the staff - she was 3,45 kg (7,6 pounds) baby - big enough to do a 5 hour stretch. But she developed extreme jaundice and day 4 and 5 of her life was spent in hospital after my release ( I boarded in with her) and the struggle with a lethargic baby and feeding was frightening and very stressful. But once back home, we settled into the Baby wise routine - 3 hour feedings (but altered if required between 2 and a half and 3 and a half) and a pattern of sleep, feed and play. I Also made sure that she had a full feeding every time, keeping her awake with a wet facecloth if needed. So, from night one at home (5 days old), she had her last feed at 10 pm( which I woke her up for) and I set my alarm clock for 3 am and had a good sleep. Often I had to wake her up at 3 am, and at 6 weeks I could not wake her up any more - she slept on until 4, later stretching to 5 and by 12 weeks she had a solid sleep, almost all nights between 10 pm and 6 am. She dropped the 10 pm feed at about 15 weeks when I could not wake her up any more.

Apart from teething and when she was sick, she has consistently slept through up to today. There might be the odd occasion when she wakes up at night and yes, she did her fair share of pajama drill when The Boys were tiny, but she remains a champion sleeper. We dealt very easily and effectively with night terrors ( lasted about 3 weeks) with the help of a homeopathic remedy. In terms of sleep - she was a breeze. And up to today, she prefers sleeping in her own bed. Off course, the fact that she is one of the healthiest kids I know of, certainly helps.Now I know she is just naturally a good sleeper.

I was therefore so certain that we had this sleep thing all sorted out and that with my next baby I will follow the same pattern. Even when we found out it was twins the small chapter about twins in Baby wise assured me we will be ok. And lo and behold, we were. Although smaller and feeding every 3 hours around the clock for the first 8 weeks of their lives, Little Man L slept his first night through at 10 weeks and Little man C joined him a week later. They did exactly what the book said. Until they got sick and then landed in hospital at 6 months and just stopped sleeping! It took us a couple of weeks, but we fell back into routine. Through the months, we often had long periods of good sleep, but now and again the problems popped up. They are just not naturally good sleepers like their sister. But Little Man C seem to have settled into a good zone and he is consistently a good sleeper - if he wakes up a pat or two and a loving word will put him back to slumber land. The last two months has been very hard - Little man L definitely lost his sleep pattern and us taking him into bed with us when he was sick (constantly for 2 months) without a doubt did not help. So we decided to start with sleep training and after studying my favorite books decided on a method mentioned in Toddler sense. (We did try the cry -out method but I does not work for us - Little Man C got so disturbed it was terrible).

So I started last Monday night by standing next to him and patting him when crying, but NOT picking up and definitely NOT taking him to be with me. Monday night was tiring, I slept very little. He woke up at 11:30 and I patted again and moved about a meter away from the cot, where I curled up under a blanket on the floor. Took me 2 hours, but eventually he was asleep again and I move back to bed. We repeated this at 3 am. Tuesday night he woke up at 1am and I moved away further from the cot, but still in his line of vision. Took almost 2 and a half hours, but he did fall asleep in his own bed and did not wake up again. Wednesday night it was 3 am and I moved away further from his cot. Thursday night he woke up at 4 am and only fell asleep again by 5 am but I got into the bed their room outside his line of vision but where he can hear me. By this time I was exhausted and constantly cold - remember it is mid Winter here and our homes are not heated (although The Boy's room is slightly). The turning point came on Thursday night and he only woke up at 5 am on Friday morning and I stayed in the doorway if their room until be fell asleep at 6 am again. Saturday morning he slept through and woke up at 6 pm and as a reward he got to play in our bed. Saturday night was another winner and he only woke up at 6:40 am.

Off course, just as you thought you have it in the can, you get Sunday night, which was a terror with him waking up his brother and me spending half the night talking to him from the bed in their room. But Monday night he fell right back to sleeping through as well as Tuesday night. Last night I feel made the big breakthrough - he woke up at 3 am and I just gave him a pat and a word (like I do with his bro), and he went right back to sleep. So, for now, I think we won the battle. Off course, he might proof me wrong tonight, but I will just continue with the training because it seem to work, it is a kind and gentle method and I feel comfortable that I am not scarring my kid for life. And although it might get tiring at times - the end result will be great, I know. Because although only 2 of my kids are naturally good sleepers, I WILL learn the other one to be too.

Goodnight - sleep tight my dears. I hope I will.


  1. I love Baby Wise and there Potty training book is fabulous. I am glad that you have found something that works.
    I wish you many, many more nights of sleep.

  2. I am a Baby Wise momma too!!!! I loved it and it saved my sanity! Wishing you the very best of luck! I have Toddler Wise too but did not get as much info from it as Babywise. Sleep peacefully!

  3. First off, while reading this, I noticed the clock at the side! Very neat to realize the time difference. it says its about 4am there and its 10pm here. As I write this, I hope you are all sleeping soundly!!

    I am glad you have made progress in the sleep department! We had to do some sleep training with the twins around 3 months but since then, they've been pretty good sleepers. Jacob especially - if I hear him wake up crying at night - something MUST be wrong. Sarah generally sleeps ok but she is a head bumper and will rock and bump her head on her crib some nights. She goes in streaks there - a few weeks with nothing then a week or two of doing it a lot. Always when a new milestone was reached and always when teething. They say its 'normal' and will eventually stop...but I keep wondering WHEN!? She's almost 3!! grr!

    So far, Adam's been a great sleeper..hope in continues!

  4. Good for you! YEAH! Glad you are getting some sleep finally. It will make a HUGE difference for you.
    Well done mama!

  5. I went to 'school' to learn this,,LOL. With my second child, it was TERRIBLE..18 months old and getting up, and out, and well it was HARD. Within 4 days of being consistent, he was sleeping through the night..he's 17 and hasn't been traumatized by I run a home daycare and I can't tell you the times I have encouraged mothers to do this..and I also tell them, consistency, and if three days down the road you pick them up, you have to start all over again, from day one...

    I LOVE how the Lord leads His daughters together like this in blog land. Thank you for your comment to my Fearless Friday post..blessings to you and your family.


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