We've been trying to figure out for a while what to do about getting E to sleep better. Some nights are brilliant, some nights are horrible, and most nights are just long.
Often, he goes to sleep just before 8pm at the end of a bedtime routine that works for us: change into pyjamas (and a clean nappy), brush teeth, read stories with Daddy, then have a nurse, and fall asleep with Mommy. But usually, just as midnight or 1am rolls around, he's awake and won't put himself back to sleep. This usually means coming into our bed. It takes less time to get him back down that way, which means more net sleep for us. Though lately, E squirms a lot more, so once he's shimmied until he's horizontal and is kicking one of us in the back and headbutting the other in the mouth as he flips onto his front to get comfy, having him in the bed starts to feel much more untenable.
|Just getting comfortable.|
So how we're going to swing the whole 'all night in your own bed' thing is still feeling a bit murky to me. I have a few ideas I want to try - bearing in mind that E is teething at the moment (molars...joy) and is generally pretty changeable anyway.
1) Switch up the bedtime routine. I want him to get used to falling asleep without needing to breastfeed right before he closes his eyes. I'd still cuddle him, but eventual weaning will be easier if he doesn't need it to fall asleep.
2) Try not to bring him to bed with us. This one is hard for me because it's SO much easier to just bring him into bed and fall asleep quickly myself.
3) Put him in his crib while he's awake. It's taken us ages to get to this stage. I tried when he was younger, and he'd always just start back up, stand in his crib, and cry until I picked him back up. Now, at least, he's old enough to understand a bit of cause and effect. So last week I spent a night training him: if he stands up, Mummy is out in the hallway; sitting down, I'll stand in the door & sing to him; lying down, I sit by his crib, sing, & rub his back.
Now that he's got the hang of this latest routine, not only will he let me put him in the crib awake, but he prefers lying in bed so he can fall asleep & get comfy. Do I miss having a baby fall asleep in my arms? Sure, but I'm still right there through the whole process, and anyway E's big enough now that holding him until he fell asleep was starting to kill my shoulders. The other bonus? He tends (so far) to have a better time putting himself back to sleep. We've had about 3/6 nights where he slept through in his own room. Yessssssss!!! At least, so far, it feels like we're on the right track.