So I thought I would update you on the night-weaning/sleep-training.
Night seven was more of the same waking in the night, Oona woke a few times and instead of Paul saying it was dark, I did. I copied everything he had done (and I wore a t-shirt so that the boobs were not visible!)
I pointed to the top of the blind (where light comes in in the morning) and said, “Look, Oona, it’s dark” and I told her everyone was asleep: “Daddy is asleep, Imogen is asleep, the chickens are asleep, the birdies…” and used a very soft voice. She wasn’t happy. I asked her did she want a drink and gave her some of the water from her sippy cup. Then I told her how clever and good she was and popped her back in bed. When she was flapping about I told her it was sleepy time and said “Shhhh” gently a few times and she went back to sleep.
Day eight I came to bed at 10.30 and she woke so I fed her, put her back down and she slept through until 5.50am! Woo hoo!
Day nine she did the same.
Last night she woke at 4.50am so I told her it was still dark, I gave her water and shushed her gently and she went back off. She then woke again at 5.30. This time I gave her a Camomila and I told her it was still dark. I gave her water and shushed her. She didn’t properly go back to sleep, but she did go quiet so at 5.50am when she stood up again in the cot I picked her out and fed her.
She is definitely getting the idea, but it’s a slow process.
I wouldn’t be able to do it if she was crying, the reason I have been able to keep up with it is that she listens to what I say and I know she understands, whilst I know she isn’t impressed, she doesn’t cry and my child isn’t backwards at coming forwards when it comes to crying for what she wants as you can see from the Liverpool Maritime Museum post! 🙂 I am lucky in that if she feels understood and she understands me, we can usually get to a compromise! It’s when she is trying to tell me something and I’m not understanding her that we have problems!
I hope my experience can help someone, I think the key is to make sure your baby is ready to night-wean, remembering that babies use the breast for calories when growing and for pain relief when teething. If you think that these stages are over for your older baby and you think that it might be that they just need to be taught how to self-soothe then you are left with a few choices: there’s the cry it out method (Gina Ford) which has been linked to attachment disorders (don’t read this as me judging parents who have gone down this route, I did it with Elizabeth) there’s pick-up-put-down method which is advocated by the likes of Tracy Hogg in The Baby Whisperer, which is a kinder method because the parent doesn’t leave the room. You pick the crying baby out, cuddle them to reassure then pop them back in. You repeat until they give in, but you don’t leave. I personally think it’s a bit confusing for the baby…it’s much kinder because you are soothing them and the trust isn’t broken because you stay. I’ve used this method with Imogen, but it takes ages and baby still cries. I did ‘hush-pat’ with Leon, which is another Tracy Hogg idea. You lean into the cot and say shhhh whilst patting their back or keeping your hand on them in some way. This is great if you have a placid, Leon-type child!! But Oona is a very fiery individual! There’s no way she would lie down whilst I rubbed or patted her back! She has been walking since she was 10 months and pulling herself up against the furniture since about 6 months, so she wouldn’t have put up with it! The way we tried was an Elizabeth Pantley method. I think if we had done Cry it Out or one of the other, harsher methods it would’ve been a quicker process, but I’m just happy that it was anxiety free for all of us.
Let me know how you got your baby to sleep through the night…also any questions, just ask. I might not have the answer but with four kids I might have something you could try! 🙂