As many of you know we have had a TERRIBLE first 12 months with sleep (or lack thereof)!
I would often hear mums complain that they had a ‘bad night’ and I would sympathise with them, yet when they told me the details of their ‘bad night’ I found myself thinking ‘what are you on about woman that is a f***en brilliant night for us!’ but I would politely say ‘yeah that must be tough’. I got to the point that there were only really a handful of Mummy friends that either A) have babies that have a difficult time with sleep like we do/did or B) really know my daughter and know how bad she was and they let me whinge to them when I needed. I used to not even talk about sleep at all to the rest of the population as it just made me quite upset because I was really running on empty.
Maddison has just turned 12 months and we have really, truely turned a corner! I don’t think that this is a magical age that we got to that now works for her, there are certain things I put in place that now work for us that I wanted to share with you. Though in saying that I do think that she was developmentally ready for the changes we implemented which helped (she was 11 months when we started a sleep program).
THE MAIN THINGS THAT MAKE UP OUR SLEEP TOOL KIT ARE:
*Our bedtime routine (includes our sleep cues & props)
*Glow Dreaming Machiene
*Successful Sleep Program (we started a few different ones of these over the past 12 months and found one that I felt comfortable with and worked for us)
You hear and read a lot about bedtime routines, I don’t think that there is necessarily a ‘set routine’ that works honestly, I think that it is the consistency of the routine that works. Different things will work for different babies/kids too. But I think making the routine predictable and long enough for your baby to wind down is important. For us our bedtime routine looks like this:
*bath – Maddison loves her bath, sometimes I get in with her too, particularly after a childcare day, I find it can be lovely bonding time. This usually lasts for about 20mins
*Story time – we always make sure to read at least 1 story (sometimes 3 if we have time) – this is also something Maddison really loves (if your child doesn’t love books or doesn’t want to sit still for a story you can sing a song, or we have also tried a singing toy that has some sleep songs on it that was really lovely but we just found she prefers books).
*Sleeping bag – we are using the ErgoPouch 3.5 tog at the moment and it’s working really well for us and perfect for the cooler nights we are having at the moment. I also really like that it has the arms in it, as I have not found many other sleeping bags that have these (not endorsed or sponsored at all, we just love this sleeping bag).
*Handknitted lamb (comforter knitted by Grandma) – before giving this to her I carried it around in my bra for a few days (only while at home haha) but I recommend doing this with any comforter, as babies find comfort in having your smell with them.
*Dummy – a lot of sleep experts and our sleep program recommended ditching the dummy but we chose to keep this and it works for us – but very personal choice. (It can be difficult if your baby can’t find and replace the dummy on their own as then you have to help with this task in the middle of the night).
*Feed – we feed just before bed as this works for us, but she stays awake during her feed and goes into her cot awake (well 90% of the time anyway haha)
We purchased our Glow Dreaming Machine about 3-4 weeks ago and we use it every night (again not endorsed or sponsored at all, we just like this product!).
It is basically a diffuser and nightlight all in one. Before getting this we had a steam vaporiser that I would use when Maddison had a cold but it spits out boiling water and now that she is mobile I am scared to use this other machine in her room at all! The Glow Dreaming machine however uses a ‘cool touch’ mist humidifier, so the vapour is cool and the machine itself never gets hot, making it safe for children. It also has different colour lights that you can choose (yellow, red, green) but they recommend using the red for sleep, as there is research to suggest that red spectrum light can help our set our circadian rhythm and tell us our bodies it’s time for sleep. We put the nightlight on the low red glow every night next to her bed. It also comes with an essential oil blend called ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ which you put into the diffuser, I really like the smell and I think this has helped to calm her, I try to set it going while we’re reading a story. They also offer a 14 day money back guarentee!!
White noise – we use white noise on the iPad in her room every night, I purchased the app ‘Sound Sleeper’ as I liked that you could have it on continuous play and they had lots of different sounds to choose from. We put it on ‘mountain river’. I also have this app on my phone if I need it when we’re out and about. There are lots of free apps that have ‘rain’ type white noise as well.
We have attempted sleep programs previously… most didn’t work for us. We recently tried Dana Obleman’s Sleep Sense Program and did the ‘stay in the room method’ as this is what I was most comfortable with. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. There were tears. But I was there to reassure her and comfort her when needed. Maddison previously could not self settle and really struggled with putting herself to sleep and would just get more and more cross that she wasn’t asleep. Through this program she learnt to how to put herself to sleep which was crucial for night wakings. There is a lot more I could say about our journey with this sleep program, but it would probably take a whole new blog post. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have 🙂
As mentioned above, the Glow Dreaming machine comes with an essential oil blend, which is beautiful. I have started looking into the benefits of essential oils and am really enjoying learning more about them and have started making my own blend of oils since running out of our Twinkle Twinkle oil. I mainly now use Gentle Baby by Young Living and sometimes add an extra drop of lavender. If you want to know more about essential oils or are interested in ordering some ‘Gentle Baby’ let me know.
Well that is it, in a nutshell. It look’s simpler on paper, believe me it wasn’t. But we have now found a tool box of resources that work for us. Night-times are now no where near as stressful, I won’t lie she still is not one of those babies that will go to bed at 7pm and sleep 12 hours every night.. (though we have had a handful of nights sleeping right through now!!!). Last night she slept from 10pm-7am which for us is AMAZING!!! So we really are winning now and I feel actually human again. I wanted to share with you all the things that work for us and hopefully you find something that might help you to add to your ‘tool box’.
Sweet dreams xx
Contact me at: