Its been a while between posts!! The last nine weeks have simultaneously flown by and seemed endless. The vagaries of time… Callum is thriving despite not being terribly keen on sleeping during the day for a few weeks. We’ve had some really tough moments when I have been ridiculously overtired and wondering if I’m really cut out for this Mumma Mish position. However there have also been many wonderful moments when Callum has looked at me a certain way or given a big grin or just generally been a cool dude.
I must admit, I’ve been obsessed with getting Callum to sleep during the day – after all, all the advice you get says that newborns (i.e. from birth to approximately three months) should only be awake for 1 – 11/2 hours at a time. And it appears I’ve been cramping his style! 😉 After going through a few weeks of madness where Callum was only getting in a few cat naps during the day and it was heavy work getting him to have those, I called in some outside expertise because I was getting increasingly exhausted and anxious about Callum not getting enough sleep (and no doubt he was picking up on that, which made him more unsettled – a vicious cycle). Previously when putting Callum down for a nap, I had been putting him in his sleeping bag and then swaddling him in a wrap before either holding and rocking him, holding him and stroking his head or walking him around until he was three quarters asleep and then attempting to transfer him to his crib without waking him… A very tricky maneuver!! Often he would wake up either as I was transferring him or soon after. If it was a successful transfer I would then generally lie quietly on the bed next to his crib and wait for him to be fully asleep before sneaking out. Then as soon as he woke up (often after only one 40 minute sleep cycle or less in some cases) I’d be in there ready to “get him back to sleep”.
Last Friday I had a visit from Caroline’s Angels (http://www.carolinesangels.com.au/), a company run by two ex-midwives who specialise in sleep, settling, behaviour and toilet training for babies and toddlers. Caroline observed Callum as I was about to put him down for a nap and asked what I would normally do to settle him. After explaining the various things I was doing, Caroline said “Lets try just popping him in his crib and seeing if he will go to sleep himself”. So in he went and then we stood by the door to observe him without being right there in front of him. Initially quiet, he started protesting a little, but nothing serious. After a few minutes his crying started to ramp up so we quietly went back in and Caroline gently stroked his head as I would have done, but sat out of his line of vision and only did it until he stopped crying. Then it was back out to the doorway. After a few more minutes of protesting, Callum went to sleep.
All. By. Himself.
Amazing. Caroline and I then discussed how to move forward and create a new sleeping routine for Callum which basically involved being as hands off as possible and giving the little guy some space to go to sleep once he was showing his tired signs without Mumma Mish hovering over him and trying to make him go to sleep 😉 We’ve only been trying this new way for a few days and while it doesn’t always work perfectly (but what does?), Callum is definitely getting more day sleep in and I am a much calmer and more relaxed Mum!
This new strategy is good for Callum as he is a very visually stimulated baby and I was making it harder for him to go to sleep by being right there next to him as he could see Mum and wanted to be awake while at the same time trying to go to sleep, if you know what I mean…
So here’s to more sleep and less stress!