Archive for March, 2016

Wow, what a dramatic headline, right?! Well it’s true. It saved our lives by saving our sanity.

But let’s start at the beginning. Let’s start with a 20 month-old boy who we love with all our heart. We love him so much that we’ve been patting and rocking him to get him to sleep his whole life. It got so bad that at one point only a few months ago we were patting him for up to, and sometimes over, an hour every single night. One of the worst nights it took me two and a half hours to get him to sleep. That’s right folks – we have a little man who suffers from Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).

My husband has written his account of the sleep training we undertook with our son here, so feel free to read it. But here’s my version.

baby sleeping

We decided to start sleep training one night when we were at our wit’s end. Rob’s back had given out from leaning over the cot patting Harrison for over an hour, and I was cranky because dinner had been ruined while we were trying, once again, to encourage our son to go to sleep. We’d both had enough, and knew it had to stop. He couldn’t move into a big boy bed until he learned to settle himself to sleep, and that wasn’t going to happen the way we were going. In hindsight, I wish we’d done the sleep training when he was 6 months old, as it would have been less emotionally gut-wrenching, but we put ourselves into this situation, so now we had to get ourselves out.

So the next night we started. We basically followed the “cry it out” method discussed here. We had tried the “no tears” approach before, and it had never worked, so this was the new regime. We would put Harrison in his cot, sing “Rock A Bye Baby” a couple of times to him, then say “Goodnight my love, sleep well, Mummy/Daddy will come and check on you in 5 minutes”. We would leave the room and the crying would commence. We’d leave it for 5-10 mins and go in, comfort him and resettle him in his cot, then do the same thing. And so on, and so on.

The first night he was absolutely knackered from a fun day out, and there was only 45 minutes of crying/resettling. The next night, it was 1.5hrs. The next night it was 2 hrs. Then slowly the crying time reduced, and by the end of 7 days, we put him in his cot, sang “Rock A Bye Baby” several times, said goodnight, left the room and there was no crying. He proceeded to have a chat to himself about Thomas the Tank Engine or the doggy he’d patted that day, or whatever else came into his mind, then gradually wound down and settled himself to sleep. HOORAY! It worked!

This all sounds fairly clinical, but let me tell you we were both emotional wrecks by the end of the 7 days. One more day of it and I would have given up. In fact I would have given up every night had Rob not talked sense into me.

And the irony is that now he can self-settle himself to sleep, when he wakes up during the night he goes straight back to sleep now too, whereas before he would have cried out for us and it would have taken us a while to get him back to sleep. He’s sleeping longer, and he’s sleeping better. So it’s better for him, it’s better for us, and I really can’t think how we put up with such a ridiculous routine for so long, except for the fact that as a parent you do whatever you have to do to get through that particular stage, and that’s what we did.

Now for the next scary but necessary activity: toilet training. Although I think we might give ourselves a break for a few months before we dive into that. Ah, the joys of parenting 🙂

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

 

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It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of having your first baby. What will it look like, what will you name it, will you ever sleep again? But in all seriousness, there needs to be a bit of discussion going on about the big picture before bub comes along, because let me tell you, there ain’t a whole lot of time to talk when you’re dealing with a new, tiny human 24/7. In my humble opinion, here are the things you need to make sure you’re clear on BEFORE the baby comes, if you’re in a relationship…

holding baby's hand

  1. Discuss how you want to parent – Look at how you were raised, and talk about your thoughts around discipline, displaying affection and gender roles. Are you both going to be on the same page? You may have been raised in a very loving environment, where you were always told that you were loved, whereas your partner may have never heard ‘I love you’ from their parents before in their life. As a woman, were you made to feel that you were equal to the men in your family? How will that impact how you raise your own children, and the messages you send to them?
  2. Discuss practicalities around your living arrangements – Do you need to move to a larger apartment or house? Do you want to stay living in the area you’re currently in, or do you want to move closer to family, friends or a support network? Can you afford to rent where you are, or pay the mortgage on one wage?
  3. Discuss money – Do you have a joint bank account already set up? What will you do when the main stay-at-home parent needs money for groceries, activities and everyday needs (like coffee, you always need coffee)?
  4. Discuss your relationship – When a baby comes along, you will be absorbed in that baby 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. Get in some couple time before you have a baby, and commit to making time for each other before you have the baby. Acknowledge that having a baby is not the sole responsibility of the woman actually having the baby, and that both parents need to be elbow-deep in poo and milk if you are going to get through it sane. Discuss what might happen after the baby is born in regards to the primary caregiver returning to work, but be prepared for plans to change (mine did).
  5. And of course the fun discussion: baby names – This will take time. You will LOVE one name, while it might remind your partner of  a colleague who annoyed the sh*t out of them, so that one will be ruled out. Compose a shortlist and see what comes up. Most of all, enjoy the quiet time while you still can.

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x