Once the turmoil of the delivery had past at about 1-2 months old Jamie and I made the decision to start using a routine lifestyle for Lachlan, we found that he really responded well to knowing what was coming next in his day. We also really want to introduce the concept of self settling into our lives (Side note – to clarify self settling and control crying are very different things). By the time we had started Lachlan was already sleeping through the night with one dream feed at about 10.20-11.00pm and then only waking once overnight for another bottle.
We used the Tizzie Hall book “Save our sleep” for the scheduled times for feeding and sleeping, and we used it as a guideline to the self settling sleep training. We took the principles in the book and tailor them to suit what Jamie and I thought was best for Lachlan and made them not quiet as rigid as in the book. In the book you were to let the baby cry and be unsettled for 4 minutes until you went in there and tried to resettle him. After trying this concept and it ended in my sitting on the outside of his bedroom door on the floor in tears myself listening to him scream instead of settling himself to sleep, I decided that it was too harsh for me and I could not listen to him in distress for that period of time. So instead I tailored the model to what I could sustain.
What we did was we followed the same routine; wrapped him, gave him his pippy (dummy/pacifier whatever you choose to call it), gave him a kiss, laid him in his cot, say I love you and left the room. When he became hysterically unsettled I would go in and try to calm him down without picking him up, rocking his body gently in the cot, run the tip of my finger from the top of his forehead down to his nose (which I called his magic spot), gentle shhh’ing him so he knew that I was there and he was safe, if this worked to calming him down then I would say I love you and leave the room again. If this didn’t work then I would pick him up and settle him in my arms and then start the routine all over again. It wasn’t always that easy and sleep training was really hard work but I reminded myself that Jamie and I had made the commitment that this is what we wanted to do so we had to stick to the 3 x P’s principle that we developed:
P – perseverance
P – patience
P – practice
Eventually our commitment paid off and by about 3 months old every nap and night sleep our little champion was tucking himself up and putting himself to sleep. There is a lot of people who believe that this type of sleep training doesn’t make the child feel safe and loved, and of course they are entitled to their own opinion, however my opinion is that Lachlan always knew that he was loved and safe by our constant reassuring that he was safe and not letting him get too distraught and by following the same routine every time we resettled he learnt what was coming next….he learnt that when either mum or dad gave him a kiss it was time for a sleep.
The other thing we did, which was not recommended in the book but worked for us was that we had gentle music playing in his bedroom overnight – we stem this from the fact that the first 4 weeks of his life he spent 3 of those weeks in a noisy hospital with a tv constantly on in the background that he does not like silence.
By 3 ½ months old, little mister decided that we was ready to roll both directions.
By 4 months we showed all the signs that we were ready for solids so we started the solids journey.
By 5 months old he was sitting upright with a bit of support behind his back.
So at 7 months old we were tracking beautifully. His height and weight were both sitting comfortably at 50%, his development was right on track and we had a happy healthy little boy. I could not possibly love being a mum any more and it was a complete honour and joy watch my little miracle slowly grow, learn and develop from a little new born blob into this interactive, gorgeous cheeky little baby boy with personality plus.