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Friday, 5 April 2013

How to get your baby to sleep through the night

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A Google search for this phrase brings up over 59 million results. So I thought I'd add one more!

I give you the tried and tested* 5-step method, proven to get your baby sleeping through the night.

Step 1
• Have a baby

Step 2
• When you are ready for bed in the evening, take your baby to bed with you.
• Turn out the lights.
• Put away the clock.

Step 3
• When the baby makes a noise, pop out a boob. Attach baby.
• Get comfortable, and doze off back to sleep.

Step 4
• Repeat Step 3 as required until the sun comes up.

Step 5
• When your baby is 18 years old, I guarantee you, he/she will be sleeping through the night without needing you! (Unless of course she/he calls from the pub at 2am needing a lift home. Then popping a boob out might not work. And besides, someone else may have already tried that with them earlier that evening.)

In other words, let it go, mama. Babies wake; some a little, some a lot. But it's normal, normal, normal and you have the perfect resources to cope with it. It'll pass. In the meantime, get people to look after you. You deserve it!

Happy sleeping!
Peace and love to you. xo

*Sort of tested, my oldest baby, with whom this method was employed, is almost 6 years old. So no phone calls from the pub yet.

34 comments:

  1. :-). Love it. My 3rd is 9 months old and still up every 2-3 hours. My first 2 slept through by 2-4 months. Withthe help of your blog and my intuition, I am really focused on relaxing and ignoring the clock this time around. It's so much nicer to just nuture your baby without wondering what the "right" thing to do is (should I feed him? But it's only been 2 hours! Do I let him cry? Pick him up? Etc). All I have to worru about is just LOVING my baby...how easy is that!? Thanks for uour awesome blog!

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  2. Thanks for this. In my heart I know this is the right way to do it, but ofcourse second time around we are trying to get baby into a 'routine' so i am reading all the books and they just don't sit right.

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    1. You know in your heart what to do, Adi—listen to what your body and your baby tell you ;) Kim xo

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  3. It doesn't sound very safe to me, mothers are so tired and i don't think co bedding is safe, what if the mother smothers the baby she will never forgive herself. Each to their own but that is my opinion and I have 2 little girls so speaking from experience ;-)

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    1. Yours is a common concern, Anonymous, but it's easy to soothe when you look at the science. No other mammal sleeps alone. For all of human existence—and in most countries around the world—co-sleeping is the norm. Think of how vulnerable a newborn infant is—why on earth would it be safe for them to sleep separately from their mother? The majority of SIDS and SUDI cases are of infants sleeping alone in their cots. Formula feeding is another contributing factor to SIDS. I'd suggest you have a read of some of the work of Dr. James McKenna: http://cosleeping.nd.edu/ Hope that helps. Kim xo

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    2. Do not agree one bit on sleeping with your child. Next to you in a cot and pick it up to feed in bed is great but this extremely dangerous thinking to promote.

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    3. Hi Michelle. I hope you'll consider reading my above comment as it addresses your concern. Cheers, Kim xo

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    4. My son has slept in the bed with me since he was born.he is 11 months now. Me personally I don't sleep very hard so I've never worried about rolling over on my child. And if ur baby is as big ad mine rolling over on him or her without noticing then u r a hard ass sleeper.

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    5. I didn't feel it was safe to co-sleep with my young baby, but after two years of hardly any sleep I eventually started co-sleeping with my toddler. It's amazing. He now sleeps and so do I. It's the first time I haven't felt like a zombie. Next time round I suspect I will still put a young baby in a cot next to the bed but I doubt I'll wait as long before co-sleeping. Best decision ever.

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    6. I agree with the comment before mine. I tried holding off the bed sharing because of the comments I was getting but when your walking around rocking your child and so tired your falling asleep standing up well the bed is much safer and the BEST decision I have ever made. 11 months old and he still wakes every couple of hours but he does now sleep!

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    7. Co-sleeping is not just about having baby in your bed. It may mean having baby in a bassinet next to the bed. It hurt my back too much to feed in bed so I would put babe (number 4) in the bassinet and when he woke, set up in a comfortable chair where l could safely sleep and feed. Some time (around an hour later) we would wake and swap him to the other side. After a go on that side I would put him back in the bassinet and go back to bed.

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  4. I do the same thing, but without co-sleeping. My daughter makes a noise, I go into her room, we get cozy in her rocker, I nurse her, we both fall asleep, I put her back in bed and go back to bed myself. I'm not comfortable co-sleeping. I have a horrible fear of baby suffocating or falling off the bed. BTW- most countries where co-sleeping is big are warm places where they don't use huge comforters and pillows in their beds, whereas in America, everyone has like 5 pillows and 2 blankets in their beds. Just not the safest thing, in my opinion. The only time I really do is when my daughter isn't feeling well, and I'll stay up and listen to her breathing.

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    1. falling asleep in the rocker is much more dangerous as this falls into the category of 'unplanned' cosleeping. in the UK it is also very cold and co-sleeping and staying warm is still no problem.

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    2. way more dangerous than cosleeping...

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  5. Pretty much sums it up! I just had baby #4 and this works for us. I think we both get more sleep when I don't have to get out of bed. Also, sleeping in a rocker with a baby on your lap doesn't sound very safe. When the baby is very young, I have a bed rail on my bed and the baby never sleeps next to his dad. We make sure not to have lots of blankets and pillows and use common sense. As baby gets older and probably is sleeping through he night more, then he can sleep in a bigger bed of his own or with a sibling. And about SIDS, Babies need to be near a human body to help regulate their young respiratory system. Your breathing and heart beat regulates theirs. I don't have references for that at the moment but it would be a good topic to research.

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  6. I got real worried Kim because I thought you wrote 8 years old in step 5!! And this worry had nothing to do with the early hours pick up from the pub it was about your guarantee about an "8yr old" sleeping through the night not needing me... I was thinking I had failed the 5 step plan, but now I realize I have 10 more years to achieve this. Phew! Lol!!

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    1. LOL! Don't worry, you're almost half way there! ;) Kim xo

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  7. This post has made me kind of angry - obviously you don't have a baby who doesn't sleep and hates co-sleeping or any issues with breastfeeding. I have both of these things and find what you wrote trite, condescending and really annoying. Sleep deprivation is awful for the whole family so while I am sure 'it will pass' 6 months with little but broken sleep is hideous and smug self serving post and blogs like this just make me crazy!

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    1. I'm sorry this makes you angry, you sound understandably frustrated. Please be assured I have had (and still have) very wakeful, unsettled babies who just don't seem to sleep well anywhere. Sleep deprivation is something I live with every day. You might find it helpful to read some of my other posts and you'll see I've had almost every breastfeeding problem under the sun, along with some very difficult and dark moments in mothering. Sometimes, the only way to cope is just to go with it, to go back to basic mammalian behaviour and to be flexible. And to laugh about it. If we don't laugh, we'll cry right? That is what worked for me. Lots of love. xo

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  8. Awesome blog. i really like it. You have really written a beautiful review.
    Thomas the Tank Engine Beds

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  9. Hi there,
    We co sleep at night but Ive been having a heck of a time trying to get baby to nap during the day, he will not nap more then 30 minutes, any suggestions?

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    1. Hi Anonymous,
      Short naps are fairly normal, in my experience. :) Do you have a good sling or wrap you can wear baby in? That way they can sleep on and off throughout the day as the need. Sometimes I found laying down on the bed to breastfeed to sleep and then creeping away gave my some hands-free time. Hang in there, you're doing a great job. Kim xo

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  10. It's nice to know I am not alone and I am following my natural insticts we are mothers to be there for our babies day and night..one day they will grow and it will all be over and yes we deserve and need some help care and attention. .God bless all those beautiful moms depriving themselves from rest and sleep to meet their babies' needs..I have been sleep deprived for 5 yrs already because I had one kid after the other now it's getting a bit better.

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  11. have patience anonymous. .I know how sleep deprivation makes a person irritated all the time and overeact but keep reminding urself that it will be over one day..what's best for our babies is not what is best for us. .but we make choices we either put our babies' needs before ours or we just simply meet ours and end up feeling guilty one day for not giving them our best..it will all be over one day..and do ur best so one day u will be proud u gave ur child the best u could and one day he will be proud of the mother that gave up rest for him! We chose to have them!

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  12. Great blog I completely agree! I did have a look just in case you had the answer to solving my sleepless nights but I guess I'll just carry on nursing my 2 year old when she wakes every 2-3hrs and hope she grows out of it eventually. I admire your ability to make such kind responses to those that have taken offense and been quite rude x

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    1. Yes, hang in there Shirley, it will pass, I promise. I found that when my toddlers were closer to 3yo, I could negotiate night feeds with them, too, sometimes saying 'a bit later, I need more sleep' etc.

      (And thank you. It's not always easy to be kind, but it's certainly the most cooling response!)

      Kim xo

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  13. I like to have sex in my bed, it is no place for my baby....

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    1. I like to have sex in my bed, too. And in the spare bed, on the couch, in the kitchen, in the garden ... ;)

      http://www.pinkymckay.com/co-sleeping-does-it-mean-a-better-sex-life/

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  14. A very, er, worthwhile blog. *wink*

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  15. I love this!

    To the co-sleep deniers.... Put a 20lb sack of unopened cat food (or dog, rabbit, bird, whatever) in the bed beside you. Try to roll over on top of it.

    Now try to do it in your sleep.

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  16. I started cosleeping with my son when he was 6 months old. I avoided it at first because of things I read about SIDS but after we knew he was able to readjust if his face was down in his crib and after he was bigger and stronger (we have a thick strong boy) I felt better about bringing him into our bed. He's always been a terrible sleeper and hates his crib, but since we started cosleeping we all sleep so much better. Our pediatrician pointed out that babies have slept with their mothers for thousands of years and if I felt it was right for my baby then to go ahead. I know people love to judge me because we cosleep. It's strange, when I entered into the world of motherhood I found that mothers are vicious towards each other. I Think we should be supporting each other! Anyways the biggest thing I have learned I think is that EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT and has different needs. They aren't cookie cutter babies. There's no one "right way" to do things. And just because I cosleep with my child doesn't mean it's right for everyone. It's right for us so that's why we do it.

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  17. Btw im glad you posted this because I had been wondering what to do about the sleeping through the night thing because he still wakes up to nurse. (He's almost 1.) Most of the advice you find online is for babies who sleep in a crib in a separate room and we don't like to do the cry it out method so it's nice to finally find a different perspective. :-)

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  18. It's so wonderful that this can work for you. For some people it works, for others - it doesn't.
    I'm one of those people who wanted to co-sleep with my baby, but couldn't. I really, really wanted it. But I just couldn't make myself go back to sleep while breast feeding, and I couldn't sleep though my son tossing and turning and kicking in bed next to me. I was so disappointed with myself, and it took years before I managed to forgive myself for not being able to be the kind of mother I wanted to be. But in the end I realised that I had to focus on what worked for me, and not on some kind of ideal.
    Today my son is a wonderful, happy 7-year-old who is full of hugs and smiles and snuggles, and somehow he survived his 'deprived' upbringing!
    This is what I think now: We all need to give each other at break. There is no right or wrong way. Do whatever feels right - and stop judging! That way we can draw strength from eachother, rather than tearing eachother down.
    Thank you for sharing your way, Little Leaf.

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  19. we often let my son lie down between us at night. but until when he is 18, I think. . . . . . . . . . perhaps not =))

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