Sleeping, Our story: I remember the midwives at the antenatal classes telling us how important it was to ensure your baby feeds every four hours in the night. When Oliver was born he was a very good sleeper and my mother said I was mad to wake up a big burly boy in the night for a feed, but we were so keen to do everything by the book. Ben used to set the alarm and wake me as I am a heavy sleeper, although I have to admit a few times we both slept through the alarm and Oliver was just fine in the morning. I was always ready and awake when Oliver was hungry as my full breasts tended to wake me, so I'm not sure I will be waking the next baby up in the night if it's a good healthy size... Although with small/ underweight babies it is essential.
Waking Oliver in the night trained him to eat regularly and we got into a good routine and the four hours sleep was great for me, although the 6 am feed always left me with lots of milk so I would express to top up my emergency supplies and then jump back into bed.
At 7 weeks Oliver seemed to be waking more regularly and if I'm honest he was far too big for the crib and Moses basket. One lunch time I convinced Ben that Oliver should have a little trial nap in his cot, which was in his nursery and he slept soundly, so we moved him in and he stayed there. The recommendation is that babies stay in your room for 6 months but we had a motion sensor alarm with the volume turned up and checked him regularly, it worked really well for us.
At 7 months I had to return to work in the City, which for me personally was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. Oliver was still waking in the night for his dummy but had dropped his night feeds. One weekend My sister in-law came to visit and noticed how grumpy Ben and I were with each other and gently broached the subject of controlled crying. She highlighted how exhausted we were and that topped with a near-miss car accident, probably because I was exhausted meant we really listened. As a mother of 3 my sister in-law has experience. That night we removed the dummy from the cot and my sister in-law sat with us at 1.30 am when Oliver woke up, until 1.55 am when he went back to sleep. I won't lie, it was the longest 25 minutes of my life. The cry was not continuous but it felt like 25 hours! We were extremely lucky as the crying went to 15 minutes the next night and 10 minutes the night after, on night 4 he slept through. And he never asked for the dummy again, which we found very odd!
We did regress in other areas of the routine as I was desperate to hold Oliver when I got in from work. I would be in the office before Oliver woke-up and usually walk in just to be handed my freshly bathed baby in his PJ's ready for bed. Ordinarily I would have fed him, kissed him good night and laid him down but I needed to hold him so I started rocking him to sleep in our chair and wouldn't put him down until he was asleep, not a good thing for his routine but I think it saved me having a nervous breakdown.
Other than teething/sickness Oliver sleeps pretty well although those of you that did read the "Should I wean my baby off the bedtime milk", will know that post four weeks of illness we also regressed to waking in the night for milk, although thankfully it's remedied again.
Oliver is still in a cot and yes, I'm in denial about the bed for now, but at least when the time does come i'll have something else to write about.
Note: It's important to liaise with you GP or health visitor in advance of trying the controlled crying technique for sleep training - Michelle x