Monday, March 16, 2009

How Not To Put Baby To Bed

I have always felt a bit guilty about not having a proper bath/book/lights out routine for Cave Baby. She has never gone to bed at 7pm (why would you do that unless you want a 6am alarm call?). In an effort to deal with Cave Baby's early sleeping difficulties I consulted many books and websites but all gave advice tailored to the traditional put-child-in-cot-at-7pm model. How do "normal" bedtime routines translate to a co-sleeping family?

At first, I needed to spend about as much time in bed as baby did. That worked great - I went to bed at around 9pm and got up 12 or 13 hours later. Going to bed at the same time as baby was fine to begin with but as our sleep improved, we began to long for some mummy and daddy time in the evening. So how do you get a baby to go to bed before its mum (without pushing it round the block in a pram or walking it in a sling, both of which are impractical in sub-zero winter of 2009 temperatures)?

We started a mini bedtime routine - sleepsuit, a song or a book (if baby's disposition allowed) and then a feed. In every book or website I could find, it would then simply be a matter of nursing baby to sleep in bed and creeping away. Oh dear. Cave Baby's not falling for that! Over a period of weeks, here is what we tried to get her to go to sleep and stay asleep: nursing to sleep and laying her down in a bedside cot (yeah, right); nursing to sleep and laying her in her car-seat (no chance mate); nursing to sleep in bed then creeping away (5 minutes sleep if you are lucky); nursing to sleep in bed then sticking a dummy in her mouth (pointless); rocking/bouncing to sleep then laying down (20 minutes peace if she didn't wake up on the put-down, but a sore aching back too). Needless to say, we did not consider controlled crying to be an option.

Cave Baby has seriously tested our ingenuity and patience on this one, and for anyone recognising their own little darling in this post, and perhaps still stuck in the horrible trying anything (and nothing working) phase, we have emerged victorious (most nights). But Cave Baby is rioting now, so... solution tomorrow.