Succesful loving and determined baby sleep approach: Emma (4 months - 4 years) and Sara (2 y)
Sweet dreams ...
With a simple loving but determined approach, Emma is growing up a really good sleeper, with her baby sister Sara following in her footsteps. Here's the story of Emma at 4 months old and then later at 4 years old.
Emma's sleep story at 4 months
Emma is a very sweet, happy little girl. She loves to be in her own well-known environment. That is also where she sleeps at best.
About letting her cry it out: of course I would prefer not to have her cry at all. Luckily she does not cry when I put her to bed during the day. But at night she does.
Strange as it may sound, we found out that Emma just wants to be by herself sometimes. We used to hold her and walk around a bit with her, but she remained sad. Until I just put her to bed and then she is ok. She does cry for a little while, but then goes to sleep quite quickly.
Our top tip? We do not follow a strict time schedule but definitely keep to a given rhythm. Feeding-hugging-playing-hugging and then off to bed. Emma clearly lets us know she needs this kind of regularity that she recognises.
Also, Emma sleeps in her own room since she was three months old - before that she was in our room. Since she moved to her room, she started sleeping through the night ...
I have read a lot about sleep for babies on the internet but in the end I think it is important to follow your own feelings, as every child is different.
Emma's sleep routine during the day
After the first breastfeeding in the morning, between 7 and 8am, she stays in bed with me and then often sleeps until 10am. After that it's bath time, nursing and then to bed again.
All day further we have the rhythm waking up-nursing-hugging-playing-and back to bed. We keep the curtains of her bedroom windows open. I lie her down in bed, tell her to sleep, switch on the musical toy and walk out. She cries very seldomly during the day.
Emma's sleep routine at night
Daddy changes her in to her pajama, then she feeds with me and then we go upstairs. Curtains are closed now, we rock a while in the rocking chair and then to bed. I tell her to sleep, switch on the musical box and ... unfortunately she usually cries at this point.
Sometimes very little, and sometimes she cries really hard. Luckily we usually do hear why she cries. If she's really upset I pick her up. I hug her, nurse her a little, etc. But always back to bed, even if I have to repeat the whole routine again - luckily never more than three times.
She then sleeps until 10.30pm, feeds half asleep and then sleeps through the night until 7am.
A bit strange, when I hear her wake at other times during the night she never cries but I hear her move around a little or suckle a bit.
This story must sound pretty perfect and actually it is, but I am still working on it all day. You want the best for your child and for her to be happy, but it takes a bit of searching before you know what is best.
Emma likes to be at home. She does not like busy places nor does she like to sleep over somewhere else. We have learned that after a couple nights out with Emma crying a lot. Sometimes there is no choice, but we always immediately notice it is not comfortable for her.
Emma at 4 years and Sara at 2 years
Emma is now 4 years old and still a very good sleeper. She goes to bed at 7pm and wakes up around 7am. She likes sleeping and never cries at bedtime. Of course we do get the "I'm not tired, I don't want to sleep" but that's just part of the game.
She's not allowed out of bed before 7am, except to go the bathroom of course. Since she was two I put a digital clock in her room. When she sees the 7, she can come out of bed. That works really well!
Until she turned 4, Emma did a two to three hour nap each afternoon. She really needs that rest time and get get quite cranky if she doesn't nap. Now she goes to school that is a bit of a problem. But often I let her take a nap right after school.
About 1,5 year ago I had a second baby girl, Sara. She also started sleeping through at about 3 months. She just went to bed at 7pm until the next morning.
At first, she did cry before she fell asleep, but that didn't last long. When we put her to bed, she takes her thumb, her cuddly toy, turns on her side, and sleeps...
Between 5 and 7 months, Sara suddenly started waking up every three hours at night. We had no idea what was happening! We tried everything but nothing really worked. And then one day, just like that, it stopped and she slept all well as before again.
Just some extra info: both Emma and Sara were breastfed during their first year. The both have a cuddly toy for sleeping.