Sleep in babies and toddlers is such an overwhelming, anxiety producing and confusing topic which is why for so long I tried not to speak about it except when telling you all how much trouble we were having with Remi. When we were going through it I felt like I couldn’t add anything of value but now we are out the other side I can see that there are a few things I wish I knew that could possibly help someone else too.
My baby girl Remi was the perfect newborn – she slept ALOT and probably put me in to a false sense of security because from about 7 months old she decided she could no longer sleep long stretches unless she was attached literally to my nipple.
Remi was fed to sleep from the day she was born – it felt right and it’s something I will never regret. It was the most beautiful bonding experience. At some point it did need to end and I guess it was just finding that point for us. I just wanted to make sure that you know that you should NEVER feel guilty or doubt yourself about feeding your baby to sleep – its natural and it’s beautiful.
For a long time I wasn’t sleeping or Remi would literally sleep on top of me all night long. We did what we needed to survive but once we decided to wean from breastfeeding (medical reasons) we needed a solution to getting Remi to sleep.
If you haven’t already read my WEANING JOURNEY AND TIPS BLOG CLICK HERE as this is the first part of this story and will give you more of an idea of how we got to this point of changing her habits and her sleep.
Basically we decided to wean which mean finding a new way to put Remi to sleep was necessary. I tried and tried absolutely everything but it did not work. I was awake for days on end, driving Remi in the car until 3 am and in the end just putting her back on the boob. It got to a point where I knew I needed some professional help so I searched for a Gold Coast sleep consultant – I needed someone to physically come to my house and help me as I have a heap of online programs but I knew I needed physical support from someone who would be caring towards my need to keep my bond with Remi and keep the approach more gentle.
I found Chantal from BABY SLEEP MAGIC via a google search and then checked out her instagram and website. Just so you know none of this is sponsored or been asked to be written – I paid full price for her services but wanted to share as she helped us so much. To be honest I was still really reluctant to work with a sleep consultant but knew I needed help and decided that I would just try it and if I didn’t feel comfortable I wouldn’t do what she recommended.
After meeting Chantal I was very comfortable with what she had recommended which was a gentle approach to start to teach Remi to sleep independently but the main focus was on getting up her calories in the day, introducing her to a comforter and setting a strong bedtime routine and schedule. The first 5 days still included me feeding Remi to sleep but placing her back in the cot and giving Remi motion naps to help break the day nap feed to sleep. Chantal then told me to contact her again after 5 days to do the next step which would be breaking the feed to sleep association and supporting Remi through learning to go to sleep by herself. I didn’t believe Remi would be ready in 5 days but by the 3 or 4th day I noticed that Remi could no longer fall asleep at the breast but had no way to fall asleep so she was getting so frustrated I then realised that meant it was time to help her learn to fall asleep another way.
Chantal came to our house and supported me through the first night of getting Remi to fall asleep independently. There were tears but I was by Remi’s side the entire time – patting her back, rubbing her back, holding her hand speaking to her until she finally fell asleep. It took just over an hour but she fell asleep by her self in her own cot. That night she woke up twice and each time I implemented the patting, the reassuring and the holding of her hand and each time she fell back to sleep within 10 minutes or so. I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT!
The next night I was sure it would be a repeat of the night before but when I placed Remi into bed she had a little whinge, laid down and held my hand and went to sleep – WHAT!! She woke up twice that night.
From then on she would just do a very similar thing and has actually slept through a couple of nights since but mainly wakes up once – has a little cry, a drink of water and is back to sleep within a couple of minutes or less.
I cannot believe that my boob obsessed, non sleeping baby is now a little girl who put herself to sleep and stays asleep all night – its actually crazy and life changing.
We are still working on nap time when she is at home with me as she struggles to sleep in the day with out the car or the pram. But overnight sleep is what I really wanted to get right first and Ill probably now get Chantal to help me with day naps.
I also just want you to know if your in the midst of the sleep deprivation, the confusion and the desperation that comes with it, I HEAR YOU sister – it is REALLY hard and has a huge effect on everything in your life. There is help out there and hopefully by being patient and understanding of your babes needs you too can find a solution.
Every baby is different but I though I would give some tips that I found helpful.
CALORIES IN THE DAY: Making sure baby is getting enough calories in the day from food. Extra snacks, extra food and a smoothie before bed helped us to get Remi sleeping longer with out the need to wake up for milk over night. This was a game changer as Remi was constantly filling up on milk over night she struggled to eat enough during the day particularly in the mornings after feeding all night long.
REMI’S BED TIME SMOOTHIE:
1/2 frozen banana
Small handful of frozen berries
1 scoop of Nutra Organics super food powder (choc or berry) “BRITTANY15” for discount
Almond or coconut milk 200ml
BLITZ AND SERVE
COMFORTER: Introducing a comforter to help baby have the attachment. I wish we did this from birth but I was surprised how quickly Remi started to feel a little attached. I don’t think she will ever be completely attached but if you have a young baby I would definitely introduce. I bought THIS ONE from Kmart. I got 3 incase we lost them. I took Remi with me to pick it so that she felt like it was special and made everyone in the house make out “BABA” the lamb was a very important new member of the family. I also personally wish that we introduced a dummy to Remi as a newborn but that’s my own opinion.
MOTION NAPS: When breaking the feed to sleep cycle and weaning the day was the obvious place for me to start. We would do motion naps either in the pram or car as it’s so easy for them to fall asleep while moving. Some times I would transfer her to the cot but usually I just let her have the whole hour where she fell asleep. I am still currently doing this on the days when she is home with me but when she is at her granparents or with our babysitter she will go to sleep for them in the cot. Still something for us to work on but the motion nap definitely helps with the transition and the feed to sleep pattern in the day.
BEDTIME ROUTINE: Having a solid bedtime routine helped us SO much. Doing everything the same way each night helps baby have a new association with falling to sleep.
BEDTIME: Having a bed time that suits your family and evening is essential I think. Theres no point trying to get your kids to bed at 6pm if that doesn’t suit your lifestyle.
DECIDING ITS TIME AND STICKING TO IT: I think with implementing a new sleep routine you need be so ready to make that change and once you decide STICK WITH IT! So many times I thought I was ready but I wasn’t and it sent so many mixed messages to Remi making her feel more insecure.
LISTEN TO YOUR BABY AND BE GENTLE: I really wanted to make sure that any approach I did was gentle with Remi as she is and was very attached to me. Being able to stay beside her , touch her and talk to her while I was supporting her to go to sleep kept me calm as well as I believed helped Remi feell safe enough to actually fall asleep and know she was ok.
DO IT ON YOUR TERMS: Never feel pressured or pushed to do anything you don’t feel comfortable with as a mother. It has to feel right for you and your intuition.
RED LIGHT AND ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER: We have been using ECO Originals “Littles” range of essential oils as part of Remi’s sleep routine in combination with her diffuser set to red light about 1/2 hour before she goes to bed and during book time.
We love the “peaceful” or “lullaby” blends to help promote sleep. The red light is also used to help promote sleep. They also have a great immunity blend as we head into cold and flu season.
Use code “BRITTANY20” for a huge 20% discount.
WHITE NOISE: White noise is something we always used with our babies when they were little and it really does help. Implementing this back into Remi routine has been so helpful. We use the app “SOUND SLEEPER” set to continuous play on the “MOUNTAIN RIVER” setting. We have it connected to a bluetooth speaker on an old phone we had laying around.
MONITOR: Having a good quality video monitor has been really helpful. I have been trialling one which Im excited to share with you in the future but it has given me so much peace of mind.
PATIENCE AND CALM: This experience can be overwhelming to approach and having the patience to work on it over a week or more can be hard but it is worth it.
PROFESSIONAL HELP: Having Chantal come and help me was the best decision I ever made. I honestly didn’t believe it could work with Remi my little boob loving, non sleeper but Chantal gave me practical and supportive advice which led to Remi now sleeping. Chantal does in home sessions on the Gold Coast but also does Skype sessions too. Search @babysleepmagic on instagram for more info and tell her I sent you 🙂
LOTS OF ACTIVITY AND STIMULATION IN THE DAY: Making sure I wear out Remi in the day definitely helps her sleep better at night.
SOOTHING AND SUPPORTING: When getting Remi to fall asleep on her own it takes some gentle soothing and support. Speaking to her and reminding her we are close and that we won’t leave her and patting her on the back or holding her hand is how we help support her. I never want her to feel like I have abandoned her so we stay close by and reassure her until she is asleep. I think because she knows we are there for her she is comfortable enough to lay down and go to sleep.
Every baby is so different but I wanted to share with you our daily sleep and feeding schedule.
DAILY SLEEP AND EATING ROUTINE (17 months old):
6.30 am – Wake up
7.00 am – Breakfast: toast with avocado or peanut butter, fruit and yogurt etc. and usually a smoothie too either straight away or 1 hour later.
10.00 am – Snack time – rice cakes, potato sticks, bliss balls, cheese sticks, piklet, croissant, sachet of baby food etc.
12.00 pm – Lunch time – sandwich with Vegemite or avocado etc, cucumber , cut up grapes, strawberries, left overs from previous dinner.
12.30 pm – Nap for 1-2 hours (working on cot naps still having a lot of her naps in car or pram)
2.30- 3.00 pm – Snack: fruit and yogurt, crackers etc
5.30 pm – Dinner: pasta or rice, protein (chicken, fish etc) , steamed or roast veg.
6.00 pm – Smoothie
6.15 pm – Bath
6.30 – Turn on diffuser and red light
6.30 / 6.45 pm – Book time.
7.00 pm – Bed time with white noise, comforter and reassurance by sitting next to her or close by while she falls asleep.
If Remi wakes over night we don’t take her out of cot – we reassure her and give her some water.
Remi doesn’t drink a bottle or plain milk but if your baby does you should keep that in there somewhere.
This is just our routine please contact someone to help your specific situation if needed.
Mar 16, 2020