I had been VERY nervous about this meeting. My ten month old daughter, Abigail, is a terrible sleeper, she is difficult to get to sleep and she wakes up constantly. I know her problems stem down to my insecurities and fears from losing Katie, so I was going into this meeting with a feeling of dread, I was about to openly have my parenting judged and told I was doing the wrong thing. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Margaret told us right from the start that nothing we were doing, or Abigail was doing, is wrong, it’s simply not working anymore. She told us that she wasn’t going to suggest putting her in the cot and let her cry it out (what we had been dreading hearing!) Instead she gave us the option of continuing co-sleeping if we didn’t want to try her in the cot. The Family Care Cottage is government funded and their processes are based purely on research rather than ideals, we were told that they just leaving a child to cry it out has definitely been proven to be harmful to a developing baby, it was very important that we did go back in to comfort her or let her know we were there.
After 10 months of co sleeping, 3 of breast feeding, 4 of EBM, I am more than ready for this break. Sometimes I feel like my life is just consumed by Abigail and I hate the fact I can’t be there for Emily as much as I want to be. We aim to start putting Abigail in her cot to sleep with nothing but her lamby blanket, this is a huge jump from co-sleeping and allowing her fall asleep with a bottle so we have been warned that she is not going to do it without a fight.
Our main problems with Abigail’s sleep is;
a) her sleep association is her bottle
b) she doesn’t know how to self soothe
To overcome this we have to allow her to go into her cot when she has given us her sleep cues, perform a sleep routine (IE; read a book, close the blinds, then give her a kiss and cuddle) and place her into her cot. Now we can leave the room or stay, whatever feels right to us. Abigail will probably cry and try stand up, we can either place her down or we can just wait and let her get herself back down. We can soothe her in whatever way we want, singing, talking, patting her back, patting her mattress but the key is to try and not do it until she falls asleep. As she starts calming down more, we need to ease off and give her the chance to get herself to sleep, we don’t want to create another sleep association that involves us! Basically, we are trying to give Abigail the tools to get herself to sleep and not be reliant on us to do so.
One of the most important things we learned today was
No more play, eat, sleep. She has to learn to stop needing her bottle to get her back to sleep. This is Abigail’s biggest problem and is going to be the hardest to overcome. We know that nutritionally, she doesn’t need her milk overnight. She eats heaps of solids through the day and she is at an age where she isn’t dependent on milk overnight anymore.
So tomorrow starts a new day, another attempt. I know that this lack of sleep can’t be good for not only me but Abigail as well and it’s for her that I am going to promise myself not to cave in. I might not like to hear her cry but her health and well being is far more important to me. Wish me Luck.