Monday, 1 September 2014

What we learnt at sleep school

Two weeks ago I took Jalen to sleep school.  After two appointments with Child & Youth Health (which I've posted about here) they suggested we come in to the day clinic where you spend the whole day there and a nurse observes how you settle your baby and then gives tips and different things to try.

In my sleep deprived state I was just functioning on auto pilot and needed something different to try.  I got some awesome tips and have implemented them right away.

One of Jalen's sleep issues was resettling, for his day naps he would wake after half an hour and just would not go back to sleep.  I figured he wasn't tired so would get him up, but then he would get grizzly not too long after and I now know he hadn't napped for long enough.

My aim is to have Jalen self settle himself to sleep, without doing controlled crying, I want him to be relaxed and happy in his bed so I can put him down awake & he will go to sleep on his own.

So what I have been doing now with Jalen is;

  • really watching him for his sleepy cues so I can get him to sleep before he starts getting cranky (rubbing his eyes, red eyes/eyebrows & high pitched squeals are his main ones)
  • putting his swaddle on for all sleeps, I used to only do it for night time.  I try & do the same thing for every nap/bedtime so he gets the association with sleep
  • cuddles until he's relaxed & starting to get sleepy, but don't cuddle to sleep
  • put him down in the cot & turn my back to him, I stroke his head or pat the mattress if he's grizzly, if not grizzly don't do anything just stand there with my back to him
  • listen for him to make a big sigh, that shows he's relaxing, or if he turns his head away from me that shows he's disengaging & getting ready to fall asleep
  • I've been standing with my back to him until he falls asleep & then walk out
  • if he gets grizzly I've been letting him go, sometimes he grizzles for a bit then stops (yay!)
  • if he gets more upset then I go in to him, stroke his head, put dummy in, rub his tummy or pat the mattress, always have my back to him though
  • I only pick him up if nothing else is working, & rock him until he's relaxed again (not asleep), then put him down & do the other things I just mentioned (but if I put him down & he's not grizzly I just stand there until he starts drifting off then walk out the room)
  • I avoid eye contact & don't talk to him, unless I'm "shhhh-ing" 

When Jalen had his first nap for the day the CYH nurse settled him with me in the room & showed me a few different things to try.  Then for his next nap I did the settling and put in practice what I had been shown.  When he woke after half an hour I went back in and used the techniques, it took almost 30 minutes to resettle him but it did work.

It was so helpful to not only discuss these things but to actually put them into action and have someone there to guide me through it.  

Jalen is doing so well with his night time sleeps thanks to what we learned at sleep school, and even longer stints of sleep are hopefully just around the corner too!!

Have you had sleep problems with your little one?  What have you done about it?  I'd love to hear your story!