baby sleeping

It’s sort of a lie, this title, because I actually don’t know if one singular thing made my baby suddenly sleep through the night. It might not have even been the combination of the things I’ve outlined below. It could have been (and I think this is likely) that she was just ready to sleep through the night. All of my Mum-people I know who have employed various techniques – including following Gina Ford, reading a dozen other books about sleeping – none of them really got their baby to sleep before mine. And I did nothing. Apart from wait.

OK, I did stuff – I’ve listed it below. But I strongly believe that this stuff just set the tone. It created the right conditions. And even once I’d done all of the things below, it wasn’t an instant fix – I’m pretty sure that we moved the baby into her own room at the end February, so she was 8 months old, and she first slept through a week or so later.

Bear in mind, please, that before this glorious development I had spent a month getting up EVERY TWO HOURS THROUGH THE NIGHT to breastfeed and had almost lost my mind. So, for those losing their minds: there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s all a phase. In fact “remember it’s all a phase” is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given. I can’t even remember which friend said it, but it was definitely over wine. Never panic: it’s always just a phase.

Here are the things I think I did that helped the baby along with her sleeping – add your own in the comments, if you will. I think it’s important to remember (so that we don’t all get disheartened and want to put our heads in the oven) that every baby is completely different and there’s nothing “wrong” with them not sleeping through by a certain month. I know lucky sods who had sleeping-through babies by eight weeks, and poor sods who were still plugging away at almost three years old. Remember: there’s always gin. (For you. Not the baby.) So, things we (I) did:

  1. We moved the baby into her own room. I think that this was the singular most important scene-setting decision we made, even though I sobbed into my paperback book for most of our first night apart. I had always thought that babies were deep sleepers, but actually the weirdest noise can disturb them. Moving the baby into its own space cuts out any unnecessary interruptions. It also means that you don’t have to hold your wee-wee in all night because you don’t want to creak the mattress. And you can read in bed with the light on!
  2. Routine. Ugh. I wasn’t at all one for routine (I wrote about it somewhere) because it seemed so pointless when the baby was very small, but as she started to follow her own pattern, we began to tighten it up on her behalf and set little times for her to go for a nap, have a bath and so on. It did make it easier to put her to bed – she dropped off at exactly 7pm every night for ages before she even slept through… Though now it’s anyone’s guess as to what time she’ll deem it fit to close her eyes! (Chants: it’s all just a phase, it’s all just a phase…)
  3. I fed the baby more during the day – I mean, really made a conscious effort. She went through a phase at (I think) around seven months, when she fed very little in the daytime and loads at night. I think that the start of the weaning process messed about with her breastfeeding routine and everything just fell out of sync. She was feeding multiple times at night and only snacking at the breast (UGH! Sorry, what an image) during waking hours. Which was fun. I really tried hard to reverse it and turn it all on its head, which meant breastfeeding before I fed her any solids, which was probably “wrong”, but it got us back on track. Once the daytime feeds were re-established properly, it wasn’t long before she started to sleep through.
  4. The baby’s bedroom was a bit cooler than ours – about 18 degrees as opposed to 20, 21. Now I don’t know for sure whether this made a difference, but it’s worth thinking about… We still dressed her accordingly and had her in the little zip-up sleeping bag, but I wonder whether the cooler air temperature was more comfortable to sleep in?
  5. Persevere. Be patient. I tried not to panic-read a load of stuff on the internet and decided that if I set the right atmosphere, she’d eventually learn to sleep through. And she did. No drama, no controlled crying sessions (though each to their own – whatever works for you!) and no feeling of utter failure.

Things that absolutely DID NOT work with regards to making the baby sleep through: giving her a bottle of formula last thing to “fill her up” (sure this is a total myth, unless you’re not producing enough breastmilk in which case maybe it makes sense), reading her a bedtime story, letting her “cry it out”. Good God. My nerves just can’t take more than a few minutes of crying!

Own stories, anecdotes, tips and comments please – there must be things I’ve forgotten. I’m stupidly writing this months and months too late – I should have done it when, you know, it actually happened…

UPDATE: quite a few questions asking the same thing, so I’ll add a note here.. We put the baby to sleep when she’s very drowsy but not actually asleep. She doesn’t have a bedtime bottle of milk (has it at 4pm for some reason!) so the routine is a little 30 minute tv session before bed, where she lies on one of us, already in her sleeping bag, and just sort of unwinds and sucks her thumb. Then we carry her to bed and usually (with any luck!) she rolls right over and goes to sleep. God forbid, though, we take her in before she’s ready – there’s all kinds of trouble!

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baby 14 months update

Thank you to the various people online who reminded me today that I needed to do a baby and body update – I hadn’t even realised that it was the 17th! And actually, loads of things have happened this month, so it’s a good one to write. Though I am trying to write it with a massive headache, the baby screaming as she has her dinner, the dog hurling a toy crocodile around the kitchen and the cat climbing to try and catch a spider that’s crawling across the ceiling. It’s like trying to work during a circus rehearsal.

Let’s get on with the show!

Baby

Lots of things have happened this month. The baby is almost, almost walking. She holds our hands and then quite literally throws herself across the room, faster than I can keep up. It started off as a funny drunk man walk but has developed into something quite accomplished. I don’t think it’ll be long before Angelica is racing around all on her own, which brings a whole new set of health and safety horrors into play. Good God. We’ve already had a near miss with the corner of the coffee table, which is about to be banished to my husband’s office AKA The Dumping Ground, and there have been a few clonks of the head on the kitchen tiles.

baby 14 months update

Baby’s new trick (I suppose I’ll have to start saying toddler, soon?) is to take the remote control for the television and demand, by making monkey sounds, that we play Curious George. I need a whole other post to write my thoughts on Curious George, and also on Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s Annoying-apart-from-Nanny-Plum-and-The-King-and-that-old-elf-bloke Kingdom. But suffice to say, for now, that I don’t really enjoy more than ten minutes of Curious George – it starts to make me feel as though I’ve been lobotomised and woken up on drugs all at the same time.

Eating is interesting – lots of finger foods going on, but we still force down a chunky pouch of Ella’s Kitchen at lunch and dinner (most of the finger food lands in the dog) and so our total Ella’s Kitchen bill is probably, by now, around seven million pounds. If I could turn back time and buy shares in a company… But the pouches are being gradually removed from the equation and replaced with various bits of home cooking, ham chunks, cheese bits and slices of toast. Vegetables seem to be a no-go and were right from the start, but anything meaty or cheesy goes straight down the hatch.

Someone asked on Youtube whether or not I was still breastfeeding: in case you missed my posts a while back, I stopped just as Angelica turned one. She now has 200ml of normal milk in the morning and 200ml at 4pm (random, but it works for some reason!) and none before bed. Lots of yoghurt, too – she likes the plain Total yoghurt, which I add a little bit of fruit puree to because it’s rather sharp. I do still miss breastfeeding quite a lot, which might sound silly, but I really enjoyed it. I sort of wish I hadn’t stopped – I don’t feel that it really afforded me any more “freedom” or “getting back to me” and I cherished that little morning time we have together. I suppose I’ve substituted that snuggle for a different one – Angelica gets into our bed to drink her morning milk and she likes to rest her little legs on us and curl into the crooks of our arms, so all is not lost!

baby 14 months update

Oh yes – cuddles have become a “thing” and so have kisses! I can get them almost on demand, so long as the baby’s not: trying to walk, playing with the remote, looking out of the window, climbing onto the sofa, tearing up my important expenses receipts, ripping parts of her pop-up book and throwing them into the ball pool, wiping peanut butter in her hair. Other than those times, I can definitely get a cuddle when I want it. Daddy gets the kisses, I only get one if it’s very late and she’s very sleepy – I have to win them using trickery. Huh.

In summary, lots of changes – she’s really turning into a proper little human, one who knows what’s going on and is able to react to things and (sort of) say what she wants and doesn’t want. It’s very rewarding and I enjoy every minute. (LIES! I enjoy most minutes, but now and then I do lie on the rug and say JESUS CHRIST! I JUST WANT ONE MINUTE TO GO THE TOILET AND THEN I WANT TWENTY MINUTES TO HAVE A NAP AND GET MY BRAIN SORTED!)

Body

I don’t know why I’m continuing with this particular section – there is absolutely nothing to report apart from the fact that I have been eating far too much buffalo mozzarella recently. There is a tub waiting in the fridge right this minute, ready to be gobbled down with a tangy tomato salad, fresh basil and a drizzle of peppery olive oil. Bring it on.

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petit pai childrens skincare

I have used Pai Skincare products for years – they specialise in formulating for very sensitive and intolerant skin and, though I don’t have particularly touchy skin at all, there are certain products I’ve relied on to keep my face on an even keel during times of multiple modelling shoots and intensive bouts of travel. Their Echium Eye Cream, for example, has rescued my undereye area too many times to count – it’s one of the only things that remedies the red, raw patches that I get there if I do a beauty shoot and the makeup artist changes the eye makeup too many times. Their Rosehip Oil is top class and the AHA Mask a total winner for anyone with sensitive skin who’d like to dip their toe into the world of acid peels…

Anyway, I’ve distracted myself there and slipped back into the world of beauty, my most comfortable place, when I’m supposed to be talking about babies! (If you love beauty then do take a look at my beauty blog – it’s here: A Model Recommends.) Pai have taken their sensitive skin know-how and waved a magic wand over the children’s skincare sector, introducing a small – yet perfectly formed – range called Petit Pai. Just two products; an all-over wash and a face and body cream but I suppose, really, that’s all you need when it comes to baby bathing.

Both products have been formulated with the purest ingredients (Pai always list every single one so that you can see at a glance if there’s anything you’re sensitive to) and are certified organic and fragrance-free. The Apple & Mallow Blossom Face & Body Cream is intensively moisturising and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe itchy, sore skin and the Hair & Body Wash, which comes with a konjac sponge for gentle washing, is SLS free.

petit pai childrens skincare

I’m always surprised when brands produce washes and shampoos for babies with sensitive skin or skin problems and they contain SLS. Though I think for most people it doesn’t present much of a problem (it’s a massively-used foaming and cleansing agent used in – probably – the majority of shampoos, face washes, shower gels and so on), if you have dry skin or sensitive skin then it might, at the very least, feel rather tight and “stripped” when you rinse off the product. So I’m glad to see that it’s not in the Petit Pai wash, though I would have literally eaten my own hat and then died of shock if it had been in the ingredients list. If there’s one thing that Pai take incredibly seriously, it’s the quality and purity of their formulas…

One to try if your baby has temperamental, itchy or irritated skin – the cream can be used on areas affected by eczema and if it’s even half as soothing as the adult face creams are, I can imagine it would be a blessed relief!

The Face & Body Cream is here, the Wash is here – they are priced at £20 and £18, respectively, so not the cheapest children’s products out there by any stretch of the imagination, but if you’re looking for impeccably-made baby beauty for sensitive skin then Pai should definitely be top of your list.

On the beauty note, I have loads of baby products to write about (many different budgets catered for, fear not!) so I’ll get cracking on those, erm, soon.

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