I found out I was pregnant with our dumpling on 12 October 2015. I hadn’t had a decent nights sleep since then, until last Friday when dumpling decided he was going to start sleeping through the night! Even writing this seem surreal after 19+ months of broken sleep!!
Be warned – this is a long arse story so if you need the loo, go NOW, before reading on!
Since he was about 3 months old, I started taking dumpling to Baby Massage classes at our local Children’s Centre. He enjoyed it so much it, he used to nap for at least 2 hours straight after class. I also noticed he would sleep better during the night on the day we went to class.
So, I decided that I would make massage part of our bedtime routine. We would start with a bath, then massage, then a feed. I continued with this routine until dumpling was 5 months old, as I got tired of feeding him to sleep and wasn’t sure if he was actually feeding or just suckling my boob for comfort of an evening. He would still be waking up at midnight after sleeping from 8pm, then waking every 2 hours until finally waking up at 8am.
Once he was 5 months old, I switched up the routine so that it was feed-bath-massage, in that order. At that time, I was putting dumpling to bed at around 8pm. I noticed that, whilst he would sleep until midnight as before, he didn’t wake until 4am, then 8am to start the day. Progress! Or, so I thought!
Then BANG! Like a wrecking ball, came the 6 month Sleep Regression. F**ked us up good and proper! Dumpling was waking up every 2 hours – go to sleep at 8, wake at 10, midnight, 2, 4 then 6…and that was it! He’d want to get up to play at 6am! This continued for a few weeks and got worse when he learned how to crawl and climb – he was up at what felt like every hour. Standing up in his Next-To-Me crib and saying Da-Da kmt!
I tried everything – switched up the routine so that we included a dream feed at 10pm – didn’t do much. He started solids around 6 months, so I thought that would help – didn’t do much. Started doing more during the day to knacker him out – didn’t do much except he napped excessively in the afternoon!
It got to the point where I just resigned myself to the fact that we had a baby who was so active and mobile, that he wasn’t interested in sleep and didn’t need much to get his energy during the day. All well and good for him, but a nightmare for us!
We finally put dumpling in his big cot, in his nursery, when he turned 8 1/2 months old – about 5 weeks ago. He slept better the first couple of nights then reverted to his usual madness after that. By then, I had brought forward his bedtime to 7:30pm and weaned him off my breast almost completely after starting him on bottles (I’ll talk about that process in another post later, as it’s another lonnnnnnnng story!). Massage was now a lullaby whilst dressing him in his nightclothes as he was too wriggly and impatient for massage at this stage.
Fast forward to when dumpling turned 9 months a couple of weeks ago and started cutting his first tooth (finally!). We initially thought this was the cause of his sh*t sleep pattern but then the tooth cut, yet the sh*t sleep pattern remained.
That is, until last Friday, whilst Daddy was away on a weekend trip.
I put dumpling down at 7:30pm after his feed-bathtime-lullaby routine. I woke up at midnight but dumpling was still sleeping. I woke up again at 2:30am…dumpling was still sleeping. I woke up at 5am…dumpling was…you guessed it…still sleeping!! Until 6:30am, when he finally woke up for his morning feed and change.
Mate…did he sleep through the night or did I sleep walk to him? Who knows, but I didn’t pay it any mind until Saturday night. Dumpling did the exact same thing…I even went in the room to check he was still breathing (he was, obvs!).
The same thing happened on Sunday night, when daddy returned from his trip and again Monday and Tuesday. Except this morning, he woke up at 7am rather than 6 – maaaaate! I feel like a new woman I tell you!
So, now we’re racking our brains as to what has caused our lil fella to start sleeping like a normal human! At first we thought it was the tooth cutting properly, but then we watched him on the monitor for a bit during the night and noticed that he was waking up, standing up in his cot and then plonking himself back to sleep when he was ready or after a little play with his cot friends (which, include Captain America, an Owl and Iggle Piggle – teaching him to mix with all kinds from an early age!).
What it actually was, is that he had finally learnt how to self-soothe. He could wake up and put himself back to sleep, all by himself. He no longer needed us to do that for him.
If there is any skill I am happy he has learnt, it’s this! Now, when we put him down, he doesn’t cry out, he’s wide awake and as we say night night, he plays with or cuddles his friends and then off he goes to the land of nod.
I’d love to tell you that I taught him this myself, but I didn’t. He taught himself how to self soothe, when he was good and ready.
A lot of the ‘professionals’, books, baby whisperers et al will tell you that babies should self soothe from as early as 3 months. But, I think that each baby has their own timetable. They are individuals just like adults are. So, we just literally grinned and bore it until he was ready…turns out he was ready to self-soothe and sleep through the night at 9 and 1/2 months and not 3!
Whatever it was that made him do it, I’m just happy that we are ALL finally getting a good night’s sleep and both dumpling and we are more merrier for it!
Now, all I need to do is re-learn now to sleep through the night again myself! 😀