Friday, 31 January 2014

Sleep: How to Get Some

It's six months since Elsie was born and, I have to be honest, we are on our knees a little bit from a lack of sleep. It's not that she doesn't sleep; actually, she goes down really easy at about 7.00pm and wakes at around 11pm which I am SO thankful for as it means I can at least eat and get in an episode of whatever box-set we're currently watching (Boardwalk Empire). Nope, it's the 1.30/3.30/5.30 wake-up calls that follow that I'm tearing my hair out over - well, I would be if I had any hair. So I am more than open to any advice right now.
And what do you know but this week,  the lovely people at Pampers asked me if I'd like to have a chat with Baby Sleep Expert Jo Tantum, who is also on the panel of experts for their Love-Sleep-Play Campaign - find out about that here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4pnwBScep8. Obviously I jumped at the chance and actually, I think I picked up a few pretty good tips. Some of them might sound pretty obvious but sometimes, you need an expert (Jo has 25 years experience of working with babies) not your mum, to guide you in the right direction. If you'd like to share yours, I'm all ears!

1. Remember the sleep 'triggers'
Unless we are out and about, Elsie is rubbish at napping throughout the day - and it's so important to get her doing this if she's to sleep well at night time (an overtired baby is not a good thing). Jo suggests I use exactly the same routine I do at bed time for her naps too; so pull the black-out blind down, change her nappy, pop her in her sleeping bag and have a little cuddle. Usually, I'm so desperate to get on with things, I just pop her in her cot, pull the blinds and hope for the best. Oops.

2. Babies need a lot of naps
Jo told me that babies (at least at Elsie's age) should be having around two hours of wake/play time before they'll need a little nap again. I'm often so busy I don't pick up on this but the last few days, I've been looking out more for her I-want-to-sleep signals (pulling her ears/burrowing into my chest/gentle moaning) and popping her into her cot. Cue: happier, playful baby when she's awake.

3. Try the stealth settle
Though I'm pretty hacked off that my baby wakes up three times a night (I thought girls were meant to be better FFS!), I have to admit, I haven't really tried that hard to settle her when she does wake. And more often than not, I'm feeding her within a few minutes of her crying. Yes, I know. Jo suggested that next time she woke, I made 'shush' noises whilst at the same time slowly pushing, (not patting) her bottom, almost like a massage action. I tried this the other night and it worked. High five.

4. The 15 minute break
Usually, straight after feeding Elsie at bedtime I would pop her straight into her cot. Big mistake. Huge. In doing so, I've pretty much been showing her that she needs a feed to get herself to sleep. Great. Now, I'm feeding her 15 minutes earlier and maybe having a little bedtime story instead. I hope this doesn't mean she'll want Twinkle Twinkle every time she wakes up now?!

5. Keep them dry
During my Skype chat with Jo, I also had a little demonstration of how Pampers latest nappy, Baby-Dry (from £11.99 for 54) works - yes, they even used the blue water! They're pretty clever because they have a Double Dry-Zone; one which absorbs the wee and another that locks it in and all for up to 12 hours - so it's pretty much the perfect bed time nappy. Actually, I was already using the nappies anyway and am a Pampers devotee but, as they suggested, I'll use these just for bed time and maybe the Active Fit during the day. You can get the new Baby-Dry nappies here: http://www.boots.com/en/Pampers/Pampers-Baby-Dry/

Learn more about the brilliant (and lovely) Jo Tantum at her website http://www.jotantum.com/