Mums test 4 different baby sleep routines

If you’re having nightmares getting your baby settled into the land of nod find out what’s worked for other mums with our guide to different sleep routines…

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  • Top tips from the Baby Whisperer: Sleep Secrets to Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night by Tracy Hogg, £6.99 (Vermilion)

    What the routine entails:

    It’s based around Tracy’s E.A.S.Y (Eating/Activity/Sleep/You) sleep time routine. Eating (or feeding) is followed by an Activity, then Sleep, which leaves more time for you. For babies from 4 months who won’t settle, she recommends the Pick Up/Put Down technique which encourages your baby not to be dependent on you for sleep, but without him feeling abandoned. If he cries, you can comfort and pick him up, but the moment he stops crying you must place him in his cot again.

    Pros:

    The E.A.S.Y structured sleep time routine is one you can use for all your baby’s naps.


    Cons:

    The Pick Up/Put down technique can feel like hard work as you may need to repeat the process scores of times before baby settles. This is tough when you’re tired and the temptation to keep cuddling him when you’ve managed to stop the crying will be huge. 

    What mum thinks:

    Gemma Thompson, 28, from Nottingham, mum to Jessica, 2, and Bria, 10 weeks says:


    “I used this routine on both my girls and within just a few weeks of birth, they’ve slept from their dream feed at 11pm through until 5am or 6am. I particularly like the E.A.S.Y schedule – a feed, followed by either a little game or nappy-change, then, when I notice the signs (yawning, rubbing eyes, fidgeting), I know Bria’s tired so it’s on to the sleep part of the routine, and I put her down in her cot. Both girls have grown to realise what the schedule is and that it’s time for sleep after our activity. When I was expecting Bria, we moved Jessica into her own room and she’d start crying whenever I put her down. Then I used the Pick Up/Put Down technique – patting her back or picking her up and comforting her, then immediately placing her back in her bed until she stopped crying. I had to do it about 40 times one night, but within three or four nights she’d settled into the new bed with no problems. She knew
    I wasn’t going anywhere but she recognised she had to fall asleep out of
    my arms.”  

  • The Complete Sleep Guide for Contented Babies and Toddlers by Gina Ford, £10.99 (Vermilion)

    What the routine entails:

    Detailed, structured routines for feeding, napping and night time sleeping for your baby. It emphasises the importance of allowing babies to settle themselves to sleep. Gina’s plan aims to establish a 7am to 7pm day for your baby.

    Pros:

    For mums who crave structure and routine, this plan is effective.


    Cons:

    If daddy doesn’t get home before 7pm, he won’t get to see the baby at all. Letting your baby cry (controlled crying and crying down) goes against the grain for many mums.
     

    What mum thinks:

    Samantha Kimber, 33, from Shrewsbury, 8 weeks pregnant and mum to Ellie, 3, and Tabitha, 22 months says:


    “I read this book when I was pregnant as I was determined to have a harmonious family life. As a result, both my girls slept through from 7pm to 7am, with a 10pm dream feed from 10 weeks old. We’d get up at 7am, then Ella or Tabitha would go for a nap at 9.30am, another at 12pm, and then another around 5pm. We followed a bath and bedtime routine with lights out at 7pm. Luckily both girls thrived on the regular routine.

    I also used the controlled crying method, letting them cry for a couple of minutes, going in and soothing them for a moment, or giving them their comfort blankies (without picking them up), then going out of the room and repeating the process. You have to be firm with yourself, as no mum likes to hear her baby cry, but they learn pretty quickly how to self-soothe. I’ve never had them screaming inconsolably.”

  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley, with a foreword by William Sears M.D., £9.99 (McGraw-Hill)

    What the routine entails:

    It aims to help you get your baby to sleep with no tears. The Persistent Gentle Removal System helps teach your baby to fall asleep without breast or bottlefeeding, and the Stop, Listen, Wait and Peek system helps you determine whether your baby’s sounds are sleeping sounds or hungry sounds.


     Pros:

    Perfect for mums who can’t bear to hear their baby cry.

    Cons:

    Elizabeth’s methods allow mums to trust their instincts so this book won’t work for mums who want more definite instructions.
     

    What mum thinks:

    Fiona Sanders-Hewett, 29, from Ely, mum to Henry, 16 months says:


    “I was feeding Henry up to four times a night when he was 5 months old. As a result I was exhausted and worried about getting him into a routine before he went into hospital at 6 months for an operation on his harelip. Elizabeth’s book helped me ease Henry off my breast before he fell asleep so he learned to drop off without sucking. She also suggested the use of a ‘lovey’ – in Henry’s case a toy rabbit to comfort him. He hadn’t been allowed a dummy because of his harelip so he would suck on his rabbit’s feet. I also introduced key words and a lullaby, which Henry would associate with sleep. As a result of the book, Henry has become a much better sleeper and he drops off quietly without me.”

  • Baby Secrets How to know your baby’s needs by Jo Tantum, £12.99 (Michael Joseph)

    What the routine entails:

    Spaced Soothing is a gentle technique to use for all your baby’s sleeps. Its aim is to teach your baby that you’ll always soothe him by entering their room for two or three minutes, using one of her suggested techniques, then leaving the room again. It also teaches mums to recognise different cries so you can listen, and only go into the room when your baby really needs you.

    Pros:

    A gentle method that encourages mums to tune into her baby’s needs.

    Cons:

    Some mums find it hard to distinguish between a baby’s cries and know what they mean.

    What mum thinks:

    Sarah Hatfield, 28, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, 12 weeks pregnant and mum to Sam, 18 months says:


    “Sam would fall asleep at my breast and wouldn’t settle any other way. By the time he was 3 months old I knew things needed to change. I used Jo Tantum’s Spaced Soothing technique – going into his room to comfort him when he cried. One technique, stroking the point from the middle of the forehead to the tip of his nose really worked (and still does). I also learned that some of his cries weren’t distress cries but releasing of tension as he dropped off. Within a few nights, he was settling off to sleep without me, which was amazing.”

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  • Encourage good sleep habits

    • Try not to let your baby fall asleep at the breast or bottle. He’ll grow to associate feeding with snoozing and won’t be able to drop off without it.
    • Set a sleep routine. At the same time every night a warm bath, pyjamas and lullaby will help him distinguish between day and night sleeps.
    • Know your baby’s sleep sounds. When he stirs he may go back to sleep if you leave him.

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