Making a sleep plan

Choose a sleep plan that you think will work for both you and your toddler.

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Mums say what worked for them

13 months old – She slept with company’

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‘When Emily goes into her cot at night, she has her closest friends with her-her 10 favourite teddies. She knows all their names, they sleep in exactly the same position and she enjoys saying goodnight to them.

‘I’d hoped Emily would sleep through after six or seven months, especially as other mums were telling me their babies did. But Emily kept waking for a feed and wouldn’t be fobbed off with water or a cuddle.

‘I did read up about a sleep plan that involved leaving a baby to cry, but I didn’t want to do that. My husband Brian and I talked it over and decided to keep feeding her at night, but to put her back down again without speaking or fuss. Each evening, she’d be settled with her favourite teddies.

‘It worked. She learned to settle quickly, looking at the faces of her beloved soft toys. And when she hit 13 months, and was starting to eat bigger meals, she just lost her hunger at night and started sleeping through.

‘I’m glad we didn’t follow a strict sleep programme, and listened to our own instincts.’

LUCY NORTON, 32, from South Tyneside, is taking time out from her career as an occupational therapist and is mum to Emily, now 2

17 months old – ‘Letting him cry was hard but it worked’

‘I felt such a failure when other mums talked about what fantastic sleepers their babies were. At 17 months, Luke was still waking up to six times a night.

‘Luke’s older brother, Reece, 5, started school in September and became increasingly tired because of Luke’s night-time crying. My husband Colin and I were also exhausted and snapping at each other through tiredness.

‘When Colin and I both booked two weeks off over Christmas, I realised this was our chance to crack Luke’s sleeping. The first week, we started letting Luke cry himself back to sleep instead of running in with a bottle.

We knew it would be tough and listening to him scream was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. He’d cry so much he made retching sounds, but we would keep checking he was okay and then leave the room.

‘The first couple of nights were awful but by the fourth night his cries subsided to five minutes of sobs. By the end of the first week, he stopped making a fuss.

‘After a fortnight our nightmares were over. Luke now goes to bed at 7pm, and if he does wake up in the night, he settles himself. Colin and I have our lives back at last.’

MICHELLE PHILIP, 28, from East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, is a part-time accounts administrator and mum to Reece, 5, and Luke, 18 months

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BABY’S AGE WHAT SHE NEEDS WHAT CAN HELP 1-2 years Between 10 and 12 hours. Around two hours of this will be during the day. A calming routine can help your child wind down for bedtime. Try a simple, predictable routine of, say, quiet play then reading a book or playing some soothing music, before tucking them up in bed with their blanket or favourite toy.

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