Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Guest Post, A rod for my own back? By Toby Goes Bananas

My guest post today is by the lovely Sarah who blogs over at Toby Goes Bananas

Now, before we start, I’m really not being ungrateful and I know just how lucky we are to have a baby who sleeps but I wanted to write this post to show that there are downsides to every up.

Toby has been a good sleeper since he was about 10 weeks old (which also coincided with us getting his reflux properly medicated and under control). When he was a newborn getting him to sleep was quite an effort and involved a lot of going out for walks in the pram, or sitting with him sleeping on either me or my husband because if we dared to put him down, or even move, then he would be wide awake and crying again. Anyway, from about six weeks old we started putting him upstairs in bed at about 6pm. Quite often he would wake up again several times during the evening but we would usually try and settle him in his cot rather than bring him back downstairs. We also didn’t use a mobile or any comforters in the hope that Toby would learn how to settle himself. He soon started sleeping longer at night and by about 12 weeks he was regularly sleeping from 6pm to 8am without waking up at all! After his four month immunisations (which he got at 18 weeks) he caught a cold and we had a bit of a regression where he went back to waking up a couple of times a night, and now I would say Toby sleeps through about 75% of the time and if he does wake up it’s only once for a quick feed and back to sleep.

So that was night time sleeping which we got sorted fairly early on. Naps were a different matter. I didn’t worry about daytime naps until Toby was sleeping through the night. He used to fight sleep during the day – he would clearly be tired but cry as soon as we tried to put him to bed. He would sleep in the car or in the pram but that wasn’t really convenient - sometimes you just want to stay in the house! So, we started trying to introduce a routine during the day too, doing the same things at the same time every day…and it started to work! From about five months Toby would have a morning nap for between an hour and a half and two hours, another nap from around 1pm to 3pm and then sometimes a short nap in the car when we went to pick his dad up from the train station at 5pm and then it was still bed time at 6pm.
At some point Toby started staying up a bit longer in the morning before going back to bed, he also stays up for a bit longer between his naps, so his afternoon nap is later and he dropped the very late cat nap altogether. So now, on a normal day Toby sleeps for up to two hours in the morning (occasionally longer) and the same in the afternoon. He naps in his cot upstairs. We have a blackout blind so I put the night light on, offer him a bottle, put him in his sleeping bag, say ‘na’night Toby, sleepy time now’ and leave the room. And that’s it. Almost without fail he will go to sleep on his own. Sometimes it takes ten minutes of him bumping around and chatting to himself, sometimes it’s within seconds.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is fantastic and I love that we have a baby who sleeps but we have trained him so well that he will now only sleep in his cot (or occasionally in the car) and if he misses his naps he gets grumpy and whiney, he goes off his food and he often then wakes up in the night. So, with a baby who, at nine months, sleeps for 14 hours a night and then between three and five hours during the day, and is also in the process of weaning so spends another two to three hours eating, it doesn’t leave us an awful lot of time to do anything else! We do manage to do some activities during the week but they have to fit in with our routine. There are so many mother and baby groups, meetings with friends and weekend days out that we have to turn down because they don’t fit in with Toby’s naps. We are trying to do things at the weekends which mean missed or delayed naps to try and get Toby to be a bit more adaptable but sometimes it’s just easier to stick to the routine to have a quiet life.

So what do you think? Have we made a rod for our own backs by having such a strict routine or should we just be thankful that we have a baby who sleeps so well? Do you follow a routine with your baby or do you just go with the flow? I would love to hear your thoughts!

And lastly big thanks to Lucinda for letting me post this on her blog!
I've previously expressed my envy at how long Toby sleeps on Twitter! It does sound tricky that he's not sleeping elsewhere. I have a routine but sometimes I go with the flow. Luckily Eliot sleeps pretty much anywhere, although he fights it if we're out and about, which can lead to him being cranky.
Thank you Sarah for being a guest on my blog! If you haven't already be sure to pop over to Toby Goes Bananas for more fantastic posts.
Thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate comments and read all of them!