As new parents, we found that sleeping was one of the main challenges we have faced with Harvey as a newborn. After researching and trying several settling techniques including white noise, patting, singing, shhhhhhing, the “5S’s” etc… we took the approaches below when trying to settle Harvey. We started using this approach after Harvey had well established his breastfeeding and the formula (which was around 4 weeks after birth). By the time Harvey reached his 4 month anniversary, he generally managed to put himself to sleep with no help from us.
Harvey’s sleep techniques (night time):
- Prior to putting Harvey to bed, we ensured all the following had been eliminated; full nappy, hungry, uncomfortable clothing
- Once Harvey was in bed, we started to stroke his forehead towards his eyebrows. If Harvey started to cry, we put the other hand on his chest and started the “Shhhh” sounds until he started to calm down. We waited for Harvey to slightly dosed off to sleep and slowly move the hand away from his chest while continuing to stroke his forehead
Note: if Harvey’s crying increased, we picked him up and comforted him. Then we started the process again.
- Continue to stroke his forehead and slowly reducing the speed until stopping. We slowly get up and stand next to his cot, gently stroking his forehead again and then quietly walking out the room
- If Harvey started to cry out after we left the room, we did not immediately go back in instead we started timing. Depending on the way Harvey cried, we generally let him cry out between 3-5 minutes unless he has escalated to a much higher level. We would then go back into the room and pick him up. Once he calmed down, we repeated step 1 and follow through again!
Note: we would only use the dummy as a second comforter if the above was unsuccessful. However, we only began using the dummy after 2nd month because we wanted Harvey to get used to breastfeeding and the bottle for the formula prior to introducing him another sucking mechanism. In addition, we were not big fan of the dummy and as it turned out, Harvey was generally not interested in it. We were planning to wean him of it by the time he is 6 months anyway.
After the 5th attempt, if all the above techniques failed – we would check the temperature and any abnormalities on Harvey’s body e.g. rashes etc. to ensure that it is not a medical issue and for our peace of mind.
- We traded in the traditional swaddling to wraps after one month as Harvey loved to sleep with his arms up. The “Love to dream Swaddle Up” was our choice of swaddle. It was very convenient in particular with the night time nappy changing
- During the daytime we left the blinds open and let the natural light through while during the night time, we set the room as dark as possible. We were hoping this would assist Harvey with the circadian rhythm adjustments
- If both of us were home, we generally took turns in settling Harvey, especially if it was a bad night. This would allow us to remain calm and not get aggravated by the constant crying and screaming. If ever one of us got into that point, we would walk away and take couple of minutes of deep breaths to calm down our emotions. Remember that the cot is the safest place for baby to be in provided that you follow through the SIDS guideline. You just need to focus on yourself during the timeout in order to be able to start tackling the task again
- If Harvey fell asleep during breastfeeding, I would normally ask Jaz to take him off me and put him in his bed. This would slightly wake him and meant the cot was the last place he saw before he fell asleep. We don’t normally let Harvey fall asleep on me except occasionally when we are really tired or Harvey have had a bad day of sleep. I normally had my breastfeeding station well prepared including phone, T.V remote, Lab top and a big bottle of water 🙂