Oh how the tables have turned.
I am (me!) giving advice on how to help your baby sleep better! WHAT. Who would’ve thought this day would ever come?
So let me first say (oh it sounds like I’m about to make a toast) that my baby sleep skills are because of the wonderful Hannah who started her own sleep training business, Yummy Baby Group, which has taken the sleep training scene by storm. My life has started again. I am officially alive as I said in my previous post on Sleeping Like a Baby I am SO SO SO SO much happier!!!
Raising my metaphorical glass to this amazing woman!
Okay SO, here is the secret sleep sauce shortened down to six simple steps (you’re welcome).
You can use this as a Christmas present to your mum friends….maybe make a cool Infographic and laminate it with a card attached that read, “I know your family always comes first, but this Christmas YOU come first.” Now THAT would draw a small Christmas tear to the eye.
Anyway, here are the steps….
The key point that Hannah spoke about was BEING CONSISTENT. I was trying to do multiple different sleep training techniques when I tried settling my son to sleep e.g. pick up, put down, shush pat, rock, bounce, walk around, sit down, stand up, cry it out for a bit! Reverting to the try everything “method.” This does not work, I’ve tried it numerous times.
Just imagine….you are trying to sleep somewhere and someone is fussing around you, moving things around the room, picking you up and jiggling you, turning music on, feeding you water….this would annoy me and I would definitely NOT be able to sleep. I tend to forget that my child is an actual human being and that the same things that would annoy me, annoy him too. Throughout the process Hannah reminded me to be consistent with my nap time/bed time sleep routine, I chose to sing a song, turn the lights off, turn white noise on, lay him on his belly while rubbing his back and give him the dummy.
Hannah stressed how important it is to stay calm and be relaxed throughout the whole sleep training process, even when my son was having a bad day (or night). When I was stressed I could feel my son pick up on it, so I learned very quickly that being calm was key to getting a good night’s sleep! In general babies are very good at picking up on body language.
To be honest, I felt calm knowing that Hannah was there supporting me throughout the process. She was always on the other end of the phone and even stressed how important it was to contact her whenever I needed her (and I literally mean whenever, 3am SURE!). I slowly buy surely was able to do this on my own and now feel very confident putting my son to sleep!
Reducing milk in a controlled way
Hannah gave LOADS of nutrition advice, honestly this is stuff I had no idea was beneficial or, more importantly, would help my son sleep! CRAZY I know. Food and sleep don’t sound like two things that go together, OH BUT THEY DO.
She gave weaning advice, tips on how to get Bear to eat well, how to encourage eating…..a perfect example is The Spoon Aeroplane….. if you give babies attention (aeroplanes, trains) etc when they are not eating that will encourage the baby not to eat (babies love attention).. if however you give lots of attention when they ARE eating and ignore them when they aren’t this will help (alongside them being hungry from reducing the milk feeds of course).
Now, on the milk point, we were feeding Bear WAAAAY too much milk, literally every three hours (he’s almost 11 months), and maybe even when we just thought, “hmmm this will calm him down.” So this was an obvious one, but we really needed to cut this down because he was waking up in the middle of the night expecting to be fed milk (even thought he really didn’t need it).
This part was fairly easy because Hannah helped us reduce the milk in a controlled way (so Bear didn’t even notice and wasn’t hungry throughout the process)…..at first we started feeding him more food (high calories) and less milk during the day, then after a few days (when Bear was ready) we moved onto reducing the milk feeds. We kept a track of his diet and Hannah gave us tips on different kinds of food to ensure that he compensated for the reduction in night feeds, Bear took to this so well! I WAS SHOCKED. I had been feeding him milk this way for almost 10 months and just like that he didn’t need it anymore. Plus Hannah gave us millions of ideas for easy made recipes that are high in calories and healthy.
Encourage baby to self settle
The part I love most about Hannah’s sleep training is that there is NO CONTROLLED CRYING (i.e. no leaving him to cry). I have a consistent way I settle him, usually the bed time song or rubbing his back. But making sure to always encourage his ability to self settle in a kind and gentle way. When things get really bad I pick him up and sing him the song, put him back to be (AWAKE! – this is key).
I will mention that Hudson was really ill and I tried not to revert back to my old ways of “trying everything.” We kept to the settling techniques above and picked him up when needed, gave him cuddles. We had to stop the sleep training process for a week while he got better as this was during the time we were reducing milk feeds and wanted to make sure he was hydrated, but we picked right back up where we started and Bear was amazing!
The most important thing I learned from this whole process was that it’s about a ‘whole baby’ approach. It’s not just about the sleep. Sleep programs often fail as parents/ professionals only look at sleep, it’s like trying to loose weight and only looking at how much someone runs – but there are so many factors involved (calories, diet, activity, hormones, sugar, fats etc)! Hannah’s program looks at ALL areas- diet, weaning, routine, medical issues, comfort, sleep, .. even down to room temperature, bedding, recipes for meals, snack ideas, behaviour tips and supernanny type star charts and ideas in older toddlers!
I cannot recommend her enough, I feel like a completely different person I literally cried in happiness after the first night of full sleep (and it has continued for two weeks now with very little hiccups).
If you are struggling with sleep I would seriously give her a call 07872 030 206 or check out her website at Yummy Baby Group.