In desperation I turned to my usual source of information, the internet. I had already
Anyway, we think we might have found our saviour, knight in shining armour, general good egg in the form of sleep expert Brenda The Nanny:
"Brenda has been helping babies, children and parents for over 30 years. Originally trained as an NNEB (National Nursery Examination Board) Nursery Nurse and Montessori teacher, Brenda qualified in Liverpool in 1979. Maternity training followed when she worked in the Special Care Baby Unit in the Al Corniche Hospital, Abu Dhabi looking after premature and sick babies. Since March 2003 she has worked as a full-time night nanny and sleep consultant in London, the UK and abroad."
I think I have found the right person.
Last night we had our first skype "meeting with Brenda". I could tell hubby was reluctant as things are so bad he is now of the opinion nothing anyone can say or do will help us or change the situation. I was hoping Brenda would help to change his mind.
We started our meeting talking generally about babies and how they think. Brenda believes that by four months babies already have the skills to differentiate between each parent and can read how "tough" each parent is prepared to be and behave accordingly. She also mentioned a word I definitely associate with Lewis, DETERMINATION. She said that the majority of the babies that she sees are very, very determined. That is so so true for Son 2, if he wants something, nothing and nobody will put him off, and he will carry on and on until he gets it. Babies like that are particularly difficult to sleep train as they are very resistant to change and will shout very loudly about it! She also said that Son 2 has now formed a lot of habits that would have been a lot easier to break at 6 months. She also picked up on something that I had not noticed: we treat him like a newborn, if he cries we give him milk, if he has a tantrum, we pick him up. We never allow him an opportunity to settle himself or learn to be more independent. We are molly coddling him.
So here are some new rules:
- No sleeping in the car or pushchair.
- No morning naps.
- No naps in the afternoon for more than an hour.
- Keep everything the same every day.
Brenda also gave us a new routine as she said that Son 2 is desperately crying out for boundaries and to know what is going to happen at set times each day. This is evidenced by his latest habit - biting. He bites us all the time especially when he is tired (which is all the time), GIVE ME BOUNDARIES, he is telling us.
Here is the new routine (he is 14 months by the way).
- 6.30 get him up.
- 7 am - milk feed then little play/get dressed.
- 7.45 - breakfast.
- Then go out somewhere.
- NO SLEEP AT ALL
- 11.45 - lunch time (have as main meal).
- 12.30 - nap for no more than one hour. If he wakes up before one hour, leave to cry.
- 5pm - a light tea.
- 6.15 - bath.
- 7pm - watered down milk (for better digestion) and story.
- 7.20 - go to sleep/we leave the room.
Brenda also mentioned the importance of having a really dark room and using sleeping bags to stop baby from getting cold or escaping from the cot!
Now for the night waking! Brenda said the best approach is....leave to cry. He usually wakes between midnight and 3am for his usual milk feed. Brenda insists he does not need this and is just waking up out of habit. We must not under any circumstances get him out of his cot as this gives him confused signals. Hubby was a bit worried he might be sick or need his nappy changing (number 2) so Brenda said to go in after a minimum of 25 minutes, check him, lie him down again, shush him a bit then leave again.
So today is day 1, of the rest of our lives that is. I instantly feel that we have taken control and things are going to get better, what do you think of our new routine? Do you agree with leaving babies to cry?