So, it has been nearly 3 weeks since Evelyn has been in her own room. If you haven’t read my previous blog on sleeping then click here. We have had a few bumps along the way but I think we might be making headway! (touch wood!!!)
Another fellow Supermum (my lovely friend Kristina) suggested I read up on controlled crying techniques. A very interesting method to help babies adjust and adapt to a change in their sleeping routine.
Controlled Crying can be traced back over 100 years but was popularised in the 1980’s. According to specialists this method should only be used for a maximum of 1 week (although they do claim this is all it will take!)
The controlled crying approach involves putting your baby to bed awake, and the parent leaving the room for a short period, returning if the baby is crying, but leaving again for progressively longer periods until the baby falls asleep. This approach suits those who believe babies need routines and boundaries. It is not a baby sleep training technique that should be used for babies under 6 months old and is not suitable for babies who are suffering with separation anxiety.
Now, before I begin to explain what we did I need to say that this approach isn’t for every baby and some people think that leaving babies to cry for prolonged periods of time can lead to stress and anxiety. Make sure this is right for YOU and adapt it to suit your baby! I didn’t follow it to the letter but made it work for Evelyn and her personality. We already have a solid bedtime routine and Evelyn has always been a good sleeper. Our issue wasn’t the sleeping it was more the change of environment.
Also, Evelyn doesn’t really cry, its more that she moans loudly and fidgets. I’m not sure how it would feel if she was fully awake and crying – I might not be able to leave her! She doesn’t actually ever wake up she just needs reassurance that we are still there.
So, this is what WE are doing (adapted version of the controlled crying method)
- We complete our bed time routing – bath, bottle, soft music on, quiet, dimmed lighting.
- In the rocking chair we have our final bottle (nice big one!!)
- We lay Evelyn down in her cot not totally asleep. As soon as the bottle finishes she goes in. I don’t rock her to sleep but she is very drowsy.
- Make gentle ‘shhhh’ sounds and slowly leave the room.
- If she starts moaning wait up to 2 minutes before going in (some say 5 minutes but I feel this is too long and Evelyn will wake herself up further!)
- I giver her the dummy and again make ‘shhhh’ sounds. I try not to touch her too much otherwise she begins to recognise that when she cries she gets physical attention. However sometimes I tap the dummy which calms her.
- Repeat leaving it slightly longer each time. Specialists say the time can be extended up to 15 mins but we have never had to leave it that long. She usually falls back to sleep.
Make sure the room is the right temperature and baby is feeling well.
- The first night we tried this we gave up and she ended up back in her Moses basket in our room….. FAIL.
- Night 2 we stuck to it. I think I got up 3 times and Adam got up twice. TIRED.
- Night 3 it went down to me getting up only twice.
- Last night it was only once and it was early in the night so I wasn’t fully asleep by then.
It has helped to get Evelyn used to her routine and it has also helped us to see that she is ok and she is starting to settle into her room! Have a search around for more information if you think this approach is something you might try.
I’d rename our version of the technique Controlled Reassurance!