When Ollie was 3 months I wrote a blog, Oliver and the Seven Dwarfs, about what I was doing to help him sleep through the night. He’s nearly 7 months now and still a good sleeper! So I’m writing an update on some things I’ve learnt along the way and what I think helps him sleep through the night. This is just my experience, I’m aware that it won’t apply to everyone but it might be helpful to some people!
Shortly after I’d written the last sleep update, Ollie moved out of newborn nappies. I’ve tried pretty much all of the shops own brands and I honestly think Pampers are the best. I found a lot of the others didn’t absorb as well and he would just get a saggy lump when he got wet. I liked the newborn ones because they’re designed for sensitive newborns and a line turns blue when they’re wet so in the early days when you’re trying to learn about your new baby, it’s obvious what a wet cry is! When he grew out of them I switched to active fit which are designed to move with your baby when they get more active. They were good in the day times but they didn’t last long enough during the night. Ollie was waking up earlier than he was in the newborn nappies but went back to sleep if I changed his nappy. So I switched to baby dry and he sleeps straight through! Simply dry also work but I didn’t expect them to because they are the budget pampers but they work. I think it’s worth trying a different nappy if you’re struggling to get your baby to sleep through, even if it’s not pampers! Some people say, oh the baby won’t know if they’re wearing cheap nappies, why spend £6 on a pack when you can spend £2? My answer to that is… I’ll know! He doesn’t know if he’s in cheap nappies but I’ll know if I’ve left him uncomfortable when there is a solution and a way to make him happier!
In the early days I was really concerned about making Ollie too warm at bed time. I didn’t want him to get too hot or poorly but then one day he fell asleep in his car seat wearing his coat and blanket so when I brought him out into a warm house I thought he must be hot but I didn’t want to disturb him. He slept so peacefully for a couple of hours! I noticed the same thing when I wrapped him in his blanket for his afternoon naps, even though the house is warm and he had layers on, he slept better when he was warm. So now he goes to bed in a sleep suit and a 2.5 tog sleeping bag and he sleeps peacefully all night. I remember asking the health visitor if that was ok and she looked disgusted and it was too much. Sorry but she was wrong! He wakes up when he’s not snuggled up. His room is generally about 19-20 degrees so it’s warm but he is fine. Blankets that can be kicked off are distracting for them and not secure all night! He has also got a 1 tog sleeping bag for summer!
Chill out or tire out!
We noticed that Ollie started crying, well whinging more than crying, early evenings when we were just sitting downstairs watching TV. One day I decided to just put him to bed, he went straight to sleep! I think sometimes it all gets a bit much with the household noises and us talking and he just wants some chill out time. So he normally has a little nap before his last bottle usually from half 8- half 10ish, then he’s settled from 11pm until morning! The trick to getting this right is learning their different cries so you know exactly what the noise means. Babies don’t cry for no reason!
Alternatively, sometimes he’s too active to sleep! He’s really interested in everything now, he wants to hold everything and look at everything. So sometimes if he’s not doing his tired whinge and it’s getting towards bedtime, we play! Within half hour he’s rubbing his eyes and ready for bed. He LOVES his door bouncer! He’s really happy jumping around but it doesn’t take long before he’s out of breath! Baths also tire him out, a lot of people advise you to give baths as a chill out routine, I don’t think it calms babies down, especially older babies. Ollie loves kicking and chasing after his toys so after a bath he’s not chilled out, he’s worn out from his little swimming practice and goes to sleep! In a roundabout way they chill out but don’t get frustrated if they’re excited in the bath because it does make them tired but afterwards!
I hope that doesn’t sound like I force him to get to sleep, I just help him understand the routine and time of day. He will understand everything faster if I stick to routines and help him.
I’ve never been fussy about Ollie’s daytime naps, I don’t put him down for a nap yet, I think he’ll sleep when he’s tired and still sleep through the night. It’s turned out he naps at the same time anyway. Always at approx 12.45 for about an hour and then a longer nap around 4pm for a couple of hours. So I think babies will eventually settle on their own but if you want to get some decent sleep, you can help them figure out when it’s night time!