Part 1: we have a book

Welcome to the first installment of a live review of the No-Cry Sleep Solution

At five months, bubs was a pretty decent sleeper – often settling himself for his naps, regularly going more than five hours at a stretch, we felt cautiously smug. Then his teeth started giving him grief and we went on holiday and we never really got back into a good pattern. And then he started being really distracted about breastfeeding in public, so I was happy to let him feed at night to make sure he was getting everything he needed. I googled a lot about baby sleep, and we set up a nice bedtime ritual, but didn’t go any further than that because I found the advice off-putting. All the info suggested that you can’t have everything: a baby who goes to sleep in his pushchair a lot and who nurses to sleep while out and about can’t be expected to self-settle when at home and sleep “through the night”. I decided there was more to lose than there was to gain. I really didn’t want to be bound to a routine that meant I was always at home for nap time. I could cope with broken sleep; I couldn’t cope with further limiting the scope for socialising and outings. I also didn’t want to make sleep the benchmark of parenting so I just did whatever worked on a given day, and figured we’d deal with it later if we needed to. 

I like that No-Cry recognises it’s ok to have other priorities, and isn’t judgmental about parents who think broken sleep is the least bad option, given other constraints. If anything, it’s affirming of this, which is encouraging, because so much of the sleep advice has a really urgent tone – “you must get your baby to self-settle now, or they never will!!!” etc etc. 

So why change now? Mainly because now he wakes sometimes and doesn’t want to feed, and won’t go back to sleep easily. UGH! The worst! Last night he was awake from midnight to 1.30am, today I bought the book (bless you, kindle). It’s one thing to feed a hungry baby in the middle of the night, it’s a completely different scenario when he’s clearly just overtired and unable to settle from a brief waking. That requires doing something different. 

Also he’s down to two naps a day (rocked or nursed to sleep, usually). He’s awake for longer stretches, and interested in coming on excursions with me, so it’d be ok to be home for naps most of the time. If we establish a nap time routine now, it’ll be our guide for several months – in eight months he’s gone from too many naps to keep track of, to five naps, to four naps, to three, to two: but it’ll be a long time before he drops down to one.

Basically the No Cry method is to use a transition plan, teaching the baby to fall asleep by himself through gradually creating positive sleepy associations with a pre-bed wind down and the sleep environment. Then you keep a log for ten days, and revise the plan.

So far we’ve both read the book and are developing our transition plan. I’ll do an update blog in ten days once we’ve given it a go. Wish us luck.