I was in the healthy child drop in clinic the other day and as I was waiting to get the baby weighed I was ear-wigging on the conversation another mum was having with a Health Visitor about her 6 month old daughter. It went something like this: -
Flustered mum: "I leave the room and she just starts crying, so I wait 15 minutes before going back in but she won't stop crying. Should I wait even longer?"
HV: "No you can't leave a baby that young to cry for 15 minutes."
Flustered mum: "But the last Health Visitor I saw told me to leave her for 15 minutes? What do you think I should do then?"
HV: "Well to me it sounds like she could be overtired, have you tried bringing her bedtime forwards?"
Increasingly flustered mum: "No, I was told to try putting her to bed later as perhaps she isn't tired enough!"
HV: "Well maybe it's a hunger thing, perhaps you need to up her solids in the day."
VERY Irate and flustered mum: "She's eating loads - everyone keeps telling me different stuff! How am I meant to know who is right?"
Hmm here in lies the problem - No one can tell you how to get your baby to sleep, they can only tell you what did or didn't work for them.
Although there are a million little instruction manuals available to purchase on Amazon in my opinion there really is no point. Get this - babies are PEOPLE! Little individual PEOPLE.
As much as I like to fall asleep while watching TV in bed, you might need a screen free room and a meditation CD. Julie next door likes a hot milk whilst reading her book and Mr. Thomas 3 doors down knocks himself out with a large glass of red. Babies are no different - except you are not supposed to give them alcohol (a shame, as I suspect it would actually be quite effective).
I was bloody lucky with my first son, he slept through the night from about 3.5 months and still does 12 hour stints now. People have often asked me for my secret to success and my reply? Er, I don't know, he just did it.
I really believe that each and every child has some sort of inbuilt 'sleep though the night switch' that flicks on at a mystery time predetermined at birth. Unfortunately I'm still waiting for it to activate on the baby, who despite being nearly 7 months old and on 3 proper meals a day did a pretty darn good impression of a newborn last night.
So where do you think I'm going wrong? My current line is that he is constipated by too much banana, too hot or too cold and in the midst of a sleep regression caused by his overriding frustration at not being able to crawl yet. Either that or he's just inherently evil and set on torturing me for years to come?
I guess we'll get there in the end though, and until then there is always gin...