Tuesday, 29 March 2016

How to Survive Sharing a Bedroom with your Baby

Every night when my husband and I go to bed, we quietly creep into the bedroom. I place my drink on the bedside table, plug my phone in and ever so slowly get into bed! It's all going to plan...there's no movement from the cot, the baby is still fast asleep. Phew!! If only it could go like this every night!

James is almost eleven months old, and I moan about sharing a bedroom most every day now! I do love being so close to him, but having to creep in each night in the dark and cough into a pillow is a bit of a pain.

Today, I thought I'd share with you some tips that have helped us.

First, a bit of background information on James' sleep routine:

I started trying to get him into a bedtime routine at 12 weeks because he was staying awake really late, and sometimes cluster feeding. I was just desperate for sleep.

I would bath him at about 5.30 (as he was so young his bath was quite short) then put his lotion on and sleepsuit. I then sat down in the bedroom with him and fed him for however long he needed. If he fell asleep I would gently wake him and then put him down in his cot awake put sleepy.

Sometimes he would cry and I would gently stroke his head and pat his back while saying 'sssh'. At four months he was sleeping through the night, but I made the silly mistake of feeding him to sleep again when he started to wake in the night at five months! The health visitor told me to give him water but I didn't, and I wish in this instance I had have listened.

At four months I started to schedule his naps as he wasn't falling asleep by himself in the day any more. I googled the length of time babies can be awake for before getting overtired and found some really good sleep schedules.

At six months old he became more knowing and was harder to get to sleep, so I gave in and started feeding him to sleep at night!

At about nine months I started training him to go down for his naps by himself.

So, that's our sleep routine history..

Now, here are my tips on sharing a bedroom with your baby:

Have everything ready before your baby goes to sleep
If you're going to need anything out of your bedroom while your baby is asleep (whether it's for the night or a daytime nap) get it before your baby goes down; And keep things like makeup in an easily transportable box so you can do it in another room.

White Noise
This is my number one tip that I recommend to everyone sharing a room with their baby, particularly if they're over 6 months old. I have an app called Sleepy Sounds by OwenTech on my iPod, and every time James sleeps (day or night) I put this on. It's perfect for drowning out any noise you make when you go up to bed - helps with any snoring husbands too!!

Cot bumper/Airwrap
Anything that stops your baby from being able to see you can help - although now James just pushes his Airwrap down! When he couldn't stand up, these worked great, as when he did rouse slightly he wouldn't see us straight away, so would often go back to sleep.

Divide the room with a sheet/screen
Until James was about five/six months old, we were able to go into the bedroom and watch television once he was asleep. But, we'd put up a sheet to block out the light from his cot - it worked a treat! At that age noise didn't seem to wake him too easily, but light sometimes did. This also works great when you have to share a hotel room!

Consider moving out for a few weeks
If your baby is waking up a lot and you want to start sleep training - but can't because you're sharing a room - consider sleeping in the living room for a couple of weeks. This didn't work for us because our air bed was so uncomfortable, but it has worked for other parents I've spoken to!

Do what makes you happy, not what you're told to do
I was told to wean James off of his night feeds when we went for his check-up at 10 months old, and I worried myself silly for a couple of weeks over this. But, it's too hard for us to share a room and wean him off of it; I've tried a lot! To get a good night sleep, I feed him when he wants it and he sometimes stays in our bed if necessary.

Let there be noise!
When you put your baby to bed, leave doors open so they can still hear noise in the house while they're falling asleep. If it's completely silent in the room when they go to bed, then slight noises can end up waking them.

Try to sleep train in the day
If you try sleep training your baby for their daytime naps, you may find they go to sleep easier at night for you. I don't feed James before his daytime nap, instead I turn on white noise, put him in his sleeping bag, sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, then put him in his cot (he has a dummy and duck for comfort). It has taken a while to get to this point, but I just persisted with it. I didn't use the cry-it-out method, but instead just kept going back in to comfort him when he got upset and only got him out the cot if he was hysterically crying! When sleep training try to make sure you don't put your baby down when they're overtired or wide awake, or you may find it a lot more difficult!

Stay in the room while they fall asleep
If you don't like the idea of doing the cry-it-out method, but don't want to continue feeding/rocking/cuddling your baby to sleep, then you could try just staying in the room and reading a book. If they need a bit of comfort, you can go over and give them it, but they're much less likely to scream! This also works well because they're learning to go to sleep by themselves with you in the room, so when they wake in the night, the hope is that they will do the same then!

Products mentioned:
Airwrap - 4 Sided Bumper or 2 Sided Bumper

Resources that have helped me:
Four Month Old Schedule
Waketime Length

I hope these tips can help you in some way.
Have you got any advice for sharing a room with your baby?

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