15 Aug 2013

The Self Sleeping Journey ... Night 1

We decided after we get back from Hawaii we would make a serious attempt at getting Eli to teach himself to fall asleep on his own. This along with toilet training, child care shopping ... yep nesting phase has kicked in. More on those topics on another post ....
Currently Eli needs one of us next to him to fall asleep. He prefers to be hugged to fall asleep and he'll creep up close to your body if you're not hugging him. It's very sweet and its my favourite way to fall asleep too, but we're having another baby. 

I feel kinda sorry for Eli because all these changes that are occurring to him is all because of a new baby. I've always stressed to Ian that there is an inherited sense of responsibility from the eldest child whether they want it or not and it even applies to every day tasks. 

So tonight was the first time we seriously made the attempt to teach him how to self sleep. I took control and championed the process cause I know it's me he usually looks for at night and if mummy is dictating the new rules maybe he'll accept and adjust quicker. 

It took an hour from start to finally asleep but we did it. I didn't lie down with him although it was hard. not to. Not  because I'm 8 months pregnant and laying down would be so much more comfortable than sitting, but it's hearing him say "mummy sleep" every couple of minutes or resisting his hugs around my neck that made me almost crack. 

Another reason why I think there is a delay in the sleep process for him is he's always scratching. I've moisturised his whole body and re moisturised the areas he scratches but still it doesn't stop the "itch". There's no rash for him to scratch and because I've moisturised the area so much there isn't a rash the following day either. I don't know if its his clothing, is he over heating under the sheets or its just his way of getting himself to sleep? 

So how did we achieve night 1 into our self sleeping journey? Firstly, we agreed a nightly routine needs to be established from now on and we all need to stick to it. If it is broken one (or more) nights we will aim to get back to the routine as soon as possible. 

Eli's Nightly Routine:
  1. Begin at 8pm
  2. Start getting the house quiet. So turn off all unnecessary lights, turn off the tv and minimise sound in the home.
  3. Prepare everything he needs to fall asleep. At present this is a bottle of milk and water.
  4. Change him into PJ's (if not already), change his nappy and moisturise his whole body.
  5. Join him in brushing teeth, monkey see monkey do 
  6. Go to his bedroom and ask him to choose a book (or two) to read. 
  7. Practice skills he is learning or already knows ie counting, alphabet, colours, days of the week, animal sounds, body parts etc
  8. Say a prayer
  9. Tuck him into bed and say good night's "See you in the morning!"
  10. Turn off the light and quietly leave the room. 
  11. If he's unsettled sit by his bed and sing songs or comfort him until he's quiet and relaxed. Comforting does not mean laying next to him.  
  12. If he wakes in the middle of the night return quietly return him back to his room and bed and repeat steps 9 to 11. 
Tonight we got to step 9 then jump straight to 11. I think we were stuck on step 11 for about 40 minutes tonight. It's going to take some time but we'll get there.

Any other tips or suggestions to help a toddler self sleep?   
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