sleep training

Sleep training in a one-bed apartment

15012014

onebed

It’s been a chaotic few days. Our apartment is a madhouse as all our windows are having to be replaced. Workmen, breaking glass and rooms off limits have meant that Forrest and I have been out the house a fair bit which has actually been a nice welcome change. However, what with the windows and four teeth deciding to make an appearance at the same time, sleep has been very much all over the place again with 2-hourly wake ups all week. Smashing.

Forrest has always been a bit of a terrible sleeper. There was a brief moment at about 9 weeks when he managed to sleep through but since then its been very much an uphill battle. Moving house when he was four months really didn’t help as we were without a permanent home and cot for the whole of the summer. It was around this time that necessity forced us to co-sleep and it’s been that way ever since. At first I was pretty happy with this. It made the night feeds so much more manageable and it was pretty pleasant to curl up with a tiny infant for the night. It felt like the happiest and most natural option and for a while I really enjoyed it. But you have all seen the size of our baby now right? Twenty-seven pounds later and the fact that he sleeps like a starfish has meant that co-sleeping is now almost impossible without us having to resort to buying a new bigger bed. Something has got to change and quickly

Of course, we would very much love for him to have his own bedroom and our working very hard toward the goal of affording a two bed place. But this is London; ludicrously expensive London.  The likelihood is that Forrest will be sharing our room until he is at least 18 months but my hope is that we will have that illusive second room by the time he is two. Our current situation is not ideal but it is what it is so let’s move on.

Our first attempt at sleep training was before Christmas. We very quickly decided that letting him cry wasn’t for us. We tried it for a couple of days but after over 2 hours of ceaseless sobbing, we drew a line under it. It felt so wrong to leave him crying in a room which we all share. I want him to experience bedtime as a calm and peaceful time and for him to have positive associations with sleep. For us, letting him cry out went against those principles and in a teeny tiny flat it was emotionally very challenging. I am sure every parent struggles to hear their baby wailing from a darkened room but I can also imagine that a bit of distance provided by a corridor or a staircase might soften the experience a little bit.

It was after this that I began to consider that impact that only having a 1-bed was having on Forrest’s sleep. Forrest doesn’t hate the cot or sleeping. In fact, he finds it quite amusing and is a good napper. But at night when it is dark and we are all in bed, the simple fact is that he can see the bed and us and knows full well where he would prefer to be. Babies are not stupid, especially when it comes to sleep. Our flat is so tiny that there are very few times of the day that we are more than a few feet from each other. So when he wakes up in the night alone, the very fact that we are not there is completely alien to him.

That being said, we have decided to give the cot one last giant go before we burn our bed and just resort to a giant mattress on the floor. I was inspired to try the ‘pick-up, put-down’ method which I first read about on Josie’s blog. Once the windows are all fitted, we are going to try it out over a couple of weeks and see how we can get on. I just hope that if we persevere he will eventually get the hang of it. We could all use a little more sleep over here. The only snagging point I can see with this is that I am still breastfeeding and have a baby who refuses to take a bottle and often needs to feed to sleep. Before he got bronchitis we had kicked that habit but it looks like we will be starting from scratch with that one too.

I’ll keep you posted on how we get on. Methods on how to get a baby of Forest’s age to sleep in the same room as their parents (but in their own bed) seem to be few and far between. Most of the advice I have read frustratingly assumes a 2-bed set up so if anyone out there has any tips for a bed-loving baby who loves to snack all night, please please send them my way.

This photograph is actually from our beloved former flat (and our much smaller baby). After the windows are fixed I’ll try to get around to photographing our current space which is sadly a little bit smaller than our lovely old one. 

 

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