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Getting baby - and mum - into a sleeping routine

Kate Richards
One of the biggest topics of conversation among new parents is sleep. Any eavesdroppers would soon drop off, but to those affected by broken nights it's endlessly fascinating. Hearing how other parents are getting on, sharing coping techniques and getting sympathy takes a good half hour of any meet-up.
Unfortunately I've developed the added problem that I'm struggling to sleep in-between night feeds. It's not uncommon, apparently, I've got two friends who had the same thing. Both are back to more-or-less normal, two years later.

Eventually I went to my GP, who told me the medical options are limited because I'm breastfeeding. She did prescribe very mild sleeping tablets which just help me drop off. It's quite a relief to know I'll have some guaranteed sleep.

Having started on solids, and being nearly six months, Ben is now only waking once in the night. He seems genuinely hungry so I'm reluctant to stop feeding him, although many of the baby books assure me it's just habit by this point. I've got high hopes for an improvement when he's able to start on meat, fish and eggs. The fruit and vegetable purees he has now are fairly low in energy, probably less sustaining than breastmilk, but that should all change soon.

Ben has had a bedtime routine of sorts for a few months now. We have a set bedtime, with a change of clothes, a feed and two stories. Then we switch on his mobile with rainforest sounds and a soft light. Until recently he was swaddled at night, although five months is relatively late to keep swaddling, so we compromised by leaving his arms free.

I've also finally stopped feeding him to sleep - a mortal sin according to some of the books - but so reliable. He's now perfectly able to drop off by himself, praise be!

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