Breaking bad habits
Now I have a confession, from day one I have fed Mimi to sleep, I know I know naughty mummy!
At 13 months I stopped feeding her myself and we switched to milk in a beaker – no problem there I hear you say, well the milk isn’t the bad habit – I am ! I have been cuddling her to sleep, and I have since we made the switch from breast to beaker, once asleep I wait before very carefully transferring her from my arms to her cot – I know, I know, I’ve made a rod for my own back.
She can self smooth because she does it on occasions when she’s woken in the night, so I decided that while the girls was off school for Easter, I would try and break this habit. So while Grace was away with her nanny, I had looked online for ideas and all I could really find was ‘controlled crying’. Now I’m going to be honest 2 words I would never put together are control and crying and after reading about it, it didn’t fill me with confidence, I can’t listen to my babies crying and do nothing.
So the plan was to give her a cuddle while she had her milk and read her a short story, then say nun night to daddy and go up to bed, put her into her cot I say good night walk out and close the door, and if she doesn’t settle after 5mins I go in say nothing, lay her back down tuck her in a leave the room and if she still doesn’t settle after 10mins I go back and repeat and so on and so forth.
Ok so we’ve had the milk, story and cuddle, said good night to daddy, I’ve put her in her cot said good night and sat on the stairs, monitor in one hand, my phone with a 5 min timer on it in the other, crying with her and wondering where the control was ? After the longest 4mins and 37seconds of my life she stopped crying, fell asleep and I felt like the worst mum in the history of the world.
Ok so the second night was a bit easier because I knew what to expect but it didn’t make it any less heart breaking just over 3 mins and she was asleep, and the next couple of nights was more of the same, by the time I had sneaked downstairs she had more or less settled, then Grace came home, and we had the worst night since we started the new routine. We said our good nights and I took Mimi up to bed and she cried and cried and cried and cried, I was up and down the stairs for over an hour before she finally gave up, it was the worst feeling and I hated it.
I sat down and tried to work out what could have caused such a change – it was Grace, she was sat in the front room when Mimi went to bed and the only thing I could think was that she wanted to be down stairs too. So the next night when I was starting the bedtime routine, Grace said her good nights and went up to her room, shortly followed by Mimi, I popped her in her cot said good night, shut her door and went down stairs followed by Grace (it was a little early for her to be going to bed) and although Mimi cried she was again pretty much asleep by the time I got down stairs.
The following night we did the same again and something amazing happened, Mimi didn’t cry; I stood on the hall landing in complete shock. We are now on night 5 of her going to bed without any fuss or tears. At the risk of jinxing our hard work, I think we may have cracked it ! Only thing to try now is someone else putting her to bed, but I’m confident that she will be fine now we have this set bedtime routine.
Controlled crying was horrible, but it was a necessary evil to reach our end goal. Had it not worked as well as it did, as quickly as it did, I’m not sure I would have have been able to carry it on but I’m glad that I did. It was 100% worth it!