WHEN it comes to getting babies to sleep, there is an abundance of advice available on the Internet, in books and from random strangers in the supermarket.
Whether you are looking to co-sleep with your baby, leave them to cry or have some fun with Ferberization – there really a method for everyone.
To help you decide how best to train your offspring, here is a comprehensive guide to some of the most popular sleep techniques (that probably won’t work):
1) The Extinction Method (also known as Cry It Out)
If your baby is unable to ‘self –soothe’ within a few months, she/he will turn into an obese sociopath who still needs you and your wrinkly granny breasts at 40. Therefore, it is best to teach your child to be self sufficient from day one. Simply kiss them goodnight and leave their room. As long as they are fed, dry and provided with spare nappies and a few snacks there is no reason why they cannot be left alone for days at a time.
2) Controlled crying
This method is perfect for parents who prefer their babies to cry in manageable bite size chunks. Instead of leaving your baby to scream continuously, pop into their room at regular intervals throughout the night to show them what they are missing. However, do not pick them up, touch them or even look at them. Simply tell them to ‘go back to sleep’ – ideally in the voice of Alan Rickman, and then leave the room.
3) No-cry solution
This method is perfect for the parent who wants to sleep train their baby and get fit at the same time. The idea is to spend the entire night picking up, putting down, picking up, putting down, picking up, putting down, picking up and putting down your baby until you pass out.
4) Gradual retreat
A technique that puts the fun into bedtime! Spend entire nights playing How Many Millimetres Will I Make It Away From The Cot Before The Baby Loses Her Shit while dicking around on your smartphone.
Simply lie down next to your baby and pretend to be asleep while they poke you, pull your hair and climb on your head. After two to four hours they will fall into a deep slumber on top of you or across the entire bed. To ensure that they stay asleep for longer than 20 minutes, you must lie completely still. Breathing, sneezing, coughing and thinking about putting them down should be avoided.
6) Reluctant co-sleeping
Similar to co-sleeping but for people who are really, definitely, seriously not going to let their baby sleep in their bed EVER…until 4am when they have been up all night and they no longer give a shit about the stupid rod. They are cold, tired and need to stay in bed for longer then 30 minutes at a damn time, so declare SOD IT, SHE CAN SLEEP IN OUR BED.
7) Get Your Baby To Sleep By Whatever Means Necessary
This is a popular technique used by parents of babies who are particularly adverse to sleep. Instead of adhering to one particular method, you do whatever the hell it takes (with the exception of drugs, alcohol and Gina Ford) to get your baby to fall asleep.
8) Magical sleep makers
Research shows that 100% of babies wake up at night because they are wondering ‘where the f*ck is my womb? After spending most of their life inside a female human, sleeping alone in the actual world can be as scary as shit. Fortunately, there is a thriving baby sleep industry ready to help take advantage of tired parents with these night wakings. For just many pounds you can purchase a Magical Sleep Maker in the form of a book, toy, app, cot, consultation or sheep that imitates a women’s internal organs, all of which promise to lull your child into a peaceful slumber.
9) The Only Totally Fail Proof Baby Sleep Method In The World
This method is for those babies who spit in the eye of sleep training. With a 100% success rate, the G.O.T.O.S.L.E.E.P method guarantees to get any baby to sleep…eventually. This revolutionary technique, devised by the Institute Of Real Life People With Actual Babies, uses a unique combination of common sense, sleep crutches and maternal/paternal instincts. The full version is available here.
*IMPORTANT NOTE FOR HUMAN PARENTS*
Before embarking on any sleep-training method is it essential that parents remember a few keys points (and stock up on coffee and wine).
a) If sleep training your baby feels wrong. Don’t do it.
b) If you are sleep training your baby because all the other mums at playgroup are doing it. Then don’t do it.
C) If you are sleep training your baby because a book said you SHOULD be and you think that the book expert knows better than you because they wrote an actual book about babies and you only have a frigging English and drama degree, then don’t do it. YOU are the only expert on your baby.
d) If you are sleep training your baby because everyone else’s babies sleep through the night, then don’t do it. All babies are different (and everyone else is a liar).
e) If you are only training your baby because you are scared that he will suffer mentally or physically if he does not sleep through the night, then don’t do it. Babies have been waking up in the night since babies were invented and the world isn’t full of half-brained sickly weirdo freaks.
f) If you are sleep training your baby because you feel that you can’t cope and it feels right for you and your family, then try it.
g) THE most important thing….
Having a baby who does not like to sleep much (aka A Sleep Thief) is tough. The half hourly wakings, 4am pyjamas parties, entire nights without ANY sleep, no evenings to yourself, no time with your partner, short showers while baby screams, mostly in your pyjamas, vomit in your hair, you can’t remember whether you cleaned your teeth, cold coffee, physically sick with exhaustion, forgetting to eat, self doubt, tears, anxiety, feeling like a rubbish mum for always feeling tired. Having to take care of a tiny baby while looking and feeling like a zombie. Basically, you feel like crap A LOT. So if you try a sleep training ‘method’ and give up after a few days, an hour or even five minutes then it is totally understandable! You have NOT Failed. If you try one way, then another way, but your baby STILL won’t sleep then you have NOT failed. It is just not the right way or the right time for you or your baby.
However, the good news is that things will get easier. One day you will be up, dressed, getting on with it and drinking a tepid coffee. You will smile at your happy, healthy child and realise that you got this. Your baby has trained you NOT to sleep through the night successfully.
WHAT WORKED FOR YOU:
‘The Extinction method worked brilliantly! We put our baby down three months ago and he has slept ever since! ‘ – Mr and Mrs Tumble, new parents
‘We found Magical Sleep makers were the right option for us after spending just £6,000 on a real life womb we found on Ebay.’ -Mrs M Pig, Mummy-of-two
‘G.O.T.O.S.L.E.E.P was by far the best technique we have ever tried. So easy you can do it with your eyes closed, which is handy because I can’t remember how to open mine. Just two years in and the twins are sleeping through night!’ -Mrs J Odell, Mum-of- twins
More hot tips in my book Sleep is for the Weak: How to survive when your baby won’t go the fzZk to sleep. Available from book shops or on Amazon now!!