This is a classic feed-to-sleep problem – where your little one doesn’t know how to transition between sleep cycles without getting fed back to sleep again. You might know that a baby’s sleep cycle lasts for about 45 minutes, and at the top of that sleep cycle when they are in that light stage, that is when 3 of their senses switch back on – touch, sight, and hearing.
This is when they kind of subconsciously scan the environment to make sure that everything is as it was at the start of the cycle. So if your little one is going to sleep with the boob in his mouth and then he comes to the top of the cycle and that boob is not there or you have rolled over or moved a cm, then he is likely to then fully wake up because things are different. So his subconscious is like ‘wake up there is something wrong’ and he wakes and starts crying, which is when you then feed him back to sleep again. He is waking every 45 minutes overnight and you are having to get him back to sleep with the only way you have.
Reduce, reduce, reduce!
There are endless amounts of information on the internet on how to fix this. It is just a case of finding some accurate information that you feel comfortable putting into place and following through with. The first vital thing is whatever the sleep training is, you are reducing what you are doing – reducing your involvement in getting him back to sleep. If at the moment you are breastfeeding and co-sleeping to get him to sleep, perhaps decide to rock him off to sleep every second waking. That’s sleep training – it’s not control crying – it is a form of sleep training because we are changing his behaviour to have him sleep longer. So try reducing your response to his wakings.
Consistency is key
The other fundamental is that you have to stay consistent and you have to be persistent. It is not going to work in one night or even two or three nights. You might see some improvements in that time, but you have got to stay strong and you have got to be persistent and consistent through the night. You have just got to work on reducing your response as much as you feel comfortable with.
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