Help! My Baby Doesn’t Sleep!

How to get a baby to sleep

My baby doesn’t sleep!

Well, that’s not entirely true now but I’ll start at the beginning.

From the moment we found out we were pregnant we started discussing how we wanted to parent and the types of parenting techniques we favoured. One thing we both agreed on was the necessity of a good nights sleep. A baby that was a bad sleeper was just not an option. I have always gone to bed early, even pre-children, and I do not do well without sleep. We both felt we could cope with whatever a newborn had to throw at us as long as we had had a good sleep the night before.

We decided to read up on all things sleep related and don’t mind admitting to highlighting the pages of a fair few sleep training books! (Even writing additional notes down the sides!) We thought we were well prepared and that we knew exactly what to do to encourage our baby to sleep brilliantly! We were sleep experts and our baby would be sleeping through the night in no time!

Guess what? Our baby didn’t sleep. In fact, out of 10 babies in our NCT class Ted was the worst sleeper by far! Out of every baby in all 5 of his baby classes Ted won the award for worst sleeper. In 6 months we never met a baby as bad on the sleeping scale as our Ted. Why? What happened? What did we do wrong?

We have a whole host of theories as to why and what, but the fact of the matter was that we had a six month old that was waking hourly and only going back to sleep with a feed. Between 7pm and 7am I would sometimes give him 10 night feeds!! It wasn’t always this bad.. For the first 6 weeks Ted was quite a good sleeper. For one reason or another the night wakings slowly increased and our sleep rapidly decreased! I was averaging a couple of hours sleep a night between feeds.

Some days I didn’t get dressed, some days I didn’t remember to eat, some days I cried, some days I felt as if I was slowly going insane. Actually officially insane! I suffered from incredibly bad headaches and my eye-sight became strained. I felt constantly nauseous. Sleep deprivation is a pretty hideous thing. I can see why it is used as a form of torture.

I lost my car keys daily, I went shopping and left the groceries in the shop, I forgot when I had to be and where, I forgot what day is was and I didn’t really care. I would start sentences and not be able to finish them. People would take the mick and laugh at my baby brain but it was so much more than that. My coping strategy was to get through one day at a time.

Ted is an incredible baby. Those of you that follow the blog will know that he is rarely without a smile. He never, ever cries. So much so, that for the first few months we were worried that something was wrong with him! He is so content. He will play by himself, he isn’t clingy and he is happy pretty much 100% of the time. During the day! People would often tell me how lucky I was to have this smiley, happy baby and how envious they were of Ted and his temperament! Why couldn’t they have such luck with their baby?! I would smile sweetly thinking if only they knew I’d been up most of the night with this ‘perfect baby’!

Now I know some people have babies that are very upset and needy during the day. My heart goes out to them. I do not believe that I could have coped if this were the case with Ted. Luckily I was able to cope with each day because he was so happy and easy to take care of.

This didn’t stop me feeling like a complete failure as his mother. ‘My baby doesn’t sleep’ rang though my head all day long! Why did MY baby wake 10 times a night? Why did MY baby need so many night-feeds? Was I producing the worst breast-milk ever made? Was it my diet? Had I done something wrong? Each of these worries was made increasingly worse by other people! As much as they wanted to be helpful, they really weren’t! On a daily basis I heard these comments

  • Sleep when the baby sleeps during the day – he was only sleeping for 20-30 minutes each nap. I don’t know about you but I cannot fall asleep in this pressurised time frame.
  • Try _________ (fill in the blank with massage, osteopathy, aromatherapy, formula, baby rice, controlled crying etc etc) If its out there, we’ve tried it!
  • You should speak to such and such. HER baby sleeps through the night so she must know how to do it.
  • You look shattered. You need a good nights sleep. You’ll feel better. AAAAHHHHH
  • Try and get some rest. How? When?
  • Why isn’t he sleeping through? He’s 6 months now. He should be doing better than this! Yes, thank you, I know his age.

The problem with sleep deprivation is that the more tired you become, the less strength you have to try anything new. If giving him a boob gets him back to sleep, even if it is only for 45 minutes, then I’m going to do it. You become desperate.

All this time I have a parenting partner, a husband, that is also wondering what the hell went wrong! Now, he experiences things from a slightly different perspective. He can’t breastfeed so he cant really help out too much. He wants to support me but what’s the point in him waking up when I’m the one that needs to do the feeding? He also has to go to work and he couldn’t possibly function and hold down a job on 2 hours sleep a night.

However, it is incredibly frustrating to fall back into bed after the 8th feed of the night and lie next to your husband in the same position he fell asleep in 7 hours ago! Sometimes the daily morning question of “how was the during the night?” nearly received a smack in the face! Other days it was met with tears. He woke up anxious and full of guilt. I know that however good he felt from his hour upon hour of uninterrupted sleep, he felt equally as bad that he could not fix the mess we had got ourselves into. How to get your baby to sleep? Was the questioned that needed to get answered!

The one thing that kept me going through the past long six months without sleep was gratefulness. We experienced a miscarriage at 12 weeks (over our wedding weekend) and it broke my heart. I was terrified we would never fall pregnant again. When we did I was terrified of history repeating itself. When I finally held Teddy in my arms I knew, no matter what, I would always be so grateful for him and that I would never take him for granted. No matter how tired I was during those feeds, I would look at Ted and remind myself how desperately we wanted him and how I wouldn’t be without him for a second. That feeling can provide a great deal of strength at 3am! I will forever be grateful to have my baby boy.

As we hit the 6 month mark we introduced Ted to solids. This didn’t make him suddenly sleep through the night like the hundreds of helpful people had promised. It made no difference! This was the final straw! We admitted defeat and started thinking about inviting a sleep expert into our home to help. We were clearly useless parents and had no idea what we were doing! We needed outside help! That’s when we found Jo Tantum.

Jo Tantum is a leading baby sleep expert. She was running a campaign with Pampers to help sleep deprived parents. We obviously fitted the criteria! We were lucky enough to have a skype call with Jo and tell her our situation.

The results were astounding.

Here’s a summery of what Jo taught us-

  • As much as Jo was interested in the night-time, she was also focused on the day time. She explained how important the day time naps were to encourage the night-time sleep. Sleep promotes sleep. Ted was sleeping for up to an hour in 2 – 3 naps during the day. Jo told us this should be 3-4 hours in 3 naps! We listened in disbelief!
  • Jo told us that the nights couldn’t get better without an improved day routine. We were lucky enough that she wrote Teddy a day plan to follow. This said when he should eat his meals, have a breast-feed and when he should nap and for how long.
  • The fantastic news was that Jo did not expect us to leave Ted to cry. She taught us a technique to help Teddy settle back to sleep without feeding. It involves a loud shushing noise and a rhythmic gentle pushing movement.
  • Jo suggested we didn’t drop all night feeds at once but to slowly reduce them over the 10 days.
  • She taught us about light and deep sleep and told us that the baby will come in and out of sleep but needs to be taught how to self-settle each time.
  • Finally, Jo told us we had to give the new routine and techniques 7-10 days to see the results and that we should write a log to see the progress.

As the call ended we vowed to stick together, to follow her advice for 10 days regardless and see what happened. We both had very little hope!
However, 3 weeks after that call, I am sitting here writing this after a full nights sleep. Not from me, ( I still lay there waiting for him to wake! I hope this will soon pass) but from Ted. He now goes to bed at 6.30-7 and wakes at 6-6.30 I cannot even believe that I am writing that. I think that our situation was pretty much as bad as it can get and yet 10 days of following Jo’s advice and our lives are completely transformed. We stick to Jo’s routine but it isn’t rigid. The timings can slip 15 minutes either way but Teddy pretty much sticks to it of his own accord. I cannot tell you how nice it is to know when he will fall asleep and know when he will wake. It does mean that we can no longer go to all of our classes anymore. For the 10 days we were implementing the routine, I didn’t leave the house because I wanted to stick to the timings and for Ted to fall asleep in his cot rather than in the car or pushchair. It was well worth it though. We will now find classes and arrange seeing friends around his routine. He will also be happier in these classes because they will be timed around his sleeping and feeding needs rather than the other way round!

I am under no illusions that this will last forever. Sickness, teething and other baby realted issues will of course affect Ted and his sleeping. What I do know is that, thanks to Jo, I am now equipped to cope with this and I have the techniques to help Teddy fall back to sleep and self-soothe. All without tears!

If I meet another sleep deprived parent I will be sure not to make a list of ‘have you tried…..’ suggestions! I will not make judgements of them and their baby or make presumptions. Instead I will just listen and supportively nod in the way only someone that has experienced true sleep deprivation can. And offer an enormous hug!

Jo has worked miracles in our family. I cannot thank her enough. She is our sleep angel!

SO, my baby DIDN’T sleep. But now he does!

Click here to see a video of our Skype chat with Jo – the moment that turned our world around!

If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.IMG_6276

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98 Comments

  1. Sian 25 February, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    Brilliant Jen, well done. Xxx

    • Al Ferguson 26 February, 2015 / 12:30 pm

      Thanks Sian, i appreciate the comment. Maybe i will start to feel human again soon! x

    • Jamie 8 October, 2015 / 10:45 am

      Hi,

      Thanks for sharing the video. We’re in a comparable situation and found the videos interesting.

      One tip though – as its in two parts, it would be useful to link them in the YouTube comments – it took me a while to find.

      All the best

      Jamie

      • Al Ferguson 8 October, 2015 / 10:52 am

        Hi Jamie. Sorry you are in a similar situation. Is there anything we can help further with? Thanks for the tip :)

        • Jamie 8 October, 2015 / 3:16 pm

          Hi Al,

          Thanks.

          We’ll be trying to be disciplined over the next week or so, see how things go! I’ll report back.

          Regards

          Jamie

          • Al Ferguson 9 October, 2015 / 3:15 pm

            Shout anytime if you need any help :)

  2. Mummybexm 25 February, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    A really great post, Jen. I was moved by your description of how you felt in the thick of it – totally get it. We had Jake sleeping 7-7 but lately our days start at 5am and now working full time I am struggling to manage. I’m so pleased that Jo helped you guys find a solution xx

    • Al Ferguson 26 February, 2015 / 12:33 pm

      Hi Bex, great to hear from you. Thank you so much! My first attempt at a blog post! Was a little nervous! Don’t know how you and Al do it! How are you coping with work too? That must be really tough. Really i should be going back now but i just couldnt even consider it because of the sleeping! I hope it becomes easier for you and that Jake learns to wake a little less early. Have you ever tried the shh and push technique? Ted loves it and seeing as the boys are so similar it might be worth a shot?

  3. James 26 February, 2015 / 9:54 am

    Hi

    You should check out http://www.stolensleep.com if you haven’t already. It sounds like exactly the sort of thing you might appreciate.

    • Al Ferguson 26 February, 2015 / 12:34 pm

      Thank you James, ill take a look now.

  4. Amy 26 February, 2015 / 10:22 am

    A fantastic blog, thank you for sharing your experience. Well done Teddy on sleeping through and developing your day time routine and well done Jo and Al on all your hard work and perseverance. X

    • Al Ferguson 26 February, 2015 / 12:35 pm

      Ah thank you Amy, thats really kind of you to say. It was my first attempt at a blog post so wasn’t sure about it! Thanks for your kind comment :)

  5. Alannah 26 February, 2015 / 11:08 am

    This sounds like the dream! I saw your husband’s post about this on instagram and watched your skype video last night, then made my husband watch it too! (We also have a sometimes hourly-walker-upper. I’m frazzled). The shh patting worked quite well last night and I managed to stretch time between feeds, but Im just not sure how to go about naps. How did you get Ted to go for longer than 30 mins? Eliza’s eyes snap open and she is wide awake! Happy as anything but not sleepy….

    • Al Ferguson 26 February, 2015 / 12:39 pm

      Hourly-waker uppers are just not good! I feel your pain! Theres just nothing quite like it is there! Im so glad you watched the video and that it helped a bit. hopefully the time between feeds will continue starching as the days go on. After the 10 days Ted was just naturally sleeping for longer during these naps. If he woke earlier I just shhhed and pushed again! Eliza is a nice name. Let me know how it goes over the next few days. Id love to hear. Good luck x

  6. Jim (OneDadOneBlog) 26 February, 2015 / 12:19 pm

    Great honest Post Jen… You’re giving Al a run for his money here you know :-) (Sorry Al).

    In all seriousness, I felt like crying and laughing reading this post as we are in the midst of exactly the same and you’re right, its SO tough and the instinct is to do whatEVER will work, when your that tired you just do.
    From a Dad’s perspective its incredibly tough / frustrating as we want to help but like you say, there isn’t much we can do where breastfeeding and it feels like we should be doing more, I personally struggle with this but thankfully Mrs F is just as understanding and reassuring as you… I’m sure she wants to smack me in the face too at times tho.

    The fantastic thing is that there is light at the end of the tunnel and speaking to Al, its very achievable too. I’m so glad Ted is sleeping, here’s to many more wonderful smiling pictures of him and a very happy mummy and daddy too.

    Jim x

    • Al Ferguson 26 February, 2015 / 12:43 pm

      Jim, what a lovely comment. Thank you so much. You’ve bought tears to my eyes!! Im so sorry to hear you are experiencing the same thing. How old is your baby? Did you watch the video? Do you think it might help you? I think your Mrs F and I both know how lucky we are to have such caring men as husbands, so although you can’t physically help, you are supportive in other ways.
      I really hope that your situation is heading to wards the light at the end of the tunnel too. Do please let me know how it goes. Id love to hear. Good luck and a big hug for Mrs F. x

  7. Karen Macmanus 26 February, 2015 / 7:15 pm

    Bless you, you have and are coping cos your a lovely special person…..Ted is one lucky baby.
    Was a lovely read and one you will look back on and laugh…eventually lol xxxx Keep up the first class job your doing..both of you x

    • Al Ferguson 27 February, 2015 / 9:05 am

      Ah thank you Karen, you are so lovely. Thank you :)

  8. Elvira 26 February, 2015 / 7:59 pm

    Thank you so much for your post. After reading this and watching the videos from your Skype session I felt I was finally genuinely relating to someone else in my position. There are so many similarities in our situation, Mikey even being nearly the same age. I’ve been so sleep deprived that even though I knew I shouldn’t be feeding him at night it was the only way I knew how to get him back to sleep and I started to feel like I’ve been failing as a parent. He too is such a happy baby but with the worst sleeping schedule …but I can’t wait to power through the change of not only the nighttime routine but the daytime too. I feel horrible in saying but I had not realized I was feeding him too much and just accepted his 30 minute naps as opposed to helping him sleep longer.
    I will update on our progress but thank you again so much for your honest post. It has given me some faith!

    • Al Ferguson 27 February, 2015 / 9:04 am

      Thank you so much. I feel touched by your comments. Its such a relief to find someone in the same position isn’t it. I would really love to hear about how you are both doing. Please do let me know and just come on here anytime you need someone to talk to about any of it x

      • Elvira 1 March, 2015 / 6:43 pm

        Thank you so much!! It’s so helpful and comforting to find parents that can relate and to come across an encouraging environment. My father in law flew in for a few days so our schedule isn’t exactly as I want but I’ve been sticking to it as close as possible and already we’ve had some improvement. The last 2 nights he’s slept 5 hours before waking and I’ve only had to feed twice at night. He’s also been taking a longer afternoon nap. The techniques from Jo have really worked in the crib to help sooth him. The hardest part for me has been to be consistent in stretching out his feedings to 3 hours. I’m getting better though!

        • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 5:55 pm

          How are things now?

          • Elvira 9 March, 2015 / 1:57 am

            We’re on a full week and although daylight savings time made today interesting, I cross my fingers and knock on wood when I say he has slept through the night for the last 4 nights! He cried twice last night but literally for a minute or two and was back to sleep. His wake up time is much earlier-6:30am-but I will take it bc it means I’m almost sleeping thru the night as well. It’s like a bad habit that I now still wake up several times during the night. And he has become a napping champion , I still cannot believe he is continuing his midday nap for 2 hours plus an hour early morning & early evening . My husband last night finally gave in to believing we’ve turned a page. He thought I was too optimistic when I started but the results are speaking for themself!! Now we are just focusing on helping lessen his crying before he falls asleep. It is getting better with each day. I’m sorry for the long answer, I’m just so grateful, happy and relieved to have come across your blog and taken the sleep training advice! Thank you so much!!

          • Al Ferguson 9 March, 2015 / 9:07 am

            I am so happy to read this. My goodness, I’ve tears in my eyes knowing how relieved you must all feel. I am so glad that things are so much better. The day naps are just amazing aren’t they. Thank you so much for letting us know how things are. Do keep in touch. Huge well done to all of you :) Jen

    • Al Ferguson 1 March, 2015 / 7:18 am

      That’s the beauty of the Internet: you do find people who you can relate to. Thanks for your comment and keep in touch

  9. Urban Mumble 27 February, 2015 / 2:27 pm

    Amazing picture! Really made me laugh (and cry because my baby does not sleep either).

    • Al Ferguson 27 February, 2015 / 3:00 pm

      Which picture did you like? Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear you’ve got one too! Good luck! :)

    • Al Ferguson 1 March, 2015 / 7:15 am

      Thank you. Seems to have struck a chord with lots of people which is great!

  10. Mummyandmonkeys 28 February, 2015 / 1:28 pm

    Great post, it’s lovely to find someone else that has gone through the same things. Although not good we have both gone through it. I’m having a nightmare with Ava at the moment she’s never been a great sleeper but at 4 1/2 months it should be better than it is and like you I will do anything for an extra 45 minutes even if it means giving the boob again! Your Skype chat gives me hope and great that things have improved for you x

    • Al Ferguson 1 March, 2015 / 7:11 am

      Really sorry to hear that and so glad you think there might be hope. Please let me know how you get on. Jen x

  11. Al Ferguson 3 March, 2015 / 9:47 am

    Quick message from Jo for those of you asking about Teds day routine –

    At 6 months Ted has 4 hourly milk feeds, 3 meals a day and has naps every 2 hours of wake time. (3 naps a day.)

    Hope that helps :)

  12. Gillian Morton 3 March, 2015 / 7:56 pm

    Oh wow, this is AMAZING to read! It has filled me with hope.

    My little boy is also 7 months and still wakes every two hours. He is weaned (though I now think he is not getting enough) and is reliant on feeds to get back to sleep.

    Anyway, I am off to watch your Skype chat now!

    • Al Ferguson 3 March, 2015 / 8:04 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment. Please keep us posted with any improvements! Check out Jo’s website too…

      • Gillian Morton 5 March, 2015 / 7:18 am

        Well, yesterday was the first proper day of trying to keep to a stricter schedule. Day was ok (only two 30 min naps though) but the night was horrific! Instead of two hourly wake ups it seemed to be 50-60 mins. The patting technique only worked on a couple of occasions and I ended up having to hold Finn till he fell asleep each time which doesn’t seem great.

        Did you guys keep any kind of log for each day night or have you seen any examples? It would be great to see how other people’s 7-10 days went with regards to night feeds and wake ups/time to settle. to help keep me going.

        (I should add that my situation is a bit different as I also have a 2 year old daughter Evie. Finn has been fully weaned off the breast for two months but my husband usually also goes to bed at 8pm and gets up at 4am so all night duty is down to me. Myself and Finn sleep in one room and my husband and Evie are in another!!)

        I have ordered Jo’s book and await its arrival today. I feel pretty clueless despite this being baby number 2. I think I may look into a Skype chat also.

        Sorry to waffle on. It’s just great to find someone else whose child sounds similar. All the other babies I know SLEEP…..

        Kind regards
        Gillian

        • Al Ferguson 5 March, 2015 / 8:13 am

          Oh Gillian. I really feel for you. I am so sorry to read this. Are you doing the shhh push until he falls asleep? Even when you hold him? Have you got the ocean/white noise on in the background too? We shhh/pushed in our arms, then transferred to cot on his side and continued it until he fell asleep.
          The first few nights he was up way longer! But the feeds were reduced. As you are not feeding you won’t get to see this positive. The only thing I am thinking is that sometimes we were shhh/pushing for over an hour. He certainly fought it at first but quite quickly the time taken reduced.
          Did you do the shh/push for the day naps too? I think its all about consistency so that as they hear the noise and feel the movement they associate it with sleep time. Are the day naps in the cot? In a sleeping bag? White noise on? Curtains shut? Sorry for so many questions, i just really want to be able to help. The day is the vital part it seems. If you can get the day right, then the night seems to fall in to place. I know you must be exhausted but if you can try and focus on getting through today, aiming for the 3 naps (after 2 hours of awake time) then i am hopeful your night will be better. Im rambling! Sorry! Does this all make sense. Get back to me as many times as you like. Good luck
          Jen x
          ps Does he have a comforter? Like a blanky thing?

          • Gillian Morton 5 March, 2015 / 9:15 am

            I have always fed Finn to sleep but since stopping breastfeeding it’s from a bottle. He usually has 4 or 5 bottles a night but unsurprisingly doesn’t take much as it’s pure habit as opposed to necessity.

            He goes for most naps in his cot, in a sleeping bag with a muslin cloth as a blankie. My room does not have blackout but this has been ordered through the night so should arrive tomorrow! I don’t usually use white noise etc but will use this also.

            Through the night I was able to soothe him by holding him and ssh/pat bottom and compared to your first few days, the time was relatively short (20 mins). I was just worried that holding was bad but just looked back on Jo’s Skype and saw she said that whilst patting is better than holding, holding is better than feeding.

            I have made myself a plan of feeds, nap times etc and will work from this. I am really guilty of being out and about most days (it’s hard not to be with a toddler) and poor Finn’s programme is all over the shop.

            (Finn has just gone for a nap now with some ocean noises, he was crying hysterically but I held and ssh/patted then popped him down doing the same and he was asleep in 30secs! I am hopeful that I will see some improvements.)

            Thank you so much for the time you have taken to reply. When you are in the thick of it you do feel quite alone.

            Kind regards
            Gillian

          • Al Ferguson 6 March, 2015 / 9:36 am

            How are you today Gillian?

        • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 1:58 pm

          How are things Gillian? Jen

  13. Al Ferguson 5 March, 2015 / 9:33 am

    4 to 5 a night! You must be completely exhausted. I know how dreadful you are feeling but don’t loose hope.
    That’s great about the black out blind and the white noise.
    Yes, holding is better than feeding so you are def in the right direction. We found as well that when we put him down on his back he would instantly start crying and we would pick him up and shh push again. If we put him on his side, it allowed us to continue the shh push until he drifted off.
    You mustn’t feel guilty at all. Its completely understandable, you have 2 children to care for and can’t stop life just for one. It might be worth dedicating just 10 days to the plan though to kind of stick it out. We missed all classes, had no visitors etc just focused solely on the plan for the 10 days. Hopefully once he’s in a routine and things are improving the naps can still happen at the same time but in the pushchair? I know it’s completely different for you with having two. I’m sorry I’ve no tips for this. I know Jo provides email help. Have you thought of that?
    Wow! thats great about the nap. We leave the ocean noise on for the whole nap, and if he wakes before the hour, I sneak in an shh push til he nods back off.
    I know you feel alone but you’re not. Im happy to work through this with you every step of the way.
    Good Luck :)

    • Gillian Morton 8 March, 2015 / 7:32 am

      Hi guys,

      Well I am still pushing on with it but my gosh is it hard!
      We are definitely getting a nice structure in place in daytime though the naps are still pretty short. At the moment an hour in the am and two 30 minutes over the course of the day.

      The nights are pretty hard though and the temptation to grab a bottle or bring him into bed is pretty strong but I am holding tight.
      On Saturday night Finn actually slept for 5 hours(7-12) WITHOUT WAKING which is unheard of for us. After one feed her then slept for two further 3 hour blocks with minimal ssh/pat for settling so a pretty great night.
      Last night was rough with hourly wakes again but other than one feed at 11ish, ssh/pat got him back off to sleep each time.

      I would probably be considering giving up by now and just sticking with all the feedings/bed sharing if you guys hadn’t shared how well it has worked for you. Your story is definitely giving me the motivation to stick with it so a massive thanks to you. Xx

      Oh, I meant to ask do you leave ocean noises playing all night?

      • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 5:54 pm

        Sorry to hear how hard it is. When he wakes up in the day after just 30 mins are you shh pushing back to sleep? Ted would wake but if it was under the hour/two hours we would do it back to sleep again. I think the advice is 4 hours in the day to help improve the night. Maybe focus on these day naps and the night might follow and become easier. Did you see the message from Jo in the thread? In it she says that they should be put down after 2 hours of wake time. Any more and they will be over tired.
        Great news about Sat night. That is amazing. Well done to both of you. Are you keeping a log? I know Jo said it would help you when you felt desperate as you would be able to look back at the progress.
        Im so sorry it’s still so hard. I really hope you have a better night tonight and a better day tomorrow.
        Yes we leave the ocean noises on for the entire nap times and the whole night.
        Shout any time if I can help with anything. Stay strong. x

    • Al Ferguson 6 March, 2015 / 9:36 am

      Thank you so much for the compliment! Totally miraculous. thinking of making a Jo Tantum shrine :)

  14. Rebecca Slinger 5 March, 2015 / 9:12 pm

    OMG Jen that sounds like you were trying everything and there is nothing worse than other peoples opinions, I wrote a piece on sleep deprivation – that is more tongue in cheek – I could only do this once we had turned the corner on sleeping through before would have just been impossible. Its true about the day time naps, I used a similar technique with my 8 month old from the Baby Whisperer, I just adapted it a bit, if my daughter doesn’t ever sleep through its because she hasn’t napped in the day!

    Heres my piece – I feel the headache and eye strain pain, I have bumped my car though lack of sleep too.

    Keep Smiling

    http://mummymuselovelyshoes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/sleep-is-for-losers.html

    • Al Ferguson 6 March, 2015 / 9:32 am

      Thanks Rebecca, ill have a read now :)

  15. International Elf Service 7 March, 2015 / 7:35 am

    I love this post so much I’ve shared it! I remember the early days very well and the feeling of trying to get through each minute let alone each day I was so tired!

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 2:01 pm

      Thank you so much for the compliment and for sharing it :)

  16. Lisa (mummascribbles) 7 March, 2015 / 8:58 am

    I am so glad that you are getting sleep. Being sleep deprived is so so hard. Zach wasn’t a great sleeper unless he was on one of us which meant we were getting crap sleep. As he was approaching 5 months he started feeding every hour, twenty four hours a day! It was an absolute nightmare and I was exhausted. I decided that he wasn’t getting enough milk so I started weaning him onto the bottle despite desperately wanting t breastfeed for longer. The change in him when I put him on it though – my god. He started sleeping, he went four hours between feeds, suddenly I wasn’t the frazzled parent anymore! As parents, we have to do whatever we have to do to get that much needed sleep because a mummy and a baby with a lack of sleep are just not a good combination! Now, he’s 2.5 and he adores his sleep!! Needs a good 12 hours and I have trouble waking him up in the mornings to get him out the house! We definitely appreciate the sleep in our house because we were so zombiefied in those early days! #bigfatlinky

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 2:02 pm

      WOW! So glad you switched and found that things improved. I cannot wait for Teddy to reach that phase.

  17. Dawn of the Dad 7 March, 2015 / 10:04 am

    I remember feeling completely useless as a dad during nightly breast feeding. JB was pretty much lached on 24/7 for the first three months.

    For a while I was almost convinced I was Tyler Durden, and was visiting Zombieland on a daily basis.

    Glad all is right in your world at last.

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 2:03 pm

      Thanks buddy. Hope it lasts.

  18. Sophie @ Mum, M & More 7 March, 2015 / 11:33 am

    A great post. I’m so thankful that M slept from the day we got home. I got told off from the HV as I didn’t wake her to feed. Oh well! :-) x

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 5:54 pm

      WOW! Well done M :)

  19. A Cornish Mum aka Stevie! 7 March, 2015 / 1:28 pm

    So glad you’re finally getting some sleep! I almost didn’t want to comment because I am one of those annoying people whose babies both slept through from 7/8 weeks and have even given me lie ins virtually since they were born….please don’t hate me!
    My eldest son (11 in July gulp) has Type 1 Diabetes though, and this week because we changed his bedtime insulin injection amount around I’ve been on night checks and I’m a zombie…a very grumpy zombie! When he was first diagnosed aged 5 I didn’t sleep a whole night for about 3 months because I was too scared to, so I do know sleep deprivation, just that in my case even the child still sleeps through!
    Crossing my fingers for you that Ted who looks so angelic is going to keep letting you sleep! Stevie x

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 5:58 pm

      Hi Stevie, We won’t hate you! Almost but not quite ;)
      Sorry to hear about your eldest sons diabetes. I can image that you were too scared to sleep. I know I would be exactly the same. How is he now with the changed amount? Hope things are settled for him.
      Thank you :)
      x

  20. Sarah Howe 7 March, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    That must have been soooo hard for you all. Sleep is so precious! I’m so glad things have improved and are getting better. xx I enjoyed the read x #bigfatlinky

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 6:04 pm

      Thank you Sarah :)

  21. Helena Clarke 7 March, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    Life is so much harder to cope with after a broken night’s sleep, isn’t it? And even more so after many, many, many, many broken nights! I am so pleased you have found a solution that works for all of you and that you can finally get some proper deep sleep. :-)

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 6:05 pm

      Thank you so much Helena :)

  22. Ali 7 March, 2015 / 3:54 pm

    Omg Ted sounds the mirror of my 9 month old son! I have been reduced to co sleeping to cope with the night feeds. I’m going to try working of day naps 1st as 3-4 hours in the day would be something & Im not so weak in the day! Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s been so useful to read #thebigfatlinky

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 6:03 pm

      Hi Ali, please let me know how you get on. Good luck :)

  23. Mike Smith 7 March, 2015 / 4:21 pm

    Sleep deprivation is so terrible. It’s a hopeless feeling as the dad to not be able to help out much either. I’m so glad Jo was able to help you and Ted out. #BigFatLinky

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 6:03 pm

      Thank you Mike. Thank goodness for Jo :)

  24. Adrian 7 March, 2015 / 5:06 pm

    Awful that you had to go through that but great that you got such good advice and are now able to pass it on. It took us a while to get to a sleep through the night – around five and a half months – but before that we managed to drop most night feeds. I don’t know what we did that worked or whether we were just lucky. I really feel for anyone whose baby won’t sleep. Hopefully you’ll never look back unless he’s teething or ill!

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 6:02 pm

      Thank you Adrian. I’m glad to hear yours are sleeping well. :)

  25. Anna busby 7 March, 2015 / 10:03 pm

    Fab blog post Jen ! you should definitely do it more often ! my youngest even now (3) is a terrible sleeper unsettled at least 3 times a night and up at the crack of dawn ! We even caved at 1.5yrs and gave him a dummy as he wasn’t sleeping well! He gets so overtired during the day but will not give in to have a nap even after being at nursery all morning! He was always being woken up by my eldest throughout his day time naps in the early days so maybe this is why . (not enough of a day time sleep plan. ) So glad your finally close to feeling human again. I’m useless if i don’t get enough sleep, emotional ratty and feel so rough, hubby however copes much better , this makes me feel even more useless lol!
    Anyway im waffling on ! Do you plan on starting your own blog?:) let us know if you do !! xx great post xx anna

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 6:01 pm

      Ah thank you Anna, that is kind of you to say. I was very nervous about it! I happily hide behind Al most of the time, I’m not a fan of the limelight! Thank you though. I appreciate the compliment.
      It must be so hard when you know they are tired but they are just fighting it. I hope he settles into better sleep soon :)
      Thanks again,
      Jen x

  26. casey grice 8 March, 2015 / 5:51 am

    That sleep deprived feeling is no fun. Hope you guys have it figured out (for as long as it will last) I’m sure these techniques will also help adjusting through the teething. Good luck with that tiny tyrant ;) . Don’t let him wear you out. I hope you never actually smack Al in the face. Ha!

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 1:59 pm

      Hi Casey, I promise not too :)

      • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 2:00 pm

        to!

  27. Charlene 8 March, 2015 / 10:20 am

    That first picture brings back memories of me staring at the monitor and my son clearly far from sleep staring back at me!

    • Al Ferguson 8 March, 2015 / 1:59 pm

      Ha! Video monitors are great aren’t they!

  28. Emma T 8 March, 2015 / 6:20 pm

    Must be such a relief to have it sorted. I’m a great believer in getting someone in to look at things from outside who isn’t a ‘wellmeaning’ friend or relative, and it obviously worked.

    We were very lucky – I’d planned to follow Gina Ford, but our son wouldn’t wake up once he was sleeping if I tried to wake him at the correct day times, and if he wanted to sleep he would – anywhere, and we were lucky because he slept well at night (he wouldn’t breast feed, so I suppose lots of people say bottle fed sleep better). In fact, a lot better than the 5-6.15 wake ups he has done at 3-4 years old, including the midnight to 3am walkabouts. After I gave up trying to follow the routine, his day time naps fell into the ‘right’ places automatically anyway. I was relieved that we could getaway with anything in the day time as long as he had a good bedtime routine.

    It’s all about finding the right routine – for some babies they’ll go freestyle, others need strict routine….and unfortunately there’s no way of knowing what you’ll get until they arrive.

    It’s always good to get back to sleep though.

    • Al Ferguson 9 March, 2015 / 9:09 am

      Totally agree with you Emma. Just have to find what works for you and yours. thanks for the comment and glad to hear that you’ve had an ok time of it :)

  29. amiecaitlin: bumpbabyme 9 March, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    Congratulations on finally getting a full night’s sleep from Ted. My daughter in 12m old & we had similar issues. I’d forgotten what it felt like to be rested. & rest assured, you do start sleeping through yourself as well… eventually!

    But we’ve had some sleep regression as she’s learning to walk. We had the same problem with sitting, crawling & pulling herself to standing. She wakes herself up practising in her sleep. The good news is that this time round, for the first time she’s able to settle herself more back to sleep – though not if she finds herself half way climbing up the side of the cot in an attempt to walk in her sleep!

    Best of luck, I hope it lasts for you

    • Al Ferguson 10 March, 2015 / 12:08 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I really hope I can start feeling rested soon. Although Teddy has just been so poorly that we are back to hourly feeds. Once he’s off his ant b’s I’ll have to do the sleep training again!
      WOW! I’ve never heard of that before. Glad she is able to self settle! :)

  30. Lianne 9 March, 2015 / 8:47 pm

    Wow thank you!!
    THANK YOU so much for this post.
    This is my situation, except my boy is now 13mths he has never slept all the way through without any night awakings. At worst I can get up 15-20 times but better nights its 5-10.
    Sleep deprivation is the worst torture and no matter what anyone says you never get used to it and it doesn’t get easier.
    Thank you for such an informative post.
    And thank you for making me see light at the end of the tunnel x

    • Al Ferguson 10 March, 2015 / 12:04 pm

      Hi Lianne, thanks for your lovely comment. Do you think you might give the sleep training a go? Shout if I can help with anything. So sorry to hear about your nights. It’s just horrific isn’t it. I really hope it gets better for you ASAP :) Jen x

  31. Jade Wilson 9 March, 2015 / 9:05 pm

    Oh no, sounds like you had a bit of a rough ride! We were completely the opposite (sorry). While I was breastfeeding, T used to be up 3 or 4 times a night, but eventually he got into such a good routine that, by 11 weeks, he was sleeping the whole way through and he’s, more or less, never looked back. We’ve escaped terrible nights of teething and the waking up early, although it seems like he’s now going backwards – 6.15am starts are not what I imagined after he would usually sleep in until at least 7.30! May need to Skype Jo soon x

    • Al Ferguson 10 March, 2015 / 12:06 pm

      Glad you’ve had a better experience than us. How old is T? Too young for one of those glow clocks that tell you wen its time to get up?

  32. Sabha 11 March, 2015 / 11:13 am

    Hi

    I am so pleased to have found you in Instagram. I watched your Skype video last night. I am determined to follow it through. My daughter is 8.5 months & up every hour to two hours for a feed. She naps for and hour in the morning after her breakfast & bath & an hour in the afternoon. I put her to sleep via breastfeeding every 2.5 -3 hours. Well, I’ve been doing it all wrong. I don’t know how to put her to sleep if not breast feed her.

    Me & my husband are convinced she’s just one difficult baby & are loosing hope till I found you guys.

    She sleeps in a cot in our room. I don’t bed share.
    I will start today

    • Al Ferguson 11 March, 2015 / 12:26 pm

      I am so pleased you found us too. I know how it feel to lose all hope. I felt exactly the same. I really hope that things quickly improve. Im here any time if you’d like to ask anything that you think I could help with. Good luck. Stay strong :)

  33. Sabha 12 March, 2015 / 10:13 am

    Aww thank you so much. I would like to ask a question. The shh & push. Am I tapping baby every time I push or am I keeping my hand on her body but rocking her?

    I tried to hold her & ssh /push but she fought it the whole time. Tense’s her body & tries to lift her head up. How did you do it holding him for a long period of time?

    Also, she feeds literally every hour. We’re u breastfeeding every four hours?

    Sorry about the questions .

    • Al Ferguson 12 March, 2015 / 10:40 am

      I did it like Jo showed in the clip I think, so four pushes slowly down the body. It’s quite hard to describe isn’t it but I took my hand off with each push and placed it back on lower down for the next push. Then back up to the top. Although yesterday I found that a very gently rock when he was lying on his side worked well.
      Ted has been sick so I had to start the sleep training again yesterday and he was doing exactly the same, stiff body, head back, furious that he wasn’t being fed. I just stuck it out, hug him, rocked him, sang to him etc til he calmed down and then started the shh and push once he was calm.
      Ted was feeding every single hour too. And this week with him being sick he reverted to that very quickly. After the 10 days of sleep training he was having no night feeds at all. If you look a little up the thread there is a message from Jo about the feeds and routine. Hope that helps. Get back to me as many times as you like.
      Jen

      • Al Ferguson 13 March, 2015 / 9:06 am

        How are things going Sabha?

  34. La Guardia Cross 13 March, 2015 / 9:39 am

    Excellent read! Wow, what a journey. So glad Ted’s sleep improved so drastically. It confirms what I recently heard about day naps effecting night sleep.

  35. Doctomum 13 March, 2015 / 3:32 pm

    I need a jo!!! I’m never so obsessed by sleep (or the lack thereof) until it is broken up into tiny pieces every night. Thanks for showing there is light at the end of the tunnel (though is prefer sleepy darkness right now) but it does take a bit of parental effort to nudge them into a routine.

    • Al Ferguson 14 March, 2015 / 2:28 pm

      We all need a jo :)

  36. Sabha 13 March, 2015 / 9:32 pm

    Hia.

    My little ones been sick which has forced me to stop & revert back to feeding her in the night & stop shh/push for now.
    I am however really paying attention to her day time naps, trying to get her to sleep every 2 hours. It worked wonderfully yesterday but today was a nightmare as she refused her second nap completely & kept the ‘no sleep’ protest up for 5 hours!
    Babies can be so difficult sometimes that I wanna get a refund on mine :-(

    • Al Ferguson 14 March, 2015 / 2:31 pm

      Ted was really ill too so we reverted to almost hourly feeding again too. We are starting the training again now that he is better. Glad yesterday was a good day. SOOO difficult! good luck :)

  37. Sarah 20 April, 2015 / 9:29 am

    Hi Jen & Al,

    Thank you very much for this post! It’s really great infomation and I think it will really help us improve ou wee boys sleeping. He’s 7 months old and sleeps well until around midnight then needs settling every hour until eventually he wont settle and needs a feed then after a while of rocking and shhing he’ll go back down until 7ish. I think the main thing stopping him sleeping through is he’s not having long enough naps. He only sleeps for 3 half hour naps during the day.
    I have recently gone back to work part time so it’s now become more importnant that he is a good sleeper as when my mum watches him for 3 days i cant expect her to spend ages with him trying to get him to nap.
    So my plan is to use some of my precious holidays so we can have an ininterrupted 10-12days of sleep trainin to try and crack it. I just have a few questions before we start. For naps how long do you spend trying to get Ted back to sleep yesterday when my wee boy woke up after half an hour it took me half an hour to get him back to sleep and then he only slept for another 25mins. Is that what i should be doing at each nap?
    My other question is does Ted have a dummy, i’m not sure whether the sleep training will work while my wee boy still has a dummy to help him drift off (he only has it to sleep an we take it out just before he drifts off) iso i’m not sure if we should take it away at the same time.

    Sorry for the super long post, hope things are still going well with Teds sleep.

    Thanks for your help,
    Sarah.

  38. Rebecca Timings 26 January, 2016 / 7:47 am

    This is amazing to read! I know exactly how you felt! I have 2 children Henry is 3 and little tilly is 5 months…. They are both awful sleepers and Henry fed every 2 hours until he was one then o had to wean him off because I thought I was loosing the plot Tilly is looking to be exactly the same…. It’s SO hard! I’m so pleased your little boy is now sleeping and hopefully you are too!

    Xx

    • Al Ferguson 29 January, 2016 / 12:58 pm

      It’s SO hard. Thank you and good luck :)

    • Al Ferguson 27 February, 2016 / 10:26 am

      It’s so difficult isn’t it. We feel so lucky that we got the help we did. Literally life changing :)

  39. Jo Tantum 27 February, 2016 / 10:04 am

    I just wanted to say that it was a pleasure working with Jen and Al to help Ted learn to love sleep!And so lovely when I got to meet them all at The Baby Show !
    I know it can be so difficult and soul destroying when your gorgeous little one decides that sleep isn’t for them. I can tell you with all my experience that all babies have the potential to be good sleepers ,and we all know how important sleep is for them and for us.Don’t worry we can teach your baby to love sleep without distress or tears like Ted.
    If you need advice – I offer free advice on Facebook and Twitter – @jotantum
    And have support packages -email and Skype .And my gentle sleep trainers .Maternity Nurses and Night Nannies can come to Rescue you in your home .

    http://Www.jotantum.com http://www.prestigeparenting.com

    • Al Ferguson 27 February, 2016 / 10:25 am

      And we would like to say that you literally changed our lives and every night when we put Ted to sleep laughing and smiling without fuss we are so grateful for your help. We could not recommend you enough to every parent. Thank you again. Jen, Al and Ted x

  40. Sally 23 April, 2016 / 12:26 am

    Hi,

    Great video and I am in the middle of trying it out tonight, I have always put my now 7.5 month old on his back. Tried putting him on his side tonight but he goes back to his back! Do you then used the same technique but then on his tummy? Slightly concerned about the implications of doing this just after a feed…!

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