Sarah from London

A is, generally, a very happy baby. She has been in a routine (Gina Ford) from about 8 weeks and she seems to enjoy it. She rarely cries during the day, she feeds well and puts on approximately 7oz a week (she is partially breast fed and partially formula fed). Our issue is bed time. We have a bed time routine, including a bath, dim lights, soft music and a breast feed. But when we put her in her cot at 6.45/7pm she does not want to sleep. We have been trying to get her to go down at this time for over 4 weeks now and I think we have managed 4 or 5 times. We cannot work out why it works some days and doesn’t work on others. We have tried leaving her to cry for 10 minutes at a time and then going to check on her, reassure her and then leave. She just cries more. We have tried rocking / cuddling her to sleep (it only works for one sleep cycle and after 30 minutes she s awake again and crying).

She has (without exception in 12 weeks) taken a formula feed at 10.30-11pm and gone down in her cot and gone to sleep. 9 times out of 10 she is awake when we put her down and she puts herself to sleep. When she wakes in the night (now usually about 5/5.30am) she has a breast feed and goes straight back to sleep. I don t think we have had a problem with her going to sleep after these feeds since she was 1 or 2 weeks old. We can hear her at other times during the night when she wakes but she puts herself back to sleep.

A’ s daytime naps are in or around the same time each day (9am, 12pm and 4/4.30 pm). The 9am nap is easy, she goes in her cot, sleeps for 30/45 minutes and wakes up happy and smiling and talking to her cot toys. The 12pm nap is a bit hit and miss. Sometimes she can sleep for 30 minutes, wake up for an hour and then sleep for another 45 minutes. In general she falls asleep on one of us and cries and cries if I try to put her in the cot for this nap (I gave up trying about 6 weeks ago as I wanted her to sleep more than I cared about the location of the sleep). She will happily sleep in her car seat or pram for this nap. If I am out and about she may sleep for the whole 2 hours (because of the movement of the car or pram). The afternoon nap is about 30 minutes and is almost always on one of us (though once she is asleep it is possible to transfer her).

We would really like advice to understand where we are going wrong. We have obviously got something right at 10.30pm and the 9am nap but now need to find a way to extend those good habits to her other naps and (most importantly) an evening bed time.

“I called Mel out of desperation. One conversation with her and that evening my daughter went to sleep at bedtime and stayed asleep. After a dream feed she slept until 7am the following morning. Its now a week later and she has done the same thing every night for a week (and without any fuss or crying). She will now go to bed awake and put herself to sleep for naps and at night.

I really liked Mel’s approach, she didn’t judge us for having done anything wrong in the past. All of her recommendations made clear, logical sense and she didn’t tell me I had to leave my baby to cry it out (something I was totally against). I am so pleased that we called. We’ve benefited and so has our baby, she now sleeps properly in the evenings, at night and for naps which means the time she is awake she is a happy, smiley baby who is bundles of fun. Thank you again for all your help”