Babywise is the model that we have been using to care for Ruth since she has been born, and it is brilliant. We haven't followed it to the letter, but what we did do was to ensure that Ruth got a full feed every 3 hours when she was first born. This entailed her feeding for around 30-45 minutes at each nursing period, and we had to keep her awake for this. The book promised that if we stuck to the full feedings principle, we would have a baby who slept through the night by 7 weeks. And we did. Ok, so 'though the night' means different things for different people, but on the eve of her 7week birthday, she slept from 11.30-5.30am, and has been doing variations on that most nights since. Since then, we have been getting blocks of sleep of between 4.5-6.5 hours and it is amazing! This past Saturday night was the best so far (eve of her 9week birthday), with Ruth sleeping from 10.30pm til 5am. However, last night went all to pot and she went down at 10pm and woke at 2.45am, and then again at 5.45am. That was probably my fault because I tried to stretch her evening feeds to give her a feed every 2.5-3 hours rather than just over every 2 hours when she asked for it. I have learned from my mistake, honest!

And over the weekend we seem to have cracked naptimes too. We have wanted her to settle herself to sleep at night and at naptimes, and up until the last few days, she hasn't been able to fall asleep by herself. At night, she would fall asleep at the end of her feed and I would try to carefully put her down. If she woke up then, it would be another hour before she would go back to sleep. However, one night last week Hubby and I were exhausted and were trying to get Ruth to settle herself and she wouldn't. So we gave her a dummy. The first night we took it in turns for an hour or so to get out of bed and put the dummy back in whenever Ruth spat it out. But after that, give her the dummy when she is in bed, and she is more than happy to settle herself to sleep. So we thought we would apply the same logic to her naps during the day. So when she gives her tiredness cues, we take her up to her cot, close the curtains and give her her dummy. Then she sleeps for at least an hour, having settled herself.

Now I know that using dummies as a sleep prop is frowned upon, but we have a plan. We are using the dummy to get Ruth used to going to sleep by herself, i.e without Hubby or I around. When she has mastered this, we will add in a more appropriate sleep cue such as a teddy bear and use that and the dummy for a while. Then we will gradually reduce the use of the dummy, probably with daytimes naps first and then at night. We hate to use the dummy because it makes Ruth look really stupid, so we only use it in the bedroom. We also don't want to use it as a 'plug' for whenever she cries, as usually her crying indicates that she has a problem and needs it sorting out. Plugging the crying doesn't sort the problem out! Using the dummy does also have a benefit for Ruth as well. It encourages her to suck, which while she is really good at this, she doesn't do enough of it during a day because her feed times are now between 8-12 minutes to get a full feed. Sucking is good for baby development, I believe.

And now Ruth is napping during the day, I suddenly have time with the use of both arms again! I have to say it feels really weird, and having done 9 weeks of nothing but babycare, and then previous to that being too sore to really move around much, I need to kick my brain back into gear to get on with things. I can get back to my old self!! Not bad for 9 weeks.

But then the advice of a good friend rings in my ears: Don't ever be smug about how well your child is doing at any one thing, sleeping, eating etc etc because chances are it won't last for long! Everything with children is a phase, even the good stuff!!