Sleep books vs instinct – feedback and links welcome

I’m really intrigued to find out if you followed a baby sleep book routine or just went with instinct based on what your baby/babies were “telling” you!? 

At the beginning as a first time mum, I wasn’t even aware of such books. As time passed and I was being judged by putting my babies to bed at 5.30-6pm (this was around the time the babies would be more than ready for bed) I was being asked “why don’t you try later which means you’ll get up later and sleep?” I thought maybe I was doing it wrong, these kind of comments to a first time mum suffering with PND made me question my mothers instinct.  
I purchased a book with all good intentions to make this work and tried the 7pm routine for around 3 months. Unfortunately it just WASN’T working at all. We had awful nights where I would be up and down sorting both babies out around 3/4 times each. They wouldn’t sleep through like they previously were which made it all the more frustrating. Napping was unbearable and was exhausting. I tried to give it a chance but decided enough was enough and went back to our normal baby led routine.  Suddenly, boom – back to sleeping through the night.
I don’t mind getting up at 5-6am as I pack myself off to bed early so I get some sleep. Most of my working life I was getting up fairly early and working till late.  So for the sake of an extra hour in bed for someone that LOVES there sleep, this routine for me/us wasn’t worth it! Maybe I didn’t give it long enough but 3 months of yet another period of sleep deprivation was taking it’s toll. 
Going back to instinct and back to what the babies wanted, worked almost immediately. I gave up trying to sync their routines. Some days they nap the same time time some days they don’t. Bedtime is a different story they generally go off to sleep at the same time give or take 10 minutes. 
What I’d love to know is did you use a sleep book!? If so which one and how successful was it!?  Or were you baby led and did what your baby wanted!? How did this work for you and was it successful!?
For now I’m really happy with their sleeping, it’s never going to be perfect. I’m just really keen to get feedback from other parents on their views! 

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10 thoughts on “Sleep books vs instinct – feedback and links welcome

  1. We (or, more accurately, I) bought a few books when our girls were very little and reading them and trying to follow the routines really stressed me out so we stopped, put them to one side and just went with the flow. Some nights they were up late, some nights they went down like a dream, some nights they screamed for what felt like hours but now since about 6-8 months, we continually surprise people when we put them down to sleep and they just go, no fuss, no bother. I know these books are meant to be helpful but they just added to the stress and doubt in my mind as to what we were doing. Forgetting about them and trusting our instinct was the best thing we've ever done. The “one up both up” rule is utter nonsense in my opinion.

    The one thing I do regret is putting them in their cot for both naps and night time sleep as they will NOT sleep anywhere else. Occasionally they'll sleep in the buggy if you walk with them long enough but they are not keen on a travel cot. If we're lucky enough to be able to have more kids I'll be sticking to the buggy for naps and the cot only at night time as the lack of portability really is an issue for us.


  2. Thanks so much for your comment. Totally agree, sometimes one baby can be so tired they don't hear the other scream. Sometimes they do!

    Agree again, I was getting super stressed because the babies weren't sleeping bang on the suggested times because then I knew I'd be in for a night of no sleep.

    So pleased to hear your feedback and that all is working for you now. All babies are different even twins :-) thanks fellow twin mummy


  3. We've never had a sleep book, or a 'time' that was the deciding factor. Our kids have always made it blatantly obvious when they're tired, and putting them to bed before that has only resulted in us being exhausted with the huge effort that takes!
    Saying all this, until Miss 6 turning pre-tween this spring, they've all been in bed asleep by 8pm… I'm sure we would have done something very differently if they thought they should be up until later!!
    We definitely need a few hours to ourselves to recuperate in the evenings!

    Thanks for linking with #brilliantblogposts


  4. I read a few baby books (Rachel Waddilove, what to expect year 1) and made a baby led routine from 8 weeks (E had screaming colic until 6 months, it was murder). He was tired by 5.30 so was always asleep by 6 (after the screaming!)… Heaven.

    I also felt a bit judged by others who thought that 6 was too early. Not for my sleep resisting robot! He was also very routine dependent, we couldn't keep him out and about, so had to be home from 4.30 for tea bath and bed. Always. It was hard until he grew out of it but, I'll do anything to avoid hard work.

    Second time, we do the same bedtime routine, and adjust depending upon what naps they have had that day, but usually between 6-7pm.

    You're right about coinciding nap times – sometimes it's worth the effort, but it depends whether you're a worrier. I am one, so I gave up the afternoon simulnaps. Now I can crochet, cuddle and watch Disney. :)


  5. So true! I put my youngest in his cot for almost every sleep, and yes, he wouldn't sleep anywhere other than his cot (or the car). Luckily I've perfected the car to cot transfer with him and he'll now (at 16 months) sleep in the buggy easily. :)


  6. Best post yet dear!!
    I totally went with instinct. Someone suggested to me to put her down later and I'd get more sleep, but she was more unsettled and woke for the day at the same time. I was getting no 'me' time and no sleep.
    I went back to basics and did what I thought little miss was telling me. Nap at 11am for about 30 mins, same at 3pm, then bed at 7pm.
    She has slept through the night from 7pm til 5.30am since she was 6 weeks old.
    Don't listen to anyone else. You are mummy, they are your babies. You are doing it right and are doing a really good job xxx


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