Aim : To get my son to learn to sleep without mummy having to cuddle him and pat him. That is, Mr Flynny needs to learn the skill of self-settling - i cannot keep hugging him to sleep. He is only one week off being 6 months old and i think i'm ready to give the whole self-settling thing a proper shot.
Method: After much reading and chatting to fellow mums and the Tresillian nurse on MSN Mums, i have decided to go with the so-called " Parental Presence " method. Heres how it works: i wrap Flynn up and give him the usual cuddle until he's calm/drowsy. Then, rather than keep the cuddling and patting going til he's comfortably pushing out the zzz's, i'm going to put him in his cot, tuck him in, give him a kiss and tell him its time to go to sleep. Now, the " parental presence " part - rather than leave the room i'm going to curl up in a bean bag right beside his bed, where he can see me, and pretend to be asleep. If he becomes agitated i'm to keep my eyes closed and say " Ssshhh, its time to go to sleep ". In theory i need to keep this pretend sleep thing going until Flynn falls asleep.
Dude - this is going to be hard! I am under no illusions that this is going to be both difficult, and time-consuming. I've tried controlled crying and, believe me, my son must have one hell of a stubborn streak - i've left him in his cot, alternately whingeing and crying ( with me checking on him every 10 minutes ) for almost 2 hours ( out of sheer frusturation ). Did he eventually fall asleep? No. No, after 2 hours it was time for him to have another feed. We've tried the controlled crying for over 2 weeks and not once has he fallen asleep in his cot on his own. Fail, controlled crying, fail.
So, " Parental Presence " method, here we come. Its now 7:41am on Monday morning - we have been awake for 40 minutes, have had one booby feed, will be having a yoghurt in about half an hour and i'm anticipating tired sign by 8:45am, at which point Project Sleepy-Time will come into effect. I'm thinking today is going to be full of crying, screaming, general non-cooperation and a frazzled mummy, but i'm determined to stick with it. Wish me luck!