At around 20 months old, Dear Boy again started taking longer and longer to fall asleep each night. But we kept leaving him to it, tucking him into his sleeping bag, pulling up his blanket, closing his bedroom door and getting on with our evening instead of lying with him. And he would chat and sing and sometimes cry all by himself for two to three hours. Eventually, he'd sleep. We transitioned him out of the cot and sleeping bags and into a big-boy bed just after his second birthday, figuring that we may as well deal with all the sleep issues in one go. We had about six weeks of him jumping straight out and banging on the door, before he realised it was warmer in his bed and clambered back in. But he'd stay awake, again for hours.
In June, when Lovely Husband flew off for two weeks and I did two weeks straight of putting-to-bed duties, I had enough. So I changed it up - shifting his bath before dinner, brushing his teeth and then going straight into his bedroom next door, letting him choose the number of books and songs and goodnight kisses, talking with him about all the things he'd like to dream about that night and then explaining exactly where I'd be when I left the room - giving him some autonomy, some reassurance and some inspiration. I don't know if it was one of these things or all of them, but it worked. He fell asleep within minutes and has only had one or two long, drawn-out evenings in the weeks since. It feels a little like a miracle after all of us struggling for so long.
We started him in the Love To...Swaddle UP when he was just a few weeks old (look at those squishy cheeks up there!), even hunting down the Lite version when we knew it was going to stay above 30 degrees at night so we could get him to sleep. We had several in each size, transitioning into the 50/50 version with zip-off wings when he was ready to sleep with his arms out.
Having used this range when Dear Boy was little, it's exciting to be working with Love to Dream to review their latest products and offer you the chance to win your own Love To Dream goodies.
Quite a few new products and designs have become available since Dear Boy outgrew his swaddles and sleeping bags (I am loving the limited edition stripes and zigzags). A lovely friend with a beautiful and brand new baby has been using the Love To... Layer ON, a sleeveless swaddle made of super soft and a toasty warm Merino wool to wear over the traditional Swaddle UP during those winter months. Cass says:
'The Layer On is actually my favourite part of our Love To Dream stash. Partly because it's new but mostly because it's made all our summer swaddles warm enough for winter while being soft and lightweight on a squishy little baby.'I would have loved one of these for Dear Boy's first winter when our house felt like an icebox and I was constantly pulling up his blankets and worrying that he was cold. One thing was for sure, when he got cold, he didn't sleep well.
Dear Boy and I gave the INVENTA sleep bag a test drive, and were thoroughly impressed with the design and finish (Dear Boy's version of 'thoroughly impressed' was rolling around on the floor pretending to be a caterpillar). We used quite a few different sleeping bags when Dear Boy was still in his cot, across a big range of quality and price. None of those can match the features of this version. Our favourite features of the INVENTA include:
- Better breathability and temperature control - the 'Genius Cooling System' zips on the front and back allow for extra air-flow when needed, without having to wake the baby. In our old house which is a furnace in summer and a fridge in winter, this would have come in very handy.
- Opens flat - this makes it much easier to wash and dry, which is so important during the winter months. No more waiting for the damp corners to dry.
- Greater size range - a lot of the bags we used topped out at 18-24 months (size 1 or 2). The INVENTA bags go up to 36 months. The 'Longa Shorta' snaps also let you adjust the length of the sleeping bag so smaller kids don't disappear or get lost in the bag.
- More sensible snaps and covers - these zip covers have press-studs to keep them down. No more middle-of-the-night squalling when a zipper digs into soft neck or underarm skin. They're also great for keeping little fingers away from the zips (for a while anyway).
- Double-ended zipper - not only does the extra-long zipper let you open the sleeping bag out flat, but you can zip from the top or bottom, giving hassle-free access for changing nappies and a much easier time getting kids in and out of them.
*UPDATE* If you're having trouble using the comments function below, please send your entry via email to lilybett[at]gmail[dot]com (removing the very high-tech bot-proofing I just did there).
***GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED***
Entries close Wednesday, August 13 (midnight AEST), with the winner contacted by email and announced on the Lilybett and Boy page on facebook on Thursday, August 14. One entry per person (Australian residents only, sorry!). This is a game of skill, not chance - the winner will be judged by me to have given the best/most interesting response. Please read the full terms and conditions prior to entry.