Jo has more than 25 years’ experience working in nurseries, as a maternity nurse and in baby units. She’s now one of the UK’s most well known sleep experts and specialises in families with twins. Jo’s Spaced Soothing method is similar to Jo Frost’s Controlled Timed Crying technique, but you leave smaller gaps between popping in to your child.
This is how it works: First develop a really good bedtime routine and do milk and pyjamas in your child’s bedroom, so she associates that space with happy, relaxed times. After your usual story, milk etc, put her down in her cot awake. Give her a stroke or a pat for a moment and when she’s calm, leave the room. If she cries, wait outside the door for one minute, then go back in, lie her back down if you need to, then stroke the bridge of her nose for a minute, gently saying ‘ssssshh’ to soothe her.
Leave the room again, and this time if she cries, wait two minutes before going into her room. Repeat this as many times as you need to, increasing the period you wait before going in by a minute each time. You might find you have to go in 15 or 20 times the first night, but this should decrease each night until, within a week or so, she is self-settling and going to sleep by herself.
Might suit parents who: Are ‘blessed’ with a clingy baby but who want to teach their child to settle alone. The short breaks make it easier to stick with if you’re feeling a bit wimpy!
Might not suit parents who: Haven’t got a solid week or more to dedicate to it. If you know you’ve got a big work project on or busy evenings coming up it might be worth waiting until you have a free week to give it your all.
Best age to try it at: From three months. This could be adapted to work for toddlers, too, but is more of a young baby plan.
Mums say: ‘We chose this method when Emma-Lily was about six months old because it seemed like a good middle ground. I didn’t want to be rocking her to sleep every night, but I didn’t like the idea of controlled crying – when I’m already sleep deprived, I just don’t feel strong enough to listen to her crying for long! ‘I bought Jo’s book and we got in the ready-meals and cleared our evenings in preparation! The first few nights, I was upstairs for a long time, popping in and out to her – I recommend getting a good book to read on the stairs! But by day eight, I was only going back in once or twice to Emma-Lily and then one day I put her down, left the room and didn’t hear a thing until 7am – total bliss! I also felt we really benefited from following Jo’s advice on daytime routine as it meant Emma-Lily was properly tired (but not overtired) at night time, and having a routine really helped me feel on top of things.’ Karen, mum to Emma-Lily, now two years old.