Grandma helped us all to relax

Last updated at 09:47 02 June 2005

Each time Thomas Golten stirred at night, his mother or father rushed to his side.

Each of Thomas's snuffles, groans and cries was attended to by either Emma, 35, or David, 36.

With Thomas waking up three times a night and then taking up to an hour to doze off again, the Goltens were lucky if they grabbed three hours' sleep a night.

Mrs Golten, an art editor, said: " Thomas was up three times a night for the first six months. I used to put him down at 7pm and he would get up again at 11pm, 2am and 4am.

"My husband and I split the night into shifts. One of us would sleep in the spare room with Thomas and the other would be in our bedroom, then we'd swop over at least twice during the night."

Things only began to improve when Mrs Golten, of South-West London, listened to her mother's advice. Mrs Golten said: "My mum told me just to leave him to soothe himself. Thomas was four months old by then and mum told me he didn't need feeding during the night.

"She said that if he woke up crying, I could cuddle him but not make eye contact. Soon, he started soothing himself."

Mrs Golten believes Thomas, who is now two, had been picking up on her anxiety. "The more I relaxed, he relaxed," she said.

Mrs Golten's mother Jean Sayers, 58, drew on her own experiences of motherhood in the early Seventies.

Mrs Sayers, of Sand Hutton, near York, quickly got her two daughters into a sleeping routine and made a point of only going to them at night if they were very distressed.

"It is instinct to pick them up, but that's not always the best thing to do. If you relax, the child will relax as well."

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