Ahhh sleep... The one thing us parents crave more than anything else in the world, the one thing we are hugely deprived of after the arrival of a precious little one. No one can tell you what it's going to be like. There are times when I've been awake alone with my daughter Emilia during those newborn weeks where at times I felt like the only person in the world who was awake at that point in time, but then at other times to be sitting in the glider chair with nowhere else to be apart from soothing my gorgeous girl was the biggest high ever.

Emilia had a rough start to life. Really rough in fact, it's all on my blog if you fancy a read... What came out of that was the most horrific PTSD for me. I lay awake when I should've been sleeping, making sure she was ok, watching the pendulum on the parent unit of the sensor pad swing from side to side, reassuring me she was ok. So I definitely know a thing or two about sleep deprivation.

What came out of a traumatic time was the need for routine, a need for some kind of control. This ended up being one of the best things to happen to us, because out of this need came a fantastic sleeper, right from the offing.

Obviously, when I share our ways of soothing and helping Emilia into peaceful slumber I know that each and every baby (and parent) is so different. But here's what we did and I hope you find it useful...

 In the first weeks, I basically sat on the sofa with her if we weren't out on a walk, I got very little else done, but I knew it's precisely where I wanted to be. In the back of my mind, I remember people saying how quickly it goes and I didn't want to miss a second of her being a newborn.

I used to walk and walk and walk for miles with her in the pram, using various coffee shops as a pitstop for feeds and of course fuel for Mama. I think it was cathartic and a huge help to get out from inside the same four walls. We kept a Moses basket in the living room and a gliding wooden crib at the side of our bed. I found it helpful to be able to put Emilia in the Moses basket during daytime naps and get a few jobs done.

One thing I remember doing was not tip toeing around, I hoovered and even put her in the utility room when the washer was on as we soon found out she loved white noise type sounds.

White noise was a saviour for us, the Sound Sleeper App to be precise! As was Dr Harvey Karp's book 'The Happiest Baby on the Block'. With some fantastic gentle tips on sleep routine and how to soothe a baby, he is 100% the reason Emilia was a good sleeper in the early days. I still have the '5 S's' etched into my brain!

With that in mind, I found that setting a good routine in the early days helped with Emilia's sleep as time went on. One of the most important things I remember a few more months in was to look out for those very first signs of tiredness. The ones that weren't obvious to anyone else. Then I'd get her straight down in the crib, give her a glide from side to side and she'd been asleep for a couple of minutes. If I left it until more obvious signs of sleep, over tiredness struck and it was too late, she'd be a nightmare to get down for a nap!

I also relied on The Wonder Weeks App which was fantastic. It tells you about the developmental 'leaps' a baby goes through and I would never know about things such as the 'four-month sleep regression' if it weren't for this little app. For us, to be in the know was to feel in control. If I knew a leap was coming up, I felt more prepared and able to adjust our routine.

 At seven months we put Emilia into her own room in a cot bed. To help us with the transition from crib to cot bed we purchased a Sleepyhead (sometimes known as Dock-a-Tot). This 'cocoon' was a fantastic help to us and something Emilia still uses now as they last until three years!

As she became a toddler, we struggled with getting her to 'self-soothe', not a phrase we really like to use but I always rocked her until very nearly asleep and then popped her into sleep. This is something we still do now (cuddles then into bed when she's very sleepy), I still even use the same three phrases as I leave the room, 'night night' 'I love you' 'sleep well', only now she says them back which is just a dream come true.

Even though I've always followed a routine, I've tried to let her feel in control if that makes sense. The gentle approach works for us and although it's been hard at times (sometimes I spent hours settling her, leaving the room on all fours so she wouldn't see me, avoiding the creaks in her floorboards only for her to cry. So I went in and repeated the whole process again and again) but in the end that persistence along with soothing, plenty of cuddles and reassurance that Mummy is always here has really paid off.

Emilia is now two and a half and I still have an evening routine; bath, milk, teeth while I read a story, cuddles, then I ask her to tell me when she's ready to go in her bed. She usually tells me within two minutes that she's ready to go in, sometimes less.

 As I mentioned, with the early days we had a tough time. So much so I didn't want to remember the newborn or baby phase. Once Emilia was up crawling, running about etc, it all felt 'safer' like she wasn't so tiny and fragile anymore.

Having a keepsake box was something I'd never have entertained until now, I use Instagram to have those times to look back on in a way. But I guess it's ok to do things a little back to front as there's no rulebook to parenting. I'm now going to use my beautiful Storksak Organic Baby Spa box to keep some treasures from Emilia's early months (I have her first lock of hair, first shoes etc) though we have just relocated so I need to dig out all these lovely bits and pieces to pop in my box! The keepsake box is a fantastic idea and I know I'm going to have some smiles and some happy tears as I find things to fill it...

I know a routine will work for some and not for others, I also know so many Mamas who have never followed a routine who have brought up happy little snoozers, it's all about finding what's right for you, what works. And taking a snippet or two of what you think might help others to 'form' your own little routine or non-routine. Whatever's best for you and your baby and I hope I've helped out. Happy snoozing!

Kirstie xoxo

A Little Crisp