Sleep!

So…at some point I had to write about this topic.

Sleep.

As a parent few things are desired or talked about more and as a pre Ted sleep consultant it’s something that comes up in conversation a lot for me.

Firstly, this is based solely on my experiences (professional and personal) and opinion – I don’t think I’m ‘right’ or my way is the only way and am in no way judging anybody who does or thinks differently.

I’m useless!

I think this revelation of what a softy I am is going to please all the Mummies I’ve previously worked for no end…I need one of them to come and do what I taught them because tending to somebody else’s baby is so much easier than tending to your own – I know I’ve always told you all this but now I’m the living, breathing proof!!

I won’t ignore my baby’s cry. I can’t.

However, it is important to me that we create good habits that mean all three of us get to sleep and are therefore happy and refreshed people, not walking/shuffling zombies!

Ted is now 8 months old and happily sleeping in his cot most of the time. We have a video monitor which in my opinion is one of the best things we ever bought and means if he stirs I can watch to see him, if he’s up on all fours or rubbing his face a lot, we know he’s going to need one of us, if he’s rolling about there’s a chance he will settle in a few seconds, either way if there is noise coming from him we’re poised to react.

If within 30 seconds he’s still crying (and i’m talking crying, not chatting or moaning) in we go, we’ll rest a hand on his chest or back dependant on how he’s positioned and gently sshh or sing a calming song, he’ll often wrap his fingers around ours and calm down but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to be left – We gradually move away in a series of about 5 stages and if he protests (sometimes protests=screaming), weΒ go back a step. Sometimes this takes 5 minutes, others it takes 45 and yes of course sometimes this is frustrating but our baby needs us and that’s what we signed up to.

This is not easy. It’s flipping bloody tough.

I’m his Mummy and Rich is his Daddy, our roles are to love him, protect him, care for him, prepare him and educate him.

Sleep, in my opinion is something, like everything else in life he needs to be shown how to do – however at 1am last week when he’d been up and down for 3 hours and my husband was on a night shift, bringing him into my bed seemed like the easy option but it wasn’t…It was just a quick fix.

The next night he wanted that again and I’ve always been strongly of the opinion that inconsistency isn’t fair on little people so I had to have a firm word with myself (as did my husband!)

Ted is bigger and cleverer (is that even a word?!) now so it is so important we give him consistent responses so he knows he can rely and trust in us.

Two days back on track and last night he went down like a dream, stirred at 11.15pm but just needed the reassurance of my hand on his back for 20 seconds, went silent as soon as he felt it and then drifted off peacefully until 6.30am this morning.

I’m sure for some, this is too indulgent and they think we should leave him to cry but when I suffered with insomnia in the third trimester, Rich sat up with me at night caring for me, I knew then that I would never feel happy to leave my baby to cope alone when I, a grown adult had been given such love and support.

Others no doubt feel we should cuddle him until he’s fast asleep or have him in our bed all night but the sleep consultant in me does want to create good habits too and on the odd occasions we’ve had Ted in our bed we certainly haven’t relaxed enough to rest.

I think we’ve found a middle ground we’re all happy with, that works for us and I guess that’s all any of us is aiming for really…survival with the minimum amount of parental guilt attached!

*I have to give my husband the credit he deserves here…he has constantly reminded me what I’ve told him about my job over the years and kept me on track, I fear without him I’d be a shell of a sleep deprived Mummy by now!!*

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Oh no...this wasn't part of the plan!!

Advice From The Heart

16 thoughts on “Sleep!

  1. A good strong sleep routine was something as a mum that I prioritised and was adamant on getting right. Every mum prioritises different things but sleeping routine was my number one. I’ve been blessed with an angel in terms of sleeping which probably makes sticking to a solid routine A LOT easier. From 8 weeks she’s been in her own room sleeping through, mainly because she outgrew her Moses basket and our room was too small for a cot and her room was too small for a bed. (had no choice really).
    Come 7.00 pm we would always do the same routine, she’d have her dinner at 6.30, at 7.00 she’d go in the bath, she’d then get moisturised and dried and her bedroom with the lights gently dimmed, she’d then go back downstairs where the lights were also dimmed and she’d have a cuddle on the couch and a little play before bed, then come 8 o clock she’d get taken to her room, which was just light enough to see what I was doing and we’d sit in there in silence and give her a bottle, she’d then get put down awake, id gently rub her head then turn the lights off completely and leave the room. At first, yeah she’d whinge and moan, not full on cry, as long as I knew she had everything she needed I would leave her to it. Sometimes she’d whinge and babble for half an hour but she’d soon go to sleep and settle herself.
    She has had a comforter since 8 weeks which is a little rabbit, it was initially sprayed with a tiny bit of my perfume. She takes it everywhere now πŸ™‚ but she ALWAYS sleeps with it. Always has done.
    Now at 11 months old she hasn’t woke through the night or needed us to go in if she wakes up and hasn’t needed any of that since 8 weeks. My partner hated how persistant I was with it and we had MANY arguments but I know now that we’ve done the right thing! She isn’t reliant on a dummy or rocking or needing us there, she settles herself and in all honesty I’m super proud πŸ™‚
    p.s. you’re not useless! You’ll get there πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks hun…we’re getting there now – the biggest irony is sleep training other people’s children was my job before I had Ted!…he’s just made me all soppy! Sounds like you have it all down to a tee – completely agree, everything else works so much better after everyone has slept and life is much easier without the need for any sleep props! πŸ™‚ xx

  3. Hi Laura,
    So lovely to read your words- and they read as I imagine you saying them which is a nice memory for me!
    Charlie ( when v v upset ) still responds to me when I shush right into his ear. He is 6 ! Do you remember it was more like a loud train passing than a soft shush though as I think we went down the road of making it into white noise sound as he was such a noisy baby getting to sleep !?
    He’s a total character as I’m sure you could have guessed – and Lucy a little darling ( will pay us back in her teens no doubt !)- they were 6 on Friday.
    Jack is still a quirky chap but it’s grown into a kind of quirk with a dry sense of humour which really suits him- now nearly 9 and happy.
    Time really flys.
    Being a mum is literally the hardest thing I have ever done – and still is. I must say the challenges now suit me better than the ones when they were babies though.
    I don’t think you are doing it right if you aren’t feeling some kind of guilt as the pressures all conflict so much.
    There are so many rights and wrongs but actually making sure you are true to who you are Laura – and responding to Ted as the baby he is- is the most important thing. However tough it is, be confident that you will know best. I mean that to any mum but to you I can say that with much more depth as I know you and know how flipping lucky Ted is to have you guiding him now and for his life.
    Keep smiling and laughing – and remember that the now time is actually very brief.
    Lots of love to you X

  4. Ah lovely to hear from you…it’s so nice to hear about the children, you describe them all exactly how I imagined them to be now which is amazing, although it’s very scary that they’re 6 and 9 now – where on earth does the time go?
    It’s so interesting that sshhing still calms Charlie in extreme situations…I remember those days well! You’re so right about how tough it is, nannying experience has only been of use through practical challenges I think, anything remotely emotional and all rational ability deserts me! I saw a phrase ‘and this too will pass’ in the early days and have kept it in mind this past year – however hard things are I try and remind myself that one day these times will have passed us by so to savour everything – already the newborn struggles seem like a distant blur!
    Thanks so much for your kind, reassuring words, lots of love to you all xxx

  5. A really useful post from an expert – thanks so much! We’re having real problems establishing a bedtime routine for Little B, mainly because he shares a bedroom with his four-year-old sister so it’s difficult going in and out of the bedroom to settle him without disturbing her…will definitely try some of your suggestions though! #fromtheheart

  6. I’m really pleased it might be of some help to you…we have number 2 due in 10 weeks so will be facing the same battle next year I imagine! Just take things slowly and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right for you and your little one, good luck x

  7. Sleep is the biggest topic of conversation for all my parent friends – we were lucky with our first as she was a great sleeper, and I do think that’s partly because we were quite consistent with her. But baby number two has never been great at sleeping and I’m not sure if that’s just her way, or if we weren’t as strict with her as we had a toddler too! She’s coming up to 2 1/2 now and mainly sleeps through but it has been a real struggle getting here! I think you’re right in being consistent, and agree it’s so hard to leave them to cry. We did try once or twice in desperation but I think it made it worse! Becky x #fromtheheart

  8. I am expecting number 2 in a few weeks and my son is just like your first baby – I’m dreading the lack of sleep and not being able to be so structured, eekk! I’m glad you could empathise, it helps to know others understand xx

  9. Good luck with number two, you may be really lucky and get another sleeper! But you will be fine either way I’m sure, even if you are a bit zombie like for a while! Xx

  10. If only someone had a magic sleep wand! It sounds like you’re getting there though. We’ve got quite a good routine and Emma has been sleeping through consistently since 10-11 months. I have to admit without my husband’s support and reassurance I don’t think I could’ve done it πŸ™‚ #fromtheheart

  11. Generally we’re really lucky and he’s pretty consistent now but there’s always the odd night when the wand would come in handy!! Thank goodness for awesome husbands! πŸ™‚ x

  12. Oh no, I’m the polar opposite: falling asleep at the breast, cosleeping for as long as he needs us and nursing through the night. But every family needs to work out what is best for them. Thanks for sharing #fromtheheart

  13. Great post! I think the thing you’ve highlighted that’s so important is consistency. I could never handle any form of sleep training, it just stressed me out. I decided I was happy to comfort him in any way he needed but now he really doesn’t know how to self settle and there’s nothing I can do to comfort him. It’s just a battle, sometimes it’s a very short one though. Thanks so much for sharing with #fromtheheart

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