Wednesday 17 February 2016
Does your Little one Sleep? Can I help?
Sleep for me is one thing of the past, as I'm sure it is with a lot of mothers. In the past, 5 hours sleep would have been terrible and I could not have functioned. Where as now if I get 5 hours I feel like jumping for joy and like I can achieve anything.
Lily has always been a terrible sleeper. Some people can't believe me at times when I say "lily slept really well last night, she only woke up 3 times."
When she was born, she was a typical newborn, I was breast feeding so she would be waking every 3 hours for feeds and it was tricky but I coped. As she got a few months older, she would start to give me 5 or 6 hours here and there and those nights were great! She fell asleep no problem either. I would lay her in her cot and she would self settle and fall asleep.
So the thing is, I put a lot in place to ensure Lily would sleep just like advised. I taught her to self settle. I never let her cry it out but always tried to settle her in her cot rather than rocking her to sleep. I thought great, its all working wonderfully! Then she hit 6 months!
Suddenly she started waking more often, every 3 hours without fail and every night. This was tiring, but I thought just a phase and carried on, thinking this wont last forever. My partner was up at 6am and worked all day and as I was breast feeding I did all the getting up in the night.
A few months later, did things get easier? No, they got worse. Lily started not wanting to go down to sleep. I couldn't figure what had gone wrong, was it that she was hungry still? Or wanting to play?Not tired? Maybe her naps were to long? Maybe it was just attention? Are her teeth hurting? I thought of every possibility.
I tried cutting out her nap, and of corse this worked but only because she was so so tired that she wanted to sleep. But this just lead to her being to tired in the day. She needed that nap still.
At 11 months old, the routine of every 3 hours went out of the window, and not in a good way. Suddenly it was every hour, 2 hours at the most. Not only was she waking up, she wasn't wanting to go back to sleep! She was still in our room but I was adament that she was not getting in my bed. This lead to a a lot of rocking, patting, stroking of the face, and maybe a hour later and she would be asleep.
This carried on for months and really started to get to me, not only had I not had a full nights sleep for a year, I was now getting woke up every hour.
Unfortunately for me, this lasted up until a week ago! Lily is now nearly 15 months old and finally sleeping a little better thought not straight through. She is waking 3 times a night, around 11pm, 2am and 5am and sleeping until 9am. Lily is still having her comfort night feeds and this is one thing I next need to tackle. But for now I am starting to feel more alive and enjoying that 4 hours she gives me from 5 to 9am.
I am now trying to figure out what it is thats helping her sleep better. Could it be that She has recently moved into her own room, or that she is now having 20oz of cows milk a day. Or that the room is a lot cooler than ours which she originally was in. Or is it the fact that this week she has started walking? I don't think I will figure out which is it. But it could be one of those factors that helps so I'm sticking to them.
So what can I maybe tell you to help? I am no expert when it comes to helping babies sleep but here are a few things that I can say, or that I wish I would of tried earlier.
1. Firstly, Keep it up! Your doing a great job. You should be proud that your so strong to have managed so many sleepless nights.
2. Relax, easier said than done but you can really stress over it and it doesn't help. Keep calm and do things that make that getting up nicer for you. A drink next to the bed and comfy dressing gown seem to help me.
3. If you can, ask your partner for help. One thing I wish I would have done is got my partner to go in and tried to settle her without a comfort feed from me. Getting her used to less comfort feeds at a earlier age.
4. For me I wish I would of given her more bottles, expressed more and let the partner give her them to get her used to it. I didn't start to introduce bottles until she was nearly 12 months and by this point all she wanted was my breast.
5. This is not a certain, but I think that a relaxing bedtime story and a relaxing room seems to help. So the sooner you can get that, the better.
I would love to hear your sleep stories and if your baby sleeps or what you did to help your baby sleep.