Time for a post about the big one…sleep.
Let’s start at the beginning…
On 3rd April at 10.59pm, baby 2011 was born by emergency c section. This was a Sunday. I first had labour pains on the very early hours of the previous Tuesday. So I spent 5.5 nights pacing, bouncing on a birthing ball or doubled over hanging on to the back of a dining room chair.
No sleep count 5.5 nights.
Baby2011 was complicated birth and so I was not put up on the c section ward until my notes had been written up at 3.15am. I did snatch a bit of sleep thanks to a couple of shots of pethidine in the hospital. The other babies on the ward were screamers. I spent a couple of hours lying in a really weird position unable to move my lower body due to the op and petrified that baby2011 would wake up as I wasn’t meant to lift him. At 7am the lights went on and I hadn’t been to sleep.
2nd and 3rd nights in hospital baby2011 slept all day and partied all night. When he slept, the squealer in the next bed didn’t.
8.5 nights no sleep.
We came home from the hospital and baby2011 screamed all night.
9.5 nights no sleep.
You can see where I’m going with this. My baby2011 was not a sleepy newborn.
As the weeks passed he could be persuaded to sleep by breastfeeding. A habit I knew I shouldn’t have encouraged but screw that for a bit of a break!
He didn’t like sleeping in the day either. As soon as you tried to put him down…ping! Hiya! Cuddle me or I won’t sleep.
And if there was noise then we were stuffed, he could hear a pin drop. We struggled with his constant over tiredness but he could not be persuaded to sleep unless in the car, the buggy or during a breast feed.
And even then, when the buggy stopped, the car pulled up or I dare take him of the breast too early. Ping! Hiya! We even used to unclip the car seat and gingerly lift it out the car and ping, awake. We tried coats over his seat during transfer and rocking it mimicking the car. But as soon as we arrived at destination he was awake and screaming “get me the hell out of this chair mum!”
The daytime sleeping never really improved. But he started to settle at night from 10pm-5.30am for about 3 weeks when he was 7 weeks old. Heaven!
Then we had baby jabs, teething, and a million colds. In September he got an awful cough.
Now when I talk about baby2011’s sleep and say he’s unsettled and never slept a night, I mean we were up with him between 2 and 7 times a night. Usually around 4 times. And he gets up between 5 and 6am.
Meeting friends their babies would drift off in their buggies or in their mummy’s arms. There was me pacing and rocking my overtired, overstimulated baby.
I look knackered, have no time or energy to make myself look good. Therefore I lost confidence in how I look and am aware of how boring I have become. Sleep obsessed!
And their babes conk out for a couple of hours. I’d get 30 minutes!!!!
Yes, unhealthily, I grew very jealous of my friends with babies who slept. Some went to bed at 7 and slept until 7am. How!? I couldn’t believe that this ever happened.
Then came the advice from all angles. Now I’m not an idiot. Anyone who knows me knows that I research everything to death. Sleep was fast becoming an obsession.
A bottle rather than a breast feed before bed, nope. Put him in bed with you, nope. Put him to bed later, nope. When he crawls he’ll sleep, nope. When he walks he’ll sleep, nope. Leave him to cry, can’t!
I even visited a cranial osteopath, odd and didn’t help!
I went back to work and if anything baby2011’s sleep got worse. Up 6 times a night, sitting on the rocking chair or pacing the floors in the pitch black.
His cot my everest.
Asleep in my arms at 3.20am but did I dare put him back in the cot!? How long would we get out of him the next stretch? So if I conquered the cot I’d get back into bed. I’d lie awake heart pounding wondering when he’d next wake up. Drift off to sleep after an hour and then, ping!
We even joked that he was such a light sleeper even thinking about him woke him up! I’m sure it did!
We tried magic pyjamas (ones he’d slept better in the previous week!), dream feeds, cheerios before bed and moved his cot to every position in his nursery. Nope, nothing worked.
By this stage baby2011 is 9 months old. Me and dad2011 have given up on a drink in the evenings and a night out was out of the question. We were in bed by 8pm! We’d get cross with baby2011 and snap at each other. We even felt too guilty to let grandparents baby sit him as he was such a sensitive sleeper.
Anyway, at the end of our tether we looked into sleep specialists and I bought more books, hoping that a nugget of gold would be found in this information and he’d sleep even just 4 hours in one go!
We got him a duvet and pillow at 1 year old. He got a cold and spent a week coughing.
Then he had his mmr and wouldn’t go in his cot or our bed so I sat up with him in a chair all night…
Just when we facing breaking point, I’m talking trips to doctors for help and about to fork out for super nanny. We seem to be turning a corner.
It’s bank holiday weekend and baby2011 is 13 months. He has only woken up once the last 3 nights. I have been awake waiting for him to wake but he’s doing it!
There is no rhyme or reason, maybe just natural maturity of his sleep. But he’s getting there.
Yes I’m still sat here waiting for cbeebies to come on air. But compared to the nights we have had over the last year I could run a marathon today.
If you have a baby that doesn’t sleep soundly. You’re not alone. I could write a book on it and so could the other mum’s who’ve been through the same difficult time. @SDalts dm me if you want to talk x