Posts tagged - sleep

Don’t sweat the sleep stuff

This is the post I wish I had read when I was listening to everyone else and trying to ‘sleep train’ Mushroom.

Sleep has always been a big issue for us. One of my first posts was about Mushroom’s sleep and more recently I wrote about my attempts to sleep train him. With hindsight, I needn’t have bothered.

Like potty training for the previous generation (when Mothers were expected to potty train their children well before they turned two – far too early in my opinion), sleep is the current hot topic. A recent netmums report shows that most parents don’t get enough sleep until Junior is well into his/her first year. Despite this, a third of those questioned still feel the need to lie about how well their children sleep, as if it’s some kind of measure of thier mothering skills rather than a reflection of their child’s personality – which, take note all control freaks (me included) is beyond anyone’s control.

There’s a multi million pound industry cashing in on our paranoia about babies and sleep with some desperate sleep deprived parents spending up to £1,000 a week on sleep specialists. I was even tempted to do this myself at the beginning, having been told – by a health visitor – that Mushroom’s wakefulness was due to my failure to sleep train him. He wasn’t even 9 months old at the time. Since then I have relaxed about the whole sleep training issue, just trying to ensure I get enough sleep most days any which way I can. I have continued to rock/cuddle/pat Mushroom to sleep depending on his mood, and I still stay in his room until he’s asleep most nights. Over the past few weeks, I noticed that although he was still waking several times a night (I can hear him sit up and get a drink. Maybe I should turn the monitor down a bit more), he’d only call me maybe once – and this was when he was in a lot of pain with his teeth and/or struggling to breathe because of a rather nasty chest infection. If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that within the past few weeks, he has slept through the night at least once. Since that first time, he has slept through once more (from 7pm to 5am) and on the nights that he has woken up it’s actually worked out better, as he’s been awake around 11pm/12am, and then slept through until 6.30. Such late mornings are unheard of in our house and I am really enjoying these ‘lie-ins.’

So, my point is – although the sleep training did work, after a fashion, it was only temporary. This sleeping through the night business (and I think I can say, without jinxing anything, that we’re almost there) had happened organically, now that Mushroom is ready. If I had known this 12 months ago, it would have saved me a lot of time, worry and google searches! Every child is different. Maybe sleep training worked for you. If so, congratulations! If you’re in the middle of trying to sleep train a 14 month old, take heart that your child will eventually sleep through the night (or at least stop disturbing you when s/he wakes up). According to the Netmums report, more that 75% of children sleep through the night by the time they are two years old. Mushroom is currently 16 months old and only just on his way.

By the way, if you got here my frantically googling the sentence underlined above, or perhaps you typed ‘Will my child ever sleep through the night?’ – Hello! You are me, two months ago. I can’t say that my experience will match yours, perhaps your child will sleep through tonight, maybe not for another year. All I know is that letting go did wonders for how I feel… So all I can say is, if you’d like a moan to share your story, do leave a comment below. In the meantime… Don’t sweat the sleep stuff!

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What has made me happy this week

This week I’ve decided to join in with helpfulmum‘s meme and blog about what has made me happy over the past seven days. To join in, or just to find out more about this, click on the pink button at the end of this post.

Here’s my week:

  1. The realisation that I haven’t breastfed Mushroom at night for over two weeks. And he hasn’t asked. Think this means he is fully weaned! Finally! (There is, however, a touch of sadness to this too. More on that later.)
  2. Mushroom has been giggling a lot this week. It’s a beautiful sound
  3. Seeing my brother and sister. Ok, this is happening tomorrow but I don’t see them so often and am very excited about it
  4. The sun has appeared. Apparently it’ll stay a while this time
  5. Mushroom has started to sleep slightly longer stretches (like, five hours instead of three. I don’t want to tempt fate but trust me, this is progress).

I discover this meme via Jenny ‘the Wren’  so thanks Jenny!


A week in tweets – #I’mabigboy

This week I thought I’d take part in Slummy Single Mummy’s ‘A week in tweets.’ This week I am doing a retrospective, tweeting as Mushroom. I enjoyed this both as a great writing exercise and a reminder of the highs and lows of the past week. The fact it made me laugh at the ‘lows’ reminds me that all the not so great stuff is only temporary, unless we hold onto it. Not a bad lesson to be reminded of! So here’s my effort (below. It’s meant to be funny. But might need work) – hope you enjoy it!

Nursery today. Mummy waited ages 4 me to wave bye. Like 2 whole minutes. I was BUSY. Separation anxiety much? Go 2 work already #I’mabigboy

Nursery again. Love it. I get attention ALL THE TIME. No ‘Mummy needs a shower now’ rubbish. And I can touch EVERYTHING. #I’mabigboynow

Me and Mummy practised walking today. A lot. Think she’s trying to get me to let go of her hand. I don’t think so. #notsuchabigboyafterall

Met up with baby friend. We ate out. Yum. Not nearly enough playtime though. Our Mums just wanted 2 chat. BORING  #itsnotallaboutthemummies

Let Mummy have a 3 hour stretch of sleep last night. Very generous I thought. My thanks? A trip to bloody Asda. No swings. #ungratefulmummy

Got up at 5am and did big poo. Took Mummy ages 2 realise I was complaining not singing & come sort me out. Honestly. So I got up for the day

Got up at 1am to play but Mummy didn’t want to. She stayed in my room  though. Result. Got late birthday present too. #itsbeenagreatweek

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Sleep is for wimps

This is not Mushroom

Let’s be clear from the outset. I am a wimp. I love my sleep. The last time I managed several consecutive late nights* I was about 21 (I am 30 something now) and I still needed to make up for it with mammoth lie-ins. By the time I was 25, I needed to nap the afternoon before a big night out. So you can imagine how the sleep deprivation of a newborn hit me. Hard. Like a smack in the face.

You do get used to it, though. I never really believed that before, but hey – you have to. And of course the rewards are worth it. To put it in perspective, I would rather be without sleep than without Mushroom.

When he was little, I breastfed Mushroom to sleep whenever he needed it. It worked, and that magic hormone, prolactin, also helped me get back to sleep. As he got older, the health visitors (among others), told me that I should start waking him up before I put him down, to teach him to put himself to sleep. I nodded and smiled. And ignored them. Wake a sleeping baby? Madness. I would sooner return to a lit firework. Besides, he only woke three times a night (apart from during growth spurts) which, with me going to bed early, was quite manageable.

Then the ten month growth spurt kicked in (he was weaned onto bottles by this time, nursing only at night) and all bets were off. After a crazy month I decided to give sleep training a go. I started with cry-it-out (CIO) with disastrous consequences. He cried for an hour, became increasingly distressed and vomited everywhere. The Health Visitor had said not to comfort him if this happened. Yeah right, ok. Of course I comforted him! He finally went to sleep after a few hours. The next night he cried as we headed up for bathtime and I worried I had created a fear of bedtime so I overcompensated for a few nights with extra cuddles, and vowed never to do CIO again. It helped that shortly afterwards I heard from other mums who had been evangelical about how CIO had worked for them, that it had only worked temporarily for most.

A week or so after the CIO disaster, I tried a variation on one of the no-cry sleep training techniques (I can’t remember whose, its possible I made something up based on Dr Sears’ advice) with some success. I had to wait until Mushroom was almost asleep before putting him down and then hold his hand for a while, but it’s still progress. Some days this still works but throw a cold, a new developmental milestone, or teething into the mix and we’re back to sitting in the rocking chair for 20 minutes til he’s in a deep sleep.

Anyway, as I said. You get used to it. Mushroom is now a year old and I am thinking it might soon be time to change things, starting with weaning him from night nursing. This may or may not reduce the number of times he wakes. We shall see. I hear that a lot of babies start sleeping better when they start walking so I am holding on to that. In the meantime, I still refuse to let him CIO again so we will find our own way, as whatever the health visitors say, all babies are NOT the same.

I will let you know if/when we get any breakthroughs in the sleep department. Please do share your stories/frustrations below!

*Late night pre Mushroom = After 11.30pm.
Late night post Mushroom = After 9.30pm

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