Posts tagged - sleep training

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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Sleep is overrated. Apparently.

Back in April, I wrote a post entitled ‘Sleep is for wimps,’ which was basically about the fact that Mushroom doesn’t sleep so well, and my inability to decision not to ‘train’ him to sleep better.

Well, last month I reviewed that decision and thought I would give one of the ‘no-cry’ sleep training methods a go. I was planning to post my progress here, and even kept a detailed sleep diary – for 21 days! – so that I could share my ‘success’ with you. Well. Here’s a synopsis:

It was promising to start with:

Day 1:

Ferber method. Didn’t work. Ended up cuddling him over the cot. Not great for my back. Didn’t pick him up! Still woke up three times…

Day 2: 

Tried patting him to sleep. Took just 15 mins. He woke up several times

Day 9:

Was asleep in 25 mins – by 7.15. Woke just once at 1.45am! Progress

We had ups and downs, but he was putting himself to sleep and waking up 3 times or less… Until:

Day 18:

Had a fever. Asleep at 5.45. Up. All. Night

So we went back back to cuddling to sleep, and I have just last night started over with the patting to sleep routine again.  Just because Mushroom is heavy and my back needs a break.

Anyway, last week someone showed me this article (which I somehow missed when it was published back in February), that dispels the myth that it is necessary to sleep for eight (or more) consecutive hours a night. Here’s an excerpt:

“For most of evolution we slept a certain way,” says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. “Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology.”

So… Perhaps the goal shouldn’t be to get Mushroom to sleep through the night, but rather, to wake up just the once, and – crucially – amuse himself until he’s ready to go back to sleep.

To be fair, even before I had Mushroom I never really slept through the night myself, I’d often get up – to go to the loo, or to go and read a book, just because trying to get back to sleep made it harder to do so. My Nan tells me my Mum was the same as a child – she would get up and play in her cot for at least an hour in the night, going back to sleep in the early hours of the morning. She was never ‘sleep trained’ but there came a point when she just stopped needing attention when she woke. Knowing this has helped me to relax a bit about the whole sleep issue, and just go with the flow.

What do you think? Should we all relax a bit about the whole sleep issue? If you wake up just once in the night, are you laid back about it or do you feel that a full eight hours (if you can get it!) is crucial? Do you have a child that sleeps well despite never having been ‘trained’? I would love to hear your stories, especially if you fall into that last category!


A week in tweets – #boring updates

This week I am once again taking part in Slummy Single Mummy’s ‘A week in tweets.’ Previously, I have tweeted as Mushroom (see here and here) but this week’s challenge was to share boring updates. You can read Jo’s (Slummy Mummy’s) boring updates here. Mushroom is far to witty and interesting for this assigment, so I am ‘tweeting’ – only two of these are actually from my twitter stream ’cause I didn’t tweet much this week – as myself.’ I can do boring pretty well:

In Greenwich park with Mushroom sharing some potato wedges & thinking we should move to the shade.But not doing anything about it. #lazydays

At work. Annoyed as I was planning to take a stroll round the park at lunchtime but am too busy. Boo. Got a tasty salad though #Godi’mboring

Mushroom overate & then vomited today. Nice. Pleased to say that baking soda worked on both the stain and the smell though #mustgetoutmore

Started (no cry) sleep training Mushroom again last night. He was asleep in 30 mins but still woke up 3 times. Will he ever sleep through?

Mushroom had his MMR today. He was very curious about the syringe and shouted a bit after each jab but didn’t really cry. #proudmummy

Had lunch with my sister and Mushroom at Westfield then went & got a new car seat from Argos – at half price! Bargain. Missed the sun today

Mushroom only woke up twice last night! So am using his #naptime to do writing. Well that’s the idea. Should really turn twitter off.

Not doing anything for the jubilee. Is it just me…? It’s just too wet. Don’t mind the rain but I find this half hearted drizzle annoying.

So that was my week… I would say I hope you enjoyed reading but I doubt you’re still awake after that! Hopefully my next post will be at least marginally more interesting. Why don’t you come back next week to find out (see what I did there)? Til next time!

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