Sleep Deprivation is no fun for anyone
1 CommentTuesday, 16 December 2014 | Admin
I know I am jinxing myself by writing this. Why would I do it? Why would I write a blog post about sleep, when my baby is *at the moment* asleep upstairs??
But I shall start – and see how far I get!
Sleep takes on a kind of mythological status when babies come along. When you tell people you’re pregnant, after the initial congratulations, they will invariably make some comment about sleep – or rather lack of it. I heard it so often when I was pregnant: ‘Ooh – make sure you get plenty of sleep now as you won’t get any when the baby’s here!’ Yeah yeah. I know. I’ve heard it all before. It’s part of the deal, right?
But actually, when Millar was born, he slept really well. For the first few weeks, while I was breastfeeding, he used to do about a four hour stretch, then three hours after that. By eight weeks, he essentially slept through the night. I knew I was lucky – lots of people don’t get ‘through the night’ for years, but Millar just did. I know I took it for granted. I thought it had something to do with a really solid bedtime routine, where he had a bath, a massage, his last bottle, and then straight to bed. I could even put him down awake and he would chatter himself to sleep. When something goes right, it’s easy to be complacent and think it’s because you did something right as a parent!
We had our sleep issues in those days – he would refuse to sleep during the day and that was really tricky. But I knew that I had it the right way round. I could do without daytime naps because he slept so well at night.
You can see where this is going.
At pretty much exactly six months, Millar stopped sleeping through the night. In fact, he stopped sleeping very well at all. At his worst, he wakes up every half an hour. EVERY HALF AN HOUR!!! Other nights it varies. My theory is, if I have to get up more than once in an hour, then he comes into our bed. I can’t keep getting up all the time. He doesn’t want much, as he isn’t really awake; he wants a dummy really, and can usually then settle himself back to sleep. But he just doesn’t seem to be able to get into a deep sleep.
There are a couple of reasons why the wheels have totally fallen off our system. He has cut three teeth in the last three weeks and now has four. This includes the front top ones, which look really sore. He has had a bit of a tummy bug – has been totally off his food and not even wanted milk. And he has had cold after cold after cold. He now has such a hacking cough, that I’m thinking of taking him to the doctor to see if he has a chest infection. He keeps waking himself up coughing and I’m not surprised, as it sounds like he smokes 60 a day!
But in the meantime, there is no rhyme or reason to how well he will sleep each night. On Friday, he slept right through. Woke for a dummy at 5, slept till 6, then slept in our bed until 8.30. Last night, it was more like every half an hour again. A little consistency would be nice!
Sleep is such a valuable thing and is probably the thing that changes the most when you become a parent. Suddenly, you have no control over how much sleep you get. You can’t have a lie in because you’re a bit run down – you can’t decide that you need an early night actually knowing that you’ll get to sleep all night. It just doesn’t work like that.
I know there are hundreds of books on parenting and sleep, and I have read some of them. But I’m a big believer in just doing what works for you – doing whatever you can to feel as ok as you can. If that means co-sleeping (safely) then so be it. If that means sleep training, and it’s what you want to do, then so be it. A friend at a baby group last week was really nervous telling people that she had given in and read Gina Ford. She wasn’t following her religiously, but taking some ideas and implementing a clearer structure to the day. Suddenly, she was feeling more human again, as her ten week old baby was sleeping better. No one can judge you on how you get sleep – you just have to find what works for you.
For now, I am just clinging to the hope that, as Millar still occasionally sleeps through the night, then he hasn’t forgotten how, and that once these pesky colds have gone and his teeth are ok, he might sleep soundly again. And for the moment, I’m just glad he hasn’t woken up now and has finally given me a chance to blog!
What are your secrets to baby sleep?