Sleep misery loves company

When my baby was born she wouldn’t sleep.

Well, she would, but not without me rocking her with her magic blanket (the magic blanket they sell in sets of two from Primark – who knew magic was so easy to get hold of).  Fast-forward a few months and we’d gone past the rocking. She still needed the magic blanket and, on special occasions, the boob. But on the main she was happy to go into her cot, with the blanket of magical qualities, and fall to sleep.

She’d wake a few hours later of course. But after some boob and a cuddle she’d be back into bed. Eventually, eight months after arriving into the world, she slept through the night without waking – once. But then she did it again a week later. And then it became a regular habit until now, at 12 months, she is what is generally known as a “good sleeper”.

Or she was.

Because, for the past two weeks, she has reverted back to her newborn ways. Bedtime comes, she’s tired, inevitably she does a poo on the carpet and then has a bath. Then it’s time for milk (out of a cup now, rather than the boob – this is a recent thing), followed by story and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and bed. That’s the plan anyway.

What actually happens is a tantrum of epic proportions as soon as she’s out of the bath, followed by a brief respite during milk, story and song time, followed by more tears as soon as she’s in her cot. Even the magic blanket doesn’t work. It will all go quiet after thirty seconds or so. I’ll relax, pour myself a glass of wine and settle at the laptop, only to be rudely interrupted ten minutes later by a distraught Frog shouting into the monitor. Or blowing raspberries.

This goes on for an hour or so. During which time I become exhausted from running up and down the stairs, rocking, cuddling, relaxing into a false sense of security and then running up the stairs again. Each sprint to the top of the stairs is punctuated by a quick round of “Don’t give in to her” from the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine who claims she never, ever does this when I’m not around.

So what am I doing wrong?

When Frog eventually gives in for the night, I can’t switch off, because I know that in a few hours she’ll be awake again crying. Except it’s not just crying anymore, it’s “Mamamamama” over and over again. Talk about emotional blackmail.

I’m back to those days of insomnia, where the thought of bed seemed like a pointless idea because I was just going to be woken five minutes after my head hit the pillow anyway.

I know it’s probably “just a phase”, or “her teeth”, or a million and one other likely causes. I know there’s no answer – just like I knew it nine months ago when I thought I’d be rocking her forever – and that she’ll just stop doing it one day. But it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with right now. I’m terrified we’re going to lose our “good sleeper” forever, to be replaced with a “bad sleeper” who blows raspberries and shouts “Mamamamama” at 3am.

So I’m not looking for advice (although if you have any I’m always open to suggestions – I am a very suggestible person) but, rather, some company in my sleep misery. Sleep misery loves company and all that. Consider this a shout out to all of you with “bad sleepers” on your hands – come and join my club. Because at 3 o’clock in the morning, it feels like I’m the only one in it.

The holy grail

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16 Comments

Filed under Baby stuff, Sleep

16 responses to “Sleep misery loves company

  1. Hello, my name is Mcai7td3 and I haven’t slept in about a year. My LO is now 6 months and has night feeds. He seems to have decided he doesn’t want to sleep through the night, and instead, we look to have moved straight into extra wakes up caused by (bleep bleep) “teething”. One day…. I will sleeeeeeep! 🙂

    P.s she looks like a little angel in that picture!

  2. Oh dear! Had to laugh at ‘does a poo on the carpet’, though 😀

    Personally, our strategy for sleep problems goes like this:

    1) Get very frustrated, upset, angry for a few nights/weeks of nights
    2) Ask ourselves what on earth we’re doing wrong
    3) Ask our baby/toddler/preschooler why they are being such a pain
    4) Cry a lot
    5) Eventually give in and just cuddle, cuddle, cuddle in a cycle of calm-frustrated-calm
    6) Eventually, once we’ve totally given up on ever having any evening time together *at all*, miraculously they start to get good at sleeping again

    I do think that kids go through random insecure phases which make them cling more, which can be very annoying. So we get cross with them and ‘push them away’ (even if we don’t physically do that, I’m sure that’s what it feels like for them). That makes them more insecure –> more clingy etc. You can either be really firm and ignore them so they give up, which sometimes *is* the answer – sometimes they need to know that they’re not powerful enough to affect you because having the power to upset you can really frighten them, I think. Or you can go overboard on making them feel secure again by cuddling them to sleep each night – take a book/ipod/iphone with you so you don’t get too bored, and know that ‘this too shall pass’, to use a rather overused quote!

    Good luck!

    http://freeyourparenting.com
    http://clarekirkpatrick.wordpress.com

  3. Hello. I am Jennie from Edspire. I have not slept a full night in over a year. My 11 month old twins seem to be reverting to their new baby state too feeding from me more than ever and sleeping only on me!! I have posted something very similar today on my blog. I so so so share your pain x x x

    • My sleep misery is loving your company today. You must be a whole lot stronger than me – here’s me moaning about my one baby being a sleeping pain and you’ve got two little monkeys to contend with. Isn’t funny how a little smile from them can make everything (almost) OK though?! x

  4. Can I join your club? Sleep deprivation, it’s a killer. It took Giggle Monster around 9 months to sleep ’til five am, and this has been his wake up time since then, yawn. Today it was 5.45, I nearly jumped out of bed and did I little jig I was so excited. No doubt the cockerel will be back to his normal tricks tomorrow. So no advice but just sympathy! Just out of interest, what cup do you use with Frog and did she take to it ok? I’m planning to stop bf next weekend but can’t get GM to drink from a beaker, grrrr. Any tips? x

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one dealing with sleep deprivation at the moment! Frog has a beaker and a cup with a straw. She seems to prefer the cup with the straw for her milk so that’s the one she has for her all her milk feeds now. It’s very handy because she just holds it herself and does it all herself. I think it’s fairly recently that she started doing this though – probably around 10-11 months. We only stopped BF at night a couple of weeks ago and that was after she just wasn’t interested anymore. x

  5. It wasn’t just Li’l D, then! He was an excellent sleeper straight up until 14 or so months, at which point we got to kiss our nights of good sleep goodbye. The worst of it lasted maybe a month or two; after that, he’s just decided 3 a.m. is the new 6 a.m.–which, good for him. He can and does enjoy that quiet time singing to himself in bed, because after a couple of weeks, we stopped joining him for it! We can’t help still waking up, though of course Ba.D.’s back to snoring in seconds versus minutes. (Why can’t I have that?)

    • It’s a mystery. Sometimes the NLM doesn’t even wake up – despite F shouting at the top of her voice “Dadadadadadadad…” It is all extremely unfair – which, of course, I point out as soon as he opens his eyes in the morning!

  6. We are awake every day at 3am, for at least an hour! We don’t get any words or raspberries just a lot of chatting, shouting and eventually crying. My 2 year old has started waking at 6 and shouting “mummmmmy up!” Why do they never ask for daddy?!?!?

  7. granny from the north

    All I can offer is you get used to it…next stage is sleepwalking – the child not you! and father never woke up during that either. Said child didnt even bother sleepwalking to that side of the bed! Must be a second sense…

  8. I had to correct an 8 hour time difference this spring after some travelling. It involved 2 rooms (to separate them), shut doors, fat bottle of wine, chick flick turned all the way up. 3 nights. Done. 🙂

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