Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scchleeep


I left Graeme and Camilla alone for a few minutes and came back to find them both fast asleep cuddled up together


About a month ago I put the call out to the world for some advice on getting a baby to sleep. At the time I had realised that we had been trying to rock her to sleep then putting her in her basinet, which she would then wake up during and start to cry. I thought this meant she didn't want to sleep in her basinet so she started to sleep in bed with us more and more and often on top of us, and because they were there, I started to nurse her to sleep. Silly me. I took a step back, realised what I had done, and set about to change it because it just wasn't working for me.

Most of the advice I received was helpful and most of it I put into practice.

We instantly took on a night time routine (of which we had none previously) which we did every single night for about 2 weeks. I fed her, Graeme bathed her while I heated up her basinet mattress. We read to her, prayed for her, pulled her musical toy and layed her down to sleep. These are probably my favourite moments of the day because they feel like real family time when we take our time and dont rush things. Then, she would cry. Cry cry cry. We checked on her every 5-10 minutes and would pick her up, try and burp her and resettle her. Mostly she would stop crying as soon as we picked her up. It took her about 3 days to realise that this time was sleep time and she began to get better and better at going to sleep. The same resettling was done during her day time naps too. I also tried sleeping her on her side and propped up (because of the reflux) which didn't seem to make any difference so she's still sleeping on her back as per Ministry Of Health recommendations. A dummy helps a lot, and an extra feed after bath time does wonders.

Every day she got better and better and cried less and less. After a few days of this I cut out the wheat bag and now we don't bath her every night. Some nights we can't because we are doing other things - but that's okay. At this stage its important to me to keep things reasonably flexible so she gets used to breaking the norm, but it is also important to me to have a norm to revert to.

A few times we have declined going to someones house for dinner or an event so that we could keep her routine. Some times that bugs me, but in the long run I think it was important to establish her sleeping skills.

Most nights she sleeps in a block of 4 hours, feed, 3 hours, feed, 3 hours. It means I'm always up during the night and sometimes I feel as if I haven't even slept, but other nights its more than enough. Generally when she feeds she resettles quite well, but every other night she'll have a feed during the night and the reflux will kick in and she will be so unsettled. Then I need to spend more time with her, and usually after that she ends up in bed with me again because I'm too tired to keep perservering. That's okay because I know its not every night and some times its quite nice to have a baby sized cuddle buddy :) One night last week she had a 6 hour sleep block at night. It was amazing, however, I was awake the whole time because we had people over so I didn't get to take advantage of it and catch up myself. Such is life.

This week in the middle of the night when I'm feeding her she will look up and me, pull away and give me the hugest smiles. Its so adorable and melts my heart! It feels like our special time, when we are alone together, bonding.

Now when people ask me how she sleeps, I respond the same every time: Good! At least I think so, I have nothing else to compare her to, but I'm happy.

I realised after all this, having a plan makes such a difference. When you're up in the middle of the night with a screaming baby and you are recovering from giving birth and you are having to rock and walk her around for hours on end (when everything 'down there' just wants to lay down) and your husband needs to go to work in a few hours it can all seem a bit unmanageable and a bit "is it going to be like this forever!!??" Well, no, it wont be. And when you have a plan, its even more "It's okay, we're working on it". Even though some days the plan doesn't work, and some times we don't even 'do' the plan, and other days no matter how much we do do the plan it makes no difference. At least we've tried something.

Lastly, I have realised that everyday is different. Just because today has been amazing and happy and smiley and perfect doesn't mean tomorrow will be. And, just because yesterday was unsettled and tiring, doesn't mean today will be.

She is a baby. A really little baby who is having to learn every single thing for the first time. I don't expect miracles, and I don't expect her to sleep through the night (although I wouldn't complain), so I'm not being Hitler trying to get her into a routine. Mostly, I'm just trying to learn her sleep signals a little better.

Thank you all for you help, advice and years of experience. I feel like I can tick this off my list as a job well done.
Sweet Dreams

4 comments:

  1. Hey Sophie, been reading your blog for about a month now, you are doing an amazing job. i'm a first time Mum too (6 month old boy) and i know what you mean one day is good the other not so but hey they're babies, gotta love them. love your night routine! we're the same predictability is good! one thing i did to get my boy sleeping longer at night was to wake him 3 hourly during the day to feed him, they've got to get their calories in at some time and i rathered him doing it during the day.
    Keep up the fantastic work, God Bless you and your household! xox Kerry

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  2. What a sweet picture! :) I'm not a mommy myself yet but I enjoyed reading your post. Happy Blogtober Fest! :)

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  3. awesome post!

    that para about the plan is spot on. i think i might use it as I'm playing with swaddling/unswaddling at the mo. maybe its my 'plan' to experiment... 'i'm working on it'...

    you so don't get any advice on your second. its actually bliss!

    great that you don't have any unrealistic expectations, that will make life so much easier!

    you are doing so well! way better than i was at this stage with my first!!

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  4. I'm so glad I went blog stalking and found this Soph! It is pretty much exactly where we are at, almost word for word. Even if it doesn't always work it is good to know that she is just a little baby and still learning too, just like us :) xxxxxx

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