August 13, 2008

Charlotte writes:

My little beastie went through a glorious sleeping through the night phase for months and then a long holiday, illness and hot weather (nice excuses) have meant that she is waking for nursing perhaps twice a night now. Do I just roll with it (she almost always goes back to sleep perhaps with some gentle singing to herself) or am I setting myself up for broken nights forever (OK for some months) more? Her room was like an oven last night and she genuinely seemed thirsty, but should I offer her water? Is it time to wean her onto that concrete formula that seems to make everyone else’s babies sleep through the night? I am mostly not that bothered about getting up for her as I go back to sleep quickly and hey, I’m her mummy, that’s my job! But the dreaded baby books and other mummy’s make me feel like a freak!

Hey Charlotte, you are not a freak!! Well done to you for just being prepared to go with the flow. The only time I would suggest changing things is when it’s clearly not working for baby/mummy/daddy, but if nursing once or twice at night is not a big drama, then go with it, I promise it won’t last forever. The one piece of advice I have for you is to throw away those baby books – they are nothing but trouble! Trust your own instincts, you know your baby best. And woo hooo for your sleeping through the night phase. Chances are if she’s done it for a bit, once things settle down again, you’ll be back in business. Here’s hoping.

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Night nursing with a future soccer star

July 24, 2008

Kelly writes:

Firstly, thank you so much – had I not found your mumsnet thread and later your website, I would have been a gibbering wreck by now (well, more of a gibbering wreck). It is such a relief to know that there are other mums out there whose babies aren’t all-nighters.

I have two questions, I think:

How connected are nursing to sleep and night wakings? I nurse my 8 month old to sleep as it is the only way she will go down without tears, but she then needs to nursed back to sleep almost every time she wakes, which at the moment can be 6-10 times between 7 and 5. We start her off in her cot and then move her to our bed, and I don’t really mind the night nursing (bar the kicking, see below) but am flagging at the amount she wakes. but I’m worried that I am encouraging her to wake often by nursing her when she does wake.

Secondly, does anyone else out there have a kicker? And what can one do to reduce the amount of battering one gets in the night? I get pummeled for at least 15 minutes every hour or so and any attempt to protect myself by moving her or building a duvet fort around my legs is futile.

My thought about nursing to sleep is that it is often so much easier to nurse to sleep than the alternatives. The way it went with the Imp is that he nursed to sleep, until he decided not to fall asleep and then he had to learn to put himself to sleep. So I did it as long as it was feasible, and then gave up when it no longer worked and tried something else. That about summarises my whole parenting strategy.

I feel that it is important for kids to learn to put themselves to sleep, but all in good time. I don’t think there is any point forcing it too early, as it will just cause more headaches than it solves. But if you can try and notice when your child is ready and help them along the path, that is fantastic and may well help with the night wakings. But then again, it may not. See, there’s no real way to tell the reason your child is waking at night, and the reason he can’t go back to sleep. In short, teaching kids to self settle helps some with night waking, but not others. For us, there never seemed to be that correlation.

We didn’t really have a kicker so can’t help you there. Maybe our readers will have some ideas …

8 months is still fairly little (though it doesn’t feel like it). I think it took us a good 13 months to get the sleeping into a manageable state, and even then we hit some kind of regressions occassionally. But at least now, I can see the phases are temporary, rather than looking down a deep dark tunnel of sleeplessness. If only we got weekends off from our kids sometimes …


Part time co-sleeping

July 23, 2008

Hannah writes: 

I have a 9 month old who just will not stay in his bed the entire night.
He goes to bed like an angel, bed time is between 8-9 depending and he gets put in pj’s, given bottle, a little cuddle time and then off to bed. We do not hear another peep out of him until some-where between 1-3 am when he wakes and almost refuses to return to sleep in his cot. I have tried on a couple of occasions to implement some sort of rapid return or feed and settle type plan, but given that he has to sleep in our room and I have to be up for work at 6am, I normally cave and allow him to co-sleep. He normally wants to suckle, but I don’t think that it is for food, generally. When I get up, I am able to transfer him back to the cot as I do not trust hubby to ensure that he doesn’t fall out of bed.
Do you have any suggestions to keep him in his own bed, cos I end up sleeping in really funny positions in order to accommodate hubby/baby, bearing in mind that neither have to get up anyway!

I think the co-sleeping is such a common thing, more than people like to admit. It may not be a conscious decision, but we put our kids to bed hoping for the best, but then they wake up in the middle of the night and who can be bothered to rock them back to a deep slumber and carefully lower them into their cot, praying for them not to wake up in the process. No! A lot of the time, we sleepily grab them, pull them into our own bed and cuddle them to sleep. Far more pleasant.

Except when you are squished between a husband and a bed hogging baby with limbs flayed everywhere. Call me mean, but when the Imp has to come into our bed (not too often these days thank goodness), I kick hubby out onto the couch. I cannot sleep with more than one person at a time, no matter how small one of those people are. That’s just me. I’m a bad sleeper at best, and I just need that room. Last time I tried to sleep with both, I think I nearly dislocated my shoulder!

I’m wondering if you gave him a feed, would he be sleepy enough to transfer back into the cot? I think it’s a question or kicking the baby or the husband out of bed. Or going to sleep on the couch yourself and putting up a bed rail.

Do any readers have some suggestions for getting a comfortable night’s sleep in the family bed? Buying a huge futon on the floor perhaps??


Ask SIFTW: 7 month old feeding at 3am

June 11, 2008

Lauren writes:

I have a 7 month old who is habitual waking at 3/3.30am for a breastfeed.  I know at this age he should be sleeping through.  We put him down at 7.00pm.  He has solids at about 4pm and then a bottle at 6.30pm.  I always (now) try and put him down awake so he is learning to fall asleep by himself.  (I previously breastfed him to sleep which I know is a big no no).  Anyway for the last 2 weeks we have tried to get him to stop feeding at 3am, however I am finding this extremely difficult and am getting very tired.  I basically go in to him to check that he is dry etc and then try and shush / pat / kiss him back to sleep.  Doesn’t really seem to be working – should I just leave the room and let him cry it out????????
 
HELP.

Hi Lauren, we’re not very conventional here at SIFTW and what I would say is that 7 months is very little and you are not alone in having a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. Actually I won’t tell you how old mine was when he started to sleep through MOST nights, as it could be taken to be a little bit depressing. It’s little solace when you feel like crap every morning because your sleep is broken, but I think your bubba is doing quite well for his age. Do you have a partner who could get up with baby in the morning and allow you a little bit of a lie in to catch up once in a while. Even a sleep in once a week can do wonders, I find.

It sounds like the shush/pat/kiss is not working too well at the moment. I would probably take the route of least resistance, the one that gets him back to sleep ASAP, and yes, that probably means feeding him. There’s plenty of time to drop this habit later as their diet moves more towards having a proper dinner and their tummies can go longer.

There are those crazy babies who sleep through from a few months old, but I really feel that they are the exception.

Best of luck.

xx


Rocking to sleep

February 6, 2008

When the Imp was little and I told people he didn’t sleep, they’d give me that accusing all knowing look and say “Aha, you’ve spoiled him by rocking him to sleep haven’t you”

To Moxie you listen. By any means necessary. Any. Rock your baby to sleep if it works. Just get yourself through the nights with a modicum of sanity. The first year is hard. The second year … we’re about to find out! 


Partying at all hours

November 24, 2007

We had a couple of weeks where the Imp slept. Amazing. Sometimes he slept through, sometimes until 5am for a feed, then back til 8am (ah bliss), or sometimes just a brief waking at 1 or so. I was a new person. I actually believed I could do anything. I was wonderwoman. I hardly even needed coffee (though I still indulged).

And now, we are back at the waking up at 3am and not going back to sleep routine. Any attempt to place the Imp in his cot results in standing and screaming. Any attempt to bring the Imp into bed results in much cute chatting and poking and climbing and hair pulling, but definitely no sleeping. So what do you do? Really, if you have any advice, I’d be grateful because there seems to be no way of getting him to sleep. Not even feeding will cut it. No amount of Dad’s rocking will do.

I’m tempted to come downstairs and put In the Night Garden on, at least for my sanity, if not the Imp’s.


Ultra bad night? Chuck the clock out the window

October 17, 2007

My little travel clock that I used to have by my bed finally faded to a quiet death. It would no longer display those ungodly times containing 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s as their first digit. Since that, I’ve been searching for the perfect little bedside clock. Not too big, not those monster digital clocks with LED display that set the room alight like fireworks. I have to admit also that it’s probably not high on my list of priorities, so for the moment I am clockless.

And sometimes, that’s honestly not a bad thing. You see I’m in the habit of ‘clocking’ the time of each wakeup as I get out of bed and again as I get into bed. So most times I will therefore know:

  • – what times the Imp woke up
  • – how long each waking was
  • – and perhaps how many times he woke up (if I can still count them on my fingers)

Under the clockless system you stumble out of bed wondering was it half an hour ago when he was awake, or 4 hours ago. Sometimes you don’t have a clue. Often in the morning it’s a bit of a blur. What time did he wake up? How long was he in bed with us? Was he awake for long? I found myself in this state the other day not really knowing what kind of night we’d had. So I analysed how I felt … hmm, strangely not too bad. After a coffee, half decent even. So conclusion – the night was not that bad.

Had I been under the clock system, I may have overanalysed the number and length of wakings and concluded I should be tired, therefore I would feel tired if you see what I mean. The mind is very impressionable with these kinds of things.

So in summary, hurl your clock out the window and get a better nights sleep without it.