You might have noticed I’ve been a bit slow on the blogging front recently. Well I have a bit of a confession, no I’m not pregnant, I’m not giving up blogging, and no, we haven’t been holed up in bed with the flu/chicken pox/D&V that’s been doing the rounds, touch wood! Nope, I’ve been totally and utterly sleep deprived. Zonked in front of the TV as soon as B is asleep; in a trance watching new guilty pleasures such as Married at First Sight (seriously, how watchable and addictive is it??!), and snoring away by 10pm.
At times I literally feel like I did during the first trimester with Baby B: absolutely shattered. I feel so so tired, like I really really struggle to keep my eyes open.
Why? Well, an almost 9 month old cheeky monster who wakes at least every 2.5 hours. Sometimes every hour, sometimes staying up for two hours at a time. I say stays up, but no, she falls asleep as I feed her and snores but when I try to put her in her cot she stirs, immediately sits up and screams. It’s terrible. I keep soothing her, and every way I try shhhhhing, white noise, mobiles, star shows, pick up put down, and yes, leaving her to cry, I relent. She cries and screams sitting up the whole time. Occasionally on those long relentless wake ups I can leave her and she’ll play with her Slumber Buddy, and then scream when she’s bored. But I’m pretty sure that’s happened less than a handful of times ever. I also probably shouldn’t let her play at 5am as she’ll think it’s ok to play then, but I’ve only done this after an hour or more tying to get her to sleep and I just can’t stay up any longer, I’m nodding away in the chair which really isn’t safe. On these occasions when I put her down she really is asleep but screams so I pick her back up and either feed her or sometimes she’ll just cuddle in and fall asleep snoring in my arms. Usually she roots around for a feed, and once again I feed, or realistically, soothe her to sleep. It’s been hard. Really hard. Night after night after night.
We’ve had a few odd nights when she’s slept 5-6 hours, but in reality I do wonder if I just was so tired I slept through her screams. Understandable I suppose when you consider this has been her constant wake up pattern for almost 9 months, and before that I had 4+ months of bad sleep because of my spd and the usual pregnancy insomnia.
I feel like I’ve failed. I swore I wouldn’t feed to sleep and somehow despite saying for months I need to put her down when she’s drowsy, I’m not, the time has flown by and she’s just so cute looking, snoring in my arms. She’ll often stir as I put her down and then close her eyes going to sleep, but she has to be snoring before that point. If I try to put her down before she’s snoring she sits straight up and screams.
So where did I go wrong? I think it’s because I haven’t taught her to self sooth, she’s always just fed to sleep and that’s that. At bedtime, at naps and at every wake up during the night. I’m also paranoid she’ll wake H, and think she just gets herself in a frenzy if I don’t go to her. She does fall asleep herself in the pushchair or car seat but that’s different. She’s just so cute in my arms I love her snuggling in ready to go to bed. I know it’s not always going to happen so it’s so hard to put her down knowing she’ll scream as she’s not snoring. But, she does need to learn to fall asleep herself so she can stir in the night and fall back asleep herself, she’s really not quite as cute when I’m doing this same routine all night repeatedly, half asleep. In an ideal world I’d also love her to nap nicely at home, and not rely on us going out at every nap time, or me feeding her to sleep and then being sat on the sofa with her while coaxing Toddler H to play quiet games or telling her I can’t put her sister down. Naps are the time I should be spending quality one on one time with Toddler H and that doesn’t happen as much as I’d like.
I tend to let her nap when she wants, and although that mostly means she feeds and falls asleep on me or in the pushchair or car seat, she’s naturally very regular with her naps. Generally 2.5-3 hours after her last nap she starts rubbing her eyes. It’s just unfortunate she seems to keep to this schedule at night too, or more frequent!
Where else did I go wrong? I’ve always soothed her, always woken with her screams and always fed her. Hubby hasn’t, and to be fair I’ve been happy with that, give or take on those 2 hour wake ups when it’s got all a bit much. Really, hubby might have been able to pick her up and soothe her during he night instead of me feeding her when it wasn’t really what she needed.
Why is this a big deal?
I want sleep, I want to feel like me. Is this selfish? I don’t know, maybe and I know so many say ‘my baby’s didn’t sleep through until xxx months’ and I know that. I know every baby is different, every mummy is also different and I feel like I could do with sleep that lasts longer than 2 hours max. I also know that she shouldn’t need the milk, and I’m pretty sure she’s not actually feeding, just soothing. I’m not going off books or websites to know this, this is from the way her feeds feel and the fact she cannot possibly want to feed 4 times in the space of two hours at 3am (or 4am, or 5am…). There must be an external influence or habit we need to break. I’m sure she’s not in pain, and I do change her nappy too. Until now I thought all the wake ups were teething related – she had two teeth appear before Christmas and two appear in February, however the wakes up continued just as they did when she was in pain from teething.
For instance last night she went to bed at 7.20 and I put her down snoring at 7.30. She then woke at:
- 8.20 pm – 8.50 pm
- 11.50 pm – 12.35 am
- 2.05 am – 2.25 am
- 3.30 am – 3.50 am
- 5.15 am – 6.30 am
And, up at 7.30 am when she heard her sister shouting she wanted out of her room – her Gro-Clock turned yellow!
So what are we going to do?
Try altering as many variables as we can…
- More food
- Temperature adjustment
- Better blinds and adding curtains
- Hubby settling
- More sleep associations
- More perseverance leaving baby
- Leave more time before going in to settle baby
- Maybe try to increase milk feeds in the day
- Maybe try a sleep schedule
First thing first, B’s room is always 18C, like Toddler H’s, so we’ll try increasing the temperature and trying to get hubby to settle her to sleep.
We’ve been trying to increase her food intake anyway so we’ll keep going with that.
In terms of outside influences, light and noise in the last few weeks we’ve stayed at my parents for a week and had a weekend in a caravan (with amazing central heating) and she woke in similar patterns throughout those stays too, with similar room temperatures and obviously with different outside noises etc. So I doubt those are having a huge impact.
I’ll keep you posted with how we get on!!
If you have any tips for getting a 9 month old to sleep for longer stretches, do let me know in the comments!