Sleep (or lack thereof)

Sleep deprivation is something you expect before you become a parent. People go on about it, so you think you are prepared. I hate to break this to you, but however prepared you think you are, you’re really not. Nothing can prepare you for over 5 months (and counting) of broken sleep and how the bone crushing tiredness accumulates over time.

The first few days

Hours old newborn sleeping

Sleeping soundly a few hours after birth.

Deep down you always think “maybe I’ll get lucky and my baby will be a sleeper”. For the first few days we thought we had a sleeper. Birth must have exhausted him because after feeding pretty soon after birth, he slept. For ages. The midwife came in about 5 hours later to tell me it was essential he woke up to feed. I told her I kept trying to put him to the breast, but he just kept falling back asleep. She decided he needed some formula and proceeded to try to feed him that—it would be less work for him so he’ll take it. Nope, he was too sleepy. She tried all the tricks. Strip him down to his nappy, blow on him, nothing worked. I did feel slightly pleased about this. I really wanted to breastfeed so I wasn’t massively keen on the formula.

This really sleepy phase lasted once we got home. He’d wake to feed, then fall asleep on the boob. Hmm, I thought. This isn’t so bad.

Reality bites

The next few weeks were an endless cycle of feeding and sleeping. Usually on someone. Jacob hated being put down and would cry almost instantly if you tried to put him in his co-sleeper crib. We tried different tips I’d read online—using a hot water bottle to warm the crib, putting a t-shirt that I’d worn in there—none of them worked. He’d inevitably end up in bed actually next to me (yep, even though we had the co-sleeper crib—it just wasn’t close enough for him!). This initially terrified me (what if I rolled onto him?), but I soon realised I was so aware of him there was no way I could smother him. He’d be waking up every 2-3 hours for feeds, but going back to sleep quite easily.

At about 3 weeks in, Jacob started sleeping in the co-sleeper. For some of the night anyway. At about 3-4am he’d become more difficult to settle, so instead of battling I’d let him in with me. At 7 weeks in, against SIDS advice, we started putting him to bed at 7pm, with the video monitor on, and we’d go downstairs and have a blissful couple of baby-free hours to eat dinner and watch some TV. He was still waking at least 3 times a night, if not 4, for a feed, but on the very odd occasion we would get a 5 hour stretch!

Sometime between 13 and 16 weeks, we had a major sleep regression. Gone were the occasional 5-hour stretches and we were back to 4-5 wake ups. I genuinely think that’s the toughest thing—it had started to get better, lulling us into a false sense of security, before being cruelly taken away. So, that’s where we are now. On average 4 wake ups a night.

Sleep training

We’ve finally got to the point where we’ve decided we need to do something to improve sleep for everyone’s physical and mental health. Previously, I’ve been quite against the idea of sleep training. Something has to give though so we are going to give it a try! I downloaded The Blissful Baby Expert book on a recommendation from a friend and we are starting this week. Wish me luck!

**Update** You can read about my sleep training journey.

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Mummuddlingthrough
ethannevelyn.com
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11 Comments

  1. February 2, 2017 / 11:42 am

    I so get this. We had the same….first few days and even weeks amazing and then hell. We held out and then sleep trained at 8 months – I know it is not for everyone – and honestly the best thing we had ever done wish we had done it sooner! Good luck and thanks for linking up with #coolmumclub xoxo

    • Kelly
      February 2, 2017 / 11:53 am

      Thanks! It’s only been a couple of days but it seems to be working already. Fingers crossed! Xx

  2. February 2, 2017 / 12:43 pm

    I need to know about this “sleep training” as my little one is 15 months old and still not sleeping through!! (plus my 5 year old suffers with a lot of nightmares so its rare he does too!)

    #coolmumclub

  3. February 2, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    My boys are autistic – the eldest is now eight and I can count the numbers of full nights sleep on one hand. I totally understand that you need to get some sleep. All of the advice we were given for babies was about identifying the sleep cues and trying the replicate them – eg. baby falls asleep in your arm, try and swaddle them etc etc. Try everything you need to and then whatever works for you go with it. I hope you get a good night soon. #coolmumclub

    • Kelly
      February 3, 2017 / 1:21 pm

      Thanks for the advice. We had a better night last night so I am feels more human today! Thanks for reading.

  4. February 4, 2017 / 12:51 pm

    I feel for you. My boys were not good sleepers and I had to do some sleep training with both of them. I hope it helps you x

  5. February 4, 2017 / 6:46 pm

    I think we have the same baby!! lol! Then I had my second. Honestly, that was the hardest time ever! MY OH was also almost always away most nights as he works night shift at that point of time. I was seriously dying! But somehow, I’ve got through – I think it was because I was too busy to think about being tired I just got on with it like a robot! lol! Luckily, my OH is no longer works at nightshift so it has been a little bit better. Let me know how the control sleeping works out.

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost xx

  6. February 6, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    Good luck – after 26 months Little B is just starting to sleep through the night – and baby number three is due tomorrow! Lucky me! #coolmumclub

  7. whatmamaknowsaboutcake
    February 7, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    Ah yeah, sleep is amazing…I think I remember what that was like… And now I’m staying up too late when I should be sleeping because the house is so lovely and quiet 🙂 Your baby is so cute sleeping in your sidebar though!

    • Kelly
      February 9, 2017 / 10:44 pm

      I do that! It’s nice to have quiet time! Thanks for reading 🙂

  8. February 8, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    Sleep is such a tricky one. When we were having difficulties I read ‘the no cry sleep solution’. I wish I’d read it earlier! It’s all about sleep associations. Hope you get some lovely sleep soon. Thanks for linking up #FabFridayPost

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