I’ve been wanting to write this post for ages because I non-stop see articles on and offline promising parents a good night’s sleep. I’m fed up of “promises of sleep” and then feeling guilty when none of these “fail-safe” tricks don’t work! And what is a good night’s sleep when you have a child anyway!? I never slept well before I had b!
So here is what I think…and maybe I’m wrong and maybe you don’t care but here goes…The secret to a good night’s sleep is – there is no bloody secret! After three years of being a mummy, I’ve come to realise that there is no quick fix or guarantee when it comes to sleep. I try and take the rough with the smooth and I’ve really tried to stop stressing and worrying so much. Because I used to and it does zero good. Hindsight is a wonderful thing ey, but there were many times when b was a baby that I slept zero hours. And I coped. Sure I felt like death but I got through the day (somehow!) and life went on.
Ever since b was around three weeks old, we’ve pretty much stuck to a routine of bottle, bath, book and bed. And in the early baby days this pretty much worked. But let me share with you some things I’ve learned and stages which I couldn’t “plan” for, no matter how routine I tried to be!
I found that when b was a bubba, we’d have a good week then a bad week. And it went on like this until I guess I started calling him a toddler. Some weeks he’d go down just fine and he’d sleep through the night and all was happy, calm and merry. Other nights we’d be up and down the stairs like bloody yo-yos, barely able to enjoy a glass of wine.
In my experience, things that interrupted baby sleep were teething and illness. And sometimes I found it hard to differentiate between the two. Teething would give b a roaring temperature and would make him cough and cough until he was sick. Which then made me question whether he was ill or not. Many a time I thought he was ill and then realised a few days later a new tooth had popped through.
From Cot to Cot bed
I tried to leave off moving b to a cot bed for as long as possible. He slept well in his cot so why rock the boat? It was this time last year that I decided we needed to move him. We found there were continual faffs and stalls before he would settle down. First we’d go through multiple stories. And to be honest we love reading to him and I don’t want to discourage that. But after ten bloody bedtime stories you start to think you’re being taken for a ride. Once we got him into the cot, we would then find ourselves up and down the stairs for the following – a tissue, a runny nose, a drink, a lost teddy, a lost blanket, a cough, an extra cuddle, an extra kiss…and the list goes on. I figured if we moved him to a cot bed, he could take care of these things himself…note the huge toilet roll hehe.
It was this time last year that the little guy moved to his cot bed. I was honestly so excited. My excitement turned to despair on that first night when b threw every toy and teddy he owned over the stair gate and down the stairs. He literally trashed his room because he could. It went on like this for a couple of weeks and to be honest I felt down and fed up that every evening was spent running up and down stairs trying to get my boy to go to bloody sleep. What happened to our baby that self-settled and slept through the night??! Would he return? And what happened to this “routine” that every mum and her dog promised would work?!
I’m pleased to say that the cot bed novelty wore off and b soon got used to his new found freedom. At two and a half though, I was well aware that we “should” be potty training and doing all the things every other parent seemed to have done years ago. We started potty training b just before he was three. It went as well as it thought it would to be honest -plenty of shits, minimal giggles. You can read more of our fun times here and sing along to our paw patrol song here. Potty training added a new faff to bedtime though. And on the one hand you don’t want to discourage it but on the other, after seven failed attempts at doing a wee or poo, it’s clear you don’t need to go and it’s time for bloody bed!
With all this change – beds, potty, pants and moving to pre-school, we thought it would be a good time to move house too. Why not ey. To be honest the move hasn’t impacted b as much as I thought it would and he has slept just fine in his new room. We since moved him from cot bed to single bed, with a bed guard. Overall he has done amazingly well.
B turned three just before we moved. I’ve noticed a gradual change in his behaviour as he starts to become more aware of the world around him, and more aware of his emotions and thoughts. We recently had thunder storms down in Weston, and coupled with the fireworks, this has resulted in anxiety before bedtime. At first I got frustrated with this and did my best to reassure him and resettle him back in his bed. Everyone tells you that the minute they step foot into your bed, that’s it – rod for your own back and all. We’ve always been really strict about b sleeping in his own bed. However recently I’ve let this rule slide. He’s been waking in the night now for a good two months and I can tell he is scared. And I remember being around ten and being scared of the thunder. And I just want him to know it’s ok and that I’m here for him.
Maybe I am making a rod for my own back – I don’t know to be honest. But what I do know is that I don’t overly care. I pop down his old toddler bed mattress next to my side of the bed and he goes straight back to sleep. He doesn’t come in every night…maybe twice a week or so. But he’s happy, me and d are happy and we all sleep. I actually like having b close to me and I love hearing him breathing as he sleeps.
There is no purpose to this post. No “how tos” or “tips and trick”. Instead it is just a write up of our sleep highs and lows. It is an account of our experiences and a reminder that nothing lasts forever…one night you have a good sleep, the next you don’t! I try and keep that in mind on the low nights.
How do you cope with the low nights? Or is your child a dream sleeper?! Share your tips haha!