Let's talk about bedtime routines and sleep

So its funny, because before Jack was born I had this vision in my mind about the sort of Mom I was going to be.  I knew exactly how I was going to handle things, I knew what I definitely would not do and I was not going to be one of those Moms that made situations worse by doing the "wrong" thing.  The wrong thing being what I thought was not the right thing to do.
Well, I have news for you people.  It all goes to hell when sleep (or lack of it) is involved.

At around 5 months we put Jack in his own room as he was getting too big for his crib.    I started the transition by getting him to nap in his cot in the day so he got used to it. At about this time too we started to feed him "supper", bath him and have quiet time. The first few weeks went alright, I mean he still woke in the night for feeds but it was all good.  He would be downstairs with us until we went to bed.  Either asleep on us or on the couch.

Then we decided that we needed to establish more of a structured routine when it came to bedtime and actually put him down in his cot so we began to put him down at around 18:30/19:00.  We did this by either feeding him to sleep (yes, this was something I was never going to do) or feeding him and then rocking him to sleep.  He would fall asleep really easily and we would lay him down to sleep.  And everything was just going swimmingly.  Until 30 minutes later he would wake up and then again and again and again.  Basically, we would put him down to sleep and Jack would wake at least 5 times up until about 9pm.  Some nights it has been known to reach 9 times.  And it would be a bit bearable if I knew from 9pm he would sleep through but he doesn't.  The poor little bug wakes sometimes every hour, other nights every 2 - 3 hours.  Once it gets to 2am I do the thing I said I would NEVER do and that is take him into the spare bed and co-sleep. SHOCK HORROR people.  But you know what - when you are tired, actually beyond tired.  Exhausted.  You do things you never thought you would do.  You will do anything to get back to sleep.
I mean anything.

And tonight I have reached the end of my tether.  I am being selfish and I want my evenings back.  I want to be able to lay Jack down in his cot, while awake, and kiss him goodnight and watch him fall asleep by himself.  I want to be able to hear him briefly wimper over the monitor but then hear him soothe himself back to sleep.  I want to be able to sit down and finish my meal without being interrupted.   I want to relax.  And I want a good nights sleep. I can't remember the last time I got more than 3 hours straight let alone a good 7 or 8 hour stretch.

Basically, what has happened is Jack associates sleep with either being on the boob or being rocked to sleep and whats even worse is that it is only me who can do it now (well obviously the feeding part was me anyways but even the soothing has to be me now, Jack gets hysterical if I don't go up).  So when he stirs and briefly awakes, he realises he is in his cot alone and begins to cry.  I, of course, run upstairs, pick him up and shush him, soothe him and cuddle him and often put him back on the boob.  He falls asleep and I put him back down.  This routine is basically on repeat all night.  And I am tired.  And it needs to be sorted out.

So this is me sharing something that really makes me anxious, overwhelmed and worried.  To be honest I am not sure how we are going to "fix" this but I know we can.  It just involves a lot of hard work, crying (not only on Jack's part I would say!) and consistency.  And when you are tired those three things seem beyond reach.

Also, this is me saying to all those moms out there - "hey, we all have a vision of what this parenting gig is going to be like and then we become parents and realise it is nothing like that at all!".

6 comments :

  1. Hang in there. You can do it. It's tough but teaching Jack to put himself to sleep and then resettle is the best gift you can give him. Good luck and you're not alone. Jx

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    1. Thanks Jess - you are so right. And in the end it will be so worth the few days of tough bedtimes! xxx

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  2. It's so tough. First a disclaimer: you do not have to listen to my advice :) For the first four months we let Everett sleep in our bed as he wouldn't sleep in his cot. We rocked him to sleep every night with a bottle. When we moved back to the US I was like "Enough! My back hurts and I want my bed back!" - you gotta be a little selfish now and then. So I put him in his crib and I let him learn to fall asleep. For night time it only took a few nights of fussing. For naps, it took much longer and it was painful to listen to him crying and whining in protest, BUT after a while of being consistent, they learn. Now when I put him down for his nap or for the night he lays his head down and puts his pacifier in and goes to sleep. Of course no baby is perfect, and they all go through stages where they have sleep regression which we are going through now so .. when you think you have it sorted, you don't :) But crying it out really isn't as hard as it seems or as unethical as they paint it in the media.

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    1. Thanks Vanessa, I love your input and advice as I think we are pretty similar. We had the first night of putting him down without rocking and it was hard but he nodded off quite quickly. And he did wake a few times but I didn't wake him up, I just patted him on the back (he sleeps on his tummy) and reassured him. It worked! Now to be consistent!! hehe thank you again x

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  3. Vanessa is so right. It does work. To start with you feel mean, hard and cruel - but you are not. You will cry - but don't give in. Warn the neighbours perhaps, so they know what is going on. You are teaching Jack an important lesson. How to sleep. Does he have a mobile over his cot? Does he like it or does it scare him? Does he have a night light? Be strong Claire (and Mani) - you can all do it and get through this patch.

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    1. Thanks Gran - no he doesn't have a mobile but he sleeps on his tummy so he wouldn't be able to see it anyways. There is a night light and he has his comforter with him which he likes. As above, last night wasn't too bad so I just need to be consistent now!

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