Sharing my space

I have something to tell you. Move closer because I have to whisper. It isn’t something that I should really be saying. People will judge me. Here goes… we co-sleep. There, I’ve said it! Where is the lynch mob? Where are the pitchforks?

I admit that our sleeping habit is not necessarily by choice but nevertheless we co-sleep. We have done it with both of our children and despite never intending to and sometimes getting extremely frustrated with the situation, we do actually enjoy it.

Neither Baby Boy nor Baby Girl have ever been good sleepers. I can count on one hand the number of nights that Baby Girl has slept through. Baby Boy has started to improve over the past six months and now will sleep in his own bed, on his own, most nights. Before that however he would wake up countless times unless he was next to Mr K or myself. Baby Girl has followed suit. She will be asleep just fine in her bed by 7pm but you can guarantee that before midnight she will be wide awake demanding to relocate to my bed. I know that you are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists but in my defense there really is no negotiation… I just give in to her demands!

Now according to my mother I have made a rod for my own back and my children are spoilt. It is my own fault that they are somewhat clingy, nervous of certain social situations and unsure of people that they don’t know. Letting them sleep in my bed has ruined them!! I don’t agree though. My children clearly need to feel safe. They need to know that myself and Mr K are there to protect them. They feel secure next to us and if that is what they need in order to sleep (and allow me to sleep) then so be it. I admit that we tried various sleep ‘solutions’ with Baby Boy but nothing worked. His sleep just regressed until I was walking around half dead from sleep deprivation yet half buzzing from the, no doubt excessive, amount of coffee that I was consuming. We gave in and never (well almost never) looked back. It might not be a perfect situation but at least this way we all get enough sleep. And trust me, you don’t want to be around me if I don’t get enough sleep!

Baby Boy has proven that it doesn’t last forever and so until Baby Girl decides to stay asleep in her own bed all night I am going to enjoy the cuddles and ignore the criticism.

Do you agree with co-sleeping?

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Sleep – who needs it?!

 

My life is currently sponsored by extra strong coffee and anything containing sugar. Being the parent of a newborn was obviously going to mean less sleep but believe it or not Baby Girl actually sleeps well (fingers crossed, touch wood, stroke the rabbit foot!). It is in fact the almost 2 year old Baby Boy who is having nocturnal issues. He has never been a great sleeper I have to admit. I can probably count on one hand the number of times he has slept through the night and at some point, every night, without fail he ends up in bed with myself and Mr K. ‘Any chance of a lie in?’ I hear you ask. The answer to that would be no! At around 6am every morning, my warm, snuggly alarm clock goes off – usually involving jumping up and down or hitting me on the head. The day begins!

Now he is obviously an early bird, which is fine, but the fact that he doesn’t sleep well at night means that by roughly 10am he needs a nap. Morning activities are therefore limited. Pushing this nap back to the afternoon causes more problems though as then we have a nightmare bedtime. 

I appreciate that walking around in a state of permanant exhaustion is just part of the parenting experience. It’s what I signed up for and I have it far easier than some people but what I worry about is the long term effects of poor sleep. When do these sleep habits become a problem for his future?

I have been pondering this for a while and it just so happens that a few weeks ago I was sent this interesting infographic about sleep.

Does the Early Bird Get the Worm?
Source: AffordableSchools.net

Can anyone relate? I am certainly a night owl out of the two (although to be honest I like to go to bed early and wake up late). I want my children to have a healthy sleep pattern and Baby Girl certainly seems to be heading that way but will Baby Boy’s current sleep pattern start to affect his daily life if we don’t sort it out soon? It is something that I am certainly going to discuss with the Health Visitor at his next review.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Image Credit – http://www.pinterest.com; http://affordableschools.net/sleep-early-bird

Not a morning person!

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I have never been a morning person. My mum says that she could hoover around my cot when I was a baby and I wouldn’t wake up. At university I could sometimes stay in bed all morning. It was bliss. People told me that I was wasting the day but for me just laying in bed was a great way to spend the day.

I knew that when baby boy came along that I would have to start getting up early. It would just be something that had to be done and I figured that I would get used to it. The problem is that I haven’t gotten used to it. I still hate mornings! I still have to drag myself out of bed and drink copious amounts of tea and coffee to face the day. I feel sorry for baby boy sometimes. He likes to wake up anytime between 4.30 and 6.30 (as well a few times before that in the night). If it before 6 I will usually bring him into bed with me and Mr K which does the trick and he will go back to sleep for a bit. After 6 though there is no chance and it is officially play time. It must be hard for him having a mummy who does a great zombie impression before at least 9am.

Now you would think that not being an early bird would make me a night owl. Wrong! I am usually in bed before 10 on most evenings.

What can I say… I just love my bed!

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Image credit – http://www.pinterest.com

Good Nights Sleep – Baby Grobag

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Baby boy has always been an unpredictable sleeper. We never really know how many times a night he will wake up or at what time he will decide to start his day. At the beginning of December though his sleep pattern got even worse! He was waking almost every hour and wasn’t settling well. It took me a couple of nights to realise that he was cold! He is such a wriggler in his sleep that his blankets end up at the opposite end of the cot to him. We had been having a really mild winter so a lack of blankets wasn’t a problem but at the beginning of December the nights turned cold.

Around the same time we had been sent a baby grobag from the gro company. For anyone who doesn’t know, a baby grobag is a sleeveless sleeping bag for babies and toddlers. It is designed to replace blankets so that the child stays warm all night long. I decided to give it a go to see if it would help baby boy get a better nights sleep.

The baby grobag came in a lovely design and felt nice and soft. When I first put baby boy in it I will admit that I thought it looked a little big. I thought that the excess fabric would get in the way of baby boy when he wriggled about and so disrupt his sleep. I was wrong though and he seems very comfortable in it. That first night I watched the clock to see how long it would take him to wake up. He did wake up of course (he has only ever slept through twice) but only once in the night. I gave him his dummy and he settled back to sleep straight away. The baby grobag worked! There were no blankets to kick off and so baby boy stayed toasty warm all night long. Just to check that it wasn’t a fluke I continued to use it each night for a few weeks. Each night was roughly the same as the first give or take. We were back to our usual sleep pattern. As a little experiment I didn’t use the baby grobag one night – cue numerous wake ups with blankets no where near baby boy! The baby grobag stayed!!

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Last weekend we went away for a few nights. I was a bit worried that baby boy wouldn’t sleep well due to being somewhere unfamiliar. We took the baby grobag with us though and I honestly believe that it helped baby boy to feel settled. It was familiar to him despite us being in a strange place. He slept very well. We could even use the baby grobag in the car because of the special opening in the back for the car seat harness to go through. This meant that baby boy could be transferred easily from car seat to cot after a late night drive. Bonus!

I like the baby grobag. I think that it is especially good for wriggly babies like baby boy who struggle to keep blankets on during the night. I wish that I had one earlier but now that we do have one I will definitely continue to use it.

http://www.gro-store.co.uk/grobag-baby-sleep-bag/2-5-tog.html

Do you use a baby grobag?

We were kindly given the baby grobag but all thoughts and opinions in the above post are my own.

Controlled crying – lifesaver?

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For the past few weeks our house has been a no sleep zone. Baby boy decided that sleep was for wimps and so was waking up to 5 times a night, sometimes for an hour at a time. Mr K and I were struggling. Last Sunday was the last straw. I had finally managed to get baby boy back off to sleep at 3 in the morning after being awake on and off since 10pm and as soon as I got back in bed he woke up! If I hadn’t been so exhausted I would have cried. Instead I left him to cry. I’m not proud of it but I knew that if I had gone in to him again I would have shouted at him.

The next day I decided to find a better solution. I knew that baby boy needed to learn to settle himself to sleep without myself or Mr K being in the room so that if he woke at night he could go back to sleep on his own. I looked on google and found what seemed like hundreds of different ‘sleep solutions’. So many of them suggested leaving baby boy to cry and cry until he eventually fell asleep. Now after speaking to my Health Visitor I knew that getting baby boy to settle on his own would involve some crying but just leaving him to scream just seemed cruel.

After a lot of research I decided to try a version of the method suggested by Jo Frost (SuperNanny). Basically, baby boy was to be put in his cot, tired but awake, and then I was to leave the room. If he cried I was to leave him for 2 minutes before going in to settle him. If he cried again then he was to be left for 4 minutes before settling him, then 10 and then 15 (if crying continued then stay with 15 from then on). I discussed this with Mr K and we both agreed that we had to try it and be consistent.

The first night went well. He settled himself to sleep after the 10 minute check but before the 15 minute check. I was pleased with this as I thought that it would take longer. He woke in the night and again he settled before the 15 minute check. The second night was even better – he didn’t even make it to the 10 minute check and again only woke up once in the night and settled quickly. The rest of the week followed suit. Baby boy settles well at bedtime and a few nights has not even cried once. The longest we have gone in the night is to the first 15 minute check and a couple of times he has even woken up, moaned a bit and then gone back to sleep on his own.

I didn’t like the idea of leaving baby boy to cry at all but lack of sleep was killing me and this method has honestly saved my sanity. Baby boy is sleeping much better and despite what the critics may say, we are all a lot happier.

Have you used a controlled crying sleep method? Did it work for you?

Image credit – http://www.someecards.com