Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sleep School

As a newborn Eliza was great at sleeping, usually falling asleep during a feed. Which was great for those first few weeks, and then she started to wake up a little more each day, and suddenly we had trouble getting her to sleep. It didn't help that her reflux showed its ugly self, and she had terrible wind.

Somewhere around 8 weeks she dropped her night feed and started sleeping through the night, which was very welcome in our household, however it caused her day sleeps to become very average. On a good day I would get a 2 hour sleep in the morning, and two 1 hour sleeps in the afternoon.

The hardest part was when it would take me 2-4 hours to settle her to sleep of a night. There was one night where the husband was working away, my parents were on holidays, and it took me 7 hours to get her to sleep. I cried most of that time, as nothing I did helped and I felt like a failure. Surely, after 10 weeks, I should be able to put my child to sleep. It was a very dark night in our household, and the next day my Child Health Nurse booked me into Tweddle Sleep Program.

We had a 2 week wait for a place, and in that time we watched the Tweddle dvd many times, implementing many of their suggestions. And Eliza responded accordingly, though we still relied on her dummy and being tightly swaddled to get her to sleep, both things that are discouraged. I was nervous about going to see someone about this, as I have this fear that they will tell me I am doing everything wrong and tell me I am a terrible mother.

And here is where you would normally read that I needn't have worried, but alas that is not how it went. Within 15 minutes of being at the clinic Eliza was labelled as "chronically tired" and I was made to feel terrible that she sleeps through the night. According to the nurse, I should  be waking her to feed through the night, and her night sleeping won't last (a common theme that I get told frequently and have vowed to slap the next person who says it to me). We struggled to get her to sleep, having to resort to her dummy. The day continued with little difference. We left with heavy hearts, as we help so much hope that things would change.

That said, it was the catalyst that ended our sleep association with the dummy. We went cold turkey and wore earplugs for the first few nights. It was tough. There were tears. But it will be worth it (apparently). Each day it gets a little easier, there are a few less tears. And we have resorted to some interesting methods to get Eliza to stay asleep - like the photo above. Nothing like a stuffed toy to trick her into thinking that it is mummy's hand.

Being a parent is hard work. Hard, sleepless work.
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  1. Pfft. I have every faith she'll continue sleeping through the night. My firstborn started sleeping through at 4 weeks, and now at 2.5 years has never regressed. My second son is 8 weeks and sleeps through 3/5 nights. Provided you are still getting the required 7/8 feeds a day (or is it 6/7?), it's okay to let them go overnight.

    I'm sorry the people at the sleep centre made you feel even more like crap :(
    You'll figure this out. Hugs.

  2. I sympathise a lot with the post. While Grace has generally been a pretty good sleeper, it hasn't been without 'those nights'. Getting rid of the dummy early is a good thing, it was hard to get rid of Grace's at 18 months by which stage she had a real attachment to one. All you can do is persist, keep trying different things and hang in there (which I know is hard when you're tired yourself and just want to crawl into bed) x

  3. Theres the thing Amy, Eliza only has 4 or 5 feeds a day at most, though each does last around 20 minutes of pure feeding time. During a normal day she would probably feed for 70 minutes in a 24 hour period.

    It was getting easier since I wrote the post, but then she got a cold and it all turned to poo again :( Ah well, will try again next week


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