The Baby Forgot How To Sleep

From fairly near the beginning with both of our children, we have been blessed with good sleepers. Alexandra slept through from a few months old and has never, aside from the odd night of teething, looked back. When Max followed suit we were pretty pleased and, although I’d still been getting up to express and we had the eternal ‘putting the dummy back in the baby’s mouth’ momentary stirring regularly, things seemed like they’d all gone the right way again.

Then about two months ago, Max started getting up in the night. And by getting up in the night, I mean sometimes being unsettled for an hour or two at 10pm, sometimes being awake for three hours from 1am and sometimes never really settling for the majority of the night. He had a bout of bronchiolitis, we knew teething was starting and he was also rapidly outgrowing his Moses basket so we thought it was a combination of all of those. Knowing what to do wasn’t easy: you try the usual teething gel, more blankets, fewer blankets, rocking, shushing, patting. He spent a fair amount of time in our bed. It then came time to put him into the nursery his sister had just vacated – we wondered whether it might make things worse because he does like the comfort of being near to someone, or whether not having the disturbance of us coming to bed or getting up for the loo would make things easier for him.

Well the result wasn’t great. He had a few of his worst nights when we put him in his own room (he also had another cold, about his fifth of the winter, which wasn’t great timing but he was about to burst out of the ends of his Moses basket and if we waited until Max wasn’t snotty he’d have been in with us for years). I read an article one morning at 4am about the timings of naps and concluded that his afternoon nap needed moving backwards so he was waking around 4pm and that we needed to ensure he was in bed by 7.30pm at the latest. The first few nights of this new routine were much better, we were only up to him a couple of times in the night and that was just to replace his dummy rather than spending an hour or two trying to calm him with every and any baby soothing method we can think of.

Then two nights ago (Sunday), he didn’t have a great night. Last night was pants too – he was up for a while around the time we went to bed and then again in the early hours then there were about three hours where I never got the chance to get fully back to sleep in between getting up and down to him.

I’ve read articles saying if you can get them to self soothe then they’ll sleep better. Not so – Max now goes down sleepy but awake and gets himself to sleep almost immediately. But if he wakes up in the night then he needs us to come and settle him back down. I wonder whether weaning him off the dummy would help but I think it might make things worse at this point – and I really can’t face the few days of awful, awful crying that we know it’s likely to take to break the habit.

I wonder whether it’s related to the fact he has a lot of colds so his nose is blocked a fair amount (although we use Snufflebabe, nasal spray and have his cot at an angle in an attempt to help), whether it’s reflux (which is fairly under control on his meds although we tried to reduce them last week on the doctor’s advice and have gone back up to three doses as he’d started being sick more), whether it’s teething (two have popped through and he’s potentially showing signs number three is on its way), whether it’s separation anxiety (although he’ll sleep for the first few hours of the night absolutely fine on his own) or whether it’s his allergies (in which case we’re doomed until he grows out of them!).

Of course, the alternative is he read the article I wrote for the Motherload about baby sleep and decided to make me look a fool.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Get A Room

The tiny one is now using this room!

The tiny one is now using this room!

There comes a time in every parent’s life when they ship baby off into their own room and reclaim the space as their own. That time for us came recently and here I am blogging about it, as I do with many, many baby related milestones!

Pretty much before she was born, I decided around the six-month mark was a good time for Alexandra to go into her own room. I think Dylan would have been okay with her going earlier, but I got my own way (I don’t always, I promise!). Much of my decision was based around SIDS statistics and advice that they’re better off with you for at least the first six months, which is when they’re at a higher risk of SIDS. But another part of it is I knew that once she was in her own room, that was that. It seems so final for her to not be with us, like a watershed moment in her life where she progresses from a tiny baby to being a proper little person. Knowing we’ll never have another means I’ll never have those moments where you lean over and put your head in the moses basket to check they’re still okay or lie there listening to their little snuffly breaths.

Just before Christmas she was growing at such a rapid rate we figured we didn’t have very long left where she fitted in her moses, and our room just isn’t big enough to accommodate a crib or cot as the furniture in there is pretty hefty. So it was a waiting game to see how much life we could squeeze out of the moses. Eventually by the start of March it was becoming apparent that unless she became a contortionist pretty quickly, we were going to have to transfer her to the cot. We were off to Edinburgh for the weekend so it just didn’t make sense to do the move yet, so we waited until we returned.

Honestly, the first night I hated it! We got into bed and I instantly asked Dylan if we could have her back in with us and keep her there til she’s 21. He said no. I tried to negotiate down to just until she started school. He still said no (told you I don’t always get my own way!). I know it’s the right thing to do as the poor girl was starting to wake herself up every time she moved in the night. Also because sleeping in a moses basket in your parents’ room as a teenager is probably weird. But just not having her there feels odd to me, she was technically in with us from January last year when I got pregnant and spending so many nights without her in hospital was awful, so I supposed it’s only natural I’m going to have a bit of sadness about the separation!

We have noticed an increase in how often we get up to her, but part of that could be as she’s got a little cold and also, I think it sometimes seems like so much more often as we have to actually get up and walk into her room to see to her rather than leaning over. Hard life isn’t it?!

I am starting to get used to it now (writing this a week in to the process), and the one huge benefit is I can get ready for bed whatever time I like without creeping around like a burglar trying not to disturb her. I’m sure I’ll find many more positives about the situation in the weeks to come, but for now I’m still a little sad!

Harriet and Alexandra x

(Not sure 100% what I’m doing with my scheduling right now, I used to post on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays during pregnancy. Now I post on Tuesdays and Thursdays but I find I’m writing blogs for weeks in advance so I may add the extra one in at the weekend, but not every week. Who knows?!)