Slept a little

Wow wow! I have just got home from a week’s holiday at the beach to discover all the wonderful comments for my last post! Thank you! Before we left I was planning to email everyone who wrote to say thank you but now as you can see that will be quite a task. I want to tell you that I read, considered, thought about and now treasure every piece of advice you sent me — so thank you. It has helped enormously. In a tired state yesterday afternoon it was all a little overwhelming and confusing but I have some how absorbed it all and feel incredibly lucky to have this community.
Our beach holiday was a little clouded over by the sleep problem which seemed to get a little better by the last night, but even co-sleeping become completely impossible as the bed was tiny, and Lily didn’t settle between us, instead kicking, wriggling, scratching us and crying in the wee hours. So last night in a kind of exhausted desperation we tried leaving her to cry for three minutes. We now limit naps to two one hour naps a day, and have a very strict bedtime routine – bath, story, feed, cuddle and then bed. After three minutes she was still grizzling (not howling hysterically, I wouldn’t have been able to handle that at all) so I went in and patted her and calmed her and then she grizzled for another 4 or five minutes and then after that she slept. And slept! At 2am we had a short repeat performance and then she woke again at 6.30 happy and hungry to a very happy smiley, well slept family.

I have just spoken to one of my best friends about our horror holiday, and she told me that she is amazed at how incredibly “relaxed” (read: slack) we have been with Lily’s routine compared to how rigid we were with Amelia. She rightly observed that it was different then because we probably felt so out of control and overwhelmed that we clung to our routine and in the short and long term it made for a very good sleeper. In Lily’s case we have been much more likely to go-with-the-flow which definitely has it’s benefits and I am pleased we have found a more relaxed approach but for some things in this family, like sleep, we need to find our routines again.

OH I know that there are controversies and conflicting feelings about doing the sleep thing this way, but because it was so quick and so successful and she didn’t seemed stressed in the least (just a little put out) we are going to try again tonight. I actually don’t think our success had much to do with the crying bit, which was minimal, but more to do with a gentle, loving, pre-bedtime routine which is relaxed her and left her far calmer than we have previously seen her. Perhaps it won’t go so well, but I am happy to have had a few hours of sleep overnight. It makes for a much happier, calmer us.

Thank you again for your comments. I am very grateful.

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17 Responses

  1. i feel the same way about kid number two. she still has the pacifier and i am just sorta hoping it will go away, where as with my first daughter i took action quicker. i guess i know she will grow out of it, not so worried about all the little details.

  2. If it works for your family then its have to live with you all daily and you know whats best:)

  3. I meant to add–that with my 1st child i used a blow dryer to hum him to sleep .. do what works

  4. Good for you! I know that letting the baby know what is happening next via a routine is comforting for them. When you have the routine of bath, story, etc. they know what comes next and can wind down for bed. We all love to know what’s coming next, including babies.

  5. Nothing better than a good night’s sleep is there. Our daughter still wakes up, but not so much during the night anymore. It is more a fact of trying to get her to sleep in the first place, and she is 5 yrs old. I hope your night goes well for you in sleepland.

  6. I didn’t comment on the last post, but I have had a very similar situation with our little girl, who is just a week or two younger than Lily. Charlotte has finally started sleeping well, and we stumbled upon the very same method for her…what we call “controlled crying.” I think some very social babies just need to tucker themselves out a little bit before sleep. Good luck, and I hope things continue to improve!

  7. You know, I never thought I’d do the cry to sleep thing (it’s cruel! the books chastised), but after about 10 months of a baby who would only sleep with her mother right beside her and then only for 3 hours at a time, I broke down. Ours would cry for up to an hour the first few nights, but after a week, she’s a happy and healthy sleeper. At age two, she’s down for a good 12 hours every night. It was awful, but she needed it. Again, every family has what works for them.

  8. it is amazing what sleep can do. glad you are feeling more like a human again and hope that this routine works for her for at least a week!..if not more.

  9. says:

    “put out” is exactly how I would describe it and once they realise that this is the way it’s going to be every night they soon work it out and happily go off to sleep. At least until they get a cold or you go on holidays or some other change and then you start again – oh well, glad you are getting some sleep at last! As my grandmother always used to say “it too soon shall pass” – Lily will be a school girl before you know it!!

  10. That is so good to hear that you have had some success.
    I think being sleep deprived was the only thing about mother hood that I found hard, the poop and puke I handled, the runny nose and whining too, but no sleep is just too hard.

  11. My oldest daughter, now 4.5, was a bit of a nightmare as a very new baby but eventually settled when wrapped tightly (muslin wraps are great, but cot sheets are cheaper and just as effective – nice and big). All this stopped working, though, when she could stand up and shake the side of the cot. From memory we moved the cot back into our room but this just led to her sleeping with us. We even got to the stage where we ignored the cot and put her to sleep in our bed. This would sometimes take hours and lots and lots of books! Our second, who turns two on Sunday, was even worse as a tiny baby, with severe reflux, and I found sleeping her on her tummy (often with a rolled bunny rug wedged under her tummy to comfort her) was the only way she would go to sleep. She was always a good sleeper through the day, and still is, even in a big girls bed now. The problem is that the four-year-old still cannot or will not go to sleep without me holding her hand. Some nights this is lovely, most nights I get incredibly frustrated and end up angry (first at her, then at myself). Because the girls now share a room, if one wakes the other wakes, and if I’m in there with the eldest the youngest thinks its playtime. Oh my god, it’s a minefield! I think in hindsight it would have been much better to let my eldest ‘cry it out’ as a small baby than as a walking, talking, reasoning person who can just keep getting out of bed and begging me to sit with her and hold her hand.

  12. I would give anything to be around beach weather! London is getting to me. COME ON SPRING! 🙂
    Glad you are back safely 🙂

  13. Good for you for taking control. I envy you. I have a 10 month old I’m still getting up to every 2-3 hours or so. It’s getting old. I’d let him cry it out, except he’s got a set of lungs on him that would put rockers like Jimmy Barnes to shame. Congrats again

  14. Good to hear, glad you got a little time away – just a break from familiar surroundings. I think you are doing very well, we are all thinking of you. Renee xx

  15. says:

    I have been reading your blog for many months, and I feel rather guilty and sort of creepy that I’ve never left you a message to say how VERY much I enjoy reading your reflections and seeing your art work. I wanted to say good on you for the progress you’ve made with Lily. It is painfully difficult and horribly gut wrenching to listen to crying but I reckon you are doing the right thing. Our fifteen month old daughter had to learn to put herself to sleep and we had to learn to listen to the different messages in her cries. It is now clear to me when she is a bit ‘put out’ and can be left to grizzle and when she is genuinely distressed and uncomfortable and needs assistance. You are doing a brilliant job. Your girls are lucky to have such an imaginative, creative and loving mother.

  16. says:

    I’m glad you had a vacation, even if it was sleep deprived.
    I think it’s great you’re figuring out what Lily needs now. Our Noah is almost 2 and still wake up 2-3 times a night. It’s getting better (we limit nap times, too), but I really wish we had dealt with it more earlier instead of thinking, “oh, He’s just ____ old, he’ll grow out of it.”

    Anyway, Blessings and good sleep to ALL of you!

  17. I wish someone had handed me a copy of The Continuum Concept (Jean Liedloff) when I was pregnant with my first… I have such pangs over the whole sleep issue, in hindsight…