1

Hitting the Wall (of sleep deprivation)

So it appears all my friends hit the wall around the same time. Did you?

First you get tripped by a hurdle around the 2 week mark (after baby is born) because all the adrenaline you were running on is out of your system and 14 nights of sleeping in 40 minute to 2 hour shifts (if you’re lucky) has suddenly taken its toll. Then you get tripped up by a lot more hurdles along the way such as nights of endless teething, illnesses, the 4 month sleep regression etc. But if you are one of the unlucky ones whose baby doesn’t sleep through the night in the first 6 months you will thereafter quickly start to lose your sense of humour. 7 months rolls around and you start to think ‘this is not a joke anymore’ and then we hit 8 months and that is where I was not just tripped up by the teething hurdle, I smacked head-first right into the wall! The wall of sleep deprivation. That was it, I had reached the end of my rope. I completely lost it one night after 4 nights of teething.

brick wall

I haven’t slept through the night for 8 god-damn months!! It’s in-humane it’s UNsafe it’s UNrealistic, it’s UNreal, it’s UNbelievable it’s… UNFAIR!!

I feel drugged, I feel like I am walking around in a haze, I don’t feel like myself, or that I am living my real life. I haven’t had an evening in over a year, because I have to go to bed early every single night! I am mum but I am not myself anymore, people have even said to me that it seems like I am not really there, I even got a comment that I am cold and less loving than I used to be – well you know what – that is not helpful coming from someone who gets to sleep. I am in survival mode right now. I have done this before, but last time round my son slept through at 5.5 months, so at this point, when I had an 8 month old baby I was actually enjoying my maternity leave, I could experience it clearly, I was sleeping and though still exhausted from taking care of a baby I was able to get bits of my life back. For now, I don’t have a life!

The worst part about it is that you just don’t know when or if it will get better. In theory you know that 99% of babies do eventually sleep through the night at some point in the first 2 years of life but there is that 1% those horror stories of babies/children that you hear about that never sleep (and we all have a friend or a friend of friend with that child) and in this dark hour you have convinced yourself that you have given birth to that!

Even if your baby is destined to sleep through at some point, you don’t actually know when that might be. It’s not like your due date where you know you will have a baby roughly 2 weeks either side of that date, with sleeping there is no date. It could be tomorrow it could be 5 months from tomorrow. The fact that you don’t know makes it harder to cope with because you don’t know if the end is in sight or not.

sleeping 7 month old baby girl

I think I would rather know that my child won’t sleep until she is 1 year old then have it happen by accident one day when she is c9 months because at least you won’t be lulled. At baby classes instead of asking ‘does she sleep through?’ You would ask ‘what date did you get? 6 months? Really? You lucky thing, I was given 9 months. Yeah I know, never mind, at least I know when it will be’!

Can you imagine that?

Anyway, so if you hit the wall at around this time, or maybe it was earlier or later, it will probably happen at some point, and when it does, like me, have a good cry, go speak to all your mum friends, compare notes, share…I promise you will feel better. And even better maybe bribe you partner to let you have one single solitary night of UNinterrupted sleep, go away, get a babysitter, ask a family member, do something if possible to break up the very long stint, because, we do not know when it will end! But I guess until then, we can take heart in the fact that it will happen at some point, and we just have to hang-on in there, be kind to ourselves, have treats, take breaks where we can, leave the house-work, and do whatever we can to just survive this period of limbo.

5

Nate at 3 years 3 months – Progress

A few stats first…

Weight: 3 stone

Height: 108cm

childrens height chart

Current favourites: Power Rangers, Big Hero 6, The Lion King, strawberry milk, yoghurts, pizza, the moon, going exploring.

Communication:

Nate has always been a big talker, he said his first word at 6 months and it just exploded from there. Now he talks incessantly about everything…and I love it! His phrase of the moment is “Did you know” and here are a few examples of his speech:

“Mummy just remember,(points to our car) that is my Batman-bill, and you musn’t break it, ok?”

“Mummy, I’ve noticed that you’ve been a good girl, so here, have a sticker.”

“You sing it slowly and I’ll sing it fastly.”

His letter recognition is improving slowly, he can sing the alphabet song very easily, and will recognise all of the letters in his name and a few odd letters like M in mummy and O and S in his friends’ names. He often says “Look mummy, that’s my letter”, he sees them on car number plates, signage, books and even on man-hole covers! I am (along with nursery) trying to help him learn the sounds of the letters in his name, as when they start school they teach through Phonics, which is all about breaking words down into their constituent sounds. So instead of saying “that’s en for Nate” I say “that’s nnnn for Nate”. I think it is helping because when we were reading before bed, a couple of nights ago, I asked him “how do you say that letter” he said “nnnnn”.

He loves to sing, which is fantastic as I do too. They teach him loads of songs at Nursery, which he will happy sing out loud at various times of the day, plus he picks up songs from movies pretty quickly. One of his favourite songs at the moment is “Roar” by Katy Perry, and he keeps making me play it in the car, all of the time, he knows all of the words to the chorus and is trying to learn the rest. A favourite movie at present is “The Lion King”, I put it on for the first time, a couple of weeks ago (a treasure from my past) and he instantly loved it, and like most 3 year olds now loves to watch it over and over again. He sings along to “I just can’t wait to be king” and “Hakuna Matata”, well we both do!

Physical

He has recently become more independent, and is quite happy to go off on his own in a play centre. Previously, one of us had to go with him, but now he feels comfortable enough to run off on his own, knowing that we are nearby. Which is lovely and sad at the same time, he doesn’t need me as much (so it makes me feel sad), but it is lovely to sit and watch.

safari play centre milton keynes

We potty-trained Nate over Christmas, so Nate had just turned 3 years old and he was obviously very ready because he had 3 accidents on the first day, 1 accident on the second day and then he was dry from then on, even including the excitement of Christmas day. Even though he was potty trained older than most of his peers, once he had it, it was cemented. I know of some who potty-trained earlier than Nate but still continue to have regular accidents. So, I guess I shouldn’t have been so worried that he was getting behind. He isn’t dry at night yet, but he is very close, because he wears pull ups and takes himself to the toilet in the middle of the night, plus he keeps asking to wear his pants in bed, so I don’t think it will be long.

Behaviour

Nate is a very well-behaved boy 90% of the time, but he is a 3 year old so he has his moments when he really tries my patience. I find the hardest parts of the day are the getting dressed and un-dressed, the beginning and end of the day. Those are more 50/50, sometimes he is happy and compliant, and other times he wants to do anything but get ready for bed.

Food

He eats a nice healthy breakfast, his favourites are Blueberry Shredded Wheat or Shreddies, his lunch is a nice mixture of fruit, veggies, cheese and yoghurt, however he will only eat ham or peanut butter sandwiches (on wholemeal bread at least), I wish I could vary that. However, my major bug-bear at present is what he eats at dinner time. He has become very fussy lately, refuses to eat things he used to eat (he previously ate Broccolli) and refuses to try anything new.

baby led weaningfeeding a baby

I have been reading a lot of fussy eating posts lately so I know I am in good company, worrying about this. Some of the things I am going to try include: smoothies, cupcakes and muffins with hidden veg, eating family style – BUT not until my damn fridge freezer gets fixed!

Some useful blog posts I read this week include Mum’s Days posts on healthy eating snacks, and Mini Yummers post on getting kids to eat more vegetables,

Sleep

He was sleeping fine and only waking up when he was sick or other rare occasions, however the last few weeks he has not wanted to go to bed and keeps getting up in the evening (not necessarily overnight), keep saying that he isn’t tired. I have been working on it though, so we will see what next week brings.

 Do you have a 3 year old? What are they like?

9

When to Transition from a Crib to a Toddler Bed?

when to move from cot to big bed

I have to admit, I haven’t been looking forward to the transition from cot to bed, it is a big step, and probably because I have read and heard of nightmare stories of little one’s coming down stairs 40 times a night, having to continuously put them back to bed. Nate is now 20 months old, and I read that it is a good idea to transition them from 18 months onwards.

Nate has been sleeping so well lately that I was resistant to make any changes, however we are going on our family holiday in a week, and there will be proper beds there, so I thought we’d better get him ready at home first.

toddler asleep in cot

We decided just to take one side off the crib at first, so that he still feels like he is in his cot – don’t wanna shock him. We asked him to help us make the bed, and let him climb in and out of it so that he was comfortable with it the first night.

The first night actually did go well in that he stayed in the bed all night, plus we got a lie-in as he didn’t start crying until 9am. When I went in to see him, he was sitting on his little chair next the bed with his teddy bears. The only problem that we are having at present is putting him into the bed and making him stay there at the point of bed time. Both last night and tonight when I put him in his bed he immediately tried to get out, I tried to make him lay down but he just cried, so in the end I just walked out of the room and let him cry it out a little. Both nights he cried for about 5-10 minutes. I guess it could be worse, but I don’t want him to associate the new “big boy bed” with crying and fighting.

I did a little research to help myself and will hopefully be helpful to you too:

  • Babycenter suggest transitioning your toddler closer to the age of 3, as they are more likely to be ready (oops too late!)
  • Super Nanny also suggest as late as possible but by the age of 3.
  • What to Expect suggest that you think about it around 18 months (phew!).
  • First born toddlers usually have a trickier time than toddlers who have siblings – they usually want to be big like their siblings.
  • Signs that they are ready include them asking for a big bed, or them trying to climb out of the crib.
  • Place the new bed somewhere safe: away from radiators, windows, power cords, lamps, curtains etc.

Ways to ease the transition:

  • Put the new bed in the same place as where the crib was
  • Put up a guardrail to stop the toddler from falling out (I’ve personally decided not to do this, unless he falls out a lot), or add pillows or something soft for them to fall on (this is what I have done)
  • Let your toddler be involved in either buying the new bed, or saying who owned the last bed, or buying new sheets or blankets that he picks out
  • Encourage your toddler to show the big bed to family members
  • Give the bed a good chance but if your little one is still resistant after several days, go back to the cot
  • If your previous good sleeper is now taking longer to fall asleep, is getting up in the night, or crying when put in the bed on many occasions then they are probably not ready
  • Keep the same bedtime routine
  • If your toddler gets up, calmly and quietly put them back to bed over and over (be as boring as possible)
  • Put up a baby gate to prevent them leaving the bedroom (we decided to do that)
  • If your child is old enough to understand you can use a sticker chart to praise them every time they stay in bed

I hope you found this useful, I know I did when I researched it. Although it is too late for me, I guess I should have waited longer, but we will see how it goes.

I would love to hear your transition stories or tips below, it is a big milestone!

 

Related Posts:

  1. Arms and Legs getting stuck in the cot
  2. Sleeping on tummy troubles
  3. Weaning off milk in the night
3

Weaning off Milk in the night

sleeping 1 year old

Whenever Nate (our 1 year old baby/toddler) has a cold, which is often, we give him milk in the night time, mostly to make sure he stays hydrated, and also to help him sleep. The only problem with doing that, is that you then have to wean them off the milk ( in the night) when they are well again. He gets used to the comfort of the milk and does not know how to settle himself back to sleep. I know that babies need to be sleep trained, and he is, but I guess I relent when he has a illness just to help him sleep in the short-term, but long term it is not worth it.

We have tried several methods in the past including:

1. Slowly reducing the amount of milk given in the night, so starting with the amount they usually have, then reducing by 30ml each night until they are down to no milk.

2. Giving water instead of milk (nuff said).

3. Giving no milk but comfort them by going into the room when they cry, then extending the time you go into the room by a minute each time (Ferber Method).

4. Letting your baby cry it out/settle themselves

5. Another method that we haven’t tried is to water down the milk, adding more and more water over time until it becomes just water.

I am not advocating method 4 for everyone, but I can say it is the only method that actually worked for us. The first two didn’t work as we couldn’t get him completely off the milk or water, method 3 actually made him worse because he got excited every time I came into the room. After the others didn’t work we tried method 4 – crying it out, and as painful as it was for us all, it really did work.

The first night he cried for 50 minutes (which felt like a lifetime, especially with work the next day), the 2nd night 15 minutes and the 3rd night he didn’t wake up at all, or any night thereafter. The key with this method is commitment and consistency, you have to full commit to letting them settle themselves. Crying it out, or the tough love approach sounds bad, so it is better to think of it like it is, the baby is settling themselves, rather than relying on a bottle to help them sleep.

We have now decided to not give him milk in the night anymore, cold or no cold. Instead, we will give him water, which will keep him hydrated, but will hopefully reduce him waking in the night after he is better.

2

Where has my happy boy gone?

Nate has been teething non-stop for 3 weeks straight, in this time he has had two teeth through and the third is on the way for a total of 5 teeth. The problem is he has been so very unhappy that it’s hard for me to remember the way he used to be. Sometimes I think I made it all up, maybe he was always like this. I worry that I will never get my happy boy back. Please someone confirm that this is a phase and my happy boy will be back once the teething is over.

What a shame that hubby has been on hols for the last two weeks. I mean it’s been fab for me but I feel like he wishes he was back at work, I have to admit I was thinking it myself last week when the teething was really bad and it took us ages to get him to sleep for his naps and at night.

What is it with teeth? Such a bad invention, they seem to cause us all problems most of our lives 🙁

Didn’t realise he was teething!

So Nathaniel is at that lovely age now (almost 8 months) where he is simply so much fun to be around. He has so much personality, he is learning to clap, he laughs like the minions in Despicable Me and then it all changed last week. He was suddenly grumpy all day long. I had no idea what was going on, I had also dropped his morning bottle do I thought it might be that at first but even after his afternoon nap he was still grumpy. For a while me and hubby thought it might be that we were giving him too much attention, or picking him up every time he moaned and therefore he had worked out how to get attention etc etc. Then I looked in his mouth on Monday and saw a white bit on his gums! His third tooth was breaking through….*light bulb*
We finally worked out what was wrong! I realise it makes me sound like a bad mother that I didn’t realise what was wrong but the last time he teethed was months ago and it was really different, that was so bad it was obvious he was teething, he had bright red cheeks, would cry all day etc but this time it was more subtle so I didn’t realise he was teething. So I thought, phew, now his tooth has broke through I should get my happy boy back…but no! He was still grumpy! So I thought I was wrong something else is bothering him, I looked in his mouth and I saw a red mark on his gums, his 4th tooth is coming through!

So here we are day 5 into this teething period. He hasn’t been too bad, he has been better in the day than last week but worse at night. We have had to give him calpol to help him cope with the pain and it took over an hour to get him to sleep last night!

I want my happy boy back so hope this ends soon. My only consolation is that teething seems to be better now he is older and I hope it continues to get easier as he gets older. Feel free to contradict that or share your teething stories with me!

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1

First night away

My darling boy spent his very first night away from home last night. He stayed with Nana and Grandad in their new home! It was a huge mix of emotions for me; I was thrilled to be spending a whole night and day alone with hubby but I also missed him terribly.

The husband and I did make the most of it though. We had dinner and cocktails at Las Iguanas (yum) followed by a movie. We had a nice lie-in the next day, followed by brunch at Harvester and we saw “Fast Girls” at the cinema. We also got lots done round the house before we picked him up at 5pm.

When I arrived he greeted me with a big smile and lots of grabbing of my face, necklace and glasses, which I interpreted as he missed me too. Nana and Grandad said he was brilliant, he slept through the night, even though it was a new cot and house and he was well behaved and happy all day. I was so relieved to hear he slept well and coped well in a new setting, my good little boy.

4

Sleeping on tummy troubles!

Without going into the details of our horrible teething incident over the weekend Nate, now 6 months old has mastered a new skill which is causing him to wake up a lot at night!!

He rolls over on to his tummy and gets stuck and cries until we turn him over! It is very frustrating as he woke up 5 times last night because of it, it’s been going on for a few nights. It’s hard to know what to do, let him cry it out or to rescue him? Me and hubby have different ideas, I rescue, he lets him cry it out. Not sure long term which is best so any advice welcome.

From what I have read this is another short phase that he will eventually grow out of. For now we are going to be doing lots of tummy time!

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1

How to keep your baby cool in the summer

Since I was trying to find the answer to this myself, thought I would share what I have learned. It has suddenly gotten quite hot, Nate’s room is around 26 degrees and he has already woken twice tonight. So based on what I have read online and in one of my baby books these are some ideas, but please note that I am not a professional so if you don’t feel comfortable with any of these suggestions please don’t do them.

1. Strip baby down to just a vest or if very hot just a nappy.
2. Cool baby down with a washcloth/flannel that is luke-warm-cool, not too cold as it will shock baby.
3. Strip bedding down to bare minimum and use cotton where possible as its breathable.
4. Remove things like bumpers, cot tidies etc and anything stopping good airflow into the cot.
5. Open a window or put a fan on but make sure baby is out of direct contact with cool air.
6. Give baby some cool water to drink or a cool bottle of milk, make sure baby stays hydrated.
7. If breastfeeding you may want to put something in between the skin like muslin or a cool cloth as skin to skin contact can be very warming.
8. There is a water spray called Magicool that you can spray on the face to help cool down, although I don’t know how suitable that is for babies.
9. For older babies/toddlers you can freeze fruit and let them suck on them. It can get quite sticky though.

Hope these ideas have helped.
Happy Sleeping!

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2

SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!!!

baby boy asleep in bumbo

Yes it’s true, I’ve been dreaming (pardon the pun) about this day for many months and now my darling boy has given me the most wonderful gift of sleep! I have to admit I never thought it would actually happen, I was losing hope, but it has just come right out of the blue. The night before he woke up at 2am, then last night he just didn’t wake up!! He slept from 9-9!! I am so happy, and am praying that it continues, please may it continue.

So now I have a question, when did all your little one’s sleep through the night? and how did you feel?

I feel amazing and so happy. I will be even happier if this becomes the norm and I can have evenings with my husband again. It’s not just the lack of sleep that sucks but also the lack of a life, going to bed early etc it kinda gets you down after a while. I might actually be able to go to the cinema midweek *gasp*

Related posts you may like:

1. Sleeping on tummy troubles

2. Arms and legs getting stuck inside the cot

3. When to transition from a cot to a bed

My #magicmoments is one from the past, I remember it like it was yesterday, how amazing I felt when Nate finally slept through the night!