Monday, 29 September 2014

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Just when you think you will never get any sleep.

At the ripe old age of 21 months, my little Lily Pie slept through the night for the first time ever!

This wasn't something she managed on her own, no, Mummy and Daddy had to seek the help of a professional.

Typically Lily woke every 3 hours at night. And the only way she would settle without a fight is to have a small bottle of milk. Baring in mind she shares a bedroom with her big brother, and with the long hours Mr O does we had to take the path of least resistance when it came to her night shenanigans. I've been on the receiving end of unsolicited 'advice' from Mums who think they know it all because their lone child was sleeping through the night from a very very early age due to 'letting them scream themselves to sleep' (not my cup of tea at all but each to their own). I tried everything to get Lily to sleep. I tried night lights, tried darkness, I tried blackout blinds, I tried dream feeds, I tried less daytime naps, I tried later bed times, different sleep sacks, duvets, pillows, supper before bed, no supper before bed, tanking her up on water during the day so she wasn't thirsty at night, eliminating foods that cause tummy aches, I tried watering down her night time milk, I tried offering just water (and boy did THAT piss her off), I tried letting her whinge herself back to sleep (much to the detriment of the entire households mental well being), I tried rocking her to sleep, I tried co sleeping with her again, I tried everything. My mental health, and my marriage was suffering because I was getting a few hours of broken sleep. She would wake between 1 and 4 times a night, and she would be awake and ready to start the day at 5.30am. I felt I had to apologise to everyone around me for anything I said or did because I was so exhausted I couldn't think rationally about anything. I became obsessed with sleep and lived on the brink of tears. I planned my day around nap time, praying and hoping that today would be the day that both little ones nap at the same time so I could just get a break! I love my children more than anything in life but I was a slave to motherhood and with no sleep I would be in bed by 7.30 pm most nights just to get a few hours in before Lily woke at 9, or 11, or 1 or 3 or 5. I had no life. The thought of driving 45 minutes to visit my friends in the evening once the kids were in bed didn't thrill me because I would be falling asleep behind the wheel. True Story. And then of course we have little William's night wakings to deal with too, which thank goodness is becoming a thing of the past.

In summary. Having two little people who don't sleep for years on end = hardest thing ever.

I spoke to Rosemary at SleepSolve. She reassured me, put together a detailed sleep plan, and wished me luck!

Effectively it was controlled crying. Something I would never have considered doing before, I am a gentle parent and don't believe in letting a baby cry. However at 21 months Lily isn't a baby anymore. She's talking and able to communicate her needs to me very well.

Also I was to stop giving Lily milk in her cot. I had to teach her to settle without the comfort of her bottle.

Rosemary suggest I use one of Lilys special blankets (her Issie) and sew a dummy onto each corner, so she is able to find her dummy at all times. So I did this with gusto, and told Lily this is her special Issie, it stays in her cot underneath her pillow, and she can have it at bedtime. She was very excited about this, because William has his bedtime bear stashed under his pillow for bedtimes too, and she just loves to be like her big bro!

Lily would now have her milk on the sofa, or on mummys chair next to her cot. She would go to bed awake and fall alseep on her own. (We never had any trouble getting her to sleep, its the staying asleep we struggle with!)

Night 1 I put William to bed in my room, Lily went to bed no bother, and woke at 2.30am calling for me saying "Milk mummy!". I went in, ssshhd her, laid her down and left. This pissed her off. She did not like this. She shouted and yelled at me for an hour and a half on and off. I was supposed to go in after 5 mins, then double the wait time and go in after 10 mins, then double it again at 20 mins, but she wasn't crying for me, she was just having a sleepy whinge, and every time I went in to comfort her she just became really cross. So I sat outside her room and I sobbed whilst I listen to her ask for milk. Then she'd ask her pooh bear for milk. Then she'd ask her Mickey Mouse for milk. and I sobbed some more. Because she was being so cute. She just wanted her milk.

Night 2 Again she went to bed no bother. She woke at 3am asking for milk please mummy. I went in and made sure she had her Issie and her Pooh Bear and left the room. She became cross for about 30 seconds then went to sleep.


It really was that easy.

That was a week ago. She has slept through the night every night since, waking occasionally still but soon settling herself.

I feel like a better Mum. I'm not as short tempered or frazzled. I'm taking back control of my life. I'm losing weight. My sense of humour has returned.

I believe Lily was ready to be shown how to sleep. I know I couldn't have done it before she was talking, this was the right time to do it. Best decision ever. And having Rosemary gave me the confidence to tackle our problems and having the sleep plan in black and white just meant we knew exactly what we were doing.

And although I had the fear of controlled crying, Lily never really 'cried' she just got cross. So I never felt as though I was potentially causing her psychological harm.

So Mummies, if you're sleep deprived, burning out daily, and struggling, you need to speak to Rosemary!

Look how cute she is

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