Sleep USED to be a friend of mine!

Before having children I used to love my sleep, averaging about 9 hours a night on a weekday and 11 on a weekend. Of course, from the moment you become pregnant, sleep becomes a precious commodity, first comes the non-stop need to wee, then if you’re unlucky insomnia kicks in, as you reach the size of an elephant it becomes hard to get comfortable and your passenger generally wakes when you’re sleeping and proceeds to kick you into consciousness. But really, you don’t mind at all because they’re worth it – well, mine are! You say to yourself that it is all to prepare you for the weeks of sleepless nights ahead as baby is able to take on board more milk to keep them satisfied for longer and as they adjust their body clock to day and night.
Sleep USED to be a friend of mine! 2With Little Bean we were lucky, she slept through from 8 weeks and is still a good sleeper now at nearly 3 years old. Beanie Boy is not following his big sister’s lead at all, he is keen to keep Mummy and Daddy on their toes. Every now and then he will sleep through for perhaps two whole weeks and we think we have cracked it, but then he suddenly starts waking again. In a recent post I told how he was having a bottle of formula between 7pm and 7.30pm, then a bottle of Good Night formula at 11pm. He was then waking at 4am on the dot every morning and so it was suggested that I try the ‘Wake to sleep’ method to reset his sleep cycle.
On the first night I set my alarm for 3.15am and went into his room, it was recommended that I ‘stir’ him from his sleep so that he started a new sleep cycle. Unfortunately I overdid this slightly and actually woke him up fully, before spending the next two hours trying to get him back to sleep. Undeterred I intended on doing the same the next night (without waking him fully of course) but the opportunity didn’t arise as Beanie Boy was one step ahead of me and woke up at 2am, just two and half hours after a 7oz bottle of Good Night milk. Surely there was no way he could be hungry? He has been eating more solids by the day but no, he wanted a feed and he (breast)fed for 30 minutes and then woke again at 6am demanding another feed.
Every night since then has been a different story. He wakes anywhere between 2am and 5.30am, sometimes once per night, sometimes twice. I have tried not feeding him but he screams the house down and with him bedroom being right between Curly and Little Bean’s I am keen to not wake them up. Some mornings he wakes at 4.30am after a bowel movement and a very full nappy. I try to keep the lights down low whilst I change his nappy and I don’t give him any eye contact but he still wakes up fully and takes a good 45 minutes to go back to sleep.
Last night he woke at 4am, I tried to rub his back to get him back to sleep but he wasn’t impressed and soon began to scream. I tried to give him a cuddle but he was soon rooting and so I had to feed him. He fed for almost 45 minutes before going back to sleep and I finally climbed back into bed at 5am thinking that perhaps he would go back to sleep until 7.30am. How very foolish of me! He woke again at 6am and definitely couldn’t have been hungry but still wanted a feed and fed again for 30 minutes before falling asleep in my arms until the moment I moved when he woke up bright as a button and continued to scream.
Clearly I am doing something wrong at the moment. I think that Beanie Boy is using me as a dummy through the night but I just don’t know what else to do because I am just keen to get back to sleep as quickly as possible and without waking the other children. Sleep deprivation is one of the hardest parts of becoming a parent, especially when you had a toddler to entertain during the daytime because there is no opportunity to sneak back to bed when baby is asleep. I wake up most days with a bad headache at the moment and I am getting more forgetful by the day. I’m finding it hard to hold a conversation because I lack concentration and I definitely have less patience with the children which I hate. I want my children to see me as a fun Mummy, not a grumpy one. I don’t begrudge getting up with Beanie Boy in the night at all because I love my little boy but I’m at my wits end now, I need more sleep.
If you think you can help, his day goes something like this: 7am(ish) Wakes up, has breastfeed. 8.30am Porridge. 9.30am back to sleep for 30-40minutes. 11am – Breastfeed. 12noon – dinner and dessert. 1pm back to sleep for approx 90 minutes. 4pm Breastfeed. 5pm – Tea and dessert. 7pm Bath, 7oz formula and bed. 11pm 7oz Good Night formula. Throughout the night any number of wakings at any time!

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