To sleep, perchance to dream…

I’ve got a wakey baby: Oona still doesn’t sleep through the night and I am a wreck!

Of the four kids, Elizabeth was a wakey baby and I followed Gina Ford’s ‘Cry it out’ method to get her to sleep through the night. This involved me sitting outside her closed bedroom door in tears whilst she cried herself to sleep in her cot. And then me lying awake feeling desperately guilty that I just did that to my child. (I still feel bad about it). I decided with Imogen that I wouldn’t do that but when she got to around 6 months she just naturally started to sleep through. Leon slept through at around 4 months, again just on his own really. I was very lucky and I gloated about it on Facebook. I think that’s why I am being punished.

Oona has never really slept. As a newborn she was awake every three hours: so about three times a night and I don’t think that’s too bad. I expected her to progress to going four hours and then five and then we all have a lovely 8 hours and wake smiley and happy…but she got her first tooth at four months old and at 15 months she now has twelve teeth! Twelve! She just has to get another four molars (the second lot) and those corner pointy ones: canines? She’s been dosed up on Chamomila 200c every night to help and I have just breastfed on demand, which was pretty demanding! There’ve been studies which show that the act of suckling can release endorphins which naturally help with the pain related to teething. The skin to skin contact also helps with pain relief. It seems babies want to breastfeed more when they are teething or under the weather. Another plus is that baby’s teeth will be aligned by the act of suckling. So despite the desperate lack of sleep, I at least felt like all the waking and feeding was doing her some good.

Other methods I’ve tried to get her to sleep through include an amber necklace: it is thought that the succinic acid they contain is released into the skin helping with lots of problems including teething pain, and tummy ache. I also take Bach Flower Remedies (oral drops) and these are known to pass through to breast milk to create a calming effect on the child (I was told by my midwife that I shouldn’t give them directly to the baby as it is alcohol-based) it certainly calms ME down, not sure about her! Another thing I’ve tried is this aromatherapy rollerball from Boots. I am not sure it really works but it has become part of the bedtime routine…Paul says, “Time for bed, Oona! Get your blanket and come on!” at which point she runs squeeling to me and I give her a last boobie. Then he says it again and off she goes, kissing me and then running to him. He takes her up the stairs and at the top of the stairs the children stand in a row waiting to kiss her. She kisses each one and goes into our bedroom. He puts her in her baby sleeping bag and then he gets out the ‘scent’ as we call it. He puts some on each temple, behind each ear and then she holds out her wrists and he puts some on there. Then they both sniff Oona’s wrists and say “mmmmmm, lovely!” and then he puts her down and gives her her little thumb sucking blanket and her bigger blanket she keeps in the cot. It is a gorgeous little routine and if for some reason I take her up, instead of Paul, she tells me what to do! 🙂

Anyway…I digressed. I have tried everything I can think of but she averages six to eight wakings a night and I am bloody knackered. According to all the websites she shouldn’t be getting the second molars until she is two (ish) and the canines arrive at 18/19 months so I am really hoping she is on a break. And because of this we are trying night weaning in the hope that when she is no longer dependant on milk to get to sleep we will have some peace.

I say ‘we’ are night weaning because I am there, but I’ve not really done much, Paul has done it. We thought since he doesn’t have boobs he can tell her they are asleep and she might be more likely to accept it! Usually when she wakes Oona goes through a few stages before crying: First is the ‘milk noise’ she’s in a cot right next to the bed so she just grizzles a bit and then sits up. Usually I lean in and pick her out at this stage but if I don’t respond quickly enough she will  stand up and rattle the cot side menacingly and last stage before tears is shouting ‘Mama’. So Paul slept on my side of the bed and responded to the grizzles with gentle shushing. That served to escalate the noises from grizzle to shouting super fast! She skipped a few stages! So he picked her out and told her it was late/dark/bedtime and went on to list everyone who is asleep including Elizabeth, Imogen, Leon, Mummy, the Bobs (her word for boobies) the chickens…he offered water, which she bashed and she kicked him a few times, but I was relieved she didn’t cry, more tell him off angrily. Anyway forty minutes of this chatting and tussling! and she was back in bed asleep. 5am she woke again and he did the same again, it took five mins and she slept til 7am! Woohoo! Paul was exhausted after that and so was I because I’d listened to the whole thing with leaky lumpy boobs! Not great going from feeding seven or eight times and then going to zero!

That was Wednesday. Thursday she woke twice for 15 and 5 minutes respectively. Friday she woke once for ten minutes, Saturday once for ten minutes…and Sunday? Sunday she slept through right? Nope! She went back to waking four times! FOUR!

One step forward two steps back springs to mind! 🙂

I’ve had the kids hiding under blankets with her today, making it dark and telling her ‘dark’ then putting the torch on and telling her ‘light’. I’ve been taking her to put the chickens to bed with me at night, which involves giving them a stroke and then shutting the door. She put her fingers to her lips and said “shhhh bokboks”. I’m pretty sure she understands ‘night time’ and ‘dark’ and ‘sleeptime’ so have no idea why she isn’t sleeping!

Wish me luck for night six and if you have any gentle parenting ideas please let me know!

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  5 comments for “To sleep, perchance to dream…

  1. September 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    The boobs are a big one aren’t they’ve. I’ve resigned myself to the fact my 10mo won’t sleep thru till the bar is closed – which will likely be this week.

    • Mel Bridge
      September 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Yes its totally the boobs which was why I tried my best to wait until I felt they were wanted rather than needed. I will let you know how I get on 🙂

  2. September 13, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Well, as I have a 14-month-old I read this with much interest, as she too is waking in the night and I was hoping for the answer haha! Mine wakes just once usually tho and I give her a bottle of milk and she usually goes back down, but I know I shouldn’t be feeding her so much at night and she has probably just come to expect the feed now. She also has lots of teeth, maybe that’s the connection! Anyway good luck with tonight!! Xx

    • Mel Bridge
      September 14, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks for the good luck, I will let you know! 🙂

  3. September 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I totally hear you on the no sleep thing. My eldest was sleeping through at 5 weeks so I expected her brother to do the same. Oh no. He would sleep for 40 minutes, then scream for 2 hours, then repeat day and night. He did suffer from really bad reflux though but actually now he’s 4 he is still the one that wakes at least once a night whereas the girls sleep through. Hope you manage a full night soon- nothing worse than sleep deprivation! x x

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