The question of sleep is a very common one among parents. Everyone who’s anyone wants to know how well your baby is sleeping. When you have a baby who doesn’t sleep, it can be quite challenging and the constant questions can, quite frankly, get a bit annoying. Don’t get me wrong, I get a lot of sympathy! But all it really does is remind me about the lack of sleep.
I have written about Alfie’s sleeping habits before, in part one of my Sleep Experiment. I even did a mini research project to see how his sleep patterns compared to other children in part two of my Sleep Experiment. I discovered that every child is different, which did make me feel a lot better. However, it didn’t help with my non-sleeping child!
I will say the upside of having a child who doesn’t sleep, is that I’m used to it, so it hasn’t been so bad since going back to work. Whilst not easy (as I wrote about in my return to work post), at least my body is used to lack of sleep so I can just about get through the day!
It has been suggested that perhaps it was the fact Alfie was breastfed that was causing him to not sleep very well. Since, we have stopped, I would probably agree that this did attribute to his erratic sleeping habits, as he has definitely slept better since we stopped feeding. Where as before he was regularly waking every 3 hours, we now only have one or two nights a week where he is restless and wakes. I would go as far as to say his sleep is now brilliant. When he does sleep well, he’ll often go 12 hours – he does occasionally wake in the night and I hear him moaning, but he settles himself back to sleep within a minute or so. However, the days he doesn’t sleep are often quite bad, and it can take hours to get him back off again. There are a variety of reasons why he doesn’t sleep, the main one being teething or feeling poorly. But sometimes he just isn’t tired and wants to play!
As anyone with a non-sleeping child will know, you are often given lots of advice and suggrstions to make your child sleep. Most of them won’t work! Nothing will make your child sleep when they don’t want to. All you can do is find things that help them go off to sleep. To be honest, I always knew he would sleep in his own time, so I never tried too hard to find things to help him. However, there are a few items that definintely give us all a better chance of getting a good nights sleep (disclaimer: not guaranteed to give you a full night’s sleep though!).
The Slumber Frog
This was bought by my parents for Alfie when he was a baby. It has a lovely light show, a soothing heartbeat sound and also a variety of musical tunes. Alfie found the heartbeat sound very soothing when he was much younger and now he loves to press the buttons himself to put the light on. It was a great buy! I’ve seen Ewan the Sheep recommended a lot but we never tried him – I think I would next time though as he’s a bit more cuddly!
As I’ve mentioned before, I made Alfie’s curtains myself. This meant I was able to ensure they had a blackout lining which is brilliant at keeping the light out. However, because they are curtains, they leave gaps at either end which let the light in. When we move and are kitting out Alfie’s new room, I would definitely consider something like a VELUX blackout blind. Because it would sit flush in the window, it would block out all the light and hopefully help aid sleep even more!
A big issue we have with Alfie is his body temperature. He takes after his dad and is like a human hot water bottle! When he was sleeping in his grobags, he used to get so hot and I’m sure this is what was waking him up at night. I didn’t like him not having his sleeping bag on, because it got cold at night, but in the summer I gave in and bought him a duvet which seemed to be better because he could kick it off when he wanted. However, the problem now comes in winter when he would still kick the covers off but wake up freezing because his pyjamas don’t keep him warm enough. Someone recently suggested getting him some fleecy pjs, which is a fab idea! I really like these ones from Asda and these ones from Next so will definitely get some and see how he gets on with them.
Alfie’s never had a dummy so he’s had to find comfort in other ways. That used to mean booby! But he’s also always been a finger sucker (not a thumb sucker!) whenever he’s tired or just chilling out. Along with his fingers, he’s also always had a teddy comforter. Alfie loves a cuddly toy! From birth he’s had a few comforters, but quickly settled for a favourite – this blue one from Asda! Luckily it was the cheapest one and we have three of them so they don’t get lost. He’s not bothered by which ones he has and we can wash them often and switch them round and he doesn’t mind. They are vital to his bedtime routine though. As soon as he starts to show signs of tiredness, we give him teddy and he settles right down. Occasionally this meant at night he’d lose it and so would wake up, but once he had it again he’d go straight back off.
Mummy and Daddy’s bed
If all else fails – Alfie comes in our bed! We are big fans of bed-sharing. Everyone will have their opinions about this, but done safely it is perfectly fine. We don’t do it every night but since I’ve returned to work, it has saved my sanity on more than one occasion! When we move, I want to get the biggest bed I can possibly find, like the one we stayed in at Premier Inn – it was amazing! Then we can all get a good night’s sleep without mummy or daddy clinging to the side!
So, at almost 18 months sleep is still not settled. But that OK. It’s not an issue. Alfie has found his own little routine and I truly believe that he’s done this by being given the space to do this himself. We weren’t interested in implementing any sleep training and so far it’s working for us. It’s not perfect, but it’s ok.
Sleep is for the weak!!!
How does your little one sleep? Are you lucky enough to get a full 12 hours or are you an up-every-hour type parent?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by VELUX blinds