The Results of the Sleep Consultant Visit

Well, Tina Southwood from Sleep Baby Sleep visited me last week to talk about Isabelle’s sleep or rather lack of sleep. At this point Izzy had already started sleeping better with only one wake and feed in the night and I really do think this was because her teeth had all come through.

Anyway, after talking to Tina (Who is absolutely lovely btw) it became apparent that Isabelle hasn’t been getting enough daytime sleep, which means that tackling night-time problems with controlled crying was basically just counter-productive. This made perfect sense to me, so we’ve been trying to get her to have 2 naps a day, ideally a short one in the morning and a longer one in the afternoon. In theory this is brilliant, in practise however it’s virtually impossible. Sometimes, Isabelle will have a nap in the afternoon, sometimes she won’t. Add to this the unfortunate fact that life with 2 elder kids means every day and circumstance is different means that she doesn’t always get that 2nd essential sleep.

Ho Hum, I think essentially the sleep consultant felt like a lifeline and getting to the point where I actually admitted that I needed help, meant that I had time to recuperate and recover from being fundamentally sleep deprived. What she said made sense and I would definitely recommend her if you are local and need help with a bad sleeper, or a newborn or twins! At the moment Isabelle’s sleep patterns mean I’m getting enough sleep to be able to function like a normal person again and I think that as soon as she can do without that 2nd sleep during the day, we’ll be fine. Well that’s the theory anyway!

All from 4gig SD card 762
You may have guessed this isn’t a current picture of Izzy sleeping, it’s actually of a baby Maisie! You get the idea though!

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So…

…it’s 7.52pm and everything should be quite peaceful and quiet. HOWEVER, Izzy is screaming and Im trying to ignore the fact that she’s SCREAMING.

We are staying with our best friends in the midlands. Their house is in an idyllic farm house overlooking beautiful countryside. We have good company, good food and good booze. However, all I can think about is the fact that my baby girl is screaming. Not whimpering, not grizzling, just SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HER TINY LUNGS!

I have to be honest, I’m very fed up. I want to relax with my bezzies. I do not want to be doing controlled crying before she’s even gone to sleep! Izzy, as fabulous as she is, just needs to get a grip, because I am actually on the verge of losing my mind. Go to sleep kid!! Right, time to shush, I’ll be back…

So, obv, she’s still screaming. My hub and I have been very consistent and persistent with the controlled crying over the past 2 Months and I know that we’ve done well, as she’s at last sleeping until 5.15am (God give me strength).

I find this whole thing thoroughly depressing if I’m honest. It’s not as if I don’t have anything else to do, I have 2 other children to look after, a husband to cook for and a house to clean. My God, did I ever dream of such heights?! I’m a modern woman for God’s sake!

Ok, deep breath. You know what? At this moment, when I’m here, struggling to cope with my baby screaming and crying, I want to say a big, well done, to all the mums out there who are holding on to their sanity by a thin thread. You are not alone! I’m standing on the precipice of sanity with you and we CAN get through this moment. This moment WILL pass and they WILL stop crying. We CAN cope. We LOVE our kids and life IS really good. Big deep breath lovely mums and dads out there, be calm and carry on. This time will pass, these years will pass and then they’ll be gone, without a backward glance. Blimey, I’m even more depressed than I was before.

Day 13 Controlled Crying, an improvement? Pah.

Well, she woke up at 5.30am which is good. According to my husband, she did a bit of whining in the night but I didn’t hear it and she must have got herself back to sleep, which is good. However, I refuse to think it’s good because tonight may well be terrible and I want to be prepared.

On a more positive note, little, naughty, sleepless, gorgeous Izzy has started walking this week! Wey hey! She looked sooooo pleased with herself and although she’s not walking constantly yet she’s doing it more and more each day. The day she did her best walk(about 12 steps), my Mum was with me and I thought how lovely it was that we shared that brilliant little moment. So often our kids do cool stuff and no one else sees it (or is interested), but this was precious and I got to share it with someone who really loves Izzy too. Yum.

Also, she’s 1 tomorrow! I can’t believe it, my little baby will no longer be 0. We won’t ever be able to do one of our favourite jokes about putting the baby on the naughty step for zero minutes cos she’s zero, because we won’t ever have another baby. That almost makes me sad but then I get over it pretty quickly and cheer heartily. Hooray!

So Isabelle is asleep, the kids are at school/pre-school and I’m going to have a cup of Tetleys blended tread, a mixture of builders and green tea, which is actually very tasty and also makes me feel like I’m being healthy. I shall also read my book. Heaven.

Day 9, 10 and 11 of totally, out of control crying.

Over the weekend, after my ridiculous declaration that we’d cracked it, my smallest daughter has decided she doesn’t do sleeping. Especially at night. Especially when I’m trying to get her to sleep at night. So I’m considering drastic measures. Here are the options; soundproofing, (expensive and inconvenient but probably worth it) hiring a wet nurse, (old school but creepy) or running away,(cheaper than soundproofing with no inconvenience to me and not creepy. Downside, no home, although that also means no housework. Mmmm sounds good.)

But REALLY what do I do? Last night she kept at it for 2 and a half hours after starting at 12pm, that’s a big chunk of deep sleep time. Even then she only stopped crying because I fed her. I’m making her sound like the enemy here, a very small, gorgeous enemy, but that’s not how I feel. I just feel… Over it.

I know this time will eventually pass but it’s hard, my Mum’s about to have a serious operation to treat bladder cancer and I want to be able to give her my all, to be peppy and positive, but at the moment I’m constantly half asleep and she must feel like she has a zombie for a daughter. Add to that 2 other children who need a loving, attentive mummy rather than a screeching harpy with wild eyes and you’ve got a recipe for tumultuous chaos.

What’s the solution, assuming she’s not going to start sleeping through consistently? I guess we just plug away at it and pray for strength, I think we’re going to need a miracle!

Day 8 controlled crying *whispers* “I think we’ve cracked it…”

It’s almost as if I’m a real human being again, 3 good nights sleep in the past week have made me feel like super-woman! My kids even ate real home cooked food for the past few days instead of something frozen. Yeh I know, pretty awesome. It just made me realise how hard it is to be a functioning and pleasant mum/person, when you’re completely knackered.

I remember when I got pregnant in February 2011, in the midst of morning sickness, constipation, indigestion and poor sleep, I thought to myself, “in a year and a half, the hardest bit will be over and I’ll see light at the end of the tunnel.” In the end, it’s taken longer than that, but at last I feel able to really enjoy my family instead of just about being able to cope with them. For me, having three kids has definately been harder than having two kids, and I don’t mind admitting that I found the newborn months extremely rough. I’ve never taken Izzy for granted or wished time away, but I did look forward to when things would be easier and at last they are. Hooray!

I’m sure Isabelle is far from sleeping through consistently but really going for the sleep training over the past 8 nights has clearly shown me that there are 2 things she really needs in order for her to get a good nights sleep. Firstly she needs to have at leat two hours of sleep during the day and secondly she needs to eat enough. For her the sleep training bit was about learning not to need a feed in the middle of the night. Sounds a bit obvious but that’s it!

If you’re in the middle of or embarking on your sleep training journey then hang on in there and listen to your instincts. No one else’s opinion really matters. It’ll mostly be you putting in the hard work, so you get to make up the rules. Good luck and God speed!