When we had our first daughter we were blessed with a great little sleeper, she slept through from a very early age and once she was down for the night we very rarely heard from her. I was the envy of all my mummy friends and the one that most parents hated as they were up during the night with their little ones!
However! We are paying for this now! Our baby girl is a terrible sleeper! She has always taken ages to settle down to sleep and we’ve had nights when she has screamed herself to sleep. However the last month has been quite frankly, horrendous! Our whole family is so sleep deprived I have no idea how we are functioning!
Baby girl is waking up in the early hours EVERY night and is awake for several hours, sometimes she’s crying, restless and seems desperate to sleep but other times she is just wide awake and wants us to go through to her. Whilst it is very cute to see her beaming, smiling face looking back at us and clapping and waving it would be lovely if she saved this for the daylight hours! lol!
On average we can be awake between 2am and 4.30am at least, often it is longer. The worst however was 1am to 5.30am! Prior to this toddler girl had been awake from 11pm to 12.30 ill with a virus and I had been in bed with her so I didn’t actually go to sleep that night until 5.30am and was back up at 7am.
I’m not actually sure exactly why she is waking, she is teething and this could explain the times she is crying and the last few days she has been laden with cold and has a nasty cough so that definitely gives reason to her waking at the minute. However I am not sure what the often general wakefulness is for. It’s just such a mixed and confusing pattern that’s going on and we have looked at so many factors and tried so many solutions. Here’s my top 15:
1. Have a calm bedtime routine
We have always tried to have a calm bedtime routine with bath, story, low lights and bottle. Nights when my husband is home make this easy. However if he’s at work I have a hyper toddler to often contend with too so do my best and have it as calm as possible, reading them a story and giving baby girl her bottle at the same time.
2. Ensure she has sufficient food and drink throughout the day
Baby girl loves her food and eats everything given to her. She has a 7oz bottle in the morning and we use some of the milk from this to make her baby porridge. She then has a nap so the next meal is lunch when she can have a whole pouch or bowl of food, followed by a petit filous. She often has a longer afternoon nap so then has another whole pouch or bowl for tea followed by another petit filous or fruit puree. Her tea time is around 4-4.30pm and she has another 7oz bottle at bedtime between 6 and 6.30pm. I sometimes give her corn style snacks during the day too. I’ve tried up the ounces in the bottle on a night but she doesn’t tend to finish it and it goes to waste.
3. Give her Nelson’s Teething Powder prior to bed
I swore by Nelson’s with my first baby and still use them daily with baby girl.
4. If needed give her Calpol prior to bed
I don’t give her Calpol every night, but if she has been grumbly and appears restless with her teeth I will give her some Calpol to help her settle.
5. Try not to go in immediately and see if she can settle herself
We do try to leave her for a few minutes to settle, as we know she can at time settle herself back down. However sometimes her scream is so loud we have to keep in mind that toddler girl is trying to sleep next door to her sister and that we have neighbours right next door too so we can’t leave her too long.
6. Give a dream feed
I have occasionally given her a dream feed between 10.30 and 11.30 when I go up to bed. Some nights this has helped, others it hasn’t and she has still woken in the early hours so I am not sure how much this helps.
7. Give her a bottle if she wakes and won’t settle back down
Giving her a bottle when she woke did help at first and she would on the whole (not always though) settle herself back down to sleep. However over the last couple of weeks or more she hasn’t gone back down to sleep post bottle and has been wide awake.
8. Change her nappy only if needed
I went through a phase of changing her nappy out of sheer desperation on a night just to make sure I had covered all avenues and it didn’t make a difference so of late I have only changed her nappy if I really needed to, to avoid waking her any more.
9. Keep the lights low at all times
We always keep the lights low and don’t even switch the landing light on, instead switching the toilet light on across the landing to reduce the light as much as possible.
10. Wake her from her afternoon nap so she is awake for at least 3 hours if not longer before bedtime
I’ve always known that they should be awake at least 3 hours prior to bedtime so I try to make sure this is the case as a very minimum.
11. See if shorter daytime naps help
Baby girl isn’t very good at sleeping while we are out so depending on what our plans for the day are her nap times can vary. If we are at home she can have between 45 minutes and an hour and a half (but on average it’s an hour) in a morning. On afternoon (if at home) she often sleeps for a couple of hours (but this can vary). I’ve not noticed a difference when she hasn’t napped or has had shorter naps so not sure that this makes a difference either.
12. Push back her bedtime
Her current bedtime is between 6 and 7 and she often ends up being asleep for around 6.30pm if not earlier as she is in such a tired and catatonic state by then that we just can’t stretch her any longer. I honestly think it would be impossible to push her bedtime back and in all honesty we enjoy having some time to ourselves on an evening! To stop her waking at 2am I think it would have to be a very late bed time!!!
13. Ensure the temperature in her room is correct
We have a Gro Egg and the temperature in her room has been between 18 and 20 degrees on a night in recent weeks, so shouldn’t be too cold for her. She’s also in a Gro bag and wearing a long sleeve sleepsuit.
14. Give her a comforter
Baby girl has never taken a dummy. We have tried several times and she did briefly take it but kept losing it out of her mouth and then lost interest. She does suck her thumb however and she does have a couple of comforter toys and blankets.
15. Use a mobile or music
We were sent a mobile by Fisher Price to review recently and this certainly has seemed to help her settle down on a night. If she really won’t settle on an evening I sometimes try the mobile with and without the projector but this doesn’t seem to have as good an effect as it does when she first goes to bed on a night unfortunately.
With surviving on 3-4 hours sleep if that a night hubby and I are shattered. He can be out the house for 12hrs and works 10hr days. He has to be really on the ball in his job and lack of sleep can take its toll. Toddler girl is being woken by baby girl’s crying and I am sure this affects her too as she can be quite tired during the day and sometimes plays up quite a bit. I don’t get a break as I have toddler girl all day wanting my undivided attention or testing boundaries, as well as baby girl needing me too and come 7pm I can literally flop on the sofa. However I have recently started up my own part time business (which I am keeping separate from my blogging ) and this is taking up a fair amount of my time on an evening as I am wanting to build the business before I return to my part time job in January. With this, my blogging, family life and little sleep I am a bit run down to say the least!
If anyone out there has any experience of this and any tips that can bring us back our sanity and our sleep I would LOVE to hear them!