Sleeping beauty.

THIS challenge was designed for fellow mums to assist in getting Baby Holly to become a better sleeper.

And, in turn, help other mums battling with that all-consuming “sleep deprivation”.

This is how things have progressed so far:

Month One: Baby Holly was swaddled, then placed in her basinette and, more often than not, put herself to sleep. Occassionally, we’d have to rock the basinette gently.

Month Two: Things started to go pear shaped. She became fussy at sleep time and woke every 1-2 hours during the night for a feed. Solution: I’d throw her over my shoulder and pace the floor ’til she fell asleep. I’d then gently lay her down in her cot like she was a hand grenade ready to go off at the slightest jiggle. During the night, she would fall asleep feeding. A bedtime routine was also established.

Month Three: Wrapping her became a problem, with her constantly getting her arms out and startling herself awake. Solution: Put a rolled up muslin underneath her, wrap one side up and around her arm and tuck it back underneath her bottom. Do the same with the other side. Then use another muslin to swaddle her as normal.

Month Four: Just prior to this month, she became so heavy to rock to sleep that my arms started to look like a WWE wrestler’s. So we’d lay her down and pat her head or tummy. One afternoon, in sheer frustration after patting for so long my leg had welded into the side of the cot, our li’l girl took a dummy. To this point, her strong gag reflex had prevented her taking a pipe. Now she only wakes twice a night (heaven!) and it takes little effort to get her to fall asleep. Solution: I’ve now been popping in the dummy, patting her head or tum and, just as she’s about to doze off, I pull it out (as per Pantley’s Gentle Removal Technique). If she whines or fusses, I put it back in and repeat. Still letting her feed to sleep in the middle of the night.

Month Four and a Half: There’s nothing quite like looking at the clock in the hope it says 7am, only to find it’s 11.30pm. Urrrggghhh. I’ve decided this “Sleep Challenge’’ should be renamed “The Sleep Challenged’’. Holly will have one three-hour stretch of sleep, then usually one-hour stints after that. Initially, I put it down to teething. Then, I blamed Wonder Week 19, which is the peak of the fussiness associated with their next developmental leap. She fitted the description:  trouble sleeping (ah, hello), demanding attention, loss of appetite, moody, less vocal  and sucks fingers more than before (tick, tick and tick). Who knows! What I do know is she refuses to fall asleep on her own, won’t take the pacifier, will only go to sleep if I rock or feed her and my eyes are starting to resemble those of rocker Jon English. Solution: Just get through it. Hopefully it is part of the Wonder Week and she’ll come out the other end a genius. Or not. Will keep trying to settle her in the cot and offering the pacifier, but if all else fails, rock, pat, cuddle, feed … whatever. As long as she gets some sleep.

Next in the series is: Month Five: How do you get a baby to sleep unwrapped?

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9 Responses to SLEEP CHALLENGE: The story so far…

  1. Barbara Pippos says:

    Ahhh sleep deprivation…if only they told you that it can go on till they’re teenagers and you’re waiting up half the night fro them to come home from a party….

    Both mine were super sleepers as babies. The less fuss I made the better they slept. Ellie even slept under my desk at work!

    But now…. Mr Darcy is a sleep monster aged 3. I’ve bought him a lovely bed of his own….why the hell wont he sleep in it instead of mine???

    Good luck with Holly, just remember….lots of chocolate and wine (eventually once off the boob!)

    • Kel says:

      Uggghh, teenagers…. LOL. Wow, I’d love it if Holly slept as well as Ellie, Barb. Ella was a terrible sleeper as a baby too, but now at age 3 she goes to bed at 7pm and we don’t hear from her ’til 7am the next morning. Hmmm, why can’t we have it all!!

  2. I’m about 5 weeks off from my due date and all of that newborn sleep deprivation is slowly coming back to me! I rocked our first (off-and-on) until she was 12 months old. At least this time I have a comfy rocking chair.

    • Kel says:

      Congrats Zoey! Yes, after having a three-year-old who’s now a perfect sleeper, it was a bit of a shock to go back to no sleep! Baby Holly had a better night last night – two lots of three hours sleeps and a few one hours. Not perfect, but we’re getting there….

  3. felicakes says:

    Ah.. this sounds so much like the Lil Tiger at the moment only she is 6 months!!! Arghh… I am a routine person and this sleep thing is driving me nuts. Like baby Holly she will have a 3 hour sleep stint but then everytime she sense that I am going to bed she decides that its time to wake up and scream.

  4. Elisha Squire says:

    How is Holly sleeping now?

    • Kel says:

      If you asked me yesterday, I would have said how during the past month she’s been having mostly one-hour stints of sleep every night!! I am so, so tired!!!
      However, last night (after changing a few of our sleep techniques) she had three-hour stints, so I’m hoping things are on the improve. Hopefully….
      I really don’t remember it being this hard with Ella…

      • Elisha Squire says:

        Geez Kel, one hour stints? I am getting more from my newborn !! Do you mind sharing what techniques you changed ? I find sleep and babies fascinating, ( sad really ) I have a couple books here you are more than welcome to borrow “The no cry sleep soloution” and another one i cant remember the name of right now… I had lots of luck with Gina Fords contented house with twins book so have just ordered her contented little baby book ! ( self help hopeless I am ) – I found with the twins a strict routine was necessary and i can say from about 12 months, they have always gone to bed when you say ” Bed time” – they sleep now from 12pm till 2.30pm, every day and 7.30pm till 7am ! Jesse wakes on average once a week which has improved a lot from everynight 2/3 times.. he has always been a poorly sleeper. ANYWAYS, im rambling on here…. If you want to borrow the books let me know ! I so hope you get this sorted soon, I really do feel for you – no sleep ruins me !

        • Kel says:

          LOL! Yes, I know! I probably should have added that she was having a four-hour stint at the beginning of the night every night.
          Happy to say, things are continuing to improve though. Last night, she had a five-hour stretch, followed by a three-hour and a two-hour!
          I’m a bit of a softie and can’t handle hearing bubs cry, so I’ve been a shocker for rocking and feeding to sleep. The last few nights I’ve let her cry a bit and it seems to be wearing her out. Also, during the night feeds, I’ve been pulling her off before she falls back asleep (using Pantley’s Gentle Removal Technique from The No Cry Sleep Solution) and that also seems to have helped.
          However, I think the biggest help, and probably a tad controversial for some, but it’s been fast-tracking her food. Our health nurse said, because Holly is such a big girl, she’s constantly hungry and needing more than just my milk. Hence, she feeds all night. It also kind of explains why she was screaming and wouldn’t settle to sleep. Poor thing was starving! So we put her on a fast-tracked diet to red meat to increase her iron levels.
          Whether it was this, the Gentle Removal Technique or letting her cry more, I’m not sure, but she now goes off to sleep by herself and is waking less.
          I might put together a more detailed post on it for the coming days. I think some of this stuff might be useful for other mums battling the same problems.
          And thanks so much for the offer of the books, Elisha. That’s really nice of you. The No Cry Sleep Solution is just the best!

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