Baby Holly asleep. She's taken to sleeping on her side of late.

MONTH EIGHT: On Monday night, when my puppy dog PJs and I snuggled into bed at 8.30pm to try and relieve a chesty cough, snotty nose and eight straight months of sleep deprivation, I decided I’d change my attitude to sleep. Forget complaining. I have a bad sleeper. It’s just life. There’s nothing more I can do about it. Hourly feeds, we may as well become friends.

I’d watched a Twitter chat weeks earlier talking about how some babies won’t sleep a full night no matter what you do. So there. End of Sleep Challenge. We can all pack up and go home now.

That was, until Monday night when my eight-month-old daughter Holly finally gave me permission to dream. Unfortunately, the head cold had other plans. But that’s beside the point. Holly went down to sleep at 7pm and, apart from a dummy run at 11pm, she slept until 4.45am. OK, so some of you wouldn’t be thrilled about starting your day at such an ungodly hour. But for me, that was bliss.

So what did I do differently?


  • She now goes off to sleep easier than she ever has. This is a combination of now being in a sleeping bag fully unwrapped, persevering with self settling (it’s hard yakka, but worth it) and mastering the do-your-own-dummy technique (with hundreds of them, scattered throughout the bed).
  • We dabbled with no meat and just veggies and it didn’t make an ounce of difference. So we’re back on slabs of steak again. However, I think it came down to adding more carbs to her dinner that proved the winner (rhyme not intentional). And thanks by the way, Elisha!
  • The real change came when I stopped giving her the 10pm feed. The first night I popped the dummy back in and she grizzled for half an hour before returning to sleep. She woke again and was fed at 1am, 3am and 6am. The second night she woke at 11pm and grizzled for 10 minutes, went quiet for 10 minutes, then screamed for an hour. I gave in and fed her at midnight. She woke and was fed at 3am and 6.30am. The third night (Monday), she grizzled for 10 minutes, then nothing again until 4.45am. I was just thrilled not to be feeding her every hour, let alone getting a sleep through. The fourth night (Tuesday) she woke at 12.45am, grizzled a little, then I didn’t hear from her again until 4.45am. What’s with that time? Now the task is to work on getting her to wake “after’’ the sun has come up. I just don’t know how many more Ab Circle Pro ads I can take.

‘Til next month… when I’ll probably have to switch this challenge to help sleep deprived mums learn to self settle again.

What age did your little one finally give you a full night of sleep?

Read more from the Sleep Challenge.

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18 Responses to SLEEP CHALLENGE: Finally permission to dream

  1. Cheryle says:

    So pleased your winning the challenge i tried eeverything in vein until i got my moment at 2 . And havnt looked back … Well worth it when others are struggling to keep toddlers in bed we have sleepers 🙂 fingers crossed u have crossed ur hurdle .

    • Kel says:

      Oh Cheryle, I so remember what you went through. Sometimes, when I’m doing it tough, I tell myself I really have nothing to complain about after all you endured. So glad you have a great sleeper on your hands now though. xx

  2. Caroline B says:

    Can’t remember exactly when our little one started sleeping through (she’s 16 months) but it started when we took the side off her cot to convert it into a toddler bed. Still has a feed before bed (which is anywhere from 6.30 to 9 depending on the time of her day sleep) but sleeps til 5-7 and then wanders through and climbs into our bed for another hour or so of sleep.
    She was a shocking sleeper, up every one to 2 hours. thank goodness that is over 😉 hope she continues to sleep well & u get better soon

    • Kel says:

      I used to love when Ella would crawl into bed with us of a morning. She now prefers to come out into the lounge and watch TV and drink her milk. I’m hoping, as Baby Holly gets older, that we all return to that. It was always such a relaxing way to start the day.

  3. Yay!! This is so great.
    With Ellie – I was up to her hourly until she was 8 months old when I finally gave in and did CIO, which was the last thing I ever wanted to do but for her it was what was needed.
    With Kahlei – she was a beautiful sleeper from the start, bless her. Well, until she turned into a toddler and now she’s waking at least once and night and often ends up in our bed. Go figure.
    Jazzy is now 7 months old and some nights has me up so many times I can’t count but on average it’s twice. I’m hoping for a full night’s sleep in about a month 😉

    • Kel says:

      They’re all so different, aren’t they Becky! Just when you think you’ve got it nailed, along comes the next one and throws a spanner in the works. With Holly, we’re still on track. Fingers crossed…. 🙂

  4. Emma says:

    Congratulations!! I hear you loud and clear. My first was a horrific sleeper and was fond of the hourly waking. As you did, tried EVERYTHING and finally got it sorted at 8 months and she started daycare and the sickness began. No more sleep til she was 2 (after grommets in and adenoids out). Needless to say I was dreading a second baby, had actually decided to leave it at 1 but my hisband had other ideas….Anyway, not that you want to hear it but 9 month old first slept through at 5 weeks and did it consistently from 10weeks. However the reason I am sharing this is that nothing you do really affects them and a bad sleeper is a
    bad sleeper and a good one is a good one. We really didn’t do anything
    Anyway, fingers crossed the sleeping continues and you avoid all the colds / eat infections / tonsillitis and conjuctivitus that this horrible season brings with it that makes bad sleepers even worse sleepers (if that’s possible!) x

    • Kel says:

      Oh yes, the childcare sicknesses!! We went through it all with Ella. I dread doing it again with Holly. But, as they keep telling me, it helps build their immune systems so when they finally get to school they have less time off. We’ve even noticed now with Ella, at age three, she has less time off childcare than she did in the early days with illnesses.
      Funny how these babies are all so very different. I think you’re right; there’s little you can do to change them. Sometimes you just have to ride it out. 🙂

  5. Elisha Squire says:

    Awe Kel, I feel a little special getting a mentio in the blog ! Your welcome – Just curious, do you treat the 4.45 am feed like a night feed? No stimulation, no eye contact, no TV or talking etc? And does Holly go back to sleep after a feed? ! As for my kids… I have too many to list, but it seems my boys are crap sleepers and my girls are heavenly ! Bella was sleeping through at 9 weeks !! and Emily did her first 7 -7 at 10 weeks ! Emily still wakes at 4am most days, but she has a very quick feed and goes back to sleep ( thank god ) – Jesse one of my twins has only just started sleeping through ! at 20 months ha ha !!!!!

    • Kel says:

      Hehe!! 🙂
      Yes, I definitely treat it like any other waking – feed and then straight back down again. However, for that particular feed she seems to be so wide awake. She won’t feed back to sleep. She starts “talking”, kicking her legs, patting meon the face etc. I put her down, but she just starts crying out. I figure, rather than wake everyone else up, it’s easier to get her up. Although, she only ever stays awake for 1.5 hours max before she crashes again.
      Mind you, this morning it was 5.30am, so it was slightly later. Here’s hoping for 6.30am tomorrow!! 😉
      You’ve had such a mixed bag, Elisha. Just goes to show, doesn’t it!

      • Elisha Squire says:

        Ahh Kel 5.30! It just gets better and better ! That is wonderful news – fingers crossed for 6.30 ! and then 7am ! YAY… 7 is my magic number.. haha !! And yes a very mixed bag so it does go to show its not in the parenting, some kids sleep, some dont ! Bottom line !

  6. Elisha Squire says:

    Oh and the 100 dummies in the cot – is what has helped Jesse sleep through, i hear him wake up and grizzles and then he finds a dummy – i have 5-6 in there every night !!

  7. CaZ says:

    So very happy that the sleeping is still happening for you. There is no better feeling in the world 🙂 Enjoy every minute of shut eye.

  8. Becci Bird says:

    Our first (now a 12yr old) would not sleep more than 40 min a time day or night and kept us up to midnight most nights trying to get her to sleep (would always fall asleep on the boob so would never fill up) so I ended up in Tresillian when she was 6 mths. After that first day she was down at 6pm till 12pm then back again till 6am. What a wonderful night that was. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves! After that she was much better (she finally took the bottle at 12 mths) as I had learnt how to wrap her tight. My second (now eight) was a lot easier as he fed better and wanted the bottle at 6mths (I ran out of boob!). They have kept those traits since – my daughter can never get to sleep before 10am most nights and my boy goes as soon as head hits the pillow, sometimes before! They’re all different and all you can do is keep chanting “this too shall pass”……

    • Kel says:

      Oh dear, Becci. That’s tough. I was starting to contemplate sleep school if things didn’t improve.
      It’s funny how you say they’ve kept those traits to this day. My mum was telling me I was a terrible sleeper as a baby and I must admit, even now, it takes me quite a bit to finally go off to sleep each night. 🙂

  9. […] sleep deprivation would be a thing of the past. After last month’s sleep through, I thought I was on the path to sleepy heaven. Alas, no. Here I am, bags under my eyes, and […]

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