Sleep – The Hot Topic For All Parents?

How are you sleeping?

I remember the days when I could rely on the weather as a good old back up for conversation… “it’s been quite mild recently  hasn’t it?” or “it’s set to be the coldest winter yet”. I don’t need to rely on the weather now for chit chat. I have a young family… now I can chat about sleeeeeeep.

Does your baby sleep through?

This is a common question. I think most people think that sleeping through is going 12 hours without waking but technically babies are classed as sleeping through if they go for 5 hours straight. What if those 5 hours are from 7- midnight then waking every 2 hours? You can chose to sleep with your baby and kiss goodbye to your adult life and me time or get used to cramming a single sleep cycle if you’re lucky.

There are many opinions out there on sleeping through. I believe that there is one HUGE misconception as well. That is that your baby sleeps through from an action you’ve taken. Yes your baby will get into a rhythm that you set but babies are individuals from the get go. Some will sleep and some will take their time. If you’re a parent with a baby that sleeps through before 6 months then consider yourself lucky.

Sleep Deprivation and Happiness

Lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on your mental health. However, we accept that when we have a baby that there will be some degree of lack of sleep. For some of us though this period of time goes on longer than we expected or we find that we are struggling to deal with not getting our 40 winks. There is usually someone active on Facebook or social media at any hour though to keep us company :).

I am fortunate as I think I manage sleep deprivation well. I get tired and a little grumpy, but it doesn’t drag me down too much. I’m also fortunate that my 3 month old Olivia is sleeping from 11pm until 6-7am most days now. She will have the odd night where she wakes up but she has settled into more of a routine now. This is in contrast to George who didn’t regularly start sleeping through until he was 10 months old. I haven’t done anything differently. They have both been exclusively breast fed and have been in a bedside crib at night.

I must say that having a better sleeping pattern does help with happiness. My husband gets his sleep as well, so now its just work or looking after 2 kids that tires us out. I know that as son as I post this Olivia is going to start waking every hour in the night… expect a follow up post.

Bedtime Routine

There is a big divide in how some parents get their children to sleep. For some they use a cry it out method where the baby is left to cry for a period of time before being settled then left for a longer period of time until they go to sleep. Some parents comfort their children to sleep in their rooms. Others co-sleep until their child decides they want to be in their own bed and then start settling on their own. The truth is we will all do what we think is best for our children and whatever we do I think it can be supported by a great bedtime routine.

George’s Routine

George settles to sleep very well. When its bed time I say, “shall we go na night”? He usually then says “na night” and starts to clamber up the stairs. George commands “baff” hoping that it is bath night. We play chase on the landing whilst I run a bath for him, which he loves. Afterwards I’ll pat him dry and chase him around some more until he is chased into his bedroom where I get him ready for bed. “Book” is the next command. Sometimes I read the book, other times he takes it from me and reads his own version. If he enjoys the book he will say “again”. finally its “bed”. He will climb into bed and I’ll give him a tickle. We then sing a couple of songs: Incy Wincy Spider is popular at the moment. I’ll then tell him how proud he made me that day and kiss him goodnight.

I know this routine doesn’t sound very calming but I’ve actually found that making bedtime into the last playtime of the day has been quite effective with George. It is something he can look forward to and he often accepts that when the routine is over it is time to go to sleep. The only problem is, don’t even think about short changing him on funtime at bedtime. He likes his fix of play and reading.

I’d be interested to hear about your bedtime routines and how they work for your children.

How do you deal with lack of sleep?

Check out my other post on predicting naptime in children.

Thank you for reading

 

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