Updated: Dec 29, 2020
People say this to me all the time, I don't really know what to say back.......kind of, not really, maybe? It is true, I am obsessed with their sleep, mainly their bedtime, but they still wake at night. Occasionally they will sleep all night long but more often than not one of them will wake for something or other. As long as they go back to sleep quickly I am happy with that :-). I guess it's relative as well so what is 'perfect' to one person isn't to another.
Don't get me wrong, I am religious with their bedtime, I will never let them go to bed late unless it's a VERY special occasion. That is mainly selfishness on my part because I want my evenings to myself!! It is lovely to know without fail every day at 7pm they will be gone and I can eat dinner in peace with hubby.
Of course they were not born sleeping (mainly) through the night, that was something I learnt the hard way, when my eldest was 4 months old she hit the dreaded sleep regression and started waking hourly at night time. I resorted to holding, rocking even trying to warm the moses basket up with a hot water bottle before I put her in. Nothing worked, I realised a 'phase' doesn't last 6 weeks and I could no longer cope. I wasn't leaving the house and I was sleeping all day with the baby. Enough was enough, my husband took charge and he sleep trained her while I hid in the bathroom each night! From then onwards her sleep improved dramatically and the relief was enormous.
Determined never to go back to that dark place again, when pregnant with my second baby I read all the sleep books, signed up to all sleep related groups on social media and truly believed that history would not be repeating itself. Then my second daughter was born and from day 1 I never got to practise anything I had learnt. Nine weeks of never ending screaming, lots of co-sleeping and relying on the dummy later she was diagnosed with reflux. It was another few weeks before her medicine kicked in and the cloud lifted. By then I was using every association in the book and had no routine with her sleep, which hugely stressed me out.
Looking back, I was so stressed about what was going wrong I couldn't enjoy those early days. I learnt a lot about myself, mainly how I cannot cope with lack of sleep. Even now, if I have a bad night I am a shouty impatient mum the next day and I feel really rubbish. I don't want anyone else to have to feel like that because I know it doesn't have to be so hard. With a few small changes, you can also eliminate that dark cloud of sleep deprivation that makes life ten times harder than it needs to be. Even a longer chunk of sleep can make the world of difference to how you feel.
Today the girls are 2 and 5, and at times the 5 year old is just as bad at waking up then the 2 year old! When my eldest turned 3 she started to have nightmares, it was several months of wake ups and comforting her until she wasn't scared anymore. When she was 4 she was waking for a wee in the night but it took me months to realise this as she wasn't saying anything to us, just crying and coming into our room and waking us. My 2 year old has just started to have night terrors and is becoming scared of the dark. Despite what seems like a never ending mission to get them both to sleep well, I learn so much from all these challenges they keep throwing at me.
Their sleep comes in eps and flows and I guess what I am trying to say is that there really is no such thing as a 'perfect sleeper' but there is also no such thing as a 'bad sleeper'. I am passionate about sleep and like to find a solution to every issue that occurs, this is why I do this job as I want to share what I have learnt with everyone else who is struggling. What I would say though is babies and toddlers shouldn't be waking up for the day at 5am, waking every 2 hours at night, struggling to fall asleep at bedtime and cat napping all day long. These little ones just need a helping hand to learn the skill of sleeping well!
If lack of sleep is taking over your life and preventing you from being the kind of parent you want to be, if you don't have the energy to enjoy things in life and you're fed up and ready for a change then I can help.
Get in touch to chat to someone that understands, I can give you some tips and advice and discuss if you're needing some more long term help https://calendly.com/asleepatlast. Join my Facebook tribe here for lots of sleep advice and support.