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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A story about not sleeping...

As a mum of three, I am no stranger to sleep deprivation.

My children started keeping me up at night before they were even born (giant heads on my now weak bladder) and they are showing no signs of stopping yet.

The husband and I have read alot of books about sleep training, done alot of Internet research on night terrors. Downloaded alot of sleep-inducing music.
Spent a lot on night lights. We've lost many a night's sleep discussing/arguing how to get a night's sleep.

But it always boils down to this. We are weak. We are sleep addicts.

We break all the rules.

Maybe they would sleep better if we did "cry-it-out", stopped drinks before bedtime, bottles during the night, letting them sleep in bed with us, or even wedging in bed with them - but when it's 2am all we care about is going back to the land of nod, and we don't care what it takes to get us there.

Cry-it-out has never worked for me. My mother loves to tell me how, as a baby, I used to cry for her at night, how she went to the doctor about it, who told her to shut the door and leave me to it. "You gave up crying in the end" she says proudly "And slept like a baby."

An abandoned one.

I just can't do it. The sound of my girls crying drags me up the stairs against my will. I can't not go to them. The husband is just as weak. He is hot on my tail with drinks, favourite teddies, Charlie cloths and Nelsons Teether sachets.

Stopping drinks before bedtime is an impossibility in our house. I sincerely hope my kids curb their enthusiasm of downing a pint so quickly before they hit their teens. To deny them a drink seems positively cruel.

I know too, that by giving them a bottle in the night, we may be programming their little bodies to need a bottle in the night - but if we give them a bottle... they go to sleep again!
Tommee Tippee is our friend. If we'd had a son, I may well have named him after the genius bringing of sleep. I may make an arty statue out of the old bottles one day, in homage to him (If we ever ever stop using them that is).

As for the co-sleeping issue... We've just ordered a Super King Size bed, so when they five of us are all in together, we might have a fraction more space to thrash about and punch one another in. I think that shows our attitude to co-sleeping. If it means we get some sleep, we are all for it. We bought the Bednest beside sleeping cot for the baby so she could feel in bed with us too.

So addicted to sleep are we, we will even wedge ourselves into a toddler bed to get some. I've even been known to nod off sat inside a travel cot. I don't care. I'm not ashamed. I love sleep!

I don't want to hunch over a bed or cot, trying to soothe someone else to sleep. I lead by example. I get right on in the bed/cot too and give them them a real life demonstration on how to nod off.

Over the years, lovely, (in case they read this) well-meaning friends have started many sleep related conversations with "What you two need to do is... " and proceeded to give us unwanted, unsolicited advice which we have no intention of following.

We've tried, tested, and failed it all.

If anyone ever asks my advice on sleeping (The scary dark circles under my eyes make this a rare occurrence), I tell them to do whatever works for them.

And this is what I tell myself....

My children will all sleep through the night at some point.
One day they will realise they are not farm animals who need to wake us at dawn. 
We will need an alarm clock in our lives again one day.
The ongoing game of musical beds we started all those years ago will end one day
I am going to "Oversleep" again.


  1. This is absolutely my attitude to sleeping with children!! So well put, love the post.

    I'm quite relieved to hear someone else is doing constant milk refills for peace too - I eventually weaned my daughter off these and now C is 2 and still doing it I'm trying to remember how we stopped Madam because I know it wasn't hard. xx

  2. Well done on Netmums Blog - left this on there, but it's not come through here:

    I think that leaving babies to cry makes them anxious and clingy – no matter what time of day / night and I believe that this can stay with them. I have never left mine to cry, much to my mother’s chagrin. I have two boys, both came in with me at some point in the night until aged two and now they both go through the night. (Wish I could say the same for my lovely OH but that’s another story!). They are confident, independent chappies, secure in their mother’s love and I am happy to treasure those first years while they were small, in my heart, where they belong, even though it nearly killed me – which I kind of forget now – knowing, full well, that there will be a time when they are teenagers, that they won’t be getting up until noon. Well done for voicing the taboo. I’m with you completely.

    Ps I live just outside Brighton if you ever fancy a meet up X

  3. Wow, this sounds like our lives too! Have 2 girls, aged 3 & 1 and haven't had a full night's sleep in 4 years. It does get me down but again we break all the rules ie co-sleeping just so we get some!