I haven't blogged much about how Ella sleeps. But now, I have quite a lot to say. Let this very tired, exhausted mama get her ramble on...
She's 11 months and 3 weeks old, and with no "sleeping through the night" in sight for us yet...
Since birth, her sleeping patterns have been up and down, hit and miss. Some nights only 2 dummy calls, some nights every hour or more. The average is about 3-4 wake-ups, but usually I just need to reposition her and she goes straight back to sleep.
However, something that has been happening more and more frequently, specifically in the last 3 weeks, it happens about 3 nights per week: she wakes up in the middle of the night, and then refuses, REFUSES to go back to sleep, and stays awake for 2-3 hours. This destroys me. These hours feel like an eternity.
We have quite a nice consistent bedtime routine. After supper, the girlies bath together. After bath I take Ella to her room and quietly dress her, and then sit on her bed and give her a milk bottle. After bottle I lay her down in her cot, switch off the night light and walk out. Mostly she either falls asleep straight away, or might hum or chat for a couple of minutes and then go to sleep. But some nights, she stands up and cries. Sometimes then I lay her down and she goes to sleep, but sometimes I have to pick her up and rock her. I try put her down after a while - sometimes she's calm and goes to sleep, other times she cries again and I pick her up and rock her or sit on her bed with her in my arms until she's asleep.
But these long awake stints - she stands up straight away each time I lay her down. And she screams if I try and restrain her by holding her tight in my arms. So what Wyn and I have been giving in to, is putting her in bed with us. But even then, she crawls over us, pokes us, pulls my hair, flops down on us, etc etc. And only after a long time, she eventually falls asleep. I then usually carry her back to her cot, and sometimes she stays sleeping there, other times she wakes up and cries immediately, other times she wakes after 10 or 20 minutes and everything starts all over again.
It's not ideal for me to keep her in bed with us. Mia often also still calls us over the monitor, or has dreams or coughs. The dog sometimes growls or wants to be taken out. Wyn and I get up and go to the loo. We snore. The wake-up alarm goes off. All these things will wake Ella up! Also, I'm so aware of her in bed with me, that although I doze, I don't go into deep sleep.
I'm really feeling horribly sleep deprived, it's affecting so many things in my life, besides feeling physically tired... I am impatient, emotional, teary. I am even shaky today! I can't stop eating, specifically comfort eating, today I've gobbled up more chocolate blocks than I care to mention. I feel horribly guilty about the way I'm not handling the middle-of-the-night stints very well, lashing out at poor Wyn who tries to help and stays up with me and takes turns. I hate how frustrated and agitated I feel with baby girl... I hate how I find myself wishing time away and that she was two years old already. :-(
Some days I handle it all better than others.
I realise this is a stage.
I know it will pass.
I know I will sleep through the night again.
But oh my goodness, it's so so difficult when you're in the middle of it...
The baby stage passes so very quickly, I mean, look at how quickly a year has gone by. I try to cherish each moment, make memories, enjoy the little things, I really do. But in the middle of the night, I just sob because I'm so frustrated and tired and overwhelmed.
Today I've spent some time reading up on sleep training. There are lots of different methods. I know my heart won't be able to handle any of the crying-it-out methods, although Wyn recommends we try that. I just couldn't. Although at 4am this morning I was ready to cave and give it a try...
I found some nice websites and articles, some of them pro sleep training and some of them against.
Troublesome Tots is a site with lots of articles, all mostly pro sleep training.
Mommy Shorts is a mommy blogger who successfully sleep trained both her girls. The way she experienced it makes me think I should give it a try, she talks about it being the greatest gift she could have given herself.
Why sleep training isn't for us is a heart-breaking article that includes all my fears about letting babies cry themselves to sleep. It's traumatic for baby and mom, could have psychological effects later on, baby feels abandoned... This makes me not want to try sleep training!
Why your baby doesn't sleep through the night is a really nice article doing the rounds on Facebook, about why babies wake often... It just gives some reassurance that it is normal...
A book that was recommended by a friend, is Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, going to look into that as soon as possible.
I haven't decided what route we're going to take, I just know that I can't carry on this way for much longer...
I'm off to the chemist to buy Rescue Remedy Night Drops, let's give that a try first.