Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Sleep issues and hopefully an answer

So for almost 3 years Noah has been an awful sleeper. Although he would settle himself he has only ever slept through the night on a handful of occasions. The lack of decent sleep for me has had a big effect. It has caused issues in my relationship as we are both so exhausted, we get snappy and impatient with each other, which leads to rows. The sleeping arrangements with Noah needing one of us, means that we have only had 2 weeks of sharing a bed in the past 5 months. It’s no wonder sleep deprivation is used as an instrument of torture. It is extremely hard to cope with a stroppy toddler (whose behavior is no doubt a result of his poor sleeping), but then add in a newborn who is breastfeeding every 2 hours day and night, a house that needs cleaning, dinner ready for when Tim gets in from work, and making sure I am doing things with Noah - groups, educational activities etc rather than plonking him in front of the t.v, and you get one very exhausted and run down mummy.

Last October when he turned 2, his helmet treatment for plagiocephaly finished, then within a week he had a chest infection, followed by an ear infection, followed by a throat infection. In total he was poorly for about 8 weeks.

This is when his sleep got really BAD! He stopped settlling himself, and would require Tim or I to sit with him whilst he fell asleep. This wasn’t too bad at first as it was generally a 10 minute job. Then came christmas, and he started to only settle in our bed. So our double bed suddenly became very overcrowded.

In February we moved house and decided “new bedroom, new rules” haha! At first we all had to sleep in the double bed in Noahs room as our room wasn’t ready to be used as a bedroom. By this time I was heavily pregnant with Benjamin,and had been diagnosed with SPD, so I was starting to get less and less sleep and more and more uncomfortable.

By April we had a king sized bed in our new bedroom, but Noah was so used to sleeping with us that it continued with me sleeping in Noahs double bed with him and Tim in the king size in our room. This continued until i gave birth. At that stage Benjamin was now in our room with myself and Noah and Tim had vacated the king size bed for a “peaceful” nights sleep in Noah’s room.

I started to have to sit longer and longer with Noah until he fell asleep. So I had Noah in our bed, taking until 10-1030pm to fall asleep, and Ben in the moses basket, who just after birth was a cluster feeder. So between 5-10pm i was breastfeeding constantly, and trying to get Noah settled. If Noah had been no problem in my bed, I wouldn’t have minded being in bed at 7pm as I was shattered from giving birth and constant nursing. But his behaviour got worse and worse - espeically when I was feeding Ben. To the point where one night he hit his 2 week old brother.

We have tried all sorts of “solutions” for Noah’s sleep habits - controlled crying, gradual withdrawal, cutting out his daytime nap, and last week we started putting him back in bed every time he got out. But none of it makes a difference. That first night in a 2 hour window, I put him back into bed 410 times! It has continued since, apart from one night when he went straight to sleep.

Well meaning family and friends have offered their solutions, however most of the time we don’t see eye to eye on the situation. I am of the firm belief you shouldn’t ignore a crying child. They are crying for a reason, and they need your help/reassurance. To ignore my child as was suggested by a couple of people very close to me, was never going to be an option. I hate to see Noah upset, and an hysterical Noah that gets so wound up he vomits gets me upset. I am not of the opinion like some that children are manipulative on purpose, although not everyone agrees with me on this.

However, today a visit to the Health visitor to get Benjamin weighed, led to a conversation about Noah’s sleep habits. She has given me the number of a sleep clinic. Finally after all the times I have mentioned to a doctor or health visitor about his sleep issues, someone has LISTENED to me, acknowledged there is a problem and pointed me in the direction of professional help.

I hope it works! I am ready for my evenings to be mine again, to watch a DVD with my husband, read a book or have a bath on my own. 7pm is no time for a 35 year old to be going to bed!

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