How I Do The ‘Sleep’ Thing
As everyone knows, sleeping habits change massively when you have a baby. Dan and I have been very lucky on the whole. I have heard of people having it much worse! Sleep and feeding through the night is something that has changed weekly for us. From deciding, where Immy is going to sleep, gaps between feeding and how to get her to actually finish a feed before falling back to sleep.
Deciding where to put Immy when sleeping
We decided on a ‘next to me’ crib whilst pregnant. I must say, I love it. Although, using it as an actual ‘next to me’ only lasted a matter of nights. As I am not breastfeeding, there wasn’t as much of an advantage to having it unzipped attached to our bed. So we zipped it up and moved it to stand seperately and found that we disturbed Immy’s sleep less and she disturbed us less.
It is much bigger than a moses so I have rolled up two towels to make her feel safer as she seems to settle much better like that. But it also means it will last her longer as they say 6 months is now the recommended age to move baby into their own room.
Night Time Feeds
To start with, Immy slept for about two hours through the night and day at a time. In the night she would feed every time she woke up having about three ounces. We would change her nappy and put her back down. It took Immy a while to get used to being put back down. We would stand and rock her next to me to help her go back off to sleep. I know, I know, some say rocking is making a rod for your own back but you will be happy to know that Immy no longer needs rocking off to go to sleep!
Feeds then spread to every four hours throughout the night. This was when she was about 3-4 weeks old. This meant that we only actually ended up waking once in the middle of the night. We would feed her at about 10.30/11pm as we went to bed and then we would wake at about 2.30/3am to feed her. And then Dan would feed her again before he went off to work and put her back down.
Dan has always loved feeding her at night since he went back to work. He says, he feels as though it is his time to see her as he works all day. I stay up with him as we all know full well how lonely the night feeds can feel. We always have the most random chats and despite looking forward to a normal nights sleep again one day, I know I will miss that extra bit of quality time with both Dan and Immy.
We have always found it best that I change her nappy whilst Dan goes and makes her bottle. We change her before purely because she falls asleep afterwards and changing her after has always resulted in big blue eyes starring back at us and before we knew it Immy was in the wide awake club.
Immy now sleeps anywhere between 7-9 hours a night and Dan and I have woken many times thinking ‘SH!T is the baby okay?!’ because we are so used to her waking us up. Dan does the feed before he goes to work and Immy goes back to sleep. I get up half an hour later and have my shower and get ready before she wakes. If i miss that window, my whole day is basically doomed.
The only thing we struggle with at night is burping Immy. She falls asleep on her bottle. Most of the time at about 4 ounces, then she gives up the ghost and just wants to sleep. It is so hard to get her wind up. We try every position there is and nothing. Sometimes we can burp for nearly an hour as we are so scared to put her down and then have her wake up with trapped wind and impossible to get back off to sleep. (We did this once….never again)! So any advice there wouldn’t go amiss.
Day Time Naps
At the beginning, Immy slept for most of the day unless she was feeding as most newborns do. Back then I had no preference to where Immy slept. Dan and I soaked up all of those precious newborn cuddles. If not then other family members would, or we would put her in her pram.
At about 4 weeks Immy began to ‘catnap’. She would sleep anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour a time every hour or so. I was still okay with her sleeping in arms and/or in her pushchair in the day. She would otherwise lay on the floor and have ‘nappy free time’ or be feeding.
For the last week or so Immy has been struggling to sleep properly in arms. She has always slept well if we are on the move, for example, being in her pushchair or carrier on a walk or in the car on any journey. But a part from that she can be a little monkey. She tends to sleep better with a lot of background noise, which believe it or not, can be difficult when it is just us two in the house.
Since about 4 weeks she has had a MyHummy which has helped a lot as she is a white noise lover. She also has lullabies (Johnson’s Bedtime App) on in the background. This also helps her settle on her own. Especially at night time.
We have decided to start putting Immy down awake on her own in the day. Like I said, she already does this at night time and always goes off by herself after her night feeds. So I thought maybe this will help her in the day. Some parents disagree with this at a young age but it is the only way she gets a decent sleep. When she sleeps on me, every little movement wakes her up and she screams. (Our child has the biggest set of lungs)!! I have also tried putting her down in her pushchair but now she is more alert, every time I walk past she stares at me and starts crying or squeaking.
I have been putting her upstairs in the day, treating it a bit like night time. Setting up her music and MyHummy then putting her in her grobag and pulling the blind down. I stand and put her dummy in and give her a kiss and leave the room. I sit downstairs and watch the movement on the monitor like a hawk. She talks to herself and does a few little squeaks here and there. So far, within 5-10 minutes she has gone off every time and stayed asleep for half an hour or so rather than 15 minutes. So here’s hoping…I’m on to a winner.
I have also found that doing this during in the day has allowed me to get to know her better. I know when she is just making noises chatting to herself and when she genuinely upset. I can also get things done! I can have more than two mouthfuls of my breakfast/lunch and wash her bottles up ready for the rest of the day. Hell, I even got two loads of washing on the line the other day!
I do experience a slight amount of mum guilt when I say this, but I was starting to feel a little bit trapped. Having her nap on me constantly and feel unable to even reach for my drink through fear that she would stir and wake up! I feel like a new woman! I think we both do, now when I go up and get her when she wakes, we are both smiley happy people and I am greeted with gurgles and a glimmer of a smile rather than a bottom lip and a howl. It is so much better for us both.
Also, for future reasons…Immy was starting to get clingy. At night she would only settle for me. This can still be the case if she is having a bad night with her tummy, which luckily is now few a far between. But on the most part she will settle for anyone, whether it is myself, Dan or my mum. And one day, when she is a bit older, I want to know she will be okay with her nanny when she is left for a long period of time. Although, I think I’m the one who won’t be okay out of the two of us!
There are two things which seem to completely throw us out of sync. The first is colic. Immy has improved so much that on the odd night she struggles we are like fish out of water! But in the end, unfortunately, a part from, swaying, cuddles and comfort there really is nothing you can do.
The second thing is growth spurts. Generally she has anywhere from 4-6 ounces every four hours throughout the day and sleeps a fairly lengthly time at night. Just when we think we know what we are doing and we get a glimmer of a pattern between feeds we get hit by a growth spurt. Immy tends to drain 6 ounces every 3.5 hours when she is growing. This is a round the clock thing, day or night. She becomes a hungry and sleepier baby. The first time this happened I thought there was something wrong with her and rang my health visitor. Turns out she was just concentrating on getting bigger!
But hey, if it weren’t for these tough few days of piling on the pounds, we wouldn’t have those lovely cheeks to kiss! I love them so much.
Before the ‘mumpolice’ get on my back for this post, I would never let Immy cry if i thought for a second that she wasn’t okay. I would always go and comfort her. Luckily enough, she doesn’t ever scream when she is left awake. She might make a few cry noises but she is never distressed. I also understand that this isn’t the way for every parent and baby.
We are all different and this just works for us. I have no issue with a mum letting her baby nap on her or in her bed with her. At the end of the day, we all do what keeps us sane. Whether this is anything for half an hour without crying or a bit or personal space with a bit of time to do you own thing…even if your own thing is now washing and ironing!
Thanks for reading..Anna xx