When I was pregnant, both of Squeak’s grandmothers reassured me that as Mr Wawa and I were both excellent sleepers throughout our baby hoods, Squeak would undoubtedly be too.
Dig a little deeper and neither of them could remember any specifics. Then I encountered baby myth #1. If you admit your child doesn’t sleep long enough during the night then you’re admitting to being a bad parent.
But I want to remember everything, the struggles, the dramas, the resolutions. If someone asks me “how did you get your baby to sleep at night” I want to help. Here is a short diary of Squeak’s sleep phases!
I can’t believe my wonderful baby sleeps until I rouse him for a feed. I’m told to do this every four hours by my midwives.
Squeak is unable to sleep on a flat surface so our co-sleeper and Moses basket are entirely neglected. He sleeps on me during the day whilst I kick back with Netflix, and in the crook of my arm during the night. A reluctant bed sharer, I wake terrified in case I’ve accidentally smothered him but there is simply no other option.
Squeak sleeps regularly throughout the day. A pattern is starting to emerge – he falls asleep precisely three hours after he last woke up. We’re avoiding bad habits and make sure he is fully awake when putting him down at night. Feeling very smug at my excellent mothering.
Squeak is beginning to uncurl and towards 3 months is able to sleep in his co-sleeper for up to three hours at night. He sleeps longer if he’s back in the crook of my arm which always happens post night time feeds. I can also put him to sleep on my chest which acts like an ‘off switch’ and he’s snoozing away in seconds.
It’s the middle of summer and Squeak isn’t breathing well at night. I can hear him snuffling in the monitor every night before I go to bed. I elevate Squeak’s co-sleeper with a couple of blankets at the head, turn the fan on for cool air, and begin a complicated bed time routine involving olbas oil, menthol rub and nose drops to make sure his nose is clear.
I take him to the doctor who says his stuffy nose is perfectly normal because his nasal passages won’t be fully developed until around six months and my bedtime routine isn’t helping.
I tell the doctor I’m feeding constantly at night time, partly because it seems to be the only way to relieve Squeak of his breathing problems. He says babies’ noses flare when they feed so this makes perfect sense and to carry on as much as necessary.
I’m a bit worried that he’s going to get used to being fed to sleep, but I don’t have much choice. Will revisit at six months and try to get back to our previous routine. Can’t wait for winter. Poor little soul is far too hot at night.
Phew! Squeak’s breathing is much better and we’ve reached solids! Everyone tells me Squeak is going to start sleeping better. Plus all the experts say he doesn’t need to be fed at night time anymore. He still seems to expect it though. Worried I have created a bad habit but too ashamed to discuss it with anyone. Google is my best friend.
Squeak is in his own cot in his own room as he has fully outgrown his co-sleeper. Feeling very anxious about how this is going to work as he wakes constantly at night. Am hoping I’ve been waking him up sharing a room/bed with him so he’ll sleep better alone.
Squeak has woken at least every hour for the last month. Sometimes every half an hour. Sometimes it takes twenty minutes to get him to sleep only for him to wake up as soon as I place him in his cot. Spending entire evenings in and out of his dark bedroom is driving me to the brink.
I’m sleeping in the spare room where we have a low bed. Once I go to bed, I fetch Squeak as soon as he cries without waking Mr Wawa who has to get up at 6 for work. Feel very guilty that this is all my fault and spend my waking hours on endless research to understand the crux of the problem.
It seems in the face of frequent night wakings, people either sleep train or bed share. Bed sharing isn’t resulting in longer sleep like it seems to for everyone else – should I sleep train?
I cracked and admitted to Mr Wawa that Squeak and I were barely sleeping at night. He spoke to his family and friends is now cross. He’s been told not only is sleep training perfectly safe, but is also the only option to ‘break’ the bad habits I’ve created. Squeak is manipulating me and needs to be taught he can’t have everything his own way.
Deep in my heart I know Squeak is tired and doesn’t want to wake up. He’s uncomfortable with me and without me, but leaving him alone won’t solve the problem and at least I’m there for comfort during these hard times. Must figure out the problem.
Can’t wait for summer. Poor little soul is too cold in his room and the heater aggravates his breathing.
Success! Mr Wawa accidentally placed Squeak on his side instead of his back one night and he slept for four hours straight after rolling onto his tummy. Terrified of SIDS even though he isn’t in a risk category. Using a movement detector pad in case of any problems and am making sure his cot is absolutely clear of any toys and blankets.
Also, four teeth popped through in the space of a week and he took his first steps. Maybe developmental milestones are an actual thing?
Squeak is so used to being placed on his side he now expects it and rolls over onto his tummy immediately. Sometimes he interrupts a feed to try to climb into his cot before he falls asleep. Can barely believe my eyes.
He now sleeps up to six hours before waking for a feed.
Squeak is down to one nap during the day which usually takes place at lunchtime and lasts up to two hours which I try to time with a visit to a coffee shop!
Now he is trotting around happily he is utterly exhausted by bedtime and only needs a short feed. I don’t even have to try to put him down awake. He wriggles around in his cot trying to find his favourite position before passing out.
Squeak is waking regularly again! He sleeps up to two hours before needing a comfort feed and then at least two more times after that. I’m pretty sure this is down to teething, plus he seems on the verge of a whole vocabulary so I’m riding this one out as relaxed as I can. Going to bed before nine is a necessity but this will all be over in few weeks.
I still wonder about sleep training. Are we going to end up with a toddler running in and out of our room all night when he outgrows his cot like my health visitor said? Mind you, she also told me to do controlled crying to force him to sleep on his back!
I decide to trust him. When all is well he’s a happy little sleeper and only cries when he needs some help.
Will the sleep dilemmas ever end?
Will I ever sleep for eight hours again?
Will my bags ever go away?
He is worth it all and more. He makes my heart sing.
Must go to bed earlier.