Saturday, 7 June 2014

Momentous news!

Earlier this week R and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary, which was lovely. You can see M here approving of our festivities! But, this post is not about that. It is about something more important than marriage...'s about sleep. 

If you have children of your own you will know that for at least the first year all parents talk about is sleep, or the lack thereof. We've had our own fair share of challenges. M is nine months old tomorrow, and has been waking up every two hours, or even every hour, for a feed from R. And it has been taking its toll. Everything is harder without sleep - the other night R asked me to change the batteries in one of M's toys. It had been a very busy day, following a vey disturbed night. She may as well have asked me to run a marathon. It felt like a gargantuan task. And that's just me. R has it far worse than that. 

So we needed to make a change. After a long discussion, reading lots of (naturally conflicting) online advice, and a chat to the health visitor, we felt we had to allow M to have some independence. We needed to teach her to settle herself to sleep, we had to stop rocking/feeding her to sleep. But how?

On Wednesday we started. Instead of feeding her to sleep, we made sure she was in her cot *before* she went to sleep. I took the first shift. The commitment was that we wouldn't leave her alone to cry. But equally we wouldn't get her out of the cot if she was upset. She screamed, writhed and generally complained for 40 minutes. I sat in the corne of her room so she knew I was there. It was tough. I had to stop myself from picking her up, which was really counter-intuitive. I verbally reassured her a few times and, finally, when I thought that things couldn't get any worse, she dropped off. I was stunned. Ok it had taken 40 minutes. But she had settled herself. This process was repeated several times through the night, and it's safe to say that both me and R were wrung out by the morning. We soent some time trying to reassure ourselves we were doing the right thing. 

On Thursday, with some trepidation, I put M to bed, using the same approach. I settled in for a long sit down, and indeed R had left me some earplugs. But then something exaordinary happened. She moaned for five minutes, and then fell asleep. When R and I awoke at 7am the next morning, we realised that she had actually *slept through*! Yes, the holy grail of child rearing. I couldn't be more thrilled if someone doubled my salary!

Isn't everything so much better with sleep?! What's even better is her napping is better and her general mood is better soon. I'm sure we're not totally out of the woods yet, and she still has a few sleep-related curve balls to throw us, but it feels good to think we're heading in the right direction.