Tag Archives: Sleep

Five small ways to treat yourself today

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Whether it’s the latest cold doing the rounds or the hangover of a particularly bad night’s sleep, it’s hard to get a handle on anything at this time of year.

Yup, the Winter blues have hit and you may have found yourself saying “It’s been one of those days” far too regularly.

But when plastering on a smile and soldiering through doesn’t cut it, it’s time to admit you need a little break. To help get some well-deserved and much-needed ‘me time’, here’s five of my favourite treats guaranteed to turn your day around.

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Sleep

From the moment my first child was born, I’ve been obsessed with it.

Am I ever going to get it again?

How much will I get?

How long will it last?

Is that mum over there getting more than me?

Sleep.

You don’t know what a luxury it is until you suddenly lose control over it.

 

Which is why this week’s Parentonomy is about the Holy Grail we all seek when we have a child.

Have you found uninterrupted sleep? (If so, please share the secret).

How do you cope without it? What are your methods of trying to get more?

 

As a new Mum, I found it really hard to accept the unpredictability. The fact I was going to bed, not knowing if I’d be up again at 2am or 3am – and for how long.

What did I think was going to happen?

Well in my little bubble of happiness while I was expecting, I convinced myself that my baby would be that rare child who would sleep through the night.

Otherwise, I’d be so smitten with him that it would be a joy to see his little face peering up at me in the wee small hours.

Yeah…. right.

Having said that, Brodie was a good baby whose sleep pattern gradually stretched out until, at six months, he was managing to go from 7pm til 7am.

But we were firm with him. We did a bit of controlled crying. We were rigid with our routine.

Every night I’d put Brodie in his cot, the screaming would start and I’d step outside and wait 20 minutes. Invariably, he’d give up in that time, the cry would get more and more tired, then he’d whimper and drop.

I’d creep back in to the sound of his snoring, and tuck him under the covers for the night.

He’d sometimes challenge me by leaning over the bars of his cot and making himself sick.

On the advice of friends, I simply cleaned him up and put him back to bed.

When Blake came along, he had a much stronger will, and I found myself torn between wanting to stand firm – and worrying that his crying would wake Brodie.

My eldest was only two and a half. I’d invested such a lot of time and effort into getting him through until 7am.

Up all night - and Blake falls asleep just after breakfast!

Added to that, we moved house, and the walls of our new-build semi were paper thin.

I could work double time to get my baby back to sleep – only to find a grumpy toddler on the landing, insisting he was wide awake and wanted CBeebies RIGHT NOW!!

So I made the mistake of jumping up every time Blake whimpered.

 

If I got to him quickly, he’d take a drink and a cuddle, and go back to sleep.

Except as he got older this became our pattern. Even when he turned three, I was getting up at least twice a night.

I should have stood firm. Things would have settled down. Brodie would have got used to a baby crying in the house.

And we could have established a routine.

But jumping up to spend five minutes settling him seemed so much easier than a week of controlled crying, of making my eldest lose sleep.

Would I do the same again?

I don’t think so.

Blake is three and a half now, and is not as good at self-soothing as his big brother.

My saviour? Bunk beds.

We’ve had the boys sharing a room for about a month now, and they love it.

Blake’s sleeping has improved and at least half the time, my nights are uninterrupted.

If he does scream or cry, guess what?

Brodie sleeps right through it.

 

So there you have it, my tale of the long journey to slumberland.

Please link up your sleep posts below.

Thank you and goodnigh…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Talking through your troubles

My struggles with breastfeeding have been well documented on this blog.

As have my troubles with youngest’s sleep patterns.

So I’m very interested in Friday’s Mum’s Half Hour.

Live and answering your questions will be Fi Star-Stone, Pamela Hey and Amber Spain, mums discussing everything from how long to breastfeed, concerns about doing so in public and why some struggle to breastfeed (like me) while others take to it naturally.

Sleep deprivation is another factor in the first few months after bringing home baby (or in my case, years), and I’m sure everyone will have their own take on how best to combat sleep problems.

As usual, the panel of mums will be sharing their own personal experiences and tips on what’s worked for them.

And they’ll be hoping to hear yours. The webTV show will be live and interactive, with the panel taking your questions and thoughts.

So if you have something to say, they want to hear it!

Join them live online at http://www.youtube/startriteshoes on Friday, October 14 at 1.30pm.

And for another chance to win a year’s supply of Start-rite shoes, log on to the same place and submit a question, along with your contact details

S is for …

This post originally appeared on Tales From Windmill Fields as part of the Britmums Guest Post Match Up.

Don't let the Sun go Down on Me

It’s summertime, and most of our friends are packing up their suitcases and heading off in search of sunnier climes.

As Billy Connolly once quipped, in Scotland our natural skin colour is a sort of light blue.

So going abroad is our only chance to get some sun – and turn a bit pink.

Except this year, we’ve decided to stay put.

Finances, and family commitments, have led us to put off holidays until next year.

Apart from a few day trips and exploring the local countryside, we’ll be entertaining the kids at home.

My friend Michelle can’t understand why I’m so happy about this. But honestly, it feels like a weight has been lifted.

“Won’t you miss the sun, sea, sand…. and that other one?” she asked.

I assume she means sangria.

But seriously, until you’ve holidayed with two pre-school children, you can’t have any idea how stressful it can be.

Not taking one has removed the pressure I feel at this time of year.

S may stand for sun, sea and sand (and that other one) for most of us.

But to me, at this stage in the kids’ lives, there are a few other things that S stands for.

 

Stress

Airports are busy, pushy, agitating places to begin with. People clamouring to get the best seats, elbowing each other at the baggage carousel and having to take every last ounce of jewellery off at the security scanner. Factor in two children, running in opposite directions, climbing on the baggage trollies and needing the loo just as you get to your flight gate, and it’s enough to make you scream “I’m carrying drugs in my suitcase” just so two security men will whisk you off to a quiet room where no-one can bother you.

 

Screams (and stares)

You try keeping two children quiet on an aeroplane. We’ve never gone further than a three-hour flight, and we refuse to travel at night. Only daytime flights will do. But still, there’s always one of our cherubs who doesn’t want his seatbelt on, who falls asleep and wakes up grumpy, or who hates the in-flight meal (who doesn’t?) and kicks off in a tantrum. Then the other passengers without children, or parents who’ve miraculously forgotten how difficult those early years are, gawp and tut at you like you’re the rudest upstart on the planet for not training your little ones to sit in silence for the duration of the journey. The wheels are barely off the runway and I’m searching for my sickbag – to put over my head if nothing else.

 

Squashed

At home you wouldn’t dream of the whole family sleeping in one cramped bedroom, unless you’ve got some kind of slick co-sleeping arrangement going on. In our house, even our two boys can’t share, because youngest is such a disturbed sleeper, up several times a night, even now he’s almost three. But on holiday a so-called family room necessitates being squashed into a small cramped living space with four beds, and barely enough room to walk around them. My boys have a strict routine of an early bedtime. Meaning hubby and I have to sit on the balcony, whispering to each other, until they go to sleep. And when one wakes at 6am, we all have to wake up and start the day. Two weeks of sleep deprivation, squashed into a sardine tin of a room. What’s so relaxing about that?

 

The truth is it won’t always be like this. I look at my boys now and see their behaviour improving with every new summer.

And I’d rather have them than an unlimited number of foreign holidays. They’re worth the sacrifice.

Trying to have those family holidays abroad in past years has produced more stress than fun in the sun. But nobody forced me to do it.

Having an excuse not to this year has made me realise what a relief it is, avoiding forcing myself into a flying tin can for three hours, followed by a tiny room for two weeks.

You can keep your sangria. I’ll happily sip gin and tonic by the paddling pool, sleep in my own bed at night, and take lots of manageable trips to the zoo and other local attractions.

And I’ll keep my pale-but-interesting complexion.

Even if I look like a Smurf by the Autumn. I’m happy.

Blue has always been my colour.

To Sleep, To Dream

A child sleeping.

Image via Wikipedia

In my previous life BC (before children) I was the type who languished in bed on weekends, enjoying a blissful lie in.

My husband would attempt to separate me from the duvet at about 11am, pleading that I was wasting the day.

He could never sleep beyond 8am, and would hang around our flat, waiting for me to surface.

So it’s little wonder I’m now obsessed with retrieving control of my sleep patterns, although it’s not likely to happen for at least a couple of years.

My pregnant self believed losing sleep would be a pleasure once I had children – that gazing into their little eyes at 3am, I’d be filled with love and wouldn’t mind I’d been pulled from my warm bed to settle a screaming child.

Wrong!!

Once baby comes along, it’s almost competitive among mummy friends, to see who’s offspring is sleeping through the night first.

You kick yourself, wondering what you’re doing wrong when others brag their child is dozing happily by 6pm, and doesn’t wake until 8am the next day (and yes, one of my friends was lucky enough to have this with her son).

The reality is that on average we can expect 10 hours by the time our baby is three months, and 12-15 hours by six months.

While I established the same bedtime routine for both of my sons, Brodie has happily slept through from six months old. Blake, however, has a stronger will (and perhaps we’ve been less inclined to let him cry himself to sleep, in case he wakes his brother).

Now at two years old, I don’t think Blake has ever made it through the night. We’re getting better. I generally get disturbed twice, when I’ll give him a drink of water and tuck him in, and he’s asleep again within minutes.

But it’s frustrating to go to bed, knowing I’m likely to be up a couple of times between 2am and 5am. And while the little one is safely returned to the land of nod, it can take me forever to get back to sleep. Then he’s up a good hour before his big brother in the morning.

We all follow sleep-training techniques,and I’ve done all the things recommended by the experts.

But I bear in mind the differences between my husband and I.

Some of us are morning larks, like he is. Others, like me, are almost allergic to early starts – until parenthood forces us to drag our weary selves out of bed.

I believe we’re getting the best we can out of our youngest son, and he will get better.

In the meantime… excuse me while I go for a little lie down!

Here are a few tips to help your child get the best sleep he/she can manage:

1. Fix a bedtime and give a warm bath 30-40 minutes before, to promote sleepiness

2. Avoid stimulation before bed. Have a quiet story, give a milk drink, keep the lights low and pick a soothing lullaby before tucking in

3. Invest in blackout blinds to keep the nursery dark. Leave a nightlight if your little one seems afraid

4. Put your baby to bed drowsy – but not asleep

5. If your child is over six months, there’s no reason to offer milk through the night. Give a little water if you must, and tuck straight back in

6. Don’t be tempted to cut daytime naps. Your baby needs quality sleep during the day, for this to follow through the night

What are your sleep stories? Do you have any hints/tips to help sleep-deprived parents?

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