Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Sleep is for the weak.......

Ok, hands up, I admit it.  I have been a "smug mum" these last seven years when it comes to children and sleep.  It wasn't always that way, as the first 12 weeks of Beansey's life was a sleep deprived nightmare, with a colicky, constantly breast feeding, bundle of cuteness and not the cosy, cuddly world of a newborn that the magazines lead you to believe (Ha, Ha).

I was struggling with the lack of routine and in desperation turned to "The Contented Baby" by Gina Ford which totally polarises parents but for me was an absolute sanity saver.  I realise that when you first read it, it comes across as very regimental, but out of desperation, we followed the feeding and sleeping parts of the routine and our lives were transformed.  

If you are not aware of the book, she advocates nonsense such as leaving a baby to cry it out, and putting them into their own room from birth which is something we couldn't do, but in terms of structuring feeding and sleeping it was magic and worked for us.  

Needless to say, I used the same method for Beau Bo and Pixie and know countless others that have followed our less rigid version with great success.   As a result of this routine, all of my kids have always been great sleepers.  They still go to bed at 7pm and sleep for 12 hours, they have all slept after lunch for 2 hours until the age of 3 and I get some much needed time out in the middle of the day!

However, since moving Pixie into a "big girl's bed" we have had nothing but problems (and no, we can't put the cot back up as passed it onto a friend).  At first,  she relished in the fact she had a B.G.B (Big girls Bed) but very quickly realised that she could leave her bedroom.  This is not good as we worry about her falling down stairs etc etc.  Our house is an old Victorian one and so we have irregular sized door frames, therefore a stair gate won't fit across her door. 

We have resorted to wedging the door with an old tea towel.  She still goes down like a dream at night, but from around 430am starts to wake up and we can't work out why!  She cries, loudly, then starts to wail "Mummy/Daddy bed, Mummy/Daddy bed".  We ignore and she changes her tactics by banging on the door.   Obviously we don't want her to wake the boys and so I then go into her.  She then says "Morning Mummy, downstairs".  This is her at 5:15am. Cute eh?!

This isn't a one off, this is every single night and I am at a loss as to what to do.  I have tried the following:

1) Cutting down her daytime nap - this doesn't work as she is up so early and needs this sleep.  If she doesn't have it, she is then wanting to go to bed at 5pm. 
2) Sleeping in her bed with her when she wakes up.  She has a cot bed.  I am 5ft 6inches and not a skinny minny.  This works for her, but not for me.
3) Ignoring her - she gets louder and louder, eventually waking the boys.
4) Bringing her into bed with us.  She then faffs about and doesn't sleep, wanting to go downstairs.
5) Putting her back into bed and trying the "sh, sh, sh" method.

HELP!!!!  Can anyone see where we are going wrong or is this just my punishment for being so smug about sleeping in the past?!


  1. Grobaby clock worked an absolute dream for our son. It comes with a little story book. Every night he has the story before bed and we set the alarm for the time we want the sun to come up. Then we wave night night to the sun, kiss goodnight and repeat the last bit of the story "so if you want a day of fun, stay I. Bed u til the sun!" he now knows not to get up until the sun appears on his special clock! It has worked for several other friends I've recommended it to - one said she could hear her little one awake in the room, but they stayed in bed until the sun comes up on the clock - perfect, especially as you can set the suntocome up later at the weekends for a cheeky lay in!!
    Lorraine xx

  2. Hey, SAM. We had one of those clocks too that shows day and night. Worked a treat. Be strong though. You're the boss, etc etc!!


  3. We've had same problem with 2 oldest boys when they moved from cot to bed. We tried everything but for oldest son whose now 6 he has a digital clock which he knows he can't get out of bed until 6.30am (this is good in our house). At first we wrote the numbers on the top, we haven't tried it yet with middle son as he's not as compliant. Other things that worked was telling them not to get out bed until they heard our shower going, or if its still dark. Sometimes its a phase and only lasts a few weeks. Hope you get some sleep soon. We had it with the baby (well he's 16 mths) recently so know how it feels.

  4. Oh what a pain! I had one who had a phase of coming in to us at about 4am - you just have to either break the pattern or change it. With mine I would get up and put him back to bed with as little fuss as possible. Sometimes I had to do it a few times, and it took a while for him to stop doing this.
    Sounds like your little one is just ready to get up. What about moving her bed time to half an hour later? And some really, really dark curtains.

  5. My kids were Gina Forded too - like you I didn't go for the controled crying stuff, just the timetable and both generally slept incredibly well. So it is a bit of a shock to my system to get woke too early - I had this trouble a couple of times with my first. And after the third morning of 5 am playtime I realised enough was enough and stopped taking her downstairs. I'm with Expat Mum - I put mine straight back in bed with very little talking - just a 'it's not wakey time yet'. We had a couple of mornings grumbling, but I left her. As such she learnt to go back to sleep without any aids and now sleeps for England.

    At 3 and a half my second she's starting to wake earlier at the moment - but the problem for me is my girls go to a school here in Spain where the 3-4 year olds have a nap - which she really doesn't need any more - it's driving me nuts! Roll on end of the year.

    Good luck.

  6. Ha - take that smug mum! Sorry kidding but I've had 3 terrible sleepers and still do. I got a press release from a company that do black out blinds that stick to your windows so there is zero light coming through...will send on if you like? Other than that - no suggestions - we never had a cot...

  7. Sorry not got anything helpful to add but you do have my sympathy. My last one was great at night and I was the envy of all the mums, but it stopped at 8 months and I was at my wits end. Then, by 10 months, she just started sleeping through again. Never knew what the problem was or what sorted it. Hope your little girl soon goes through the night again.

  8. We have a stair gate on our 2 yr olds door ever since he started climbing out of his cot at around 15 months and we were forced to take the side off it. Mind you I am a weak mother and he generally ends up in with me half way through the night! Good luck with it all!

  9. Oops just saw the bit about your doorframes. That'll teach me for not reading things properly :-)

  10. i am really sorry to have no advice, i can only feel your pain, with the 7-yr-old still getting up once/twice a night, to the 5-yr-old girl who doesn't, thus wees in her bed every night, to a 4-yr-old who wakes up stupid amounts, and a 2-yr-old who wakes a couple of times...i have tried EVERYTHING. i just believe it is karma..although i have no idea what the f*ck i did in the last life??!!

    i hope u get it sorted...good luck, and may the force be with you...

    tamsyn xxxxx

  11. I am having a terrible time with sleep at the mo and as I am in denial I haven't blogged about it yet, but when I do, I'll come back and write more.

    I found your post via the new section of BMB.

    Your blog's lovely and even at 5:15 she's cute.

    Today is worse than the others this week, in that I've been awake since 4 a.m. ...

    And he's not in his cot at the mo... we accidentally got into co-sleeping.

    Catch up more soon, Liska

  12. A few bits of wood and a few screws and nails and you have a door gate. Any diyer with a bit of gumption will be able to make one for you. Ask around and see who is handy with a screwdriver and a saw close to you.

    Then chill for a while and let her play when she wakes up. You will still hear her, and she will know you are there until it's getting up time.

    I fancy the details of that window blind company if you get them as I still have a bad sleeper who is too old for a gate, but wakes with the daylight, and daylight is getting earlier and earlier.

  13. I can recommend blackout blinds, they've really helped with both our two. You can get them in Homebase etc. Blackout curtain linings too. We even use them in our room in summer, bliss!

    Smug always comes before a fall, don't they say?! ;) Only joking, think everyone is a little bit smug about something. My older girl (5) has always been a terrible sleeper and we're now on a Sylvanian Families reward chart to stop her coming in during the night (yes, toys as bribes, anything for a bit of sleep. and no, don't ask me what happens when the money runs out...). Fortuntely our younger one (3) has always been good at going to bed and will stay in bed during the night, but she was an early waker - until the daytime sleep stopped. And that only stopped because she wanted it to, so sorry I don't have any practical advice! Just hope it stops soon for you...

  14. I'm having a *tiny* bit of sleep success at the moment (in terms of getting Aaron back into his cot after weeks of co-sleeping). Will do a blog post about it soon.

    Touch wood I hope it is not a blip.

    Anyway it may only last till the teething revs up again.

    Liska x


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