Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Sleep

In discussions with other parents of young children, I have concluded that there are very few children in the world who sleep consistently through the night. It seems that everyone has their own little sleep issues, from the newborn 'several hours to feed, half an hour to sleep' routines right through to the 'four year old just wakes randomly in the middle of the night every few nights.' My mother commented, rather wisely I thought, that "The only thing reliable about a baby, is that they are unreliable." This in relation to Munchkin's sleep routines. But I think it is fairly good advice over all. It seems I just get a handle on one routine, before it is time to change. Time to drop a day-time sleep, or add another solid feed. Or there's a hiccup before things return to 'normal' such as teething upsetting the soundness of sleep, or Munchkin having a day when he doesn't sleep well or a day when all he seems to do is sleep!

The past week or so has been one of the most trying times for me sleep-wise. He stopped sleeping soundly at night. He's never been particularly good at sleeping through the night. We managed a couple of months between 3-5 months, and then again started to get it right over summer. That was before teething. We had a couple of bad weeks when tooth #1 and tooth #2 came through, then a few weeks of peace again to recuperate (thank God!). Then once again things have deteriorated. It had got so bad that earlier this week I was up 5-10 times a night to him! Not good for Mummy. Not good for baby either, but at least he gets to nap during the day, and babies do seem to be rather resilient. I was giving him his homeopathic teething remedy and we couldn't work out anything else wrong. I used bongella on his gums, but not his amber necklace as he's got a dribble rash again that it would enflame even more. I was desperate. Then, two days ago I remembered Passiflora Co. This is a homeopathic remedy that helps calm you down for sleep. It's terrific. Kind of the 'general sleeping trouble go-to' of the homeopathic world. It is really, really gentle, and safe to use with a baby. I usually avoid medication of all forms for both myself and Munchkin wherever possible so my homeopathic kit gets used fairly often. I have given Passiflora Co. to Munchkin the past two days, just before bed at night, and also before his day time sleeps (as they were shocking the past couple of days too - he'd just wake and wake and wake and be so grotty and miserable!). Well, Friday night he woke twice. A marked improvement. I still didn't sleep all that great because I am by this stage wired, waiting for him to cry! Yesterday he had two lovely long day sleeps, and was a much happier chappy for them. Last night he woke once. YAY! He is still asleep, at 7:40am. Yesterday he slept till 8am. Today looks like it will be about the same. Usually he is up at 6am, pretty much on the dot. So this tells you just how exhausted he has ended up. We won't mention the racoon-like dark smudges under his mummy's eyes. So there you have it. A simple remedy to help calm and soothe and my baby is sleeping properly again. I wonder sometimes if we get our bodies into a state and then don't know how to get out of it again on our own? Teeth #3 and #4 are still not through, and I suspect may be a ways of yet so I'm really, really glad I didn't just put it down to teething and do nothing about it. Teething is a nasty business, and completely unavoidable, but at least there are a few things we can do to help ease the discomfort.

And for all you parents out there - you deserve medals. Parenting is definitely not for the faint of heart!


Sunday, 23rd January, 2011


MaxineD said...

'tis amazing how one becomes accustomed to broken sleep when one has a family!! We have our own stories on that subject!!
so glad you have broken that pattern.

Elizabeth said...

Our girl is still good at night - but today has been one of those days, arrgggh! We have managed to get a total of 1hr 15 mins sleep out of her and I am exhausted!