mission sleep

Mission Sleep

I’m on a mission.  My deadline is 20th May.  The mission is to….GET….MORE….SLEEP!

Why that deadline?  Well, that is the day that Sienna turns 1 year old (how the heck is she nearly one already?!).  In her 10 months on this planet, it’s safe to say that Sienna’s sleep hasn’t been great.  As a newborn she was typical, some nights just one wake up, most nights two, the odd night 3 or 4, and the even odder night, screaming all night!

As she got older, things didn’t improve.  I learnt to accept it.  With Ella having slept through from 3 months, I thought the same would happen again.  When it didn’t, I started googling like mad.  Then I decided to let her be and that she’d improve in her own time.  They’re all different after all.

But now, ten months in, I’m ready to have a full night’s sleep.  And not just one of them.  I think I need a solid two week stretch of good nights to catch up on all that lost sleep!  I planned to write this post today.  And lo and behold, Sienna had her best night sleep EVER last night!  Technically she slept through, as she only woke once at 9.30pm (having gone to bed about 7.15pm), had some milk and went straight back to sleep until….7.15am!  Amazing!!  I, of course, woke up in the night, and again at 5am hoping that she was ok.  I didn’t go back to sleep!  I think I need it to become the norm so that I can really catch up and stop worrying about why she’s not waking up!

And as I’m typing this, I realise that I may sound selfish.  That its all about how much sleep I’m having.  Well, I feel that in being selfish, things will improve for all of us!  In the past week, Sienna has been waking up about 4 times a night.  The week before she was waking in the night for a good two hour stretch before going back to sleep.  I can’t remember prior to that, but I do know that it’s not been good in a long time (like 10 months!!).  Throw in a two year old who occasionally is awake for stretches in the night, or wakes briefly asking for a drink or a toilet trip, and it’s pretty damn tiring!  I’m coping so much better with sleep deprivation now.  I do lots to make sure it doesn’t get to me (there’s a post here about some of the things that help!).  But I’m still not the best person I can be when sleep is lacking.  And that means I’m not being the best mother I can be.  I dread the thought of leaving the house sometimes, and the effort involved.  I snap at Ella when she’s just being a typical two year old.  I forget that Sienna may have been in a nappy slightly longer than she should have been.  By no means am I a bad mother (I hope not anyway!) from lack of sleep.  But I know I could be better if I had more.

And, I think Sienna would benefit too.  She does spend a lot of her day tired.  Plus, she sometimes wakes Ella in the night, who then struggles to go back to sleep.  And of course Sean is often awake with all the night goings on too.  So, we’d all do better for a good kip!

I am a resolver.  I’m not typically someone who sits back and lets a problem persist.  I do something about it.  And I think Sienna is now at an age to take action.  I’ve tried a few things along the way, but not really persisted with anything.  I definitely think one of the main issues for Sienna is her reliance on milk to get her back to sleep.  Which is probably my fault, as I’ve mostly given her milk before trying any other settling methods.  So, I’ve gotten strict recently.  She never has milk in her cot when she goes down for a nap, which I would occasionally do.  And she used to always have her milk in her cot when she went to bed for the night.  Now, she has it downstairs and then goes up.  The milk doesn’t send her to sleep as such, but it was acting as a sleep cue.

I realise that going completely cold turkey on milk in the night would be hard for Sienna.  So, at first, I’ve let her have full milk at her first wake up, which would usually be between 9 and 10pm.  And after that, have given her watered down milk.  In the past week, I’ve gotten stricter and am only giving her water instead of this watered down milk.  She’s still having the milk at the first wake up (she usually has about 3ozs).  Giving her water after this has made no difference at all to the number of times she has woken up or her ability to get back to sleep.  Last night’s success has made me wonder if it has actually gone some way to helping.  And for the first time in ages, she actually wanted her morning bottle!  She definitely needs to redress the balance of taking on more fluids during the day and far less at night.

Next steps are going to be stopping the water in the night, and eventually that feed at first wake up.  I’ve got a few ideas and will update on these in a few weeks to let you know how they’ve gone.  So, the mission is on!  I’m more than ready to accept it.  I’m just hoping Sienna will too!

I’ve filmed a bit of a video about the sleep mission, and will make more down the line with our progress!

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