Mum of two, Tami, shares her challenging experience with sleep and her children
We have always had problems with both of our children’s sleep routines.
Our first child, Little Mr A was not a good sleeper. I suppose we were partly to blame as we would cuddle him to sleep and then he wouldn’t go down in his cot by himself so would stay with us downstairs, sleeping on the sofa until it was time for us to go to bed. About 90% of the time he would end up sleeping with us in the middle of our bed. Whenever we put him in his cot, he would scream. No amount of comforting would settle him.
"About 90% of the time he would end up sleeping with us in the middle of our bed"
We tried all sorts of different routines as he got older. Once he was old enough, we removed the bars from his cot and turned it into a toddler bed. We would take him up after his story and milk and sit by the side of his bed until he would go to sleep. Some nights this could go on until 9pm, two hours after we had taken him upstairs. We would try creeping out of his room when we thought he was asleep, but the slightest noise of the stair gate or a creaky floorboard would wake him up again. It was a real drain on both my husband and myself and was no good for our relationship at all! We would argue a lot and were both exhausted. After a long day at work it is really important to have some time to yourself as well as together as a couple, and we just weren’t getting that at all.
As that tactic wasn’t working we tried controlled crying. This didn’t last long either! Little Mr A would get himself so upset and neither my husband nor myself could stand to see him like that.
A slow change
As Little Mr A got older he did grow out of it to an extent. We would be able to get him down to bed at a reasonable time, however, as soon as we went up to bed he would hear us and, more often than not, end up sleeping in our bed for the night.
It wasn’t until he was nearly four that he suddenly started sleeping through the night. We didn’t do anything differently; he just seemed to grow out of it! Once he started school, shortly after his fourth birthday, he was so tired he would happily go upstairs at 7pm, have a story and sleep through until 7am the next morning. It was heaven finally having the bed to ourselves and a proper nights sleep!
"It wasn’t until he was nearly four that he suddenly started sleeping through the night"
Just as we got one child sorted, along came our daughter, Little Miss A. Both my husband and myself were determined that we would try and sort out the sleep routine earlier with her.
Not much changes
Things got off to a good start. Little Miss A would go down in her Moses basket or crib to sleep without any fuss at all. Once she moved to her own room she would go down at 7pm and not wake until she needed her night feed. We were feeling very happy that things would be different this time!
However, once she started teething, the problems really began. She wouldn’t settle on her own and so we began the cuddling to sleep that we said we wouldn’t do! For (what felt like a long time) we couldn’t put her down as she would just wake up screaming and wouldn’t go back to sleep unless we cuddled her.
Little Miss A is coming up to 18 months now and we still don’t really have a proper sleep routine, although it is a lot better than Little Mr A. She is still cuddled to sleep after her milk; however, she will go down in her own bed at 7pm.
Most nights she will stay in there until we go to bed, however, no matter how quiet we are, she usually wakes up and ends up coming to sleep in our bed. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if she wasn’t such a fidgeter! She kicks, pulls hair, rolls around – all the things that don’t make for a good night’s sleep! We have had the odd occasion where she will stay in her own bed until 4-5am but these nights are few and far between.
When I am tired I often think we should really try and sort Little Miss A’s sleeping out sooner rather than later, however, it is hard to find the motivation or energy to constantly keep putting her in her own bed. I keep telling myself that it won’t last forever – just look at Little Mr A now! He loves his bed and some mornings we have to wake him up for school! I am sure Little Miss A will grow out of it in her own time and when she does, we will probably miss the cuddles.
Would I do anything differently if I had my time again? In all honesty, no. Although it has been incredibly difficult and challenging at times, I have loved every extra cuddle I have had with my two children and wouldn’t change them for the world.
If you've had similar problems, let us know in the comments and share with your friends. It's always nice to know you're not alone. Check out Tami's amazing blog!
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