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Rachael Haydon

Sleep advice for new parents

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Marissa, mum of two, shares her wonderful story of sleep, or a lack of it… 

Ahhhh, uninterrupted sleep – that blissful state that's cherished by all, but enjoyed by few new parents. Sleep deprivation is considered a violation of one's basic human rights so it's hardly surprising that a lack of sleep drives many a parent into a confused, mumbling, unwashed state of existence only rivalled by other parents of new-borns and extras from The Walking Dead.

baby lucas


Roughly six weeks after having our first son, now a rambunctious three year-old (and that deserves a whole different blog post!) we were convinced that unwavering allegiance to the Queen of controversy – Gina Ford – had rightfully earned us our snoozing bundle of joy and eight straight hours in the land of nod each night. Over the next two years, (and buffered by my newfound wisdom), I'd dutifully listen to long suffering friends recount horror stories of pacing the halls throughout the night, playing womb-like music and miming Twinkle, Twinkle whilst rocking a baby that still refused a night's sleep at 18 months old. At the same time as feeling genuine sympathy, I was also convinced that a smidgen of "tough love" coupled with a solid routine would get their mini insomniac back on track and provide them with some long overdue pillow love. I even committed the cardinal sin of offering our childcare manual to said distressed parents in their time of need *tuts and shakes head at self*

A different story

I'm sure you'll be thrilled to hear that the shattering of our alternate reality and my very rude awakening came in the form of our second son. After I returned from hospital I had psyched myself up for the six week battle with our unwitting trainee, but little did I know this minor battle would manifest into full scale war! Baby L did not take kindly to being coerced into sleeping and feeding according to a manual. He protested loudly and consistently when there was too much/too little sleep, when it was too early/too late for his liking, when he was being put to bed too full/too hungry, when it was too noisy/too quiet to sleep and objected daily for a sum total of six months before hubby and I managed to get a decent night's sleep again, and I'm fully aware that this is considered early for many.

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“Little did I know this minor battle would manifest into full scale war” 


Unlike our first son where I could choose to sleep when he slept (although I didn't and wished I had) and ignore household chores in favour of a nice cuppa and an hour's peace (again, didn't and wished I had) I now also had a toddler constantly demanding attention, snacks and regularly notifying me that he didn't in fact need his clothes in the supermarket and it was, quite frankly, exhausting. I remember one morning when I was asked to confirm my postal address and stood in a befuddled silence for the longest 30 seconds of my life before I could actually remember where I lived!

Now that I've made it to the other side, I felt compelled to impart my own personal brand of wisdom upon you so here goes... 

Take comfort – you’re not alone

If you are unlucky enough to be sharing the wee small hours with a sleep stealer and you're wondering why your little one views your gorgeous nursery complete with its comfy new cot akin to a dirty prison cell, please don't despair as you're definitely not alone. I can wholeheartedly recommend a large stockpile of strong coffee and some really good DVD box sets for the long-haul nights, when you've given up trying to get back into bed and the Diamonique sale on QVC at 3am just isn't floating your boat. 

“Please don't despair as you're definitely not alone”


I also advocate the use of earplugs next time your smug, well-rested friend tells you all about their smug, well-rested baby as no two children are the same and what is effective for them won't necessarily work for you. Remain strong in the knowledge that if you're planning any more children your next little nipper may well choose to take up sleeping at night as a competitive sport and if not, there's always the chance that smug well-rested friend's next baby may well become entirely nocturnal ;) 

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And if you're lucky enough to be reading this after a full night of sleep then please simply offer your friend an hour or two to relax whilst you mind their exhausted, grizzly bundle so they can promptly go and pass out!  

Do you agree with anything in this post? If you have any other tips please share them on our Facebook page or in the comments! Don’t forget, sharing is caring!

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Rachael Haydon

Easter Egg Hunt

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt

It’s nearly Easter, so we’ve got a cracking Easter Egg Hunt running on our website. We’ve hidden seven golden eggs on seven of our pages. All you have to do is find one of our golden eggs to be in with a chance to win! 

Prizes

We have a luxury duck feather and down pillow to give away, plus either our Luxury Plain bed linen set - in a colour of your choice - or our snuggly soft Alien bed linen set or Explorer bed linen set. There are two prize bundles to be won by April 16th, so get hunting!

alien and explorer
Explorer and Alien bed linen

luxury and pillow
Luxury Plain bed linen in Rose, and duck feather and down pillow

Hint

Every day we’ll be giving you clues on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus to help you find an egg!


Terms and conditions

Choose from our Luxury Plain bed linen, in a colour of your choice or a child’s duvet set. There are two prizes in total to be won. In the unlikely situation that we do not have stock of your item, we will offer you an alternative range of the same value. Prize is not exchangeable for cash or other products.

Remember, sharing is caring! Share this with your friends and family so they have the chance to win as well.

Jen Stanbrook

Sleep deprived and coping

Posted by Jen Stanbrook, Wednesday, April 02, 2014

love chic living logo

Mum of two, Jen, shares her amazing story

At the time when my first daughter was born, I actually didn’t know you needed to ‘help’ a baby get to sleep. It sounds absolutely ridiculous to say it now, but I really was unaware that babies couldn’t get to sleep themselves. After all, if you’re tired, you fall asleep – it’s simple right? Of course it didn’t take long for me to realise that this is not the case when you are a new born baby. It was a harsh realisation and one that would shape my life for many years to come.

Jen and girls

I am a mum to two lovely girls. I would say that wouldn’t I! They are 9 and 7 now so I’d like to think that we’ve come through the sleep difficulties of the early years, but like anything with children, these childhood challenges never really go away. They simply change and develop with the child. 

The early days 

When my eldest daughter, Miss E came home from hospital 9 ½ years ago we were already advocates of the Baby Whisperer. Her methods are probably outdated now but at the time we were keen to establish a sleep routine as soon as we could. Miss E slept in a Moses basket in our bedroom at night, but in the evening we put the basket in the lounge and tried to encourage her to sleep. We were so naïve back then, yet had great faith in what we were doing and a huge amount of hope! She was tiny, but fed regularly and soon established a routine. I know not everyone will like to know that by 10 weeks old she was sleeping from her 11pm Dream Feed through to her 7am Morning Feed. It wasn’t every night of course, there were blips when she had a growth spurt but we’d pretty much cracked it at that point. And at that point we moved her into her own room. It worked well for us and for her.

baby in pram

The sleep deprivation had got to me though. I remember when Miss E was around 8 weeks old, sitting in a park with a friend, becoming very tearful. I wanted to go back to work. Being at home all day, every day with a new born was tougher than I’d imagined and I wanted my old life back. I’m convinced it was the lack of sleep, combined with the shock of my new life, which made me crave some normality. At the time, anything would have felt better than the world I was in. But, and this is key to remember, it passed. 

“The sleep deprivation had got to me”
 

A different story 

Fast forward 3 years and Miss R came along. Her home birth was calm and wonderful and we slept in our own bed the day she was born. Bliss. However, I think that was the last time I slept for months! Miss R was the polar opposite of Miss E when it came to sleeping and we were in for a rough ride.

Suffering with colic and just a general reluctance to sleep, Miss R was a challenge to say the least. I would rock her, I would cuddle her, and I would drive her around and walk the buggy until my legs were aching. But little seemed to help. I found I wasn’t coping very well at all.

Three months in and I was diagnosed with anxiety and was well on my way to post-natal depression. I took Prozac, tried to accept offers of help and lowered my expectations. Life should have been perfect with two healthy children, a lovely home and a great life, but instead things felt like they were falling apart. The way I coped was to talk to others. I found people that I could relate to, the ones who spoke about the reality of having two very young children, who told it as it was and didn’t sugar coat anything. I needed people to be real.

“The way I coped was to talk to others”
 

I also found an amazing Health Visitor who enrolled me on a Mothers Group where we could talk and be honest. It was supported by health professionals and dealt with a lot of the issues we face as new mums. With support I started to alter my preconceptions of what life should be like. It didn’t matter if the washing up wasn’t done, if the girls weren’t perfectly dressed and groomed, if I hadn’t vacuumed, as long as we got through the day in one piece with smiles and love, we’d done it. And gradually the days improved. Miss R still didn’t sleep brilliantly but I had adapted my expectations and we all started to relax a little.

sisters

Further down the line 

I think we all believe once we’re through those early days and months, maybe years, the sleep issues will disappear. I have to say, they do in the majority but there will always be little niggles that appear from time to time. There are the nightmares for example. As their world starts to broaden, their imagination can run riot at times, and this tends to show itself predominantly in nightmares. Miss R gets what we think are growing pains and has horrid leg pain deep in the middle of the night. Soothing her, administering Calpol and gently calming her back to sleep all takes time and seems to hit harder when you are used to a full night’s sleep.

toddler sleeping

Miss E has had a lot of problems with sleep as a school aged child. Mostly this centres on her inability to actually fall asleep. She has a very active brain, is very bright and really finds it hard to switch off. It took a few years but we eventually found she needed some melatonin to help her. Melatonin is the natural hormone we all produce to help us fall asleep. Miss E just doesn’t produce enough so takes extra in medicine form just before bed. It was a miracle. After years of being awake until 10pm, she was suddenly asleep at 7.30pm and she was a changed child as you can imagine. And we were changed parents.

It’s so hard watching your children, at whatever age, trying to get to sleep and not succeeding. As a parent we need to be able to fix this and make it right, so the relief we felt when Miss E finally got to sleep was huge. Finally we could relax. Well for a while at least!

Do your children suffer from nightmares? What sleep tips did you find worked for you? Leave your thoughts on the comments section!

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