Debbie, mum of soon-to-be six children, shares her sleep story
First and foremost can I just say that all babies are different.. and I mean all babies! I am currently pregnant with number six and know it’s going to be a whole different ball game again. That’s what makes parenting fun – you never know what’s around the corner!
The first learning curve
When I had my first son (Benjamin) almost 18 years ago, I was sure I was going to be part of the ‘pop them in their cot and let them cry themselves to sleep’ brigade. This is where life gets in the way; post natal depression meant I didn’t sleep for almost four months! Oh, little man was fine, he slept all through most nights in his bed but I sat at the bottom of it terrified he would stop breathing and sobbing knowing I had brought this little person into the world and didn’t have a clue what I was doing! Regardless of getting yourself ready, you simply aren’t prepared for the overwhelming responsibility of this little being – even when they are asleep!
Two years later and baby boy (Scott) number two arrived. Wow now this was a shocker! He slept like a log during the day, I had to feed him while he was asleep, change his nappy while he slept and generally sneak him out of his Moses basket just to grab some cuddles! Night times were somewhat different... I swear he was a vampire! He would wake around eight and think it was play time... I was so tired and soon learned that sleeping when baby slept was the best advice around! Yes, even grabbing five minutes while both Benjamin and Scott had their nap during the day seemed to recharge my batteries enough to cope with them during the night. Don’t get me wrong, they were never really whiney babies so the night times were never fraught with battling them asleep – and Scott never seemed to wake Benjamin either. Go figure!
"I was so tired and soon learned that sleeping when baby slept was the best advice around"
Four years later Jacob came along and yet again he was a content baby who was happy to sleep through the night apart from waking up for feeds – no problems except I was the one who was getting used to having them sleep between me and hubby! They would wake for feeds and instead of putting him back in his cot I would snuggle with him and fall asleep. Yes, at first I was worried especially because you heard so many horror stories of parents rolling over on their children. But I was such a light sleeper that I could tell when he moved his head let alone me rolling on him!
Almost two years later Ethan came along. In hospital I asked the nurse to let him sleep with me instead of putting him in his cot, by this point I was confident enough to know what works for us and insisted she allow us! Hold your ground if you know what’s best and what works for you.
We woke the following morning to mums pacing the floor cooing over us and saying they couldn’t believe we had both slept almost 12 hours – bliss! It was something I certainly needed after a tough labour and the bond me and little one had was a perfect start to life.
"Hold your ground if you know what’s best and what works for you"
The latest additions
I had learned that boys like sleep, and the older they get the more they like it too! Try getting a teenager who has nothing better to do than get up before lunch and you will see what I mean!
We now also have a four year-old girl (Evangeline took us all by surprise!) and from the start she has been a true little princess! The boys have sat over her and watched her sleep since birth. I think this has made her feel more secure as she always had a friendly face when she woke, she knew she was never alone so has never had any problems sleeping. She loves to lie in and loves to ‘snuggle bug’ as she calls it! Most nights she starts in her own bed and ends up in ours, we don’t mind at all – we know it doesn’t last forever.
We are now expecting baby number six, a little girl by all accounts (Amelia Grace) and know it’s going to be different yet again... but we are ready for that. The night time feeds and lack of sleep, the snuggles and sometimes sleeping through the alarm! Take it as it comes because they are only little for a short time and it will all be a memory one day.
Have you found a way to manage your sleeping pattern alongside your little one's routine? Comments and opinions are welcome below, and don't forgot to check out Debbie's lovely blog!
Recent Update: Debbie and her family have now welcomed little Amelia Grace into the world!