Every single evening, during the lead up to bedtime, I wonder when my girls will realise that things don’t have to be so dramatic when it comes to sleeping.
P1 has always slept well, apart from the newborn days and about the first 6months. She’ll sleep from 7pm-7am and she used to be known for having to be woken up at the weekends at say 8 or even 9am! Bedtime would see me giving her a bath, book and leaving her in her bed to fall asleep by herself. I’d hear her talking to herself quietly for a little while but she’d always be asleep within about half an hour. These days, bedtime is traumatic with her. She can’t seem to shut off. I’ve tried so many different approaches and when I think we’ve finally cracked it, something triggers more unsettled bedtimes for everyone. In the space of 15 minutes I hear every excuse under the sun as to why she can’t be quiet, or that she wants a biscuit or the toilet or another book or… Well you think of it, we hear it. Getting her to sleep takes on average an hour and a half.
This then disrupts poor P2, who struggles with her own bedtime situations. P2 has never slept 7-7. We’ve been lucky to maybe get a 12-5, and I think that’s happened less than a handful of times. It’s something I’ve got used to. On a good night she’ll go to sleep at 7:30, wake at 12, then 3/4 and then 6:30/7am. This I can cope with. Each time she wakes it’s always only for a few minutes, sometimes she’s still half asleep wandering into our bedroom. All she requires is to be placed back in her bed and given some milk with me sat next to her until she’s back to sleep. This is the bit I know shouldn’t be happening but believe it or not even that has seen improvements. I don’t physically feed her the bottle of milk, she holds it herself and replaces her dummy after.
The past week has been absolutely awful. Not only am I struggling to get sleep because of pregnancy or hubby sharing a pillow with me when he has his own… P2 has been dreadful. Literally the worst we’ve ever had from her. I can’t even remember the amount of times she wakes in the night anymore. Both hubby and I have been going to bed straight after the girls just to make sure we get a tiny bit of sleep. P2 will be asleep by 8:20pm (thanks to P1 playing up) and then she’s usually quite settled until about 10:30-11pm. She’ll stir as usual, needing just some more milk and her dummy. Then she’ll be awake again at 12:30, she comes into the bedroom, grabs my hand or leg and pulls me out of bed saying “mon” (come on) and she takes herself back into the bedroom and into bed, feeds herself her milk and goes back to sleep.
Then the worst bit happens. Right when I think I’m back to sleep, I’ll get another pull and a “mon” and it starts all over again. When I check the time it’s literally half an hour since before, sometimes even 15minutes. The most we’ll get is an hour. On several occasions I’ll find myself asleep on the floor next to P2. It continues like this until around 4 or 5am where I’m so exhausted I just give up and allow P2 into bed with us where typically we get about two hours of sleep before my alarm at 7am.
I feel like there’s something I could be doing to stop all the disruption, like stopping milk in the night, but whenever I have tried these things it’s just made things 100 times worse. Which surprisingly is possible. I’m terrified about introducing P3 to the night time disruption. There’s part of me that’s really hoping that she is a better sleeper than P2. One say something will have to change. Whether it’s us changing something as parents or just where P2 grows and is able to understand when we say “no milk” or “go back to bed” but right now nothing can change because we’re about to have some pretty big changes as it is!
I’d love to hear some opinions and tips on our bedtime struggles so please leave a comment.