The night time diaries – Guest post from Poppy Reflects

Poppy reflects

Next up in the night time diaries is Poppy Reflects. This is a lovely little blog and one I hadn’t come across until doing the night time diaries. Poppy talks about all the exciting adventures her family get up to. Also shares how she is preparing for her new arrival .

Poppy reflects

Hello, I’m Poppy from over at Poppy Reflects. I am mummy to Taormina who is two and am currently due with a baby boy! My blog started when Taormina was a few months old .As a way of recording all of our memories as a family and as a way to connect with other parents. I write about a whole lot of everything including our adventures, my general musings on life and reviews on everything mummy, beauty etc.

Poppy reflects

Since Taormina was born we have had several different bedtime routines. Some more successful than others. I should probably start by saying that she didn’t sleep through the night until she was almost two. I think this was a combination of her being very strong willed and doing it when she was ready. Us having little willpower through lack of sleep to implement change. Also feeding problems early on resulting in us having to wake her so often she never really had a chance to sleep for any stretch.

At the start of breast feeding Taormina had poor weight gain and fed for about 20/24 hours a day for the first few weeks. I had ruptured stitches so lay on my side and fed her more or less all the time meaning she was never really put down. She also had a tongue tie cut twice and during this time we had to wake her to feed two hourly to ensure it didn’t heal back in place. It seems that this all got her into a pattern of not sleeping for a long stretch of time and for the first six months we literally did not have a bedtime routine at all, she just stayed up with us and slept what felt like very little.

I would spend about two hours at night dancing around our bedroom to Mumford and Sons while she screamed the house down before swapping shifts with Dan until eventually she would go to sleep for an hour. I should probably add daytimes weren’t much improvement, she was generally too overtired to nap I think and having always been a baby that craved touch she lived in various slings for the first year of her life.

When Taormina turned six months old we decided in the January to start trying to get her into some kind of routine and so started the relaxing bath time, jimmy jams and story time that we still implement now. I think it helps us more than her to be honest but believe it did help somewhat in getting her into more of a bedtime routine. I would then give her the boob followed by bottle as although I was more or less dried up she wouldn’t take a bottle otherwise! Wow this sounds horrific as I write it down, that girl is truly the boss of us. Once she’d finished her milk I think it would take another hour of rocking her to sleep and she would sleep a stretch of maybe max three hours at this point.

The worst thing I have always found about her night time waking isn’t that she would wake up ten times a night; that I could of handled! It is more that once she was awake that was it, if it was midnight that she woke up she would be wide awake and just look up at me yanking my hair, poking me in the eye and generally cackling until the morning.

If I could have put her down and let her live a sleepless life alone while I got some sleep that would have been a dream come true but I swear if the thought even crossed my mind all hell would break loose. I’m even talking putting her down on the bed next to me. Oh no! Taormina wanted me to sit upright and hold her.

It shocks me that I even did that or put up with it for so long but honestly what do you do? So many people told me to leave her to cry, not for me I’m afraid. I know my baby and she is a strong willed critter, I gave in once and she cried for three hours solid. Somebody then suggested that is fine and don’t worry if she is sick either to which my response was obviously “but I quite like my child, so no, just no.”.

I could carry on talking forever about the various issues we had but I’d imagine it’s getting a bit boring now so onto what helped us out. As you can see above I am clearly not by any stretch of the imagination qualified to give any advice on this but thank the heavens she now sleeps twelve hours a night and I would go as far as to say she loves her cot.

I think she had every sleeping aid going and to be honest I can’t say any of these helped much although they offered me some reassurance and my favourites are the Cloud B tranquil turtle which creates waves on the ceiling and the Cloud B Gentle Giraffe who she did love to cuddle a lot and got this when she was a year old. He stopped working so I have bought a new one for our new baby boy and we might give the Grohush a try this time too.

poppy reflects

What helped Taormina sleep in the end?

  Cuddly Toy – At about eighteen months old Taormina started taking a giant polar bear to bed and he is literally her best friend. She has had him every night since then and she cuddles him to sleep. If ever I am not around she almost uses him a surrogate mum and carries him around everywhere.

  Duvet and pillow – Just before she turned two we got her a pillow and duvet and she absolutely loves it, she looks so cosy snuggled up in there and I would say when we introduced that it made her sleeping through the night far more consistent.

  Willpower – It was all too easy for Dan to haul her in with us when she woke up in the night although none of us got any sleep after that as she’d sit up kicking us etc. When I fell pregnant again we knew we needed her to fall asleep without being held and for her to stay in her bed so we used a very slow gentle approach involving one of us often sleeping on her bedroom floor all night to get her to sleep. Our efforts once we said no to carrying on as we were really paid off but it is so hard to get to that stage when you are ready to make a change especially if you are very sleep deprived.

I am so pleased to say that Taormina now not only sleeps all night but our most current development is her falling asleep in her cot (happily) at night and for a nap in the day while we are outside her bedroom. We used the gradual retreat method for this and now sit outside her bedroom which is massive progress. Until recently we would only attempt a nap in the car, if not she would need to be rocked and lie on your lap for the duration so the cot is an amazing step for us and she has even slept a couple of times in her pram recently to my shock!

I think every child is different and all respond to different methods but I would say that once you really want to do it and have the willpower you can start making small changes that will however slowly get you where you want to be. I still get a little bitter whenever friends and family just walk upstairs, pop their baby in bed and come back downstairs, their child sleeping peacefully until morning but I have everything crossed that is me with the new baby.

Wow what a journey they have been on to get their little one to sleep . All the hard work both Poppy and Dan put in have really paid off . 12 hours I wish , this does give me hope it gets better. I hope second time you get more sleep , I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you !

If you would like to read more from Poppy then head over to her blog  Poppy Reflects. Or check out her Twitter,Facebook and Instagram for updates.
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