Before Finley was born I thought babies slept all the time. I knew they woke at night for a feed but I thought I could cope with that as I'd be so excited to hold my newborn baby. Little did I know that from the day Finley was born I would never sleep the same again!
Poor Finley had acid reflux and colic so was a very unsettled baby. He didn't sleep for long periods, 4 hours max, and that was on a good day. The one time he would sleep was in the car or out in the pushchair, but then as I was out with him I would not be sleeping myself!!
I had friends that told me that their children didn't sleep through the night until they were 3 (I laughed at this and thought they were pulling my leg) and there were the friends that had children that from the day dot they slept like angels. I was hoping that once the reflux and colic disappeared we would get the angel sleeper, but oh no!!
Finley would be up every 3 hours in the night for a feed, some nights every hour. Once the night feeds stopped Finley would still wake up. Before he could talk he would wake up crying and need settling back to sleep. This would involve rocking him and stroking his hair (my fault as I had done this since he was newborn). This would happen on average 4/5 times a night. We were exhausted! Luckily we have lovely parents and as Finley was the first Grandchild on both sides they would love having sleep overs with him so we got to catch some z's for the odd night here or there.
When we had nights away we wouldn't be thinking about which bar to go to next we would be thinking about getting back to go to bed and sleep! How times have changed.
As Finley turned 1 and started walking we had hoped that this would use up his extra energy, make him tired so he would sleep more. But no, still 4/5 times a night waking up. Then as he learnt to talk he would wake up asking for a cuddle. Well when you have your 21 month old shouting cuddle you cant really ignore him can you, he pulled on my heart strings!
Our second baby was due when Finley was 22 months old and his sleeping was still erratic. The other problem that we had was that he wouldn't go to sleep at night unless we were in the room. So he would have his milk and have a book read, then we would have to sit there until he was asleep and creep out of his room. But if you hit a creaking floor board you'd had it and were straight back in that room until he was asleep again. We tried the cry it out method, once, and it made me cry. I'm too much of a softy. But with our second on the way we knew we needed to do something because if my husband wasn't home at bedtime due to work there was no way I could sit in Finley's room waiting for him to go to sleep with a newborn baby.
So we googled things we could try. The one thing that did work was getting closer and closer to the door as the nights went on until we were outside the door shhhhhing over the monitor.
When Noah was born we had a few nights that Finley slept through! Hallelujah we thought. But no it was short lived. Then one day he said to my Husband 'you can go now Daddy' and from that day bedtimes have been a dream with him. Yes we have the odd off night where he has had a nap in the day due to a car journey or pre school tiring him out but on the whole we are very lucky.
With the night waking it is slowly getting better. My husband and I do get a nights sleep more often than not. But he goes through phases. For a week or so he will sleep 7.30pm - 6.45am no problem, then we will have a few days of really restless nights.
He used to come out of his room and into our room to try get into bed with us, we would then need to carry him kicking and screaming back to his bed. So we tried a stairgate on his door. I couldn't cope with this as the thought of him feeling trapped made me feel dreadful so that was taken off after a few days.
He will now stay in bed but shout 'Mummy, Daddy, Cuddle' for us to get up cuddle him and go back to bed ourselves.
We got a Gro Clock when he was younger to use as a night light. Now he is older he understands about the sun coming up so we set it to 6.45am (which is his limit) and he will stay in bed, chatting some days from 6am, until the sun comes up. I also use a lot of bribery at 4am in the morning like 'if you stay in bed until the sun comes up you can have chocolate with your breakfast' and this works and gets me some sleep.
So as he gets older Finley and sleep seem to be bonding but I really can't wait for the day for them to be best friends! Noah on the other hand can sleep for England - thank goodness!!