I’ve sat up with you till I hear the morning song,
And will sit with you forever, I’ll keep you strong,
Place your hand in mine, I’ll keep you safe,
Even when the world feels like the scariest place,
Let me scoop you up, I’ll wipe those tears away,
I’ll make you laugh, smile, I promise I’ll always stay,
In your heart.
So remember when you have a family of your own,
And you see it’s your mum again ringing your phone,
Remember how I sat with you the whole night long,
I won’t stop being your mum even when you leave home,
A mother’s love lasts a lifetime, even when I am gone,
I held you in the night and through the crack of dawn,
And will do forever, I will always be your mum.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY. ❤ WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS TOGETHER.
Rafe: "Think we should let mum get some sleep Little Oz."
Elijah: "Ok mate, leave it with me......."
It’s like I have a different baby. Don’t get me wrong Elijah can still can cry like a drill but in the last week he has started to sleep so much better. And yes it’s only been a week but in sleep terms that’s a lifetime! I would say for four solid months it’s been horrendous (no exaggeration) so 7 days of some stretches of 4-6 hours is an actual miracle. These few months it’s been a mix of hourly wake ups, literally no sleep, having him co-sleep most nights, no time in the evening to do anything but settle him, crying – both of us. It’s just an exhaustion that nobody can really prepare you for. We hit a real low when we were away in the Lakes for a long weekend. He did have a viral rash and was obviously unsettled from being away but he literally screamed for three nights solid. Like SCREAMED. No lie. I had three hours sleep over three nights and just had to sit with him in my arms. I really felt at breaking point and really didn’t know what to do. And I just kept doubting myself – what am I doing wrong? I was running on empty and felt desperate. But thankfully, things have taken a turn for the better. I wish I could say this is what I have done - it will work for you. And I'm aware 7 days of better sleeping doesn't make me a sleep guru and it all could change but still wanted to share what I have done that may have helped. I honestly can't put my finger on the exact thing – it could be a number of things. He’s still not exactly sleeper of the year but compared to the constant wake ups he’s soooooo much better. Best night he went down at 7, (cuddled to sleep), did wake up an hour later but settled him, slept through till 1am, had a feed, then back down till 6.15. If anyone who has been following my blog/social media you will know this was like a lottery win. (Though Rafe did wake at midnight and need settling and the bloody dog decided to bark and wake me up but hey, you can’t win them all!).
So here’s some of the changes I’ve made...
It’s so hard as I would read so much about babies and sleep and Google the shit out of sleep programs and then I’d read about babies sleep being developmental and how they will sleep better when they are ready. And when they’re ready to go into their own room. And I forgot that Rafe eventually settled better as I was just so locked into the exhaustion with Elijah and I felt like waiting for this to happen, well it was never going to happen. I wanted miracle cures! Maybe it is all just a case of time with Elijah, or a mixture of all these changes have helped. And like I said earlier, it could all go tits up next week but right now I’m just holding on to this week for DEAR LIFE and hoping it continues. I’m sorry that I haven’t given definitive, life-changing answers but I hope I’ve given some hope!
Cripes, I’ve written a lot here. I could write another blog post on my absolute dread about going back to work, how Rafe is just a joy right now and how I wish I’d done more pelvic floor exercises but I’ll leave it here for now. Massive thank you for everyone sharing all their own experiences and advice with me, it has helped so much.
Till next time,
I’ve reached a bit of a breaking point with sleep. Or should I say exhaustion. Since Elijah hit the four-month sleep regression (3 months' ago) it’s been pretty hard-core. Waking up every half an hour/max 2 hours. Not settling without me - and only settling with me. Then the past three weeks with Elijah having an ear infection and Rafe being poorly too, I’ve been getting 3-4 hours broken sleep a night. And honestly – without sounding dramatic, it is taking its toll. Some nights I don’t even remember how many times they wake up, I just know I wake up with sand in my eyes and a vague recollection of it being a rough night. There have been many head in hands moments, tears and – “I honestly can’t do another night like this again.” I'm just running on empty now. I'm just exhausted. I’ve tried a bit of sleep training with Elijah but have given up. I didn’t realise he was poorly so probably was not the best time to try. I’ve had many people recommend different things (THANK YOU), from controlled crying, the Cheshire Baby Whisperer, just doing whatever works - and another lovely mum sent me some info on the sleep sense programme which I tried. Basically had to stay in the room with Elijah but not settle him to sleep, sit with him while he settles. But I think me being in the room with him and not settling just made him more upset. I was going to try and just leave him to ‘cry it out’ – but I just don’t know whether I can do that as honestly I think he would cry for hours. Plus, his cry is honestly like a drill going through a wall so not sure my neighbour’s will like me much if I try that one! I did remind myself that I tried the Little Ones programme with Rafe and although I know it has worked for other people, it just made me more stressed out and in the end, after I tried the ‘pick up, put down’ method with Rafe at around four-months which kind of worked - then at around 6-7-months, he did just naturally start sleeping better. And now, unless he is ill he does sleep through and has done on and off since he was 1ish. I’m hoping it will click with Elijah too, I know sometimes it's just time but I go from 'just do what you can to settle him for now, it will happen when he is ready to - oh my fucking God, I need to do something to get him to sleep better. To - I am so lucky I get to cuddle him to sleep, that he feels safe next to me - to oh flip your bloody lid I need to just let him cry it out. To I can't leave him to cry, he's so little - to HELP ME NOW I NEED SLEEP. I NEED 5 MINUTES ON MY OWN.' I was reading a bit of The Gentle Sleep Book and it goes into a lot of detail on safe co-sleeping and to be fair, the past two nights if Elijah is by me, I have managed to get a 4-hour stretch in at some point in the night. I guess I don’t really know what to do - as you can probably tell. I guess we are all just doing whatever works for us – whatever it takes to get some sleep. Elijah still isn’t in his own room yet as we need to decorate it, so maybe once he is in his own room it may get better. Or maybe not. I realise I am probably not making much sense here but the fact I have written 400+ words and not fell asleep is a win for me right now. So I don’t know whether to just do what I know will get him to settle (in bed with me/boob) and hope that he will just start sleeping better himself – or try some ‘sleep training’ again. It’s just hard as so much conflicting advice and once you have read it all you end up more confused and exhausted when you started and you can’t believe you are stressing out this much about sleep. But when you are inhaling coffee from 5am, you get a bit desperate. Thank you for everyone’s advice along the way –I really appreciate it. It’s good to know that I have many other mums joining me at the 1am club, the 2am club, the 3am club….
So poorly children. It came all at once last week. Ear infection for Elijah (had antibiotics but still rubbing his ear) and Rafe’s cough and cold turned into a hospital visit and back on his inhaler. I have lost count how many times we have been in A&E now. I feel a bit lost with it all as every time we go, we are either admitted, he is given a nebuliser, steroids – or monitored and needs to be given his inhaler. And it is mostly a ‘some children are more susceptible than others’, or ‘some children tend to grow out of this’ I hear from the doctors. But I kind of want an answer as I just feel like, why is this happening to Rafe? I guess I just feel sorry for him as he never seems to catch a break in the winter. And you have the old mum guilt wobble of – am I doing something wrong? I think the next time we have to go (hopefully not anytime soon), I’m going to ask in more depth about why this is happening, what could cause this – I might just get the same answers but it’s just a worry. Having to sit up in the night counting his respiratory rate, paranoid about his breathing – every time someone has a cold your heart just sinks because you know if Rafe gets it, he could end up in hospital. The doctors have said this does not mean he has asthma and I’ve mentioned before I apparently had a cough at night till I was 4 and they thought I could have asthma but I grew out of it. Hoping for the same with Rafe too. They both have a nasty cough now so it does just feel like a never ending circle of colds, coughs and winter bugs. Roll on summer.
I need to start thinking about going back to work. I just want to cry at the thought. With Rafe my maternity leave flew by but with Elijah I have blinked and he is 7-months. Like what the flip? Same with my pregnancy, with Rafe it felt like an eternity between every scan and appointment but with Elijah it was like oh I’m pregnant, blink – he is here. I’m probably just being hormonal but I just feel like I haven’t had as much quality time with him but it’s hard when you have a toddler to entertain/stop from eating mud. I need to also start thinking about trying him with a bottle again and potentially dropping feeds in preparation for going back but I just can’t even think about that either. I’m just as emotional as I was about going back to work with Rafe but I can’t bury my head in the sand much longer. Just need to crack on with the lottery and scratch cards and hope for the best!
When I was pregnant with Elijah I was worried about how Rafe would react to having a little brother. Apart from the odd moments of jealousy, or when Rafe is sitting on him and pretending he is a horse - watching them together is just wonderful. Like I said in my post on Facebook and Instagram - the little moments they're together - when Rafe kisses Elijah or Elijah's (or Little Oz as Rafe calls him) face when he sees Rafe in the morning - it lights up. Every morning when Rafe wakes up I can hear him saying 'mama, Little Oz' and it's just the cutest thing. It can be hard having two so close together but I wouldn't change it. I can't wait to watch their bond get even stronger.
I really wish I could keep up with the weekly blog posts as I leave it so long and forget half of what I have to say. I just want to say thank you to everyone who still follows me, who messages me, who makes me feel like I’m not the only sleep-deprived woman in the country!
Till next time,
Sleep pre-kids in your 20's: Late nights, late mornings. Wake up with kebab on your boob just in time for Hollyoaks omnibus.
Sleep in 30's with kids: You close your eyes in hope but don't actually sleep. One boob is always out. 6am is a lie in and Mr Tumble and a toddler poking you in the face shouting 'garlic bread' is your alarm clock. You are adamant you are divorcing your husband at 3am if he snores one more time. Just me?
Rafe is at Harry Potter Studio with his dad and fam today. Travelled down to London yesterday. Obviously I wanted to go but thought it would be too much for Elijah, especially as he hates being in the car! I have been a little anxious all weekend, even though I know Rafe will have an amazing time.
Before kids I was very much like 'I'm going to be a relaxed mum, be able to leave them with grandparents for sleepovers, go away without them...' where in reality that couldn't be further from the truth. Rafe hasn't stayed out much at all, (me breastfeeding him for 17-months was of course one big reason) and it's not because I don't trust him with grandparents, they're amazing. I just get anxiety being away from him at night/longer than a day. I've never been overly anxious - a worrier but not an anxious person. And I don't know whether this relates to my birth trauma (with both) and PTSD or whether I was always going to get some anxiety being away from the kids for certain lengths of time. I also get irrational thoughts connected to this anxiety too (e.g. worried about the car journey down - what could happen). But I can rationalise these thoughts. I don't think I need 'help' with this anxiety, it just has its moments, it's not an everyday occurrence.
Also, I don't know whether because we have never really got into a routine of having Rafe stay out sometimes (breastfeeding/husband away a lot/pregnant/Elijah arrived) that I don't even contemplate it. I know it is normal and healthy to have time away from your kids and trust me there are nights I am like - GET ME OUTA HERE. But sometimes the reality of taking a step back is harder than it seems. And with Elijah still exclusively on the boob, it's not like I could have had a 'night off' recently anyway! Guess I just sometimes worry people judge me because I don't necessarily jump to have a night apart from the kids. (I don't ever judge anyone that does!) But I guess I've tried to explain it a little here. Or maybe I haven't really explained it all. 🙈 Does anyone else feel the same?
Been lovely to have some one on one time with the sleep thief though. ❤ Will try and get a 'proper' blog post out soon! 😘
“You’ve got this. You’re stronger than him. You can do this.” Wise words from my husband. Not before I was stepping into a boxing ring. Nope. Just before I tried to get my almost 6-month old to sleep without using shushing, rocking or boob.
So yes sleep is quite the theme of this blog post. It’s been a while so not really sure where to start. Will start with Master Rafe. So, we desperately needed to get him out off his room as the roof was flipping leaking and have had to get it replaced. So grandparents to the rescue and our ‘dump everything in room’ was transformed into Rafe's new bedroom. Ideally, we would have kept Rafe in his cot for longer as he wasn’t trying to climb out and was really happy in there. But we basically had to as Elijah is massive 🙈 and doesn’t fit in the snuzpod and needed to be in the cot. It was also a big change as it was a completely different room but naively I thought he would be ok on that first night but I was slightly wrong....We showed him his finished room during the day and kept saying this is your bed, this is where you will sleep tonight. We had him sitting on his bed and lying on it and he was excited. Bedtime came...did normal routine, bath, milk, then book in his room. Put him down to bed. Left room and he obviously cried. I didn’t think (again naively) he would work out how to get out of bed as has some small sides but we heard bang, he had walked into the radiator. Ok, we need a night light in there! Just used the calpol plug-in which works well. So back to bed...then for the next three hours he kept running in and out his room saying morning, morning! In the end my husband just had to shush him to sleep. Next day we got a stairgate for the door – and the last couple or weeks have been hit and miss. He tends to pull out all his books and teddies most nights, sometimes takes a book to bed and falls asleep quite quickly. Other times takes a while. This week my husband has had to rub his back to get him to settle . Last night he screamed and screamed at the stairgate and wouldn't settle. He has fallen out of bed once but I think it’s because he stood up on it, or sat and leaned back – so we moved the bed so it is totally flush against the wall and hasn't fallen since. It’s not far to fall but he obviously got a fright. Although it’s been a huge change for him he has been quite good *some nights – and it’s entertaining hearing him chatting to his teddies or pulling out all his books. Hoping the novelty will wear off but I don’t mind as long as he isn’t havung a mini meltdown like last night.
I’m not full of wise words but here is what I would pass on advice wise (thank you to everyone for their advice too!):
1. Unless you really need too, I wouldn’t rush moving your toddler into a bed. If they’re happy in there cot and not trying to climb out – I would say just keep in there as long as you can!
2. If you are going for it – make it exciting. Show them the bed, tell them where they will be sleeping – use your best children’s entertainer voice to get them excited.
3. Someone messaged me and said – don’t show him how to get out the bed! If they aren’t showing signs of getting out, I agree with that as when they can get out - that is when the fun begins. But, with Rafe, I think that’s how he might of fallen - because he wasn’t sure how to get out of the bed. So we showed him how to properly and safely as he was out as soon as we put him in so made no difference.
4. STAIRGATE. Life saver honestly can’t recommend this enough. It will keep them safe – and caged in 😂 and also means you won’t have a toddler in your face at 3am saying morning! Oh and a night light. Never used one before but helps for Rafe to see the chaos he ia causing! We just use the calpol plug-in. And I'm sure you will but safety proof the room as they pull everything out!!
5. Be prepared to have to help them settle as I think it can be quite daunting. I wanted to just do the normal routine to try and make it seem like nothing had changed but he obviously needed some more reassurance rather than leaving the room straight away.
6. Be prepared for it to be a restless week or weeks. Rafe is still slightly unsettled going to sleep – but does sleep through normally. Choose a time where you will have partner home – or someone to help if you have other kids or you will need wine on tap.
7. Although reassurance is needed, also be firm. We have to sometimes keep shouting or going back in and say ‘back to bed Rafe'. If he hears us on the corridor I can hear his little feet tapping on the floor and he jumps in and pretends he is asleep which is quite hilarious and very cute. But yes, just be prepared to repeat ‘back into bed a lot!”
8. The next morning give praise (not forever!), “you slept in your big bed last night, well done" etc...
9. Stock up on wine.
10. It is a challenge but also not as bad as you will think. Prepare for the worst and hopefully be surprised! Found it more funny and entertaining than stressful but my husband is home at the moment so when he goes back to work I probably won’t be laughing a much! And last night wasn't a laugh a minute so hoping that's a one off.
Good luck!! Oh and the quilt....Still a work in progress there. There are duvet clips and the gro-compnay do a zip type quilt thingy but Rafe is still all over the bed it would restrict him so much. Someone recomended bed socks which he wears and I just check on him through the night when up with Elijah and put the quilt on him if needed.
Right now to Elijah. Well since the four month sleep regression hit he has been a nightmare to he honest. Before four months he was actually sleeping ok. Doing some decent stints at night, I even stupidly thought I might have an ok sleeper! He grew out his snuzpod quite quickly and basically the only way he would settle for a few hours was if he was in the bed with me. So that’s what I had been doing. But the last few weeks he has been waking up at least every 2 hours. Sometimes every 30 minutes. Last few nights he was up every hour. He does have croup so the poor thing is quite poorly so that doesn't help. He isn’t feeding every time he wakes but just needs me to resettle him whether that be a cuddle, boob, or bring him into the bed. We have the cot in our room as what was Rafe’s room - needs work done to it after the leak so I have been trying to put him to sleep in his cot but it’s just been exhausting. Also when he won't go to sleep in the evening, I've just been bringing him downstairs as scared he will wake Rafe. but trying to get out of that habit as isn't helping him or me. Left him to cry for longer than normal a couple of times but then just end up feeling bad. This week I did attempt the pick up put down method to get him to try and settle on his own. It’s been taking about 40 minutes but he has gone to sleep and did a two to three hour stint. But then once he wakes that first time it’s just a really rough night from then. I’m just stuck at what to do. I remember Rafe was the same and persevered with the pick up put down method which helped and he started to sleep better so I’m hoping if I persevere, this will work with Elijah. You need so much patience though and honestly – I’m so tired. Like some days I feel sick because I’m so exhausted. The first night I tried the pick up method, my husband was sat in the room in the dark like a creep 😂 for morale support as it is so easy when Elijah is crying to just put him on my boob or shush him to get him to sleep rather than prolong any crying or exhaustion. And it’s been tough as like I said, poor thing has croup. He had a cough on Monday during the day but was ok in himself but woke up about 10pm and was coughing – well barking. He sounded like a seal - it was awful. He was also struggling to breathe so I rang my mum (nurse) and dad (paramedic) and they came round and my dad instantly said he needed to go to hospital and sounded like croup. So we went and they confirmed it was croup and gave him some steroids to help open up his airways which worked quite quickly. He was monitored and thankfully didn’t need admitted. Was just so scary as it came out of nowhere. Reminded me how children can deteriorate so quick – but equally can bounce back. He is still loaded with cold and coughing but is getting better. Rafe also has a cough too but hoping they’ll both be ok for Christmas! Love this time of year but it’s a fucker for viruses!
So yeah – sleep. I’m not having any so any help and advice would be appreciated! Oh forgot to mention Elijah does take a dummy now. Randomly tried him again a few months ago and took it. Mainly for naps – not always at night but it does help him to settle sometimes. All hail the dummy!
Tried Elijah with a bottle of expressed milk a few times but no joy. I was supposed to go to Edinburgh for the day last weekend but had to cancel as couldn’t leave Elijah. I think I need to stop committing to plans I know I might not be able to make and just accept that this little stage is short and that Elijah is still so dependent on me. And I want to still breastfeed so just got to roll with it. I’m going away for one night in February with the girls so will have to try the bottle again soon. Then before I know it maternity leave will be over (can’t cope with how fast this year has gone), so need to get him off the boob for some feeds anyway. So will let you know how I get on!
I was going to start weaning Elijah this week as he is 6-months on Monday but will wait till he is better. As if I am weaning him already! Honestly going even faster than with Rafe. Just want time to stand still a bit longer. Not ready for the emotional turmoil of going back to work yet.
Right, I’m going to stop. Blabbed on long enough! Just wanted to finally say...Merry Christmas! Hope you all have an amazing day. And wishing you all the happiness for 2020 – HOW IS IT 2020 next week?!!! Thank you for all your support this year. Means so much.
Till next time,
"Hi, I'm Rafe. I like to pull out all my teddies and books and everything out of drawers and sing Jingle Bells repeatedly for two hours before bed." Note: Thankfully this is not every night - we have had varying success from asleep in 15 minutes - to absolute CARNAGE.
"Hi, I'm Elijah. I wake at least every two hours (sometimes every 30-60 minutes 😴) and will only settle next to my mum." Note: This is every night and has been since hit the four months. #loveasleepregressionmykids
"Hi, I'm Faye. I'm pretty exhausted in a whirlwind of hormonal emotions to this is hilarious (Rafe) to this is horrendous (pure exhaustion), to I need to treasure (some) of these moments, to I wish this stage would just be done already."
Tried doing the 'pick up put down' method with Elijah last night and it was as successful as me trying not to eat a biscuit tin a day is going. You need the patience of a Saint and right now, honestly, I have a limited amount. 🙈 I remember this stage (4-5 month old/4 month sleep regression) being TOUGH with Rafe but you soon forget how hard it can be. Haven't had time (again) to do a blog post but husband is back for Christmas leave HURRAH so will do one for next week as I know people want advice on moving a toddler into a bed. (Don't do it! 😂) And by next week hopefully will have cracked this sleep malarkey. (HA).
I know Elijah is still so young and it is understandable how he wants to settle next to me but ideally we both need some sleep. If I was on SAS Who Dares Wins, I'd have handed in my badge. 🙈 Apart from 'pick up put down' method, has anyone tried anything else to help tackle this delightful sleep regression that isn't too traumatic for baby and mum?
And on a lighter note - Rafe and Elijah's love for each other is growing and it's so lovely to watch. Oh and it's nearly Christmas!!!!
I'm going to write a blog post about the sleep escapades of my darling children next week but I'll just put this bit of advice out there for now - don't try and put your toddler in a bed if they don't need too (e.g not climbing out, another baby needs cot...). Keep them in there as long as possible - till they are at least 12. 🙈😂 Oh and get a stairgate for their room otherwise you'll have an excitable toddler running along the corridor with all his teddies and books saying MORNING every five seconds. I'm assured it gets better with perseverance (to be fair last night was much more of a success than the three hour epic the first night) and I know it's early days but not quite sure how I'll handle bedtime tonight with husband back at work. Anyone fancy coming round for wine?!
"Oh God, he's sitting in a puddle."
"Chris, quick he is eating a stone."
"Okay now he is eating mud."
"WHERE IS RAFE? Oh, he is rolling down a muddly bank. At least he is laughing." I'm laughing inside.
"Oh fuck. Yankee is in the pomd. YANKEE!"
"Chris, the swans, the swans, they are going to attack Yankee! Yankee man!!!"
"Elijah, please stop crying."
"Right, you get Rafe, I'll have to carry Elijah. Let's get the fuck out of here."
The 'let's get out and get some fresh air' turned into my blood pressure going through the roof and all of us covered in mud - but isn't this a photo of pure happiness? ❤ Rafe enjoyed himself - and Yankee despite almost getting eaten by three swans, so I guess that is all that matters and me losing my shit (slightly) was a little dramatic. We were a walking contraceptive though. I could see the judgy eyes. 🙈
Sorry I've been quiet on the blog front, just been a slightly stressful few weeks, with poorly children, hospital admissions and Elijah not sleeping well - to name a few - but it's almost Christmas and have so much to be thankful for. Just could do with a few more hours sleep a night - maybe Santa could bring me 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep? IMAGINE.
Me pregnant with Rafe: I'm going to workout when the baby naps, make sure I look after myself... get straight back into CrossFit.
Rafe arrived: Rocked one eyebrow, rarely left the house without him, lived in maternity leggings, only exercise was walking to the biscuit tin and back.
Pregnant with Elijah: Two under two will be tough but really want to avoid looking like Worzel Gummidge every day. Also really going to try and get back into running.
Reality now: Lucky if I wear a bra. Brushing my hair is making an effort. One eyebrow is going strong - as is moustache. Only exercise is running (I use that term loosely) after a toddler saying on repeat, "please don't sit on the baby" and walking up and down the stairs to go to the loo. RIP pelvic floor.
Photo credit: mommymemejeans
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.