“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,
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.