19th November, 2008
So chronic sleep deprivation....
In reality it wasn't much of a surprise. I knew both sweet P & I were suffering from sleep deprivation so why wouldn't our little one be also?
So where to from here?
Well that was the first question we had to ask ourselves. Where do we want to head with this sleeping caper? Is the goal to have little M in a separate bed, room? Would we co-sleep with baby #2 & if so what would that mean for our possibly independently sleeping older child?
What exactly is it about our current sleeping arrangements that we want to change?
And so when presented with these questions the answers were easy.
Yes we will co-sleep with #2, if we welcome our babe in our bed then of course we would welcome our child too. We do not see a point in spending time, energy & frustrations on 'teaching' M a new sleeping code if we will up & change it again soon(ish).
The only problem with a wriggly child in our bed is the lack of room for everyone. So we need to help him learn to resettle without disturbing us.
So answers in place, solutions to be found.
We need the biggest bed in the world or something like it.
A secondhand queen size futon is purchased & placed beside our own.
Now there is plenty of room.
Following the recommendations by Elizabeth Pantley we move bedtime forward to 6.30pm. We treat the two hours leading up to bedtime as wind down time. We have slow, gentle & enjoyable transitions between the pre-bed activities. Dinner is served at 5pm. I start to cook at 4.30pm. This is a big shift people.
We create a peaceful, welcoming sleeping place. We enjoy the pre-bed time we have with our child. We take measures to block out all light in the bed room (a whole new meaning to the word now). We use 'noise' (heart chakra balancing music) every night to mask activity & silence in the house.
I use her techniques for breaking the 'breastfeeding to sleep association' to break the 'fondling mama's ear to sleep association'. And that is it.
I lay with him until he sleeps but then most times he is able to resettle without needing me (or my ear). Upon the first bird song of the morning he snuggles into bed with us 'inna middle'. And cuddles (& fondles ears) to his hearts content. What a lovely way to wake.
For us all.
ps this is not to say he is now a 'perfect' sleeper. He will still stir & call for me & sometimes he asks for 'ear mama'. Some nights he falls asleep in 5 minutes but other nights it may take 45. But he is happier, funnier, has more energy, eats better & plays better. And so do we :)
And so life goes....