Iyla turned 6 months on the 1st of May and I suppose I was expecting to have some kind of settled night time routine by this age, but clearly she has other ideas! She has never been a good sleeper, in the beginning she barely even slept at all, I managed to get a couple of hours here and there if she was on my chest but I usually just gave up and ended up downstairs by 4am.
This is Iyla when she was 3 days old, sleeping on my chest. I apologise for the terrible photo quality, it was taken on my old mobile!
I then realised that a big problem was her startle reflex as she would fling her arms up and scratch her face until she was awake again. After spending many hours in middle of the night asking Google why my baby wouldn’t sleep I found the solution of swaddling. Unfortunately this wasn’t until she was 11 weeks old. I didn’t think there was much chance of her taking to it at this age as you are usually supposed to start when they are newborns, but surprisingly she did.
I had to wrap one arm up before I fed her, then when she was more relaxed I could wrap her other arm up and by the time I put her down, she stayed asleep. She would then only wake up once or twice in the night which was amazing.
This carried on for a couple of months but then when the weather changed we hit a problem. It was far too hot to wrap her tightly in a blanket, plus the fact that she was getting too old and too strong for it anyway meant that I knew it was time to wean her off it.
So a month ago I decided to put her in her own room and try to get her used to sleeping without having her arms restricted. After a few nights she was sleeping better than ever, as was I because I wasn’t aware of every little movement she made but then just as I thought I had nailed it she started waking up every hour! Having to traipse across the landing this often was too much to handle so she is now back in our room.
Things over the last few weeks have got progressively worse, to the stage where now not only is she back in our room but she will only sleep in our bed. She wakes up every half an hour all evening and then from about ten just cries until I take her out of her cot. I am now at the point where I am so stressed out by the whole thing, not at her as its not her fault but more at myself because I feel like it must be something that I have done wrong. No-one else I know seems to still be having these problems, I am now starting to doubt my whole parenting method. When she is crying in her cot I know that it is just because she doesn’t want to be in it and I partly feel like she is old enough to learn that she has to be in it but at the same time I am not strong enough to listen to her cry.
I phoned my health visitor the other day for advice and she said I need to put her in her own room and stop night feeds altogether and if I didn’t start leaving her to cry then I would actually end up doing her damage! So now I just feel so confused, I don’t have a problem with one or two night feeds or even her spending the occasional night in my bed but it just feels like things are worse than ever at a time when they should be improving.
If you had a problem with a car then there is one way to fix it but if you have a problem with your baby then all you can do is listen to a million different opinions before trying to make the right decision based on what you feel is the right. It’s the threat of damaging your child that suddenly makes the responsibility of making all the decisions overwhelming.
This is Iyla aged three months, sleeping on my chest, her favourite place.
So I am going to carry on doing what I am doing in the hope that it is just a phase / growth spurt / development stage or that I just have a baby who doesn’t like sleeping, and stop feeling like it is me who has made her like this because I am never going to know the real answer as to why she doesnt sleep well and it is hurting my brain trying to work it out!