Are you stuck in parenting ground hog day?
You know what I mean?
Constantly trying to settle a baby who won't sleep?
I felt like I was living parenting ground hod day, over and over.
Too tired to comprehend a way out, every day was a drag, and virtually identical.
My son was born 5 weeks early, so the first few months were stressful, we got sent home from NICU established on a 4 hour feed cycle, but after being at home for a month I had resorted to holding or wearing Charlie in a front pack for every nap.
This worked as he settled quickly and I had my hands free to play with my older daughter, or we could watch endless hours of kids YouTube on the couch while I held Charlie.
At 3 months old Charlie started to wake more frequently at night, I was confused as everyone said sleep begets sleep, so surely I was doing the best thing for Charlie by holding him for his naps.
I thought maybe it's a growth spurt so I fed him each time he woke up.
His day time feeds got smaller and he became fussy at the breast. By 4 months he was taking a 2 minute feeding before pulling off. I thought maybe he was distracted by his big sister, but I couldn't feed him in isolation, so I offered him frequent feeds, but we would cry and push away.
Then his naps fell apart, he would only sleep for 30 minutes at a time, and then wouldn't even feed back to sleep. I spent hours trying to cuddle, bounce, rock and feed him back to sleep.
Getting up every 1-2 hours at night was taking its toll on my mental health and my relationship with my daughter, I was snappy, and blamed her for Charlies poor naps and distracted feeds.
It was a disaster, and literally every day felt like ground hog day.
By 7 months we had started solids thinking this would be Charlie's fix as maybe with a full tummy he would sleep better? Surely!
Instead my endless list of jobs had grown. I was offering Charlie the breast at least 6-8 times a day, plus preparing and feeding him solids at least twice a day, combined with the endless hours of settling for naps, my daughter was watching more hours of YouTube than I am prepared to admit to.
This lead to her behavior deteriorating, and she started acting out. Temper tantrums and trying desperately to get my attention.
I knew something had to give when I looked around my living room and caught a glimpse of my unwashed hair and grumpy face in the reflection of the TV. The weeks toys and washing covered the corner couch and the floor. Charlie was crying, exhausted but refusing my efforts to get him to sleep, and my daughter was whinging at me, ipad in one hand, juice box in the other.
This ground hog day had to come to an end!
I contacted the Baby Sleep Consultant team and booked a phone consult immediately.
I knew if I got some sleep, my mental health would improve and I would have the energy to tackle the changes which needed to happen around the house.
Emma explained to me that Charlie had out grown my settling methods, he was ready to sleep in his cot. This sounded great to me! If Charlie would nap in his cot, I could give my daughter some attention, and have the time I needed to get this house in order!
Over 2 weeks, we taught Charlie to self settle in his cot, Emma was right, he was ready! He quickly settled into a 2 nap routine and his bed time moved earlier than my daughters, allowing me to give her 30 minutes of one on one reading before she went to bed.
I felt in control, and happy! Everyone was happy!
Charlie went from waking 1-2 hourly to only once a night around 2am for a feed, and this was a proper feed, not his silly snack feeding.
His day time feeds improved, it turns out his night feeds had put him off his day feeds, this was the reason he appeared fussy and distracted! It all made sense once I got some decent sleep.
I have the energy for play group and swimming now! Charlie and I go swimming while Neve has her lesson. No more parenting ground hog for me!
I finally love being a mum! I know it sounds terrible to say, but I was not enjoying motherhood, being shattered and overwhelmed I contemplated going back to work just to get a break!
The support, simple plan and settling approaches that taught Charlie to self settle was exactly what we needed. Nothing overly complicated, and Emma understood that I had Neve to look after and I couldn't be in the room with Charlie constantly.