Monday, 29 April 2013

Sleep, and the related Hullabaloo - #pbloggers Party 28th April 2013


If theres one topic of conversation which gets parents talking, its definitely sleep. How well our children sleep, how well we sleep (if at all), and we how we all cope with the inevitable sleep depravation of parenthood. 

"I love talking about my lack of sleep! The moaning keeps me going!"

This week's chat focused on sharing individual experiences and tips to help our little ones nod off, and it was great to see many new parent bloggers join in to swap ideas.

Sleep depravation: A common experience

One thing's clear, You're Not Alone!
The majority of parents suffer or have suffered from a lack of sleep at some stage, particularly in the early weeks, and no one finds this easy.

  • "I have a love/hate relationship with sleep. I love it but hate the fact I never get enough!"
  • "We were pretty desperate in the early days."
  • "I try to remind myself of two things. 1. This time will pass.  2. They will be teenagers one day and I can get my revenge."
  • "I do love my children but the sound of the door opening first thing in the morning actually makes my heart sink sometimes!"
  • "Last time I slept through? Around April 2009."

Even once babies start to sleep for longer periods, or even all night, many parents complained of not being able to sleep due to fears for the child's safety... or puzzlement that they hadn't woken up!

  • "Anyone else just become an incredibly light sleeper after having children? I've never been the same since"
  • "The tiniest sound wakes me"

All babies are different...

Despite some common ground, the chat showed just how different our experiences are as parents, and how some of us struggle for years with sleepless children, whilst others are blessed with great sleepers once the newborn stage passes.

  • "Sleep was good in my house till we hit the 5 month mark and since then it's been a crazy roller coaster"
  • "T is 4 and K is 2. Both sleep very well now, 12 hours solid, but it wasn't always so. We are fortunate."
  • "Our eldest didn't start to sleep through until around 18m & even then getting him to sleep took an hour - longest was 2.5hrs"
  • "J sleeps through the night but can't remember the last time I wasn't up at 6/7am."
  • "I have been so lucky with Elsa. She has slept 12hrs since 10 weeks. Think I'd've gone out of my mid with a baby that didn't sleep."

... and its not a competition

As with many aspects of parenting, the amount a child sleeps is often a hot topic for competition.
  • "Don't get sucked into my baby sleeps through the night competitions with other parents. They are all different."
  • "I don't think there's a rule. Some kids do (sleep well), and some take a little longer to get the hang of it."

Ignore the books!

Most of us prefer to make up our own rules when it comes to dealing with our children's sleep habits, or at least refer to the advice or tips of other parents rather than so-called experts
  • "Best sleep tips? Don't believe the books, the so-called experts or other parents. Do what works best for you & your children."
  • "No one size fits all solution when it comes to sleep. The books make it sound easier than it is." 
  • "I wish I knew about this chat sooner. So much better talking to other mummys about problems rather than silly books"

Factors which affect children sleeping

One thing we definitely agreed on were certain triggers for a bad night's sleep.

  • "Both my children are/were high-needs. Everything about them & their sleep made so much more sense when I read the description!"
  • "I find if she afternoon naps it buggers her sleep pattern"
  • "A very exhausting day makes my kids sleep right through the night, lots of fun in the sun!!"

Breastfeeding, general hunger and teething pains play a significant part;

  • "Sleep! I wish. LO is 2 in a few weeks and still wakes in the night for milk "
  • "With breast feeding I feel like I'm up 5 minutes after I have fallen asleep, it's exhausting"
  • "Thomas is worst when hes teething"
  • "Lilys sleep was upset by teething mosty which seems like its been constant for 18 months"

What are our best tried tips?

Despite acknowledging that there are no hard and fast rules to it, most of us were able to share some tips which had worked at some point for us, although - again - there was much debate and contrasting opinions...

Sleep training and controlled crying
  • "Don't run straight in if they cry! Obvs do if there's a problem if they're upset. But they HAVE to learn to settle"
  • "I find it difficult to cope with listening to baby cry. I can't last long before going in."
Noise vs. Quiet
  • "My 4 month old prefers the hairdryer to me.. "
  • "My baby cries louder if I put on music or noise lol! he prefers it quiet"
  • "Mine always preferred noise. Joshua used to go to sleep with an iPhone in his hand listening to the Cars soundtrack."
  • "We put her mobile on the rainforest noise setting. She associates the sound with bed & sleep. Useful if we're away"
  • "White noise and swaddling helped when mine were tiny. It was the only way they would settle"
Own room vs. Co sleeping
  • "I co-slept with my daughter an absolutely hated it, I find I get more sleep with my son being in other room"
  • "We also kicked both ours out of our room around 6 months. That made a BIG difference. We all slept better."
  • "Some nights its easier for us both if we co sleep he gets a full night and i get semi sleep"


  • "Start a routine early! Bath, book, milk and a song!"
  • "A routine really helped. I also did a dream feed at the same time each night until he refused"
  • "We found Max always slept in his buggy in the afternoons. We normally walked to the park, played and then he slept "

Sleeping aids

  • "Always thought that if someone invented a product that really helped wee ones sleep they would be very rich indeed" 
  • "We used Ewan from day 1 & Elsa has been a brilliant sleeper. Don't know if was him or she would've done it anyway."
  • "I tried one of those when she was about 6 months old but thought it actually kept her awake even longer!"

How do you cope with little/no sleep as parents?

": What are your best tips for getting a peaceful night?" Not having children!"

We also wanted to know how parents cope without sleep. Obviously its not just about the children - normally babies will make up for lost sleep during day time naps but its often much harder for the parents to catch up - if not impossible. How do you cope?
  • "Go to bed at the same time as them so you can catch up on sleep"
  • "Coffee, coffee, coffee"
  • "If we have had a bad sleep during the night me and my fiancĂ© will do shift work during the day"
  • "Get showered, dressed and made up, always makes me feel better"
  • "A good bike ride to work, fresh air, getting the blood pumping around the system. And coffee. Buckets of it"

To end on a positive note, many commented how the lack of sleep was worth it, and how beautiful our babies look when sleeping. Plus there's the added bonus of never needing to set an alarm again...

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