Working parents of crap sleepers. How do you do it???

(62 Posts)
DrMcDreamysWife Mon 05-Aug-13 21:31:09

Dd has been a crap sleeper forever, never slept through, never got close. She is now 11 months and we occasionally get a 4 hour stint. Last night she woke every 2 hours.

I'm back to work next week. I'm dreading it, for all the obvious reasons of leaving dd at nursery for first time etc,

But seriously how do you work on so little sleep?!

flipflopson5thavenue Tue 06-Aug-13 01:25:13

Interested to see what people say. DS will be 13 mo when I go back to work in a few weeks. Never slept through. Wakes every few hours and needs boob to go back to sleep otherwise he screams. Also takes 1.5hrs to get him to sleep at bedtime so not getting much of an evening at the moment either. At nursery he'll get one nap per day. Last time he skipped his second nap - he woke up every 1hr at night. All. Night. Long.

gaelicsheep Tue 06-Aug-13 01:33:00

Honestly? With difficulty. DD was a dreadful sleeper until very recently. I'd be awake 4 or 5 times a night with her waking up screaming. DH doesn't "do" night time, never has, although I'm the one working full time. I don't resent it though, I rather like having the main parenting role at night - it makes up for everything I miss during the day, and it's frankly much more important than work anyway. It won't last forever and you'll never have the time back again, so you may as well embrace it and try and enjoy the cuddles.

Right now DD is much better and it's me who's the crap sleeper.

takeaway2 Tue 06-Aug-13 01:37:48

Co-sleep. Both mine didn't sleep through till past 2 years. DS is now 5.5 and dd nearly 3...! I went back ft at 6 months each time.

gaelicsheep Tue 06-Aug-13 01:39:37

Yes, that is a very good point. While we didn't co-sleep full time (bed too small!) I did resort to bringing both of mine into bed on many many occasions. Most nights with DD for at least some of the night. It didn't make for a restful sleep for me (bed too small, as I said) but it was more restful than the constant up and downs.

redspottydress Tue 06-Aug-13 01:41:59

My twins were terrible sleepers. The only way for us was to co-sleep.. it still took it's toll health wise.

trolleycoin Tue 06-Aug-13 01:45:52

By falling asleep in a toilet cubicle

gaelicsheep Tue 06-Aug-13 01:46:38

Ha, yes that has been known here too!

Susieloo Tue 06-Aug-13 01:50:08

Ds is 13 months and still wakes at least twice with morning being anytime from 4 onwards and I went back to work in April-the only advice I can give is to don't leave it too long until you take a week or even a long weekend or some time off-I'm on leave this week and was really struggling the last two to four weeks with the lack of sleep and work commitments-I also had to stop multi tasking and slow down a bit to compensate for my brain not working at full capacity - I called someone by the wrong name all the way through a meetingblush. On really tough mornings I would try and find some positives to wanting to get out of bed and get moving-i.e and I know it sounds trivial but I would sometimes think 'there will have coffee at work-I can drink it in peace.

Fwiw and i mean on an emotional level rather than physically - the anticipation of going back to work was worse than the reality.

Good luck!!

FixItUpChappie Tue 06-Aug-13 03:27:25

DS1 didn't start consistently sleeping through until 2.5 yrs ( even now really it's unpredictable). We just gave up on what we were 'supposed' to do and let him sleep with us if he wouldn't settle back to sleep or I'd put the couch cushions on his floor and sleep in his room (because he rolls around and drives us nuts in our bed).

take lots of showers and try to just get on with it. I would also take the occasional day off and send him to daycare so I could rest.

I empathize...the tiredness just settles into your bones at times.

ToffeePenny Tue 06-Aug-13 03:35:53

Coffee
Foods containing sugar

repeat as required to enable 'normal' ability to function until too fat then

Diet coke
lots of diet coke

ipswichwitch Tue 06-Aug-13 03:40:54

Ds is 22 months and at the min waking every 2 hours (possibly teething related). We did have a spell where he slept through a couple of months ago, when we stupidly thought maybe his sleep issues were finally sorted (hollow laugh).
Trouble is, he only wants me at night and gets hysterical if DH tries to settle him, which is weird as he's so clingy for his dad through the day. I just look and feel like death since I'm pregnant and can't even mainline on coffee to get through the day (sob!)

Want2bSupermum Tue 06-Aug-13 03:52:50

Honestly. I went back much earlier than the times you are talking about. I got DS and DD both on strict schedules of 4hr feeds from when they hit 12lbs. I didn't bf for medical reasons for DD and through choice with DS (it made me crazy tired and very hormonal). At around 14/15 wks both of mine were sleeping through the night (11pm-6am).

If the babies are teething (DD is 24 months and DS is 5 months) I give them calpol to get them to sleep. Nothing else cuts the mustard.

Drink coffee - I now understand why the coffee market is so huge.

CountryMama Tue 06-Aug-13 04:04:13

I think you just have to be super human and get on with it somedays. My ds ( I have 3 under 4 ) was waking 10 times a night at 1 when I was 9 months pregnant and working. I ended up resorting to bottles of milk and co sleeping but it was not great. I asked my health visitor for advice and read alot of articles. But to be honest I think often you just have to float through the day, knowing that it will improve eventually. Now I'm not working but on maternity leave I get up around 4 times a night for one or other of the children. I sometimes nap in the day if I can but I always go to bed as soon as I can in the evenings - always before 9.

MillionPramMiles Tue 06-Aug-13 14:17:25

It's hard but to be honest I actually find it easier to go to work after a disturbed night than stay at home and look after a grisly toddler. If you're used to not getting much rest in the day when you're at home then it might not feel any harder.

Dp and I tried hard to get dd to sleep better before I returned to work (she now sleeps through around 50% of the time. The other 50% she wakes a few times but we only go in once or twice). We also take it in turns to do the night shift - would recommend that.

If you reach the point where it's affecting your performance at work (and assuming you need to keep your job) that might be a sign you need to try more formal sleep training.

flipflopson5thavenue Tue 06-Aug-13 15:08:52

also, and this has happened to my cousin and an NCT friend, so its not just an urban myth... both their bad sleepers started sleeping better once they went back to work. It all just sort of clicked. The babies were getting older, and eating more and doing more during the day and were just plain exhausted enough. We live in hope....

Mine didn't sleep through til 14mo and 19mo. I went back to work 3 days a week when each was 6mo. I drank loads of sugary tea and ate lots of biscuits.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Tue 06-Aug-13 15:14:33

It's less tiring being at work than at home with kids. At least you get some head space. I went back at 13 weeks ( not uk so v short mat leave) was dreading it as dd such a bad sleeper. She still is but weirdly my work days are the least tiring days.

blueshoes Tue 06-Aug-13 16:08:34

Co-sleeping with bf-ing to sleep. The rule is I do everything I can to get baby to sleep without getting out of bed. If the baby is inconsolable, then dh gets out of bed to intervene.

It is tiring at night but at work, perfectly functional. Don't assume you will be tired. It was when my dc started sleeping reliably through the night that I was more tired if I was woken up at night. If I was woken up lots (sometimes a few times an hour), my body was somehow able to cope better with night wakings. The theory is that you never go into deep sleep so rousings are less disruptive.

DrMcDreamysWife Tue 06-Aug-13 19:03:33

Some reassuring reads here. I love the idea she will just know I'm working and it suddenly clicks. Sugary tea and biscuits will hopefully help. And yes there is a possibility that work will seem easier than looking after a fearless endlessly risk taking active nearly toddler. Although I am a secondary school teacher so 30 teenagers surely can't be easier??!

I'm still bf and we she does part of the night in the cot and part co-sleeping. I don't find it easy to cosleep anymore. We did it for months but she's really wriggly now. Usually I give in around four and she snuggles in/remains attached to boob till half six.

I am sort of used to the lack of sleep and we havr fairly busy days but its just hard to imagine working I guess!

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 06-Aug-13 19:10:01

Take it in turns.

One lie in each at the weekend. Switch over at 5:30am or so.

Proper extra bed in bad sleeper's room so whoever has the turn goes in there from the first cry so the other hopefully is less disturbed.

MrsOakenshield Tue 06-Aug-13 19:29:01

I have to take issue with the poster who says, rather blythly, work isn't the most important thing. It may not be to you, but it is to your employer and your colleagues. If you go back to work you have a responsibility to them too - why should you employer pay you otherwise? Why should your colleagues have pick up the slack?

We sleep trained DD from quite an early age - I cannot function as a parent or a worker on lack of sleep. Not fair to my colleagues, not fair to my child.

Please get your DP involved. The amount of women I read about whose partners don't seem to get that once the mother starts back at work, they have to get involved a bit more. Totally unfair otherwise.

Andcake Tue 06-Aug-13 20:09:00

Co-slept. We took the side off the to and attached it to my side of bed so we have more room. He sleeps better I sleep better and tbh I love being able to spend time cuddling him at night. I couldn't bare to do cc etc we tried put up put down - no joy 2 hours later all I had was a sore back!

I'm a secondary school teacher too OP. Some mornings I'd have been up at 4.45 for the day and go and teach a double A2 lesson. It still is less demanding and relentless, I'd say! grin

Pixielady83 Tue 06-Aug-13 20:39:00

I sympathise, I was a complete zombie when I went back to work because it coincided with dd staying awake for hours in the middle of the night struggling with teething sad

We have had 3 stretches of DD sleeping through- 4-9mths, followed by a year of bad sleep due to teething, then 18-25 months, followed by 6mths of anxiety related night wakings (triggered by move to bed). At 2.5 yrs she is now sleeping through most of the time. Can't emphasize enough to get DP involved as much as possible in managing night wakings. I used to do it all, but after getting pg DP started to do more and DD immediately became more settled. I don't know if it is an age thing as well though, as there have been times in the past when she became catatonic at DP going to her. Other than that, coffee and very early nights - I used to go to bed as soon as I had put DD down and loaded the dishwasher! good luck smile

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