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Coping with broken nights

(11 Posts)
opalescent Mon 01-Apr-13 17:11:32

I honestly don't know how other people do it. I feel so focused on sleep (or lack thereof) that I'm unable to talk about anything else! Of course, I knew in theory that having a baby would change my nighttimes- but the reality of it is hard, very hard!
Ds is 16 weeks this week, and has abruptly flipped from one night time bottle, to various, unpredictable wakings.
I find that my mood is affected so dramatically by bad nights. If I've had a reasonable amount of sleep, I'm full of the joys of spring. One or two bad nights and I feel utterly sad, odd and resentful.
I feel terrible for being so pathetic, as if I'm surrounded by stoical, brave, natural mothers, and I'm a brat, unable to perform my motherly duties regardless of sleep!!

Flisspaps Mon 01-Apr-13 17:24:33

Google the four month sleep regression.

At 16 weeks or so, sleep goes to shit. It's awful. It lasts about a week. Hang on in there. Do you have a partner - if so, they should take on one of the night wakings (or even a whole night so you can get a decent sleep and feel like a functioning human being again), even if it's just for the next week or so.

opalescent Mon 01-Apr-13 17:34:06

Lasting about a week sounds promising! I can totally survive if it's a blip of short duration. Thankyou, needed to hear thatsmile

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Mon 01-Apr-13 17:43:28

opalescent my DC3 doesn't sleep - I'm not going to say anything about phases because for us it isn't, or at least its a 23 months and counting phase, but about the coping...

Don't look at the clock during the night, at all and don't count the wake ups - that way madness lies. Have an alarm set for morning even if you know you're 99% likely to be up then, rather than constantly looking at the clock to see if it is.

If you ever can sleep when DC does, then do (I know people say this and in real life it is often totally impractical for a myriad of reasons, like older siblings or naps only lasting 30 minutes)

If it goes on longer and you feel you can't cope, try co-sleeping (taking sensible safety precautions, which you can google or ask on here about) - it is the solution for some people, though it doesn't work for everyone.

If you possibly can, get your partner to do a night at the weekend/ before a non work day, and to give you a lie in on the other weekend/ non work day - it makes a difference. My DH gets up with my kids on Sunday mornings and it is the only 4 hour stretch of sleep I get - it is a life saver.

Accept that the other brave, stoical natural mothers are acting in many cases - loads of people are just staggering by in the early years, but for most people the answer is sticking on a smile and continuing to go to toddlers/ meet for coffee and try to chat about other things, as if you let yourself collapse its hard to get back up again.

I hate the "this too shall pass" thing as it sounds smug, and not everything does - but in the case of non sleeping babies and toddlers, it will, eventually, nothing stays the same for ever.

NAR4 Mon 01-Apr-13 18:41:25

I breastfeed and only manage by co-sleeping. I couldn't cope with getting up to make up a bottle in the middle of the night. Have you tried those ready made cartons? That way you could have a sterilised bottle and one of the cartons next to the bed. When baby wakes, simply pour carton into bottle and feed. No waiting around or getting out of bed required. I definately agree with the getting your partner to do all the night feeds for at least one night when he doesn't have work the next day and also getting a lie in on another day. Surely that is one of the benefits of bottle feeding?

Most mothers I know say the night feeds are the hardest part of having a baby, so don't feel you're a bad mother or something, for finding it hard.

HearMyRoar Mon 01-Apr-13 19:26:20

Like tumbles I have a long term non-sleeper. We started cosleeping which gets us through. I nap during the days when dp is about.

It is hard sometimes though. When she has had phases of waking every hour I have just about functioned by doing the minimum. Concentrate on looking after you and your DC, everything else is secondary. Also don't believe that everyone else is managing better then you. I used to get told how well I looked when I was so exhausted I could barely speak. I remember one evening falling asleep on the hallway floor because I couldn't deal with being the the same room as dd when she was just going to wake up and cry at me.

It does get easier, you will manage. Don't beat yourself up about finding it hard though, we all do grin

opalescent Mon 01-Apr-13 21:01:47

Thankyou for your repliessmile it helps to know I'm not the only one. Not looking at the clock in the night will be hard, but I'll give it a go! At the moment I'm fixated by totting up the amount of sleep I've had as the night goes on- probably not very helpful!!

fififrog Tue 02-Apr-13 21:51:22

As mother to a more normal child with phases of awfulness but generally a good sleeper since six months (ie she wakes by 6am and usually shouts out once or twice a night waking us up), I still feel your pain.

What helped me in those early days was just forgetting about comparing myself to anyone else - who cares if they Hoover twice a day whilst baking bread and sewing ball gowns. Just forget about housework if you're too tired. Just because you're at home all day it doesn't mean you suddenly have to do all the cooking an cleaning. Maybe you know this already but it took me months!

If your little one naps better on your chest/snuggled up in bed, just do it and make the most of the enforced rest. My HV only added to my distress by telling me that DD must not sleep on me and that I should be getting casseroles ready in the morning so I had something healthy to eat in the evening!!!

One thing which helped was taking it in turns, religiously, to put her to bed. We still do this and she's 2 now. It gave each of us a bit of quiet alone time every other day. Also try to get out and get some fresh air every day.

What I wish I had done in retrospect: been less worried about sleeping arrangements, coslept more, and been less resentful of DH wanting to sleep in the spare room during the week - he coped far worse than me with the lack of sleep, which is hard to believe, but both of us being utterly kbnackered, miserable and dreading the nights did not help.

Don' worry you'll get through it. For us six months was a major turning point, then about 13 months, then again at about 18 moths when we worked out how to get her to sleep later than 5.30.

Wossname Tue 02-Apr-13 22:05:15

Excellent advice from MrTumble there. I have found that it's much less frustrating if you stop fighting it and just do whatever you need to do to get through each phase. Co sleeping worked for us til ds hit 9 months ish. Was the only way I got any sleep really.

FergusSingsTheBlues Tue 02-Apr-13 22:09:13

Sorry to butt in here - but Fifrog, how did you get your baby to go on after 5.30? My son turned three recently, and has only just started going through the night, so were kind of expecting further trouble....

fififrog Tue 02-Apr-13 22:24:35

Ah Fergus I nearly posted that but it wasn't really relevant to th OP! For us the solution was simple: later bedtime. She sleeps 10-10.5 hours pretty much every night so once we'd managed to get bedtime to 7.30 or later she pretty much started sleeping til 6.00. Even that was easier said than done and it took Chris Hoy's gold medal races being scheduled for bathtime that cracked it after months of trying to gradually move bedtim from 6.45-ish in 5 min increments!

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