Thursday, 5 June 2014

Sleeping skills

The alarm went off at 6:30am this morning and as I leant over to turn it off, something didn't seem right. I suddenly bolted up in bed with a shock - Sticky had slept through the night!

My first reaction was to immediately look in the cot and make sure she was still breathing - she was. I fell back to sleep in amazement!

This is the first time she's managed such a feat. I put her to bed at 6:30pm, gave her a dreamfeed at 10pm and had her back, sound asleep by 10:30pm. She finally woke up at 8am, meaning she slept for nearly 14 hours straight! 

I only did one thing different to normal, which was to give her 150ml of formula at the dreamfeed instead of the normal 120ml. I'm not sure if this made all the difference but given she wolfed it down, I'm going to increase it to 180ml tonight and see what happens. 

She did stir at 2am but went back to sleep. It's funny that in the past 2 weeks, she has been stirring anywhere between 2am and 4am. I actually prefer it if she wakes up earlier because it means I get more sleep! Although on the nights my brain is too active, and I don't get to sleep until midnight, waking up at 2am is a little rough!

I'm not counting my chickens that this will be a new pattern. But, at the very least, I know she's capable of doing it and each night brings us one step closer to when she'll be sleeping through the night consistently.

To be honest, part of me is a little sad to think she won't wake up during the night soon. I know some people will think I'm mad but I quite enjoy that little time I get to spend with her. When all the world is quiet, and it's just her and I in our little bubble. I know I can say that because she's a good sleeper. I'm sure the sleep deprived mothers of babies who have trouble sleeping would kill for 3 hours of straight sleep, let alone 14. 

I feel very lucky to be blessed with a child who can sleep. As someone who's had trouble sleeping all my life, I know how hard sleeplessness can be. My chronic periods of insomnia have nearly driven me mad in the past, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. That's why I have been working so hard on teaching Sticky to put herself to sleep. 

Sometimes she drifts off straight away and other times it might take her an hour. But, I want to prepare her in case she does inherit my insomnia later down the track. I want her to learn how to lay in bed without worrying she's going to be exhausted because she can't sleep. I want her to learn her own ways of calming herself down. I also want her to learn that I will help her fall asleep when she needs me to. 

I don't think we think of sleep as a skill we need to learn but I believe it is. Falling asleep peacefully is a skill. Staying asleep is a skill. Putting yourself back to sleep when you wake up is a skill. It's not one I've been particularly good at but motherhood and the mental exhaustion that goes with it has both helped and hindered my cause. Mostly helped! So, for me, teaching Sticky to sleep through the night, and achieve a deep, peaceful and rejuvenating sleep, is one of the best skills I can teach her.   

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