I have put off writing this post in fear that I might jinx it. But, I wanted to share with you that after writing and telling your all about how sleep deprived I was. I can now tell you that Alice and Holly are both now sleeping through the night. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing this is and what a difference it has made to me, Alice and our family life.
So, what changed?
It was a year almost to the day that Alice went from sleeping twelve hours solid to waking up every night and three to four times each night. The first six months were pretty bad, they were long nights, with me spending most of the time lying on Alice’s bedroom floor wishing her back to sleep. And in-between that getting up for Holly’s feed. I was exhausted, Alice was exhausted it was not a great time for us.
Then we gradually started to make progress, I was able to leave her to fall asleep on her own again at bedtime. But, she still continued to come and find me repeatedly in the night. The difference now was that I could walk her back to her room, tuck her in and she would go back off. I believe at this point it had become a habit and the actually phase of her waking up had passed. What caused it I will never know!
During this time, life was a bit easier I was still quite sleep deprived, but it was more manageable. Broken sleep is tough to live with, but its better than no sleep.
By this point Holly had stopped waking for her nightly feed and at seventeen months old was now sleeping through the night. Which she has continued to do, with the exception of the odd night with a wake up. But that’s life of a toddler and you can handle the odd night.
So, how did I break the habit of Alice coming to find me?
Well, it was easy and to be honest it wasn’t something that I conscious did that finally cracked it. I had tried reward charts, but I quickly realised that Alice had no idea she was doing it and had no memory of finding me in the night when she woke up. Her first words each morning became ‘Did I find mummy in the night?’ and sadly the answer was always yes. So, I ditched the reward chart.
We then carried on and got to the point where we hoped that maybe when she started school in September she would be so exhausted that she would sleep through then. September seemed a long way off, but we just didn’t know how to break the habit.
Then completely unrelated to Alice not sleeping, we brought her a new cabin bed. Her old bed did not survive the house move very well and it needed changing. I saw the cabin bed version of her current bed in the sale at a great price and quickly brought it. It sat in our spare room for a few weeks, Alice thought it was a new desk for daddy’s study.
We then went on holiday to Portugal for a week and guess what? Alice slept through the night every night. This made me even more convinced it was a habit and being in different surrounding or just being completing exhausted helped her to sleep through. That week was heaven, I had so much sleep!
But, when we got home the waking at night continued. A week later we finally had chance to build her new bed and she loved it. She kept telling me what a big girls bed it was and she was now a big girl and would sleep all night. I just nodded and thought to myself, there is no way you are going to sleep through.
We put her to bed just like we did every night and I fell into bed that night exhausted and with no thoughts that this night would be any different.
Then I woke up to the sound of Holly calling for me. I reached over to see what the time was, which I do every time I am woken up, just so I know how much sleep I have had or haven’t had as is normally the case. And, staring back at me was 6.32am…
I lept out of bed to grab Holly before she woke Alice up and raced back to tell Andy that Alice had slept through the night. This continued the next night and the night after that and then the night after that one… and so on, to this point one month later. Where Alice has slept through the night every single night without fail. She is also sleeping until 7am most mornings, unless Holly wakes her up earlier.
So, there you go we broke the habit. If you are reading this through a state of sleep deprivation, before you rush out to buy a new bed, don’t. I know the new bed worked for Alice, but it could have easily been something else that could have done it. What I am saying is if you think your child is waking up due to habit, then keep trying new things to break it. I gave up trying and now I know that it could have been broken I wished I carried on trying new things and who knows maybe I could have been having more sleep a long time ago!