Friday 2 September 2016

I need my child to sleep

Baby Sleep Deprivation
I have always tried to be honest on this blog, sharing things I have loved, things that haven't been that great and some awful experiences; but there is something I have shied away from writing about. In fact I have actively hidden from it for the last nine months and at times I thought I would probably never share it with you. 

I've started this post a number of times and stopped, feeling that it may not be something that others would be interested in. However, as I started to write I thought there might be others who are going through a similar scenario. To be honest I was also worried that I couldn't do the issue justice, that my words would make it sound trivial and for me and I'm sure others who have been affected by this; it is anything but. 

I have a baby that doesn't sleep! Sounds innocent enough in itself and to be honest something you expect as a new parent. I wouldn't say I was naive about how hard it would be to become a new parent. I had expected nothing more than a gruelling six months of hard work and no sleep. Friends who had babies and toddlers told me that this was a good way to go into parenthood and that this was a realistic expectation. But nearly nine months on, the new born baby stage hasn't passed and I am still left with a baby that wakes constantly throughout the night. It is absolutely gruelling and soul destroying. 
Sleep deprivation
Now to be clear with those reading this I'm not talking about the occasional sleepless night because of a growth spurt, teething, a sleep regression or because the little one is unwell; I am talking about regular and consistent interrupted or no sleep.

To begin with you are running on the adrenaline of birth, the post highs of having a new born baby that easily sees you through the first three months of no sleep. 
Coping with a new born
But as time passes and weeks, turn into months and you are still left with a child that doesn't sleep you are tired, exhausted and somehow left feeling alone, a failing parent. Doing the simplest of tasks like washing your hair becomes impossible with a child that doesn't nap and is grouchy to be put down. 

I am surrounded by parents who's babies sleep, the little thing that we all take so naturally for granted, but the one thing that despite every best effort just hasn't happened. Lots of parents I have met since having Noah have babies that sleep through the night or wake once or twice through the night. To add to my perceived inadequacies,  they have done so from a few months old; so if you are one of those parents, with the utmost respect gracefully leave and go and gloat elsewhere.

This post is for those parents who like me are struggling or have struggled with a baby that just doesn't sleep or for those just interested in my experience. I should also point out that of course I am hopelessly in love with Noah, I love him to bits, the fact that he doesn't sleep is not a reflection on that and this is not a post natal depression topic. 

Chronic sleep deprivation is where you loose sleep night after night and have no time to make it up. A lack of sleep rapidly builds up to insurmountable levels that effect all areas of your life. 

Noah is now nearly nine months and on an average night our sleep happens in one-two hour stints. He sleeps for one or two hours, wakes and then requires up to forty minutes of settling until we both sleep again. 
Sleep loss
If one to two hours wasn't bad enough, sometimes he wakes within fifteen minutes of being put down. He frequently wakes five to eight times a night and wants to start his day (apparently refreshed) at four in the morning. I spend hours in a darkened room feeling very much alone and I have truly forgotten what deep sleep feels like. 

There is a reason that people use sleep deprivation as a torture devise; after a while you begin to loose your sense of self. Your rational self is lost and you are basically left a non-functioning anxious wreak. Basic tasks become a struggle. I have gone out to get shopping and forgotten why I was there, tried to get Noah a passport, forgetting the pictures and birth certificate. Taken pictures with my DSLR and had no memory card in there. Been talking mid sentence and forgotten what I was talking about or been unable to find the word for the most simple things. 

Noah also does not function well on such little sleep he wines in a high pitched voice and has mini meltdowns. 

I have read every website, article and book on how to get Noah to sleep. I'm trapped in a cycle of different pieces of advice and parenting tips, e.g. healthy sleep habits, the importance of routine, the cry it out method etc etc. 
Baby sleep regression
Whilst well meaning the vast amount of this material goes further to reinforce that you are an incapable parent because your child just doesn't sleep. 

The thought of going back to work with a child that still doesn't sleep is absolutely terrifying. 

I had hoped that once Noah started weaning that he would sleep longer during the night and sleep more consistently during the day. Sadly this hasn't happened as yet. I do hope however as he gets older that his sleep patterns will improve and that the non sleeping, all night partying baby will become a distant memory. 

I will share an update when it happens :-) In the meantime their are some positives to a baby that doesn't sleep I have seen some amazing sunrises. 
An update, Noah continues to not sleep but at ten months old was diagnosed with a milk allergy and following an over night sleep study, destauration problems whilst sleeping. 

 photo foodieforce_32.jpg


  1. You poor thing! One day when he's a teenager refusing to get up cos he wants to sleep in all day you can get him back :) Hope he sleeps better really soon xxx

  2. That's very true :-) I will have to remind him when he's older that sleep is a luxury. Hope you are doing well Lucy x

  3. So sorry Lucy! It must be awful! Can you other half look after him for for a night so you can get a decent nights sleep? I'd go insane.

    Corinne x

    1. Luckily there are loads of lovely parts to being a parent to balance things out. But sleep deprivation after a few months is hard going and after nine really difficult. We are not very good as a country of allowing both parents to be parents, unfortunately the other half has a full on job so needs sleep Lucy x

  4. So sad to hear you're having a tough time, thinking of you hon.

    1. Thanks Angie, hopefully he will sleep eventually x

  5. I'm sorry to hear that, Lucy - I know you've probably tried everything but I got a mobile with coloured lights for a friend and they do find it helpful for their baby. Fingers crossed that you get some sleep soon

    1. Thanks Suzie I bought a mobile with the same hope and the little man stands up trying to catch the animals. What was the make? Lucy x

  6. Hi Lucy! I can honestly say I completely understand. I've heard EVERY sleep time solution/remedy for my daughter - lol - everyone has the answer.
    The reality is...I'm not new to parenting. I didn't nurse or rock my baby to sleep. I established bed time routines. I let her put herself to sleep. I didn't spoil my baby (too much anyhow)...
    She's now 2 1/2 years old and she has never slept thru the the night. She's gotten better, but she still experiences what seems like night terrors on a nightly basis. It's okay, it's gotten better & will get better.
    Sleep deprivation sucks. It will get better though. Best of luck to you & baby ♥

    1. I don't think I appreciated that sleep deprivation could go on past the first couple of months. I do now however. I seriously can't imagine two years of it Amanda that would have driven me insane. Although people are well meaning with the advice if you haven't experienced constant and consist sleep deprivation I think it is hard to have any idea how hard it is. Thanks for your message of support Lucy

  7. Ohhh my sweet, new mama, I am so so sooo sorry to hear that your little Noah doesn't sleep. Please don't get stressed and allow some extra help. Your Noah needs you healthy, smiley, happy... We will pray for you and your little man.

    Sending you love, care, hugs and kisses.

    Liuba and Nikita xx

  8. Oh no Lucy that is difficult! I really hope his sleep improves soon, so difficult to function without proper rest.

    Ash | Liakada

    1. So do I ;-)he has too sleep eventually Lucy x

  9. Ah no sorry to hear this Lucy! It sounds awful, I can't imagine what it must be like (am sure I will find out one day though!) He looks so innocent sleeping away in that picture - just imagine what it'll be like when he's a teenager and wanting to sleep 20 hours a day. You can get your own back then :p xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua : Life, Travel, Italy

    1. It does mean that you walk around like a zombie but you are right when he is a teenager I can pay him back. Hope you had a lovely summer Lucy x