Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary Angel Pie!

It has been one whole year since Butterfly started waking hourly during the night. ONE YEAR.

Now, before she was 6 months old, she would only wake once per night. Then, one week before Christmas last year, everything changed...

We used to be on TH routines (VOMIT), so she always went to bed awake, and would cry for me for a few minutes before falling asleep. I used to try and justify this (as TH does in her book) by saying it was just a "whinge", an attention cry, not an emotional cry. Looking back now it breaks my heart to think that every night my beautiful daughter went to sleep begging me to stay with her, to hold her, make her feel secure. And I ignored it. I hope you realise how incredibly difficult it is to admit all of this to you, and how much my heart aches for the time we lost listening to that stupid book! I am getting very emotional writing this...

At 6 months old, that "whinge" turned into an emotional cry... screaming, sobbing, basically it escalated to a point that I, brainwashed as I was, couldn't ignore it. So I began breastfeeding Jocelyn to sleep. And she began waking on the hour, every hour, for more boobies. MAJUH sleep deprivation! So I searched for an answer, and all I kept coming across was the "Cry it Out" method. The alternatives to listening to the crying were, "Go outside so you don't hear it"! I mean, where the FECK was I looking to have come up with advice like that?

So we tried it, I mean I've blogged about this before... so yes, we tried it. Yes, it "worked" (ie she stopped night waking), but it didn't sit right. So I only lasted a few nights before buying and reading "The Continuum Concept" by Jean Leidloff... I'd heard Sausage Mama raving about it and thought it might have an answer. It did.

I learnt a LOT. A baby craving a parent close, settling them to sleep peacefully was not a selfish, naughty WANT. It is a NEED. Having someone calm them at night when they wake up in the dark is a NEED. Sleeping with a parent during the night is the most natural and soothing thing for a child (not to mention I got SO much more sleep!) The Continuum Concept gave me the confidence to parent instinctually, to give my daughter what she needed. And what she needed was ME. I felt like such an ASS for ever following a baby trainers advice, but hey, I was a new Mum and the book seemed to have all the answers.

So I started breastfeeding to sleep, cosleeping, and attending to Joss lovingly every time she woke. YEP, it was hourly, and YEP, I was sleep deprived! But HAPPY and at PEACE. And I knew I was doing the right thing.

That is what has gotten me through this past year. The knowledge that I am doing what is best for my beautiful little girl. If someone had've told me that the hourly waking was going to last a week, I would have cried. I never imagined that a year later, she would still be waking during the night! Having said that, it has slowly improved over time. Now she wakes twice or three times a night on a good night, hourly if she is sick or teethy. We just deal with it as it comes.

Sleep deprivation sucks ass, but I have found some ways to deal with it...
  • Sleep when Butterfly sleeps (ie nap during the day)

  • COSLEEP! Sometimes I barely wake up, just roll over and offer the boob, and go back to sleep. Getting up and going into the nursery was the real killer. We have Butterfly's cot (with one side removed) against our bed, so essentially we sleep on the same surface but have our own space. Research safe cosleeping before doing it.

  • Surround yourself with positive people. I hang out with AP friends who never once pushed the CIO method on me, just supported me through the rough times. Having CIO thrust upon you on your worst days isn't healthy.

Life hasn't been easy this past year, I have had horrible days, horrible nights and times where I felt like I couldn't keep going. Don't be under the illusion that it is easy. I have always said that if I get to the end of my tether I will read Elizabeth Pantley's "No Cry Sleep Solution"... but I don't know what that book is like because I've never reached breaking point.
Now, not every babe who is breastfed to sleep will wake hourly. Actually, before we went on "routines" Butterfly would sleep 4 hours straight (as a newborn!). Most of my friends' babes haven't gone through this (the ones who BF to sleep I mean).
But if your child IS like Butterfly, take heart. It won't be forever. It does improve and it does get easier. I'm at the point where I FEEL less tired than when she would only wake once a night! Its such a great investment, Butterfly is a wonderfully happy, smart and confident child! She isn't the overtired monster I was led to believe she would be, if she wasn't forced into a "one size fits all" routine *Blows huge raspberry to Ms Hall*

I am happy. I wasn't always. I didn't realise how depressed I was until I put down that book, the clouds cleared, and I started to enjoy the intimate time during the night I spend meeting Butterfly's needs. Its my job as a mother and I relish it!

I look forward to having another baby. If he or she is a night waker like Butterfly? BRING IT ON! I can't wait to be a mother all over again! To those who think I won't be able to handle Butterfly when I have another, well, I will show them... I don't care what anyone says, how they parent their own kids, I have found my happiness and no one can take that away from me.



  1. You go girl!
    We still cosleep and trust me the opinions only increase when your child is no longer a baby or toddler, but it meets 'our' needs and this is our family and our life and we will do what suits us!

  2. My bub is sleeping on her mat as we speak right at my feet. She just wanted us close. Love it...pity my parents are coming home next week...Not happy that this sort of stuff will have to stop...

  3. Well said! I believe every child has different needs, and you just have to do whatever works for you and your child :)

  4. Great blog! I can't imagine what it's been like for you, I'm one of those ones who sleep has been sickeningly easy for (once we quit Gina Ford that is). Once I surrendered that SB was my full time job, the feeding to sleep (although at times it took hours, others it took minutes) became a pleasure - and as you say, I began to enjoy it.

    I remember when you joined SM and we started chatting, and you were 'really happy' with your Tizzie routines initially, then cracks began to show and I suspected you were suffering PND, as I had when I was comparing my baby to the baby in the training books. It's been really lovely to watch you embrace natural parenting and reap the rewards (with a little less sleep, but you tell me how much sleep honeymooners get and how happy they are!!)

    I may not be so 'lucky' with this next bub, who knows, but I won't be doing anything differently. It will probably be a challenge feeding both babies to sleep in the bed, but we'll tackle it as it comes. Thank you so much for sharing this, I will be passing it on.

  5. I totally agree with everyone great blog!!
    I am so lucky that I was so ignorant coming ito motherhood. I just assumed I would know what to do and only read one book which was about pregnancy, nothing about after birth. I breastfed straight away and co-slept with my little boy from the night he was born (much to the annoyance of the midwives) my then partner was horrified with this and gave me the ultimatum that either the baby leaves the bed or he does. I tried that first night with the cot up against the bed so we were technically still co-sleeping but I just needed to have my baby close so after that first week it was just me and the baby in the bed.

    4.5yrs on I'm still co-sleeping with my little boy as well as his 2.5yr old brother. (we tandem fed for 2 years) I just LOVE it, we all have such a beautiful sleep, my 2.5yr old still has 1 to 3 night feeds (he may have more but I tend to sleep through his feeds now)

    I have always tended to rely on my instints with my boys, if it feels wrong then it probably is wrong.

  6. Wow, you made me cry!!! I loved reading this blog, God how confusing is the information that is so readily available when we have our first child. Thank god I found you ladies too, makes life so much easier!! And don't worry about the second baby and what people say. You can do everything pretty much the same as you are now. I feed Mags and George to sleep at the same time, I co-sleep and they do wake eachother from time to time but it has only been four weeks and everyone is getting used to it!! Honestly if anything this time is easier because I am not questioning one decision that I make, I feel totally confident.
    Your blog was so honest and I loved it, you are a great Mum and Joss is a testament to your parenting because she is just perfect!!

  7. so sad for you+joss that you had to go through that crap at the beginning.those damn women deserve a slap up the back of the head for giving such bad+damaging advice to new mama's who don't know better at the time.thanks for sharing both sides of the story,i know it will help many mama's whose hearts are telling them it is wrong,just like yours did!

  8. Wonderful blog and yes it does get better! They do sleep through the night and go to sleep by themselves. I remember people telling me my children would never go to sleep by themsleves and would always sleep in my bed - bah humbug to them! It;s a lovely way to raise your babies.

    The No Cry Sleep Soloution is a wonderful book though and raises some fatastic points about sleeping cycles and how to work with them in a gentle way.

    Good on you for sharing your wonderful journey with everyone!

  9. Thanks everyone! Leah you are my hero! I'm so glad things are going well, you guys look so happy.

    I'm so glad the response to this blog has been positive, you guys have made my night!

  10. PS Keely, I know its hard, but if your parents see how happy and easy it is to have your child near you when she sleeps, they cant really say anything against it, can they? I don't know the situation because I dont know them, or you, but always do what feels right. My Mum wasn't too keen on full term breastfeeding at first, but now she sees the benefits and even gave some teenagers a serve the other day who laughed at me!
    I hope it works out :)

  11. "I have always said that if I get to the end of my tether I will read Elizabeth Pantley's "No Cry Sleep Solution"... but I don't know what that book is like because I've never reached breaking point."

    hahaha I've said the same thing. I liked her page on FB, but still I haven't bought it. :D