Baby/Toddler stuff

Sleep Training a Toddler

So we got ourself into a bit of a predicament! May 2019 we went on holiday, the single bed wasn’t in a safe room for Dot- so she slept with us. On our return home we stayed with co-sleeping for ease, but now we really need to regain our bed and bedtime sanity.

Fortunately I met Rebecca from Sleepytime Sleep recently- and she agreed to work with us to get Dorothea to sleep in the own room. (Rebecca kindly gifted this programme to us- so posts related to this on social media will be marked as an AD)

We were totally ‘stuck in a rut’ and didn’t know how to start the process of moving Dot back to her own room, we’re totally used to the routine (of almost nothing routine) of all going to bed together, and part of both of us loved the evening tickles and cuddles. BUT Dorothea is not a delicate 3 year old- she’s a chunky tall girl, and likes to sleep limbs akimbo!

Meaning mine and Daddy’s sleep has suffered massive negative effects; waking up with bad necks/backs from contorting ourselves around her, getting woken up by kicks, face strokes and often a finger up the nostril!

Rebecca’s process begins with a quick 15 minute call – to discuss current issues and end goals, she briefly spoke me though how her process works and gave lots of reassurance that our issue is resolvable with a little work. She then emailed me a comprehensive questionnaire to complete: this covered everything from Dots daytime routine, bedtime and naptimes, her personality and what sleep supports she has.

A few days after I’d completed the questionnaire Rebecca sent the sleep plan, and arranged a zoom call to talk through it. Although the personalised plan looked like a whopper of a document: it was easy to understand and follow. The plan talks you through what to do day by day, with a proposed bedtime and attached routine; the plan changes every three days, to eventually mean you can put your child to bed awake and they’ll settle to sleep independently (sounded like the dream)

Rebecca gave me loads of tips to help get Dorothea, and her room ready for a new way of bedtime. I gave her room a big clean and tidy, decluttering also, to make the room relaxing and less distracting. We bought Dot a ‘gro clock’ which is blue for bedtime, and turns yellow when its time to get up, a set up some dimmable lights and also made up a ‘sleepy spray’ with essential oils.

Night 1

I explained to Dot throughout the day that she’d be sleeping in her own room tonight. We had a busy day, to ensure she was tired and avoided the dreaded nap. Dinner at 5.30, bath at 6.30, jigsaw with Nanna post bath and then up-to bed.

Surprisingly no crying at all- I followed Rebeccas advice to a tee, and Dot was asleep by 8.04.

The next day Rebecca checked in with us to see how we got on; like myself she was pleasantly surprised with how well it went.

Night 2

Dot now knew the process, was happy to jump in bed and have her stories- she was asleep by 7.40pm! so different to her bouncing on our bed til 9pm. That night we did have 2 wake ups, but she quickly settled. And she woke up at 7.45- her clock goes yellow at 7.15.

Looking back at our sleep diary; it seems that Dot is now always asleep within 20 minutes of getting into bed. Having a night of no wake ups is now common place: and if she does wake up and call out to us, she usually settles herself, or we can settle her within a couple of minute’s.

Part way into the plan we made a last minute decision to take a trip away to the coast, because I was nervous about how this would affect Dots sleeping I asked Rebecca if we could have a chat. She advised me to stick to the plan as closely as possible, mimicking bedtime and routines such as stories and sleep spray. Our trip away landed on nights 13, 14 and 15 of the plan- I was worried as she had such busy days she ended up having short naps in the car (unusual for her), but I was pleasantly surprised when Dot reacted well to the same routine, only playing us up a little bit, and we managed to have full nights sleep with no early wake ups!

The week after our trip away I returned to work for the first time in 4 months (due to shielding from COVID). This meant leaving Dot with grandparents, when she had been used to having me at home so much; I was therefore again wary that this may affect her sleep routine as she had become a little clingy. That week she went to bed pretty well, but we noticed a little increase in nighttime wake ups.

We have now completed a full 3 weeks of using the Sleepytime sleep plan. Dot now loves her room and bed, and never complains at bedtime. She is pretty much always fast asleep by 8pm, meaning that me and Daddy can watch a movie or share a bottle of wine. We rarely have nighttime wake ups, but if we do they are quickly resolved. So in turn me and Daddy are also sleeping much better.

I’m so pleased we decided to bite the bullet and speak to sleepytime sleep, its honestly changed our life loads. Although for the first week its quite challenging to adjust to the changes, you quickly find your way and start to appreciate the extra hours in the day.

Dorothea has also shown great changes; with her improved sleep she wakes a much happier girl, less moody tantrums and actually says when she tired and wants to go to bed.

 

Rebecca at Sleepytime sleep offers free 15min calls: so if you are stuck in a rut too, then drop her a message.

Sleepy time web

Sleepytime insta

Life of a Mum

Bad days…..

Where to begin…… and that’s the thing I think; it’s so very hard to explain to someone that hasn’t experienced it.

Constant uncontrollable worry, mind working overdrive, daydreaming, overthinking, panic, doubt, anger, annoyance………. just wanting to hide away.

Sometimes there’s a clear reason why it happens; an argument, a bad day at work, a particular stroppy toddler, or just me judging or critiquing myself too harshly.

My anxiety feels as if everyone in the world is waiting for me to trip up, so that they can laugh at me; it makes me second guess my every move or decision. I therefore overthink everything; I critique myself so heavily- and also I take others comments to heart, a simple statement from them I manage to turn into a criticism.

Imagine…….

You are walking down the stairs carrying a pile of washing, your foot slips- the feeling of being about to fall! That’s the feeling……. the breath grabbing, heart pounding, ‘oh shit’ feeling…..the feeling over and over, and over. For no real reason; I can be having a good day and then it comes.

Throat tightening….

Heart pounding…..

Hot and sweaty…..

Can’t breathe……

It’s bloody awful.

And then there’s the fears and horrid thoughts….

This began when Dorothea was tiny; I used to worry that something horrible would happen in the night. Often I woke- convinced she was tangled in the bedcovers, or that she’d fallen off the bed, I’d rolled on her etc. Etc.

So many nights I‘d wake hot and panicked; stretch out to told her and be convinced; even if just for a moment, that she was cold- the poor child would generally grumble under Mummies prods- but I would sign relief and try and settle to sleep once again.

This has been happening more and more recently……

That same feeling of dread; suddenly waking and thinking something horrid has happened to her. Or other feelings of dread; being woken to a message or call of bad news, having irrational fear of weird things (cranes, driving under train bridges, overtaking lorries…)

And I’m so flipping tired!!!!

No not tired; it’s fatigue- it’s a tiredness that sleep won’t resolve. Not that I can sleep- although I’d love to (I’d take a week straight)- when I do sleep I have the funkiest dreams ever! And when I don’t sleep I visit the kitchen and eat custard and drink lemonade.

I feel exhausted; tired of thinking, tired of feeling nervous, tired or being ‘on alert’ and tired of that feeling of impending doom. Being able to rest would be a real treat.

All this seems to be driven by my thoughts, anxieties and self critique; but then there’s the very real physical symptoms!

– regular headaches; always behind one eye, they make me take myself off to bed.

– racing heart/palpitations/chest tightness

– throat tightness and difficulty breathing or talking

– flushing/overheating/sweating

– hormonal imbalance; disappearing and then heavy periods, mood swings, loss of libido

– bladder issues; peeing more with increased urgency

( I’m a nurse so I get that although these are actually very real physical symptoms- they are very stronger linked to my mental health).

I feel lost; unappreciated, silly, foolish- I take comments and criticism too harshly. Somedays I feel I’m useless at everything; others I can see my talents and strengths and have confidence.

But it’s how to take control?????

– I know I’m not everything I sometimes judge myself to be

– I know I have skills, knowledge, gifts and areas of expertise

– I know I’m appreciated, loved, cared for, trusted and wanted

– I know I’m kind, honest, genuine, social and loving

But how can I be all that…….. how can I be everything I know I can be, at my best…… when right now I feel at my worst?

For now I need time…..

time to rest

– time to be selfish and prioritise me

– time to think AND time not to think

– time for family and friends

– time to make decisions

– time for fresh air and exercise

– time for talking, for listening, and for being quiet

– time to make the right decisions for me