Squidge has slept through the night a grand total of six times since he was born.
Usually he will only wake once in the night, usually because he’s lost his dummy during a light sleep cycle and so the waking is very brief. This means that my sleep is still disturbed and it can take me a while to get back to sleep but I can cope with it.
Like most babies Squidge has bad nights and goes through periods where he doesn’t sleep well.
Last night was a bad night.
Squidge has started getting separation anxiety when we put him to bed.
He’s had a bedtime routine since he was four weeks old although it took a couple of months before it had much success. Squidge got into the pattern of going to sleep late and then waking up late so we had two months of horrible bed times and broken sleep trying to bring his bedtime forward.
He now has a sensible bedtime but it took a lot of tears, mostly from me to get there.
His bedtime routine now consists of a bath every other night with lots of toys and splashing. He gets into his PJs and his sleeping bag and comes downstairs to snuggle on the sofa with us. The television is off, we turn the lights down and we have singing time and a story. Then it’s bottle, dummy, kisses goodnight and my husband takes Squidge to bed.
In his cot Squidge has a nightlight, a green dog that plays bedtime music, his elephant comforter Peanut and Huggy Ted. We leave his bedroom door open so that some of the light from the fairy lights round his door comes in and so that he can still hear a little bit of noise from us downstairs.
Usually this works quite well.
Last night Squidge did not want to go to bed even though he was clearly tired, rubbing his eyes and burying his head in my shoulder. Two minutes after he’d been put in his cot the yelling started.
And continued intermittently.
For two flipping hours.
We go up to Squidge when he cries because there’s any number of things that might be upsetting him; he’s teething, he’s got a cold, he loses his dummy and he gets himself into weird positions in his cot and then gets stuck.
A bit like that.
We make sure that he’s comfy and the only reason for the crying is tgst he thinks being downstairs with us would be more fun. Whoever goes up settles him down and then leaves.
Sometimes this goes on for a while, sometimes it only happens once before he goes off to sleep. Squidge has got much better recently and has usually been asleep for at least an hour by the time we go to bed.
Last night he started yelling at 0130 so I went in to him. If he’s just whinging I leave him for a few minutes and he usually settles himself but if he’s already screeching there is no chance that he’ll sort himself out.
I went in, found his dummy for him, put his music on and patted his back for a bit until he settled. Then I went back to bed.
Only for him to start yelling again as soon as I got comfy.
This continued for an hour and a half.
What Squidge really wanted was to sleep in the spare room with me which we do occasionally when he’s ill and struggling to sleep. On these nights I get next to no sleep as I’m worried about squashing or smothering him so he sleeps and I cuddle him and doze.
I have no issues with co-sleeping so long as people are sensible and follow the guidelines but it’s just not for me.
So I started a cycle of going to settle Squidge, him nodding off and then waking up again a few minutes after I got back into bed.
I couldn’t find anything wrong; his nappy wasn’t dirty, he wasn’t too hot or cold, I gave him some teething granules and tried to find the balance between letting him know that I was there but not making him think it was up time.
It’s nights like this that make me feel like an awful Mum.
In don’t know why my baby’s crying.
I don’t know what to do apart from co-sleep which I’m really not comfortable with.
It really upsets me to hear Squidge cry for longer than a few seconds, I doubt I’m alone in this.
I’m not sure the neighbours particularly enjoy it either.
But it’s the middle of the night and I really need to sleep, as does he.
My patience gets frayed, my head starts to ache from tiredness and my heart hurts from the sound of crying.
I usually end up crying too.
I’m so tired I can’t think straight.
I know Squidge isn’t sad, that he cries to alert us to anything wrong in his little world from wanting more yogurt to having lost his toy under the sofa.
So in the end I close his bedroom door and our bedroom door and leave him to get on with it for a bit.
Seeing it written down makes me feel awful.
But the more I go in the more awake he gets but he’s still upset because he’s tired.
I don’t leave him to cry indefinitely and I can still hear him through the closed doors, it just muffles the sound a bit so that I don’t lose my marbles.
He knows that Mummy and Daddy always come back, that we’d never just leave him to cry.
Of course he doesn’t, he has no clue about object permanence. That’s why he finds playing boo so much fun.
It’s just if we go in the second he cries and stay until he’s completely asleep he’ll never learn to go back to sleep on his own.
Can you tell this is something I find difficult?
Squidge is currently sat in his baby pond (more about that later) alternating between trying to break free so he can eat the rug and propelling it across the floor like a mini hovercraft.
He’s fine after last night.
I’m beating myself up.
I wonder if I’m doing what’s best for him. Is it the same as what’s best for all three of us?
Am I a good mum trying to teach Squidge good habits or am I being selfish so that I can sleep?
I need sleep so that I don’t spend two days looking for my phone, only to find it in Squidge’s cuddly toy net.
Seriously, I looked everywhere and I couldn’t even listen for it ringing because it was on silent.
I need sleep to maintain my sanity and keep my mood stable.
I need to sleep so that I can be the best mum, wife and nurse that I can be.
I need to do what I think is best.
That’s all I can do.