Baby, Parenting

Why sleep deprivation is so much harder second time around

Sleep deprivation – the thing of torture. 

Now, I know that there will be plenty of people out there with worse sleepers than mine. In fact, having read plenty of bad sleep related posts by Budding Smiles and Life With Baby Kicks, I certainly count myself lucky that I do have relatively good sleepers. I mean don't get me wrong, Zach started out life being a horrendous sleeper but now at age four and a half, regularly sleeps for 11 – 12 hours. And Oscar? Well, that little legend spent the first three months sometimes sleeping through the night and sometimes waking up for a feed. So I do know that I can't complain too much.

I can still complain a little bit though. Because all babies and children have bad nights, and when one happens, it just knocks you for six doesn't it? 

On Sunday night, Mothers Day of all days, Oscar had a bad night. A really, really bad night. He had been asleep in his cot (a miracle) for the evening, waking only to be comforted back to sleep, and seemed to be absolutely fine. We went to bed and then around 11.15 he woke up for a feed. He fed, and usually he just dozes on back to sleep. On this night though, he screamed.

And he screamed.

And he screamed.

He screamed pretty much until about 2am. We tried everything. Feeding, nappy change, winding, shusshing, walking around, trying to get him to sleep laying down on us, upright on us. Nothing would work. His screams were of someone who seemed to be in pain and so we went down the teething route and popped some teething gel on him. When that didn't work, the final straw was calpol. If he was in pain, and if a little bit of medicine could help him, then it was worth doing. So we administered a dose of calpol (which was a nightmare in itself because there wasn't much in the bottle, he won't take a spoon – we tried – and so the other half had to syringe a dose from a spoon. And then when he pushed the plunger just slightly to get some air out, a pop of calpol shot out onto my hair – all of this while Oscar was still screaming!). It turned out ok though as after not long, he calmed down. He no longer seemed to be in pain and was no longer screaming.

But it didn't end there! Oh no, he was now wide awake and happily gurgling away to us! Which he did for around an hour. And in that time, Zach woke up. It takes a lot to wake him up but apparently three hours of your brother crying is what does it! So the other half went into deal with Zach whilst I tried to get Oscar off to sleep.

In the end, Oscar fell asleep on my chest whilst I was at a really funny angle. I gradually moved myself down into a slightly comfier one and managed to fall asleep. It was 3am. He then woke again for a feed, probably around about 5am and then Zach woke up at 7.30am (although really it was 6.30am as the clocks had gone forward!). The other half (bless his soul), took Zach downstairs and I managed to get another hour of sleep before Oscar woke for the day at 8.30. 

To say that the other half and I were both absolutely knackered was an understatement. There is something more bearable about only one of us getting disturbed at night. Usually it's mostly me as I'm the one feeding Oscar and so usually the other half is a little less tired. On Monday though, we were both shattered. 

When we had just one child, one small baby disturbing our sleep, and only one small baby to look after; it wasn't too harrowing. We could still nap if we wanted to; looking after a baby isn't too taxing. We could spend the day splodged in front of the tv with copious amounts of tea, biscuits, sweets and cakes to see us through the day. When you have an older child though? None of that is possible. Especially when daddy has taken the day off work so that he could join us at gymnastics to see Zach receive his certificate and badge! 

And so we had to spend the day entertaining Zach. OK, so there may have been a bit of tv in the morning but then there was a spot of cricket in the gaden, the joy of lunch when he doesn't know what he wants, and then it was off to gymnastics so I had to stick matchsticks in my eyes in order to drive! Then after that it was over to the shops, then to the bouncy castle pub, then home and it was at that point, when the other half was in the bathroom putting the new toilet seat on and Oscar had fallen asleep on me whilst Zach was sitting next to me watching a film, that I started to close my eyes. I thought hey, we are all safe, I'll just close my eyes for a moment. So what happened? After just a few minutes of eye closure, Zach moved slightly, butted his brother and woke him up! Great!

So then it was dinner time, bed time and tv time for us. Yes I should have gone to bed but you know, Broadchurch was on! 

Of course, when we did go to bed, Oscar woke up for a feed, I fell asleep and he ended up sleeping in our bed again when we are desperately trying to get him to sleep in his cot! Thankfully he didn't spend the whole night screaming again, that seemed to be a one off. But he did wake about three or so times in the night and so I woke up feeling just as exhausted as the day before! 

And so that is why having a bad night, or just a bad sleeper in general, is so much worse second time around. There is far less time to catch up on sleep than there is with number one. Number one always wants or needs something, you have to be so much more on the ball than when you just have the one. There is no time to be feeling tired, no time to be lazing around on the sofa eating junk! You are simply needed – always!

And of course, Oscar is currently asleep. He has been for an hour (totally unlike him!). What I should have done was curled up on the sofa and had a nap. That is what I should have done.


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  • Reply Farmerswifeandmummy

    Aww found 1-2 not so bad because there was a 4 year gap so my daughter would watch tv so I could get on the sofa for a snooze. The 2 year gap between 2 and 3 has been an eye opener. Bad nights are really bad. I keep trying to tell myself sleep is for losers šŸ˜‰ good luck  

    March 29, 2017 at 9:09 am
  • Reply Tinuke

    Ahhh now I'm scared about what it's going to be like when my child number two comes along! You're so right, being tired when you have another child to entertain must be even more exhausting!

    March 30, 2017 at 8:42 pm
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