You may or may not know that since Oscar was three months old, we have had issues with his sleep. They are not by any means the worst sleep issues in the world but getting him to nap for longer than half an hour was always an issue. Getting him to sleep in his cot in the evenings was another issue. And getting him to sleep in his cot throughout the night is an ongoing issue.
Some evenings, he doesn’t wake up until we disturb him going to bed. Some evenings he wakes up once. Sometimes four times. No evening is the same.
The last few days he has been getting better at spending some of the nighttime in his cot but ultimately still ending up sleeping next to me. I don’t have the biggest issue with this, other than sometimes I wake up and my body takes a while to move because I’ve been sleeping at a funny angle.
All of the above, we are dealing with. I could leave him to cry it out and go cold turkey on the night feeds and getting into our bed, but I won’t. That is simply not for me. Everything is very slowly progressing and I shall keep going as we are. I have a very happy little Oscar and I don’t want him to be an unhappy one.
One of the things that has been a bit of a battle, as I mentioned above, is the daytime naps. When he had three naps a day, he would have this little internal alarm in him that went off after half an hour. That is literally all he needed. Sometimes it wasn’t even that long but a lot of the time you could set your watch by him!
Then he dropped down to two naps a day and they were completely inconsistent. Sometimes he would fall asleep on the school run and he would only sleep for half an hour and other times it would be two hours. He would then have another nap in the afternoon and quite often, he would wake to soon from that and end up breastfeeding back to sleep on me on the sofa. And this wasn’t really ideal when I was trying to cut out the daytime breastfeeds.
Then, and this is only very recently, he has been showing signs that he only needs one nap a day. And it needs to be a big one! If he has an afternoon nap, he ends up struggling to go to sleep in the evening. He no longer falls asleep on the school run (ok once last week he did when he had woken up pretty early but it’s a lot rarer now), and there is no more of me walking round the block instead of heading straight home. Instead, morning time is play time (and helping to eat mummy’s breakfast time). And we are finding a pretty good routine.
We get home from school at about 9am, I make myself some toast and then we spend the morning playing. Then he has a snack and some milk (non boob) and I pop him in his buggy, we go for a walk and he is usually asleep by the time we are at the end of the road!
On other days, when we have a class or group in the morning, he will fall asleep on the walk home. I am finding that somewhere between 11.30 and 11.45 is the prime time to get him to nap. And more often than not, he has a good two hour nap. Something that I thought would never happen!
So what’s the problem? Well, in all honestly I don’t think there is one, but it’s the fact that he is napping in his buggy and not his cot.
When I took him for his one year check a couple of months ago, the health visitor commented that I really needed to be getting him to sleep in his cot in the day. Of course I nodded along as if I was agreeing with her to make her happy, but ultimately, I disagree.
Ok, yes, of course it would be wonderful if I could lay him down and have him fall asleep all by himself. But it simply doesn’t happen. The only way he knows how to go to sleep is by being breastfed and with me now cutting that out during the day, it makes it pretty impossible to get him to sleep in his cot in the daytime. Also, I have actually tried. There have been a couple of instances where we have been at home, he has been exceptionally tired and I have thought you know what? I’ll give him some boob and see if I can get him in his cot. And it fails.
The other day I gave it a try, he fell asleep and as soon as I tried to put him down, he cried. So I put him back on the boob, got him back to sleep, tried to put him down again and he woke again. I simply ended up on the bed with him sleepily nibbling on my nipples. He stayed there for about an hour and a half and whilst the cuddles were lovely, it was going against everything I am trying to do with the whole daytime breastfeeding!
And so I have every intention of continuing to let him sleep in the buggy. I don’t care what the health visitors say. I don’t care what anyone else says. Right now, our routine is working a treat. A morning of play, out for a quick walk to get him to sleep, a nap for a couple of hours while I have lunch and do some work, followed by some lunch for him, another small play and then the school run.
It is working for him and it is working for me and that’s all that matters right now!