Health and Wellbeing

Are You Getting Any?

June 27, 2012

Holy crap, I’ve never talked about IT as much as I have in the last 2 years.

Hanging out in the park, on any given day you can hear the question being posed – “Are you getting any?” – and if the answer is yes, we all hang with bated breath,

“How much are you getting?”

We become obsessed with what’s happening in other households and we compare them with our own. Of course, anyone that actually has babies will know that I’m talking about sleep, because we can fairly safely say that in the first few months there ain’t that much of the other going on….but I reckon that’s a romping elephant in the room to tackle another day.

There are countless books proclaiming to save your sleep, and give you a contented baby. They all have their own vibe going on and many proclaim that if you start their regime at birth, your bundle of joy can be sleeping through – 10pm-7am – by 4 months. If this isn’t happening for you, then it would be easy to feel as though you are doing something ‘wrong’. The books can be helpful, especially if you only read one and not confuse the issue with conflicting advice, but they don’t allow much leeway for having any kind of life outside your house……also, when they suggest other settling techniques it can be difficult in the cold, dark dead of night when you’re already shattered. A baby’s cry is so much louder when it’s pitch black. It’s often easiest to pop out a nip and hush that crying child. Everyone is back asleep in a matter of minutes. If you don’t mind getting up, if you’re ok with what happening in your house, then power to you.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was from Genevieve Titov, from Sleep Angels.

“If you are happy with what you are doing to get everyone in your family some sleep (night feeds, dummies, co-sleeping) then there is no need to change anything. Do not listen to anyone else that tells you otherwise! It’s only when you are not happy with how things are that you need to make changes. There is nothing that can’t be undone at a later date if needed. Sleep, however you get it, is still sleep”.

Things started ok with D Man, and then by six months when other people were boasting of whole nights of blissful rest, or at the very least, dropped feeds, I realised we are in a funk. I was feeding whenever he woke, and by 11 months old that could be up to 8 times a night. We traveled a lot and I soothed with the breast and in the end I finally flipped my shit and I would have paid anyone anything to make it stop. I faced each evening with dread and seriously thought I may lose my mind. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I wore it like a badge of honour for the first few months, but the novelty wears thin quickly and after six, eight, ten unending months of terrible sleep you’re ready to shave your head, put on some combats and go postal in the main street with an easy plea of insanity.
If someone smugly told me their kid was sleeping soundly I seriously wanted to punch them in the face. The worst part is that you can’t imagine that it will ever end. There is no light in your tunnel, and your tunnel seems infinitely infinite.

Sadly, many people wait until they’re at the end of their tether before they ask  for help. I did. I called Keratane but they didn’t get back to me, so I called in a baby whisperer. Sleep Angels offered many services but I had the head honcho, the Arc Angel Genevieve, herself come and chat to me. And that’s all it was. We talked for an hour and a half and in two days D Man was sleeping through until 4am. In another week we were all sleeping until 6.30-7am. It was pretty easy for us, and I hear some people do it tougher, but after a few short days life looks better and those bags the size of an elephants arse on your face can pack up and, finally, go.

I asked Genevieve how a baby whisperer differs from Keratane or Tresillian.

“Baby whisperers coach you through personally tailored techniques for your family. My techniques are not only based on current infant literature, but also my work with hundreds of familes. For success in getting on track with sleeping you need to start something you are comfortable with. If you can’t bear to hear your baby cry for even a few minutes then controlled crying is not going to work for you. If your Mum looks after bub 3 days a week and wants to hold your little one the whole time they sleep, then trying to get bub to sleep in their cot the other days is going to be very difficult if Tresillian has told you that’s what you must do! If you are sleep deprived you are already likely to be emotionally vulnerable, relationships can be tense, time to yourself can be non existent and everything can seem too hard. Talking to someone who is going to listen, as well as offer practical (easy to take on through the fog!) advice, that sits comfortably with your personal parenting beliefs can just the help you need.’

If you’re struggling with sleep, and you’re losing your marbles, I have two pieces of advice for you. Firstly, ask for help, and keep asking for help if you need to. It doesn’t have to be costly. There are many community and private but just someone understanding what you’re going through is priceless, and secondly, try to remember that it won’t last forever……but the job lasts forever. In the blink of an eye, you’ll be sitting up in your dressing gown, an hour after curfew, ready to ring their little necks.

Note : This is not a sponsored post. I truly think Sleep Angel saved my bacon and I would like to sing it from the roof tops! If you want to ‘like’ Sleep Angel on Facebook (here) there are weekly tips on sweet, sweet, sleep.

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  • Reply Joanna June 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Glad you found a solution. I fell into the problem of not knowing where to turn and being so chronically sleep deprived that I gave up trying to fix it. Until about 4 weeks ago I used to almost joke that I hadn’t slept for 5 years and that was pretty much true–certainly no uninterrupted night in 5 years. But then, like magic, little James decided to sleep through. I feel like I have a new lease on life. I’ve been putting on makeup and caring about me again (I’m calling it my “reclaimation”–reclaiming my life back from my kids). I feel like I have reached the light at the end of the tunnel after such a long time. I say this hopefully not to arouse jealousy, but just to assure you that there will come a day when it is no longer an issue. I have a friend who had the same sleep problems with her kids and now she has to wake them all up in morning to get them to school on time–imagine actually having to wake a child up!! I dare not extend the dream that far!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 27, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      That’s fabulous to hear! I think I learned all my lessons last time and I hope to not repeat the experience with KiKi. So far we’re doing well, but it’s early days yet. I seem to remember that whenever I think I’m all over it, I realise I know nothing!!. Hope you bought yourself a new lipstick. A girl deserves a freshie after 5 years, honey!

      • Reply Sharon July 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

        Ha ha Danielle funny girl… you brought back some long dormant memories of my sleep obsession days. I even questioned almost total strangers on how much they were getting & if it was between 8 & 10 straight I was both in awe & green with envy. How very strange they must have thought I was….

        • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm

          I’ve given up asking… Thankfully, so far KiKi is a good sleeper. Hopefully, she’ll stay that way!

          Sent from my iPhone

  • Reply WASIA J&L Simon July 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    We agree …whatever works in your home is what matters. Glad you got the help you needed in order to sleep! How sweet it is, why do kids resist the pleasure of it? Wishing you many wonderful nights of long, sweet sleep!

  • Reply absandlol July 23, 2012 at 3:29 am

    I agree you do whatever gets you through those dark nights!! Thank you for your advice and for making me realise that I’m not alone, and that this too shall pass

  • Reply Tiny Human Beings Create Adult Human Zombies….. A few desperate words on baby sleep. « Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 23, 2012 at 7:06 am

    […] 11 months of no sleep with D Man, I called in a Sleep Angel (as I wrote about here) and I’m wondering if the same action is required shortly, or am I just panicking? I was so […]

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