Will Lodge – sleeping isn’t as easy as it sounds
- Credit: Archant
Superdad Will Lodge looks at sleep routines and how hard it is to change them.
Before having our baby I feared endless sleepless nights, with long slumbers traded in favour of forty winks snatched here and there as our new child struggled to get into a routine of feeding, nappy changes and teething.
But Baby was a dream, rapidly settling into a once-a-night pattern to fill her tummy and relatively soon after making it through the night.
The main impediment to my sleep was me, waking up in panic to check she was OK.
I failed to realise I was being lulled into a false sense of security – and just how easily children pick up new routines.
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During a troubled teething period a few weeks ago Baby was allowed the luxury of getting into our bed in the night to help settle her, now she is old enough to do so.
With alarming swiftness this became her new norm, and even when her teeth gave her a respite Baby began to wake in the night as if it was time to swap her cot for the cosy comfort of Mummy and Daddy’s bed.
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It is easy to say “just ignore her and break the routine” – but believe you me it is not that simple!
Our biggest impediment to realising this attitude shift is our other children and the concern her extremely loud (well, it seems that way when it is coming from the cot next to you) crying will wake them. For as much as they love their little sister, it would not be fair to inflict her disturbances on them – they can wait for their own children for that pleasure.
This factor does not underplay the very strong biological imperative felt by a parent to a crying child, particularly their own. For those without children this may be hard to understand, but it really is tough to ignore your loved one when they are clearly upset.
That is perhaps the crux of the issue. It is relatively easy to ignore a child’s cries if they are caused by a telling off for bad behaviour, but when they seem to be upset it is much, much harder.
What is most frustrating about Baby’s sleeping troubles is the apparent tilt switch embedded somewhere in her brain which means any move from the vertical to the horizontal seems to wake her up.
Let me explain.
When she wakes in the night it is easy to calm her down again and she loves (as do I) to have a cuddle held upright with her head in the nook of my shoulder. Indeed, she loves it so much she will be so asleep her dummy (used at night to reduce risk of cot death) and muslin blanket will fall from her without her stirring.
But the second you then manoeuvre her to a flat position to go into her cot, she awakens.
Find me an upright bed and maybe – just maybe – our troubles will be solved.