Bedtime Expectations… The Truth

So as I mentioned in my 10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me, That Now I’m Telling You post, E’s bedtime shenanigans deserves it’s own post. Since she was newborn, she’s never slept through the night. Well actually she’s done an 8 hour stretch ONCE in the whole 10 months of her life and that was when she was less than a month old.

What I have to emphasise here before I go on is, “do what works for you!” This is a phrase I have had to repeat to myself almost everyday with the choices we make for OUR family. It really helps me feel confident in our choices as parents.

The reason I needed to emphasise that was because we co-sleep. When I say co-sleep, I mean E is in our bed with us every night. I’ve had quite a few people raise their eyebrows, or give us a sigh when we say it, that sometimes to defend myself I literally say “it works for us” before I get any actual worded opinions out of them. It tends to stop them from expressing their negative opinions straight away. To be honest I’m not even really sure why I need to defend myself in any choice I make for my child.

Sure some nights are frustrating because I miss cuddling my husband, but we both know that eventually it will end and we will miss the days when her foot ends up near my face, or when she thinks daddy is mummy and tries to go for his nipple instead.

I was on maternity leave for 10 months whilst D went back to work after his 2 week paternity leave when E was still newborn. He leaves the house before 8am and is back home around 7:30pm/8pm, so he has a very long working day. E has been breastfed from birth and still is, plus solids now.

If you didn’t know, breastfed babies tend to be hungrier more often than formula fed babies. When she was newborn, she would wake at night every 2/3 hours for a feed. Now that she’s on solids too, she still wakes but every 4 hours now. It’s no biggie really as I breastfeed her lying down and she just doses right back off. That’s another *sigh* moment I expect some people to feel some way about. “She shouldn’t need to be nursed back to sleep anymore” I hear you say…. well, eventually, she won’t be nursed at all so if that means I have a few more moments where I can nurse her, I’m going to take it! We’ve come this far with breastfeeding, that I don’t want to just stop because others say I should.

She’s dropped her milk feeds during the day so she’s only having breast milk in the morning and at night. So already our special time together bonding is becoming less and less. I have to keep remembering that all babies are different and she will tell me when she’s ready to do whatever it is I/society think she should be doing.

During the day, if we’re at home, she has her naps in her cot no problem without being nursed. But strangely enough, at night she wants to be nursed and she wants to be with mummy and daddy. To be honest, we love it. šŸ’œ

Her bedtime is not your average 7pm either. At the beginning I felt so guilty not putting her to sleep at the golden hour of 7pm but I was advised by my health visitor that she needs to be on MY routine and she won’t need that early of a bed time until she goes to nursery. There’s no point me putting her to bed at 7pm for her to wake at 7am, when I myself go to bed at 12am/1am. I obviously don’t keep her up that late but my husband and I aren’t very strict about having her sleeping at that early of a time. She still has her 12 hours of sleep. As I mentioned, he’s home between 7:30pm-8:30pm 6 days a week so if she’s sleeping by 7pm, he doesn’t have his time with her either.

Now that I’m back to work, her routine has to be my routine as she’s with me most days. I’m lucky enough to work with family so I can take her with me during the day which makes it perfect that her sleep routine is similar to mine. We don’t need to be at work until midday so E has a nice long sleep until 10am/11am every day. When I’m at work in the evening, I get home around 11-ish and no matter how hard we try, E is always waiting up for me.

You see… “do what works for you!” When other people judge or express their thoughts, just be confident in the choices you make for your family. Remember that you’re doing a great job deciding what’s best for your little one.

What’s your little ones sleep routine? Are they still waking at night too?

Mama T

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