20 Aug 2014

The Truth About Sleeping Through the Night

Lately in our household Ian and I have been dreading the nights, because lately our evening, early mornings have been the most difficult. 

The boys are just not sleeping well and not sleeping longer through the night like they usually/suppose to. Kai wakes and doesn't seem to settle back to sleep at all. The methods we use to use to get him to fall back asleep isn't working, so he keeps himself and us awake longer. Eli has reverted back to wanting one of us to be close to him while he falls asleep, so every time he wakes during the night he either crawls into our bed or gets upset he can't see us anymore.

It seems as soon as we've settled one and we've fallen back asleep, the other will then wake and the vicious cycle starts again. So we're both left tired, exhausted and annoyed at each other and at the boys.

As a SAHM I feel the expectation that I must attend to them most of the time but I get sick of it too. The broken sleep, constantly trying to calm all the crying down ..... it's just so deflating at times.

One of the reasons why I stopped reading "your child's development at x" information is because as a first time parent, when you read the information, you kind of assume or hope the expected development would occur with your child, but reality you soon realise it isn't the case 90% of the time. Here are some of the misleading information about sleeping through the night I've read and was banking would occur when my kids hit those milestones:
  • Once your child starts solids they will sleep longer cause their tummies are fuller. Food and the amount a child has does not play a factor in a child sleeping through the night. There are days you have to chase Eli around with a spoon cause he won't eat anything and other days he can't get enough of food but his sleep patterns aren't any different. Then there's Kai who loves to and doesn't turn down any food and he too struggles to sleep through the night.
  • Once your child starts daycare or preschool they will sleep through the night cause they're exhausted from all the playing during the day. Yes I can put my child to bed earlier on days he's been to child care or hadn't had a nap that day, but he's definitely not sleeping through the night. Sometimes Eli doesn't sit for hours he just walks back and forth at home and stands around all day, he's not tired at all. 
  • Once you implement a strict nightly routine, they'll sleep through the night. No, we try and stick to a nightly routine but they're not sleeping through the night. Sometimes Kai still wakes several times at night, despite being able to fall asleep on his own. And Eli has a very strict routine so he knows its time for bed but he still wakes. 
Let me set the expectations for parents what "sleeping through the night" really means - it's getting your kids to stay asleep for a few or several (if you're lucky) hours. Kai usually sleeps from 6pm - 6am and may wake between 2-4 times a night for a cuddle or comfort feed. Eli sleeps from 9pm - 7am and usually wakes 1-3 times a night and comes into our room wanting to get in our bed, but we take him back to his and he falls asleep minutes later. Parents who say their kids who are younger than ten sleep through the night are ... lying or have a distorted definition of that term. 

I'm looking forward to, and hopefully in the near future when my kids are finally sleeping through the night. I'm not even going to ask for advice or tips on how to get kids to sleep through the night cause honestly I think kids just do it in their own time. Until then I'm a walking zombie half the time. 
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