Baby sleep regression: The Battle of the Bed

It’s 5am in the Big Brother house, and Lily has decided to get up. And not just wake up, stir, or babble cutely… Fully. Get. Up. This follows a lovely night of waking for attention every hour or so… for 5 nights running, and counting!

Whoever coined the phrase ‘Sleep like a baby’, clearly hadn’t met this one.

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She’d been doing so well. Those green pastures of soundly sleeping 6.30pm til 6.30am now a distant memory, while I take full advantage of the clearance sale on Azera coffee to stock up on the caffeine. Whoever discovered the benefits of coffee must have been a parent battling sleep deprivation. Whoever it was, I thank you.

And it’s not just the night waking. After over 8 months of being completely asleep within minutes of going to bed, thanks to her bath-bottle-bed routine, she’s now decided to fight it. And she finds this hilarious. It’s now not just bath-bottle-bed… she’s added in a 4th stage – rolling/standing/crawling/walking/giggling around the crib like a relentless tornado.

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She’s also suddenly thrown in an added challenge when drying her, then putting on her clothes and sleeping bag, as she’s rolling around and trying to escape your mitts. When you’ve only two hands, attempting to do up the poppers on her vest, and she’s attempting to scurry away as fast as possible, you do start to wish she was that still little newborn again, who just watched you get her dressed with those big eyes, before drifting soundly off to sleep.

It is pretty funny at first, especially when she giggles and rolls away from you, burying her head in the bedsheets. But after an hour of it, when your voice is crackling from your attempts at softly singing Twinkle Twinkle for the hundredth time, and still running on 45mins sleep from the night before, you are hoping she is draining every ounce of energy to embark on a full night’s sleep.

Then she makes it all cute again when you hear her clambering across her crib, and her little face pops up to look at you. Then once again you’re back laying her down for the hundredth time that evening, and again she’s squealing with delight.

To be fair, she really has got talent; if I were to attempt to walk/crawl/roll around/stand up in a sleeping bag, I’d be flat on my face!

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I used to know that once she was down, I’d have a lovely stretch of settled sleep. Now I’m spending the night half-listening to the monitor, knowing she’s on a midnight cruise, and know her face will soon pop up on the night vision screen, or hear her lying there blowing raspberries. She then either falls asleep in a very awkward position, such as face down and upside down, or disappears to the black hole at the bottom of the crib where the monitor doesn’t quite cover – both requiring me to get out my bed and check she’s OK, otherwise my mind will run away from me that she’s either going to stop breathing, or have learnt to magically leapfrog over the side of the bars and be scurrying around her bedroom floor.

Then, somehow, at 5am, an hour I used to be able to easily settle her back to sleep, she now squeals with delight when I come in the room, then when I eventually bring her to our room, she hyperactively crawls over us in bed to ensure we too are awake. It’s 5am Lily, far too early for squeals of delight.

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Google told me this is a ‘phase’… their brain development practicing everything they know. The poor wee thing has no hope, since this is coupled with yet another tooth coming through, and alot of snot. I can’t bring myself to go through Controlled Crying, partly due to my own heart breaking every time I hear her even whimper, and partly due to our ridiculously thin walls in our house; our neighbours really wouldn’t appreciate a 3am cry-off. There seems to be no other solution other than to ride it out, and hope it’s a 5-day phase rather than a 3-month phase.

It’s thanks to Jon for looking after her the past few mornings, that I’ve managed to take the lack of sleep out on a treadmill, then when I get home, we’ve ended up on hours of walks. I’d forgotten what it felt like to thrive on no sleep again, and know if I stop then I’ll probably curl into a quivering ball of exhaustion!

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In contrast, she seems to be a little gem in the day, even if our living room looks like a hurricane has swept through it by 7am. She naps as she should, giggles away, contently plays with her toys when she’s awake, and climbs or clambers over everything, with a noticeable reduction in the unnecessary tantrums (helped by a quick distraction from her new love… Po!). She also clearly understands the word ‘no’ as sheepishly returns to the living room when we see her disappearing towards those extremely inviting fridge magnets in the kitchen.

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There’s no real point to this post except to perhaps find out if anyone has any suggestions or answers. How long may this last? Is there anything that works to calm this sudden hyperactivity at bedtime, when she was absolutely exhausted before her bath? Will her nighttime wakenings return to those blissful 12 hours again? How the hell do you do the poppers up on a vest while she’s trying to escape around the crib?

And perhaps, what skills do babies have to run around a crib in a sleeping bag, without falling flat on their face? That would’ve surely been an incredible skill to take to a festival campsite…

Baby waking times:
5am: Far too early, Lily
5.30am: Just another half hour, please!
6am: A relief
6.30am: Normality has resumed
7am: A lie-in
7.30am: Is she ok?!

Update: since writing this, she actually slept her 12 hour stint, with only one intervention needed after 7 hours, before she settled straight down again. Please, please be the end of this ‘phase’ already!!

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