On reflection, Malachi has never really been a good sleeper. But I think that was through learnt behaviour rather than choice! I breastfed on demand for a year, which also resulted in co-sleeping, and I just assumed it was all part of the new baby process.
When he turned 1, that's when it began to dawn on me that we were having 'difficulties'. I weaned him onto a bottle with success, but nighttime became a battle of wills; Malachi usually becoming the victor!
Malachi would not fall asleep unless he was in/on my bed. He would not drift off unless I was laying next to him. If i even dared to escape he would stir and make a fuss. I tried to encourage his own cot, but the temptation of sleeping with mummy when we shared a room and he could see me was all too much. He also wouldn't settle unless he had a bottle. I remember one night him being hysterical each time he woke without one and then going through 5 in one night!! I tried water to replace the milk but he was not fooled. and began settling back into 'normal' life as maternity leave ended.
I work full time and was managing to do so (how I'm not sure) despite being woken 5 or 6 times a night. I remember people saying over and over that they couldn't believe how I could do that. But I did it because I didn't think I had a choice and everything I had tried I had failed with!
Crunch time came when I spent 3 nights away from him. For the first time, in over 18months, I had solid sleep!
When I came home I was in tears 3 nights running because Malachi would take over 30minutes to settle (still in my bed at this point) and then would wake at hourly or 2 hourly intervals. I realised the impact of the sleep I was missing out on and the rest I effectively needed.
I was quite apprehensive about getting help initially and a part of me felt quite embarrassed that I had failed in some way. Baby Tech Support popped up on my home screen and after one more bad bedtime, I dropped them an email.
I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I could have made!
After going through our current routine and discussing our sleep arrangements, I had a tailor made plan to help both Malachi and I get some sleep.
Night one was hard and I nearly gave in, but with encouragement I made it through and by the second night Malachi was sleeping in his own cot for the entire night time, only having one bottle before sleep, and only waking twice in the night!!
We are now on night 7... Malachi happily points at his own cot and lies himself down without a fuss. He settles himself to sleep after I have said 'goodnight' and left the room. He wakes only once, if at all, and when he does he has settled back down within 5minutes. I now have to wake him up in time for nursery in the morning!!! Malachi is so much happier in the day, and wakes up with a smile. He has more energy and his appetite is much better too now that he is not filling up on milk.
I think people underestimate the importance of a good nights sleep. I certainly did. My only regret now is not contacting Baby Tech Support sooner!
Claire and Malachi (18 months)