I’m going to preface by saying: I am not a sleep doctor. I am not a paediatrician. I’m just a mum who has spent the last 6.5 years wondering how on earth to survive when your kid just doesn’t sleep.
My son is nearly 7. And I have spent the most part of the nights of the last 6 years wondering why he won’t sleep. He’s now sleeping more than ever and before you get all excited about that- he’s only waking 2-3 times per night.
It started young. I remember the helpful people. When he starts on solids he will sleep. When he starts walking he will sleep. At 11 months he gave up his day sleep.
By nearly two my son was a dreadful sleeper. He had been in and out of hospital due to numerous bouts of bronchiolitis that resulted in him being diagnosed as asthmatic.
So I tried to get into Tresillian. My early childhood nurse informed me that there was a long waiting list. I wasn’t high priority because: I wasn’t suffering from PND. I get that, looking back I probably was suffering from PND, but I was also cluey enough (thanks to four years of psych at uni) to know exactly how to fudge the Edinburgh scale probably not my wisest move.
We hired a baby sleep specialist. She came, she worked miracles and by night three he was sleeping like…well not a baby but he was sleeping. A month later he was back in the hospital for asthma again…and it all unravelled.
We got back on track and for 6 solid months, he slept at night.
But then, somewhere around 3, it all fell apart. No matter what we did at night, he didn’t sleep. He would go to sleep beautifully, lulling me into a false sense of security that he was “down for the night”. Then, around 11 pm, he woke, and stayed awake, most times until around 6 am, when he would fall asleep again for an hour before getting up.
I would get up, go into his room, or he’d come into bed with us. He would literally be awake all night. He would play, talk want to read, want interaction. Sheer exhaustion became the norm. That’s what you do when your kid just doesn’t sleep.
If he slept through the night, we wondered what was wrong with him- was he coming down with something? But then it was so rare that it usually meant I was awake, wondering what was going on.
The thing is: it becomes the norm. You start to feel like this is just what parenting is. You resent people who talk about their kids who sleep perfectly. You feel like you are failing.
We just kept plodding on…until last year. Our paediatrician listened. He booked us to see a sleep paediatrician. We finally had a sleep study.
But it didn’t bring the news me wanted. In official terms ” there is nothing physical stopping him from sleeping”. I cried. Oh how I cried, those tears just poured forth. The sleep paediatrician told me that was a good thing, no tonsillectomy needed to be scheduled…no apnoea machine was required.
But to me it felt like yet another fail.
You see, unlike you and me, my little guy goes to sleep at 7pm and has an amazing deep sleep. The sort of quality sleep that you and I have in the middle of the night, surrounded by light sleep. So when it comes to 11pm, he thinks its game over- because he’s done and feels refreshed.
But he wasn’t getting what he needed, and I am so acutely aware of that now as I look at how he is compared to a year ago. He has literally grown so much since sleeping (height wise) and has changed so much in his willingness and ability to learn. He is also less prone to unjustifiable tantrums and is much more happy and relaxed.
And now…we have sleep.
Here’s what changed:
- he was put on melatonin. Originally we started on the suspension, but eventually we started getting it from iherb (affiliate code). We use the Doctor’s Best Brand- 2.5mg in choc mint.
- we use a weighted blanket. These ones from Peaceful lotus are incredibly reasonable and work so well.
I want to talk a little about weighted blankets because they have been a game changer for us. The thing is, they are one of those things that you just don’t think will be a gamer changer, then you try one and you think “why the bloody hell did I not try this ages ago?”.
It works by simply putting gentle pressure on the kid, making them feel cosy and ready to sleep. It basically makes my son feel “comfortable and sleepy”.
You can basically spend your life savings and a kidney on a weighted blanket. They can be so expensive, but I’m telling you, they don’t have to be. The one we have from Peaceful Lotus is awesome. Basically, you want your blanket to be around 10% of your child’s body weight, but make sure you read all the info on their site, as they have heaps of helpful information.
By buying from Peaceful Lotus you are supporting a small Australian family business- which is exactly what we like to do! And they come in an awesome fabric bag so you can pack it up to take it on sleepovers or on holidays.
If you want to get one now (and I mean ASAP) this code expires on Sunday 26th May 2019 : KIDGREDIENT and will get you 25% off. That is soooo amazingly cheap.
Or use the code KYLIE10 to get $10 off until the 30th of June 2019.