This is a bit of a rambling post with no images whatsoever. I feel like I’m always concentrating on getting my 366 project up to date, or working on nice photo posts, that I neglect the boring little thoughts in my head itching to be turned into blog posts. A week later, and that moment has passed, the thoughts are no longer relevent, and it’s yet another little part of life that will become faded because I’ve not documented the details.

So, as I wrote previously, Arlo started sleeping through at 19 months. At first, it was sporadic, maybe three days out of the week. But it quickly became more frequent, and at 23 months he’s going whole weeks without needing me in the night. I think I’ve been up with him twice in the last 30 days. I’ve said before that the difference has been really profound. I thought I’d become used to poor quality of sleep. I hadn’t.

In hindsight, I have realised how tough going the sleep deprivation was, and just why parents would give me those pitying looks when discussing how frequently Arlo waked at whichever particular age. It’s only once I got through to the other side that I understood what I had been missing.

I imagine if he had slept through earlier. Imagine feeling like this if he had slept through as a baby?! Would I have better enjoyed my time, remembered more of the day-to-day moments, been more relaxed?  – things that all seem clearer now he’s sleeping through. Would I have been better able to cope with the day time struggles (constant holding and movement for months) if the nights had been easier? I have guilt that I didn’t particularly enjoy the little moments when he was a baby, and that my memory of this time is extremely fuzzy. But I guess it’s not important that I was a desperately knackered mess for a year and a half, as long as I did everything to meet Arlo’s needs.

He is still having the occasional night terror. But they are much less frequent than before. The last one he had, he was screaming for dada even though Sam was already holding him, he is just completely somewhere else – something that becomes even more obvious in the light of day when he has a terror at naptime. I know that the best thing to do is to leave them because picking them up can make it worse, but that’s easier said than done and I have to admit that we normally use different approaches. Sam will usually take him out into the hallway and turn the light on, the sudden light seems to calm him down, almost shocks him out of it I think. Surprise, surprise, I go for the breastfeeding option. He’s only refused once during a terror, most of the time it’s an almost instant relief for him.

We’ve had a bit of money come in from Sam’s work this month (woop woop!), so I’ve ordered Arlo a duvet and pillow. He’s been pillowless and in grobags up until this point because I couldn’t get my head around how these items would work when he needed to be fast asleep before we put him in the cot. Now he goes to sleep by himself, the pillow and duvet seem more feasible. Also, his grobags have a max limit of 18 months and are really getting quite short on him, so I wanted to try a duvet instead of shelling out on new grobags. I am really nervous to mess with his bed setup, I don’t want to ruin the good thing we’ve got going at the moment with him falling to sleep happily by himself – so if the duvet mucks up the plan then I guess it’ll be back to the grobags.

I don’t plan to take the sides off his cot until he can climb out. Not only am I scared of ruining the good sleep spell, but at the moment there are far too many storage items in his room that I wouldn’t feel comfortable for him to have free roam in there. Hopefully this problem should be sorted soon as we now have the money to get the holes in our loft fixed and finally evict those squirrels, so our stuff will be safe to be stored up there. Another added complication is that due to our house layout, we can’t fit a baby gate at the top of our stairs or in front of his door, and his door leads straight out onto the rather steep staircase. He is just getting to the stage where he can reach the handles to open doors himself, and it frightens me to think of him getting out onto that staircase unsupervised – another reason that the cot is staying for as long as possible! I am really not sure how to solve this door/staircase worry of mine, so any suggestions are very welcome!

Aside from his food intolerances and eczema, sleep has really been the major issue throughout his first year and the first half of his second year. Even though problems with sleep are completely expected for the first few years, it’s still a matter of survival. I look back at how things were only a few months ago, and I am proud of the way we managed to make it through with only the faintest of battle scars.

12 comments

  1. Crikey, you’ve had a fair bit to adjust to haven’t you?!? but it sounds like you’ve just got on with it all and at the centre of everything is an adored little boy whose parents sound utterly devoted to him and to doing everything to keep him safe, well, secure, and happy. What a lovely family you are 🙂 Be interested to know how you get on with the duvet/pillow, I have just been pondering whether or not to go for it with them with Allegra but decided to opt for grow bags size 2-3 years (in denial that she’s not a baby anymore!!) xx

    1. I am so tempted by the grobags. They have been so great, and I never worry that he will wake up because he’s thrown his covers off and is too cold. In the end, the duvet worked out cheaper so thought we might as well give it a shot. It’s not yet arrived but I will let you know how it goes!

  2. With Alex I was a bit nervous when I changed his beloved bedding, but I bought one with diggers etc on which he has been mad on for ages, and tried to make it fun (maybe even get him to ‘help’ you put it on). That sounds a bit of a nightmare with the stairs-hope you manage to find a solution to help with that before the sides of the cot have to come down. Good luck, and hope he likes his new bedding!

    1. Yes, I thought maybe a ‘Thomas’ bedset might be the way to go. My main worry is that he’ll start waking ridiculously early because he’s thrown his covers off and he’s cold, sleeping bags have been so good for this!

  3. I have done the same thing with grow bags and decided not to buy anymore as he outgrew 18month ones. I was really panicked it would ruin good sleep patterns but it’s actually been fine. I transitioned him out of the bags first so he had no covers at all. I did this while the weather was warm so it wouldn’t matter. Then I started putting him down without covers but going in once he was asleep and covering him up, which I did for about a week. Then I started covering him over when I put him down. And now as soon as I lie him down he says “blanket” and then “night night” so he clearly gets it. I do often have to cover him back over when I go to bed but he doesn’t seem to wake up as a result, I’m just hoping that by the time the cold weather sets in properly that he’ll be well used to it and will snuggle himself back under. Haven’t bothered with a pillow yet as he still has a tendancy to migrate around the bed at night so I think it might be a bit pointless for him.
    So that’s how we did it, hope it helps. My friend had some real issues getting her little boy out of bags so I was paranoid, but he was older so I figured if I could nip it in the bud sooner then it might help. Good luck, I’m sure he’ll be fine.

  4. I don’t think you need to worry about messing up the sleep with changes like adding a duvet. Once we got there, that was it – even on holiday etc when most babies are disturbed because of a change in “routine” – Isabel still knew how to sleep through.

    I suppose the closest comparable thing for us in terms of change was introducing her bed (as opposed to full night cosleeping)… but we let her lead and it didn’t negatively affect anything. Some nights she sleeps through in it, some nights she wakes to pee and then gets in the spare double with Karl.

    You can get different styles of stair gates to suit different shaped/sized doorways, including some that fit with the door shut which might work for you? I don’t know, hard to visualise the door to Arlo’s room…

    1. Admittedly I haven’t researched a great deal about the different types of baby gates. Will have to look into it, I’m sure there will be a simple solution somewhere.

  5. I am worried about when to start with the duvet rather than gro-bags as my son still sleeps in every position conceivable in his bed and I don’t want him getting cold in the night. He is only 13 months so a bit younger but I was hoping to start this winter. Interesting to see how you get on, but hope the great sleeping continues whatever!

  6. I’m of the view that you either get a sleeper or a non sleeper and there isn’t a great deal you can do

    Bigger slept through well from about 9 months but now gets up early, needs to read before bed and generally needs less sleep (and suffers with nightmares and sleep walking) – Littler didn’t sleep through until about 20 months and now snuggles down for a good 12 hours

    We did much the same thing with them but they are just very different so trust me, it isn’t sometihng you’ve done wrong, it just is what it is

    And yes, long term sleep deprivation is a dog but it does get better and you’ll find life changes now you can sleep more

    Reading about allergies and the such like, I think that makes it harder for them to sleep, as those get sorted they can sleep easier and then so can you

    ((hugs))

    1. It took me a long long time to except that I hadn’t done anything wrong with regards to his sleeping, and it is just the way he is – As he’s grown older and more of his personality has started to show, it seems so obvious. And I do think that his allergies affected his quality of sleep, both things improved around the same time. Very happy to be getting more sleep for the moment!

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