The sleep sitch

little-dolly-bed-blanketI have been awake since 2.30am. I used to see posts of mums saying similar things and I thought it couldn’t be right. You actually get up and go about your day even though you’ve been awake since two hours after you went to bed? What. The. Fuck.

When we first moved here, and the girls’ regular 7.30 bedtime was thrown out of whack thanks to daylight savings and whatnot, and I was on the edge of sleep deprivation breakdown, I knew it was time for things to change.

If you had told me when I wrote that post that my almost 19-month-old toddler was going to start happily drifting back off to sleep during her night wakeups WITHOUT a breastfeed, I would never have believed you. It seemed like it was a behaviour that was so comforting and entrenched that it would be tantamount to torture to change it.

Well, it’s true. She pops back off to bed with merely a couple of “shhhhh”s from me, or perhaps some humming of the Sleepy Song from Cloudbabies. At the very most, a stroke on the forehead. And she’s taken to the change with no trouble, which leads me to believe it was time and she was ready.

As I’ve chatted to people about the no-sleep sitch, I hear a lot of groans and see a lot of wincing faces as people remember their own early parenting years. “The patting – THE PATTING. I hated it,” they’ll say. “No sleep nearly did me in,” said another. “We only have one child because we were too scared to go back and do all that again”, said a third. I am relieved to know that feeling half-crazy and at your wit’s end sometimes is perfectly normal and we all suffer from it to various degrees.

So why 2.30am, if my kid is self-settling more? Well, I’m a light sleeper. When she needs resettling at 2.30, sometimes it takes me a full 90-minute sleep cycle to get back to sleep. Guess who wakes up again then? An hour after that next settle and a little head pops up next to the bed with an enquiring “mum? toash?” and it’s time to start my day.

While I can’t say I’m getting any more sleep than I was when I wrote that last post, I finally feel like we’re moving in the right direction. Like every night she settles with less and less intervention from me, that we are one step closer to her not needing me overnight. That makes all the difference in the world.


  • Lizzy – muddle-headed mamma

    You’ve given me hope the there’s a light at the end of the sleep deprivation tunnel. sleep deprivation really is a form of torture. Last week, I was trying to assemble a port-a-cot and it just wouldn’t work and my daughter was overtired and I just burst into tears and cried on the floor for a few minutes. My son was such a good sleeper – I had false impressions that it was easy to get all babies to sleep well! baby steps :)

    • Veggie Mama

      Oh I hear ya. I’m usually such an unruffled, patient person – these days I’m known to bawl if I can’t get a jar open. IT’S JUST TOO HARD! All children are so different. And when I see how hard it is for me to get to sleep and stay asleep (had that problem my entire life), I understand a bit more from their perspective. Not all babies can be expected to sleep with no issues. Here’s hoping it changes for us both soon!

      • Lizzy – muddle-headed mamma

        They are all different, aren’t they? I’m co-sleeping with bub number two, which made things easier than with my firstborn at first but harder in the long run. My little one pretty much wakes up every time her rolls into me now too and wants boobie. Until recently, I thought I had all the answers. Now I’m back to the drawing board :)

  • Angie@TheLittleMumma

    Oh, man, I wish I could be a better human reading this post but I am so fecking jealous!

    Harlow will be two in a week and I have slowly been trying to transition her off the night time boobing and I am telling you, she screams down the house. Ready for the change? No, not according to her. Me, I’ve BEEN ready, man. So very ready. If you’d told me I’d still be boobing this kid at 2, I would have told you to jump back. I have been putting this off because I sensed it would be painful and yep, it’s painful. I think I need to cut her off all together and just brace myself for cuddling a crying baby in the rocking chair for a minimum three nights. Pray for me.

    I gots golden nipples and I just can’t stand it no more!

    But I am happy for you and Pep. No, really! xx

    • Veggie Mama

      Oh I was more than ready too! I was so scared to even try it though, I thought it was never going to happen. I thought MY nipples were golden! Turns out they’re pretty forgettable, haha. I had that same thought, that I had to be consistent with the no boob thing, or it would confuse her. She of course was disappointed that there wasn’t any feed forthcoming, and was loud about it, but it didn’t last long. Two nights maybe? I don’t know, I just remember being super-surprised that she adapted faster than I thought. If she had suffered greatly, I would have put it off and tried again later, but she’s so used to it now. And it’s been less than three weeks. Good luck! Keep me posted x

  • Lila Wolff

    I’m so happy that things are improving for you.

    • Veggie Mama

      I take it that they aren’t for you? :(

      • Lila Wolff

        I think we’re in for the very long haul with this one and sleep.

  • Reannon Hope

    I’m a light sleeper too so even if I’m only up to find the dummy it still takes me awhile to get back to sleep.

    My mentality seems to swing in two directions- one thinks I just need to get hardcore & do some sort of sleep training/controlled crying thing to get Blake sleeping on his own & self settling but each time I’ve tried he completely looses his shit for hours on end. On the other hand I think ” is it so bad that he still needs a feed during the night?” . I’ve cut his bottle right down so it’s a measly 90ml & 99% of the time it’s all he needs to fall back asleep. Is that so bad? I don’t know, I really don’t know….maybe if I wasn’t having another baby in a few weeks I’d be less concerned but I totally freak out at the thought of both of them needing me at the same time…

    From what I see Stacey you have to be one of the most relaxed mamas I’ve ever known. You seem to completely have your shit together mama wise & work wise & being able to do that on years of broken sleep is amazing!!! I am in awe because I know if I had to work right now it’d be my undoing! Send me some of your chilled parenting genes will ya?!

    • Veggie Mama

      I had that mentality too, and all I found was that I would be paralysed with indecision, and still stuck in a situation where nobody was sleeping. At least now I feel like we’re being proactive about it. Admittedly in a pretty gentle way, but it feels best to me to do it like that. Having said that, there have been times when I’ve been a bit firmer about it, and it has made a difference. I guess my method of operation is gentle but firm? Like my regular parenting, haha! I do worry about you having two so close with one not sleeping, there’s no way I’d be as relaxed as I am now if I was in that situation! I really wanted to be a zen mama. I have my moments (no doubt sleep-deprivation-driven, haha), but yeah on the whole I’m pretty laid-back. Free-range, baby! Carpe diem! Que Sera Sera!

  • Jackie @ Hippie Mumma

    You’ve made me cry… this entry is just what I needed right now.

    My 18 month old (when was your little one born? Oct 2nd here) breastfeeds to sleep and then breastfeeds about 5 or 6 times overnight to go back to sleep. So obviously we co-sleep and hubby has now gone to a different bed which actually has done wonders for our sex life, hah! But my neck and shoulders are so sore from laying in a position to feed her back to sleep.

    Only last night was I talking to my husband about trying to stop the night feeding. So finding this entry today was BEAUTIFUL and REASSURING! Thank you <3

    Does your bub require boob to resettle for a nap too?

    • Veggie Mama

      Oh dude. I genuinely know how you feel. It’s tough. And I’m pleased this post has given you a modicum of hope. I genuinely was surprised that the night boob retirement went with a minimum of fuss. I imagined full weeks of actual sleepless nights and lots of screaming, but apart from a couple of times, it went really well. She doesn’t even ask for it now overnight.

      I also stopped breastfeeding her to sleep around the same time. She had this weird comfort habit where she would rip handfuls of her hair out as she fed while drifting off, and had a horrible bald patch. We even had to cut her hair. So in an effort to break the feed/sleep/pull association, I stopped feeding her lying down and fed until she was just drowsy, then would pop her in bed and pat until she went to sleep. Eventually I stopped feeding her at all before a sleep to break that association too. I wanted there to be no boob/sleep connection at all. Admittedly day sleeps are a bit harder and they involve a little crying, but I’m always there to comfort her – just not with a boob. She honestly has taken it so well, and every time she settles down and sleeps with just me singing to her or whatnot, I feel so proud of her. Growing up! (She was born on September 23, very close!)

      5-6 times a night would do me in. I tried co-sleeping with her and she went from 1-2 wakeups to 5 or 6 – like, every time she rolled into me she’d wake up and ask for it. Nobody was getting any sleep! At some point enough is enough. You’re still loving and caring for your baby overnight without having to feed them. And you never know – she might be really receptive to it! It’s just taking the plunge in the first place, it seems like it’s going to be really hard. Do keep me posted x

  • Elisha Ross

    My 2.5 year old started sleeping through at about 2 yrs and did so eventually without forcing it, controlled crying or just flat out stopping a bottle when he woke up at whatever hour. Now my 18mths old wakes at about 2am and I still am having to hand over a bottle to her in the dark and she goes back to sleep. Slowly the time between bedtime and bottle are lengthening. I know, like her bro she’ll get there and there will be no more bottles soon. And we won’t be going through 3 litres of milk nearly everyday.(Though I’m a sucker for punishment and going back when #3 coming in August). The joys. Your a gun for still breastfeeding!!

    • Veggie Mama

      I know, it’s the thought that one day she will sleep. I know it’s coming. It IS coming, right? RIGHT?! Haha probably not for you though, with another little bebeh. That’s very exciting! Prince George has made me all clucky. Pepper not sleeping puts the kybosh on that quick smart, though ;-)

  • Marie Biswell

    Oh good lordy! You need to run away down here & steal my kidlets methinks. Baby Laney woke last night, had a little chat (really loudly) then settled back to sleep… I didn’t get out of bed or anything, my hubby rolled over & asked if he should give her the dummy, I said nope let her be & she was ok!
    Methinks you should STOP DOING TOO MUCH!
    Methinks is my new word today, methinks I like it.

    • Veggie Mama

      It wouldn’t matter if I woke up and didn’t have to get up, or if I woke up and ran around the block: I’M AWAKE. I don’t go to sleep easily after that :(

  • Rachel @ Mother Far from Home

    Oh glad she is getting better and better, sweet thing! And I hear you about the getting back to sleep thing. My daughter might have a nightmare, require a few kisses, go right back to bed and then I’m up! I try to send my husband when I can become he’ll go right back to bed, but he’s very very hard to actually wake up even though he is willing. Ahh, but these days we’ll miss I think!

    • Veggie Mama

      Haha maybe. One day. One day when I’m old and I miss having two good hips.

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I’m glad things are getting better for you Stacey Xx

  • Neville

    You fûcking boring bîtches posting this shît. You lazy bîtches should go out and get a job instead of whining about how hard it is to raise your ugly rodent children