21 May 2011

A particularly bad week

so, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for my absence, and for not being in contact with dear family and friends. I long to call some friends who I would really love to talk to, and see what is happening in their lives, but at the moment things are so hectic and stressful, and so so tiring that I actually haven't had a spare moment.

The main reason for this is Theo's sleeping habits. He has just gone from bad to worse, and that has in resulted in tow very tired parents. Last night he didn't get to sleep until 1, only after Rob walked him round for hours. Luckily he slept in his own bed for five and a half hours, which is good for him, so last night was sort of the best night we've had so far. He's been sleeping in the big bed more and more recently, as it seems like the easiest option to get some sleep. But I think he is getting wise to this, as he just kicks up a fuss when he goes in his own bed, and is happy and quiet in the main bed. We did so well before of getting him out of the main bed, and now I feel like it's slipping back. It does feel as we are living with a newborn again. I'm hoping it is all to do with teething, and as soon as those little pearly whites appear, things will get back to normal.

I had another crisis of confidence over my parenting skills. I get emails from various baby development centers, telling you what your baby could be doing by now. Lots of them are going on about sleep routines and sleep training, and how the baby should be sleeping. I try and try to do the same routine every evening for Theo, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. I also feel bad that we didn't try and implement something from the beginning. I constantly questioned what approach to take, and never stuck to one, and therefore nothing has ever worked.

I was talking to a friend of mine, who has a 5 month old baby, and he has trouble getting to sleep at night too, and she never really tried any one approach to sleep training. Both of our babies were unplanned, and we both have had the same sort of experiences and feelings about things of this nature.

I feel that because Theo was unplanned, I spent most of my pregnancy getting around the idea that in a very short time my life was about to change forever, and there would be this little person in it, who would be dependent on me for everything. This is quite a big thing to adjust to, and I know that people who planned their babies still go through this, but it seems as though perhaps they are more prepared for it, and perhaps more accepting of it, because that's what they wanted in the first place. So my point is, is that I personally spent most of my pregnancy thinking and adjusting to that fact, without even beginning to think of the best way to do things when he actually arrived. I didn't do any reading of how to do things when they are here, and of all the different approaches and opinions about what is best for your baby. It sounds stupid but it didn't even occur to me that there could be lots of different ways to do things. And for us we have just sort of gone along with whatever happened, and just tried to deal with the situation at hand, instead of planning on which approach we would take to look after our baby. I don't know whether this makes me a bad parent or not, and whether I'm doing the wrong things for Theo.

But for now I am trying my hardest to do what is best for Theo, and hopefully things will get easier.

Right, that's all for now!

6 comments :

  1. First of all - stop feeling guilty! Guilt gets you nowhere and you have done nothing wrong. I personally feel that all the reading and researching of sufferer routines and approaches gets you nowhere. We planned Rebecca and the only books I read while pregnant were pregnancy ones. Dave an I very much believe in the attachment parenting idea, where everything is baby led and you just go with the flow. Rebecca is very rarely asleep before midnight, usually 1am, and she will maybe have one nap in the day, maybe not. She's happy like this. She goes to sleep when she wants to around midnight and, growth spurts aside, sleeps until she's woken by Dave getting dressed for work at 8am. We didn't decide this, she did, and that's why it works for us. There are some very informative books on attachment parenting and the dr sears website is great. Have a read and you may stop feeling so guilty :)

    Secondly - have you considered cosleeping as a choice? Unless you really don't want to do it and want him in his own bed then there's nothing wrong with cosleeping. We have done it from about 5 weeks, again baby led, but couldn't be happier. Learn how to do it safely and it could make for a happy nights sleep all around.

    If you ever want to talk about things, I'll give you my email address (or even my phone number!). It is so hard but there is always a way for things o work out.

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  2. aww thanks or the reassurance. Without really choosing it I guess we have gone down the attachment route, which seems to work best for all of us. Sometimes I am just struck with the feeling of paranoia that everyone is doing things differently and better than i am. I know I'm silly when I get like this, and rob gets quite annoyed with me for it too!

    i guess knowing that this is actually a good and valid approach gives me some confidence. when i tried other things like gina ford for example, it just felt so wrong, that i didn't even really try to stick to it. but i know it can work for other people.

    theo is a happy baby when he is awake, and i should be glad for that (apart from when teething gets really bad!)

    as for the co-sleeping thing, i do really like co-sleeping, but just worry about the safety issues. at the moment theo is spending the first half of the night in his own bed, then the rest in ours, which seems to work out ok. We all definitely get the most sleep that way.

    thanks for giving me a bit of confidence in the way i am doing things! but yes an email would be great! it would be nice to chat about all things!

    thanks again!

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  3. p.s just read a little of the dr.sears stuff and already feel tons better! hooray! hopefully i can stop stressing out now and just get on with things the way I naturally feel i should..without the GUILT!

    thankkkkkks!

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  4. Glad you feel better! None of the routine type things sat well with me either so i didnt even try them. There is a great book on cosleeping well worth a read and will make you feel loads better. Cosleeping actualy REDUCES the risk of cot death if you do it safely, which is very easy to do.

    The thing with parenting is everyone WILL be doing it differently to you, in some way, and everyone will usually think their way is best because, well, why would they do it if they didn't? But babies and parents are all individuals and so all have different wants and needs, there is no one size fits all parenting method, sadly, and it's all trial and error. As long as Theo is happy and healthy, and so are you and rob, then you ARE doing it the right way no matter what anyone else's opinions are. It's hard to have confidence in your own parenting, but once you do find that confidence (and it took me about 3 months) it feels so liberating. xx

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  5. hi abigail

    firstly, i hope you have had a lovely time at the cotham street party. maybe i'll go to it next year.

    secondly, i'm doing a PhD on first-time parenthood and almost all my research participants planned their babies and read TONNES of books but many of them found, as is not uncommon, that everything changed once the baby arrived so it is very possible that any reading wouldn't have helped you at that stage anyway.

    the thing is, it's all really, really hard. sleep deprivation is torture and therefore makes you feel more anxious and paranoid about things than you otherwise would. also, your baby changes all the time (with growth spurts, teething, even the weather!) so what works one week might not work another week. and the other thing is there is just SO much advice out there (and all conflicting - like you said gina vs attachment) and that can be so hideously overwhelming.

    i'm glad you feel better after reading some of dr sear's website but the main thing to hold on to is that almost ALL new parents struggle with sleeping and routine and they all worry they're less good at it than others so you are definitely not alone. i think most of the parents i've met in the past who haven't struggled are just lucky enough to have an 'easy' baby. after all, babies are little humans and we all have different sleep patterns and needs from each other even if we have set routines.

    i hope you find something that works for you, theo and rob. and i hope you get some sleep soon. at least you know theo is a really gorgeous boy :) and, as you said, is really happy in the day (except when teething).

    nancy x

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  6. Thanks Nancy, that's really reassuring too! It's times like this i'm so glad I have a blog, and lovely people to give me advice!

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