We moved house just over two months ago and while the first week of night times with Florence went surprisingly well, straightforward bedtimes and restful nights swiftly went out of the window after that. We quickly fell into the trap of her waking after a couple of hours and crying until she came in with us. Often she’d just lay there awake for the rest of the night and on the occasion that she’d fall back to sleep she’d wake as soon as we tried to transfer her back to her cot or stir every time we moved. I’m all for extra cuddles, if she needs comfort from her Mama then that’s what she’ll get but after a while it became more of a habit then a need and left both Sean & I running on empty. Being in the second trimester of this pregnancy, nights are becoming uncomfortable too, without a wriggly star-fishing toddler adding to the mix and there were times when I’d get up in the morning and feel like my body was going to break.
Last week we made the decision to change something. Something had to give. And so we decided to remove a side from Florence’s cot and transform it into a toddler bed rather than a cot. That way, we’d be able to stilllay with her until she fell asleep at bedtime, without having to move her once she did. It also would mean that when she wakes in the night, we’d be able to slip in next to her and then slip back out once she was asleep.
This weekend just so happened to coincide with Florence being poorly and us taking an unexpected trip to A&E with what presented as bronchiolitis. Thankfully, she was treated quickly and it turned out to be a bad case of croup but it did mean that we hesitated about making such a change when things were already a bit up in the air for her. However, we bit the bullet and on Sunday, Sean took the side off of her cot and replaced it with a fold-able bed guard and our new bedtime routine began.
Previously, we’d bring her up to our bed after a bath, have a bottle and cuddle her to sleep before moving her into her room. We’ve cut out our room entirely, and after a bathtime with Daddy she comes up to her bedroom, we get her in her pyjama’s and grobag and read a story before Sean goes back downstairs leaving me to do lights out & give her her bedtime bottle. I then lay with her in her bed until she falls asleep (which so far takes half the time it used to in our bed!). She woke up a few times the first couple of nights and I just quickly got up and snuggled in next to her to get her back off, but last night and the night before she’s gone straight through from around 8pm to just after 4am – a huge improvement! She goes back to sleep until Sean goes to work & then comes in with me for morning cuddles.
I try to follow a similar pattern for nap time and while it’s still taking a little while to get her down for her nap we are getting there. She napped for four hours the other day!
It’s safe to say we are all feeling a lot more human and I’m much less worried about what it’ll be like at nighttime when the new baby arrives. It just goes to show that a small change can make such a huge difference and that a change in routine at any stage needn’t be such a daunting thing.