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Stop Trying To Fix My Kids Sleep

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Stop Trying To Fix My Kids Sleep

Ugh, I apologise if this is a bit ranty and not terribly well written – I’ll explain why. Last night my 1 year old and 4 year old “tag teamed” me all night. ALL night.

Baby has a blocked nose, it was pissing her off, she couldn’t feed, couldn’t lay on her back, flip flopping around all night, occasionally crying and arching in frustration of not being able to feed. At one point she flopped off the bed. Oh dear. Not a good night for little princess. Her brother woke 3 times, once just to be resettled in his bed, once because he’d walked into furniture in the dark, once to go to the toilet. He slept in our bed the rest of the night because I just couldn’t get up again. (remember, baby is screaming and arching  between her brother waking) long night.

SO – sounds pretty crap right? But colds are normal, babies catch them, it happens. 4 year old is going through a bit of a patch of waking at night, he’s starting to be a bit afraid of the dark, also drinking more in the afternoons but insisting he’s thirsty, so while it’s a pain getting up to help him pee, it’s better then dealing with a massive wee patch in his bed, like the other night. Also – normal.

Just really unfortunate that they both woke through the night, on the same night, because it’s doubley exhausting.

BUT – this is what happens every time we have a truly craptastic night. If I see anyone today, they’ll see I’m tired, they’ll ask how I am, I’ll tell them “I’m tired” (no point trying to pretend I’m not) they’ll ask why and IF I tell them, then commences the investigation on how to “fix” my perfectly normal, usually healthy, absolutely wonderful children.

They don’t need fixing. They are fine. My parenting doesn’t need critiquing. “have you tried….. ?” “could you do…..? “” what about this…… ?” “shouldn’t you try…..?” is not necessary.

No I haven’t just left my 4 year old to pee alone if he’s asked for help (are you offering to clean my bathroom in the morning?) yes I have seen a children’s health nurse for my daughters sleep, no I don’t think she (or he) is “old enough” for controlled crying, I’m 25 and I’m not old enough to be left alone in the dark to cry. No, I don’t want to give baby formula to see if she sleeps better, I haven’t, no I won’t, I don’t. NO thank you! Oh but thanks for trying. I really do understand that people are only trying to help.

I just think why can’t people just offer me a cup of coffee, assure me I’m doing everything right and telling me that little people grow, it’s hard right now but this time will pass.

Why when mothers are sleep deprived and sensitive do people feel the need to tear apart how they parent? Do you sleep through, every single night, without fail? Do you never have a bad night? Never have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep? Don’t you!?!? You must be in the tiny minority of humans who never ever have trouble sleeping.

My tiny humans sometimes have bad nights too. They aren’t broken. I don’t need to fix them.

I’m a bit broken though, you are welcome to try to fix me with a bit of kindness and caffeine.

About Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner.She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum.She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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6 comments

  1. This is the story of my life. Everyone is always telling me how to fix nicks night waking…
    Drives me insane.

  2. If I met you and you told me about your night time struggles, I would certainly offer you a cuppa and a listening ear, empathy and the reassurance that I went through this, too but now I have children who are awesome sleepers. I also might offer to take your older child to the park when the baby has her nap so that you could sleep with your baby.
    But I also might offer you some suggestions to “fix” your current situation (read deal with the coming night). I might ask you whether you have tried elevating the baby’s head (by letting him rest his head on your arm during sleep or by placing a wedge of some sort under him) in the hope that the sniffly-ness might not be so bad.
    I might offer to lend you one of my nightlights so that your older child does not run into furniture at night time. I wouldn’t think these are offensive suggestions and I certainly wouldn’t mean them in a “you need to improve on your parenting” or “you have created these problems yourself” kinda way. I would say things like that because I know that sometimes, when I am sleep deprived, I forget about the most obvious things to help me cope with one night at a time.
    So, my question is, would these things annoy you, too? Please be honest, I can take it.

    • I think in that order I would hear what you were really saying, as in, a cuppa, empathy, offers for support then some suggestions for things to try, I would probably receive them better.

      I did have her head elevated on my arm as much as I could, or sleeping her on her side, (she’s over 1) and 4 year old does have a night light, he mustn’t have had his eyes open perhaps. So these suggestions wouldn’t have bothered me at all. I think I’d appreciate that a lot.

      It is more when its I say one, or the other, or both, had a bad night and the automatic response is “well have you tried xyz”. Or particularly when people who know us and how we parent make suggestions that are the opposite of what we do with our children.

    • Oh, and by the way, even my “awesome sleeper” still has the occasional shocking night. so does my husband and even I have nights when I just have trouble sleeping. I think that is totally normal.

    • My 4 year old has slept through since he was 3, but probably normally wakes at night maybe once a fortnight. He was never a good sleeper though.

  3. Hugs.

    It t annoys me when people, childless people in particular, try to analyse and nit pick my child’s sleeping patterns. Its NORMAL. Just because as an adult you can sleep 8hrs straight doesnt mean you didnt as a child wake endlessly through the night.

    A hug and a cuppa is the best thing people can do for tired parents 🙂