Healthy sleep, healthy life… a family’s perspective

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The Atkinson family is renowned for two things:

1) eating a lot of food, for which they have received the nickname The Fatkinsons (this must become redundant as soon as they actually become fat) and

2) having very little time thanks to battling to get their daughter to sleep.

Parenting books say that kids that eat well will sleep well, but this could not be more untrue in their home. You see, despite their best feed/play/sleep cycle efforts, their infant grew to be a baby who grew to be a toddler who would not or could not sleep for very long at all. In fact, she would wake the whole household once every two hours or so.

As with most problems in life, there was no single cause, but rather a mucky soup of sleep baddies all having a romp. She was born with a strong will to a soft mom. She had FOMO during the day and colic at night. She went on to be diagnosed with reflux which saw her fear lying down from 6 weeks till 16 months old. She was not a happy teether and no dose of ponstan, panado or amber teething beads helped lull her to sleep. At 20 months, she was snoring and later diagnosed with allergic rhinitis. For this, she uses chronic medicines with great success.

However, she was also blessed with a ferocious appetite and speedy metabolism. She would drink 2-4 bottles a night until at 30 months she was weaned (we all barely survived breaking this addiction). In the same week, she chose to leave behind not only her bottle and dummy but also her cot and nappies too.

We suddenly had a big girl, wearing big girl panties, sleeping in a big bed and waking to use the potty. Oh and she stopped napping. And one night, just like that, she started sleeping from 7pm til 6am.

Hubby and I are able to chat without editing or using Afrikaans. We can plan and dream and hang out. It's wonderful to have our own bedtime routine slowly being restored after a two-and-a-half year battle.

The sleep saga is by no means over. Some new sleep baddies are trying to get in. Her blossoming creativity has led to some pretty, harrowing night terrors and the refusal to wear a night nappy means she is up to go to the potty at least once a night (despite our concerns of dehydration!) but...

We have our evenings back. And it's wonderful. So, if you are tacking your own team of sleep baddies, please take heart. You will win this battle... eventually.

IMG_1112Yes, we have added another baby to the mix! Let's hope we can keep the sleep baddies at bay.


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