The shame surrounding sleep …or rather lack of

So, it’s been a little while since I’ve written a blog. Now, this is partly due to time, tiredness and way too much Tiktok! But, it’s also because I normally find writing a cathartic way for me to work out any problems or stresses I’m having. Thankfully, I haven’t had many problems or stresses recently, thus no real reason to write.

However, one slight problem/ stress I’ve always found difficult to talk/ write about is sleep… or rather Sienna’s sleep/lack of sleep.

For some reason, I’ve always found Sienna’s sleeping habits a direct reflection of my parenting ability. When she’s slept well, I’ve thought I’ve nailed this parenting lark and when she’s slept badly, I’ve felt like the worst mum ever…both totally irrational I know.

From about 12 weeks to six months, we were so lucky with Sienna. We’d put her down at 7pm and she didn’t wake till 7am…sometimes gone 8 if she was particularly chilled. At this point of my parenting journey I honestly was probably getting more sleep than I did pre Sienna and I really wondered what people were on about when they said kids didn’t sleep!

Then things changed. At six months, I’m not sure if it’s because she started crawling, eating food or just discovered sleep was a bit overrated, but for some reason Sienna decided her 12 hour sleep sessions weren’t for her anymore. Luckily, she’d still go down pretty easy but she might wake once or twice in the night for a top up of milk or a cuddle.

Now, as I write this, I know that at six months Stu and my parenting style didn’t change and the fact that Sienna needed that extra bit of support in the night didn’t automatically mean we were now doing something wrong. Yet for some reason I felt like if I told people Sienna didn’t now sleep through the night, they’d judge. “Oh she doesn’t sleep because you still breastfeed at night” “”Oh she doesn’t sleep because she’s over stimulated” “Oh she doesn’t sleep because she’s not in a good routine” – note no one has ever said these things to me apart from me.

Today, Sienna is around about 14 months (I could prob give you a more accurate number if I was getting better sleep) and her nightly sleep is totally random. Some nights we will put her down at seven and she will go down like a dream. And sometimes, if she’s got a bad tooth, cold or just is feeling aggy she will want cuddles all night. Last night, she was totally fine, she just wanted to play peekaboo (very cute just not in the middle of the night)

Thankfully, like I said, I find writing very cathartic and even just writing down my thoughts, I can realise that 1. Everything with parenting is a phase 2. Sleepless night with Sienna is a million times better than a lie in without her 3. And most importantly, sleep or no sleep, however long it takes, I am a good mum with the dreamiest daughter in the world.


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