Health,  Lifestyle

Who Needs Sleep Anyway?

Ever since she was born, Molly has been a terrible sleeper. But who needs sleep anyway?

She was born by emergency caesarean section so I had to spend a couple of days in the hospital afterwards. I remember being on the postnatal ward with three other woman; their babies were sleeping soundly. Not mine though. Mine would want feeding, go to sleep for a very short time and then wake up screaming.

I didn’t have a clue what was wrong with her because I had never done this before. I tried everything the midwives suggested but to no avail; even they were baffled by her. Fast forward a few days, I was at home, and it occurred to me that maybe she wanted more milk. She did. I gave her more and she drank it. I say drank but guzzled would be a more appropriate word. She would get this ‘milk coma’ look on her face; my community midwife told me that’s the look we were going for; a full, happy and contented baby.

Molly’s ‘milk coma’ look…

We had cracked it. Now we could all get some sleep, right? Wrong! Very Wrong!

The milk was causing Molly to have reflux. She was in so much pain with it so couldn’t sleep. We tried everything from burping her for longer, holding her in certain positions when feeding her, to raising the top end of her Moses basket. Nothing seemed to help. Eventually she was prescribed medication which helped slightly. But she was still in pain. Well, writhing in pain actually after each and every feed. We were all exhausted because none of us were getting any sleep.

I must have taken Molly to the GP what seemed like a million times and each and every time I felt like we were being fobbed off. The GP made me feel stupid and like I was over reacting. I’m not sure why I felt stupid because I knew my baby, and I knew something was wrong. Also, my health visitor was in complete agreement with me and couldn’t understand my GPs behaviour.

My baby was in pain as well as constantly being sick, having explosive nappies and on occasion was bleeding from her bum. This was not normal, but my GP seemed to think it was and wasn’t doing anything. I was furious. My health visitor was furious. We both knew what the problem was; Molly had a dairy intolerance. I had seen the symptoms in my niece, and I myself have a slight dairy intolerance. I knew what it looked like and so did my health visitor.

Molly must have been about three to four months old when I switched GPs and my health visitor referred her to a dietician. The dietician diagnosed Molly with a cow’s milk protein allergy and prescribed her a dairy free milk formula.

Now we had cracked it. Surely! We could all now get some sleep couldn’t we? Not a chance!

Even with her reflux medication and dairy free milk, Molly was still waking several times a night.

The months were passing by and we hadn’t had a single night that Molly had slept through. I was sick of people telling me how good their babies slept. Show offs. I got to spend all night with my baby, down stairs, just me and her, so there… I hated those people!

We tried everything we could think of in our attempts to get her to sleep better. We adjusted day time naps, moved her into her own room early on in case her dad’s snoring was keeping her awake, tried different bedtime routines… none of them worked.

Sometimes when Molly woke up she appeared to be wide awake, well, her eyes were open but I could tell she was tired and wanted to sleep but couldn’t. Other times when she would wake up she seemed agitated or scared.

She was constantly moving around her cot and would never be where we left her. I would go to check on her and she would be sat up awake just staring at nothing. Sometimes she would be sat up screaming and shaking violently. Other times she would be throwing herself around the cot. It was terrifying to see. What was wrong with my baby girl?

Either me or Chris would get her out of the cot to give her a cuddle and try to calm her down but that didn’t help at all. Her eyes were open but it was like she was looking through us. She would run around the house hysterically screaming but almost like she had a purpose to what she was doing. It was really scary. Terrifying actually! Then as fast as the episode started she was back with us, wanting a cuddle before falling asleep in my arms.

After Googling (a lot) and speaking to my health visitor and GP, we determined that Molly was having night terrors (she wasn’t demonically possessed like I had suspected!) She was one year old at this point. What does a one year old have to be terrified of? It broke my heart. It still does.

Molly is now two and a half years old and she is still a terrible sleeper. She doesn’t have as many night terrors as she used to have, and touch wood; she hasn’t had one for quite a while now. But she constantly wakes at night and can’t seem to settle down.

Between myself, my GP and my health visitor we cannot pin down a reason for Molly’s constant waking. I’ve tried changing her bedtime routine, changing her bedroom around, adjusting day time naps, putting her to bed at different times, not giving her certain foods, not letting her watch any TV or use the tablet after a certain time, among other things, but nothing seems to work.

Molly wakes up constantly and cannot settle back down, and can be awake anything from a few minutes to a few hours. The longest she has been awake for is five hours. I often wonder if she has insomnia or if she is just destined to be a bad sleeper.

My mother informs me that I didn’t need much sleep as a baby, and Chris is a terrible sleeper too. He sleep talks and sleep walks. Molly’s problem could be genetics. Over the last few weeks Molly has started talking in her sleep too. The poor little thing cannot catch a break. Her dad doesn’t have a problem waking up at night and not getting back to sleep though. He is dead to the world as soon as his head hits the pillow.

Between Chris’ snoring, sleep talking and sleep walking, and Molly’s constant waking up it’s a wonder I get any sleep at all. How I manage to function effectively in everyday life I don’t know.

My health visitor has referred Molly to a sleep clinic to see if they can give us any tips and advice that might help her sleep better, and for longer at night. I am there next week so I am really hoping they will have something useful for us. I’ll try anything at this point!

Has anyone had any dealings with an insomniac child and have any tips they would like to share? Or have any tips on dealing with snoring, sleep talking and sleep walking in adults? My usual dig into Chris’ ribs when he’s sleeping hasn’t proven effective so far…

Sam x


You can also find me blogging at Serenely Sam




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  • Aleena Brown

    I really feel for all of you reading this… I hope the sleep clinic gets you some answers or solutions. This will sound really random because she’s probably not teething but I swear by Nelsons Teething Powder sachets – they are basically a powdered form or chamomile and work a treat just dropped onto the tongue when my kids are really inconsolable for what seems like no reason… x #BloggerClubUK

    • stressymama

      She has always been a terrible sleeper but over the last week or two she’s actually been worse – now you’ve mentioned the teething I am wondering if that could have anything to do with it. The last time we were at the dentist they said she still had her back teeth to come in so I will check and see if that’s the problem. Thank you. x

  • Jo - Mother of Teenagers

    Gosh I really feel for you. You have had a bad run of it for sure. It is good that they have identified the cows milk allergy but sleep deprivation is a terrible thing and I hope the sleep clinic will come up with some top tips. Otherwise I think there are sleep nurses you can hire that come to your home and help you with a strategy if all else fails! It is one of those things I don’t think you should ignore as it will set a pattern for life so wishing you all the best in your quest for a solution. #familyfun

    • stressymama

      I really don’t want her getting into bad sleeping habits so I am eager to try and sort the problem out while she is young, for her sake and for mine! I’ve never heard of sleep nurses but I will be looking into that idea if I don’t get anywhere with the sleep clinic. Thank you. x

  • Ali Duke

    My son used to sleep walk when he was stressed, I would have to follow him around the house to make sure he didn’t hurt himself. He hasn’t done this for a while, but now he talks or I should say shouts in his sleep. He never remembers it. It is nothing compared to what you are going through. I hope the sleep clinic can help you x

    • stressymama

      My OH never remembers his sleep talking or sleep walking. I love telling him in the morning what he’s been up to or chatting about – he hates it and says i’m making it up. haha. I would set a camera up and record him but I’d be scared of something creepy showing up on the footage like that horror film that I really cant remember the name of… haha. Thank you for commenting. x

  • Karen | TwoTinyHands

    Oh golly gosh Sam! It remarkable how
    Little sleep we get to function on now we’re mums. It’s not easy but we do it. How stressful for you to have so much going on. Hope the sleep clinic can enlighten you a bit!! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

    • stressymama

      We just have to get in with it as parents don’t we? Thank you Karen x

  • Susie / So Happy In Town

    I fully empathise Sam and feel your pain. My second child was the worst sleeper in the world – sounds very similar to what you’re going through. After 2.5 years of being up 6-8 times a night with her, and realising we couldn’t go on like this as I was pregnant with number 3, I contacted this wonderful sleep consultant and we never looked back. It wasn’t an easy journey but after working with her for a number of weeks (it’s all on the phone, sounds weird but honestly it works) she finally got my little girl to sleep…all night! And she is now the best sleeper in the whole family. I would recommend this lady to anyone, it brought sanity back into our lives, and gave our daughter the sleep that she’d been missing out on since she was born. I’d be so happy to give you her details if you’re interested. Good luck x

    • stressymama

      That would be fantastic. Thank you! I’m not sure what I’d do with all the extra energy I’d have from getting a full nights sleep.. haha. We would all be so much happier I think if we could improve her sleeping habits. Thanks again. X

      • Susie/So Happy In Town

        She is called Lin Elderkin, The Sleep Lady. She works miracles and I don’t know if any baby or toddler she hasn’t managed to get sleeping through the night. It is tough and I had to take my little one out of nursery as her premise is that sleep induce sleep so I had to put her back to bed in the day a lot, and she had given up sleep so that was a battle. But 7 weeks on (my little non sleeper was a particularly hard nut to crack apparently!) and she slept from 7-7. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that was possible. I used Lin from day 1 with my next newborn and he has slept brilliantly from day 1. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  • Jaki

    I feel for you. I’ve just had two weeks of really bad sleep. No more than 3 hours a night! My four year old has had a dreadful cold and kept having night terrors. My husband has had blocked sinuses and I swear I’ve been sleeping next to a warthog. I even kicked him to the sofa for a couple of nights at the end of last week as I could not cope on the lack of sleep! These things do test us. They’re all worth it though. Sleep is for the weak!!! 🙂 #familyfunlinky

    • stressymama

      Oh no. Its awful isn’t it. I climbed in my 2 year olds tiny toddler bed last night with the hope of actually getting some sleep – all it gave me was a stiff back! Haha. Anything for some sleep ha