Silja's Sleep Diary: one year old
Written by Taru, Silja's mom
Happy Birthday Silja !!! Silja is
one year old today and it is time to celebrate a wonderfully
precious year. Our big girl is enjoying the first steps towards
toddler hood. She does very well with regular naps but can cope with
some flexibility too.
And she sleeps through the night ...
It's Silja's first birthday
and the whole family is in uproar with excitement about our one year
old. The big kids could hardly wait for Silja to wake up at seven in
the morning to 'help' unwrap her presents, and last night I stayed up a
bit later than everyone else, thinking of the night a year before when
she was born.
I remember watching the lights of the London Eye over the rooftops, and
the crescent moon moving slowly across the clear sky as I laboured. And
exactly one year ago, we
were cuddled up together in a comfortable bed, skin-to-skin, stunned
. That seems like a million years ago now, yet
I'm sitting in the basement hobby room in our house in
Zürich, writing this, and one year old Silja sleeps in her buggy next to me. We've
just walked her siblings to school and as usual, she fell asleep on the
way back. Once we got home I just wheeled the buggy in through the
basement door, removed as much outdoors clothes as I could without
waking her up fully, and opened a window so she won't get too hot.
Yesterday she managed a
like this, however if the weather is bad
and we need to drive she find settling for a morning nap more difficult
in her cot and won't sleep as long. I wonder if it's the restraint of
being strapped in the buggy that keeps her asleep, or maybe the cooler
The weather here has now turned considerably
colder, after one last heat wave about three weeks ago. This brought the weirdest sleep disturbance
I've yet seen - the attack of the most stealthy and vicious mosquitoes
been stung by. I never actually saw them, but the damage was
One evening my son was taking off his jeans to go to bed, and before he
could get his pyjama bottoms on, he was bitten on the bum. I was right
next to him and didn't see or hear a thing, until he yelled and showed
me a painful-looking bump. The worst thing was that they went straight
for Silja, and she woke up in the night screaming and with bite marks
all over her face and hands.
We tried ensuring all windows were closed at night but this didn't
help, they seemed able to get in during the day and then attacked us
after dark. In the end I moved Silja's cot next to the window wall and
pulled some sheer curtains over it to make a mosquito net
sorts. That seemed to work, and - apart from the itching of the
previous sting marks - she had more peaceful nights. In a few days the
weather turned colder again and the bugs were gone. And now, when the
weather is clear, we can see the fresh snow covering the mountains as
we walk to school.
Flexible naps and good nights at one year old
The big kids had a two-week autumn break, and we enjoyed a short,
nostalgic trip back to London, and many lazy mornings at home. If the
rest of us are not getting up early and everything is quiet, Silja won't wake up before 8 or
- this is fantastic on the weekends, too. She
doesn't seem to mind being up at 7am on weekdays, either, if everyone
else is getting up early.
She seems to compensate by taking longer morning naps of weekdays, and
shorter during weekends and holidays. What a smart little girl - I much
prefer that to later evening bedtimes. She still needs a nap in the afternoon
too, but that is one hour maximum and the time varies depending on what
else is going on.
Her preferred nap time
would seem to be between 2 and 4, and if I can arrange a walk to the
shops before I pick the big kids up from school she may sleep in the
buggy. If I need to drive, or if she can figure out we're going
directly to school, she's normally too distracted or excited to fall
asleep. Then I might be able to settle her for a nap once we get home
from school. On weekends and holidays these nap times are a pleasure as
we can cuddle up together at the exact moment when she's starting to
look a little tired. I'd expect she'll gradually shorten her morning
naps and start to prefer longer naps after lunch
around one year old, but this
may still take some time.
And finally, if there
are no bugs, colds or coughs
(we've had a couple now, but
nothing serious) or other disturbances, Silja may well be a one year
old baby sleeping
through the night
. She normally falls asleep between 8 and
9pm, either nursing, cuddling next to me, or in her own cot if I can
spot the right time to put her there - sleepy enough not to try to
stand up, but not fully asleep.
Getting her to her cot
at the right moment
is atrociously difficult now (should
probably have spent more time in training her to fall asleep in the cot
earlier), as she's now very mobile (she's not only walking, she's now
running) and will almost always try to stand up when she's put in her
cot. She often wakes up a few times before she's in deep sleep at
around 11pm, and then she may sleep until 6am.
Then she may nurse a bit and continue sleeping next to me. I'm rarely
awake enough at this time to bother trying to get her back into her
cot. I actually though she was waking up much earlier in the night, say
at around 3am, until I forced myself to check the time on a couple of
nights and discover that we'd
indeed achieved the magical baby sleep through the night stage
without me even really noticing. It all goes rather well with my
general 'no brain, no headache' approach to life.
Happy Birthday big girl!
is definitely over now at one year old and
daddy is king
Her first proper word - just yesterday - was 'isi' (Finnish for 'dad').
If she gets overexcited in the evenings the best thing to calm her down
now is a cuddle with her dad on the rocking chair. I'm thinking of
getting him more involved in settling her down at night so I will be
able to cut down nursing
, in the hope that she wouldn't be so keen to
nurse if she wakes up at night.
This is not a huge issue though, as she's anyway becoming much better
at soothing herself if she wakes. She often moves about a bit in her
cot and then goes back to sleep on her own. At other times just a
little pat on the back can calm her down and help her sleep again.
Another change I'm considering is a
move to the girl's room
. Otherwise I'd think one year old is too
early for that, but compared to our older children she seems more
sensitive to noise, and she might sleep better early in the late
evenings if she didn't hear us moving about.
But that is already an entirely different story. Now it's time for us
to assemble the pink push car and decorate the cake, and celebrate the end of this magical
year with our precious one year old baby
. I may need to
open the champagne too, if not only to celebrate then also to brace
myself for the joys of impending toddlerhood. I'll treasure the
memories of this year forever, and hope you've enjoyed the journey
together with us.
Coming Up: Taru's reflection about a year of sleep adventures