Silja's Sleep Diary: nine to eleven weeks old<

Written by Taru, Silja's mom

Flying over to Finland for the Holidays from nine to eleven weeks old, Silja takes her first flight. The jet lag, and maybe the sauna, actually help her adjust to an earlier bedtime ...
Learning to roll over gives a one-night sleep disturbance.

Silja is eleven weeks old now and we have celebrated our first Christmas and New Year holidays with her.
We were really not too keen to fly with Silja, but we really wanted to go home to Finland for Christmas so we decided to do it anyway.

I was mainly worried about the time difference as Finland is two time zones East from London, and that means two hours earlier, a completely wrong direction with a baby that has been going to sleep a bit later in the evening than we would like ... talking about an annoying jet lag.

The rest of the family would probably adjust to the time difference quite quickly and start getting up earlier, but if Silja would not adjust I'd be up with her until very late, and then up with the big kids very early - and completely wrecked in a few days ...

Silja's first flight 

The 5am start to catch our flight seemed like another problem but was probably the best possible solution to our bedtime worries. Silja was wide awake and perfectly happy in the taxi to the airport, and having pooped through every item of clothing she was wearing while the plane took off, she then slept through most of the flight!

Actually small babies travel really well, they just sleep and eat, which is perfectly doable even with the seat belts on ...

And although the pooing can be a bit of a challenge, changing is no problem in airplane toilets, they have good solid changing tables and a stewardess even gave me an extra blanket to change her on, and told me not to worry about ruining it - 'life happens', she said.

Still, not my favourite way to spend the day ...

Welcome to Finland

But soon we were comfortably settled at our house in Helsinki. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground and it was already getting dark at three pm. My parents had filled the fridge and my husband lit a fire in the fireplace, then set off with the big kids to find a Christmas tree. Eleven weeks old baby playing

We didn't actually have anywhere for Silja to sleep at our house, but then completely out of the blue, two days before we were due to arrive, a friend sent an e-mail to tell us that she'd brought in a baby cot and set it up in our bedroom with clean sheets and everything.

She'd apparently read my mind as we found it exactly as I would have wished, as a 'sidecar' on my side of the bed. And she'd cleaned up and left a homemade gingerbread house and flowers. I nearly cried.

Nine to eleven weeks old baby sleeping ...!

Silja visited the sauna for the first time that evening - for about ten seconds, I really wouldn't recommend any longer than that for babies - and then fell asleep at 9pm Finnish time.

That's 7pm in London!

We all had an early night, and the next morning we were perfectly adjusted to the Finnish time zone. Silja continued to fall asleep at around 10 pm for the rest of our time there, waking up around 2am for a feed (actually, sometimes she doesn't even seem to be fully awake, she's just making enough noise for me to wake and feed her while she's half asleep throughout), then waking up between 4 and 6am, and sleeping until 8am if I'm sleeping that late too.

I've been a bit disappointed that, eleven weeks old now, she's still not sleeping for longer stretches of time, and her daytime naps have been really short and erratic, too. She might sleep quite well in the morning but usually not at all, or for a half an hour only, in the afternoon.

Still, I've been so pleased with her earlier bedtime that I'm not really complaining. Well, maybe a bit, since if I want a longer stretch of sleep myself, I need to go to bed when she does.

And to be honest I'd really like a bit of adult time in the evenings once all the kids are asleep. But I guess we'll get there ...

We had one crazy, broken night just before Silja learned to turn to her side the following day - something major must have been going on in her little brain. It seems to be quite normal that a big developmental step (baby milestone) disturbs sleep somehow.

After that, returning to London has been an absolute pleasure sleep-wise and her bedtime is nearer to 9pm now.

Now Silja has definitely finished playing with her best Christmas present, a baby gym. Better feed her and see if I could interest her in a little nap ...

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Silja's Sleep Diary: Twelve Weeks Old