Conquering Teething Pain and Getting More Sleep with Boiron

Poppy is not what you would call a "good sleeper." That term is so inapplicable to her that I can't even type the whole sentence with a straight face. Poppy is hilarious and loving and engaging and a thousand other fabulous things, but a good sleeper she is not.

I know that babies aren't designed to sleep for long stretches of time. They have tiny tummies that need filling and emotions that need soothing. I don't expect to put Poppy down at 7pm, say "peace out!" and not see her again until 7am. I did, however, expect that by 10 months old our sleep situation wouldn't be quite so tenuous.

Last week as I ran Grady to his classroom (because we missed his teacher) (because we missed the bell), clutching a howling, pyjama-clad Poppy to my chest, sprinting up the stairs to try to make it to his classroom before the second bell so he wouldn't have to go to the office for a late slip, I passed one of the other kindergarten moms. This mom always seems so calm when I see her at pickup and drop off; I have never seen her sprint; I have never seen her pyjamas. (Three things no one at Grady's school can say about me.) She gave me a kind smile and as I ran past she called, "it gets better!"

Her kindness and her message stuck with me. Does it get better? Or can I make it better? Or, maybe more accurately when dealing with a honey badger baby, how can I try to make it better? How can we get more sleep so our days don't feel like unmanageable chaos as we run from one thing to another, always arriving late and dishevelled?

The answer for us, in our current sleep-deprived state, is Boiron. Poppy's already fragile sleep situation was becoming more and more fragmented with her teething pain. Boiron Camilia is a  homeopathic medicine that relieves the symptoms of teething.

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Developed specifically for babies and toddlers ages 1 to 30 months, Camilia is made with sterile water and contains no sugar, no colouring and no preservatives. Camilia relieves pain, restlessness, irritability and diarrhea due to teething.
— boiron.ca

Poppy's teething pain is always worse at bedtime when she doesn't have her big brother or her toys to distract her. Her peevishness and inability to settle, combined with our anxiety about how little sleep we're getting, made evenings in our house miserable. Camilia helps Poppy settle down to sleep because we're relieving her discomfort before it becomes rage-inducing pain. As soon as I see Poppy's signals (rosy cheeks, drool trail down her chin, chewing her fist) I give her a dose of Camilia and it quickly soothes her.

I trust Boiron to provide safe, homeopathic remedies for my family (we've used their Children's Coryzalia on Grady's colds for years). Boiron was founded in France in 1932 and has been established in Canada for 25 years. Their website provides a wealth of information on different homeopathic remedies and an extensive FAQ section. They also provide a transparent glimpse at their manufacturing process for curious minds. The Boiron Group is a global leader in homeopathy because of their steadfast commitment to research and development and they're a hero in our household because now we're all getting more sleep.

This post is part of the WildCreativeCo.com and Boiron Canada #BoironBaby sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

Not Comfortable

He touches his nose to mine (he's recently discovered Eskimo kisses) and I'm instantly awake. We left the blind open a crack last night so we could get some fresh air from the open window and now there's a ray of 6am sun shining through. I convince him to crawl into my bed for a cuddle to delay the inevitable but it's pointless. He's all gangly legs and whispered questions and four-year-old energy. There will be no more sleep.

I've reached the end of the third trimester. My comfortable bed is no longer comfortable. I go to bed early to try to catch up on sleep but I can't settle. My joints scream in protest from the extra weight I'm carrying and my mouth fills with stomach acid if I dare to ditch one of my four pillows and lie lower than a 45-degree angle. I'm caught in the ridiculous cycle of "drink enough water so that I don't get dehydrated and end up with painful Braxton Hicks, but not enough water that I need to get up to pee four times every night" and I'm losing. Rolling over requires deep concentration and momentum and a hope and a prayer. The end of the third trimester is a privilege I don't take lightly. But it is not comfortable.

My eyes are gritty and I try to keep them closed as I shovel coffee grounds into the espresso pot. I turn the stove on and lean against the counter to try to catch three minutes of sleep while the coffee brews. I wake up to a burning smell and realize I forgot to screw the filter and seal onto the pot and instead of filling with beautiful, delicious espresso it's filling with burnt coffee grounds that shoot up from the spout and spark impressively. I shut off the burner and decide the stove isn't safe in my current state. No latte is worth burning down the kitchen.

Everything feels a bit difficult right now. I'm simultaneously wishing it would be over immediately and trying to hold onto every minute because this is the last time I'll ever be this pregnant. It's a weird place to be. A not comfortable place to be.

To Bed

Back in January, Shawn and I decided that it was time to enforce the no-toddlers-in-mom-and-dad's-bed rule. And then the shitstorm of awfulness happened and enforcing any rules beyond "no playing with knives" and "no electronics in the bath" was too difficult and ate up too much energy.

We moved Grady's mattress to the floor beside our bed and he slept there every night and crawled into our bed every morning. It was an improvement over fighting a sleeping ninja toddler all night but it wasn't a perfect solution. 

Grady has a few stuffies (Ryder from Paw Patrol, Olaf from Frozen, and a baby doll) so Shawn and I had the brilliant idea that we would buy them the IKEA doll bed for Grady's birthday. He'd see how his loveys slept in a big boy bed and he would want to sleep in a big boy bed. We felt very smug. We were going to outsmart the Tiny Dictator. Our parenting prowess is unmatched. 

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Yes, that is a sleeping child and his doll bed in my bed. The Tiny Dictator has outsmarted us once again. 

Sleep. Or Lack Thereof.

Grady was the brand of baby that did not sleep unless he was being held. For ten or so miserable days after he was born, Shawn and I strictly enforced the "no baby in bed" rule and put him in his bassinet beside our bed to sleep. And by "sleep" I mean "doze in 12-minute increments before realizing he was no longer on a human and fully woke up to voice his displeasure.")  I vividly remember the first time I lay Grady on our bed beside me, in a late afternoon sunbeam, desperate for some sleep. We slept soundly for two straight hours and I woke up convinced the baby was dead because he hadn't yelled at me in the longest stretch since being born. 

I went back to work when Grady was six months old. By that time we had given up on the bassinet completely and were co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is taboo, I know, but we made sure to do it safely and it worked for us. It helped keep my breastmilk supply up as I was gone for such long stretches during the day; Grady would breastfeed more during the night to make up for it. I didn't have to get up and go to him during his nightly wakeups; he was right beside me and I was able to get more sleep than I would have been able to otherwise. 

And then I got sick. It was a tough time physically, obviously, but also emotionally. Grady was too young to remember me should anything go wrong during my surgeries. I was an anxious, emotional mess. Having Grady in our bed was comforting and convenient. My sleep was maximized and I felt like I was doing something for Grady, like he could soak up all my mama-ness through osmosis or something, just in case I didn't make it through surgery. (Fun fact: I was 100% sure I'd be fine after my first surgery and 100% sure I'd be dead after my second. It is really difficult to talk about and I'm still getting intermittent counselling for it but it is what it is and it's definitely shaped how I parented Grady during that time.)

I'm not trying to say that the way we've done it is the right way or the wrong way. Sleep is a very personal issue and it's also fluid - what works for you this month may be completely wrong for you next month. I once shared something parenting-related on Facebook and inadvertently portrayed it as something I believed was right for every parent and every baby instead of how I intended, which was that it accurately described what was right for my family and my baby at that time in our lives. A misunderstanding and a discussion followed and I hurt some feelings. It is never my intention to judge anyone's parenting decision so please know that I am not saying co-sleeping is the be-all and end-all of quality nighttime parenting. It's just something that worked for us and our circumstances at the time. (And clearly it isn't the be-all and end-all because now we're stuck "sleep-training" an opinionated toddler.)

Which brings us to last night. For some time now, Shawn and I have been gently encouraging Grady to sleep in his own bed. We set up his room with Avengers bedding and a motorcycle nightlight and lots of comfort items that he loves. Grady was having none of it. We have a king-sized bed but months of fighting rogue toddler limbs have pushed us over the edge. Last night we decided that enough was enough. Grady was sleeping in his own room. We talked about it all evening and Grady agreed it was a good idea. We all did the bedtime routine together. We read books. We sang songs. We negotiated with an angry 3-year old until he finally fell asleep at 10pm.  

He stayed asleep until 11:45. I went into his room and gave him a cuddle until he fell back asleep. I crept back to bed for another blissful 30 minutes of sleep before Grady woke up and realized I'd escaped. So I took my pillow and a blanket and I slept on the floor beside Grady's bed until 4:30.  

My alarm went off at 6:30 this morning and when I rolled over to shut it off I saw Grady curled up on the floor beside my side of the bed. He woke up at some point between 4:30 and 6:30, realized I was gone, came to find me, but didn't want to break the "mommy and daddy's bed is mommy and daddy's bed" rule. Heart = broken.  

I tucked him into bed beside Shawn and he was still fast asleep when we left for work. I know that consistency is key and we have to enforce the bedtime boundaries again tonight, but I'm dreading it.  

Parenting is so hard, you guys.