Kelly Pegg: Sleep problems: when it’s time to call in an expert

editorial image
Have your say

As I sat at my computer hovering over my email I knew deep down something had to be done.

We couldn’t fix it and it wasn’t fair on anyone to continue the way things were. So I typed, poured everything out and then pressed send and a little part of me already felt a bit better.

When I told my husband what I’d done he looked a little shocked at first but he knew as well we had to take action.

After dealing with two years of our daughter not sleeping properly we have finally admitted defeat and hired a sleep expert who specialises in helping babies and children get a good night’s snooze.

Over the last month our four- year old Ava-Lilly has been sleeping less and less, she gets upset when it’s bedtime, we struggle to settle her and then she’s waking up several times during the night.

By 6am she’s up, singing at the top of her voice, ready to go for the day. Just lately she’s started to become really tired in the afternoons and there’s no question the lack of shuteye is affecting her.

Obviously we want her to feel healthy and happy especially when she starts school in September and with baby number two due in December the prospect of having two children not sleeping is frightening to say the least.

My husband Chris is the one who gets up in the night and tries to settle Ava-Lilly so you can imagine he is also exhausted. He is such a hands on father and I’m very lucky and grateful for that. There are lots of dads out there who are like Chris and they do just as much as mum if not more. I think because men aren’t great when it comes to talking about emotional stuff they often get forgotten about. So for all those sleep deprived, stressed out dads know you’re not alone.

Here is my hubby Chris opening up on how he feels about having a four-year-old who just won’t sleep.

“My relationship with sleep has always been a difficult one as a child I couldn’t sleep and would be up two or three times in the night or I’d just lie awake until 2 in the morning. I think at one point I took to sleeping on my mum and dad’s floor – I don’t know why but being close to them made me sleep. So when we had our daughter I was determined we taught her good sleep habits. It is interesting that something as natural as sleep is a learnt behavior, we learn how to fall asleep. I wanted Ava-Lilly to learn that skill so from an early age I was quite strict on her not falling asleep on Kelly or myself, and she quickly learnt to settled herself.

“However when your child stops sleeping for whatever reason and you have to face a full day of work you will do anything. So when Kelly started working away and I was affectively a single dad for a few months I fell in to bad habits because it was easier for me to pop Ava-Lilly into bed so I could get some shuteye. When you are so tired, you will do anything for your little one to sleep. Looking back and two years on I wish I would have dealt with it then and not allowed it to get to this stage. The norm now is for me to be up two or three times a night as well as me sleeping in her bed to get settled. I genuinely cannot remember the last time I slept all night, because I am so used to waking up and on the rare occasions she does not wake I wake waiting for the cry of “Daddy, Daddy”

Hindsight is wonderful thing and I wish I could have taught her better at the first sign of her sleeping problems – short term pain for long term benefit but you do what you think is the best and nobody wants to see their child upset.

I’ve done what I’m not good at - admitted defeat and got an expert in. I’m sure the solution won’t be easy after all we are trying to undo two years of bad habits – but if it works we can all at last get a good night’s sleep … well at least until Christmas when Baby Two arrives!

Baby boy joy for Kelly

This week we had our 20 - week scan and I was petrified.

Our first scan resulted in us having certain tests over concerns to do with baby two’s growth.

It was a scary time so this time I lay there on the bed with all my fingers and toes crossed. The 20 week anomaly scan is a much longer scan as the sonographer is checking everything, the brain, the spine, the heart, and the facial features.

From the word go bump was wriggling all over the place and being difficult so the scan took around 40 minutes. I’m so pleased to report that everything is perfect though, we have a healthy, baby who is growing well.

The earlier scare changed the way hubby and I felt about finding out whom this precious baby is growing in my tummy. Originally we were going to have a surprise but we decided to find out and I’m over the moon to announce we are having a boy.

We feel so lucky to have one of each but most importantly that baby two is healthy. There is one person who isn’t so pleased about the prospect of more blue in our house though and that’s our daughter. Ava-Lilly wanted a baby sister and is insisting on calling him baby Rose. So once he arrives don’t be surprised if he’s wearing pink a lot!

Where reality TV goes wrong

Celebrity Big Brother is back and in full swing.

I’ve caught bits of it and just from snippets I’ve seen I’m not sure I want to become an avid watcher. The problem with reality TV especially shows like Celebrity Big Brother is the producers need vulnerable people to go into the house so explosions are almost guaranteed. It seems this year’s lamb to the slaughter is poor old Sarah Harding from former girl group Girls Aloud.

She has a colourful background and a well-documented history of substance and alcohol abuse. I for one really feel for her, mental health is no joke, neither is any sort of substance or alcohol addiction or depression. Imagine being her mother or sister and watching her crumble live on national TV, there’s something so sad about it. We all have a vulnerable side and it’s true some people are mentally stronger than others depending on what life has thrown at them.

People like Sarah need love and support and people around who will point them in the right direction and not the door of the Celebrity Big Brother House. I fear that’s not the right door for her to be knocking on.