How To Sleep When The Baby Actually Bloody Sleeps

sleepwhenbabysleepsIt finally happened.

The baby slept through the night for the FIRST time ever.

For eight hours straight, I did not have to get up and feed, change, or cuddle a baby.

I did not have to make a drink, find a dummy, sing, shush, walk, rock or explain to anyone that it was SLEEP time. So the next day I woke up refreshed and washed and dried my hair. I did six loads of washing, put clean clothes away in the actual wardrobe, made spaceships out of cereal boxes, got out of the house with two little ones in five minutes flat, went to the shop for milk and remembered to get the milk, did not swear or burst into tears once and cooked a delicious family dinner from scratch. I finally got to become the perfect mum I always knew I could be – if only I wasn’t always so tired.

I would go on to tell you how I didn’t need to bribe my children with biscuits or let them watch Cbeebies all morning, but it would NOT be true.

I had fantasised about it for a long time. The baby finally sleeping for an entire night and writing a celebratory article about how goods it feels not to be exhausted! But I cannot do that.

Here is why: The Night My Baby Actually Went the F**k To Sleep

It is 10.30pm. I have just got into bed but as my youngest daughter is due to unleash her nightly, You Think You Are Going To Bed To Sleep Mummy? Think Again…scream, there doesn’t seem much point closing my eyes just yet.

11pm: I wish she would hurry up and get it over with so I can sleep. It should be any minute now…

11.30pm: Still not awake. I think I’ll go and check on her.

She is asleep. Who knows, maybe tonight she will….

Dare I even think it?

Is she is finally going to… ….sleep through the night?

If she sleeps all night I could get at least six hours. OH MY GOD, the things I could do on six hours sleep! Maybe I’ll drive to the park farm, do a big shop, meet friends for coffee, I could even hoover under the settee. I should write a things-to-do list…right now. Or… I could actually sleep.

12am: I can’t bloody sleep. There is only one thing for it – consult Google. How do you sleep when your baby is actually asleep? and Can adults be sleep trained?

She is still asleep. I should share my news with the people of Facebook.


I really better try to get some sleep now. I think I need a wee. I can’t sleep if I need a wee. Go for a wee.

Now sleep.

Do I need a wee again?

12.30am: The baby has STILL not woken up. I am STILL wide-awake. I may as well check Facebook. No doubt I have a few congratulatory comments on my latest status! Five notifications!

Go the fuck to sleep then.

Yet you are awake, you dick.

Oh please post another picture of your baby ‘finally asleep’?

Stop banging on about it and go to bed.

If you are tired tomorrow we do NOT want to hear about it.

I hate Facebook.

Ok, now to seriously get some sleep.

1.30am. So it seems I can’t sleep on the one night the baby is actually bloody asleep. I should get up. I know this. The worst thing you can do when you can’t sleep is to stay in bed not sleeping. But I am too tired.

1.45am: I really need to stop looking at the clock.

I’ll just have a quick check on the baby. She is still fast asleep. Could she be in some kind of coma?

Maybe I should wake her up. But…then she’ll be awake. And I’m so tired.

“Wake up,” I nudge James the Husband. “WAKE UP. It’s the baby.”

“What?” he groans sleepily.

“The baby!”

“Oh ok, ok, I’ll get her.”

“No, she is ASLEEP.”


“She’s asleep.”

“You woke me up to tell me the baby is asleep?”

“No. I mean she has been asleep all night.”

“What?” He is as perplexed as I am. He leaps out of bed and heads for the baby’s room.

“She is fine. Just sleeping.” He tells me on his return.

“I know that but why?”

“I am guessing – but this is just a wild guess – that she is tired,” he says, getting back into bed. “Goodnight.”

“Do you think I should I call NHS Direct?”

“JAMES!” He is asleep already.

2am: My body is exhausted but my mind is not. My mind is a dick.

What if this is it? The corner we have been waiting to turn for so long.

What if there are no more night-wakings, no more babies stealing our bed, no more twilight lullabies?

No more being woken up by a toddler climbing on my head at 2am, or pulling my hair or kicking me in the ribs.

No more renditions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at 4am.

What if last night was the last time I would lie with a baby on my chest listening to her breathing and feeling her heart beating along with my own?

The last time I would be woken up by a child kissing my face.

The last time I would be needed for midnight cuddles and reassurance.

What if it was the last time and I didn’t cherish it?

After three years and two sleep thieves I can’t actually remember how it feels NOT to be needed in the night. My entire life as a mother has revolved around trying to get babies to sleep, trying to get some sleep and attempting to look after babies and myself on barely any sleep. So, what now?

I have blamed sleep-deprivation for my shortcomings as a parent for so many years. If I am no longer exhausted will I be able to step up to the mark? Will I be on time for everything, go to all the play groups and make home-cooked meals every night? Will I start doing arts and crafts? Will I have matching socks again? Will I go out with friends at night? Get more work? Finish writing my book?

What if I can’t do these things? What if this is just who I am? Maybe I am simply the kind of parent who would rather tell fairy stories than make fairy cakes.

What if I am better at making up silly songs than making paper mache castles? What if I still get stressed out when the girls won’t get ready and we are running late? Or sometimes cry with frustration when it all gets too much?

What if I am just too lazy to go out at night?

And above all – what the hell will I write about?!

I really should go to sleep now.

The good news is I did go to sleep. But that bad news is that it is THREE BLOODY AM! After all these years have I lost the ability to sleep through the night?

I better check on the baby. She is still asleep.

3.15am: I have wanted this for so long so why can’t I SLEEP?

4am: Gone are my plans for tomorrow. I’ll be too tired for plans.

5am: My mind is finally exhausted and I feel sleep engulf me like a warm hug from an old friend.

6am: “MUMMY!!!!” (I bet you saw that coming!)

So there you have it. I am not celebrating just yet.

There is another reason why I can’t write that article. A vital component in my quest for sleep. The baby has NOT slept through since.

We have not quite reached the light at the end of the tunnel of tiredness but I am starting to see a glimmer of sunshine.

At 21-months-old she may not be sleeping through the night but her wakings are becoming less frequent. Bedtimes are not quite as much of a battle and occasionally we even have an evening to ourselves!

She still ends up in our bed almost every night but I am ok with that. Because one day soon it could be the very last time she does.

So how DO you sleep when the baby actually bloody sleeps?



Check out my new book that contains no baby sleep advice whatsoever… Just lots of laughs and tips on surviving the sleepless nights from someone who has been there!

Sleep Is For The Weak: How To Survive When Your Baby Won’t Go The FzZk To Sleep at book shops or on Amazon now!!

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31 thoughts on “How To Sleep When The Baby Actually Bloody Sleeps

  1. The first time my baby slept 8 hours straight, she was still in our room and both me and the hubs woke in sheer panic because she hadn’t woken up. She was fine.

    When we moved her to her own room at three months she was sleeping 10-12 hours a night. Panic set in the first few times (especially since she wasn’t right next to mommy anymore).

    She stopped sleeping like that when she was 4 months old. Occasionally we get a night when she sleeps 8-10 hours straight, but it’s a rarity.

  2. The first time my wee one slept through the night (I count this to be from 10.30pm – 6am) I woke up at about 3am with engorged boobs more accustomed to multiple over night feedings. I lay in bed waiting for said wee one to wake up *any moment now*. My internal dialogue ranged from “should I just feed her anyway?” to “would she wake up moments after I express?” By the time she woke up at 6am, I bolted for her room and quickly placed her on me (no, I won’t lie, I shoved her mouth into the cardboard cut outs that were my boobs). My loud moaning of relief as she started drinking startled her to tears and I had to spend ten minutes calming her before she’d actually latch again … she hasn’t slept through since and that was two months ago. I have the memories though.

  3. I stumbled across your site yesterday and I am loving it! It is my life! My little boy is turning 3 next week, and he still doesn’t sleep through. I have compromised and ended up setting up his cot with the side off next to my bed, as I was just too tired to keep getting up. I have just found out I am pregnant with number 2, and now need to get my boy into his own room. I think I am having more separation anxiety then he would ever possibly have. How will I ever sleep with him in another room???
    This blog related to me, thinking of the times my mother babysits for me so that I can get a full nights sleep. But there is no way I can fall asleep without him there, and end up spending the entire night awake and missing him. I too wonder if I will ever get a full nights sleep ever again, and with baby number 2 on the way the prospect of sleep is seeming like a distant memory.

    • Thank you! I was also pregnant with my second while my eldest was waking up all night every night! Every told me “oh don’t worry second babies tend to sleep better”. I will not say that to you because it is just not true- well not in my case anyway! However, it was much easier with my second ‘sleep thief’ because my body clock was so accustomed to getting up during the night and i did not panic about not getting enough sleep. But like you, even when I get a night off I struggle to sleep through!! Will we ever have the ability to sleep all night again!?

  4. My little 9m old slept 12 hours, only waking once about a month ago and of course that night I couldn’t get to sleep until 3am. I was so happy though and thought yes! Now he’s done it once he’ll keep doing it, right? He’s never done it again since. Grrrrrrrr!

  5. As usual on the money and hilarious. My 14 month old surprised us with an 8 hour stretch a couple of weeks ago (natually, I checked he was alive then lay awake waiting for him to disturb me)… followed by a “good” week of one or two wakings a night. magic! He’s sleeping through right? Noooooooooooo. Back to the 2 hourly wakings, and this morning a 4:40am start to the day (full blown hysteria when tried to resettle – seriously thought he must be injured… but toys revealed he just wanted to get up).
    When you do get some sleep again, I’d love a post on the bedtime battles – for some reason those make me feel MORE of a failure than the night wakings… and I am sure your take on them would make it all better. Laughter is keeping me (sort of) sane.

    • Oh they do like to keep us on our toes! Or to give us a little taster of what we are missing! I know what you mean, it used to take hours to get mine to bed in the first stressful. Thanks for the idea – I will definitely have can go at writing something! If we didn’t laugh we would cry…a lot!

  6. After thinking we had it all figured out with our twins, one of them has been stealing our sleep again for the past 3 nights. Girl has been sleeping with with and boy with daddy. In the middle of the night Girl decides I am not cool anymore and runs to daddy and as a result no one sleeps. Can I blame the fact that they’re almost 2 years old. I was really craving one of your blog posts, thank you!

    • You parents of twins amaze me! I struggled with ONE new baby at a time! That sounds like a tiring, nocturnal circus you’ve got going on there. Although admittedly it did make me smile! Thanks for the comment and the laugh!

  7. My 2 and a bit year old has finally started sleeping most of the night. Maybe only one or two night wakings. He’s a full time, full blown wriggling co-sleeping monster (ahem…angel!) so I still get woken up with kicks, punches and wriggles. I’m also pregnant again (madness, I know! Why do we do this to ourselves?!) and have some SERIOUS pregnancy insomnia going on right now. I’m awake all night and him and daddy are laid next to me snoring! The cheek!
    We are not alone, awake-all-night-mummies!

    • Oh I had pregnancy insomnia too so I recently worked out it has been the best part of four years since I slept properly! My second is also a co sleeping hair even when she sleeps she wakes me up! We’re never happy are we?! Good luck with the new baby!

  8. Facebook is right. Damnit. 🙂

    How foolish do you feel for being sorry that it might have been the end of the night-wakings? Personally, I don’t know if that’s a worry for a few years yet… at least… but yes, hopefully it will get down to being occasional/undemanding enough that it’s cherish-able, rather than torturous.

  9. It’s not the same at all, but my cat has been sleeping next to me on my bed every night since she moved in a few months ago, taking up far more space than you’d think someone so small could possibly need and keeping me awake because I daren’t wriggle to get comfortable in case I disturb her. And of course on the nights when she decides to sleep in front of the radiator instead, I can’t get to sleep for worrying that she might be lonely or cold or hurt or…

  10. Two things:
    ‘What the hell will I write about?’ ‘Do you think I should call NHS Direct?’ – So funny!

    I’m so pleased your littlest sleep thief slept through… surely now she can do it she will start doing it all the time (and other annoying things that aren’t actually the reality)?!
    I feel your pain in not being able to sleep or switch off. I would manage to nod off but wake up a lot and really felt I had lost the ability to sleep through myself. Then, I got over it and began sleeping properly, then my baby started waking up again just as I’d got used to a smidge of solid sleep. Little blighter.

    I am sure WHEN she starts sleeping through properly, you will get used to resting your weary head, and also still have plenty of writing material! Don’t worry though, even after a good sleep, I never do crafts, and never intend to!

  11. I will never forget the one time ours slept through the next before he actually started sleeping through the night. We must’ve checked in him over 25 times to make sure he was okay. And we did pass out at some point during the night, only wake up at 8 (!!!) in a state of hysteria! My heart was pounding so hard and so fast I thought I might explode! I was sure something had happened to him because I hadn’t heard his voice yet. I jumped out of bed like a crazy person and sprinted to his room, sure that I would have to rush him to the hospital. Sure enough, he was just sleeping, and we couldn’t even enjoy it the one time it happened before he turned 3. Now at 5, we will come over and sleep in our tiny little bed almost every night, and when he doesn’t, I lay in bed doing exactly what you did all night long. It’s ridiculous. We don’t know how to sleep on our own anymore. (Don’t say this to anyone but I will sometimes ask my husband to read me a bedtime story or sing me a song to help me. No joke.)

    • Ha ha hilarious! Maybe you have a point. Maybe I am so used to a small child in my bed I can’t sleep without one. I actually made a rod for my own back!! I’ll give the lullaby a go next time. Not that there will be one because she somehow sensed I wrote this and is making me pay!

  12. I love getting these email updates. My 25 month old daughter finally slept through the night last week for the first time so I can completely sympathise. I only work part time but as a single parent I can honestly say I was hoping this was a turning point and she had learnt this skill. It hasn’t happened since but again, like you, I cherish those cuddly tines. Who knows how much longer shell want them. I’m ok with sharing my bed, she’s closer to my heart. Xxx

    • Ah that is lovely! I don’t know how you do it, we struggle with two of us! Of course since I wrote this she is back to waking me up half the night! Thanks for reading! Love hearing it’s not just me.

  13. Oh so familiar and so bloody infuriating! After one night of my baby sleeping through the other half said “you must feel much better now.” Oh yes, hourly wake ups for six month and one night (which I didn’t even sleep through) would make the difference in his mind. I ended up having to dig out antihistamine to knock me out after a few night because it was turning into a joke. What are you going to write about if the sleeping becomes more permanent? Oh, I know… Have another baby!! X

    • Ha ha! It is so annoying isn’t it! I think it’ll take us a lot more than one night to make up for all the stolen sleep! Err no more babies for me..i am too bloody tired!!

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