WHY is it that when you have a baby who does not sleep everyone else you meet seems to have a baby who does sleep?
Don’t get me wrong. I think it is great. I am honestly happy for these people.
I don’t even mind when they tell me about it.
Which they do.
Every time I see them.
And that is fine.
Sometimes they are even kind enough to give me hints and tips on how to get my baby to sleep.
But as grateful as I am for their advice (usually delivered with a sympathetic head-tilt), it occasionally makes me want to punch them in their smug, fresh faces.
This is not good. I don’t want to be the kind of person who mentally assaults perfectly pleasant people.
So from now, when a lovely well-rested parent informs me that little Wilfy has been self-soothing his arse off since he was three weeks old or suggests a sleep-method I simply must try, I shall smile and share with them the joy of living with a ‘sleep-thief”.
Here are a few (tried and tested) examples:
(PROBABLY WELL-MEANING) SMUG PARENT: I have such a good baby – she goes to sleep as soon as I put her in the cot.
ME: My baby is good too! She likes to sleep on me so I get a lot of cuddles. There is just nothing nicer than feeling your baby’s heart beat in time with your own, don’t you think?
SMUG PARENT: We are so lucky with our baby boy! We can take him anywhere and he just sleeps in his pram the whole time.
ME: We are lucky too! We can take our baby anywhere and she will stay awake the whole time gaining valuable stimulation and interaction. She is so alert and entertaining!
SMUG PARENT: My baby is so clever. She sleeps though the night and she is only four months old!
ME: Awesome! As she is so clever, she could write a book and call it “STUFF NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT’.
SMUG PARENT: My baby sleeps all night and has hundreds of naps during the day! We are truly #blessed.
ME: My baby never sleeps so we get all that extra time with her. WE are #blessed.
SMUG PARENT: We can’t complain; our baby sleeps all the time!
ME: Oh you poor thing, that must be so boring. My baby doesn’t sleep much but I didn’t go through ten months of pregnancy and childbirth just to stare at a bundle in a Moses basket.
SMUG PARENT: What’s wrong with her? Maybe she is teething or hungry?
ME: She is teething and hungry. In fact, that is the problem. She is so hungry she keeps eating her teeth. She is so clever.
SMUG PARENT: My baby is fantastic, when she wakes up at night she simply soothes herself to sleep.
ME: My baby is fantastic. She likes me to soothe her to sleep. Which is great because one of the reasons I had a baby was to have something cute to cuddle.
SMUG PARENT: My baby is so good! She goes to bed really early giving me plenty of time to go to the gym and burn of that baby weight.
ME: My baby is so good! She is helping me burn off the baby weight by letting me carry her around the house about 24 hours a day! In fact, I think I am fitter now than I was pre-pregnancy!
SMUG PARENT: Oh you let her sleep in your bed? You are making a rod for your own back. She’ll never sleep on her own.
ME: Never, really? NEVER? In that case I had better get a bigger bed. It is going to be a bit of a squeeze when she is 18.
SMUG PARENT: Have you tried putting her in her cot, turning out the light, shutting the door and leaving her to cry?
ME: Err…no, because I quite like my baby.
SMUG PARENT: You really need to start sleep training.
ME: Oh I am sleep training. My baby is training me NOT to sleep through the night.
SMUG PARENT: Maybe you need to wean her?
ME: Maybe you need to wean this ↓
SMUG PARENT: Oh should you really be drinking coffee if you are breastfeeding? The caffeine might be keeping your baby awake.
ME: If don’t drink coffee I won’t be able to keep myself awake.
SMUG PARENT: You look so tired!
ME: Thank you! Eye bags are the new black. Well-rested is so last year..
SMUG PARENT: You should sleep when the baby sleeps.
ME: No, I should PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE when my baby sleeps.
PARENT: Do you put her down drowsy but awake?
ME: (I am afraid an actual punch to the face is the only response to this question).
Babies who do not sleep get a bad press. We tend to refer to infants who sleep a lot as ‘good babies’, while those of a more wakeful disposition we often label as ‘hard work’.
I say we change that.
No more counting the days until our little ones Sleep Through The Night. No more crying into our coffee because we have been up since…last week. Instead, let’s put on our best pyjamas and cherish every last tiring, wonderful, draining, glorious, frustrating, challenging, waking hour we spend with our exhausting, little angels.
Bad sleepers are the new ‘good’ babies. Spread the word.
Eye bags are the new black. Pyjamas are the new skinny jeans.
Sleep-deprived is the new stylish. Today, I start the revolution!
Actually, make that tomorrow. I am too knackered.
More hot tips like this in my book Sleep is for the Weak: How to survive when your baby won’t go the fzZk to sleep. Available from book shops or a delightful hardcover copy is on Amazon UK now for just £7 – if you are Christmas shopping! or Amazon US if you are in the United States!
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