My Obsession with Baby Sleep

After another few nights of playing Musical Beds and being out of my bed (and in the Toddlers or feeding the baby) anywhere up to five hours of the eight I like to spend upstairs I’ve been musing over my complete and utter obsession with baby sleep.

asleep

I mean, I never used to be obsessed, sleep after all was a given right and the worst I had to contend with was completing a day in the office after a night on the razz counting down the minutes until I could board the sweaty, stinking tube and go back to the land of nod. Gratefully sinking into a clean bed with fresh sheets and fluffy pillows. Not a bed with dubious stains on the sheets (from the children!) that I attempt to sink into these days.

No, these days sleep is a luxury. A fight for a weekend lie in. A trip up to bed at 9pm is winning. A baby sleeping for four hours straight at night is a miracle. A baby napping anywhere other than me is a bigger miracle. And to pop the cherry on top a baby in his cot sleeping longer than the 30 minutes he appears to be programmed to do is a reason for a party.

That was just the Toddler when he was a baby, now I have TWO of them to obsess over.

From making sure the Toddler doesn’t nap, unless I want him to be awake until 10pm to making sure the Baby does could involve me driving round and round whisper-shouting the Toddler to stay awake and praying to the God of Sleep that the Baby will stop crying and close his eyes.

To monitoring the time as to when it’s acceptable to wake up (must invest in a gro-clock) so far as long as it starts with a 6 its deemed socially acceptable, 5:59am is met with a (whisper-shout) it’s still night time.

Travel Sleeping

Sleeping while travelling? Desperate attempts to get them to sleep on a plane resulting in night flights with no sleep for anyone followed by staying in places where you don’t have your appropriate sleep aids to hand, such as a baby gate to keep them contained within the sleeping area at least.

Makeshift Baby Gate

Makeshift Baby Gate

Seasonal Sleeping

Then of course there is sleeping through the different seasons. Dubai is fairly consistent, being closer to the equator and all, that all year round the sun sets and rises within an hour window. Even in the height of summer we have darkness by 7:30pm. Which is lovely. The UK? The seasons mean different things…..

The Winter

On one hand your heart sinks at the cold, rainy weather. The central heating on. The being trapped indoors by your dislike of being wet.

On the other? Dark nights and gloomy mornings lead to Baby (and Toddler) sleeping heaven. It’s dark therefore it’s night time therefore it’s sleep time.

Sleeping William

***Disclaimer – this is just a theory, please be warned that Toddlers and Babies have minds of their own that never often don’t conform to behaviour we ourselves would expect***

The Summer

British summertime. That extra hour of sun (ha). The joy of having the outside available at all times, trips to the park, to the beach, even walking to the shop….

Then there is the being light until 10pm at night.

Yep.

Gro-clock or no gro-clock the sun is still awake therefore I must be too.

At least this is what we had to contend with when we went home to my mums this summer, coinciding with the heatwave we had left Dubai to escape incidentally, we tried everything to convince the Toddler it was nighttime.

We had foil on the window to black out the room – that resulted in great fun in tearing it down.

We had towels hooked over the curtain rail – that resulted in the curtain rail collapsing from the weight in the middle of the night.

We just tried to have the curtains – that resulted in 11pm bedtimes……

What we needed was blackout blinds (Mum are you reading this ready for next summer??) Beautiful dark inducing blackout blinds. I’ve even been busy pursuing sites to find a perfect match. (Mum, if you’re wondering VELUX blinds do them #justsaying). Saying that I’m sure we will get the black out blinds up and it still won’t help….

And why not I hear you cry?

Babies (and Toddlers) have this inbuilt mechanism to avoid sleep when you want them to sleep.

Cat Nappers

My King of the 30 minute nap? Well he’s sure to sleep for 90 minutes the day I pop him in his cot (and he stays asleep) when I have plans for us to be somewhere. Sure I’ll be skipping that I get a long *in parent world that’s approximately 3 minutes and 17 seconds when you’re in sole charge* shower. That my make up goes on smoothly without me jumping and therefore smudging mascara up my face. That my hair actually gets done. Then I’ll be all dressed up with nowhere to go as he SLEEPS THROUGH WHEN WE ARE MEANT TO LEAVE.

2015-09-28 11.28.00

No Nappers

My none napping Toddler? Guaranteed to close his eyes to nap as we pull into our drive. Then the mother of all tantrums will kick off when I move him from the car.

Or when he just crashes on the sofa and my heart sinks when I realise I will be up all hours (again).

Sleeping

Or even better….climbs under the Jumperoo before promptly nodding off.

2015-09-30 16.06.35

 

Routine…..

The bedtime routine I think I have got down to a tee? Where I feel good in the knowledge I can get out of the house at 8pm with two sleeping children.

Ha.

And ha again.

boys sleeping

Still, sleep is for the weak right?

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7 Comments

  1. October 21, 2015 / 1:12 pm

    Hi! I really hear you with the non-sleepers. My son, who is now six, took four years to sleep through the night and has NEVER napped. With number two on the way I´m hoping he will be one of those sleepers everyone else seems to have that does naps and sleeps through!! #bestandworst
    http://www.rockingmummysworld.wordpress.com

    • October 24, 2015 / 9:53 pm

      NEVER???? Aggggh! Good luck with number 2! X

  2. October 21, 2015 / 3:47 pm

    Man I feel obsessed with just one child. If the gremlin has a late nap she stays up until 9pm. Nightmare. I thought that the long dark mornings would mean more sleep! Nope not at all, she is still up at 6am. So hard!! I think I am resigning myself to a lack of good night’s sleep for a while!! Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst and see you soon x
    Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap) recently posted…Best and Worst Week #23My Profile

    • October 24, 2015 / 9:55 pm

      We let the Toddler nap today because he was sick. Finally got him into bed ASLEEP at 9pm. I’m headed up myself now, won’t be making that mistake again in a hurry!! X

  3. October 23, 2015 / 10:42 am

    Oh yes a thousand times! I am soooo obsessed with sleep! Ella was a dream baby when it came to sleep. She’s not so good as a toddler, and Sienna is a terrible sleeper compared to her big sister! I can definitely recommend a Gro blackout blind. It’s a travel blind so we take it whenever we go away and it lives in her bedroom window during the summer! Hope you get more sleep soon! Xx
    Sam @ Life of Mum recently posted…Maternity Leave with Number TwoMy Profile

    • October 24, 2015 / 9:48 pm

      Oh I wonder if that would fit at my mum’s she has weird dormer bungalow small windows! Until I get more sleep I’m keeping Starbucks in business x

  4. June 6, 2016 / 5:45 am

    Great post Laura. I’ve certainly spent a great deal of time researching baby sleep over the years and I agree a lot with what you are saying. There are so many articles and on baby sleep available to us as parents.

    But unfortunately, many contradict one another, so we are left thinking what to do. For example, in the West many say co-sleeping increases the risk of SIDS. However, the majority of parents in the world still co-sleep and it’s really only in the US, UK and a few other Western countries where this isn’t the case.

    However, whilst I agree you shouldn’t worry and stress about baby sleep too much, there are certain techniques which can help. I believe if the conditions are right and a baby is getting enough milk, then in the majority of cases, he/she can sleep through the night from a fairly early age.
    Catherine Anderson @ Parentinn recently posted…Top 5 Products Link to Health-Related Disorders & IllnessesMy Profile

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