My Babies Haven’t Read The ‘Sleep Rules’

Parenting rule number one: Don’t. Get. Cocky.

I am a little bit embarrassed to admit that I broke this rule when it came to the Big One’s sleep. He never woke for more than two feeds a night and slept through twelve hours at twelve weeks. He then consistently slept through, with the exception of a week in Portugal at 9 months and an hellish interesting weekend in a caravan at 13 months when his molars came through.

I attributed this to our unwavering determination to ensure a consistent bedtime routine. He would nap in his cot for every nap of the day. He generally fed and went straight back to sleep in the night. He fed every three hours like clockwork. I thought it was because we’d been so good about tuning into his needs and ‘persevering’ with napping in the cot.

What a load of b*llocks! The truth…. we just got lucky.

Because then Little One came along and we did everything the same. And by ‘everything’ I mean some semblance of a bedtime routine and that’s it! First time around I took A LOT of credit for having a naturally good sleeper. So here are the ‘rules’ that my babies just haven’t had the memo about:

#1 Put baby to bed drowsy but awake

The reasoning: If baby is fed or cuddled to sleep, they will wake in the night and expect the same in order to fall back to sleep. Sleep ‘gurus’ use the buzz words ‘sleep associations’ mostly to sound important I think.

The reality: What a load of sh*te. Our eldest fell asleep feeding until he was over a year and slept through consistently. Our youngest has, even from around four months, sometimes been awake after his last feed of the day and has been put to bed ‘drowsy but awake’. On those nights? He wakes up more! On the nights he falls asleep feeding? He sleeps better. Go figure.

#2 Make sure baby falls asleep in his cot/Moses basket (basically wherever you expect him to spend the night)

The reasoning: Baby will be disorientated and then will need your help to fall back to sleep. I’ve actually read this before; “your baby falling asleep on the sofa in your arms and waking up in his cot is like us falling asleep in bed and waking up on the lawn.”

The reality: Except it’s not is it? It’s like falling asleep on the sofa next to your partner and waking up in bed – equally (if not more) comfy and the place you’re supposed to spend the night. You can’t compare a baby waking up in his comfortable bed with waking up in your back garden in the middle of the night. Yes, he might need you to reassure him you’re there but he wont be disorientated beyond all belief, lying on the grass, shivering and soaking wet (because, let’s face it, this is Britain, so if you woke up outside, it would probably be raining). Cuddle your babies on the sofa if you bloody want then transfer them to their cot/Moses basket etc. Obviously don’t transfer them to the garden.

#3 Sleep begets sleep

The reasoning: The more sleep children get the more they need.

The reality: Little One naps for two hours or more every day and has done since 8 months. Big One only ever napped in 45 minute chunks for the first twelve months. He was on two naps by 6 months. I think we’ve covered how both of them sleep. The first time Little One slept through was when he had spent nine hours awake at six weeks old. Sleep begets sleep my arse.

#4 Food will help your baby sleep through

The reasoning: Food will fill your baby up and when baby is full they will sleep longer.

The reality: Big One slept through at 3 months, way before the introduction of any food. Little One still wakes up around three nights a week, despite being fully weaned. Food does not equal sleep. Unfortunately.

#5 Give formula for the last feed and throughout the night

The reasoning: Formula is not as easily digested as breastmilk so keeps baby fuller for longer – meaning they wont wake to feed.

The reality: Utter nonsense. Big One was breast fed for double the time Little One was and barely had formula at night before sleeping through. Little One had formula from a lot earlier on. And I don’t know if this has come across yet but HE’S STILL WAKING UP!

The conclusion to all of this: your baby will sleep through the night when they are ready. There may be things you can do to encourage them. But ultimately? They will sleep when they sleep.

Hopefully before he turns two*

*crosses fingers, toes, legs (definitely legs) and anything else possible. In the meantime…..caffeine.



This Mum's Life
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  1. Ha,this is brilliant!I fed all 3 of mine to sleep and they sleep through no problem now …well 1 is 17 and that's all he ever does šŸ˜€ I was told (nagged) that feeding them 'proper' food would make them sleep – in fact it made it worse as my daughter turned out to have a dairy allergy and all the milky type baby foods would make her scream all night long.Gah x

  2. Great rules!! Sleep has been one of the toughest things for us. Our first was a nightmare sleeper but our second slept like a dream and we did everything the same. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

  3. The line "Sleep begets sleep my arse" really made me chuckle because you are so right. Even when they do eventually sleep you never truly get in to that deep sleep you had pre-kids. So cruel. Lovely photos by the way. Best of luck. #justanotherlinky

  4. I had my first sleep through (12 hours baby!) last night.

    My son is 9.5 months. He couldn't go longer than 2 hours for f*&^ing ages. He also missed all of the memos.

    Loved this post! #bigpinklink

  5. But they both look so cute though!!! I totally agree, I've never been under any illusions that I was any kind of super mum, with amazing skills, when both of mine were good sleepers-I always knew I just got lucky, and was lucky enough to get lucky twice!! For the first 8 months, both of them were abysmal daytime sleepers, only happy if they were being rocked/pushed in the pushchair, and even then it would only be for 25 minutes each time. They got much better, and slept for longer periods, stationary (!) in their cots after that, but both were brilliant night sleepers, which made the daytime stuff much more bearable! And I did all the 'wrong' things, I fed them both to sleep-they both go sleep on their own now! I fed them back to sleep if they ever woke at all, when they had started sleeping through-it never created a bad habit, and I often let them fall asleep in my arms before transferring them to the basket/cot. The books and expert advice are all nonsense!! I'll cross my fingers for you for the little one sorting himself out soon! Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink!

  6. I agree – baby will sleep the night when they are ready. Not when the parents are begging them to do it! Parenting has taught me you can't make another human eat, sleep or poop. šŸ˜‰ #bigpinklink x

  7. You're hilarious! Although clearly the issue of babies not sleeping isn't. The whole waking up on the lawn paragraph made me howl. And yes, 3 kids later who are now 11, 9 and 6 yrs old I can honestly say they are all different, no two methods worked the same and these childcare/sleep gurus REALLY need to get a different job from writing books full of useless bewilderment-inducing twaddle. #bigpinklink

  8. So true! I felt guilty because my baby was not sleeping throught the night when he was 4-5 months. And everyone to give you their tips and opinions! I was not feeding him enough in the day, I did that wrong… A nightmare. But now, all good.#chucklemums

  9. My baby is a shit and sometimes does the sleep begets sleep thing. And then refuses to repeat it for 5 subsequent nights. Then sleep will beget sleep once more. I literally cannot win – that kid is making up her own rules and they're all crap! Thanks for linking to #chucklemums x

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