15 things never to say to a Mum whose child isn't sleeping...
In the three and a half years since I've become a mum, I've generally been pretty lucky with the amount of sleep my two children have gifted me (and I do consider it luck - I am a massive fan of a routine and think children benefit from them, but experience has taught me that it doesn't matter how good your routine is - things change). However, since December 2017 my daughter has gone from waking up a couple of times a night, to demanding I am in her room with her, to coming into our bed and refusing to leave without a mega tantrum and threatening to wake up our son.
It all started with a high temperature, an awareness of things that go bump in the night and "I miss you Mummy" (it's so much harder when they can talk!) I will tackle it, eventually, though I actually don't mind the night time cuddles - I'm just knackered and keen to have an undisturbed night. This lack of sleep, however, has got me thinking about the most trying things I have ever heard as a mum of a child who won't sleep (both when they're newborns and up to the present day). I have to thank Megan @oatcakeadventures, Sophie @mamabubabump, @shivellez, Jenni @mindful_blogger, Sheree @can_we_skip_the_teenager_bit, Maxine @euphoricbirthing, @littleearthbaby for their marvellous contributions!
1.“Do you have a routine?”
“Oh no, I just let mine get feral and mainline sugar an hour before bed – it’s wild in our house but that’s how I like it!”
2. “I would never let my child come into bed – they’re 9 months old now and we’ve never done it, and we never will.”
Wait until they’re 3 and a half, and you’re all ill, and you just need some shuteye.
3. “Have you got blackout blinds?”
No, I like my children to go to sleep when the sun sets and wake when it rises, regardless of the point in the year…
4. “Have you tried cutting out their milk?”
This can also be replaced with “have you tried giving them milk?” Either way, it ain’t going to be received that well by me.
5. “Is there a BLUE LIGHT in their room?”
No, just an iPad. But that’s fine, right?Have you tired moving their bedtime back? Maybe they just aren’t tired at bedtime?”
6. (With a 4 month old who wouldn’t sleep.. ): "oh don’t worry, it’s totally normal.. mine didn’t sleep til they were <insert ridiculously high age here>".... exactly the sort of reassurance you want when your eyeballs are about to fall out of your head you’re so tired. (thanks Megan).
7. “Have you made sure the bedroom is a place for sleep?”
Oh wow! Radical thought! I will remove all the fire, swimming pools and circus acts I usually keep in there shall I? (thanks Jenny).
8. “Do you think your house might be haunted?”
No, I had never thought that. I’m sure that won’t play on my poor sleep deprived and slightly irrational mind in the middle of the night at all (this is amazing Sheree).
9. “Have you tired moving their bedtime back? Maybe they just aren’t tired at bedtime?” Yep, Shivellez, we've all heard that beauty.
10. “What YOU need is a white noise machine/sleep pod/teddy that sings/other ridiculously expensive baby item. My baby slept through the night when we got one!”
Great...I’ll go spend a small fortune in case it works (which it doesn’t) (well QUITE Maxine).
11. There’s no point tiptoeing around trying not to wake them, they have to get used to sleeping through noises”. They say slamming doors and shouting between rooms, in the comfort that they don’t have to resettle the baby when it wakes. 15 months later and he still wakes up at Every. Single. Noise. No amount of ‘noise training’ is going to work! Thanks littleearthbaby!
12. "Maybe your kids just need better sleep hygiene" - I mean what does this even mean?!
13. "You need to make sure your kids don't watch any telly at least two hours before bed - nothing."
Have you ever tried to make dinner for two under three and not had them both hanging off your legs without the soothing powers of Sarah and Duck?
14. "I'd just cut their nap out - then they'll be really tired at bedtime."
Cut their nap? CUT THEIR NAP?! Are you KIDDING?! That's my tiny bit of me-time. I literally wept when my daughter dropped hers.
15. "PIRITON. Works every time." Ummm...
What's the most "helpful" (for helpful read ridiculous) piece of advice you've been given about getting your child to sleep? I'd love to read in the comments below! And if you liked this post, please do share the love...