It’s been months (years?) since you had an unbroken night’s sleep – and what with four, eight, 10 and 18 month sleep regression, teething, illnesses, and just plain willfulness on your baby’s part, there’s a lot that can go wrong. These are the rules of engagement when it comes to dealing with your baby’s sleep, according to Cat Neilan.

1. If your other half has gone out for the evening, under no circumstances text him to say when the baby is asleep. This will ensure he awakes immediately, and remains awake until your partner comes home hours later, smelling of booze and crying off shhing duties because he might “drop” him.

2. Never arrange a night in with a non-mum friend. Your baby will arrange the same night as a party-in-my-crib affair and your friend will be left downstairs awkwardly staring into space because she doesn’t know if turning the TV on will make it worse (and she’ll delay having kids for another year).

3. Never arrange a night out with your non-mum friends. You will be coerced into forgetting you have a baby to deal with, drink more than you should (but less than you ever thought possible) and spend the rest of the night shhing your baby through an early hangover. Your friends, meanwhile, will be sleeping it off until midday at the earliest.

4. Never arrange a night out with your mum friends. You will all forget you have babies, drink a year’s worth of alcohol to make up for lost time, and the minute you step in the door have to provide entertainment for your early riser. You will have no sleep for 36 hours and decide this is punishment for your louche behaviour, and vow never to drink again.

5. Just don’t arrange anything. Your baby knows and will sabotage it. Your baby knows all.

6. Ignore people who tell you the baby will start sleeping through when he is weaned/starts crawling/starts walking/starts nursery. They are raising your hopes to a dangerously high level, and this will only end in crushing defeat. Better to accept it will never happen, because at least then you can only be pleasantly surprised (it has to happen at some time, right?).

7. Resist the temptation to tell your mum friends that your baby has finally slept through. Such claims bring a curse upon you that cannot be lifted for 1001 (very, very long) nights.

8. Under no circumstances should you write an article implying that you may have nailed the sleeping thing. This will ensure your baby – and you – never sleeps again.

@CatNeilan @mushmums