12th February 2018

The A to Zzzzzzz of baby sleep

If you’re so sleep-deprived that you can no longer remember the alphabet, please allow Cat Neilan to help. 

There are a lot of books about getting your baby to sleep out there, but it all boils down to the same thing: my baby won’t sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time, and it’s probably (definitely?) my fault.

A is for Alarm; a now obsolete item dating back to life pre-parenthood.

B is for Brain-dead; a now constant state. Just don’t ask me to do any maths or string a full sentence together.

C is for Cry it Out; in which you and your partner take it in turns to sob into your pillow while your baby wails all night in the name of sleep training.

D is for Dreamfeed, as in “dream on if you think this feed will keep your baby asleep for the rest of the night”.

E is for Early Nights. There’s no shame in going to bed before The One Show has finished. In fact, it’s something to aspire towards. Last night I was in bed before it even started. #LifeGoals.

F is for Ferberizing; Sounds like a cute toy, is in fact the sleep technique dreamed up by Satan and his fiendish little friends. Enjoy.

G is for Good Night’s Sleep; hahaha, that’s a Good One.

H is for Hangover; if you’re very foolish you might attempt a night out while you have a baby who is teething. Being woken up every hour on the back of a seriously small amount of booze (because your tolerance is non-existent now) is – gosh, so much fun I can hardly wait until the next time!

I is for I Totally Can Wait.

J is for Junk Food. Chocolate, cake crisps, chips, take-away, and did I already say chocolate? This is the only way to survive the day.

K is for Knackered. So, so knackered.

L is for Listening (at 3am). The baby is being oddly quiet. Why is the baby being so quiet? He never sleeps this long. IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM? Oh, no there he goes…

M is for Baby Massage, followed by a bedtime story. I have been promised faithfully this relaxing routine will result in a softly slumbering child. It never does.

N is for Naptime, the wrathful god for whom all your socialising/errand running/appointment attending needs will be sacrificed for the unrealised promise of a “better” night’s sleep.


P is for Publishing Deal. Got a theory that babies sleep better after they’ve been smothered in honey and held upside down for 10 minutes before bedtime? Then why not add yours to the pantheon of books out there designed to confuse, intimidate and stress out tired mums!

Q is for Qualification. It takes six hours to become a fully qualified sleep consultant. That’s less time than I spend awake most nights, and yet somehow I’m the loser paying for help.

R is for Rod (For Your Own Back). Anything you do to encourage your baby to sleep will be viewed as making a Rod For Your Own Back, unless it is something that makes him cry. This includes swaddling, using a dummy, not using a dummy (and therefore he finds his thumb), using white noise, not using white noise, feeding to sleep, co-sleeping, not co-sleeping…

S is for Side Crib. Oh, how I scorned the side cribs, with their adverts of radiant mama gazing lovingly at gurgling baby. My child will be sleeping – sorry, sleeping through – in his own room at eight weeks, I thought from the ivory tower called pregnancy. That is clearly just a recipe for mummy issues. But of course, I hadn’t heard of sleep regression. I have now.  See also: Co-Sleeping.

T is for Torture. Guantanamo is nothing compared to one week with my baby.

U is for Urgh, is that really the time?

V is for Videos. Resorting to videos of In the Night Garden, Peppa Pig etc to chill your child out before bedtime? Then you’re definitely a Bad Mother and your child will probably have a lifetime of bad sleep, resulting in depression, bad health and failed relationships. They say.

W is for Weaning. “He’ll definitely sleep better once he’s eating solids,” they said. They lied.

X is for EXtrovert. My baby’s not a bad sleeper, he’s just very “alert”.

Y is for Yawn. You have literally 30 seconds to get your baby to sleep from this “cue” before he becomes overtired, at which point he will start screaming inconsolably and your night/life will be ruined.

Z is for… Zzzzzz.

@CatNeilan @mushmums

Mental Health Mum Life Pregnancy Sex & Relationships Style & Body Your Baby

Download Mush