When I fell pregnant with my first child I decided that when the little wonder arrived and I stopped working then night feeds would always be my responsibility. After all, my husband would still be working full time and supporting the whole family so it seemed only fair that he get a full nights sleep.
That was almost three years ago and it’s been that long since I had a full, deliciously unbroken, shamelessly deep nights sleep…
Two kids on and sleep is like a fickle old friend who nips in to say ‘hi’ occasionally but has no commitment or longevity. When I go to bed I fall into a kind of – how can I describe this – light coma. I fall asleep immediately but it’s shallow and I can pretty much hear and feel everything going on around me. If one of the girls emits even the most delicate of farts in the night my eyes fly open and I feel like I’ve been administered a shot of adrenaline.
My Mum insists this happens to all women once they have a child and that it must be an evolutionary phenomenon from when we were cave people and needed to wake up should a mountain lion sneak in to eat our offspring.
When you’ve got a baby in one room and a toddler in the other you feel like you’re in a constant balancing act to keep the little buggers asleep and god forbid they wake each other up. I once had my baby screaming “WAH” in one room and my toddler stood rattling her door gate shouting “Mummy it’s toast time!” in another. It was 2:45 am and I stood quivering on the landing wondering how many sheets of steel it would take to sound proof the house.
I would rather go snorkeling in a live volcano than deal with small children in the early hours so to prevent this happening again I have my kids at opposite ends of the house and when my youngest makes the slightest stir I leap up silently and pirouette down the stairs like a wild haired ninja.
I’ve got rather good at dealing with the constant feeling of exhaustion and also at keeping my children asleep for as long as possible, so I have compiled a list of my top tips below for those in need.
You’re welcome 🙂
Always try and exhaust your toddler during the day. I propose unleashing them in an open outdoor space and suggesting games like ‘I bet you can’t run to that distant tree and back again in 5 seconds flat’. Fresh air always does the trick.
When you go to feed a baby in the night don’t turn on any bright lights, try to maintain a ‘sleep environment’. I find the torch on my phone works the best.
It sounds kind of harsh but try not to interact with your baby whilst you’re feeding them. No cooing and definitely no blowing raspberries or giggle encouragement. Keep them snoozey.
Purchase a cot mobile or music box with gentle lullaby music and turn it on whilst you feed them.
Keep yourself awake during night feeds by reading the stupid crap on the Daily Mail’s facebook feed.
Always be prepared. Have all bottles sterilised and formula measured out ready for making up feeds.
Get some juice, breakfast cereal bars and the TV remote by your bedside for when your toddler comes in to see you in the morning. Ceebeebies and breakfast in bed will keep them occupied so you can at least lie stationary for an extra bonus hour.
Never complain about how tired you are during the day, I refer to this as ‘negging out’ and it’ll only make you feel worse. It’s best just to smile and say “They were only up 4 times in the night” and “It doesn’t last forever, only a few years of your life”.
If you are finding it hard to keep your crispy eyes moist and alert during the day then get your kids and yourself outside for a walk or even better go for a run. The endorphin’s you get from exercise will wake you up and make you feel super HAPPY!
Drink on average 12 cups of coffee before noon.
If all else fails and you feel like crying. Get someone to watch your sprogs and have a massive glass of alcohol and a bath.
Be safe in the knowledge that you’re not the only one, there are women all over the world dragging themselves from a bed whilst telling themselves not to smother their snoozing partners with a decorative scatter cushion.
Good night sleep tight 😉