Is she a good sleeper?

In the past year as a mum, I have been asked this question about 824 times*, and my response is always an awkward raise of the eyebrows that says “don’t ask”.

Emma has never been a good sleeper. In the early days, I lived in hope that it would change soon. One day we’re going to wake up at 7am and realise she slept through, and rejoice to everyone we know. As a side note: this did happen ONCE, and I foolishly took the picture below and sent it to my family What’s App group….only for it never to happen ever again. Dammit. #smugmummyfail. Six months have passed since then, and there is a little improvement but we are still so far away that all shred of hope has well and truly left the building.

she slept through the night

For a while, I was avidly searching for solutions to reduce the amount of times she was waking in the night – including giving her a banana before bed, Weetabix before bed, Weetabix and banana before bed, reducing the amount of milk slowly to wean her off, adjusting bedtimes, using white noise and Norah Jones as a background noise. The list goes on, but I think you catch my drift. Until one day I decided to stop and

Just make peace that this is how it is, until it’s not anymore

I know that sounds simplistic but that shift in my mind made such a difference. Because I realised it was my expectations that was driving me nuts – I was expecting her to suddenly change and couldn’t handle it when week after week, it remained the same (or worse, depending on the teething and colds!). Maybe she’s the kind of baby that needs comfort during the night, maybe she’s just not ready for it – who knows, but it felt too hard to be pushing her to change when she didn’t want to. And don’t get me started on the good/bad sleeper comment – implying that babies who don’t sleep through the night are bad babies!!

So things are pretty much the same as they have been for months. We keep doing the same routine of having a dance on the bed without her nappy on, bath and then a painful screaming match as I frantically get her dressed, wondering how I can still find it impossible to do up the sleepsuit without getting a button wrong. We’re still on standby from 9.45pm onwards, waiting for Emma to wake and have her night-time feed, unsure whether that night we’ll be up every 2 hours, 3 hours or maybe even a longer stretch. And that’s ok, because she has to sleep through one day, right?!

*In truth, I’m not sure how many times but it was A LOT.

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  1. April 29, 2016 / 8:54 am

    I LOVE this post because I’m in exactly the same boat with the Popple. She slept for 7+ hours a few times, but it’s not a regular occurrence – usually, she sleeps in 2-4 hour stretches and I have to breastfeed her twice during the night. I consider this pretty good considering there were a few months there where she refused to go into her cot at all and was up every 1-2 hours all night.

    I hate the implication that that babies who don’t sleep through the night are ‘bad’ – yes, I wish she slept better, but she’s not ready to yet. And that’s okay. She’s proven to be resistant to sleep training, so this is how it is for now – she’ll crack this whole sleeping thing eventually.
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…Why parents (and their babies, but mostly the parents) need librariesMy Profile

    • May 4, 2016 / 12:16 pm

      Aw thank you for such a lovely comment – they’ll all get there eventually, even if it feels like a lifetime sometimes! x

  2. May 4, 2016 / 12:30 pm

    Ya there’s really very little we can do about sleeping. I had to laugh at you telling everyone she was sleeping only for it to be a one night fluke. Adorable photo by the way! Two of my 3 kids didn’t sleep until they were 2 & stopped naps. Good luck, stay strong – yes she will eventually sleep so enjoy while she’s little. Thanks so much for sharing with #candidcuddles x
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…Blogger Club UK Linky 16My Profile

    • May 4, 2016 / 12:35 pm

      Thank you – it was kinda hilarious when the next night she didn’t sleep through, oops. It’ll all work itself out in the end! Thanks for hosting #candidcuddles, lovely to link up for the first time x

  3. May 21, 2016 / 9:25 am

    I have come to the conclusion that some babies just sleep and some just don’t. Like you say I think when you accept that you kind of deal with it better. Although you still get the annoying people telling you that they should be sleeping through by now-grrr! For the record Oldest never really slept through until she was three! Even now she wakes up really early, we call her Maggie as in M.Thatcher who only needed three hours of sleep! However, now she is older she knows to stay in bed and read her book. Youngset on the otherhand is the complete opposite and loves her bed and we did nothing differently. I used to hate it when people told me about there amazing babies who slept through from one week but Youngest did exactly that. Sorry, realise that is not very reassuring! What I am trying to say in this waffle is that hang on in there, you have the right attitude and it will get easier. Sorry for writing War and Peace here. 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

    • May 22, 2016 / 8:02 am

      It’s so annoying! Actually if you ignore all the advice people love to give you, it’s not so bad! I’m surviving 🙂 Haha I love that you call her Maggie, so funny…it’s funny how they’re all different and I have a feeling she’s just taking her time. Thank you for the lovely comment xx

  4. May 21, 2016 / 1:14 pm

    I really dislike the “good baby/bad baby” comments. Next time someone asks me if I have a good baby I’m going to reply with “No, she’s an absolute horror and I hate her” just to see the look on their face!
    Sorry you’re having sleepless nights. I can’t comment as (and I feel like I have to keep this secret) mine does actually sleep through. I always lamely try and empathise with “but I used to work nights so know how it feels!” when in truth, it’s just not the same AT ALL.
    When Emma does decide to sleep through you can bring out the card again- maybe felt tip ‘for real’ at the bottom! #fortheloveofBLOG
    Lauren recently posted…Do you Dodie? Choosing to use a pacifierMy Profile

    • May 22, 2016 / 8:00 am

      Hehe love the felt tip idea!! You shouldn’t have to keep it secret that your little one sleeps through the night – that’s awesome! On the nights where she sleeps midnight-6am, I feel like I can take on the whole world! Thanks for the lovely comment xx

  5. May 21, 2016 / 7:10 pm

    Ah this is so brilliant, really thoughtful and perceptive. And most of all wise. Babies and young children sleep in all sorts of different ways and it is generally society’s and the parents expectations that lead to the heartache…although tiredness can be a bit rubbish too can’t it!? My son CAN sleep through the night…does he very often? No. He’s 2 years, 10 months. Do I always sleep through the night? No. I’m 32. I used to tie myself in knots about it but it’s him, it’s us, we’re happy and we’re coping. Lovely post #fortheloveofBLOG
    Lucy at occupation: (m)other recently posted…Southampton Swing WatchMy Profile

    • May 22, 2016 / 7:58 am

      Thank you for the lovely comment, it’s so true – I know she can do but she just needs to comfort in the middle of the night at the moment! It’ll change one day and that’s all good for now 🙂 xx

  6. May 21, 2016 / 8:14 pm

    All babies have different sleeping habits. My little girl up until a week ago was sleeping 6/7 hours a night. now shes hit nearly 4 months old and shes awake 3/4 times a night wanting to be breastfed. im feeling the tiredness now! xx

    Rachel Bustin recently posted…Fussy Baby – Word of the WeekMy Profile

    • May 22, 2016 / 7:57 am

      Thank you for the lovely comment, it’s funny how they change all of a sudden with sleeping. Hope this phase doesn’t last too long for you 🙂 xx

  7. May 22, 2016 / 7:45 am

    Good post. My little boy is just about 6 months now and has never slept through, the longest I think we have managed has been 5 hours. But I am ok with this, I know from my parents that I was the same as a baby so it wasn’t totally unexpected, it’s just the nights where he’s been up every hour that are hard. Thankfully those have been few (and needed industrial strength under eye concealer!!)X


    • May 22, 2016 / 7:55 am

      Thank you for your comment – sounds about the same as us but it’s ok for now as you say! Xx

  8. May 22, 2016 / 8:51 am

    You’re right, it will happen one day, and you can get your own back when she is a teenager and needs to sleep in until 12 🙂 a long way off but it might make it worth it! #fortheloveofblog
    Kat recently posted…Swimming for FitnessMy Profile

  9. May 22, 2016 / 7:56 pm

    We are in a very similar position so loved reading that it’s not just me that is on stand-by from 9.45pm….in fact earlier someone has started to cry now (hubby has been despatched)!!!!! I wrote a post recently about how I am just accepting this for the time being and feel much better for it! Hope you get some sleep tonight x

  10. May 24, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    I’m getting my sister to read this. She is in exactly the same place as you are and finding it very challenging to say the least! It doesn’t help she just started back at work as well. My son on the other hand was the best sleeper for years, which was great, but after my daughter was born it all changed. Now my daughter sleeps through but I’m up 2,3 or more times at night with my son. Sometimes he has nightmare, sometimes he wets the bed and sometimes he just wants to check i’m there. They will do whatever they will do and the best mummy can do is the best to help them get as much rest as they need.

    #fortheloveofBLOG #triballove

  11. May 24, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    I completely agree with you Bridie, it is our expectations that we need to lower and to accept. Our little one has only ever slept through twice, after her Men B jab. Apart from that she has always woken up during the night. She is 10 months old now and we went through a horrible time at 4-months (the 4-month sleep regression) where she woke every hour and would be awake between 2am and 4am every night for 2 months! I did some gentle sleep training for her to learn to settle herself, and we are now down to one wake-up a night. I think that may be down to her crawling – so using a lot of energy, eating a lot, and cutting down on feeds. But she may not sleep through for a long time, I think it’s a survival instinct for them to wake up. I really hope that your daughter’s sleep improves soon, and you have definitely done the right thing changing your expectations. Thanks so much for linking up this week at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x
    The Pramshed recently posted…Field Notes: An Event Apart Boston 2016My Profile

  12. August 27, 2016 / 10:59 pm

    This is me right now! I’ve decided I need to make peace that we’ve got a little night owl and accept it. She’ll sleep one day but for now i’m going to soak up the floppy sleepy night feeds and crank up the caffeine! X

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