I’ve mouthed off about sleeping before and now I am going to confess something. Please don’t judge me, but my baby doesn’t usually ‘go to bed’ until 11pm…at the earliest. I know, I know, I’m a terrible mother and you might want to bombard me with information about routines and things to aid sleep or maybe even suggest sleep training. But none of the gentle techniques seem to work! I think the main problem is that my husband works evenings as he runs a pub, so we don’t both go to bed until he is home – usually some time between 11.30 and 1.30, depending on the night.
A typical evening will be me reading to TM in a quiet, dark room and feeding or cuddling him to sleep. Usually as soon as I try and put him to bed he is suddenly wide awake and ready to play! He dozes during the evening but as soon as I put him in the cot he’s awake. I used to start the ‘bedtime routine’ nice and early, but after four hours of reading story after story in a darkened room I felt like my soul was being systematically destroyed, so I have to confess I’ve given up a little bit. I don’t usually start attempting bedtime until 9.30 or 10pm. And, almost every night, until Daddy is home he just won’t settle properly. It doesn’t seem to make any difference how many naps he has had or how long for, or whether we’ve had a busy day or not. Waking him up earlier in the morning doesn’t really work either, he tends to just fall back asleep downstairs. He’s not a child you can keep awake against his will! And honestly, who wants to get up at 7am unless you have to? You know people always say their kids wake up at 6am regardless of when they go to bed? Yeah, he’s like that but the other way around!
I think his favourite trick is to fall asleep around 9, stay asleep when I put him in his cot and then half an hour later, just when I start to feel smug and run myself a bath, wake up. And stay awake, giggling at my attempts to get him back to sleep.
Here’s my typical thought process at various times:
9pm – He looks sleepy. This would be a great bedtime!
10pm – He’s definitely tired. 10pm is good.
10.30pm – Why have you woken up as soon as I place you in your cot?!
11pm – He’s almost asleep again. 11 is fine.
12am – Please. Please sleep now.
The thing is, I know I should be trying to get him to bed earlier but it actually really suits me…it means I can go to bed at the same time as him, and he usually sleeps for a good 5 or 6 hours, then after a feed and change goes back to sleep until 9ish, so I get a decent nights sleep. Recently he will even sleep for 7 or 8 hours straight sometimes, it’s incredible! I think it would be much harder if he went down at 7 or 8pm but then woke every two or three hours. He recently did this when he was ill and I felt so much worse the next day than usual!
When I’m at baby groups and people ask about his bedtime or routine I sheepishly say ‘Oh, it’s always changing’…because I feel like I would be judged if I told the truth! To be fair, occasionally he will sleep from about 9pm but those nights are very rare. So, there we go. Anybody else have a bedtime they are ashamed of?!Follow @el_clayton