Parental sleep positions

When you announce that you are expecting a baby, one of the first things people say after “congratulations” is “get your sleep in while you can!”. Sleep deprivation and becoming a parent are two things that go hand in hand. Some days you wonder if you will ever get a proper amount of sleep again. But what no-one tells you is that once enveloped in the fog of sleep-deprivation, you discover a whole new range of positions which you never realised you could fall asleep in.

Parental sleep positions - Little Hearts, Big Love

1) The lounger*

Lying back against the pillows, reclining at a 45 degree angle with a baby fast asleep on your chest. You doze fitfully in this position, waking at thirty-second intervals, torn between the fear that the baby could roll off your chest and the knowledge that they’ll wake up the minute you put them down in the Moses basket. Parental sleep positions - Little Hearts, Big Love

2) The dozy moo*

Those middle of the night feeds – a sleepy snuggly baby nestling against you whilst you sit bolt upright, trying to stay awake but still finding yourself nodding off every few minutes or so.

Parental sleep positions - Little Hearts, Big Love

 

3) The washing line

You’ve finally managed to get baby to settle in their cot but getting them to go back to sleep requires endless amounts of patting and shushing. You’re becoming an expert on snoozing whilst lying on the cot rail patting your restless child.

Parental sleep positions - Little Hearts, Big Love

 

4) The sit-and-shush

Often alternated with ‘the washing line’ – another one for when you need to keep patting and shushing – sitting on the floor with one arm through the bars of the cot and the other often propping up your head as you doze off.

Parental sleep positions - Little Hearts, Big Love

 

5) The bedtime backfire

Bedtime stories, soothing music and lullabies are a great way of encouraging sleep. Unfortunately though, they sometimes seem to work better on parents – the umpteenth rendition of Brahms Lullaby might have sent you to the land of nod but in the meantime, the tot is bouncing up and down in their cot with more energy than an espresso-swigging Duracell bunny.

Parental sleep positions - Little Hearts, Big Love

 

6) The precipice*

There were three in the bed and the little one said roll over… So the tot rolled over and spread themselves out… leaving you wondering how on earth someone so small can take up quite so much bedspace. Your partner seems comfy, your tot certainly is but you’re left hanging off the edge off the bed trying to sleep in the miniscule amount of space left.

Parental sleep positions - Little Hearts, Big Love

 

7) The guard dog

Monsters under the bed and things that go bump in the night? They’re no match for the parent playing guard dog and dozing on the floor whilst holding their child’s hand to reassure them that they are safe and secure.

Parental sleep positions - Little Hearts, Big Love

 

8) The sneaky snooze

Lying on the floor and allowing your children to treat you like their own personal soft play area whilst you treat it as an opportunity for a brief (and somewhat uncomfortable) power nap.

Parental sleep positions - Little Hearts, Big Love

 

 

*Please note that safe sleeping guidelines advise that the safest place for a baby to sleep in the first six months is on their backs in a cot or Moses basket in the same room as their parents and that sleeping in some of the positions described is associated with an increased risk of SIDS and is therefore not recommended.

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104 thoughts on “Parental sleep positions

  1. Mumma McD

    Brilliant! All of these are still on high rotation at our place, except for the sit and shush – our cot’s bars are really close together and my arm won’t fit through!!

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Thank you – ah that must be a little frustrating not to be able to put your arm through the cot bar – the sit and shush has saved my back many a time!

      Reply
  2. Kiran

    Oh I love this! Jasmin has taken to coming into our bed every night so I know these positions well! OFf to try and get rid of the cramp in my neck….! x

    Reply
  3. Jules

    Number 3 and 8 were definite winners with me. Surprising how a cot rail can feel comfortable. I’ve also got in the cot with him when he’s ill!

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      I’ve never been brave enough to get in the cot – always a bit scared it would collapse! It is amazing the positions you learn to sleep in!

      Reply
  4. Verily Victoria Vocalises

    Hahaha!! I used to experience the precipice even when there was just me and Grace! This is a great post. I still don’t sleep that well now – once a Mother, always a Mother! Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Thank you – the precipice seems to be our current favourite at the moment! Lovely to link up to #PoCoLo 🙂

      Reply
  5. The DADventurer (Dave)

    Haha good post – I think I’ve been pretty lucky as the dad as Hay has breastfed – this means I’ve normally been the one asleep whilst she’s doing night feeds etc – pretty sure she’s slept in a lot of these positions though!

    Reply
  6. Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

    Haha, yes, been there! Brilliant post! I don’t think enough credit is given to us for being able to sleep while a baby pinches you and stomps on your head!
    #fridayfrolics

    Reply
  7. Shannan

    This is brilliant…can relate to a few. Although mine are now 4 and 7….I still enjoy a little ‘pat and shush’ with my youngest lol 😉

    Reply
  8. Louise @ Birds and Lilies

    Haha, this is brilliant Louise, and so true! I remember one and two ‘fondly’; when you’re so determined to stay awake and the next thing you know you’re waking up in a panic and checking the baby is still there! And six is happening quite a lot at the moment 🙁 Great post lovely xx #PoCoLo

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Oh so nice to be able to sleep in your own bed – particularly when there aren’t little extra occupants!

      Reply
  9. kidGLloves

    The Mother says – Yep!! You’ve pretty much covered every position here!! At least, six years on, that’s what my back is telling me…….. Great post :0 #pocolo

    Reply
  10. Debbie

    Hi Louise, it’s been a long time since I had a sleepless night due to children, but I’m happy to see that sleeping positions haven’t changed!

    I think the positions I found myself in most often was falling a sleep whilst trying to read a bedtime story and falling asleep whilst sitting bolt upright doing a night feed.

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Falling asleep sitting upright was always a favourite of mine too although less so these days now that Sophie doesn’t tend to feed during the night.

      Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Glad it made you smile – the washing line has been done many times in our house – thankfully a little less often these days!

      Reply
  11. Sam

    Love that last one – the sheer desperation of it! So true! 🙂 Great pics too Louise – thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout X

    Reply
  12. Morna piper

    I love this and your pictures. The only one I am not intimately associated with is the gaurd dog…..that’s only a matter of time!

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Thank you Morna – the precipice has mostly replaced the guard dog for us at the moment but once we get my eldest back in her own bed, I am sure it will make a return!

      Reply
  13. Caroline

    Hahaha I love your pictures! I have done all of these in my time, sleep is so much better then it used to be, but I still don’t often get a complete nights rest, there is always the sound of someone wanting something in the night. x

    Reply
  14. Mel

    Oh I love this post my lovely. I am in ‘dozy moo’ mode right now and I am reading on my phone trying not to fall asleep in an uncomfortable position! I have to pin your drawings: they’re brilliant!

    Reply
  15. Jude

    I love this post and have seen it all over my newsfeed. It deserves to do really well. Genius! My personal fave is The precipice, still a regular in our house. #thefunbegan

    Reply
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  17. Lucy at occupation:(m)other

    I think this post just gets better and better the more I read it! I love it! The washing line is my favourite – I’m not sure I’ve ever actually done it but I do ALWAYS get so sleepy when I’m doing the lovely relaxing bedtime story…I can’t stop yawning and I know it’s the wrong way round! Thank you for sharing it this week with #FamilyFun

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Thank you Lucy – isn’t it funny how the bedtime story can sometimes be better at helping us fall asleep rather than the children? Thank you for hosting #FamilyFun this week 🙂

      Reply
  18. An imperfect mum (Catie)

    I love this Hun, mine are bigger now but after little man had a nightmare I ended up doing the precipice all night on Tuesday I think that’s why my back has gone! I recognised every one of these positions. TY for linking up to #FamilyFun

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Thanks Catie – the precipice is definitely not a good one for backs! Hope yours is better soon x

      Reply
  19. Desanka @MommyBabyTime

    Haha! Number 2 when I was breastfeeding and number 6 regularly! Love his post it makes me laugh! #FamilyFun

    Reply
  20. justsayingmum

    These are so funny Louise! I remember many from when mine were small but somehow the precipice is still one that occurs in our house and based on how old mine are this really shouldn’t be one! Love the sneaky snooze one too – too funny! #familyfun

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      One good side of hubby being away is that the precipice happens less often here! Glad you enjoyed and could relate to them! 🙂

      Reply
  21. Ellen

    Hahaha this made me laugh. It’s so true. I am always struggling with the dozy moo, so hard to stay awake sometimes. It wound me up when people constantly told me to sleep when I was pregnant – I knew it was true but I WAS sleeping loads! At least until the end. I have had some terrible hangovers in my time so had practiced sleeping in ridiculous places/positions when I was too hungover to cope so I think that was all good training for parental sleep! #FamilyFun

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Thanks Ellen – I never thought of ridiculous sleeping positions when hungover as being good training for parental sleep but you’re right, that is one unexpected benefit of them! 🙂

      Reply

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