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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*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.