Eight sleep positions for exhausted parents

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.  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. Here are eight sleep positions for exhausted parents. How many of these can you identify with?

Three cartoons - one with a child sleeping between its parents; one with a mum dozing off while sitting on the floor patting her child through the bars of their cot and one with a parent sleeping on the floor next to their child's bed - Eight sleep positions for exhausted parents

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.

A cartoon of a mum dozing while sitting up in bed cuddling her baby

2) The dozy moo*

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

A cartoon of a mum dozing off while breastfeeding her baby

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.

A cartoon of a mum falling asleep whilst lying on the top bar of her baby's cot

4) The sit-and-shush

The ‘sit-and-shush’ is often alternated with ‘the washing line’ in the middle of the night. You want to sleep but your child needs patting and shushing. You sit on the floor, one arm through the bars of the cot and the other propping up your head as you doze off.

A cartoon of a mum dozing off while sitting on the floor patting her baby through the bars of his/her cot

 

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.

A cartoon of a mum falling asleep listening to bedtime music while her baby jumps up and down in the cot

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 and your tot certainly is. However you’re now hanging off the edge off the bed trying to sleep in the miniscule amount of space left.

A cartoon of a baby asleep between their parents with the mum falling off the edge of the bed

 

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.

A cartoon of a mum sleeping on the floor next to her child's bed while holding their hand

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.

A parent dozing on the floor while their children climb all over them

*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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103 Comments

  1. April 16, 2015 / 9:05 am

    hahaha! I have used all of those positions….It’s only the last year or so I have had a full nights sleep….Finally my girls sleep through. lol x

    • Louise
      Author
      April 16, 2015 / 5:02 pm

      Lol, good to know there is hope!

  2. April 16, 2015 / 10:42 am

    Brilliant post and the pictures had me howling. Been there and done them all – wouldn’t mind doing a few now xx

    • Louise
      Author
      April 16, 2015 / 5:02 pm

      Thank you – glad you could relate!

  3. April 16, 2015 / 6:58 pm

    That is genius! You are very clever and I so remember those positions and I am relieved that I can now sleep in a bed with the odd disturbance

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:17 pm

      Thank you Nikki – enjoy that undisturbed sleep!

  4. April 16, 2015 / 7:19 pm

    Ah this post, had me in stitches Louise – just shown it to the hubby and he had a good giggle too! Sadly my current favourite sleeping position is the washing line. I miss sleep!

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:17 pm

      Thanks Jenni – the precipice seems to be the favourite here. Hope you get some sleep soon!

  5. Laura's Lovely Blog
    April 16, 2015 / 8:15 pm

    ha ha ha I think I have done all of these except the lazy dog 🙂

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:18 pm

      Glad you could relate to it 🙂

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:19 pm

      Thank you – glad you liked it 🙂

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:28 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  6. Mumma McD
    April 17, 2015 / 12:19 am

    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!!

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:30 pm

      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!

  7. April 17, 2015 / 5:07 am

    What a fab post! It’s soooo true! Love your little drawings – very funny 🙂 #TheList I remember No.1 very well!

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:31 pm

      Thank you – no. 1 is definitely popular in the early days!

  8. April 17, 2015 / 5:35 am

    This made me laugh so much i shared it on my local NCT page. Popping over from #TheList

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:32 pm

      Glad you liked it and thank you for sharing! 🙂

  9. April 17, 2015 / 5:40 am

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:32 pm

      Thanks Kiran – they’re not the most comfortable of positions are they?

  10. Jules
    April 17, 2015 / 5:45 am

    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!

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:33 pm

      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!

  11. MOMM
    April 17, 2015 / 7:37 am

    Hahaha! Great post! I think I must have experienced almost all those sleeping positions by now!!

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:43 pm

      Thank you – so glad you could relate to it! 🙂

  12. April 17, 2015 / 7:46 am

    HAAAAA! I love the pictures Louise – this is priceless! I have done them all including no.6 just last night 🙂

    Brilliant! Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:44 pm

      Thanks Hannah, so glad you liked my post and lovely to link up again 🙂

  13. April 17, 2015 / 8:36 am

    I love this – hahahaha! It’s so true! <3 #fridayfrolics

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:44 pm

      Thank you – glad you liked it! 🙂

  14. April 17, 2015 / 10:31 am

    Ha ha ha I LOVE no. 8! I remember that well – dozing whilst mine would play hairdressers or doctors and nurses (I would always offer to be the patient!). x

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:46 pm

      Thank you – it is a good way to grab some sneaky zzz’s! 🙂

  15. April 17, 2015 / 11:52 am

    He he! This is hilarious, but does make me somewhat nervous about my future!!!

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:50 pm

      Thank you – sorry to make you nervous!

  16. April 17, 2015 / 12:17 pm

    Currently carrying out a few on this list #FridayFrolics

    • Louise
      Author
      April 17, 2015 / 10:51 pm

      Lol, me too at the moment!

  17. April 17, 2015 / 1:37 pm

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 10:20 pm

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

  18. April 17, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    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!

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 10:21 pm

      Thank you – yes I’m sure she probably has too! 🙂

  19. Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
    April 17, 2015 / 2:00 pm

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 10:21 pm

      Thank you – yes amazing what you can sleep through sometimes!

  20. April 17, 2015 / 4:26 pm

    Loved this even more the second time around – fabulous post and I can very much relate to almost all of these! Have scheduled to share on my page this weekend 🙂 #pocolo

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 10:21 pm

      Thanks Yvette – so glad you liked it and thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 10:23 pm

      Thank you Cathryn – so glad you liked my post 🙂

  21. April 17, 2015 / 6:44 pm

    I regularly fall asleep in four of these hon, you’ve captured them perfectly. Well done!

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 10:23 pm

      Thank you 🙂

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 10:24 pm

      Thank you – no. 2 used to be a favourite for me too!

  22. Shannan
    April 17, 2015 / 9:15 pm

    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 😉

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 10:25 pm

      Thank you – glad you could relate to it! 🙂

  23. Louise @ Birds and Lilies
    April 17, 2015 / 9:39 pm

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 10:26 pm

      Thank you Louise – 6 seems to be a favourite here as well at the moment!

  24. April 18, 2015 / 5:29 am

    Oh god, I remember these! I still don’t sleep much, but at least I can be physically comfortable and in my own bed throughout the night now.

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 10:46 pm

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

  25. Stacey-Love is Blimd
    April 18, 2015 / 7:59 am

    Loved reading this post, oh I have so much to look forward to lol #thelist

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 11:22 pm

      Lol, thank you – so glad you liked it 🙂

  26. April 18, 2015 / 11:06 am

    I love this. So funny and true. I have done them all. Was doing the sit and hush last night! Thanks for linking up. #FridayFrolics

    • Louise
      Author
      April 18, 2015 / 11:23 pm

      Thank you Claire – lovely to link up 🙂

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 3:10 pm

      Lol, yes I can imagine – it’s a very popular one for the newborn nights isn’t it?

  27. kidGLloves
    April 19, 2015 / 7:31 am

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 4:26 pm

      Thank you – I suspect my back is telling me much the same thing, lol!

  28. Alex Harrison
    April 19, 2015 / 7:47 am

    Ah the washing line… my favourite position of the night(!)

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 4:30 pm

      Lol, yes it’s a popular one here too!

  29. April 19, 2015 / 11:59 am

    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.

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 4:45 pm

      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.

  30. April 20, 2015 / 5:44 pm

    I’m doing a lot of ‘the washing line’ at the moment, trying to get my one year old to go to sleep in the cot now I’ve stopped feeding her to sleep! This whole list made me smile though! x

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 8:50 pm

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

  31. April 21, 2015 / 12:00 pm

    Lol. I’ve found myself asleep in all of these wonderful positions, except the dozy moo of course, (had problems lactating, due to a Y chromosome).

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 9:18 pm

      Lol, yes I can imagine the Y chromosome presents a problem with that one…!

  32. April 21, 2015 / 8:27 pm

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

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 9:38 pm

      Thanks Sam – lovely to link up again 🙂

  33. Morna piper
    April 21, 2015 / 9:58 pm

    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!

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 9:39 pm

      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!

  34. April 22, 2015 / 4:26 am

    Pinning this! I love this post and the illustrations to go with them. I think I’ve mastered them all.

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 9:39 pm

      Thank you Jenny, so glad you liked it 🙂

  35. April 22, 2015 / 8:37 am

    So many lols! The precipice sounds very familiar! Great to catch this post through #thetruthabout x

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 9:40 pm

      Thank you – it’s a popular one for us too at the moment!

  36. Caroline
    April 22, 2015 / 7:56 pm

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 10:00 pm

      Thanks Caroline – so glad sleep is getting better for you 🙂

  37. Mel
    April 23, 2015 / 12:26 am

    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!

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 10:00 pm

      Thanks Mel – so glad you liked it! 🙂

  38. April 23, 2015 / 8:41 pm

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      April 23, 2015 / 10:05 pm

      Thank you so much, so glad you liked it. The precipice is our current favourite too! 🙂

  39. May 26, 2016 / 6:01 am

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      May 27, 2016 / 10:23 pm

      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 🙂

  40. May 26, 2016 / 8:31 am

    Ha ha – love these Louise. I remember doing the soft play one and waking up and thinking Oh sh*t where is the baby! x

    • Louise
      Author
      May 27, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      Lol, how funny – easily done though! 🙂

  41. May 26, 2016 / 8:35 am

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      May 27, 2016 / 10:25 pm

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

  42. Desanka @MommyBabyTime
    May 26, 2016 / 10:44 am

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

    • Louise
      Author
      May 27, 2016 / 10:27 pm

      Thank you – those two have been very popular here as well! 🙂

  43. May 26, 2016 / 1:17 pm

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      May 27, 2016 / 10:30 pm

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

  44. May 27, 2016 / 10:21 am

    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

    • Louise
      Author
      May 27, 2016 / 10:35 pm

      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! 🙂

  45. May 29, 2016 / 3:13 am

    Ooo, a new one, the guard dog. Haven’t tried this yet! All the rest I think I do on a regular basis! #familyfun

    • Louise
      Author
      June 3, 2016 / 7:17 pm

      Give it time Karen and I’m sure the guard dog will end up on the list! 🙂

  46. September 27, 2016 / 7:19 pm

    I am forever doing the Wash line!!!! But she is sleeping in her crib…so that is a plus!

    • Louise
      Author
      September 30, 2016 / 12:22 pm

      That’s true! The wash line was probably the one I did most when Sophie was in a cot!

  47. October 26, 2016 / 11:36 am

    It was so hilarious, love your drawing!

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