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.

Friday Frolics

103 thoughts on “Eight sleep positions for exhausted parents

  1. 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

  2. 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

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

  3. 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!!

    1. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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!

    1. 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!

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

  7. 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

  8. 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

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

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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 😉

  12. 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

  13. 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.

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

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

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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

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

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

  18. 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!

    1. 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!

  19. 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

  20. 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!

  21. 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

  22. 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

    1. 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 🙂

  23. 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

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

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

  25. 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

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

  26. 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

    1. 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! 🙂

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.