Oh the Lies: She Slept like a Baby!

Who said it?

I want to know how made up the lies that send all parents into turmoil when they come to learn the real truth.

Babies do not sleep.

Whoever made that ridiculous phrase up “slept like a baby” is absolutely delusional or had the one child that is a total anomaly.

Definitely the most difficult part of parenting would have to be the whole sleep issue and the fact that babies don’t know how to sleep, and refuse to sleep for longer than 20 minutes, no matter how hard you try.

baby sleeping

Are you asleep yet?

I’ve been stewing on it and thinking about it constantly since Savannah was born.

When Kalyra was born I was a first time mum who had no clue, actually I still don’t. I thought that I just had a terrible sleeper and was utterly and completely hopeless as a mother.

No matter what I tried I could not get her to go to sleep, or if by some miracle she did, then eyes would come flying open twenty minutes later.

I got sick of crawling around the floor like a cat burglar so as to make sure my knees wouldn’t crack and wake her back up again. Any noise would have me seize up in an anxiety attack that it would WAKE THE BABY, who was really not sleeping like one, or who in reality, was.

Not sleeping.

The baby whisperer became my infatuation,

Look, the baby whisperer knows what to do, she cures all the babies,” I explained to Craig as he tried to explain to me how ridiculous I was being.

He was not that keen on sitting there patting the baby on the back, shoe shoe shoing in her ear, and then putting her down, only to have her wail and start the whole process again for four hours!!

“Just pick her up and rock her. It has to be easier.”

Ths time I was determined to not be the foolish mother who got her child into bad habits. I was going to put her down to sleep from the get go. Low and behold it worked. She was sleeping like a baby.

sleeping like a baby

And then three weeks later she woke up from the haze of childbirth recovery and discovered the real world and forgot how to sleep. Instead she decided that she needed to be sleeping curled up on my chest and if I were to put her any where else then all she would do would be twenty minutes MAX.

I got over my pride and shameful feelings of being the worst mother in the world and began to talk.

Like we women do. On twitter, the blog, facebook and with friends, even strangers.

HaH! At least 90% of the people I spoke to said, without any prompting from me, that their child was a cat napper and didn’t know how to sleep.

So I am here to expose the lies today.

Slept like a baby is an absolute lie told to try to convince women that the pains of childbirth is worth having a baby.

And the lies are perpetuated by midwives and tresilian nurses who tell you to just put the baby in the cot, and pat it on the chest and soon they will just drift off into la la land.

Because that is what babies do (the ideal baby they mean, and we know what ideal means- an anomaly) And when you mention “I’m not sure what to do as she only sleeps for like 20 mins to an hour max,” they reply

“Well… some babies do that.”

SOME babies?

HUMPH! I am discovering it is more like ALL babies and no one really knows what to do so they just pretend that the truth is that babies sleep like babies.

They don’t.

They sleep like giraffes in the savannah, constantly alert for lurking lions, jumping up wide awake at the sound of any quiet rustle of the bush.


What's that noise?

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  • Maria Tedeschi (Mum's Word))

    Caz, you do what works for you. No two adults sleep the same so I’m not quite sure why people think babies fit into some sort of mould.

    For the first 6 weeks of every one of my babies I fed them to sleep. Sometimes they only slept from 45 minutes, sometimes 2 hours. But I could never predict with any regularity which sleep it would be.

    And they are constantly growing so their sleep patterns along with their feed patters alter. Especially during times of growth spurts, teething, learning to roll.

    I’ve got 4 kids and I am by no means an expert because, like I said, they all slept differently. One child may be have been easier to get off to sleep but didn’t sleep for long whereas another was the opposite.

    I remember an early childhood nurse saying that if you counted up all the minutes/hours that the baby slept during the day and if it added up to the correct amount of sleep they need in a 24 hours period then you’re doing fine.

    Love & stuff
    Mrs M


    • Caz

      I’ve been thinking a lot at how adults don’t sleep the same, how come we expect kids to. I’ve kind of giving up worrying about it now. As long as she seems happy enough then there is no point battling it and stressing me out. I figure she’ll be able to sleep by the time she’s one LOL All paths lead there eventually. I hope.


  • Pip

    Caz, I’ve been struggling with this same problem with my 6mth old. We too are now stealthy cat burglars and the ads on TV that go up in volume have given us an anxiety disorder of an evening when we think she can hear a pin drop.
    After the complete unpredictability of her ‘sleep’ cycle I finally consulted a sleep expert and she got my girl sleeping through the night – which wasn’t a huge concern to me- it was the hours she screamed and fought sleep before her first for the evening. 3hours of screaming due to, what I now realize was over tiredness, and I’ve only just realized how useful a routine can be. Does she sleep the ‘prescribed’ 2 hrs each morning and afternoon? Hell no. But she does have scheduled times when I can take her to the cot and she falls fast asleep and this has improved our lives more than I can express in words. Good luck, it has definitely been the bain of my life as a mum to date.


    • Caz

      3 hours of screaming- that would be horrific. We don’t really get any screaming so its okay. That must have been awful. So great that you were able to get help adn things have improved. It is such a challenge. I hope it keeps going well for you


  • Jacquie

    I totally agree. I had 2 babies who did not know how to sleep properly. The first one I had no idea what I was doing so I thought it was me. He was usually awake from midnight till 6am with little catnaps on & off – that was fun… Second time round I was like you – determined to teach him how to sleep. He was slightly better than his big brother in that he slept slightly longer between feeds. But they both first slept through the night at 10 months old – so there wasnt much difference between them. Then I had my third & he just slept so easily – he first slept through at 7 weeks & after that either slept all night or woke up once around 4am & was equally good in the day. I would put him into bed, he would grizzle for about 2 or 3 minutes & then sleep. And I did NOTHING different – I just luckily got one baby out of 3 who was born with some clue of how to sleep – it had nothing at all to do with anything I did. I also agree that the sleep thing is the hardest bit. When I got sleep again it was like waking up out of a fog! Good luck Caz & seriously don’t beat yourself up – you are doing a great job.


    • Caz

      I think it really is just what your baby is like. It seems like the majority of parents say the same thing. My sister in law had two shocking sleepers and then the third was a dream sleeper. Catnaps through the night would be awful. Savannah is pretty good of a night, thank goodness. Only waking up once or twice. It is the day time that is bad. today she hardly slept at all. You just have to give up stressing about it in the end. i guess they’ll figure it out eventually. I’ve decided to give up worrying about feeding or patting her to sleep. Whatever works., she’ll grow out of it sooner or later. Thanks for your supportive comments


  • MummyK

    Hahhaha I said this before too! Sleep like a baby, blah! Hahahaha!


  • Veronica @ Mixed Gems

    I don’t think “one size fits all” exists. It’s a fallacy. Some babies take to the strict regimes and structure sime programs provide but each child is an individual. We all have crutches we use to sleep, favourite positions, some are night owls, early birds, etc. Having said that, we can probably find ways to help our little ones sleep better, but I think it’s more trial and error. And if you are so busy and on the go, it may be trickier to get her into a pattern. I find my bub sleeps more poorly on e weekends than week days because we are out whereas I’m mostly at home during the week. In any case, do what works for you, even feeding to sleep if necessary. I’ve recently reverted to rocking because bub keeps waking when she rolls. My toddler did too but it will eventually pass. These things usually do. Hang in there.


    • Caz

      I agree Veronica. As we are all differently so are they, and with the type of person I am there is no way that I could ever get my child into a scheduled routine. I can’t even get myself in one. Every day is so different for me, so my babies have to some how work with me. The poor bubbas but we manage to find a way to work it out. I’ve given up worrying about the whole rocking thing. I figure she loves cuddling up to me to sleep now but in two years that will be gone and she’ll be running from me. Might as well enjoy it all now and have the peace of knowing she is getting some sleep and some loving!


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