When you don’t get any sleep – survival guide.

This morning (at about 03.56am), I was lying in bed deciding whether to go back into Theo’s room as I heard his hacking cough or whether to leave him a few more minutes to see if it sorts itself out.  As his majesty in the bed next to me grunts and rolls over I probably let out what sounded like a pig squeal but was actually a frustrated whimper.

I’ve not had much sleep on and off over the last month with one thing and another. I know, I KNOW “it’s part of the deal”, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t make it easier.

I’ve been relatively lucky second time round.  I feel perhaps I was gifted with a nice baby following the horror that I had first time round.  The beast didn’t sleep through until he was about 7 months old.  In fact, he hardly slept.  I remember the days around the 12 week mark he didn’t even sleep in the day.  He had colic, reflux and was generally STARVING all the time, he did get better though and slept perfectly once he got into his bed.  Then all of a sudden it changed, and The Hungry Caterpillar came along, and I had to get used to lack of sleep all over again, although luckily at 8 weeks after his jabs he slept through from his dream feed.  This was a huge turning point.  From then on, I’m not saying he’s slept through constantly – I’ve had some proper bad nights – (teething and chicken pox both at the same time at 6 months being some of the worst), but I’ve had SOME SLEEP.  Plus, often wake ups consist of the odd game of dummy tennis rather then constant shusshing and rocking and avoiding feeding.

Then over the last month something happened.  Fatso is teething again, and he was up every hour, and on holiday the climate/change of atmosphere /that nasty tooth was causing regular wake ups.  The villa had quite thin walls and if one child woke the other up they’d both be awake and there were often 5am starts – something I’ve been lucky enough not to experience very often.  I came home from holiday KNACKERED.  7 full days with children with late nights and early mornings.  Not exactly relaxing.  Enjoyable YES, relaxing NO.  They’ve both since come back with hacking coughs and I swear they’re both still teething (can a 3 year old get more teeth? He’s dribbling more then the fat one!).  The last 3 nights I can honestly say I’ve seen every hour on the clock between 11pm and 4am.  But, as all of us know, what’s a mum to do?  You can’t crawl into bed and hide for the rest of the day, you always have to DO stuff.  Therefore, I’ve come up with a few survival tips which help me through the day without a) wanting to curl up and cry and b) never taking up my WONDERFUL friends offer for a nap while she looks after my kids (I’d never inflict that on anybody).

1. Get up – dressed – and do your face.

I’m not one for PJ days, I can honestly say, unless I’m so ill I can’t get out of bed I wash my hair and put my make-up on every day.  After both c-sections were done I almost instantly demanded my make-up bag and applied a “natural” face of make up (you may not be able to tell this from the photographs as I look like death, but *I* felt better).  Whilst I think I’ve aged hugely over the last 11 months, I look back at photos of me and Theo when he barely slept and I don’t look too bad actually.  I find if I wallow in scruffs and with my hair scraped back I feel worse.

2. Caffeine.

Tea. Coffee. Diet Coke.  Staples of my day to day life since having the kids.  Necessary for a quick boost through the day (although nothing after about 5pm if you don’t want to be kept up late after the kids have gone to bed).

3. Get outside

I think this is why I struggled slightly more when Larry was little – it was cold and wet and going anywhere was a bit of a ‘mare especially since I wasn’t allowed to drive for 6 weeks.  Personally I  think cabin fever makes you feel worn down, tired and down.

4. Water

Drink lots of it. It works. Honest.

5. You time.

I’ve had a few “down” months recently.  What with a week ill in bed and the change of routine I lost my flow a little bit, and wallowed in not really thinking about me very often.  Recently I’ve got back into running and even just going to get a hair cut and leaving the kids with Matt/at Nursery makes a huge difference.  I can be me again.


So there you go.  I’m not saying it’s a perfect fix, I’m not saying it’s for everyone – but give it a bash, you may get an extra burst of energy.

p.s. Mummy Juice (aka Wine/Gin works wonders as well – although only opent he bar when the kids are in bed ;)))


  1. Jordan

    *makes note & saves to favourites*

    We were really lucky with Tom – he was a dream at sleeping (ha! no pun actually intended) & so when Ethan arrived into our lives, who is still amazing at sleeping compared to lots of other babies i read/hear about, but doesn’t sleep as well as Tom ever did so the whole ‘waking at 6am’ & still waking at 3am for a feed’ & ‘only wanting 30min naps during the day’ is completely alien to me & does make me feel zombie like quite often!

    Im good at most of the things listed, but will definitely try harder & most certainly need to focus on point 5!

    Mummy juice (in whatever form!) really should come with that bounty pack you get when you leave hospital, shouldn’t it? I know few mummy’s that can survive without it!

  2. Josepha

    I have a 11wk old girl, and as much as I love her and being a mum, I do miss the reading before sleeping and having a full night’s sleep! I agree with getting out of the pj’s and going out if you can, and the mummy juice is best at unwinding 😉

  3. kilburina

    Mostly coffee here. Z1 slept through some of the time at 9 months and pretty much always once she hit 1. Z2 is now 1 and still wakes pre-midnight and usually twice afterwards! I am trying to feed less and do cuddling in the cot a bit more but really am too tired to knuckle down and sort it!

  4. Honest Mum

    Thank you so much. I don’t feel like I’m going crazy since reading this. Husband and I take it in turns and have been up for what feels like months. Pass the Mummy Juice!

  5. Pingback: When you sleep train the wrong person. | The Perfect Bad Mummy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.