The Secret to Toddler Sleep: Nursery

Sleep.  I used to love sleep.  I could sleep all day.  A friend of mine actually gave me the nickname “sloth.”  Sadly, it does not appear that my son has inherited my great love of slumber.

At nursery however, my son is a very different beast.  He is apparently quite content to lie down in a cot, and sleep for three hours straight.  Three.  Hours.  In a COT.  Not a pushchair, not a boob, not even Mummy’s bed, where he sleeps each night.  A cot.

I can honestly say that in the 20 months that we have been acquainted, I have never known this to happen.

“Three months,” they say in all the baby books, “by three months, babies should sleep through the night.”

I say screw you Gina Ford and Dr Richard Ferber.  False advertising, I say.  This baby won’t sleep through the night.  He won’t even sleep in the day.

Twenty months of broken sleep, and I am still styling it out.  I go into work on Monday, relatively bright-eyed and requiring only two or three coffees, and by Friday I have aged ten years, and am seriously considering that I must have that swine flu that’s going around, as I’m aching all over despite having not set foot in a gym since 2013.  Or perhaps it’s that Spanish flu that wiped out half the world in 1918?  Who even knows.  All I know is that BLASTED FLU JAB HASN’T WORKED.  Or maybe it’s given me flu, and it just had a very long incubation period?  Surely it can’t JUST be sleep deprivation that has made me feel like I am literally dying?

And then there’s the timing of the naps.  Too soon, and it’s tantrums until bedtime, flinging himself on the floor doing the classic toddler lie-down protest.  Too late and it’s playtime at bedtime, flinging himself all over the bed, and jumping on my head at 10.30pm.

How I envy people who seem to be able to get it right.  People like the nursery.  How do they do it?  How do they get him to lie down without protest, IN AN ACTUAL COT; did I mention that it was in a cot?  He hasn’t slept in a cot since he was four months old, and then only sporadically and because it was attached to Mummy’s bed.  Apparently he doesn’t even demand milky-pops, which is just as well because I don’t think the nursery’s services extend to wet-nursing.

I have tried to recreate nursery conditions at home.  I stopped short of employing a host of other tiny children to run around with snotty noses stealing each others’ dummies, but I tried the cot.  I tried the cushions on the floor.  I even tried my brother’s beanbag, which he was convinced was the answer to all toddler sleep woes.

This was the result.


In case you hadn’t realised why his face is all blurry, he’s shaking his head.  Since he learned how to do this approximately two days ago, this has been the token response to everything; do you want to go to bed, do you want to eat your dinner, do you need your nappy changed?

Nothing worked, and I live to breastfeed him to sleep another day.

So I will keep on letting him get his sleep wherever he can; on the boob, in the pushchair, in my bed, and hope that he makes up for all that lost sleep someday, in his teens, when he never wants to get out of bed.  That’s the way it works, right?

Mudpie Fridays
Diary of an imperfect mum

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Ah! My little one also behaves very differently at nursery – he goes to sleep straight away there and makes me rock him to sleep for 20 minutes at home… Grr. Hope he miraculously gets tired of being tired and starts sleeping through for you! Great post #FamilyFun

    1. Min says:

      Thank you! I don’t see it happening any time soon though, especially as last night he literally didn’t sleep at all unless clamped to the boob!

  2. NG always, ALWAYS naps for ‘over an hour’ at nursery (she’s only there one day a week). The other days, I have to contend with grumpiness around lunchtime and a nap only if we’re in the car. NC also refuses to sleep at home unless it’s a breastfeed. I think, in short, THEY KNOW WE’RE THEIR MOTHER. Hmph. Lovely post – reinforced that it’s not just me! #stayclassy

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! Yes, it’s so true-when there’s milky pops on the menu they will quite literally milk it. My mother stands over us while Piglet sits and pulls at my top every 5 minutes at the weekend, and declares-with a note of triumph that has not gone unnoticed-“THAT’S ALL HE THINKS YOU’RE FOR-YOU’RE JUST A MILKING MACHINE!” Thanks Mum.

  3. Oh god I do feel for you and I don’t have an amazing words of wisdom to offer but wish I lived down the road then I”d offer to babysit and send you to bed for the afternoon. ? I did laugh at the nickname sloth, sorry ? TY for linking up with #FamilyFun ?

    1. Min says:

      Haha, thanks. I’m fine. It’s amazing how little sleep you can get by on when needs must. A few years ago I wouldn’t have even believed i could function on the amount of sleep I get now, and I’m glad you laughed at my sloth nickname. It is meant to be funny and is a running joke between me and the friend who came up with it!

  4. I’ve heard this from other moms too… it sounds so exhausting! Basically, I think you’re Super Mom! It will get better…!

    Love your sense of humor though!

    1. Min says:

      Thanks-we’re going through a bit of a tough phase at the moment I think. Piglet’s teething constantly and got a terrible cold, and this has been the situation on and off for quite a while. This too shall pass!

  5. Savannah says:

    Oh man, do I miss my sleep. My son isn’t in nursery, but my mother-in-law has babysat him a few times for me.
    Sleep has always been a struggle, all 12 months of his life. Like you, I nurse him to sleep, and solid sleep is very hard, and rare, to come by. Somehow though, every single time I pick him up from my in-laws house, he’s sleeping peacefully. “Oh, he’s been sleeping for over an hour now” she’ll usually say. HOW?!
    I guess it’s a mystery for us moms, ha #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      Yes, I think they just know when they’re with Mummy they can hold out for a bit of milk! Thanks for commenting.

  6. Honestly, Ethan is 5 years old and he still gets up for a wee at least once at night time. After his wee, he would call out our names and demanded that one of us should go to bed with him. Sooo – my friend 3 months is an understatement – well for me any way. Good luck with it all. 😉 xx

    Thank you so much for linking up your lovely post with us. #FabFridayPost

  7. My son (who hasn’t napped for 7 months) would probably nap every day at his grandmother’s….I don’t let her put him down anymore (unless she’s doing bedtime as well!) I used to spend a while questioning it but really I think the answer was simple, I wasn’t there. Don’t know what that means but that’s what it is. Hope things settle soon at night at least and you get a teeny bit more sleep. #stayclassy

    1. Min says:

      Thanks. Yes, once he sees me he either wants to play or he wants his milky-pops. Also I feel like sometimes he does nap, just not when I want him to or am expecting him to. I’ve just been into work this morning and got home, only to find he immediately wants to nap-three hours earlier than he did yesterday, so I totally wasn’t expecting it!

  8. lol ya I’m afraid that’s how it works! The head shaking no is the worst. Two of my kids didn’t sleep right until they were 2 & stopped napping. And the naps were always a struggle with them. So there’s hope for the future! Thanks so much for joining us at #bloggerclubuk

    1. Min says:

      I think Piglet is going to be the same. There always seems to be something-a cold, a virus, teething-that stops him from sleeping properly at the moment. Hopefully he will sleep through eventually!

  9. Hahah this is funny, but also terrifying. I’m almost at the 4 month mark, and as you’ve said, Gina Ford is wrong, he’s definitely NOT sleeping through the night (on one occasion he did do 7 hours! But it was a false alarm and he went back to every 2/3 hours). Is it going to be like this forever??

    That is so frustrating he sleeps in the cot at nursery! The same thing happened to me the other week when my mother-in-law visited and she very easily just put him down in the cot and he fell right asleep….no rocking, boobing, swinging, swaddling, shushing, white noise! WTF I told her she has to come visit me every night to put him to sleep now. Thanks for linking up with #StayClassy!

    1. Min says:

      I have no advice to give on whether it will be forever-it hasn’t stopped for us yet, but hopefully it will do eventually!

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