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Sleep Deprived Mama…

Sleep Deprived Mama… My Little Sleep Thief

My baby does not sleep through the night. She never has and sometimes I wonder whether she ever will.

She is now 20 months old and although she can sometimes sleep for seven or eight hours stretches, it does not happen that often. She has a nap in the afternoon, but it is never longer than an hour or two, and she sometimes skips her nap, too.

I have reached a point where getting up in the morning is pure torture. I cannot function without coffee. I am always grumpy in the morning. I get snappy with the children if I have to repeat myself. Even a couple of lie-ins or good nights’ sleep keep me craving for more rather than making me feel refreshed.

Wriggly’s bedtime routine is always the same, although it can sometimes be hectic with three older siblings. She has dinner around 6.30 p.m., a quiet play followed by a cuddle with her bottle of milk. She then gets a story in her bedroom and by 7.30 p.m., she is normally in bed.

Although we are quite consistent, she still does not sleep and she could definitely benefit from something new at bedtime.

For the next two weeks, we will be taking part in a project initiated by JOHNSON’S® to help baby fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. I really hope it makes a difference to Wriggly’s sleep.  For the first week, I will be doing what I normally do and keep a sleep diary. At the start of the second week, Wriggly’s usual bedtime routine will be replaced with JOHNSON’S® multi-sensorial 3-step Bedtime Routine.

Here are the three steps:

“STEP ONE, Bath: Start your evening routine with a warm bath using JOHNSON’S® Bedtime Bath or Wash. Enjoy the bathing experience with your child as it is SO MUCH MORE™ than just cleansing. Bath time is a multi-sensorial playground that offers parents and baby opportunities to connect and bond. In fact did you know?

    • Playing with bubbles can help baby develop hand-eye coordination and discover that objects exist even when they can’t be seen.
    • Playing music and singing songs can stimulate parts of the brain responsible for memory, while playing certain types of music stimulates parts of the brain responsible for visual imagery. [i], [ii], [iii]
    • Talking back and forth with baby can help with language development. Studies show infants who are spoken with more have larger vocabularies by 24 months of age.[iv]
  • STEP TWO, Massage: A soothing massage can help make baby relaxed and comfortable at bedtime, a great reason for a post-bath cuddle.
    • Start by ensuring your baby is dry and warm. Lay baby onto a soft comfy surface and use a little JOHNSON’S® Bedtime Oil or Lotion, warming it in your hands before smoothing it onto baby’s skin. Start with hands resting on baby’s tummy, then move downwards to massage legs and then move back upwards in small soft circular motions, engaging with eye-to-eye contact with your little one. Watch their reactions and ensure baby is happy throughout the massage. For more information click here.
  • STEP THREE, Quiet Time: The moments before bedtime are an opportunity to help baby wind down through reading, singing or listening to music.
    • We have supplied you with the ‘Good Night Sarah’ book created by the makers of JOHNSON’S® as an option for you to read if you wish during quiet time, but you can try anything that doesn’t over stimulate or create too much noise, such as playing lullabies. Once baby is relaxed and sleepy you can put them to bed in your usual way.”

Sleep Deprived Mama… Trying Something New With Johnsons

Has anyone experienced sleep-deprivation on a long-term basis? If you have any suggestions to help my baby sleep through, they would be more than welcome!

This post is sponsored by the JOHNSON’S® brand.  I have received payment incentive and samples but all opinions and photos are my own. JOHNSON’S® clinically proven bedtime routine consists of bath, massage and quiet time, tested on babies 7 months+, 1 week+ use.


[i] Saffran, JR, Loman MM, Robertson RRW. “Infant memory for musical experiences.” Cognit. 2000; 00: 1-9

[ii] Peretz, I, Zatorre RJ. “Brain organization for music processing.” Annu. Rev. Psychol 2005;56:89-114.

[iii] Jaušovec, N, Jaušovec K, Gerlič I. “The influence of Mozart’s music on brain activity in the process of learning.” Clin Neurophysiology 2006; 117: 2702-2714.

[iv] Weisleder, A. Fernald, A. “Talking to children matters. Early language experience strengthens processing and builds vocabulary.” Psychological Sci.2013;24(11):2143-2152


  1. 17/02/2016 / 8:08 pm

    I sympathise Mel….. I have a non-sleeper. She is 10 now and she is still a non-sleeper! She goes to bed, but drops to sleep way after us and has been known to be awake way into the small hours and still be up bright and breezy for school the next day. If I could bottle some of what she has, I would make a fortune!
    I don’t think we got a full night’s sleep until about age 3. We had the sleep clinic nurse examine our routines (she sat with her mouth open realising that they were consistent and pretty much to the letter as the Johnson’s routine above). Yep….. we did the relaxing bath, the cuddle and massage time, the quiet time with story followed by calming music. Night after night. None of it changed anything! I guess some children just don’t need sleep!
    In the end, we just went with it…… we kept to a bed time (ok so it was a bit later than her friends) and we allow her to read and listen to music quietly in the hope that she falls asleep. It is a rare thing for her to be asleep when we go to bed, but hey…… she’s bright as a button, alert, doing incredibly well at school and has loads of friends and even more energy. So perhaps if you can learn to go with it and find ways of surviving until she is old enough not to be constantly supervised, she will surprise you with her resilience.
    As for your survival and exhaustion…… I promise it gets easier. Increased independence with age makes a huge difference. In the meantime, get support from friends and family and diary in some breaks for yourself.
    The Johnson’s programme may work wonders for you…… I really hope it does. But if not…… remind yourself that even when you are at your grumpiest (and boy was I grumpy), you are still doing a fantastic job!

    • Mel
      19/02/2016 / 1:14 am

      Thank you so much for your message Kate; it means so much. I have been thinking that she was probably one of those people who need less sleep than others to function properly and although we keep insisting on early(ish) bedtime, when she gets older, we will probably do exactly what you did with your daughter. Once they are old enough to read quietly and listen to music, things are not so difficult and the pressure to stick to a ‘normal’ pattern is not such a big thing. Thank you, thank you, thank you again for your comment.

  2. FreeFromFairy
    18/02/2016 / 3:47 pm

    Oh Mel…I hope this works for you. There is nothing worse than sleep deprivation! We found the baby whisperer helped us out a lot. Putting quiet relaxing music on can help our two as well when they can’t settle. My fingers are crossed!!

    • Mel
      19/02/2016 / 1:10 am

      I’ve just ordered the book! I’ll try anything. Thanks for the advice honey. We’ve spent a few days in Devon but I’ve been so sleep-deprived I didn’t even have the presence of mind to call you. Wriggly is up now (1 a.m.) and she is quite poorly. Peppa Pig is my best friend. xx

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