When pregnant you will read lots of websites telling you that a routine for your baby is a must. You vow to introduce a routine from day one….. until your little one arrives and you quickly realise that babies don’t seem to acknowledge or appreciate such things as a routine; they tend to live in the ‘now’. Even when that’s 3am.

In the early days you won’t really care, as gazing adoringly at your small person is all you want to do. As they get bigger, the days become more testing with the baby being a veritable whirlwind of activity from the moment they wake up, until they sleep. Soon the new parent appeal wears off, the gin cupboard beckons and you want your evenings back. You speak to your parenting friends who seem to have baby sleeping nailed. They all chant ‘sleep training’ so you decide to take the plunge:

How to Sleep Train your baby

  1. Read a few parenting websites on the subject.
  2. Speak to friends who claim to have had success with sleep training. Note all their tips. 
  3. Bewilder your baby by preparing a routine for the first time ever. 
  4. Endure baby’s screams as you follow ‘the routine’ and turn off the tv before ‘In the Night Garden’ has finished. 
  5. Drag screaming, kicking baby upstairs for ‘quiet time’ 
  6. Close all stair gates to barricade the baby in, thereby showing them who’s boss. 
  7. Drag baby down from the top of the chest of drawers.
  8. Run bath. 
  9. Get baby down from the top of their sibling’s bunk bed. 
  10. Turn off bath. 
  11. Rescue baby from crawling around in the bottom of your wardrobe.
  12. Pin baby to the floor whilst wrestling their clothes off. 
  13. Tear around the house looking for wet wipes to deal with contents of their nappy. 
  14. Put baby on the floor whilst you run downstairs for wet wipes. 
  15. Pick up baby who has zoomed downstairs, trudge them back upstairs whilst they hang onto the banister in a bid to slow your progress. 
  16. Shut stair gate, pin baby to the floor, change nappy. 
  17. Put baby in warm bath. Use soothing tones & gallons of ‘bedtime bath’ (promises to make them sleep – all lies).
  18. Cower behind a towel on the other side of the bathroom, away from the baby’s happy splashing. 
  19. Wrap baby in the (now, soaking wet) towel and deposit in bedroom. 
  20. Frantically rush around upstairs pulling all the blinds as it is still daylight outside (parenting advice suggests starting bedtime practically after lunch, it is so early). 
  21. Never mind how early it is. Sleeping baby = more gin & tonic for you.
  22. Get baby dressed into cute pjs and stuff them into the latest baby sleeping bag. 
  23. Nestle them in the crook of your arm whilst reading a bedtime story.
  24. Endure baby who is hyped up on ‘bedtime bath’ shouting, turning the pages too quickly and generally not ‘getting’ your calm, storytelling vibe. 
  25. Switch to singing lullabies. 
  26. Swiftly give up after 10 minutes of the baby tunelessly joining in. 
  27. Check the clock….. 6:37pm….. oh well, that’s as close to bedtime as it’s going to get. Time for the cot!
  28. Place wide awake baby in the cot, lie them down and stroke their head whilst shushing soothingly. 
  29. Give up when wide awake, hyped up baby turns it into a competition of ‘who can shush the loudest’.
  30. Plug the iPod with a carefully chosen classical music playlist, into the speaker. Turn on and pray it helps sooth the baby to sleep. 
  31. Baby dances adoringly to the music, giving a massive, gummy grin…. ok 1 more cuddle before sleep. 
  32. Lie the baby down again……. although this time, they won’t lie down.
  33. Pin down rigid, bawling baby, who immediately attempts to stand up. 
  34. Calmly tell the baby it’s bedtime now and that you’ll just be downstairs.
  35. You have made it as far as the gin cupboard when the baby emits the ‘emergency wail’ 
  36. You rush upstairs to find the baby smiling at you, ready for you to scoop them into a big cuddle.
  37. This time shushing does nothing and the baby starts to wail.
  38. The patting technique comes into play here; you bend yourself double over the bars of the cot, patting the baby rhythmically, until they calm down.
  39. Downstairs once more, you get as far as ice in the glass, gin splashed over it and are just reaching for the tonic when the wailing starts up again. You ignore it.
  40. Wailing intensifies. You remind yourself that sleep training only takes 3 days. 
  41. You quickly message a friend who claimed sleep training victory. They cautiously tell you that it can take up to 5 days. 
  42. Baby wakes every 35 minutes until Midnight.
  43. After Midnight the baby ramps up, waking every 17 minutes until you give in and bring them into bed with you (around 2am).
  44. 3am – you wake up on the floor whilst the baby luxuriates in the starfish position on your double bed.
  45. Transfer the baby to its own bed. 
  46. Repeat steps 28 – 34.
  47. Give up and bring baby back into bed with you. Make a mental note to book a chiropractor appointment in the morning, whilst balancing on the thinnest, hardest part of the bed frame whilst the baby hogs the double bed.
  48. 5am: baby wakes you up by kicking you in the face repeatedly. 
  49. Never actually get around to booking the chiropractor appointment.
  50. Night 2: start drinking gin & tonic before the bedtime routine, in anticipation of what’s to come.
  51. Repeat stages 4 – 48.
  52. Night 3: lower your standards, let the baby watch all of In the Night Garden, whilst you enjoy your first G&T of the evening.
  53. Nights 4 – 18: consider sleeping through the night to be from half an hour after dumping them in their cot until you crawl into your own bed at Midnight, bringing the baby into bed with you.
  54.  Repeat this routine for 3 weeks until the baby sleeps for at least an hour after being put in their cot, allowing you to enjoy dinner and more gin. 

Congratulations! You have survived sleep training a baby!