10 reasons why ‘Sleep when baby sleeps’ is a STUPID thing to say

10 reasons why ‘Sleep when baby sleeps’ is a STUPID thing to say

Oh Whoever came up with the concept of ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ is an actual real life idiot. Forgive me if I accidentally slip and punch the face of the next person who suggests it.

I’ve made no secrets of the fact that both my daughters have been terrible sleepers. Erin didn’t sleep through the night till the age of 2, and so when Neve was born I figured I was owed a good sleeper. That went wrong. I’d previously blogged about how I’d be happy with not 40 winks but one solitary wink, and shared some fascinating facts about sleep for those who, like me aren’t getting any.

When you share your frustrations about a child who doesn’t sleep, someone inevitably comes out with this classic. The phrase that makes my hairs stand on end the same as nails across a blackboard. They say it with a sympathetic head tilt and a genuine concern – ‘Have you tried, you know, sleeping when the baby sleeps??’

Raaaaaahhhh!! The red mist appears.

Here are ten reasons why me sleeping when my baby sleeps is as likely as my three year old sharing with me her kit Kat.

  1. Your baby actually has to sleep – this may seem a little obvious, but in order for you to sleep when baby sleeps, you need them to actually bloody well sleep.
  2. Ideally, unlike cows and horses who can sleep standing up, I prefer, given the choice, to sleep lying down. My child 9 times out of ten wouldn’t even let me sit down let alone lie. I’d try the slow recline towards the sofa and the minute my butt cheek got within a 6 inch radius of the seat she would arch her back and start to cry. They can sense your need to relax and plot relentlessly against it.
  3. Unlike my partner mike who simply needs a single beer and a warm blanket to fall asleep almost instantly, I take a while to drift off. When Neve does nap, it tends to be for no longer than around 45 minutes. I take 5 of those to get in to bed (think ninja / matrix style manoeuvres), 7 to get comfortable (nursing bras suck) and around 20 minutes to finally nod off, leaving me a whole 13 minutes of pure, wholesome sleep. Wow. 13 minutes a day. Thanks Neve. That’ll do it!!!!
  4. Over active mind. I really struggle to switch off. Apparently there is no better time to think of all the things you haven’t done than the minute you get into bed. Did you turn the oven off? Do we have any cheese? Will Toadie ever get over his marriage breakdown?? Ok, the latter might just be me).
  5. Other than shift workers, who clearly have no choice, daytime is not made for sleeping. Whilst you may want to sleep, your lawn mowing, hedge strimming, hammer banging neighbour has other ideas. Either that or the doorbell rings just as you do your first happy involuntary leg twitch , jolting you back into the day with a bang.
  6. Other children. Yes if you’re crazy enough to have put yourself through the torture of sleep deprivation more than once, and have another child or children, sleeping in the day isn’t really an option. Leaving your 4 year old to fend for themselves whilst you dribble into your pillow is not only frowned upon, but likely to result in you waking up covered in sudocrem.
  7. Naps just make you feel worse. For me, disturbed, short or half hearted sleep is worse than no sleep at all, and being woken up from a nap before your body is ready tends to result in a grumpy, heady hazy state, similar to that carb induced coma you get when you’ve eaten too much Christmas dinner.
  8. Housework – if I napped during day, my washing pile and piles of clean washing to be sorted (which are a a pretty much permanent fixture in my lounge) would spread to become a deep sea of clothing through which we would have to wade to get to the fridge. As soft a landing as that would be for my daughters attempt at crawling, it simply isn’t practical.
  9. Not showering is also generally frowned upon. If as a mum you want the luxury of showering or bathing ON YOUR OWN, without treading on a plastic duck or needing to pull faces round a shower curtain, nap time is pretty much the only chance you’re going to get.
  10. Finally, eating is also handy. As much as I need to lose my baby weight, a woman’s gotta eat. Eating with both hands AT THE SAME TIME(!) is a rare but enjoyable treat, and eating noodles without dropping them on your babies head is priceless.

So next time I moan about the Red Mist of Tiredness, or walk past you representing something from the walking dead, please choose your words wisely, this Mama is on the edge!! 😂

Has anyone given you this pearl of wisdom?
Do you manage to sleep when baby sleeps???

You Baby Me Mummy
Life Love and Dirty Dishes


Lucy At Home


  1. Claire - Life, Love and Dirty Dishes

    “So you want me to sleep whilst driving?”. This used to drove me Nutts too. Oh and i’m totally with you on the Toadie thing! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

  2. Jennifer

    Oh I hated hearing this! Like you my two were both terrible sleepers, it was a pretty awful time. The couple of times I tried to have a nap I was guaranteed to be woken as soon as I’d drifted off, and end up feeling worse than before! Then other times baby would actually have a decent nap and I’d be wandering about unable to settle to anything because I knew as soon as I started something they’d wake up. I hope that you get some sleep soon, it was a miserable few years for us but things are so much better now that mine are older, I definitely enjoy them more!

  3. Emma Island Living 365

    The over active mind drives me insane. I too worry for Toadie. I mean how much more can one man take? #FridayFrolics

  4. Hayley - Devon Mama

    Eurgh I hated that comment so much – my little boy never slept either, he’d only drop off if he was held and bounced constantly. The minute I eased myself into a sitting position he’d wake!!!! I swore I’d never ever say it to anyone again! #humpdaylinky

  5. Vicki @ tippytupps

    Hahaha – THIS!!! My daughter is an awful sleeper and at 2 she still very rarely sleeps through. #humpdaylinky

  6. Sarah - Champagne and Petals

    Haha, I had this said to me so much when mine were tiny. I could never switch off to sleep when they did. Yet I have found myself saying the same thing to my sister recently… haha #HumpDayLinky

  7. Sarah Howe

    I have never napped when my girls have…so get this! Housework, blogging and I’m just awake in the day!!! Thanks for hosting hun x

  8. OddHogg

    Piglet is a good sleeper – but even I use nap times to shower eat get dressed and throw some laundry into the washing machine! #humpdaylinky

  9. Nicola | Mummy to Dex

    This is so true! When D was a newborn, there was no way I could sleep when he did. He’d always wake up, just as I was dropping off. I gave up in the end. Even when he was sleeping loads during the day, I found something else to do instead. Hope Neve starts sleeping better for you soon xx


  10. Crummy Mummy

    Ironically it’s only now baby number three is here that I’ve actually managed this – when the older two are at school & nursery! #thelistlinky

  11. Wendy

    Ahh, I feel your pain! I WISH I could sleep when my baby sleeps but that would mean leaving my 3 year old run feral around the house so that’s not going to happen. Also, my baby never naps so.. Thanks for linking up to #BlogCrush, loved this post xx

  12. five little doves

    Haha all of these used to drive me crazy too! I never slept while my babies slept, even when I only had one! #humpdaylinky

  13. Becky

    My hormones reached a peak where if any even considered uttering the words “sleep when baby sleeps” I was more than prepared to go Liam Neeson on their ass…e.i find them and kill them! #humpdaylinky

  14. Heather Keet

    I hate that saying also and I’m not even a mom. It implies you’re too stupid to actually go to sleep and that’s why you’re so tired. #BlogCrush

  15. Anne

    I’m totally with you on this, it drove me crazy too. I just can’t sleep in the daytime and there is always too much to do and I can’t switch off. I remember them days so well. Sleep deprivation is just awful. #BlogCrush

  16. kristin mccarthy

    The twins are three- no nap for a year, takes them forever to settle at night and they still have not slept all the way through without “needing” something.



  17. Heather Burnett

    I swear…Clearly someone who never had children made that up!!! #BlogCrush

  18. oldhouseintheshires

    Yes! My daughter did not sleep for the first 9 months. Like never. And then I had another one! Was I mad?? Luckily he was the worlds best sleeper otherwise I think I may have lied down in a field and stayed there…..good luck. All I can offer in terms of advice is that I promise you it’s a just a stage. I know. I said it but it IS true my lovely! #blogcrush

  19. Beth

    So true! All of these! My daughter only tended to nap for 30minute stints which gave me just enough time to go to the loo, pop the kettle on and do the washing up before she woke up again… just as my tea that I made and was too hot to drink become the perfect temperature and would be forgotten about!

  20. Angela Watling (Life, Motherhood and Everything)

    YES! This post is wonderful. When my daughter kept me up at all hours people would say this and I wanted to punch them. I am incapable of sleeping in the day. I can’t lay down and doze when it’s daylight outside – it’s just feels wrong. Plus, I also get the ‘nap headaches’. I just fueled on tea and anger at people making these remarks OR telling me how wonderful their child was sleeping. Urgh, people 🙂 #BlogCrush

  21. Tracey Bowden

    My daughter literally never slept. We used to call her arthur as she would only ever have half an hour! I used to get so mad when people would tell me to sleep when she does, or that the things keeping me awake would wait! #blogcrush

  22. Lucy At Home

    People say this all the time. Have any of them actually tried it?? Aaargh! When my youngest was little, she would only sleep if she was nestled in my arms, and what’s one of the big things that midwives and health visitors bang on about all the time? “Don’t fall asleep holding your baby”. So what exactly is a girl to do?? I hope yours starts to sleep soon (mine suddenly started napping at about 9 months old having never done it before so it can happen) #blogcrush



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Hi, I’m Lucy, a thirty something mum of two from Birmingham. A memory maker, tradition keeper, stationery addict and Mr Men fanatic. HR Advisor by day and sleep deprived Mama by night!

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