It seems that lots of our friends have very young babies at the moment, and inevitably most new parents want to discuss the same things. The birth, naturally, gets a lot of airtime, as does feeding. Most of all, parents want to know when oh when they will sleep again!
As one of Mama’s friends once said, “I would be such a good mum if only I wasn’t so knackered”, and it’s true, navigating health visitor weigh-ins, learning the actions to Wind the Bobbin Up, indeed, getting out of the house are all easier if you’ve had a few hours of quality sleep.
My regular readers will know that the BigBabyBelly family loves a good eating and sleeping routine. Having been fans of the somewhat prescriptive Gina Ford system, we’re often asked if it’s sensible to get a routine started. We tend to answer this in two ways: firstly, do whatever is right for your little family! It doesn’t matter what’s best for the grandparents or your NCT group (even if yours is as cool as ours). If you want to manage your day by the minute, power to you, but if you prefer to pack up the pram head out for the day and see what happens, go for it!
Secondly, whether you have a routine or not during the day, at some point everyone needs to rest, and getting a baby to sleep (when you want them to) is surprisingly challenging. We were therefore very happy to hear about BookTrust’s Bath, Book, Bed campaign, and their new booklet that helps parents get their kiddies to snooze with three simple steps.
BookTrust is the UK’s largest reading charity, and they work to inspire a love of reading in children because reading can transform lives. This might sound dramatic, but it’s true. Reading for pleasure can completely transform educational outcomes, general well-being and social mobility, and as Mama can attest, when you’re absorbed in a good book your mind can truly be distracted from the most difficult of experiences. As she likes to tell people, To Kill a Mockingbird got her through a week on a ward after a near-death experience at university, and Curtis Sittenfeld is personally responsible for helping her to unwind in the evening after some very stressful days in the office.
BookTrust have published a fab little booklet packed with tips from parenting expert Jo Frost on how to get a better night sleep (Daddy Pig’s contibutions are also quite witty – is there anything this guy can’t do?). The book covers the benefits of a routine, and some advice on the magic bath, book and bed triad and how to make it effective and enjoyable. This mini routine isn’t just about getting your child to zonk out for 12 hours so you can watch Made in Chelsea, splashing in the bath and reading books is one of our favourite times of the day. Children get so much out of listening to you read, as evidenced by how many times they choose the same book and still find it hugely entertaining! Mama likes to use different voices for the characters and sometimes we have opera nights where she sings a whole book…poor me, but as Daddy says, she has a captive audience!
We are always keen to read new books so were very happy to receive three new ones from BookTrust to review.
The first one we tried was Bedtime with Ted, ostebsibly about a little boy who keeps finding excuses to avoid bed, but actually a metaphor for all those adults in the world who can’t stop cruising social media, watching Netflix and checking their phone once last time even when they are absolutely knackered!
Dave’s Cave tells the story of a young chap searching for the perfect cave – again, clearly Dave is Mama, cruising Rightmove all day for the ideal property but not being able to find one with the right schools and a garden and a Waitrose nearby. Our nanny Chef Anna liked this one the most, and the caveman English sounded particularly hysterical in her Italian accent.
Finally my personal favourite Beep Beep Beep Time for Sleep – the most beautiful collection of diggers and trucks I have ever seen!
We’d love to hear some of your thoughts, what are your magic steps for a securing a good night’s sleep?