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Does this picture look familiar?


By Nicole Webb

  • 4

Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top, you're doing my head in, please make it stop!

xgirls ... ...I still rock my 22 month old toddler to sleep, all 14 back-breaking kilos of her! It pains me to say it but she’s got us wrapped around her chubby, sticky, pointy little finger.

Gina Ford’s words ring in my ears, “Establish the right associations the day you arrive home.” I hear you sister, I devoured each and every page of those damn books that were thrust into my puffy pregnant hands – I crammed like I was sitting for an exam. Duh, how hard can it be?

Well when I first came home from the hospital and adrenalin was pumping through my milky veins, I found that baby was just as wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. But that was okay as it was all par for the course during those first few chaotic weeks. Wasn’t it?

“She’ll be sleeping through by six weeks”, they said.

Six weeks came and went. Sorry Gina, but it was about this time I got a little distracted and gave bug-a-lugs a dummy (just to try of course).

“Don’t worry three months is the milestone.”

Um…not for us.

“Definitely by six months. No baby should be waking at night by six months.”

No baby? Really?

We were now approaching the eight month mark, humor me here because the adrenalin was long gone and the sleep deprivation had well and truly kicked in. While in my new baby-brain fog, I could still hear the faint echo of the “sleep aids are lethal” memo, unforeseen circumstances sent me on a wild goose chase far removed from company policy.

Anything for ONE good night’s sleep.

For the record we’ve tried and still try everything – from routines to no routines, co-sleeping, swaddling, rocking, singing, controlled crying, feeding, not feeding, homeopathics, the harder stuff – Panadol/Nurofen, and seeing as we’re being honest, I’ve even slipped in some Phenerghan along the way. We’ve even tried black-out (the curtains not me), shushing, pushing, patting…. anything to soothe our little night-owl to sleep.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s been fortunate enough to have avoided any of the above, you’re probably grimacing, “Bad move there sister!”

Yes bad move indeed because, finally after a year of broken sleep, my gorgeous girl is sleeping right through the night (mostly), however she still needs the WORKS to get to sleep. I’m talking two all-beefed patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun! In baby land, that’s a dummy, milk, wrapping, rocking, patting…served on top of my woeful tunes.

Every night I silently chant the famous line from Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!”

When your husband reminds you to get your gear off before the big showdown, you know it’s not for his benefit. It’s the work-out you’d rather not have. Some days I’ve rocked her so vigorously I’ve worried I might rattle her brains out. Some nights I’ve wanted to rattle her brains out.

Her back arching, legs kicking, it’s a game of perseverance (and I thought becoming a News Presenter took sheer persistence). It’s a bit like living with the Chucky Doll, you hold your breath, heart pounding, waiting……from the dark a little voice cries “more milky!”


It’s not until you hear the heavy sigh, that it’s safe to text hubby, “almost done, fire up the oven…crack open the champers.” High fives all round. Not quite! You’ve got to exit the room. It’s a case of mustering up those stealth-like moves you imagine a soldier might use during a night-time military operation.

Some nights are easier than others, but I daren’t think we’ve cracked the code. Today it took me a few minutes with minimal fuss. Last night she actually self-settled in her cot after one hour and ten minutes. Things are looking up!

If you’re like me you’ve probably spent too many hours wondering where you went wrong. If it does all go like clockwork I wonder if those parents have got it down pat, or is it just plain old luck of the draw with dose of personality?

So, there’s absolutely no moral to the story here, just the rambling of one mother’s crazy bedtime battles that I hope might make you feel a tad better about yourself if your baby’s struggling to do that bloody thing they call self-settling.

Let’s hope like most things involving kids, she’ll grow out of it….

Yours in sleep (self-settled of course!)

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Nicole Webb - to view all of Nicole's blog post click here

Nicole was a newsreader and journalist with Sky News Australia for a decade, before taking a leap of faith and a whole lot of deep breaths to up stumps and relocate to Hong Kong with her hotelier husband! A life changing experience, Nicole who was barefoot and pregnant at the time swapped the news desk and microphone for a change table and nappy bag to become mum to spirited toddler Ava. Two years on, Nicole enjoys freelance work as a writer, journalist, presenter, copywriter, master of ceremonies and media trainer. She recently started a blog about her often intriguing and humorous expat experiences.


  • Nicole, I love this post. As the mother of a 20 month old boy I can definitely relate. We’ve resorted to cosleeping which is the only way he will get to sleep. It’s a bit of a nightmare for everyone!

  • Fran

    The “six weeks”, ‘3 months” or whatever, place expectations on new mothers that can distress them and make them feel as if they have so soon failed in some way. Trash tv endorses this: any small child is lowered unprotesting into a cot and immediately sleeps. Right.

    The truth is that the strong child, with the inborn urge to ensure his/her survival, has a strong instinctive knowledge that for an infant to be left on it’s own in the dark is dangerous, and to be resisted. Therefore it yells.
    It is a healthy sign. Congratulate yourselves.
    Cosleeping passes. In time.

    • Hi Fran, what you say is so true. It’s ridiculous the expectations that are placed on new mothers. Whatever works for each family and baby is different and whatever choice the mother makes is the right one for her baby.

  • Ted

    I bet you are feeling better now these difficult bed times are a thing of the past 🙂 ………
    Ted xxx