When people without kids say they ‘slept like a baby’, they mean they had a blissful night of uninterrupted sleep.
When people who do have kids say they slept like a baby, they mean they woke frequently, and cried a lot.
Babies are famously excellent sleepers, in that they spend a lot of time sleeping.
But they are also hellish sleepers, in that they sleep in short bursts and often cry, fart and grunt a lot in between.
Babies come with an in-built radar system, which senses the most inopportune moments for them to wake up. Then it immediately wakes them up.
10 Times Babies Will Definitely Wake Up (When You Don’t Want Them To)
Babies are mind readers.
As soon as you think, ‘I hope the baby doesn’t wake up,’ the baby wakes up.
If you have nothing to do, and you actually miss your baby and want to give her a cuddle, she will sleep soundly for hours and won’t need you at all.
As soon as there is something you would like to do, or just as you begin to enjoy your little break from being a parent, she will wake up and scream for you.
Here are 10 times babies will definitely wake up (when you don’t want them to):
#1: When Your Takeaway Arrives
You’re both exhausted and nobody can be bothered to cook. Solution: you decide to treat yourselves to a takeaway. The idea of hot food delivered straight to your door is tempting, especially when you’re running on minimum energy.
Sorry, there’s no point. Even if it’s piping hot when it arrives, it’ll be cold by the time you eat it.
Your baby will wake up as soon as you sit down to eat. Not when the takeaway driver knocks on the door – no, she’ll wait until you’ve served up your share and you’re sitting at the table. That’s when the baby monitor will crackle to life.
#2: When You Try To Have Sex
When you’re a new parent, it isn’t always easy to find the time to have sex. And even when you can find the time, you might be too tired or touched out to bother anyway.
Sometimes, however, the stars will align.The mood will strike you just when you have a window of time.
But as soon as he unclips your (huge, unsexy nursing) bra, your baby will wake up. And that would probably be ok if you could just quickly soothe her back to sleep and then get back to business, but that won’t happen.
She’s going to wake up feeling extra clingy, and she won’t want to let you go. It’s almost as though she can tell you were about to pay somebody else some long-awaited attention.
#3: When You Pick Up Your Book
Before you had kids, remember how you used to fly through books like there was no tomorrow? Not anymore. Your ‘to read’ pile quickly became a tower, then a shelf. Now you have a whole bookcase of unread books.
It’s impossible to read books when you have a baby. Half the time you’re too tired to make sense of the words on the page, and the other half of the time you’re too busy feeding, soothing, and changing nappies even to think about reading.
If you find a good book and force yourself to make the time to read it, your baby will wake up as soon as you open it up.
You might spend all evening trying to read it and get through only half a chapter. Maybe just take up reading again in a few years, when you actually have time to follow the story.
#4: When You Have A Friend Over
It’s easy to get cocky as a parent. You have a couple of blissful evenings without interruptions and suddenly you think you have a baby who sleeps through (ha). So, to celebrate, you invite a friend round for a catch up.
You imagine the baby will sleep soundly upstairs while you and your friend have actual grown up conversations downstairs. It will be bliss!
Except it won’t, because even a baby who has slept through the evening for months on end will suddenly wake up every 20 minutes when you have company.
You’ll spend most of the evening upstairs and the rest apologising to your friend. Your friend will spend the evening watching Netflix, politely wondering why she didn’t just stay at home.
#5: When You Need Sleep
Sleep is important, especially when you’re a new parent. So is adult time. Sometimes, though, you’ll be willing to sacrifice your adults-only evening for some extra sleep. Sometimes, you will even spend all day fantasising about an early night, only to have it ruined by that pesky baby.
Yep, as soon as your head hits the pillow for those much-needed zzzs, your baby will wake up for an all night party. And this won’t be just a short interruption, she’ll be up for hours. Kiss that early night goodbye. There’s an all night rave going on in your bedroom – and you’re the guest of honour.
#6: When The TV Show Gets Tense
Filmmakers are really good at building tension, and modern TV programs can have you feeling on edge from start to finish. Cue the dim lighting, the spooky violin soundtrack, the eerie camera angles and the sound of a baby crying…. Oh wait, that’s not the TV. That’s your baby – crying.
You run upstairs, do some impressive parenting and then dash back downstairs only to realise all the tension has gone. And you pressed pause a millisecond before a big reveal, which was rubbish without the build up. So now it’s ruined for you.
These days a one hour television show takes you an average of three hours to watch, so your ‘binge-watching’ isn’t exactly much of a binge.
#7: When You’re Mid-Poop
Look, you can avoid the topic all you want, but women poop. And most mothers do it with an audience. Somehow, the luxuries in your life have dwindled from stays in 5-star hotels and days at the spa to pooping alone.
Motherhood is a fall from grace when it comes to bathroom habits. So you can be forgiven for trying to make the most of your alone time, and heading straight to the throne when your baby falls asleep. But don’t expect to make it through the poop without problems; your baby will almost certainly wake up before you’re done.
And then you’ll have to rush, flush and wash – all the while worrying your baby has somehow managed to get into some kind of danger. What’s worse, pooping with an audience or pooping under pressure?
#8: When You Sit Down Somewhere Nice
You’re walking along and you notice your baby has just fallen asleep in the pram. And it happens just as you walk by that beautiful new coffee shop in town. ‘Winning at today’, you think, smugly. You shove open the door and wheel your sleeping baby inside.
You might order a cake, a coffee, or the moon on a stick. It doesn’t matter. You won’t get to enjoy it.
As soon as your baby realises what’s going on she is going to wake up. And not with a smile like she sometimes does. Oh no, she will wake up furious. There’ll be a bright red screaming face, while you fiddle with your nursing bra, and try to unleash a boob without disturbing your coffee.
Repeat after me: I am not a bad mother just because I dropped cake crumbs on my baby’s head.
#9: Way Before The Drive Finishes
Driving with babies is no fun. They scream, they cry. Then you cry. It’s terrible. Unless they’re asleep, of course, and then it’s blissful.
So, of course, you quickly learn to plan your journeys around your baby’s naptime. This sometimes gives you a blissful journey with perfectly timed naps. And, um, other times it doesn’t.
Sometimes, your baby will sleep for about 20 seconds, only to wake up and scream for the remaining hour of your journey. They really should put screaming babies in the back seat during driving tests; you will never know whether you can really drive until you have to do it with a baby screaming at you.
#10: When Your Other Child Wants You
It’s not always easy to have more than one child. Ok, sibling bonds are (sometimes) beautiful, and it’s nice to know they’ll have each other when you’re gone. But it sucks when both kids need you at the same time.
When your baby’s asleep, you have time to spend with your older child. You can read stories, build with Lego, or play a board game. A little block of time carved out for just the two of you. You’ll both look forward to those times – little snatches of ‘just the two of you’ amid the chaos of family life.
And that’s why it sucks so much when your baby wakes up too soon. Just when you’re enjoying a little time with your bigger kid, you have to run off to see to your baby, leaving your older child less than impressed.