You never realise how great it is until you don’t have it.
And as soon as you become a parent you realise you’ll probably never have enough of it again.
I was quite vocal about how much of a sleep demon Fox was in the early months. For a solid six months we didn’t sleep. Ever. He woke every two hours and demanded a boob to be in or near his mouth for him to even consider going back to sleep. Naps lasted twenty minutes on a good day. I’m still not convinced his entire goal in life was to slowly kill me, he almost succeeded too…
We have managed to grapple some sleep back in the last couple of months. Turns out those people I rolled my eyes at for having to stick to a strict routine with their kids just had a Fox. He needs a routine. Without it the world ends and mummy gains a few shades darker circles.
But we have a life that doesn’t always work with a strict routine. There’s places to go and people to see and holidays to take. For a while I found myself saying no to things because I was worried about how much it might mess up his routine. ‘I can’t come to your birthday because my son might never sleep again if I do’ is slightly pushing it on the excuse list.
So trying to find a way to replicate routine wherever we are has become key. We’re not a bath and bed kind of family (I’ve passed on my eczema to both kids, soz pals) so we have to find associations elsewhere. We use the Love Boo Sleep & Snuggle Spray to try and make bedtime always smell the same and he always sleeps with his bedtime muslin. But when we’ve tried a travel cot he’s still found it a little bit disruptive.
I was very fortunate to be sent a Sleepyhead Grand to try with Fox. Obviously having spent time on Instagram I had heard of Sleepyhead as a brand, but I’ll be honest – I was skeptical. From what I had seen I assumed it was £100 of pillow, it just looked like a breastfeeding pillow in a fancy case and I shunned the idea while he was little (I’m about to eat my words).
Turns out it’s more than just a pillow in a pretty case (although you can get some really pretty cases).
Something we’ve always struggled with with Fox is he doesn’t like space around him when he sleeps so the Sleepyhead keeps him snuggled in and feeling safe. It also has a mattress pad on the bottom which is super comfy (I laid in it on the floor before it went in the cot) and looks as though it’s cradling him. He’s been settling himself back to sleep much better since we put it in his bed, he used to fuss and need his dummy back but now he has a little fuss and is straight back to sleep.
Over Easter we were barely at home, we nipped to Cornwall then went pretty much straight on to Winchester. I was hopeful the Sleepyhead would help but I’ll be honest, I wasn’t holding my breath (can you tell I’m a pessimist?!). We stuck to our usual routine as much as possible, and put him down in the Sleepyhead. Usually the travel cot immediately makes him raging angry, but having the Sleepyhead in it made SUCH a difference. He went to sleep the same as he would in his cot at home and while he didn’t completely sleep through the night there was a massive improvement to how he would usually be in a house he didn’t know. After a few nights he was napping and sleeping in his travel cot like he would in his own room at home.
AND THEN we moved house. Which is disruptive and confusing for anybody, never mind a nine month old baby, but he took it like a boss and hasn’t even batted an eyelid at changing environments when it’s come to sleep.
It’s not a small product, and I’m not sure what I’ll do when it comes to going abroad (it’s bigger than any suitcase I’ve ever owned) but it really has made things so much easier for us when it comes to visiting friends and family. You can buy a travel case which is something I’ll definitely be looking into because, well you know, sleep.
It is also a pain to wash and get back together, it requires much more effort than a sheet and mattress protector. Which if you have a front-sleeping, dribble-fiend like I do is a pain as it needs twice-weekly de-stinks. Once you get to grips with it it’s doable, but when you forget it’s not on until bedtime it’s almost as bad as when you realise you’ve still got to make your own bed.
I am very aware that it’s a product that is out of the price range for a lot of parents, and I’m in a very fortunate position to have been gifted one. The newborn Sleepyhead Deluxe is £130 without buying a spare cover and they will need to move up to the Grand around 6 months, which is over £200 (lasts until about 3 years). But I can honestly say that if we’re lucky enough to have another baby it will be something I’ll be making an investment in. And if they decide to bring out an adult-sized one I’ll be first in the queue!
[Review in exchange for gifted Sleepyhead Grand – all words my own and as always this is a completely honest review]