It’s a sad fact of life that the more babies you have, the less you need to get for them, which is a shame because I have found the more stuff you buy, the more prepared you are. (Anyone who has had a baby will know what a hilarious fallacy this turns out to be on the first night home, of course, when your baby rejects its expensive side sleeper and just demands milk and cuddles, which is about all babies actually need, but I digress.) It was, therefore, with some excitement that I scoured the Internet when pregnant with my second, in fact I distinctly recall writing, helplessly, on a baby Facebook group: “What shall I buy?”
Another thing about the second baby is it’s a clean slate, a chance to avoid all the horrific mistakes you made with your first when you stupidly followed all your natural instincts that have been ingrained in us for thousands of years. Idiot. When this baby cries, I will not pick her up, when she falls asleep on the boob, I will sound a foghorn to wake her so she can be put down awake and thus settle herself, I recited grimly as the due date loomed. While I am relieved to say it didn’t quite work out like this, and my little Pearl stayed as close as her big sister had two years before, I did give change a go. I didn’t fall for any of the free and easy sleep tips Google offer, though, I needed to splash the cash, and this brings me to the Sleepyhead. If you spend even two minutes researching this, you’ll be instantly swayed by the hundreds of thousands of glowing testimonials that women across the world have spouted about it, with many getting really quite passionate and excited. It seemed a total game-changer – and for some, I do not doubt it is – and it was going to be the product that transformed me into one of those women who can put their beautifully bundled little cherub down at six weeks and leave them to sleep all night, bar a gentle dream feed which they obediently open their mouth for whilst also remaining fast asleep at the same time. Or something: that one always confused me.
Anyway, it didn’t work. Or, maybe it did. Yes, she slept in it sometimes, but sometimes she didn’t, in fact she behaved in much the same way as my first and as many other babies around the globe. I had no idea if it was ‘working’. At two days old, she still wanted me to hold her and didn’t mistake the Sleepyhead’s cushioned sides for my arms, as Google had assured me she would. I even conscientiously laid a large muslin over it every night so I wouldn’t have to wash the cover if she threw up, which my good friend Google confided was a huge pain. I don’t know about these mums that advise this, but when Pearl did eventually throw up, it wasn’t a delicate operation that left a few gentle splatters on the muslin, or one of those little sicks you can pretend not to notice until the morning. No, this one was a tsunami that turned the Sleepyhead into a literal pool of baby sick, also soaking the mattress below. I remember carrying her at 3am to the bath, soaking wet, leaving my sanity and a trail of regurgitated milk in my sad, tired little wake.
My tip? A swaddle with any big muslin or blanket will work just as well and provide that feeling of security the babies can’t get enough of. So here is what it has taken me three and a half years, £110 and two babies to realise: the Sleepyhead is a cushion.