LEIGH CAMPBELL: 'Jessie, I want to let you in on a secret about baby sleep.'

In this open letter, Mamamia's executive editor Leigh Campbell shares what she's learnt about baby sleep with new mum, and Mamamia Out Loud co-host, Jessie Stephens. You can also listen to our new baby sleep audio series here.

Hi Jessie,

It's been a few weeks since Luna arrived. How are you?

Tired? Depleted? Burnt out from the monotony of sitting on the couch all day?

I remember those newborn days.

A blur of cold coffees and leftovers and pyjamas at various stages of ‘can I keep wearing these or are there officially too much bodily fluids on this fabric, should I get changed?’

It’s all about sleep.

Your sleep. Luna’s sleep. Even the dog’s sleep.

Because everyone asks about sleep. Are you sleeping? Is the baby sleeping

Sleep, sleep, sleep.

Don’t follow a routine, not yet, the baby is too young. 

Get Luna into a routine right away so you have structure and she knows what to expect.

Take her anywhere and everywhere so she sleeps on-the-go.

Be home for nap time.


Don't co-sleep.

Don’t let the mailman buzz the door or the dog will bark and wake the baby. 

Lots of noise and everyday sounds are good. 

Sleep train.


Sleep training is evil.

Don’t let the baby nap on you or you’ll create a rod for your back.

Enjoy Luna sleeping on your chest, they're only that tiny for such a short time.

Sleep, sleep, sleep.

I heard it all, and in my fog of postnatal depression I felt like whichever road I went down I had someone loudly shouting at me to turn back, that I’d gone the wrong way. I felt pulled in a myriad of ways, each direction not ‘wrong’ but not ‘right’, either. 

Finally, I aced linking two sleep cycles, the biggest accomplishment of my week, so I felt like I’d cracked the code. I was elated! A pro! A bonafide sleep expert. 

The next nap? A disaster. 

So, I want to let you in on a secret. Some wisdom I’ve accumulated in my four years of parenthood.

Your baby will sleep.

One morning you’ll wake up and think, “Shit! The baby! I slept through and obviously didn't hear them and maybe they were kidnapped, or they ran away!”

And your baby will be in their cot, still sleeping, or just waking.

The next night, your baby will probably wake three times. 

But eventually your baby will sleep through the night. Maybe at four months. Maybe at 10 months. Maybe at 19 months.

They will sleep through the night. 

And then they won’t.

You’ll follow routines that’ll work, for the most part. You’ll likely co-sleep at times, on those seemingly endless nights when the exhaustion makes you take the road of least resistance.


You might try sleep training. Maybe you won't. I did, when my son was six months, and again when he was two.

Because my baby slept. And then he didn't. And after he did again, he started waking, and now my baby isn’t a baby, but a four-year-old. A preschooler. And right now my ‘baby’ isn't sleeping because he’s afraid of zombies and giant ants the size of the house he worries will squeeze through the window.

Sleep will come and go, that’s your guaranteed gift with purchase when you take your baby home. Change will become your new constant, and with that the skills and lessons you accrue as you graduate through the stages of parenthood, you’ll become more confident, a bit like moving up a level in Super Mario Bros. 

So ‘do’ sleep however feels right to you. Follow your gut.

But of all the conflicting advice I received when I was on my mum ‘L’ plates, there was one I wish I’d listened to.

They really do only fit on your chest for a blink. Do with that what you will. 

Mamamia's new audio series, Baby Sleep, has expert advice for the extremely tired. Cut through the judge-y advice and confusion and decide what's best for you and your baby. Click here to listen now.

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