On my iPad I have a BBC News app. I read of the birth of Jamie Oliver’s fifth child, River Rocket. Jamie and his wife have hired a night nurse due to the exhaustion of sleepless nights with a new baby and a tough filming schedule.
Oh yes, I remember those sleepless nights as if it were yesterday! My (what would turn out to be hyperactive) eldest son never slept for more than half an hour at a time for the first year, and screamed for the majority of the time he was awake. We were on our knees with tiredness, until my mother mentioned in passing the remedy for getting babies to sleep. Apparently a tiny tot of whisky in my milk often knocked me out as an infant, and gave Dot and John temporary relief from my evil presence when they could take no more.
I was appalled at this disclosure. Instead, Sam and I took turns to stay awake on alternate nights. It was just not worth both of us trying to go to sleep; we were comforted in knowing that we would be able to fall into oblivion on the night following our 12 hours of duty. However, one night my turn at sleeping coincided with Sam needing to be bright and alert for a presentation he was doing at work the following morning. He had had enough, and unbeknownst to me, slipped Leon a mickey in the form of a few drops of whisky in his night time bottle.
I woke up with a start at 6.30 to the alarm sounding, amazed to see Sam, groggy with sleep, waking up as well. He told me what he’d done, and although we’d had had the best night’s sleep in a year, I was terrified to look into the cot. Sam had a peep, and told me that Leon was ‘sleeping like a baby’. Leon is now 34 and none the worse for his liquid cosh!
Do babies ever sleep? Mine didn’t for years until the night of the ‘wee dram’. I didn’t and Dot tells me she didn’t either. My son and daughter-in-law haven’t had a full night’s sleep for nearly 2 years with their youngest. If we could have afforded it, a night nurse would have been just wonderful. However, a drop of whisky (just that one time, I might add!) had to do instead when we were desperate.