Is it worth buying … a Lulla doll?

The woman in the shop warned: “This isn’t going to be an overnight miracle.”

I must have had sleep deprivation plastered all over my face.

When they first became available in this country, I remember thinking the idea of a Lulla doll was kind of sad. Kids who were desperate to share their parents’ beds were instead being palmed off with a oddly featured, small grey doll which played the recorded heartbeat and breathing of a Scandinavian mother-of-four and yoga teacher named Gudrun.

But then we had our daughter, who is yet to spend a whole night in her own bed. She’s almost one.

I decided to try the Lulla doll after one night in which my daughter woke up and demanded to know where I was about every 35 minutes, lay horizontal on my pillow to cough in my face and took up a new hobby of dream-pinching the loose skin on my neck. (I have way more of that than I realised.)

I was not coping but I figured Gudrun should be zen enough to handle it.

So I handed over my $100 to the woman at Baby City, where they keep Lulla behind the counter, like expensive champagne at the bottle shop. I briefly wondered if perhaps the latter might have been the better way to a sound night’s sleep.

But as soon as I pulled Lulla out of her bag, my daughter’s face lit up. She hasn’t formed any serious attachments to any soft toys yet but she was instantly taken with Lulla, smooshing her face against her and rubbing her on her cheeks. She kept her close all afternoon and held her tight through two naps.

Then it was bedtime. I set Lulla going (her breathing and heartbeat goes for eight hours at a time) and then fed my daughter to sleep before performing my usual acrobatics to lower her into her cot without her noticing. This actually involves bending right into the cot so I don’t have to unlatch her until she’s lying prone. Perhaps that’s a separate blog post.

Forty-five minutes later, on cue, she stirred. I held my breath. Usually she needs me to resettle her at this point but I watched her reach out for Lulla, pull her to her face again and go back to sleep.

I would like to say that this was the start of an amazing night in which I slept eleven hours straight and woke up to breakfast in bed and news of a Lotto win. Sadly, no. She did the wake-and-resettle trick again at 9.30pm, but woke again and needed help at 11.

She ended up back in my bed again by the early hours of the morning. But Gudrun’s heartbeat was very soothing as she lay across my face, Lulla tucked under her arm.

Is Lulla worth buying? I think so – this second night is already going better than the first. And if I strike another really bad one, I can distract myself by worrying about why my resting heart rate is so much faster than Gudrun’s. Better take up some more yoga.

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