AN EXHAUSTED mum who was forced to 'live off caffeine' when her restless tot became unable to sleep has revealed the unlikely item that solved the dilemma.
Claire Brown says she only managed two hours' sleep per night for four months as her four-year-old Jamie began struggling to drift off, leaving her 'looking like a zombie' and desperate for a solution.
However, when the toddler became strangely attached to a melon she bought from Aldi, the 31-year-old gave in to his demand to take it to bed, leaving her to stumble upon a 'eureka moment' that ended her sleepless nights for good.
A picture she shared last month shows Jamie lying on his side sleeping peacefully facing the yellow fruit he affectionately named Mel.
Shocked Claire then managed her first seven-hour sleep for four months, so she allowed him to sleep with it for another five nights until her son's 'best friend' began to soften and had to be thrown away.
She claims her son has slept peacefully in his own bed every night since and she's even hailed Mel the melon a 'miracle' and 'the best 99p she's ever spent'.
The mum-of-two, whose husband Jackson Brown, 43, works offshore for half of the year, has since been flooded with comments admiring her 'hilarious' photo – with some mums even claiming they'll give her trick a try.
Claire, from Falkirk, Scotland, said: "I've gone from getting two hour's sleep per night to getting a full night. it's a magical melon in my eyes. It's the best 99p I've ever spent.
"Jamie used to sleep like a baby up until the beginning of lockdown but then he'd struggle to settle. He'd wake up six or seven times per night. I had bags under my eyes, I was living on caffeine and looking like a zombie.
"I was exhausted and my daughter Evie was just over one so I'd get one to sleep, then the other would wake up and my husband was away.
"Jamie would sleep in my bed or I'd have to sleep on the end of his while he slept and we'd spend our nights moving between rooms. The vast majority of the time he was beside me but he wouldn't actually sleep.
"One day he picked up a melon at the supermarket, then he had it on the back seat with him and when we got home he wandered around with it. He'd be playing with it or playing with his toys with it alongside him.
"He said he was going to bed with the melon and as a mum you know when to pick your battles and I was too tired to fight that one.
"It was the first night in months he'd even got into his bed to begin with because usually the night started off in my bed. I was thinking he'd probably be up in ten minutes and we'd go through the same as usual.
I think after five or six nights of good sleep he was able to go to bed and get back to normal on his own. It was like a miracle
"When I walked in to check on him Jamie was sound asleep with the melon. I was so shocked and I was actually frightened of moving it in case he woke up and it wasn't there. It was like a eureka moment.
"I took a photo to show the family that he was actually sleeping for the first time in so long. Jackson couldn't believe it and thought it was hilarious. Then the next few days were the same. He took his melon everywhere.
"It went in the bathroom and into the garden with him. It was like his best friend and he drew a face on it. It was weird but he was happy, and if he's happy I'm happy.
"After five or six nights I decided the melon had to go because it was looking a bit soft. I was scared he was going to roll over and it was going to explode over the bed.
"It vanished in the night because I threw it away, but he was fine the next morning and by then he'd settled back into a sleeping pattern, so thank god for the melon."
Claire, who also has a two-year-old daughter Evie Brown, believes lockdown ruining Jamie's routine caused his sleepless nights, and sometimes she'd give up trying to help him drift off and take him downstairs to start the day early – even at around 3.30am.
Once he'd enjoyed his first 11-hour sleep with Mel and appeared at his mum's door holding his 'best pal' at 6.30am, she believes it gave the toddler his routine back.
Jamie now goes to sleep on his own between 7.30pm and 8pm then sleeps right through until around 7am, giving Claire the much-needed rest she deserves.
Claire said: "The melon put him at ease, so I think after five or six nights of good sleep he was able to go to bed and get back to normal on his own. It was like a miracle.
"Any parent who's lacking sleep over the course of a few months will try anything and sometimes it's not things that are the norm. It was worth it for us. Everything's fine now."
When the mum of two shared the adorable image of Jamie sleeping with the melon on Facebook last month, users were quick to note how cute it was, with some even claiming they might try it themselves.
Melanie commented: "I'm trying it tonight! I'm sure I've got half a watermelon in the fridge!"
Claire replied: "Honestly it worked wonders for us. After months of sleeping in with me, or not sleeping at all."
Sharon said: "I can't stop laughing. Kids are hilarious. Definitely pick your battles."
Jane added: "OMG! That is so cute. That’s made my day, Thank you."
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