HOW TO GET YOUR BABY TO GO TO SLEEP AND STAY ASLEEP WHEN THEY DO NOT WANT TO BE ASLEEP.

bw baby copy

 AFTER wasting the best part of two and a half years trying sleep techniques, following advice and reading all the Get Your Baby To Sleep If You Can Stay Awake Long Enough To Read Another Boring Book on Getting Babies To Sleep books, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

I have thrown away all the books, unsubscribed from mumswhoknoweverythingaboutbabies.com and I have come to accept that my baby, like her sister before her, will continue to wake me up A LOT during the night until, well, she just doesn’t.

The thing is, my babies don’t just wake up a few times for a feed or a nappy change.  My babies are highly adept in the art of wakefulness.  They laugh in the face of sleep training, spit in the eye of Gina Ford and would drive Supernanny to throw herself off the naughty step.

So these days I use a little technique I came up with myself called Get Your Baby To Go The F*** to Sleep By Whatever Means Necessary.

This is basically how it works:

IT is 4am and I am in bed. Awake. Again.

The Baby has woken up at regular intervals since I put her to bed at 7.30pm.

So by 4am I am seriously pissed off.

For God’s sake, what is her problem now? I whisper angrily as I head to the sleep thief’s cot once again.

I pick her up and (of course) she immediately stops crying.  I sway her from side to side a bit but no lullaby.  Not at 4am. She is not getting a frigging lullaby at 4am.

I can feel her eyes looking up at me. Do not make eye contact, I tell myself. Do NOT speak to her. Do NOT engage with her in any way. Any interaction will only encourage her to stay awake ALL night.

She blows raspberries, I don’t even blink.  She grabs my hair. I do not move. She gurgles something and quite deliberately makes it sound a bit like Mummy, but I SHOW NO WEAKNESS.

Finally, her eyes close, her breathing becomes slow and heavy and her ‘limbs are limp’, so (according to Dr Sears), IT IS TIME.

I creep over to the cot and prepare for the nerve-wracking transfer. I hold my breath and slowly, slowly lower her over the bars.

So far, so good. I lie her down. Still asleep.  I put her blankets on.  Still asleep. I tip toe back to my bed, slide under the covers and close my eyes.  The pearly gates of dreamland are just within my reach…

And then…

A TORTUROUS SCREAM pierces the comfortable silence of the night and snatches me from slumber once again.

Right, that is it. I have had enough of this EVERY night. I am NOT getting up again. NO more Mrs Nice Mummy. I am going to stay right here and close my eyes.

 WAHHH.

Bring it on baby. I am done.  I put the pillow over my head in an attempt to block out the screams. I am going to sleep.

 WAAAHHHHH. 

The screams are louder now but I don’t care. I am staying in bed.

WAHHHHHH.  WAHHHH.

Her screaming has now woken Husband James and the Toddler but I am still NOT getting out of bed.

WAHHHHHHHHH. WAHHHHHH.  WAHHHH.

Ok I am getting out of bed.

And I am back at Square One.  Holding a baby in the darkness.  Rocking, shushing, and praying for the strength to make it through tomorrow after another sleepless night.

She is still awake.

I play the white noise app on my phone. Music box? Ocean waves?

Still awake.

I ask her really nicely to go to sleep. I bribe her. I beg her.

Still awake.

I lie her down in the cot and activate the lullaby machine in the vague hope that tonight WILL be the night she will be ‘soothed gently into a deep sleep’. She immediately screams. I leave her for a minute – waiting for the (five star rated at Amazon) dream machine to do its work.  It doesn’t. She screams some more so I get her out.

Still awake and now in a very bad mood.

I lie her down in bed next to me and feed her. (I have been trying to wean her off the night feeds using a method I call If She Screams Really Loudly I Will Just Feed Her).   This also gives me the chance to do useful things like pick up my phone and Google Stuff That You Really Shouldn’t Google When You Are Sleep-deprived at 4am In The Morning.  Can you die or get some horrible disease from lack of sleep?  Has my baby got some horrible disease because she will not go to sleep?  Why won’t my baby GO the f**k to asleep?

She has finished feeding but still awake. 

Right, time for co-sleeping…or as it is known in our house Co-sleeping With The Enemy or Pretend To Be Asleep No Matter What  (not for the fainthearted).  She pulls my hair, she bites my nose, she stands on daddy’s head, she tries to climb up the headboard, but finally, finally, finally…

 …she sleeps.

She looks cute, and at 9pm, 10pm or even 11pm I might have gazed lovingly at her for a few minutes. BUT NOT AT STUPID PAST 4AM. I am so over it by now. Desperately seeking sleep, I lie precariously on the edge of the bed.  Despite her size she seems to be taking up a hell of a lot of room. But I dare not move. One cough, sneeze or bed creak and I will be right back at Square One.

I look at the clock.  IF I go to sleep RIGHT this second I could still get a few hours sleep before the actual morning.

SO GO TO SLEEP.

My body is tired but mind is wide awake…and being rather annoying. Why does my baby not sleep? I am definitely not going to be able to get out of bed tomorrow/today. Everyone else’s baby sleeps. I am rubbish at babies.  

OH SHUT UP AND SLEEP.

Eventually my aching muscles sink into the mattress and I doze off…for about an hour and a half. At which point, I am rudely awoken by the Toddler shouting something about Thomas the Tank Engine and Weetabix.

So I get up, get dressed (eventually) and get on with it (with the help of a big cup of coffee).   And as I play, sing, read and laugh with my lively girls, I think to myself that actually I am not that rubbish at babies. My house is a mess, I can’t get my head around anything more complicated than Play Doh, but the girls are happy and healthy, so (for today at least) I am kicking sleep-deprivation’s arse….

It is amazing how much better things look after a good….ninety minutes sleep…

So, how do you get your baby to go to sleep and stay asleep when they do not want to be asleep?

Wait until they are like, really, really, really, tired (about two years) then they will finally sleep like, well, a baby….

Failing that, read this post and do the complete opposite.

Still awake?  Then invest in a good survival kit – coffee, wine, a spare bed and Sky plus- and wait for it to pass. Good luck!!!

Do you have a survival kit? Feel free to share any of your tips on surviving with a sleep thief in the comment box below or on my  Facebook page thingy and meet other sleep-deprived parents.

289 thoughts on “HOW TO GET YOUR BABY TO GO TO SLEEP AND STAY ASLEEP WHEN THEY DO NOT WANT TO BE ASLEEP.

  1. So reading your post I have decided that we can definitely be friends…as I dont befriend anyone that has the golden child “oh she’he slept through from 6 weeks” eff off!. 2 Years later and the second one on the way….I hear you loud and clear!! Life is hard…very hard! Thanks for sharing friend;)

    • Ah I reckon number one will start sleeping better once baby is here! The toddler did, but not before teaching the baby everything she knew about keeping us awake! Good luck my friend x

  2. Love it I have tried EVERYTHING and now just give in and stay with him with lots of cuddles till he falls asleep happy and secure. I have not had a full nights sleep since he was born and at one point it was every two hours awake. Now (he is 2) I decided that enough was enough and just gave into it all and he loves going to bed with his mummy’s nigh time routine and eventually he sleeps all night bless him. I have a much more contented boy who loves his mummy’s cuddles at bedtime and falls asleep happy. So im guessing he is not stressed at where I am and if I am going to be there and has a good nights sleep…. worked in my household …good luck to everyone x

  3. I feel your pain, my twins now 7 didn’t sleep until 3 months before Their 3rd birthday !!! & my little lady almost 3 was just before 2 & 1/2 !! Their daddy was the same as a child according to the mum in law & still need very little sleep, ! !! Near damn killed me though esp with 2, as they all got a little older, both set grandparent were fab & would take them for a weekend when I got to my wits end ! There is light at the end of the tunnel, how many 3/4/5 year olds do you hear of that don’t sleep ! I think when they get to nursery/pre school, there little minds get wore out !! & then they sleep , best of luck to you xxx

    • Thanks for the comment! Quite true! My toddler is 2.5 and usually gets in her new big girl bed without a fight. So one down, one very hyper little sleep thief to go! Roll on pre school! X

  4. hilarious how members of weknoweverythingaboutbabies.com members have commented on this blog without a hint of irony…. NO-ONE WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT HOW PERFECT YOU ARE..OR HOW BLESSED OR HOW AMAZING YOUR ` I LEAVE MY BABY TO SCREAM THEMSELVES HOARSE AND NOW THEY ARE GOING TO BE THE NEXT DALAI LAMA` TECHNIQUE IS. Emily-Jane hang on in there…one day they will leave and go to Uni xxxx

  5. We have children from the same pod , Gina ford baby whisperer …..pah !!! And if one more person tells me to sleep train I’ll flipping scream ……
    Child one =4:5 years goes to sleep like a dream but rest assured between the hours of 12-4 am she appears in our bed …….. Every night year in year out ……. Get up put her back …. Get up put her back but she is still staring me in my face at 6 am every morning …. To make matters worse my 2 year old is now playing up ,not going down to sleep and then waking at 3:30 every morning , shouts until our street hears him and I have rescued him from his beautifully cosy cot !!!
    Haggle red knackered look no further than me …. May the force be with you .

  6. Ahh ladies I feel your pain.lol my darling daughter didnt sleep through the night until she was 3 1/2. In 2 weeks time she will be 21, does it get better………. not really, I now get drunken calls at 3 in the morning to go and pick her up from clubs.

  7. This articulated our experience so perfectly (and very amusingly) that we both had to laugh! Wife gets near wits-end with our 9-month-old ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ and it always helps to know there are others out there in the same boat, as opposed to those ‘sleepthroughers’ full of well-intentioned but ultimately useless advice!

  8. Oh my I could have written this. First baby didn’t sleep til 2 1/4 when I put her in a big girls single bed and little boy who is 9m still feeds plentifully and wakes 3/4 times a night usually. You do not suffer in pain I am right here with you!

  9. I was fortunate in that my daughter slept through from 10 weeks. She has however, always been rubbish at napping through the day (can’t have everything I guess!). Then the 8 month sleep regression kicked in and I haven’t had an unbroken nights sleep since October. The thing is, she was back to sleeping normally before Christmas but my insomnia kicked back in… It’s not fair! Am I allowed to wake her up??

    • Thanks! Oh dear. I sympathise. I had insomnia with my first child so literally never slept. Somehow it is more painful than being kept awake by the baby. Hope you sleeP soon!

  10. Absolutely brilliant and hilarious! Mainly because it reflects my life so much! (and others it seems-yes there is something strangely comforting in that :))
    Also- don’t you just HATE anyone who says’mine slept through the night from 7 weeks! ‘Gush gush! Etc…
    Thank for sharing!
    From a Mum of five year old girl who refused to sleep through the night until about three but still gets up and gets in to bed with me but at least goes back to sleep and 17 month old boy who also refuses to sttn and is driving me mad :))

    • That is exactly how I felt before I found other sleep thief victims so thanks! It doesn’t always feel right at 4am in the morning but what does?! We just live in hope that tomorrow will be better!

  11. My ten year old daughter still wakes up most nights. Thats the bad news, the good news is…… After ten years of mummy and her spending night after night hugging through the sleepless hours, we have a wonderful close relationship, and i know that im blessed. However, i do feel that i have aged 20 years! Hang on in there. It does get better, or we just get better at coping with it.

    • Oh that actually brought a tear to my eye! This sleep deprivation has turned me into a massive wimp! Thank you so much for your comment. I really hope the extra cuddles will mean my daughters know I will always be there for them whenever they need me. Cheers Karen,this has really cheered me up during a particularly bad bout of baby waking!

  12. you are awesome! I’ve tried it all and the only thing that worked remotely was co sleeping. she cried till she threw up and then threw up again. and again..tried everything and everyday..new bassinet worth hundreds of dollars? not even one night; a cot? what cot? may be one night. she’s almost three we live in the hope some day real soon we will have a full nights sleep in her own bed..at the moment it is start in her bed and end in ours..we live in hope and for the moment happily accept this compromise…

  13. My 16 month boy slept good for the first 5 months not sure what happened he started to wake as soon as you put him down in his crib. Then he would wake a couple of times then at 6 months he wakes every two hours you can your watch by him. So I feed him get him back to sleep then in his crib then I get to have an hour to an hour and a half sleep. This has been going on for a bloody year now. Wow I am so burnt out its not funny. I get migraines and this is not helping out at all. First my husband could help and take the wake up at 10 so I could sleep but Jasper decided it had to be mom to put him down for his naps and bedtime. If he does go down for a nap it is for a whole 40 minutes. I have read all the books it easy just let him cry it out it will take three or four days three weeks later he is just getting really passed off so let’s stop that. Anyway I am going on and on. Just want to say I feel your pain.

    • It is ok helps to get it off your chest! We had the same we only me being able to settle my daughter, then I got so tired, headache and low one night I went to stay at my mums leaving little one with daddy! She slept in bed with him, still waking every few hours but and was perfectly fine to settle for daddy when I wasn’t in the house! Since then he takes the first waking! Follow your instincts and get sleep however you can-maybe he will sleeP in your bed- or not. what do I know!? Good luck my friend!

  14. It is so refreshing to hear others talk about their beautiful babies in these terms. I used to think I was terrible for thing he was evil, wicked, horrid etc etc, but that’s what we feel at stupid o’clock. Good news is, mine is 12 now, and each child has their own challenges. Now he is an amazing young man I am unbelievably proud of. The more you get out of the ways early on, the easier the journey become later on..ying and yang and karma. Thanks for the laughs x

  15. This blog is not only hilalarious but u have pretty much gone through the samw thing we do with our 16 month old lol. She slept from 7:30pm to 8:30am from 8 weeks until she was 10months then shen she decided sleep wasnt as important and eould rather play. Our problem isnt getting her to sleep its her waking she can either have just lost her dummie n I can put it back in and she goes straight back off or she wakes and I have a crazy child running round my living room at 4am. I dont co sleep I never have not that I think there is anything wrong with it we have jist never done it and I think I scared of rolling on her lol she has gone down at 8pm tonight so fingers crossed if she stays there lol

  16. OMG I could have written that as well!
    Im a Mum of three, 9 years, 6 years and 18 months youd have thought I would have cracked it by now! no chance! 2 older ones still get in bed with us and neigther have never realy slept , husband gets out cos not enough room , by this time the baby has eventualy been brought in our bed as well, then the baby starts feeding and Im too scared too move busting for a pee as well!
    its a nice problem to have I guess, and how nice to read there are many that have the same problem! = Lol! xx

  17. oh wish I had read these 30 odd years ago! I tried the “just let her cry”…. routine while i sat sobbing outside her room. She got herself in such a state sobbing and making herself sick that I thought that was too cruel. (for both of us). So it was musical beds until she started school, then she settled as she was probably so tired and I invested in some story audio tapes which I would play once I had read her two stories. Occasionally she would come in during the night, but then we bought her a double bed and she slept with her little sister…. result!! Keep going everyone..you are not alone!. this is why they started 24hr TV… haha!!

  18. Having the same issue! And so damn true about picking up the phone at 4am! Lol hope it gets better for us both. Xx

  19. Omg! how I laughed. You have described my nightly battle with one of our 8 month old twins to a tee… How I long for more than 3 hours sleep!

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