How NOT To Get Your Baby To Go To Sleep

not to sleepMy first baby did not like to sleep.

My second baby does not like to sleep.

The first time around we tried everything.

The second time around we tried everything else.

Turns out everything and everything else do not work on my babies…

However, after spending the past three years trying to get babies to go to sleep and stay asleep when they do not want to be asleep, I have a pretty good idea of how not to do it.


Here are a few techniques I have tried along the way that will definitely NOT get your baby to sleep:


If there is a God, I imagine he has better things to do than help me get my baby to sleep. But there have been a few desperate nights when I thought he might be worth a go.

Dear God,

If you make my baby go to sleep, even for just a few hours, I promise I will go to church every Sunday (except next Sunday as it is my friend’s birthday and I have a thing one weekend in June). Actually, can we make it every other Sunday?

Keep her asleep ALL night and I will even throw in a christening.



After several hours of shushing, singing, rocking and walking around the room it seems I am not too proud to beg…

“Please baby. I am begging you. Have mercy on my tired soul. Please, please go to sleep.

“Pretty, pretty please?”


“If you would just go to sleep, tomorrow you can have anything you want.

“You can feast on stale food out of the bin and I will not stop you.

“Those delicious looking any-bits-of-crap on the floor I know you have had your eye on? They are all yours.

“I will let you put anything you like down the toilet and you can pull my hair all day.”

Still awake. Babies are hard nuts to crack.


I am not proud of threatening my baby but some nights it is all I have got left…

“Right that is it! I have tried playing it nice and this is how you repay me. Well, I have had enough. If you do not close your eyes right this minute then from now on we are Crying It Out. Go to sleep now or I am going to cry you out big time.”

“Seriously? Still not sleeping?

“In that case I might even get myself a Gina Ford book. And follow it. To the letter.  How do you feel about that Babykins?”

The trouble is; babies can smell an empty threat a mile off.


Burying your head under the covers and pretending you can’t hear the baby seems like a good idea at the time, but it only makes things worse. Much worse.  You anger the beast and she just becomes more determined to stay awake all night. The longer you leave her the harder and longer she will scream.


After spending several hours in a dark room trying to get the baby to sleep, some nights I simply give up.

“Fine. You want to stay awake?  You can stay awake all night for all I care.”

So I bring her into the lounge.

It’s not the end of the world, I think to myself. I can catch up on a bit of TV, wait for her to wear herself out…

I thought wrong.  It seems she does not want to ‘wear herself out.’  Instead she screams the scream of a thousand tired babies.

“But this is what you want isn’t it?  To be awake?”

More screaming.

So she doesn’t want to be asleep; she wants to be awake.  But only in a dark room. With me.

Therefore, my choices are: Watch television holding a screaming baby until she goes to sleep or sit in a dark room holding a not screaming baby until she goes to sleep.

I go back to her room.


Take pictures of the baby not being asleep to post on Facebook.

Forget to turn the flash off.

Now they are wide awake and really pissed off.


Thank God for smart phones. I now have parenting advice available in the palm of my hand 24 hours a day.  All I need to do is type Help!! My baby won’t sleep into Google and help is at hand.

Or not.

Because my Googling does not stop there…

Before I know it I am convinced my baby has reflux/schizophrenia/backache and numerous other health issues. And things are not looking good for me either. Did you know that sleep-deprivation could lead to diabetes, heart disease, weight gain and depression?


Wake your partner up so that you can discuss Possible Reasons The Baby Will Not Sleep.


Wake your partner up crying “I can’t cope any more!” and ask them to try and get the baby to sleep. Three minutes of screaming later, retrieve the baby from your partner.

So there you have it.

I have still not worked out How To Get Your Baby To Go To Sleep And Stay Asleep When They Do Not Want To Be Asleep.

I have exhausted all options and I am far too exhausted to try any more options.

But at least I can keep her awake all night in nine easy steps…

What techniques do NOT work for your baby?  Or maybe some of these do work for you- that would be brilliant?   

For more useful tips on how NOT to get your baby to go to sleep, feel free to follow me via email or join me on Facebook or Twitter.

26 thoughts on “How NOT To Get Your Baby To Go To Sleep

    • Oh yeah – someone told me that one, too. Worst! Idea! Ever!

      Another bad idea: give them a “dream feed”. People tell you to do this like it works, but in fact it just makes them super-uncomfortable, so they’re waking every fifteen minutes instead of hourly. The only thing that stopped me from tracking down and strangling the person who told me to do that was severe tiredness.

      Actually I exaggerate a bit: according to my late-night googling, there’s only, like, a 50/50 chance it’ll make things unbearable. Do you want to guess which category you’re going to be in *before* you try it or just wait and see?

      • Ha ha. Yes I remember trying the dream feed! She was wide awake instantly, nothing dreamy about it! It never made sense to me. I soon learnt you wake a sleeping baby. You unleash hell.

        • We would actually get through the feed without waking P, but it took several days for him to recover from the trauma of having been tricked into taking milk when his body didn’t need it. And during those several days he mainly stayed awake screaming.

          I was (later) told it can take some weeks or even months for some babies to get the hang of it, which made me wonder if they’d really looked closely at what was happening in the control group?

          • I am not surprised! It must be pretty awful being fed when you are full up! I am glad we never persevered with it now. It never quite felt right to me.

  1. Oh no, I’m busted. I didn’t even have cry babies and STILL I tried all of those with the same results.

    The most annoying thing was when I just gave up after hours: “so be it then, let’s be awake”, and the baby fell asleep, but I was too wide awake to fall asleep anymore. (Of course, at about 5 am, I was ready to go to bed again, but then big sis usually got up. And so another great day began).

  2. Asking your partner to go and attempt to get them to sleep because you’ve had the f*ck enough. That also doesn’t work. I always end up with a tiny screaming ball of fury when I’ve done that. A tiny screaming ball of fury and also a man-sized one.

  3. Ah yes I’ve tried all of these, over an hour and a half of CIO broke me at one point, hubby wouldn’t take the baby for longer than 10 minutes…I have no answers, jem now sleeps on the whole…but I gave no idea why.


    Take pictures of the baby not being asleep to post on Facebook.

    Forget to turn the flash off.

    Now they are wide awake and really pissed off.

    I have done this on so many occasions! I finally got my son to sleep and he looked so sweet so I took a photo on my phone…damn flash is all I am going to say!!

    Needless to say back to shh’ing and screaming baby again!

    Thank you for the laughs. Good to know I’m not the only walking zombie haha! xx

  5. Oh feed them solids they said it helped mine sleep everytime.
    LIES you just have a pissed off non sleeping baby with food in its hair

    Drop a day sleep (babies actually do them???) ah what sleep am I dropping?? There isn’t one to drop

    Go to sleep school, they fixed everything thing. Yes I’m the proud mother of a sleep school Drop out. Suck it even with your magical sleep powers and you can’t get her to sleep.

    She’s not a sleeper. I’ve accepted it. Her sort of awesome only needs 6hrs to recharge a day

  6. Love this blog. Funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. Hats of to you for trying for so long. My little monkey is only 3 months and I realised very early on he did NOT agree with sleeping on his own… Not as in sleeping in his own room, but on his own as in not physically attached to me or dad. I caved in pretty much straight away and let him sleep in bed. I value my night sleep far too much. We have made progress though and he now falls asleep in his cot (that has one side off and is attached to our bed) every night. He still ends up in bed during the night though… He’s a night feeder and still a long way from sleeping through the night…

  7. Thank you! After staying awake most of the night again tonight, reading your blog has helped me realize it’s not just my baby (babies, my oldest wasn’t so good on sleep either) that doesn’t sleep. I am almost at the end of my tether, but I know I’ll just have to wait it out. Anyway, when we finally manage to wake up enough to get out of bed and look at them properly, they always melt us right down with their smiles and cuddles. I have also tried just about anything on my baby, including medication (melatonin), and nothing seems to work. He just wakes up every hour or so, won’t even stay asleep when we let him sleep in our bed (if only!). I have come to terms with the fact that he’ll simply start sleeping better when he’s good and ready. I only hope I make it until then…

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