My baby won’t sleep and I’ve tried everything
I often talk to mothers when their baby won’t sleep and they have literally tried every technique they can read about on the internet or in a book.
Why won’t my baby sleep?
Why don’t the techniques work?
Is something wrong with me or my baby?
This post aims to answer those questions and give you some help.
Let’s answer the third question first: there is nothing wrong with you. You are doing a great job, at a difficult job. There is also almost certainly nothing wrong with your baby (but if you have any concerns, do see your doctor).
Let’s answer the second question next: there are lots of reasons why baby won’t sleep. Some of the most common are that they’re hungry; they’re distracted by something in their room; they’re uncomfortable – too hot, too cold or in pain. If you’ve ruled out all of those (or done what you can to fix them) the most common reason is that they are overtired and don’t know how to go to sleep. But how do you teach them?
So let’s answer the third question, “Why don’t the techniques work?”
The biggest challenge with using various techniques when your baby won’t sleep is CONSISTENCY.
I know what you’re going to say, “I’ve been trying this for days and I’ve been doing it the same but it’s made no difference whatsoever.”
But if you think back to what you’ve been doing, it is sometimes hard to admit that it has not been 100% consistent.
If you’ve been settling a baby for two hours without feeding them, even though you know they want to be fed, well who wouldn’t want to pick them up and feed them even though you know this just makes it harder for them to go without a feed next time? If you’ve been patting a baby off to sleep at 3 in the morning and they keep crying until you pick them up, well who wouldn’t want to pick them up?
The truth is, you have to be strong in these situations but you can’t be bloody minded. You have to know when to give up but you also need to give it your all and be entirely consistent as much as you possibly can.
Babies will pick up on the slightest inconsistency and hope that next time, they will be able to get you to feed them more quickly or get you to pick them up. They are pretty clever, really!
But it is worth soldiering on and trying to help them learn how to settle on their own otherwise you will always have to feed them to sleep or cuddle them to sleep.
Some ways to ensure consistency are:
1. Commit to being consistent for three days. Absolutely consistent. If you can think of it as three days, it doesn’t feel as daunting and after three days, babies will usually have started to learn new habits. Really consolidating the habits can take around two weeks but three days is a brilliant start.
2. Get help – ask your partner or your mum or a friend to come and help you for a few days. You don’t have to go it alone. You can also hire a professional (like us at BabyBliss) but it doesn’t have to be someone you pay for – just a supportive person who will do the same things you do when you need a break.
3. Write down what you want to do. Think about how much better it will be when your baby starts to learn how to self settle and write this down – maybe even on a note in your phone. Refer to this note when your resolve is weakening and try to get through it.
I am definitely not advocating letting your child cry or continuing to do something when it just isn’t working. But if you give it three days of absolute consistency, you might be surprised at your progress.
If you feel like you have tried consistency to death and even that won’t work, it might be time to talk to a professional. Give us a call on 1300 166 940 and you can talk to a baby sleep expert for free to see how we could help you. You can also email us .
All the best
PS: If you’ve got something out of this post, please consider sharing it on social media with someone who you think might benefit from it.