The Haggard Mother Sleep Training Method

The Haggard Mother Sleep Training Method. When you're losing your mind because your baby won't sleep, here are some good reminders that this too shall pass.

My son wasn’t a sleeper.

I remember going to my Moms’ Group with a woman who had a little boy that was born the day after my son. When the boys were around six-weeks old she came in beaming, “Kai slept through the night last night!” All I could think was, “hallelujah! The light is at this end of this sleepless tunnel!” I went home and told my husband that any day our son should be sleeping all night!

He didn’t.

I read every sleep traing book out there

I had read a ton of sleep books when I was pregnant so I could be prepared for the long nights. I was under the impression that if I just did it “correctly” my infant would say, “Oh, I see, you need me to sleep. Fair enough” and then fall in line. Except it wasn’t working.

I was reading everything I could get my hands on. I was shush-patting, letting him cry it out, sitting in the room assuring him I was there without making eye contact, and something with the word “extinction” in it, which I can’t remember now because it failed so miserably.

I had ordered yet another sleep book that promised the holy grail of sleep when I just couldn’t take it anymore. I thought I was going to have some kind of mental collapse from the fatigue, the stress and the sheer guilt of not being able to figure it out, so I just tossed him into bed with us and threw him a boob if he woke up. We slept like a bag of hammers.


Still, I had failed because I wasn’t kissing him on his freshly bathed head, swaddled perfectly in his crib, then gently closing the door like a Pampers ad.

I was at the Moms’ Group Christmas party and Kai’s mom looked at him and said, “Buddy, are you tired?” She then spread a receiving blanket on the floor, put this slightly cranky child down and he fell asleep. He fell asleep! What the hell?!? Clearly, she’s drugging this kid. No shushing. No patting. No nursing. No driving around the block pleading. The little bugger just fell asleep. I swear to God I wanted to drop kick the fruit tray across the room and scream, “What the fuck am I doing wrong!?”


It turns out nothing. Because I have decided that there are certain kinds of babies.

  • There are babies that are smart and say, “If it’s really quiet or I’m not moving, that means that they’ve forgotten me and I don’t want to be left under a bush somewhere so, helloooooo!”
  • Then there are some babies that are smart and say, “If I can’t feel a warm body near me then that means I’m unprotected and a dingo is going to eat me so, helllloooooo!”
  • Then there are some babies that are smart and say, “You know what is great? A boob (swaddle, pacifier, rocking, or whatever) because it totally does the trick to get me to sleep. Yet, you seem to have forgotten that so, helllllloooo!”
  • Then there are some babies that are smart and say, “Hot damn, I’m a baby and get to sleep whenever I want. I’m just going to lay into this swaddle sack and catch some serious zzzzs.” I’m also convinced that these were the babies that were historically left under bushes and/or eaten by dingoes.

You’re Not Failing While You Search

All of the sleep books out there? They work. They just don’t work for every baby. You are standing in front of a door with a thousand keys and only one of them fits.

So my advice is this, absolutely keep reading the books. Keep trying new stuff. But don’t feel like you’re failing if you have to hold, swing, rock, move that baby to get them to go to sleep because that just happens to be the type of smart kid they are. That door will eventually unlock and swing open whether you find that magical key or not.


This Too Shall Pass

Think of it this way, babies are constantly changing, so anything you do today can all go out the window tomorrow.  Some people think of this as a negative: “You better be careful when he starts teething because you’ll lose all of that sleep training progress.” Whereas, I think we should think of it as a positive: “Who gives a crap if she sleeps in the swing all night? Next week she may have it totally figured out because she isn’t going to be 22 at college sleeping in her Rock n’ Sway.”


Do what works now and pat yourself on the back for knowing what that is.

I refer to it as the “Haggard Mother Method”, although, I should call it the “Haggard Parent or Caregiver that needs to get this kid to sleep Method” but you get the gist.

Mine was strapping him to my chest and bouncing on an exercise ball while humming during the day and co-sleeping at night. My friend’s baby would only go to sleep if the Gypsy Kings were playing while she drove her around the block. My other friend’s baby would only sleep in his rocker in the downstairs shower stall because the echo seemed to soothe him.


Keep pushing the peanut

Sure, you always want to move in the direction of the goal – whether it be a Pampers ad or just sleeping without a soother – but don’t sweat it in the meantime and if you don’t push the peanut today, well tomorrow’s a new day, another night and possibly a totally different kid.

For the record, my son – the terrible sleeper – now announces that he’s tired and goes to bed, in his room, all by himself. As for Kai, I can only assume he was left under a bush and eaten by a dingo. *

* He’s fine and is still a damn good sleeper but his mother is always asking me what the trick is to getting him to eat because he’s a terrible eater. Go figure.

Related:  I Read All The Baby Sleep Books So You Don’t Have To 

The Haggard Mother Sleep Training Method. When you're losing your mind because your baby won't sleep, here are some good reminders that this too shall pass.

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  • I love this article! I sleep trained my second daughter when she was 3 mo and it changed her life and our life as parents. She started to nap longer, she was able to fall asleep on her own without crying. It just must be the right method. I think the best one is by Susan Urban. The method is without CIO so no harm for the baby. I’ve read her guide in an hour or so because it’s in a nutshell and i knew exactly what to do with step by step instructions. After 3 days my LO was able to sleep all night long without eating every hour and she started to nap longer so she finally wasn’t exhausted. The method must be great because I had like the worst sleeper in the history of babies.
    You just must do it step-by-step like the author says. So I wanted to encourage everybody who is interested in sleep train a baby to first of all try Susan Urban’s method and follow her instructions and I bet any other method especially with CIO won’t be necessary. I’ve found instructions on what to do and how to do it in the guide “How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone” from I think the author’s website
    I just regret I didn’t sleep train my older son with this method but I can’t turn back the time can I

    • S. Urban’s guide is so much more approachable and easy to digest than the books I have bought (who can read 300 page books when sleep-deprived and spending time with a sleep-deprived baby??). Now I know that sleep training really can work. We went from our daughter waking almost every hour, to sleeping through the night and now she is able to fall asleep on her own without rocking of feeding. I wouldn’t believe it if i didn’t rry it on my own! Great hepl! thanks Maggie for sharing

    • That’s the book I had! It worked pretty quick. Susan’s book helped me get out of rocking-trap I got into. It was even worse when she woke up in the middle of the night – no rocking, no sleeping. I had no idea how to stop on my own and than my husband googled this guide. This method was a huge help, and I am very glad it didn’t involve CIO, I wouldn’t use that if it did.

  • I am a full-time working mom. I feel like I’ve tried everything. This baby wakes up every two hours. He’s going to be five months on Monday. Even if he sleeps in my bed, he still wakes up every two hours and need something. He also has really bad reflux. So if he sleeps in my bed, that means he is going to spit up everything he ate all over the bed, himself, and me. I am so tired that it’s starting to affect my work performance. I’ve tried to let him cry it out, only at two in the morning he cries and cries and cries and does not go back to sleep. The only thing that makes him go back to sleep, eating. I’m thoroughly exhausted. The only solution I have not tried, is that I sleep in the guest bedroom, and give my husband a bottle to feed the baby. That way I could get four solid hours of sleep. Then I can move back into the bedroom and handle the next several feedings. That makes me feel crappy, because then he’s not getting the boob. I’ve read some books. Nothing works. It really does seem hopeless.

    • Ugh. That sounds beyond exhausting. I can only imagine the level of tired you are hitting. I think your bottle idea is a really good one. Even if you get one solid night of sleep, it would probably make a world of difference. I would recommend pumping right before you go to bed so your boobs aren’t blowing up at 1am. I would also suggest ear plugs so you aren’t just lying there thinking “I should just go get him”. All the best of luck to you.

  • MY CHILD WILL NOT NAP OR SLEEP AT NIGHT! He was born 2 months pre-mature with extreme acid reflux and for a long time could only sleep laying upright on his tummy. He is now 9 months old and up until 3 months ago, was getting up every 2 hours around the clock. Now it is about 2-3x a night. Still a struggle to get him to stay asleep in his pack n play alone, you have to feed him full and walk around until he is too tired to fight the sleep off. ( I would LOVE to go to sleep and here he is fighting it?!) I feel like I am failing every. single. night.

  • This article just totally relieved some weight off my shoulders. It’s funny, my problem isn’t her sleeping through the night (she’s been doing that great since about 4 weeks of age) but more taking her naps during the day. And going to bed at a decent time, lol. But I was stressing the whole, ‘why can’t I get her on a good sleep schedule?’ thing. And when I thought I did, suddenly she got all discombobulated again (especially since she’s teething). I tried the cry it out method a couple times, because that’s what was suggested me to, but I caved after about thirty minutes. I just don’t have the heart to let her cry until she passes out. Putting myself in her shoes, it’s really so sad to cry until you’re so exhausted you have to fall asleep. I 100% agree with the fact that babies are crying out for our protection, safety and comfort as their mother. If she wants to fall asleep on my chest, so be it. I have co-slept her with as well, and many times, she just wants the comfort of falling asleep next to mommy. Once she’s out, I put her in her crib, and no problem. For her naps during the day, I’ve rocked her to sleep to get her on a schedule, but as soon as I put her down, she wakes up. Which tells me, she’s just not actually tired. I’ve learned with her to just watch for the signal that she’s tired and go from there (and sometimes, she’ll still fight it lol… babies.)

  • I know I’m reiterating what a lot have already said, but Thank you!!! I had a horrendous appointment with the pediatrician today and one of the things that made me feel so terrible was when she made me feel like I’m going to kill my child by cosleeping. I tried to explain to her that I’ve done all my research and I’m doing it as safely as I believe I can, but that I think it’s the right thing for us, but she still seemed skeptical. I think it’s so much safer than being so exhausted that I’m afraid I’m going to drop my baby while breastfeeding in the middle of the night. Between that, the concerns over my 15 month old not talking yet and her concerns over my answers to the Edinburgh postparnum depression scale test (which I really thought my answers were pretty normal for me, she doesn’t know me that well), it was a rough visit. I’m just trying to survive as a mommy to a two month old and a 15 month old, and this article (and the comments) were a good reminder that I’m not the only one who is just doing the best I can and making the decisions that I think are best for my family (regardless of the judgement of the pediatricians or the AAP).

    • I’m so glad this article was helpful. I remember that time sooooo well and I found it so hard. Hang in there and raise your hand if you need help. You’re doing a great job. (P.S. I’m also impressed as fuck that you commented. When I was in your shoes I don’t think I knew how to put pants on let alone spell ‘reiterating’.)

  • “Drop kick the fruit tray” Lmao! I bust out laughing. I feel your pain, same thing with my son. I swear though, whenever this stuff comes up, those Moms who’s babies sleep through the night always just have to let the world know that their baby sleeps however many hours. Just STFU . You’re NOT HELPING That is all.

  • A warm hot pad on the tummy. This is how we finally got our little one to get used to falling asleep for the night when she was about a month old. She’s 10 weeks now and falls asleep without it, on my boob, but at least it’s progress!

  • To the mumma tjat says let them cry a little bit and her children are well adjusted wgen they travel. I have always gone to my baby when she has needed me and she isa happy 11 month old who sleeps through the night and naps during the day. She also sleeps well when travelling and is a happy smily baby even when she is teething. This jusr works for my baby and it’s not because I have let her cry a little or rushed straight to her. Its just her way. Im not going to write how to sleep your baby because they’re all different. My baby would only sleep upright in her bouncer for a few months, but she slept

  • I was so blessed with my daughter. She’s been a breeze in every single way – she was a good sleeper, she didn’t even take a pacifier at all (so we didn’t have to ween her off it), and she went from diapers to fully potty trained within like 5 days. I couldn’t have asked for an easier child.

  • Hey! I read your post (hillaaarriiiooouuss!) and before I got to the actual "Haggard mother sleep training method," my mind was already running to: you should be co-sleeping!! If you’re going to be tending baby constantly throughout the night, at least do it in bed.

    So I was thrilled to see you were co-sleeping as part of your solution. But there are a lot of risks associated with co-sleeping in the same bed. I think your readers might want to know if you used a co-sleeper (like the babybay – a total life saver!) or if you were sharing a bed…

    Just a thought, since SIDS is totally scary if you’re not co-sleeping safely!

    Anyway, getting to snuggle with baby while half asleep is a total dream.

    Btw, do you know about the babyaby? If you’re ever onto round 2 with babies this is THE magic co-sleeper.

  • My trick to getting babies to sleep has been to include plenty of noise. White noise music + washer and/or dishwasher and/or dryer. I also wear them when they’re tired and it’s time to vacuum so that they can fall asleep to louder noises.

    I’ve gotten quite good at easily transitioning babies from arms to bed, but I believe one should throw in some jostling too. Get babies used to sudden movements so they’re not going to wake up everytime you flinch. My first was like that, so I tried to become even more sneaky and elusive. Didn’t work!

    As for having the same trick to getting kids to sleep. I’m not for it. Nursing was always an easy way to get my kids to sleep, but it became clear with my third that he was becoming dependent on it. I didn’t want that, so I tried rotating different methods like rocking, bouncing on the yoga ball, and getting him to cozy up and pass out in the crook of my arm. The goal is to get kids to fall asleep on their own right? Rocking chairs and milk may work like a charm, but if they’re used all the time then they’ll be the only way they know how to fall asleep. My son sleeps better since I’ve started mixing things up, and much more deeply too. He’s 15mo and snoozing 12 hours a night! Yeah, every kids different, but I’m obviously doing SOMETHING right (for him anyways).

    And a final note on boppies: They make excellent pillows for babes and toddlers sleeping on their backs. They seem to think they’re still laying in your arms. Would have been PERFECT to have with my first, but nope! Didn’t have one! Totally unaware of their magic!

    Good luck mamas! Whatever works! Like say, the baby equivalent of a shot of whiskey… 😛 😉

  • My nearly one year old had slept through the night ONCE! He tries so hard to go back to sleep, but it just doesn’t happen. Then, bottle…

  • I currently have an almost 2 week old, after 2 night in a row of what felt like continuous breast feeding, I threw her in bed and tossed her a boob. I too was feeling guilty about it, thinking ‘am I totally screwing up my child before she is even a month old.’ But then a few of my mommy friends told me their similar stories. Many of their kids are great, well adjusted toddlers. So I felt so much better. Go sleep!

  • My daughter is 6 months old. She sleeps through the night, with just one wake up (8pm -5am) normally – and on rough nights, we wake up a few times. But she HAS to have the white noise and Brahm’s lullaby playing. We have found 10 hours of them on youtube, and set her bassinet up next the my husband’s computer. Not sure what we are going to do when we transition to her crib (which should be soon.)

  • Then…some… say, “If I can’t feel a warm body near me then that means I’m unprotected and a dingo is going to eat me so, helllloooooo!” – She’ll be 6 yrs old soon but she’s got a good point.

  • So… The conclusion of this, honestly, amazing post… is buying the book from Amazon? What is this method about? Could you tell us briefly if you have bought and have read this wonder book.

  • My oldest (now 15 and a half) didn’t sleep through the night until she was nearly five. Years old, that is, not months old. It was brutal. We tried everything and the only way I reclaimed my sanity was to stop telling other people that she STILL wasn’t sleeping for more than 90 minutes at a time (because it sounded horrible and people didn’t know what to say to me) and to do whatever worked for as long as it worked. My second child, born when my first was 2 and a half, was one of those mythical babies that you could put wide awake into a bassinet and she would coo and fall asleep about five minutes after you walked out of the room. Go figure. They’re all different. Now, they’re both teens and they love sleep more than anything. No matter what, they will eventually sleep.

  • My 10 year old son still only sleeps from about 11pm to about 5am. No naps, he just doesn’t need much sleep. At least he’s old enough now to entertain himself now reading books or playing with Legos or watching dvds. My husband says he didn’t need much sleep when he was a kid either, and I’m like, "Well, I was a normal kid who needed a normal amount of sleep AND I STILL DO!" I feel like a prisoner being tortured by sleep deprivation.

  • Thank you. I know this to be true but I needed to hear it today. I was just saying yesterday that an experience had left me feeling like we’re doing it wrong. I needed the reminder that we’re doing what works for our little one and us today. And tomorrow is always possibly something new.

  • Goodness me, I’m doing the same thing you did – bub is strapped to my chest and bounced on an exercise ball during the day. Yay I’m not the only one that’s doing/has done this!

  • Ohhhhh. do I feel this.

    Our firstborn? Generally, a great night sleeper. Slept four hours straight the night they were born. By two weeks, they’d sleep six hours, wake up at 5 am, nurse, then be back down until 10 or 11 am.

    And took absolutely, completely, shitty, terrible, sometimes-non-existent naps.

    We had a phase where they’d only nurse to sleep.

    We had multiple phases where they’d only nap on me.

    We had a phase where I had to bounce on a ball, play loud white noise, AND shush them.

    Currently I have to sing three or four songs, then play white noise to get them to nap BUT once they’re out they’re out and I can lay them down.

    And now, suddenly, at 1, they decided that they go to sleep for the night all by themselves, thank you very much Mommy, and that they take 1.5-3 hour naps in the middle of the day.


    So yup! Do what works. Sleep training is all well and good, but none of the methods worked for us, and it really is true, your child will be different very soon. If not tomorrow, probably next week. This is frustrating, because CHRIST I JUST FIGURED OUT WHAT TO DO NOW WHAT, and lovely, because eventually, one of those changes will be "I DO IT MYSELF, MOMMY". Y’all, I have been through it and lived, you can do it too.

  • Loved your article! My son’s pediatrician told me the other day I was doing everything wrong to créate a dependent child because he’s 8 months and waking up every 2-3 hours to breastfeed when before he would only wake up once a night. your article made me feel so much better! I Now know , we should take it one day at a time .

  • I feel like someone reading other people’s mail, because I am long past having baby and child sleeping issues (and well into the menopausal woman’s sleeping woes!), but I just wanted to say that this is great advice! I don’t have any new tips to add. I had four children in six years. The first slept through the night from 6-7 weeks, the second fed every two hours day and night for about seven months, the third was very content to just sit and wait until I got around to feeding him and slept through from a few weeks (although I can’t really remember when), and the fourth loved her sleep from an early age, and would toddle off to a comfortable spot anytime she felt tired and drop off to sleep! They were all breastfed, often to settle. Two had dummies, one refused, one sucked a thumb. They all settled into their own sleep patterns, and are now healthy adults with unique sleep patterns. All I can say is that I tried to establish some sort of routine without being rigid, made bedtime calm and peaceful, looked for their cues of tiredness, had songs and books before sleep, and gave lots of kisses and love. There were bad days and good days. And one of the best survival tips is to have a group of friends with kids at the same stages so you can all bounce ideas around, share babysitting, cry, laugh, and enjoy being families.

  • Hey.
    I am like the mum of Kai. Well sort of. My son screamed everytime he left my body, so letting him cry for a few weeks as a new born was the only way i didnt lose my shit! After that, 2 x 2hour day sleeps and slept 7-7 every night at 12 weeks. I laugh at your post, knowing it is really your life, because while my son slept, i did (and still do) uni. So, just cos we have good sleeping children doesn’t make us perfect – we are all far from it- but it dos make it less of a challenge. Thanks for sharing your story and tips. Sleep. Who would have though before having a baby that this was the one thing that you would crave the most 🙂

  • This article has come to me as a blessing. My partner and I have been trying to figure out the best method to use with our baby Mycelium while battling the inner calling of what feels right, the selfish "me time" and well all the other voices of what has worked for other peoples babies.

    We have been co-sleeping since birth, which is wonderful, but have been battling her need to only fall asleep while sucking…we have now got her to nap without, but bedtime is the real "situation". I get her down at 8:30 with no suckling, but by 10 she is roaring and inconsolable unless I give in…so I do and well I call it a quits and just turn in at that point. Though some nights I can’t even slip away because she feels me get out of bed…so on those nights my bedtime is a bit earlier.

    My partner keeps saying "this cant be right, mothers are not spending this much time putting baby to bed, you can’t do anything!". AND MY RESPONSE CONTINUES TO BE…IM DOING THE BEST I CAN AND KNOW HOW TO DO…following babies cues!

    Of course I know all babies are different, but you want the comfort of knowing what is to come next, I think its only natural, but well lets get off it and just do what Baby asks for. I think there is no "NORM" there just is.

    For now I am reminding myself that I will be wishing for these snuggle fests later on and knowing that this journey is constantly evolving, maybe next week she will sleep through the night 😛

    Thanks for making me feel like Im not the only one.
    Gina & baby Mylee

  • This actually made me CRY. My sweet sweet alabaster son is just not much of a sleeper – overall he’s thriving – and I’m just surviving. We have tried it all – bedsharing, co-sleeping, no-cry sleep solution, and finally resorted to cry it out – ONLY because after 8 months of severe sleep deprivation, I was having very notable health issues – that’s the ONLY reason I tried CIO (though I don’t think ANYONE is a bad parent for trying that – because you’re right – it DOES work for some people and I definitely got to the point where it felt NECESSARY) – ANYWAY – it’s not for us, for many reasons, and after one night, I felt defeated because that was my last resort. At this point, it’s just survive and hope I don’t get REALLY sick. I’m snagging sleep wherever I can like a dope fiend – and I needed to hear everything you posted today, so so badly I can’t tell you. I adore my son – I respect EVERY mother’s right to care for their children in the way that makes the most sense to them. And I have ZERO judgement for moms who obviously love their babies and are just doing what they have to to care for them. Because you are right . . . babies are all individuals and they change constantly – we have to approach them with the best tools we have on hand at the moment and then relax and try to say, "This, too shall pass" about the rest of it. And in the meantime, I’m determined, when I’m lucid enough, to ENJOY him and all the BEAUTIFUL, amazing wonderful things he brings to my life – while doing everything I can to care for myself. This stuff is HARD for everyone in one way or another. Power on lil’ mamas. You all have my respect. THANK YOU for this post. Thank you x a million.

  • I so needed to read this today! I have a 9 month old that doesn’t sleep through the night all the way. I think he has MAYBE one time. Been so frustrated, but this has snapped me back. He’ll get it one day…

    My older son is like Kai btw… 🙂

  • Ok, so I am the mother of a "Kai"… Our son started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks. We — of course — were thrilled! But then other Mom’s would ask for my "secret" and I really didn’t have one. This was our first baby, we had no idea what we were doing. But saying we had no method, no routine, no tricks to pass along — did not go over well. Other mother’s would look at me as though I were holding out on them — a couple actually got angry… I’m so glad that you posted this because it really is more about each individual baby than any parenting tip/trick!!

  • Ok, so I am the mother of a "Kai"… Our son started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks. We — of course — were thrilled! But then other Mom’s would ask for my "secret" and I really didn’t have one. This was our first baby, we had no idea what we were doing. But saying we had no method, no routine, no tricks to pass along — did not go over well. Other mother’s would look at me as though I were holding out on them — a couple actually got angry, one is no longer speaking to me because of it… So PLEASE, I know it’s better to be on this side, but it’s really more about the baby than any parenting tip/trick…

  • Your website saves my life. My son slept through the night from 6 weeks to 4 months, and now refuses to sleep through the night or sleep in his own bed. I think it is teething related but it’s been a month with no end in sight. If I wasn’t a sahm I would be a zombie all day.

  • I read this article right before my son was born and giggled. Then we had the dang kid and "slept like a bag of hammers" sounded like a dream to me! And luckily at 5 weeks old my husband finally conceded and we plopt the kid in bed with us and we are that dream!! At first my husband gave me a deadline, but we recently reached that deadline, and while I played along "OK, lets set up the pack n play in our room and slowly transition him to his own crib at night" Hubby was the one who gave in and "extended" my deadline. We love sleep! Thanks for helping us haggard mothers!

  • Also, when am I supposed to read these books? Not meant to be a snark; a serious question. On one hand I’m supposed to "sleep when she sleeps," but when she’s sleeping is the only chance I have to do other stuff I need to do (eat, shower, try to use the bathroom which hurts so freaking bad and takes forever). And on the other hand I’m supposed to keep her awake during the day so she will sleep at night. I don’t know what to do.
    I suppose I should have read the books and prepared myself during my pregnancy. I know that know. But most of my pregnancy was spent getting used to the very idea of being pregnant because (a) it was a surprise and (b) I was pretty sure I didn’t want kids. Now here I am feeling like I’m way behind with no way to catch up.
    The nights are bad, but it’s not even from the lack of sleep. Even worse than that is the anticipation. I dread the nights. Right now it’s about 7:30pm, my daughter is about ready to be fed, and I am just paralyzed with fear. I’m so afraid it’s going to get even worse.
    – Diana (5-day-old daughter)

    • No, no, you’re not in reading mode, you’re in survival mode. Right now you need to batten down the hatches and do whatever works for today . This is when you’re both learning the ropes, healing and dealing with raging hormones so reading is the last thing you should do.

      I promise you it gets better. This is the hardest time (well it was for me) because the adrenaline has worn off and the fatigue is setting in. This is when I slept on the couch and had the baby sleeping in a vibrating chair next to me with a paused movie on the t.v. that I would just un-pause when he woke up. Don’t let anyone talk to you about sleep training or routines because there is no such thing at this stage.

      This article might be a better fit for you:

      You hang in there, Honey bun. You’re doing a great job (I’m floored that you were able to type let alone string sentences together) so just do what gets you through today. I remember how scary and lonely the nights were too but it really does get better. Don’t worry about any of the books until later down the road and even then you can skip ’em : )

      Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that if you can’t shake the "funk", talk to your doctor and make sure it isn’t postpartum depression. That shit is nasty and isn’t to be fucked with.

      Virtual hug and a high five : )

      • A million thank yous for your response! I do have a history of depression so I am being vigilant looking out for that. (Also started talking to someone during my 2nd trimester). I’m glad to hear that the barely-controlled chaos is normal right now. I guess I’m trying to accomplish too much too early. The situation wasn’t helped by a visit from a rather snotty and judgey home care nurse. No lady, I don’t care how tough your day has been.
        (Also? I kind of geeked out a bit when I saw you responded!)

    • Hey! I remember all too well the feelings you’re having and what you’re going through (my little guy, a.k.a: THE. WORST. SLEEPER. EVER. is almost a year old now) and I just want to give you a virtual hug! Hang in there!!! You’re doing a great job, you’re strong and you CAN do this.

      I won’t promise you things will get better soon (with my son, who thinks sleeping and naps are for suckers, it took a long, long, LOONNNGG time before they did) but I will promise you that it gets different. Right now is probably the hardest time for new moms. You’re still healing, your hormones are nuts and you’re trying to adjust to being a parent and all the good (super cute, squishy, loveable baby) and bad (poop explosions, exhaustion, sleeplessness) that comes with it.

      At some point, I think no matter how bad things are and how exhausted we are, some mom-instinct thing takes over and, even if we feel like it will never end and it’s the worst thing we’ve ever gone through, your body and brain force you through it and we all come out the other side.

      Don’t worry about sleep training, sleep methods, sleep books or any of it right now. Seriously, fuck that shit. Just focus on survival right now, for both you and the baby, in whatever form that takes. If it means you co-sleep, do it. If it means the baby only sleeps in her swing, do it. If it means you walk around the house holding her and learn to eat with one hand (like I did) because she finally fell asleep in your arms and you can’t risk waking her, do it.

      I remember wanting to cry or scream or throw things whenever some well-intentioned idiot would say "just sleep when the baby sleeps". Seriously, it was my MOST hated phrase when my guy was a newborn because, 1) My boy almost NEVER SLEPT and 2) when else was I going to shower/eat/feed our pets/clean the house/pay the bills/have a few minutes to my goddamn self?!?!

      Don’t worry about keeping her awake during the day so she’ll sleep at night, or turning her upside down or rotating her counter-clockwise or any other supposed sleep-inducing, sleep-correcting or sleep-promising method. Babies will sleep when they want to sleep, eat when they want to eat, etc., etc., and they won’t when they don’t want to and there is NOTHING we can do about it. (FYI: They will also cry for absolutely no other reason than because they’re babies and sometimes you can’t do anything to make that stop, either). Just ride it out as best you can and revisit the whole "sleep" issue in 6 or 7 months (or not at all, whatever works for you).

      The point is, your baby will get older, her sleep habits will eventually work themselves out (either with help from you or all on her own), you will get more experienced at this whole parenting thing and, while I will never tell a new parent life will get "easier" I will tell you again that it gets different and you will most definitely, someday, feel more like you have a handle on things.

      For now, be easy on yourself. You’re doing great, you’re a great mom and that little girl loves you. Hang in there! 🙂

    • Don’t keep her awake! That makes for an overtired baby who is even harder to get to sleep. Let her sleep during the day, but try to expose her to sunlight since it helps her little body begin to regulate light and day, dark and night. It helped us.

    • I was the same way when my son was first born – the night scared the sh$t out of me!!! It was probably two weeks before I settled into things and felt like I was in control. You will get the hang of things soon and it won’t be so scary. And I absolutely agree that you need to do what works for you at the moment and don’t worry about what the books say. I also used to psych myself out by too much reading, and if my baby wasn’t doing exactly what the books said, I would stress. Every baby is different and no one book will prepare you for how your baby will be. Hang in there mama…you got this!

  • Ok, what nightmare was your friend going through that she even thought to try the shower stall! I literally cried laughing reading this post as I do for all of them! Thanks for being awesome!

  • Amen sista! I have four kids and even though I do the EXACT SAME THING with all of them I had one that slept through the night at 9m and another not until 20m…There is no rhyme or reason to children, you just have to go with the flow. And if I hear one more time that feeding a baby solid food will make them sleep through the night I might just scream. My 1 year old was weaned and eating only solid food and still didn’t sleep through the night for 8 more months!

    • The Woombie is actually very stretchy. My daughter had no issues moving her legs around in it, and often slept with her knees splayed out.

  • I too subscribe to this method. I know my limits and work within them. Mama needs sleep, what ever way it comes to her. Otherwise she’s a sniping witch who is prone to accidents, mistakes, or crashing the much-relied-upon mom-bus into a ditch somewhere.
    So, yea, I chuck the baby into the bed with me and stick a boob in it and get back to sleep.

  • I’m so tired this morning from my 6-month-old waking up a bazillion times last night, and I really needed this. My oldest is 2, and was once a terrible sleeper. He is now like your son and goes to bed when he is tried and sleeps for 12 hours. Sometimes it’s just hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for the laugh. Good to know my babies wouldn’t have been eaten by dingos! lol.

  • 1 was easy. She liked to go to sleep. At 3 months she slept through the night. She was ebf and we bed shared and we both got excellent sleep. At 14 now she still goes to sleep easily and sleeps for 10-12 hours a night. #2 had other plans. He woke up every 2 hours no matter what. Not for 1 month or 3 months or 6 months or 12 months but for 3 plus years. He’s also an ebf and bed sharing child. I tried all the different methods… sitting in the room and talking to him to reassure him, trying to sooth him in different ways and for a period of time we tried CIO… and I was consistent! In over 30 months I went without more than 2-3 hours of sleep at a time. If he weren’t in with me I imagine I would be dead from lack of sleep… or a car accident or some other obvious incident from lack of sleep. For him it was just something he had to grow out of. He was hungry. Finally around 3 started making it to 4 hours and then 6 and then 8. Now he’s 6 and he goes to bed like a dream. He sleeps every night from 830 until 730 am waking only occasionally to use the restroom. Both of my children are extremely independent, smart and athletic. Having their needs met immediately will never harm a child… and getting good sleep makes everyone happier. If I’m ever lucky enough to have another child I plan from the start to be a ebf, co sleeping, baby wearing mama.

  • My little guy never gave us much trouble and was sleeping through the night at 5 weeks. Then 3 months came and he would scream bloody murder if I tried to put him down in any other state but totally 100% comatose milk drunk. I would put him down as slowly and gently as I could and if he woke up he was screaming all over again. Ferberizing worked amazingly for us after this became a little too exhausting. He’s 4 months, goes down at 8:30, has one night time feed and sleeps til 8am. It’s amazing.

  • My 4.5 month old seems to be getting into his own routine. Bath…play….nurse…bed time. From day one, the only way he’d sleep is if I nurse him. Up until about 3 months, his bedtime fell between the hours of 11pm and 1am tear. Now he gets cranky earlier and goes to sleep for the night between 8pm and 9pm yay. Nap times during the day only happens if he sleeps on my chest or on hubby’s chest. So as a result, we are on lockdown for as long as he chooses to nap that day.

    I know some who swear by letting babies CIO, and if it works for you, that’s great. When my little man cries, it makes me sad and eager to make him better. Babies cry for a reason. They are used to the warmth and security of the womb, so as best we can, we should ensure they feel the same once born. If our partners like to cuddle at bedtime, imagine the intense need for cuddling for a baby.

    Bottom line: do what works for you, your LO and your family. Cuddle your babes because they won’t be babies for too long!

  • I think theres either kids that sleep or kids that eat. you don’t get both! my firdt two refused food but slept like clockwork, last one ate everything but didn’t get out of our bed for 8 years…..

  • Laugh out load funny. I was one of those moms with the awesome sleeper. When he doesn’t sleep I cry. I just don’t know what to do. But you do whatever works for your family. Great post.

  • As a mother of a "very smart" not – so easy sleeper (we went 2 years before she slept through the night – I think all moms are heroes. Some have easier challenges and some have harder challenges. Be compassionate to yourself and as hard as it is to not compare – be proud of all the wonderful things your little smart non-sleeper IS accomplishing and acknowledge yourself for how you’ve contributed to that. It’s how I’ve got through those 2 years without depression and still loving my friends who were sleeping through the night by 2/3 months. Lots of love to you moms – YOU DESERVE IT!!!

  • Both my boys slept in the bed with us, nursing on demand, and needed a great deal of support when they started to be too big for our bed. We would lay with them in their own beds, sing, draw pretend pictures on their backs and cuddle the cats with them until they slept. Funny though, now as teenagers bedtime is ‘Goodnight Mom see you tomorrow’ with a hug and they are gone to bed.

    Don’t let anyone put the fear into you … your kids will not be in your bed forever. That’s kind of as silly as thinking babies will need you to cut up their food into soft small bits forever if you do it today. We do what works for now, and our kids grow up. Everything will be fine.

  • I have an incredibly good sleeper. I’m not sure where he came from. Maybe he was sent to us because the good Lord up above knows I wouldn’t survive if I didn’t get sleep. He slept his first night through within the first two weeks and he began regularly sleeping through the night (at least 8 hours) at about eight weeks. I was actually waking up to pump, even though the baby wasn’t awake, at first. He has pretty much slept through the night ever since, and he will be two next month. There is no magic method though. I can completely attest to that. Over the past year, if he has woken up during the middle of the night at all, he’s usually peeved because he’s awake. When it comes to sleeping and general behavior – I just have a really good kid. He sleeps, he rarely cried, he’s very independent. He used to be a good eater, that is sliding downhill a bit, but he’s two, so I don’t expect a lot and he doesn’t throw fits about it. We use a pacifier, and we used a sleep-sack for like from like age two months to age eight months during infancy. If he wouldn’t go right down, I’d let him cry for up to fifteen minutes. (Which was torture.) There was one time that he cried more than fifteen minutes – it probably ended up being eighteen minutes, and then he was quiet. For the past year, he has regularly slept about 10-11 hours a night, and if he wakes up early, he soothes himself with a music box that hangs in his crib. From ages 7mo-18mo., he also would take two two-hour naps per day. The kid just loves to sleep. It actually was rather restrictive – if I wanted to do anything, it had to be from 8-10AM or 12-2PM, that’s it.

    I’m expecting a baby girl early next year, and I just don’t expect to have the same blessing. I understand the frustration for sure, because I came into motherhood with a huge sleep deficit after twenty-four hours of labor and a baby who wouldn’t sleep at all the first night. A sleepy kid is just luck of the draw. To say that a parent must be somehow manipulating the child (through over-feeding, etc.) into sleeping is just most likely not the case. It’s just luck.

  • Absolutely fantastic post!
    You made me feel better this morning as I fall asleep in my coffee 🙂
    Our 1 year old use to be an ok sleeper but now she’s turning into a night nurser, and our firstborn was a night nurser and I’m really trying to avoid encouraging it as it’s exhausting. Funnily enough our ‘bad’ sleeper firstborn ended up turning 2 and has slept through the night since, and sometimes you hear about baby’s being ‘good’ sleepers and then parents having problems when they are 3-5 with them waking up. We are all different.
    My theory too is that we need some babies to grow into adults that like to be up all night to protect everyone else sleeping at night from predators. Right?!

  • For a long time I thought the parents who didn’t sleep train and were forced into cosleeping were suckers. When my daughter turned 6 months we sleep trained and guess what? It kind if worked but didn’t totally work. She would self sooth to sleep at 7:30 but when she woke up a few hours later there was nothing that was going to calm her down but sleeping wih mama. I have read every book from gentle methods to CIO and nothing helps. My daughter is 12 months now and I just go with it. I am lucky to have a few hours before she wakes up to myself but I just wanted to say that just because you sleep trained your kid does NOT mean they are going to become good, solid sleepers. At least not yet… Fingers crossed.

  • I’ve read the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg several times, and that has some really good tips. However, you’re so on the money with "tomorrow’s a new day, another night and possibly a totally different kid". What works today certainly might not work tomorrow, it’s all about taking it one day at a time and doing whatever you can in the moment to soothe them and get them to sleep. The learning curve is steep, but succeeding (in whatever way you can) sure does feel incredible!

    Love your writing!

  • and then there are parents who put their babies down while they are wide awake in their crib, make as much noise as possible, turn on fans, vacuum or whatever and let their baby figure out how to put themselves to sleep. They realize that picking up a baby the second they whimper a little noise is not going to help anyone. They realize that being as quiet as a morgue will only mean that their child will never be able to sleep if the want to travel or do anything out of their routine. They realize that they will be better parents if they get a full night’s sleep. (I am a babywise HATER btw and I am not religious either) and many weeks, months and even years later their kids hit the pillow and pass right out. It’s ok to let a baby fuss or cry a little. I am mother to three happy and well adjusted secure kids. I can’t say the same for some attachment parenting practicing friends that I have. They are always frantic and trying to pacify, soothe, calm and entertain whiny and very rude children.

    • I think the point of this post was that you do whatever you can to get your kid to sleep so as to save your sanity (and your baby’s). If letting your kid cry worked for you, then great. But it sounds a lot like you’re harshly judging other parents who don’t do the same as you. Who cares if they lay their kid on their chest to get them to sleep? Exactly what impact would that have on you? Give ’em a freakin’ break.

    • But what if you put your kid down and it screams blue bloody murder? And does so until it gets picked up again. Its all very well for those babies who ‘whimper’ ‘fuss’ or ‘cry a little’ but what about those who scream until they vomit?
      Even the nurse gave in and told me to pick up my baby when she was trying to ‘teach me’ how to ‘do it properly’!

  • You are my people. I just came to this realization a couple weeks ago after much insanity…and an increase in my Zoloft dosage 😉

  • For the first 7 months of his life, my son would absolutely NOT nap unless I was wearing, bouncing on an exercise ball, inging and patting his butt. Reading that in your post was surreal . . . . Go figure between 3-7 months he was an awesome night sleeper, maybe waking once if at all. Since 7 months, he has been waking up 2, 3, 4 times a night. Sigh. He also didn’t get his first tooth till 9 months, and it seems like he is constantly teething now so I don’t feel ok doing really any kind of sleep training lest he is in pain. He’ll be 1 next Sunday . . . . Oh and he has never been a good cosleeper. He tosses and turns and refuses to settle. I wish I just knew what would work for him.

  • A infant sleep positioner has been my savior with all 3 of my kids. It hugs their sides and gives a feeling of security. My youngest (5 months) is a side sleeper and with my sleep positioner I don’t worry about him rolling to his stomach. I couldn’t image sleep training without one of these! I got mine for under $10 on and have used it since the day we came home from the hospital. I highly recommend one to every new parent I know.

  • Oh my, this post had such perfect timing for me. My son (normally a relatively good sleeper, waking only to nurse once or twice over 10-11 hours a night) has started teething. I just got him to sleep after nursing every 1.5-2 hours through last night then an all day nap strike and saw this on my Facebook feed. Thank you for a little heart-lightening, soul-warming encouragement this evening.

  • Funny, I just turned into the "you’re coming to bed with us, here’s my boob, I’ll see you in 2 hours when you’re hungry again" mother. My nephew is 3 months old and my son is two months. For the last 6 days I’ve been told how my nephew has been sleeping for 11 hours every night. I’m convinced he’s being forced fed and slipping into a formula induced coma (my father-in-law asked them if they’re trying to make fois gras). I keep telling myself that somewhere at some time things will balance out. They have to. Right?

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