The REALLY Important Information: Practical Tips and Tricks for Soothing Crying and Promoting Sleep PART 1

Okay so it’s normal for my baby to cry sometimes, to struggle getting to sleep and to wake up lots including in the night.  The real question is “Help how do I survive?”

In those hazy crazy sleep deprived days it’s important to remember three things:

  • Your baby WILL eventually go to sleep.  I had a few moments with my son where I remember desperately thinking, “I’m going to have the first baby in the world ever who NEVER sleeps.”  Let me reassure you that this will not happen.  (Besides if it did you would be famous and rich and be able to hire people to look after the baby while you slept!  Win-win situation!).  The child will go to sleep… eventually.
  • As much as you can, try and go with the flow.  You don’t need to be worrying about routines and bad habits in these initial weeks – she’s too young to be forming any associations at the moment.  It’s easiest on both you and your baby if you can just follow her cues to start off with.  So just do whatever she needs you to, to help her get to sleep whenever she is tired.  Meeting her needs in those early days will help her learn to regulate her body and become a good sleeper in time!
  • Try and keep a sense of humour about it all.  Exhaustion is hard work and it’s easy to lose your sense of humour but it makes everything a bit easier if you can laugh about it.  In the throes of wrestling with determinedly awake children my husband and I joke “It’s time for the mallet”.  (As in every parent needs a giant rubber mallet – when the children wont sleep you can use it on them and if that doesn’t work you can use it on yourself!)

 Okay…so I’m laughing, going with the flow…. now how do I get the baby to sleep?


The first step in helping your baby to sleep is recognising their tired signs.  You are able to recognise your tired signs (yawning, rubbing your eyes, getting grumpy) and know you need to go to sleep (even if you don’t).  But your baby doesn’t know this so you need to identify when she’s is getting tired and put her to bed (quickly).

Common tired signs include:

  • Lack of eye contact or gazing into space
  • Making fists, jerky movements, boxing movements, flailing arms and legs (sometimes mistaken for a baby who is keen for a party playtime)
  • Grizzling or crying (although this can be for other reasons)
  • Yawning
  • Eye-rubbing
  • Ear pulling (although ear pulling can also be a sign of ear infection – you’ll learn your own baby once you’ve been to the GP for a few false alarms, like we did!)

Your baby may do one or more of these and may have some that are uniquely her own.  As you get to know her, you’ll learn her individual tired signs that tell you she’s ready for bed.

For many babies having a feed, a nappy change and a cuddle is about all they can manage before they are tired again.  As parents we often think we need to provide lots of playtime and stimulation for our new babies.  But for newborns the whole world is a big magical overwhelming stimulating place (remember that crazy marketplace?!).  Your baby will probably get tired well before you would expect them too.  It is key to recognise tired signs and act quickly to get your darling asleep because once your baby gets overtired they find it much harder to go to sleep.

(Contrary to expectation most babies cannot just “put themselves to sleep”. So in Part 2 tommorrow we’ll look at ways to soothe baby and help her get to sleep… )


Posted on July 4, 2011, in Sleep and Crying. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Arrgh I need Part Two today! Two hours of trying to get her to sleep and counting…she is so tired but she fights it all the way!

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