I've had enough! What do I do?
Sometimes it’s difficult to cope when your baby won’t sleep! Here are some things that might help you.When you are feeling upset, frustrated or starting to lose control, the best thing to do is take a break.
- Place your baby in the cot with the sides up.
- Leave the room, taking a break for 1 – 2 minutes can really help you regain control.
- See the tips below to help you calm down.
- It’s very important to never shake a baby (see video below: ”Shaking Your Baby is Just Not the Deal”).
- If you feel like things are getting out of control, get help!
Here’s what you can do next:
Try to stay calm!
It’s important that you stay as calm as possible! If you are stressed, your baby can pick up on your mood and find it hard to settle.
Of course it’s very hard to be positive when your baby has been crying for hours and nothing seems to settle them! You can try the following:
- Take some slow deep breaths to calm yourself.
- Take a break for 1 – 2 minutes, leaving your baby in a Safe Sleep Environment.
- Go to a different room or outdoors if it is safe to do so.
- Ask someone else (if available) to help you while you calm down.
- Boost your confidence with positive self talk, like: “I am learning to parent”, “babies find it very hard to sleep sometimes-that’s just the way it is”, “my baby needs me to help them be calm”, “I can do this”, “I can ask for help”.
Try a different settling strategy
There are different settling strategies like Settling In Arms, Hands On Settling and other methods.
It is important not to change your strategy every few minutes, as your baby won’t know what is expected and this can be distressing for them.
As a general rule continue with your chosen strategy for 30 – 40 minutes.
However, if your baby is becoming more and more unsettled, then you may need to change settling strategy. Persisting with a strategy that is not working can make your baby more tired and harder to settle.
It is not always easy to know when to persist and when it is best to change strategies, if you would like some help deciding, get help (see below)!
If you are trying to change how your baby settles to sleep, allow time for your baby to adjust. It may take more than a few days.
For more info, see Settling Strategies.
As a parent, sometimes it’s hard asking for help. It doesn’t mean you are not coping.
Adjusting to being a new parent can be challenging. See My Baby & Me for further information if you are worried about how you are feeling and coping.
Call a friend, family member or the Karitane Careline on 1300 227 464 to get some support and encouragement. The Karitane Careline is available from 8AM Monday to 5PM Friday and 10AM to 6PM on weekends and public holidays.
The Australian Government also provides a helpline for parents and carers. You can call Pregnancy, Birth & Baby on 1800 882 436.