Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Jen says

    No, Ems- that’s definitely an old saying around where I grew up, too…

    Either that or EVERYONE’S moms wanted them to go the f* to bed there. 🙂

  2. Philippa says


    my DD, now 16.5m has always been great at self soothing. from birth I nursed her, let her fall asleep in my arms then popped her down in her cot sometimes asleep and sometimes drowsy. We never coslept as she seemed to like her own space. Whenever I tried to bring her into the bed she never seemed to want to lay and cuddle. So she always slept next to me in the bedroom in her own cot/crib and knew I was always there to comfort her if she needed anything.

    I do believe I was very fortunate that she was an easygoing baby and as a result she has rarely needed assistance going off to sleep. There were of course times that I had to stay in the room sitting in the chair next to her whilst she drifted off as she had been grizzly and crying and I personally was jot able to let her cry it out for long (even though I realised that crying is just tiredness). I never picked her up or rocked her just cuddled and laid her back down and patted her back.

    she rarely wakes in the night and calls out for me, only when she’s ill. if she does wake I go to her straight away to comfort her so she feels her needs are met. She does use a dummy / pacifier though as a baby she had a strong suck and reflux so this was supposed to help and she loves it (only at bedtime). I did have a period of her waking and me replugging the dummy throughout the night!!

    I read a lot about baby sleep before she was born and how the sleep cycles work. I realised that not letting her get overtired was key and that a bedtime routine with a sleep trigger and wind down was needed, so I started implementing a routine when she was around 3 months old. I think this quiet wind down time is crucial.

    So I believe self soothing is learnt through the feeling of security and ensuring baby is put down to sleep before becoming overtired, after which point their little brains are wired and they simply can drop off and when they do, sleep is fragmented, bringing on night wakings.

  3. Carrie Dodd says

    My son learned how to self soothe really early (before 2 months old) when rocking/nursing to sleep didn’t really work and co-sleeping is not an option in our house. Hubby does strange things in his sleep. My daughter is 7 weeks old and I’m slowly teaching her and a lot of it is because I don’t have the time with my 21 month old to spend oodles of time rocking her to sleep (she’s bottlefed breastmilk and that doesn’t put her to sleep!) I’ll put her down drowsy and half the time she’ll sleep on her own. Sometimes I need to pop the soother in her mouth to help her along. Tonight out of necessity (21 month old being naughty) she was crying after I put her down drowsy and 5 min later she was sleeping 🙂

  4. Heather says

    I co-sleep with my babies because I am too plain lazy to get out of bed at night!!! Whether or not to co-sleep, sleep train, etc is largely a personal and cultural question, IMO. In some cultures, kids co-sleep with their parents till they are teenagers or beyond. Does this mean that some cultures are more “fearful” than others? I doubt the 2 are strongly related. To my mind what is important, is the parents deciding on what they feel is right and following their minds with their actions. If I co-sleep with my child but resent it, my child may pick up on those negative feelings. (or if I sleep train but don’t feel that it is right.) For me, the best time to sleep train my baby or toddler is when I am starting to resent it, and when I am prepared to make a commitment to be consistent with another method. I night weaned my daughter at 19 months with very little crying in just a few days and I believe that was because I was confident that what I was doing was right, that, as Nicole says, I knew she could learn a new way. In short, babies are adaptable. (probaby much more so than their parents!) We need to have the courage to do what we feel our family needs, whether that is co-sleeping (in a culture where that isn’t the norm) or sleep training.

  5. Ems says

    My baby’s sleep is another story but my husband was told as a young child that it was bad luck to talk about your nightmares before breakfast. If you did IT WOULD COME TRUE. Now, I’ve asked a lot of people if they ever heard of this and no-one has, so I reckon it was my mother-in-law’s way of getting him to go the f*ck to sleep.

    All I can say is my husband as an adult is a pretty good sleeper but his relationship with his mother is beyond therapy…

  6. Cat says

    This book makes me laugh, I think we parents have all felt like this at times, and that there is nothing wrong with us adults being able to read or hear an expression of this frustration… it’s nothing that the vast majority are going to say to their kids…

    As for the self-soothing thing… our older daughter co-slept until our younger one was born (she was a month off turning 2)… We kept her in our bed because we thought she couldn’t sleep alone… Well, she slept so much better alone than she did with us, it truly was our fear that was holding her back from a good night’s sleep! Our younger daughter is now 13 months, and has been a bad sleeper all along… She is defintely improving though, and will go back to sleep when I say to her “lie down, go to sleep”.. She also co-sleeps, because she really won’t sleep in her cot, she is very active and needs more space… We’re getting there slowly but surely, but not forcing the issue, just taking it step by step 🙂

  7. Laurie says

    We were definitely challenged by the concept of self soothing in this house. My now 13 month old started sleeping in our arms at 4 days old and did not spend more than a few hours here and there in her own bed or bassinet until she was nearly 7 months old. Our challenge was that she wasn’t just co-sleeping, she was held in my arms (or those of a helpful friend, family member or my husband) for nearly every nap and every night, short the first 3 hours which she thankfully spent in her crib. When I reflect on the journey, I wonder if perhaps she and I were not simply co-sleeping, but co-soothing. My husband is active duty and was required to leave us to return to his ship at sea the day after we were discharged from the hospital (his being allowed to stay behind for her birth was a GIFT). He returned 2 months later, but was gone several days/week for work and finally departed on deployment when she was 4 months old. It was a very challenging time for all of us, especially baby and me. During the crux of our sleep challenges, I was exhausted and wondered daily what I was doing wrong. She cried every time I so much as set her down. Thank goodness for the Ergo Baby which allowed me to use the restroom and prepare simple meals for myself. I thank a few close friends who would come over to hold her while I showered. In my mind, baby needed me. She clearly did not feel safe anywhere but in my arms or strapped against my chest. I had read about the benefits of baby wearing and figured holding her as she slept was a clear extension of this. She needed me. When she hit 7 months, her pediatrician encouraged me to sleep train her. I believe her primary concern was my level of exhaustion and the deterioration of my ability to function as a result. It took 1 night to sleep train baby. She cried for an hour while I sat in the garage crying myself. After that, she was weaned from my arms. We both finally slept and 4 months later, daddy came home – safe and sound.

    With hindsight, I wonder if our journey was less about teaching her to self-soothe and more about the bond we had and our need for each other. I am not confident I would have survived her first 7 months without her in my arms. Perhaps she was feeding off my emotions, gaining strength as I gained strength. Maybe her remaining in my arms 24/7 for the first 2 months was her way of warding off post partum depression. Reminding me how precious she was every moment of every day. I imagine our next child will sleep dutifully solo from day 1, as surely daddy will be safely by our sides.

    To the question of expectations of our children, I agree wholly that each child and each situation is different. I hope as time passes and our daughter matures I will be able to ingrain two ideas in her: 1) It is OKAY to be afraid, to not feel safe or happy or comfortable, to need the comfort of mommy or daddy and 2) that I will always be here for her to turn to, even if by phone when she is a young adult. I hope to teach her not to suppress her emotions, but to be mindful of who she turns to for comfort. When I was a 7, leaving for overnight camp for the first time, my mother told me “there is an invisible string connecting us at our belly buttons. When you feel sad or scared or just need anything, you tug it and I will be right there in your heart to comfort you.” It works. Even at 30 years old, it works. I imagine myself pulling the string and I feel all the warmth of a motherly hug. I hope I can teach my daughter the same, allowing herself to soothe, but knowing it is okay to need someone to lean on. I also hope she knows that sometimes, mommy pulls the string too. I need her as much as she needs me.

    • Amber Gilbert says

      Thank you for sharing! This made me tear up because I can completely relate!

  8. Natalie says

    I like the idea that every parent/child will have a different time they are ready to learn. I think my baby was ready to learn to go to sleep herself before I was ready to let go of our nursing and cuddling to sleep. But there certainly did come a point when I thought, you know, she doesn’t really NEED me, she just doesn’t know how to do it herself. I think it was around 8 months old for us, she just wasn’t sleeping well at all anymore and I was getting very tired and very frustrated! I didn’t just drop her in a crib and tell her to figure it out, either, I was patient and we took it slow and it was a little rough at times, but once she figured it out it was smooth sailing from then on! Now I have a baby I can literally put in her crib when she’s tired and she goes to sleep after I leave. It’s so amazing! But I still always go to her when she cries at night – sometimes she sleeps through, sometimes she doesn’t. I do think it’s important that she knows if she NEEDS me I will come. I don’t always do what she wants me to (like if she wants to get up and run around at 4am), but I’ll go in, soothe her, cuddle her, and put her back to bed.

  9. Melanie says

    I do not know when and how my baby learned to self-soothe and sleep on her own. But I believe it was when she was two months old. She is never a cry-baby since birth. Only cries when hungry, and when she’s full, she is ready to play or sleep, and right now at five months, she screams and giggles a lot, even on her own while playing with her toys. She rarely wants us to lull her to sleep. I guess she developed the habit of self-soothing on her own. And I guess it helped that we did not co-sleep with her until she was like four months, although on occasions when I was alone with hubby at work at night, I did co-slept with her a few times when she was less than a month old, and this is to make it easier for me to calm her down during night terror attacks. At present, we just put her on the bed or in the crib, she plays for a while, and when she feels drowsy, she would roll from side to side and suck her fingers to sleep. If this technique of hers doesn’t work, that’s the time she cries for help.

  10. Laura says

    That book is fantastic. Even better is the Samuel L. Jackson narration. Overall, it’s not blaming the child for not being able to sleep. It’s not really making any kind of statement. It’s just a funny way to express the frustration parents feel when their kid Just. Won’t. Sleep.

    I understand some people take offense to the language, and in that case, this is not the book for them. That doesn’t make it a bad book, it just makes it inappropriate for some people. I like that language, and those words are about precisely what goes through my head sometimes. So for me, it’s a perfect book!

    • Nicole says

      @Laura I haven’t heard Jackson’s narration. Do you have a link? I’d like to hear that. 😀

      @Melanie Sounds like you have a very adaptable and calm baby. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

      @Natalie You are not alone that sometimes it’s us who hesitate. I think both parent and child need to be ready. It’s not always a quick process, so you need to be prepared to take that first step and follow through. Thanks for sharing your experience and that’s great she’s sleeping so well, now!

      @Laurie Your story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing with us. It definitely sounds like you both needed each other and I know it must have been so difficult when your husband was gone. You are a great mom!

      @Cat I have heard that sometimes that a baby will sleep better being in their own space. Of course, not all are that way, but sometimes we all need some room to move! 😀 Thank you for sharing!

      @Ems Oh my!! Your poor husband not being able to talk about his nightmares! 🙁 That sounds scary to think your nightmares would come true. Yikes! Thank you for sharing!

      @Heather Very good point that I think how we, as parents, feel about our child’s sleep, good or bad, will largely dictate the entire experience. You’re right and of course I agree it’s a personal choice for each family. 🙂

      @Carrie Juggling two definitely has more challenges in terms of how long you can “work” on putting the baby to sleep when you have a toddler to run around after and make sure they are not getting into trouble!! ;D That’s great that your baby was asleep in 5 minutes! Something similar happened with my younger son…almost exactly except I was making lunch and had a hungry boy to feed! 🙂

      @Phillipa That’s so great your daughter was so easy-going and good at self-soothing! 🙂

      @Jen Oh wow, so it is something that others tell their kids. “Funny” but not. LOL At least it wasn’t just @Ems husband, though. 😉

      Thanks everyone for great conversation, as usual! Love this!