Attention, tired moms everywhere (and I know about 95% of you reading this article right now are tired moms!!) – we have a message for you.
We know how overwhelmed and exhausted you are. We know that you love your little one so much it practically hurts, but that you are simply drowning in sleep problems. We know that you feel desperate and alone as you try to get your baby or toddler back to sleep at night. We know you sometimes wonder if you’ve done something wrong, or if you’ve “ruined” your child’s sleep…after all, your friends all have sleeping babies!
And to you, exhausted, overwhelmed, desperate moms, we say this: You are doing a good job.
When your baby was a newborn, sure, you rocked and fed him to sleep all day, because you knew that newborns need regular feedings and lots of skin-to-skin contact. You didn’t spend time worrying about whether or not this was creating sleep associations, because you were too busy caring for a new little person.
When your baby was six weeks old, you found that it was just easier to let him sleep in the baby swing, or in the baby carrier – that allowed him to get the sleep he needed and kept him from fussing. Sure, wearing a baby around for hours a day wasn’t exactly comfortable for you, but you did it because you couldn’t stand to hear your baby fuss.
By the time your baby was a few months old, you started trying a pacifier as a way to soothe her. And it worked! Only now you have to replace it a few times during each nap, and pretty often at night. All that pacifier-replacing is making you a bit crazy, but you do it because you love your little one and want her to feel comforted and soothed.
Sleep may have started to improve a bit, but then the 4 month sleep regression hit and everything fell apart again. You were totally stumped as to what had happened, but you knew one thing – there was no way you were going to let your little baby suffer and cry! So you went back to rocking, nursing, holding to sleep. You may have even started to try co-sleeping, as a way to keep your baby close to you for constant comfort. You couldn’t understand why sleep was falling apart, but you did know one thing: your baby needed you.
When your baby was 6 months old, you may have started day-dreaming about what a consistent daily sleep schedule looked like, and how it would feel to actually sleep through the night even once. You looked longingly at your baby, and wondered if it might be possible to teach your baby to sleep better…but then you figured that would probably involve tons of crying (on your baby’s part AND your own!), and you knew you couldn’t stand that – so you kept on rocking and nursing and holding and offering the pacifier, and offering your baby plenty of “help” in falling asleep.
By the time your baby reached 9 months, you were starting to wonder if you’d ever sleep again. You may have started to feel like you weren’t even enjoying your child anymore, and that your constant exhaustion and sleep deprivation were keeping you from being the kind of mom you wanted to be. You knew that by this time, your baby “should” be able to sleep through the night, and take pretty consistent naps, but you had no idea how to get your little one to that point. You thought about sleep training again, but you had no idea where to start…with nights? With naps? With the crack-of-dawn waking? You felt too overwhelmed to even begin, so you just did the best you could to help your baby (and yourself) get some sleep each day.
Now, your “baby” may be a toddler, and those sleep problems that you’d hoped she’d outgrow are still around. In fact, in some ways, they’re worse – now, she’s popping out of her new ‘big kid’ bed all night long, she’s stalling at bedtime and throwing huge tantrums when it’s time to take her nap, she’s up before 5 most mornings…and you don’t know what to do about any of it. By this point, you are no doubt wondering what on earth you did “wrong” as a mother, to get to this point.
Our answer: you didn’t (and you aren’t) doing anything wrong. You are doing a good job. In fact, if you haven’t heard this enough lately, let us be the first to say it: Great work, mama!
See, things like breastfeeding to sleep, rocking to sleep, holding to sleep, co-sleeping to help improve sleep…these are all things that can create sleep associations, which in turn can create short naps and lots of night waking. But you know what else? These are the things that loving, caring, nurturing moms do! You should absolutely not feel guilty about how you’re parenting!
Remember this, too – nothing about your baby’s sleep is a problem UNTIL IT’S A PROBLEM. If you’re happy putting your baby to sleep, if you love co-sleeping, if you don’t mind the nighttime wakings – AND if you have a happy and healthy child – then you don’t have a problem on your hands.
It’s only when all the things you have to “do” to put your child to sleep, and to help him stay asleep, become unmanageable for you that you have a problem. And fortunately for you, it is a problem that we can help you solve! Better yet, we can do it in a way that fits with your parenting style, with your child’s unique personality, and with your goals for your family. Just connect with one of our trained, expert consultants, and she’ll get to work creating a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your family.
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to log in and get started immediately!
Our VIP Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a VIP member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant.
If you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
For those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
17 thoughts on “6 Words Every Tired Mom Should Hear”
My son is 6 months old, and I’ve always struggled with a late bedtime. It seems no matter what I do, I can’t get him to bed for the night until 8-9pm.
We tried sleep training as I was nursing him to sleep and I wanted to work on getting him to self soothe. There was a lot of crying and we ended up coming to a compromise which is working now to get 7-10 hour stretches of sleep at night, but he just won’t go down before 8! The odd time that I can get him to sleep around 7, it’s just a nap. He will wake up 30-45 mins later and either cry or roll around talking to himself for up to an hour before either I go in and feed him again and start over or he eventually falls asleep for the night.
He wakes between 7-8am, first nap is usually around 1.5 hours in his crib, second nap is all over the place. Sometimes he refuses it all together, other times it’s a nice 1-1.5 hours. Then the third nap is also all over the place. If he refused his lunch nap, he sometimes has a long third nap. Or sometimes he has a little cat nap. Sometimes I hold him because I get desperate to make him sleep!!
Do I just go with the later bedtime? He is a very happy, mellow baby.
Any suggestions you have for an earlier bedtime would be appreciated!
Hi @Meghan –
Thank you for writing to us! It sounds like you have been working hard at getting your little guy on a good schedule! If the 8pm bedtime works well for him, and for you, then there is no need to change it! Some babies are night owl and some not, and an 8pm bedtime works for many! Here is a link to our free “schedule maker” which is a really quick and easy resource for you, where you can make schedule for him with an 8pm bedtime:
Good luck and please contact us if you need anything at any time!
I have a question…. My nearly 5 month old wakes up a couple of times during the night because she wants the dummy back and not sure how to change this or is it just about taking dummy away?
Another question I have is that my little girl still is wrapped in an angel wrap and gets upset and frustrated of her hands and arms become free… Not sure how to slowly transition her out into a sleeping bag in preparation for when she starts rolling and can no longer be swaddled?!?
@ Simone – Great questions! We have articles on both. Check out this article, to help answer your pacifier question: https://www.babysleepsite.com/tag/pacifier-weaning/ And this article can help with your swaddle transition question: https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/weaning-baby-swaddling/
Hope these resources help! 🙂
26 month old son. Around 24 months transitioned from crib to a different bedroom and queen bed because 1. he was going to jump out of crib and 2. sister will be born in April and his old room will be her new room. He has always gone to bed around 830-9 in the crib fell asleep within 2 minutes, but always cried himself to sleep. He wakes up around 7am ish and this pattern has been the same since the transition. Also transitioned from 2 naps a day 10amish and 3pmish to 1 nap a day around 3pmish. Afternoon nap varies from sleeping in car or stroller to sleeping in his bed. All depends on if he has a classes (swimming, gymboree) or no clases and he is home for the day. We have a nanny so during the week she is in charge of his daytime regiment and is very good to get him to sleep. Since transition of putting him in new room and queen bed at night mom typically reads him books in bed and then stays in bed with him until he falls asleep. He has never woken up night and cried in the night. He sleeps through the night.
We went on vacation this week and he slept on a mattress in the condo in the family room and we were in the bedroom. Every night on vacation 2 to 3 times a night he woke up crying mommy/daddy. Sometimes mom would stay with him until he fall back asleep and come back to our bed and sometimes she would fall asleep in his bed. He would sometimes wake up and yell mommy even if she was in his bed with him. Forgot to mention he would get our of his bed and come to our room to get us. For the vacation we brought his pillow cases he had been sleeping in, his favorite stuffed animals, shinning stars on ceiling and favorite books.
First night back home he wakes up crying mommy around 130am and gets out of bed. FYI, when we transitioned him 2 months ago we closed his door so he could not get out of his room and we still do that. Mom after about a minute went in and got into his bed and waited for him to go back to sleep.
She does not want to have to continue to get up 2 to 3 times a night and get him to sleep by staying in his bedroom and we would like him to sleep through the night.
@ Erik – honestly, after reading through the details, it sounds to me like what is happening here is going to be short-lived. Seems like your toddler’s night-waking and wandering out of his room was a result of your travels, and that he’s having a hard time adjusting back to “normal” sleep at home. The best thing you can do is to stay as consistent as possible – keep returning your son to his room and reminding him that sleep is time for staying in bed. Since we know he can already sleep through the night in his room (since he was doing it for awhile before your trip), then he will eventually get back to his regular sleeping habits.
Hope this helps! Best of luck to your family. 🙂
I forgot to hit notify me.
I’m struggling with my almost 7 month old sleeping through the night. Wakes up twice and wants a bottle and to rock. Nap time is fine. He goes down by himself awake and will take 2, 2 hour naps. So it’s just bedtime. I don’t think I can be fully committed to crying it out. But I’m skeptical on this u must admit…..but in need of help.
@ Kristi – well, keep in mind that night feedings aren’t abnormal for a 7 month old – if your baby still seems hungry when he wakes, and takes a good amount from the bottles you offer, I wouldn’t work towards full night-weaning and sleeping through the night with no feeds just yet. Thoughts? Do you think your little one is hungry when he wakes, or is it just out of habit?
I just wanted to say thank you for this article. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
@ Karissa – You’re welcome! You’re welcome, you’re welcome, you’re welcome. 😉 Our pleasure. Thank YOU for commenting!
I’ m the exhausted momma of a 9 month old & I’ve been wanting to work on his sleep & maybe even obsessed over it at times, but have only made minor adjustments that only gave temporary results because something always comes up – sickness, a trip, a developmental leap, nap transition, etc. It is so easy to slip back into nursing to sleep, holding for naps, etc because those things “work” at the moment but long term continue to fail us when it comes to real rest! I told my husband all I want for Christmas is to sleep through the night! It’s good to hear “good job”, because exhaustion makes you question yourself! Any tips for getting my baby to sleep through the night & to get my husband on board to take advantage of your services?
@ Emily – Ha! I get you – sometimes, it’s just as hard to get your spouse on board as it is to actually sleep train. I would say that a sleep consultation could DEFINITELY help you…what you are describing is so common, and is something we see all the time. I’d also advise that you could start with a smaller package, given that your baby is on the young side – the Deluxe package, for example, would no doubt be perfect 🙂 You can see all the packages here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting-services/
And as for your husband – you can tell him that having a rested, happy wife is worth its weight in gold! 😉
Thanks for commenting, Emily – happy holidays to you!
Hi! I have a four and half month old son who just got diagnosed with milk protein allergies and cdiff. He’s been uncomfortable and in pain for so long, that we have been in survival mode for over a month. No consistency to his night sleep and only a rough a schedule during the day, but generally still taking four naps. It seems he’s a month or so behind where he should be and Im not sure how to catch up. He still wakes up to eat at least twice at night and can take a long time with each feeding. Any suggestions on his to move him forward or do I just sit tight?
@ Emily – I’m assuming you have special formula or dietary regimens in place for him now? The most important thing would be to ensure first that his allergy is being addressed. Once you know that is set, then you can definitely work on sleep…but if you think that he’s about a month behind, then it certainly couldn’t hurt to give him a few weeks to adjust, and to let his new dietary changes take effect. From there, you could begin to work on building healthy sleep habits, and to sleep train.
Hope this helps, Emily! Don’t hesitate to contact us again if you have more questions. 🙂
I have twins girls 6 months old. I do the same consistent times during the day for naps, but I am not getting a consistent sleep for the naps everyday. Night time feels like it might be getting out of control. As soon as I can get one back to sleep the other wakes. then out of no where my older twin has started screaming at the top of her lungs and just fighting sleep like crazy. I am staying calm and comforting her but I am just at a loss in how to get them to sleep through the night.
@ Heather – oh, this is tough 🙁 Twins and multiples are like a whole new level of hard when it comes to sleep challenges, aren’t they?? You might really benefit from reading this article, on sleep training twins and multiples:https://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/twins-multiples-sleep-feeding-schedules/#.VJjDdLiNAMA Lots of great info in there on how to sync schedules and work on sleep with one without waking the other.
Hope this helps, Heather! Best of luck to you and to your family. 🙂
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