Why won’t you sleep baby?

I find myself regularly in despair saying to Austin “Why won’t you sleep?”

Obviously he does sleep, but not easily or without conditions!

As you may have read in some of my recent posts I have been struggling with postnatal depression.

I suppose in some ways it’s not a huge surprise after having 2 children under 2. One of the things that I’m struggling with a lot at the moment is that Austin is terrible at sleeping!


why won't you sleep


When he was first born and the first couple of months he slept pretty well at night going down in his sleepyhead in the Next to me crib but waking for multiple feeds a night, as newborns do! Gradually though over the last 2 months he is getting more difficult to settle at night, and often won’t go in his crib at all ends up co sleeping with me. I never sleep very well like this and always end up from backache where I’ve been laying in an awkward position.


At first I assumed it was do to with the dreaded 4 month sleep regression at least his change in night sleeping. But as he is now almost 6 months and things are showing no signs of improvement I don’t think it necessarily is this.


He’s always been really difficult with sleeping in daytime too. If I was able to just hold and cuddle him for several hours a day for him to sleep he would be fine. But this just isn’t practical with Hayden around and other things to do around the house.


why won't you sleep


Originally I thought his difficulty at sleeping during the day was because Hayden would disturb him by being really loud. So I tried putting him down upstairs but that didn’t work at all. I have tried putting him down once he’s fallen asleep and also awake but sleepy but neither works.


He will sleep in the car but wakes pretty much as soon as engine stops or you bring car seat in the house. I’ve spent so many hours driving around Bristol just so he gets 1 hour of sleep at least. 


Often he will have gone a whole 12 hour day with only 1 hour of sleep. I wouldn’t mind if he was just one of the those strange babies who didn’t need as much sleep, but he does and he’s super grumpy and whiney too. He ends up over-tired and gets really upset and then really struggles to calm down even with being cuddled and jiggled about.


why won't you sleep


I think a large part of the problem is that he hasn’t learn to self-soothe although I know he’s probably a bit young for that.


He refuses to take a dummy at all! I know that seem like a good thing but in reality all it means is he needs boob all the time to settle, at least on me anyway. In fact I can’t remember the last time he fell asleep on me without boob feeding first!


He likes to suck his hand/thumb but doesn’t seem to remember to this when he needs comfort so not that helpful!


why won't you sleep


We have also tried white noise but so far that hasn’t been helping either.


Dare I say it I have even attempted to let him cry it out once or twice. It was awful though he just got himself into such a state and didn’t work at all. Only served to make him more upset, so not keen to try this again.


I have tried putting Austin in the carrier, but I have to admit I don’t often do this in the house. Partly because I find it doesn’t help that much getting him to sleep unless you are constantly on the move and never bending down (he hates that!). Also because recently I have been getting a lot of back pain and he’s quite a chunk these days! But perhaps I should try to persevere with it more.


why won't you sleep


I’m feeling at the end of my tether with it and just don’t know what to do for the best. I’ve run out of ideas. I could cope if it was ‘just’ the nighttime poor sleeping and needing to co-sleep, but I could put him down in day. Both is just physically and emotionally draining me. It’s definitely a big contributing factor in my depression I feel too and not helping with bonding. 


I’m torn between wanting to comfort Austin and give him the sleep he needs during the day or playing and interacting with Hayden. For now I just have to hope that sleep improves with time, just hopefully soon!

Do or did you ever find yourself saying “why won’t you sleep baby?” and if so do you have any wise words or advice for me?

How do others cope with having a toddler and baby in regards to sleeping/napping?

Any tips or ideas of things I might try to improve the situation would be hugely appreciated.

Mums struggle to get her baby to sleep unless being held.



  1. Claire
    September 6, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    Lisa… I feel your pain. Lil was terrible… Crying all the time… Arching her back in pain and only pooing every 7-10 days despite regular lactulose and BD movicol. Turned out she was lactose intolerant…. After taking lactose out of my diet and hers she changed. Within 48 hours I had a new baby! She’s never had that classic diarrhoea and sickness with her intolerance but was just really farty. Like an old man!!! If he’s anything like this…. Try it. I was laughed at by my GP. BUT…I was right to try. It’s so hard being a mummy and I will forever berate myself for not knowing before… But I now have the happiest girl who knows she can’t eat things with milk in aged just 3. Whatever happens, he will get better in time. Big hugs… And if you ever need a vent… Feel free to message me anytime xxxx much love and hugs to you all xxxx

  2. September 7, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    My oldest was the same way. The only way he would sleep was either on me, in his swing (which I had to wind up every 10 minutes) or in the car. I got very little sleep that first year. He also nursed and I had to feed him a lot. I do think it was more of a comfort thing but not sure. By the time he was about maybe 6 months he started sleeping better but it was more around 10 months that he started sleeping through the night. I hope the sleeping pattern gets better for both of you soon:)

  3. September 7, 2017 / 4:32 pm

    Feel for you. Getting a good routine can be exhausting. We heard terrible stories from other parents but we followed the controlled crying route. Thankfully it worked and she’s been brilliant ever since. And her peers still don’t get enough sleep!

  4. September 7, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    13 months in with our first and the most he’s ever slept in one go is 4 hours and that’s on 5 occasions. He wakes up so frequently regardless of how full he is before bed, whether or not we cosleep etc etc we tried cry it out and he would go for hours so we put a 2 hour limit on letting him cry for our sanity. I would like to say it gets better but we’re not there yet. Maybe when he starts walking he’ll get there but for now I go to bed at 7 with him if I’m really tired as I’m back at work now. I’m actually writing a blog post of all the things we’ve tried if you’re interested

  5. September 8, 2017 / 7:37 am

    It will pass eventually and these days of little sleep will seem like a distant memory! Have you looked into gentle sleep training? I did it with my little girl at 12 weeks xo

  6. September 8, 2017 / 10:58 am

    I have been there too. It can be so bad. Sleep deprivation make me so tired. Hang in there. It shall pass.

  7. September 8, 2017 / 5:03 pm

    You have to do what works, whatever that is. I used to drive to get my eldest to sleep but actually she wasn’t that keen on the car and would wake as soon as we stopped. She didn’t like the pram or baby carrier either. In the pitch dark in her cot was better, so I ended up cancelling everything and staying home. Hold on to your determination and good luck!

  8. September 9, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    I the one thing I can say with confidence is it won’t last forever. We’ve have had a difficult sleeper, and it is so draining. Perhaps for now, getting some breaks from the situation will give you the energy to cope

  9. September 10, 2017 / 6:28 am

    I had two 16 months apart and my 2nd was a terrible sleeper. it was so awful. they do evetally get there but it’s really.tough x

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