Oh please help me!!! I am a walking zombie with NO sleep !

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Today I was delighted to appear on the ITV This Morning Show answering questions from a number of families around sleep.

Here is a typical question from a lovely Mum I met today – hope my answer helps you too . 

“Oh pleeeeeeasssee help me!!!

Our son is 18 months old and still does not fall asleep naturally and wakes during the night at least every 2 hours sometimes every 40 mins.

Needless to say my sleep deprivation has a huge impact on my life, relationship and general ability to function. Joshua had terrible colic at from around week 3 to 3 and half months, he’d only fall asleep by being giggled. Once the colic stopped Joshua had got used to motion lulling him to sleep which was the only thing that got him to sleep until around 9 months. After this Joshua would settle if I breast feed him.

We have a good routine of bath, story, keeping noise to a minimum but nothing gets him to sleep except breastfeeding. He then stirs lots and wants me to settle him. This has meant that in 18 months I have had 1 proper night out which was filled with worry as my fiancée doesn’t have the assets Joshua wants 🙂

Pleassssse help!! If you can help me it would change my life, my sons and my fiancée. Thank you for reading. I hope this has made sense as I am not even sure if I am awake let alone typing!

Best, very tired regards, Josie.

Hello Josie It sounds like little Joshua has got used to you helping him to fall asleep and you need now to change his routine and to teach him to fall asleep by himself as he should be sleeping through the night, but you are training him to think that he needs you to help him sleep.

So my advice is to change the bed time routine.

 Nurse him out in the living room or somewhere slightly different. Then bathe him, read a little story or sing a little song, cuddle and give him a cuddly – a favourite toy or blanket or a stuffed animal that your Joshua can now associate with bed time. Make it something he likes, because right now you are the “cuddly” that he associates with going to sleep.

There will likely be some crying these next few nights, but better to do it now than in a year or two when he is able to talk and walk and really make it difficult for you to train him into a new routine.

Also let go of the guilt you feel for when he had colic – as I completely understand as my own son had colic and I felt tremendously guilty about it but it’s keeping you and Joshua trapped in an exhausting routine.

Here are my tips:

Step 1) For a couple days nurse at nap time and bed time with the cuddly near you. Lay him down to sleep with it.

Step 2) Change your night time routine as described above. Only give him the cuddly to sleep with. When he wakes up, DON’T nurse him. Tell him he’s fine, give him the cuddly, smile, LOOK CONFIDENT and sound CONFIDENT and tell him to go to sleep. Expect some crying. But keep smiling and reassuring but DON’T GIVE IN! Just check on him periodically. This can be easier if your husband will go in, since he can’t nurse .

 Step 3) Keep positive, keep the bigger long term picture in your mind and DON’T pick him up out of the cot for a week. It’s all about being brave about the changes and being consistent and not sending him mixed messages while you stick with your new routine.


Let me know how you get on 🙂

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