How to get your baby to sleep

Getting your baby to sleep is really quite simple.

Tired signs

Some people say look for tired signs but actually you should look for signs that they might be about to do tired signs. Before there are tired signs make sure you put your baby down to sleep. Immediately.
Try to connect telepathically to your child – ask them: Are you tired but not so tired that you’re showing tired signs?
Tired but not too tired signs are varied. They generally sound like cooing, screaming, crying, blowing raspberries, strong language, and singing R&B classics from the 90s.
Sometimes there is no sound.
Is baby biting their fist? Opening their mouth? Sticking out their tongue. Do they have a tongue? Are their eyes open? Are they closed? Did they blink? Did they move their body in any way? Did their foot twitch? Did they move their arm?
These are tired signs.
This means baby is tired.
You have a .36th of a second window to get your baby into their cot.

Sleeping environment

DO NOT LET THEM SLEEP IN YOUR BED OR ROOM OR THEY WILL NEVER LEAVE HOME. They’ll be 57 and you’ll be on your death bed but you won’t be actually in your death bed because they’ll be in your bed. You’ll be on the floor. Miserable, and not because you’re dying. Death will be a sweet release.
DO NOT LET THEM SLEEP IN THE BOUNCER. They will grow up to be one of those people who doesn’t stand up for old ladies on the bus. They’ll call you from London on their OE and say they just need to borrow $8k. And they’ll always forget your birthday and they won’t call till really late on Mother’s Day. They’ll borrow the car but never put petrol in it. You’re going to have to be buying their clothes when they’re 49. Is that what you want? All because you let them sleep in the bouncer.
DO NOT LET THEM SLEEP IN A MINI-CRIB OR MOSES BASKET PAST 39.7 days old. You will regret it. They will literally, literally, literally never sleep again and it will be your fault because you’re a terrible mother.
Let them sleep in the buggy if you want them to be held back in third grade and never be able to do basic arithmetic.
Get back to nature. Leave them in a tree.
The ideal sleep environment is Nanna’s house.

Sleep routine

Once they’re in the cot, hold your hand above them and kiss their forehead but not with too much affection. Kind of like if someone else’s child went to kiss you on the lips but you know they had a vomiting bug a few days before so you kind of dodge them while still letting them kiss you. Kiss your baby like that.
Take a step to the right, put your hands on your hips, and pull your knees in tight.
If they wake, pick them up. Then put them down. Then pick them up. Then put them down. Then pick them up. Then put them down. Then pick them up. Then put them down. Then pick them up. Then pick them up. WAIT! IF YOU COULD DO THAT, THAT MEANS YOU PUT THEM DOWN AGAIN. You’ve got to start over now.
Pick them up, put them down, then pick them up, down, up, put them down now. Pick them up.
Then put them down.
Do this for around 72 hours.
If your baby still isn’t sleeping, it’s likely they’re overstimulated. Remove all furniture including their cot from your house. Put in white carpet. Put white padding on the walls. Doesn’t that look better? Now you can sit in the corner and rock in peace.
Place baby in the centre of a pentagram and finish sacrificing your goat to the sleep Gods.
Baby is also understimulated. You need to get the sweet spot where they’re just stimulated. Pop up and down from behind the cot – if this terrifies baby, you’re overstimulating them. If they don’t scream, you’ve understimulated baby.
Rocking and shushing can help – rock your baby for around 22 hours. Then shush your baby. Try to shush every six seconds. If you shush every seven seconds you will have to repeat the process over again. Do this for around eight months.
Put them down awake but a bit asleep. Baby should have one eye open and one eye closed and one eye kind of half open and half closed so you’re not sure if they’re awake or asleep.

Feeding and weaning

Feed them to sleep.
Shoot breast milk across the room into their mouth. Make them beg for a bottle. Otherwise they’ll grow up soft.
Don’t spoil them with food. Food is not a necessity. It’s a luxury. A luxury your greedy baby can quite frankly do without.
Think about it – have you ever climbed into bed and then wanted a glass of water or a snack? Have you ever woken up during the night and wanted a sip of water? Been suddenly hungry? No, that has never, ever happened.
Use logic – is it more likely that your tiny baby is manipulating you and actually hates your guts and wants you to never sleep? Or are they maybe a bit thirsty?
Exactly, they’re all manipulating jerk babies that hate you and sleep.
Give them solids even if they’re six hours old. If it was good enough for a cave baby with a life expectancy of 17 it’s good enough for your baby.

Sleep aids

Use sleep drops or opium.
Swaddle your baby until they’re 22 minutes old. And then until they’re 4.92 months old. Swaddle them tightly enough that they feel like they’re trapped in a cold and cruel world, but not so tight that their circulation is cut off.
Only use muslin wraps. Clean the wraps with your bitter tears.
Put on some (Barry) White noise.
But remember, if you use white noise they’ll never be able to sleep without it ever and you’ve created a rod for your back and really you should have thought about that before you had children. Isn’t it a shame that you can’t do anything right when that other mum in your coffee group has a baby that actually asks her in three different languages to put him down for a sleep?
Your baby may settle when you cuddle them but this is just your baby being spiteful. When you’re not around they call their baby friends and laugh about you behind their back.
Check the temperature of the room. It’s probably too hot and too cold.
Get a night light, but never turn it on.

Now that you know how to get your baby to sleep – make sure you tell other mums how to get their babies to sleep. If yours sleeps, theirs should too. Because all babies are the same. Here are some helpful things you can say to mothers of babies about sleep:

“I slept through the night from birth”
“My child basically hasn’t woken up since I got home from the hospital”
“That’s interesting, my friend’s baby was like that and it turned out the baby had Horrible Disease with Awful Prognosis”
“Babies need sleep or else they won’t develop properly”
“I think babies need tough love”
“I don’t know why people become parents if they’re not willing to die or become severely ill from sleep deprivation”
“It’s actually easy to get babies to sleep, other mums just overthink it”
“My child sleeps TOO much! It’s a nightmare”

If none of these suit you – you could just randomly yell incoherently about “mums these days”.

Goodnight. See you in 45 minutes.


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91 Comments on “How to get your baby to sleep

    • So funny! Managed to read this at 4am and not to wake up the baby (whom I nursed back to sleep-I am doomed ?) with the giggles…I only woke up my husband whom got yet another confirmation his wife is a nutcase ?

  1. Alas, Grandma and Grandpa don’t always provide the ideal sleep environment. There have been a number of times in the past 21 months in which my daughter has given my in-laws a run for their money. But then again, that’s their problem :).

    • Totally their problem! The first time my oldest ever slept through was at nanna’s. 12 freakin hours. I basically considered moving in with her.

      • My little one is the same, only sleeps through the night at his grandparents house. And then they wonder why I struggle… 🙁

  2. Perfect.

    This one sleeps, our other one never did. I used to think it was somehow our fault, as if we’d done something wrong. But since we did exactly the same thing with this one, I have come to accept that it’s actually nothing to do with the parents at all.

    • Yep! I’d agree with that – it’s luck. The littliest only wakes four or five times a night. I don’t think my older one slept for two years!!

  3. Well thank you very much. I’ve just fed the baby to sleep and was happily cuddling him to make sure he was properly asleep before gently laying him in his cot when he woke. Was this because of his older brother screaming because he didn’t want to clean his teeth – no because he did them beautifully for once. Was it because his daddy went downstairs and started to crash around in the kitchen to tidy up – nope, fat chance of that happening. No, it’s all your fault! I couldn’t stop laughing at this post, absolutely spot on, as always!

    • Glad you enjoyed it. Sorry about the baby. I’m sure he will sleep again in a few months!

      • Straight back to sleep, unfortunately he lulled me into a false sense of security and decided that it would be fun to spend 3 hours hollering in the middle of the night. Joy.?

  4. I am actually crying with laughter! This is hilarious and spot on! Thanks for helping me to see the funny side of this crazy time 🙂

  5. Emily you are so funny,you nail it; my darling daughter is now 17 and as I read your words I am thrown back 17 years to Gettingthemtosleepville….Excellent
    P.S she slept in my bed till she was 8….turned out perfect and loves to give me a cuddle and pat my back…awwwwwwh x

    • That’s lovely Marnie! Hoping extra snuggles mean mine turn out lovely too! ?

  6. Thanks for sharing this – it made me laugh so much – like everyone else. You definitely have talent so keep writing. Good luck mama!

  7. SO, SO, funny!!! #6 baby here… every bit of it is true. Every.Bit. I’m currently shushing every 6 seconds.

  8. Ah the 45 minute tango. I remember that stage we all the fondness of a knife in the eye. That was pretty much how we passed the first 18 months or so. It got to the point I would just lie there, in silent, teeth clenching rage, so fucking riddled and shot through with adrenaline there was no hope of sleep.

    I lay there thinking awful thoughts about our child and then would be shot through with guilt and shame. I feel like a fucking ROCKSTAR nowadays cos sometimes we are only up twice, yup. Only twice. Put that in your pipe and smoke it “controlled crying swaddle your child co sleep put them on a cold mattress and let them self soothe brigade” Fuck you all cos you know what, if you have the time and brain power to wank on to me about these fucking sleeping techniques that are, like, amazing and meant your little one was sleeping through from, like, three days old, your kid is prooooobably a sleeper and you could throw any of those fucking useless “wonder” techniques at the kid and they’d fucking sleep.

    Cos they are a SLEEPER, if you actually had a kid that didn’t fucking sleep you would know that exhaustion, desperation and hysteria would mean ANY sleep and ANY way to sleep is acceptable.

    You both fall asleep slumped over in a chair with the kid hanging off your tit, good job, have a good sleep. You fall asleep on the floor next to your kids cot still holding bubs hand, good job, enjoy your sleep. You fall asleep on the toilet nursing, go team! You fall asleep upside down hanging over your kids cot, in the cot, in the bed next to the baby, on the couch on the floor. You are awesome because you are fucking sleeping. Enjoy your sleep.

    The ONLY acceptable answer to the halting, tear choked, exhausted admittance of “no they’re not sleeping through yet” is “do what the fuck you can to get a sleep” and “your doing great” followed by “you want me to take them so you can go get a fucking sleep?” Perhaps followed by “your kid is cute as fuck, your an AWESOME mum, your doing great” that my friends, is motherfucking all that needs said. (And compost any “sleep” books you have, highly satisfying.) ps. You’re a fucking awesome mum.

    • I literally dribbled on myself in a fit of laughter then used baby bib to mop up so many tears x thank you x

    • This reply Christine was almost as good as the article. I think I’m going to make ‘PS You’re a fucking awesome mum’ my mantra. Just had a week of crying everyday for at least two hours because my four month old won’t sleep and I felt like I was just doing everything wrong. I’ve decided to stop being so hard on myself. I’ve decided I’m a fucking awesome mum. Xxx

      • You are a fucking awesome mum. Repeat after me oh sleep deprived and sleep sorted alike. We are fucking aweeeeessssooommmeeeee mums.

    • This is spot on. Thank you. Thank you. My six week old is doing the 45 min dance at the moment. 18 months? You are the best mom ever.

    • Hahaha thanks Christine ❤️ I love it. I used the sleep books as kindling a while back! Thanks for your comment. You’re a fucking awesome mum! X

    • I made it through the whole article, but you have me laugh crying.

  9. Thanks for providing these useful tips. Children colic problem is a headache for the parents.

  10. Emily (I use your first name because I can see through the Internet we are kindred spirits)- you might be a genius!

  11. Gosh I love this so much I’ve read it 5 times! (With my babe in our bed being fed to sleep 🙂 )

  12. This is possibly the best thing that’s ever been written about modern mothering!lol I’ve spread it far and wide and had a massive response.

  13. Our baby sleeps all night. Always has done. In fact the first one did as well.
    No seriously. They did. One still does (she’s 12 weeks), the other until she was 1.5. Then Satan’s spawn dropped in for a visit for the next year. Now she sleeps again.
    A good read. Thanks.

  14. My niece, who is working on her first child, sent this to me. I so enjoyed it, I’ll have to pass it around.

  15. How did you get in my head?? My 3 1/2 yr old is still up almost every night once, sometimes twice. When she was younger she would always sleep through the night at her dad’s house. Pissed me right off. Happiest day ever was when her dad told me she was waking up all the time suddenly. HA you bastard now you know my hell!

  16. I just read this for the tenth time. It is amazing.

  17. I may not get much sleep, I may not have a textbook baby, I may be awake every 2 hours, but I get regular cuddles as a result with my gorgeous wee sleepaphobe…a bright side to everything (I guess!)

  18. This is the best thing that I have ever read in my entire life.

  19. Love this article so much! Read it 3 times already! V funny!

  20. This is the best post on babies and sleep. Ever. Am ACTUALLY PMSL (and I just don’t say that. Ever)

  21. Amazing!! Love love this post. Soooo funny and unfortunately too true!

  22. LOL thank you for the laugh…. This makes me feel sooo much better 🙂

  23. Best, funniest thing I have ever read!
    – mum to a 5 yr old and a 9 week old.

  24. I am so thankful for strong pelvic muscles right now, Could not stop laughing.
    Pure gold!

  25. I really enjoyed this article! It made my week! Shared it with my Mum who lives with us and had a good laugh reflecting on the last 3 months of baby. What an experience of heaven and hell it has been so far! Baby wakes up twice each night now and we are so glad to get more than a few hours sleep at a time!
    I agree with the comment that sometimes you want the Dad and grandparents to suffer the same lack-of-sleeping constant-rocking-and-shushing-hell that you are living in. My husband just goes to sleep in the spare room or grunts when baby wakes up!
    And grandma makes you feel 200% worse by saying everything she can and questioning everything to make you feel so inadequate that you’re not even sure how you’ve managed to stay sane! And when you try to answer she says “oh no no, don’t worry I was just saying”. I agree that I will now make “I’m a fucking awesome mum” my mantra. Thank you all for this article and all the wonderful comments.

  26. This is genius! Bloody hilarious and SPOT ON!!!!!!

  27. My baby just about managed to stay latched on while I cried with laughter, brilliant! It’s doing the rounds with the Nct crowds!

  28. Hahahahaha! Showed this to my husband who very appropriately decided to drop the dishes (we eat in our bedroom don’t ask why) at 2:30 am, one hour after I had fed our ‘manipulating jerk baby’ to sleep. Told him to grow a pair of boobs and feed baby to sleep. Hmph. On the same note read your other blog about people asking if baby sleeps through the night. I get asked this by everyone I meet. Gritted teeth and a smile that looks like a grimace gets me through that. Fudge you single people fudge you.

  29. Omg, this is so spot-on and hilarious. My baby is sleeping in my arms (don’t ask!) and I’m trying not to wake him with my (delirious) laughter. I wish I didn’t relate to so many of these points but I truly do… the joys! 😉

  30. This is B-r-i-l-l-i-a-n-t! It took me a couple of sentences to realise that it was taking the mickey… then, i just laughed the whole way through. Oh thank you. I will be sharing this article. I think that all my mommy friends need to read this. Hillarious!

  31. So funny. Couldn’t agree more. Why apply all those rules boundaries and limitations to a tiny baby. The baby is part of me, not it’s own separate being. My little Noah is four now and still breastfeeds and sleeps in my bed. He’s the centre of my world, especially since my husband left me last June. My elder son Alfy is now at school, and I refuse to give in to their tyranny (yep sleep bullies carry on throughout life!!). – I let him sleep WHEN HE WANTS. So, yeah – he gets into school at 11am, but Alfie is not a SLEEPER – never was, never will be. We watch movies in bed together and he drops off around 3am some nights and the school can get fucked if they think I’m going on a schedule after all my hard work. I can’t wait till he’s a teenager so I can see how all this freedom and closeness I’ve put it, expresses itself in creative genius. Baby’s rule. Literally. xx 🙂

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  33. Absolutely the best thing I’ve ever read EVER! I still can’t stop laughing! Thank you for brightening my day!!! 🙂

  34. My “babies” are 14 and 16 now, but this takes me back to those days. The scars never fade! The good news is they do sleep (eventually) and although now my 16 year old baby boy still does not want to go to sleep before midnight, I don’t actually have to stay up with him anymore, although getting him conscious before midday does take considerable effort! Great writing!

  35. Thanks for this article – never have I ever read something that made me laugh as much as this did. You did forget a very important piece about letting them crying for approximately 6.78 seconds, but return and shush, but dont you dare give any eye contact during any shushing because if you do then they know that they have won the crying game and will be doing fist pumps as soon as you exit the room.

  36. I so love this so much I laughed & I’m so god dam tired I need to laugh, baby it’s hard & It’s good to feel light hearted about lack of sleep. I’ve been in tears most days w 2 other kids & moving house soon! Just keep swimming la la la! Love that baby will call their baby friends & laugh behind your back, so funny. Thanks for the giggle!

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  38. This is just way too funny! I’ve googled so many times about how to get baby number 2 to sleep. He hasn’t slept since birth 3 months ago. I lucked out with number 1 as he just slept.
    All the other mums/moms/mams/mothers posts have amalgamated into something similar to this post. This has made me laugh so much that I almost feel glad to be in the ‘I can’t get my baby to sleep day or night’ club just so I can relate. But I’d like out of the club right about now please!

  39. Dear Emily,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. My friend shared it with me and I had to pass it on to so many Mama-friends. I actually cried with laughter; I was trying to read bits out to my husband but he got annoyed because I was snorting and silent laughing so much I couldn’t get the words out… I actually want to comment on every single one of your posts with praise and a commiseratey story of my own…I love your honesty and for the reminders that the expectations we often have as new parents, wherever they come from are usually total bollocks! Thanks for being a Mama who wants to support and build up other Mamas, and for not making me feel bad about the approximately fourteen thousand mistakes I have already made in my four month old son’s life…
    lots of love from the Mama of another Eddy ♡

  40. Thanks for this, it really made my day. I can relate to everything that you said, was considering buying a book how to get baby to sleep, but this is way better… lol. Made me realize not to be hard on myself coz my baby won’t sleep through the night.

  41. This is hilarious! So funny I was literally crying. This post found me in a key moment! Thanks!

  42. This was such an amazing read. Saved my sanity. Laughed out loud and forwarded it to all my mommy friends.

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  44. Laughed so hard woke my baby up from her nap. Damn it.


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  46. I had the biggest laugh reading this! Thank you so much xx

  47. This smacks of complete sleep deprivation.
    I relate!
    I haven’t slept for over five years. My eyeballs have been burning for so long, I’ve come to accept that they are just tiny balls of fire. Eyeballs of fire.
    Do what you have to do to get sleep. Hopefully not the put them down. Pick them up. Put them down. Pick them up thing. I co-slept because a little bit of sleep was better for me than no sleep at all. Soon I became awesome at whipping out my boobs half asleep and barely noticed. Yes, my kid is now two and a crappy, crappy sleeper still. But I kind of almost slept while she was a newborn and this still consoles me. I think about it dreamily on the nights she still cries in the night for a “booooooobeeeeeee” that she will never have ever.
    I never had sleep techniques. I had “holy crap, how the hell do I get through this alive, maybe chuck THIS at it!” techniques, and well… my children are both still alive. YAY! Bonus round!

    Good luck mummies!
    Long days, short years. Long nights, short years.
    ^^ survival mantra

  48. I am sitting on my couch desperately holding my pee in for the past 2 hours because my son is asleep on me and it’s the first time he has slept more than 20 minutes straight for the past 3 months.
    Then i read this.
    I think it is the first time i peed myself laughing.
    It was well worth it and i can always blame the leak on the baby.
    Thank you for the therapy, you are amazing and this blog should be sponsored by Medicare.

  49. my baby is 6 months next week and hes up every half an hour. its either the dummy fell out, or he wants breastmilk or he wants to play. I wish I knew what to do.

  50. OMG I read this quite a few months ago when our darling, genius, cutest thing on the planet (not actually the universe) wasn’t sleeping more than three hours in a row. Just came back to it now that she IS sleeping and found it just as funny.
    But I guess there is such a serious statement to be made about the ridiculous information out there about sleep and how we are all trying to live up to it. The staff at the sleep schools should read this. Maybe then they would pay for a babysitter and take you out for a bourbon and “whatever the hell else you need to take to stay sane” night.
    You’re a genius!

  51. OMG!! This is hands down the funniest blog I have ever read!! Seriously giggling like a mad woman trying to feed baby to sleep! Baby’s not appreciating it! Thanks for making my week! ???

  52. This is so great. Hilariously written. The only thing that got our #2 sleeping better was something that involved a lot of being exhausted, sore backs from dancing 9kg around a room for hours, us yelling at each other, my husband yelling at the baby to go to sleep, everything you’d definitely find in a sleep book for sure… Feels like a dream

  53. This is possibly the best baby related article I’ve ever read. So very funny! What you said was funny but I was mostly laughing at myself for following some of these stupid guidelines for parenting. And why do I keep reading these bullshit articles that only make me feel guilty and like a crap mum?! Thank you for making me laugh so hard!

  54. After the 1974 ECL storm I found a bus stop washed up on the shore. AFter allowing it to age until our first, Miki, came along. I fashioned it into a wonderful mallet. After my friends stopped me hitting the baby with it I eventually found it more effective to simply bonk my own head with the mallet. This effectively got me to sleep, but MIki just lay there, eyes wide open, with a smirk that said “why are you doing that Daddy?”
    “You look ever so silly”

  55. Hi Emily… I got the link to this article, and therein came across your blog. Great stuff! Love this post, awesome commenting policy and will be reading more of your blog for sure. Great to share our Motherhood Experiences – I share mine on
    Keep them coming!

  56. I found this article googling how to get my baby sleep – my 4mo who woke every hour last night.

    I laughed soooo much – thanks for making this sleep deprivation a little better lol

  57. My muffin man is waking now every morning before I leave for work , any other working moms experiencing this , I have a hard enough time leaving him anyway but now it’s double hard.

  58. Oh my god I love this. I am laughing so hard it hurts. Thank goodness my baby is finally sleeping. Though she sleeps in our bed. She will probably stay there until I die 😉

  59. I so love this so much I laughed & I’m so god dam tired I need to laugh, baby it’s hard & It’s good to feel light hearted about lack of sleep. I’ve been in tears most days w 2 other kids & moving house soon! Just keep swimming la la la! Love that baby will call their baby friends & laugh behind your back, so funny. Thanks for the giggle!

  60. I need to tell you this, although I am slightly afraid to admit it. I used to spin my babies. Like hold them snug and close then twirl. They can’t focus on anything so they go to sleep. You’re still in essence “rocking them to sleep” so still fucked technically speaking, according to the experts, but worked a treat when they were overstimulated.

  61. Have just discovered you through the whole Tarzan carry on, also an excellent piece. Tears streaming down my cheeks with laughter! I can laugh about it now 16 years later, at the time it was seriously NOT funny, and I would indeed have been washing my muslin wraps in bitter tears.

  62. I’m weeping with laughter. I Have 4 kids and my eldest is 10. I’ve been listening to mums for 10 Years and this sums the entire 10 years up.

    It’s been a hard week and I’m so grateful to you. You absolutely Rock.

  63. This is a great post Sophie,
    I just have a new baby, your post really help me so much.
    Thank for share !

  64. Thank god my friend sent this to me. I was a crying mess and I checked my phone and there it was. I cried with laughter so much I had to stuff baby flannels in my mouth to not wake my jerk baby up! Then I read it again. Thank you so much for writing about reality, the other information online just messes with your head at a really vulnerable time. I am going to read all your posts now x