Ask Kat: I Need Sleep!

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As the mum of three small boys, an expert in baby products and a no-nonsense parent, resident blogger Kat Armstrong always seems to be called upon by friends, family and strangers to answer tough parenting questions. We thought it was high time she shared this knowledge with you, and her series Ask Kat was born. If you have questions for Kat, you can email her at


Dear Kat,

How do other parents survive on no sleep? I feel like I’m going mad! Should I sleep train my 8 week old baby? When does it get better?

Robbie, Hamilton


Babies are so hard, aren’t they? Newborns were created to simply not sleep. They have tiny tummies and they are incredibly vulnerable to death because they can’t do anything for themselves. Night waking is a normal, natural part of infancy.

That being said, going from sleeping when and where you want to being forced to stay up all night every night is legitimately torture (sleep deprivation is a real thing!), and nothing can truly prepare you for life with a baby.

Your baby is still very young to sleep train in any way. Baby is waking at night for legitimate needs – could be a diaper change, could be hungry, could be reflux. Could also be colic, but we’ll leave that aside for now.

First of all, if your baby has a clean bum and is fed but is still crying at night, there could be another medical condition – take babe to the doc to rule out anything like reflux, which can be torturous for babies. If you’ve ruled that out, but baby is still cranky at night, she could be colicky. Sadly, there is no “cure” for colic. All babies eventually grow out of it, but it’s really frustrating. My third was colicky. He cried every. Single. Night. For six weeks. From 6pm-midnight. Nothing we would do would soothe him. Like every other colicky baby, he eventually grew out of it.

What I would strongly advise against is doing any sort of “training” this early with a wee babe. Babies wake at night for sound reasons. What I would recommend is that you allow someone else to help with baby at night. For example, if you are always getting up with her, stop! If you have a partner, ask that partner to get up at specific times and bottle feed, or soothe the baby. No partner? Ask a friend or family member to come by one night and help so you can get four to six hours of uninterrupted sleep. This is the “take care of you” part of mothering that we often forget. You’ll be no good to anyone (not even your baby!) if you aren’t at least somewhat rested.

And you’re not going to loose mom points by asking for help. In fact, you’ll gain some! Rest up!


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