Is it Normal to Feel Guilty or Upset by a Crying Baby?


Sometimes parents of a wakeful baby become resentful, envying other parents whose child sleeps through the night and wondering what’s wrong with their own child. “Does everyone have easier babies?” Parents may blame themselves due to their situation, believing which they caused their baby’s wakefulness by being too attentive to his cries. “If only we had let him cry it out earlier, maybe we’d all be sleeping now.” There’s really no significance of doubt and self-blame.

Once you visit your child during the night, you give him a feeling of security and a feeling that his needs will consistently be met. When a baby is left to cry it out during the night, he gives up and cries himself back to sleep. It’s really okay to attend your child when he wakes up crying.

Parents of a wakeful baby need to know that they’re not alone. Many babies wake up through the night. Once parents understand this—that they’re not alone—they are able to alter their expectations about normal sleeping patterns and begin to feel better about their child’s behavior.

If you’re the parent of a wakeful baby, you’ll want to help him return to sleep as quickly as possible. First, try to meet up his needs by changing him, feeding him, or making him more comfortable. If he’s still wakeful, try soothing him with rocking or singing.

Sometimes mechanical, repetitive sounds are calming—the sound of the ocean; running water; the hum of a hair dryer, fan, or vacuum cleaner. You will find special sound machines, CDs, and toys that play the sounds of heartbeats; you could try one of these. Having him sleep with maybe you are less exhausting and frustrating than getting up repeatedly to comfort and feed him.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, try napping throughout the day or early evening, or going to bed early at night. And understand that, as exhausting as this can be, wakefulness will decrease as your child gets older.

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