Colic: Reasonable Sleep Expectations

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If your baby has colic, you are faced with much difficulty for sleeping (among other things).


Know the Newborn Sleep Hierarchy and Apply It

Here is the link:


Read it. 


Believe it.


Apply it.


Do What it Takes to Get Baby Asleep

You have read the hierarchy. So now you know, the most important thing is that your baby sleeps when he should. This might very well be the only part of this list of goals that you can follow. And if your baby fights sleep like David fought Goliath, don’t stress it. Do what you can, but you can’t force a baby to sleep. Each baby is an individual. Find what works best for your baby to get sleep. Do you need a swing? Go for it. Do you need to sit and bounce your baby? That is fine. Do you need to offer a pacifier? No problem. Do you need to carry your baby in a front carrier? Then do so. 


Worry About Sleep Training When Colic is Over

Yes, I know, you want to start as you mean to go on. You are stressed out that these props needed to get your baby to sleep are going to ruin him forever.


They won’t.


Once colic is done, over, and behind you, you can worry about teaching your baby to sleep on his own. Before that, don’t stress. Colic is like your baby having a personality swap with some crazy thing. What your baby does to fall asleep during colic will not ruin your baby forever. 


That is it. As hard as it is, your primary expectation for sleep is to work on having baby sleep when he should. Do not stress yourself beyond that goal. You have enough to worry about.


Learn What Reasonable is For Your Baby

You can definitely get some great insight from parents who have been there and done that, but you will have to tailor your expectations to your child. Figure out what “reasonable” is for your baby.  Go with that and don’t feel guilty about it.


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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Amy
    November 10, 2014 / 9:18 PM

    New research is showing that colic and tongue/&for lip ties are sometimes connected. May be worth it to check out…with the caveat that many providers aren't trained yet to see the connection, so you may need to do some serious checking and rechecking. There are some awesome people in Denver who know their stuff…

    • Valerie Plowman
      November 14, 2014 / 11:11 PM

      Great point Amy. I had a friend do a guest post on this blog on tongue/lip tie recently. It is a great resource for anyone wanting to look into it more!

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