How to resettle a crying baby – respond without action.

There are many ways to help resettle a crying baby.
One way is to respond without action!
Respond without Action – what does this actually mean.
When you have a baby that’s not sleeping it can be very frustrating and not to mention exhausting.
Many babies need help to fall asleep and this is often by feeding, rocking or using white noise or all of the above.
Helping and teaching our babies to sleep more confidently is the key.
But the challenge is finding a solution that is both gentle, effective and works for the whole family.
Some mums will resort to CIO – Crying it out, while others are happy to feed and rock their babies to sleep.
There is no wrong or right way. However I don’t believe that many mums will not respond to their baby when in distress.
It’s always important to respond to a crying baby but it can make a difference to their sleep pattern when you realise how you are responding.
Is the way you are helping your baby sleep sustainably and also confidently mostly on their own or do they need you or other tools to help them fall asleep.
You see, sleep sustainability is key.

Babies cry for all sorts of reasons – not only for hunger

They may cry due to

– Tiredness
– Pain
– Overstimulation
– Wind
– Boredom

First of all it’s very important that you recognise your baby’s needs and also familiarise yourself with your baby’s cues.

A baby’s cues for hunger, tiredness, pain and wind are all exactly the same.

Check out my video here for more info

Baby Cues

Once you need to help your baby settle or resettle, it’s important to think what tools or actions you are using.

You can respond by action.

You can respond by sound.


You can respond by observing.

Let’s look at a baby waking from their nap too early.

You hear your baby waking. They are noisy, grumpy, sucking on their hands, yep even newborns suck can be frantically looking for their hands.

Many mums will quickly run in and pick baby up without a second thought.

This is most likely due to what they have heard.

Never leave a baby that is crying!!

While you would never leave a baby to cry and especially when in distress.

Always respond to your baby when they are crying BUT it’s how you respond that is the key

So here is the reason why its best to keep in mind these words

Respond without Action


Observe! Observe! Observe!

Yep before you physically pick your baby up, I want you to observe first.

Peak around the corner by the door, don’t let yourself be seen especially if your baby is over 4-5 weeks.  Older babies will recognise you very quickly and it will be harder to help them resettle.

The reason why I want you to observe first is because your baby may still be sleeping but transitioning from one sleep cycle to the next or just needs a little help to get get back to sleep. Resettling a baby that has already been picked up is unlikely to go back to sleep without intervention.

Babies have generally 2 sleep cycles.

These are REM and NON-REM both lasting between 20-30 mins.

REM– Rapid Eye Movement

Non REM – Non Rapid Eye Movement

Majority of babies, especially newborns, will cry when falling asleep or when transitioning from one sleep cycle to the next.
When they do this they are still asleep. Yes they will cry, make noise, suck on their hands and grizzle, all in their sleep.

When we hear our little ones wake or cry,  we insticntly want to pick them up.

If they are transitioning and need help to resettle, we may have stopped them from being able to fall back to sleep.

The intervention has prevented your baby to resettle. The action was a physical action without observation.
If the action becomes consistent, it will become the norm.

Hence why a lot of babies become 30 min nappers.

So here is what I want you to do next time you hear your baby.


S – Stop or Pause 

T – Think and take a deep breath ( how long has baby been asleep, could they they hungry, what time of day is it …..

O – Observe Observe Observe  

P – Plan and Proceed (decide what action you are going to take)


When we respond without thought, we may not have the result we want.


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