What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent? Well, ask any parent, and they will likely all have a few different answers. Some will miss their old free time, some will feel stressed with all of the new tasks that come along with being responsible for another human being, and some will say that they just wish they could go out for a date night without the baby—or even get a few spare hours just to clean the house!
However, one answer will certainly be common amongst all new parents: every single new parent will be frustrated with their lack of sleep, and wonder how long it will take before their precious new child sleeps through the night on their own.
Sure, the timing will be different for every child. But it’s only natural for parents to wonder if there is anything else they can do during those first few months to get their baby to bed. It all depends on why their baby is still staying up and waking up at odd hours. Here are 20 reasons why the baby isn’t sleeping peacefully—along with a few simple solutions that might be a quick fix for the problem.
20 She Needs To Go To Bed Earlier
It’s true—most babies could actually benefit from an earlier bedtime, just like most adults! According to Wonder Baby, many new parents do not realize that babies might actually stay up and cry if they feel overtired—it seems backwards, but if they are already stressed and overtired by the time they are put in their crib, they might simply stay up and fuss instead of falling asleep! Putting a baby to bed an hour or even two hours earlier on a consistent basis could be the magic fix for this problem. Going to bed a little earlier is important!
19 He’s Getting Hungry
The good news is that most new parents are already familiar with this issue—according to Parenting Science, babies will wake up throughout the night every few hours simply because they need to eat very often. Therefore, when the baby is crying, checking to see if they are hungry is usually never a bad idea—unless, of course, they just ate and still won’t calm down. But if that isn’t the case, there is a good chance that their tummy is just grumbling, and they know the best way to get mom’s attention is by crying until she hears it.
18 She Just Started Teething
Every new parent dreads the teething stage—but if this is the reason that the baby is struggling to go to sleep, the good news is that it’s totally normal and healthy, and it will pass with time. According to Mom Junction, babies who are teething experience a lot of discomfort as those little teeth come in for the first time, and of course, they have no idea why they’re feeling that pain. It’s always smart to have teething toys on hand before this phase hits, which generally happens between four and six months—although it could happen earlier or later.
17 His Room Is A Little Too Quiet
This might seem a little backwards, but it’s true: according to Baby Center, some babies actually have trouble sleeping when the room is too quiet. It’s easy to think that babies need complete silence in order to fall asleep, but this is not always the case, and some babies definitely prefer to have a little background noise going on before they can head off to dreamland. What’s the solution to this issue? There are plenty of white noise machines on sale that are specifically made to help babies fall asleep with soothing sounds that will help to calm them down.
16 She’s Too Hot In Her Onesie
Nobody likes trying to sleep in a hot room—no matter how much you toss and turn, it just seems impossible to get comfortable. Well, adults aren’t the only ones that feel this way—the temperature in their room can affect how well a baby sleeps, too. According to Parenting Science, it is a very common for a baby to kick up a fuss night after night if their room is too hot. This is an especially common issue in the summer months, when temperatures begin to climb. Turning on the AC could be useful for keeping the baby comfortable.
15 He Just Needs Some Affection
Babies need a ton of skin to skin contact and physical affection from their parents. And according to Vital Record, it is totally normal for a baby to cry sometimes during the night simply because they feel like they need their parents in that moment. And of course, waking up and crying is the only real way that they can express that. If this is the case, some snuggles from mom or dad could comfort them after just a few minutes (or perhaps a bit longer). It is extremely important for babies to know that they are safe and secure.
14 She’s Feeling Gassy And Uncomfortable
Yes, babies need to eat very often when they are young because they are simply growing so fast—their little bodies are actually hard at work at all times! According to WebMD, all of these frequent and necessary feedings can absolutely make them a little bit gassy! It’s not their fault—their digestive systems are always busy. And naturally, feeling gassy can make them quite uncomfortable, which in turns makes them stay up at night and cry out to let mom and dad know that they’re not feeling so great. In this case, just burping the baby can work wonders!
13 He Needs His Diaper Changed
There’s no doubt that changing diapers is not a favorite activity for most parents. According to Today’s Parent, one of the first things that a parent can do when their baby is crying is check to see if they need to have their diaper changed. When a baby needs their diaper changed, they may start to cry a bit just out of discomfort, and when they are very young, this will definitely happen throughout the night. New parents figure out pretty early on that a quick diaper change could be the key to getting their baby to calm down and sleep.
12 She Is Overstimulated
Yes, there are many babies out there who actually feel quite content and happy in social situations, but there are others that simply find them way too overstimulating. According to Healthline, parents should be mindful of having company over too close to their baby’s bedtime—of course, sometimes it just can’t be helped, but if possible, the baby should have some time to just wind down with mom and dad before it’s time to get in their crib. Being overstimulated before bedtime can make it tough for them to sleep soundly because they will be all wound up from the activity.
11 He Doesn’t Have A Solid “Sleep Routine”
Many adults have routines that they go through before going to bed—they might do a little yoga, read a book for a bit, have a warm cup of tea, and then turn the lights out. Sometimes, it can be very helpful for new parents to come up with a soothing sleep routine for their baby. According to Mom Junction, finding a sleep routine that gets baby to calm down can be a great idea. These little routines will help the baby get into a rhythm, and each night as they get older, they will begin to recognize that it’s bedtime.
10 She Has A Sore Throat Or Ear Infection
No one likes to think of their baby being sick. When a baby is sick, all that a parent wants to do is somehow snap their fingers and make them feeling healthy and comfortable again. But according to WebMD, minor infections could be a reason that a baby isn’t sleeping, especially if it seems like they might be feeling some pain. For example, a baby with a sore throat or an ear infection will definitely not be sleeping soundly through the night. If a parent suspects that this is the case, it’s best to make an appointment with their pediatrician.
9 He Is Having A Growth Spurt
When someone hears the words “growth spurt,” they might think of teenagers—but babies actually go through growth spurts too! Yes, they may be tiny, but make no mistake, they are actually growing very fast, and according to WebMD, babies who are experiencing some “growing pains” are more likely to wake up crying during the night. If this is why a baby won’t sleep, there isn’t too much that a new parent can do, aside from comforting them when possible. After all, this is simply a normal part of growing up, and every baby will have to experience it at some point.
8 She’s Feeling Too Chilly
It’s clear that if a baby’s room is too hot, they may end up fussing and crying throughout the night—and if the room is too cold, they will probably act the same way. According to Parenting Science, it’s very important to understand that babies need to bundle up a bit more than adults do. For instance, babies generally need one more layer of clothing to feel comfortable, and this is especially true during those months when it starts to get a little colder, but it’s not time to turn the heat on yet. Babies need to stay warm and bundled!
7 He Is Getting Colicky
According to Baby Center, colic is a common problem that affects countless babies every year around the world. Thankfully, it is not a sign that something is seriously wrong, but yes, it is definitely frustrating for both the new parents and the baby. Colicky babies will often cry and cry throughout the night, and doctors are not entirely sure of the cause of colic just yet. Some think it could be related to digestive issues, while others think that it might be because the baby has a somewhat more sensitive nervous system, making them much more sensitive to stimuli.
6 She’s Having A “Wonder Week”
By the time the baby is a few months old, every new parent will be familiar with the concept of a “wonder week”—and they will be glad to put those weeks behind them! According to Wonder Baby, during certain weeks of a baby’s early development, the baby will go through some physical changes that make them more uncomfortable than usual, and this will make them more fussy and could cause them to wake up throughout the night. It is not super fun for the parents, but thankfully, it is not an indication of any serious problems or anything concerning.
5 The “Startle Reflex” Is Waking Him Up
Many new parents have not even heard of the “startle reflex,” and they may not realize that this could be a reason why their baby is crying during the night. According to Today’s Parent, the startle reflex is something that humans developed thousands and thousands of years ago—when a baby realizes their parents are not around, they will get startled and instinctively grab for them as a survival instinct. And when they do reach for mom and dad and see that they are not there, they will start crying to get their attention. It can definitely keep a baby up.
4 Her Circadian Rhythm Is Out Of Wack
Adults have certain “circadian rhythms” that keep them going to bed and waking up at certain times a day—generally, this means falling asleep a couple hours after sunset and waking up around sunrise. But according to Parenting Science, after a baby is born it can take a while for them to adjust to the normal circadian rhythm that people follow. In fact, they often think that daytime is actually nighttime, and will sleep more often during the day because of it—their circadian rhythm is generally totally the opposite of an adult’s during their first few weeks of life!
3 He Hasn’t Learned To “Self Soothe” Yet
Self soothing is a very important method that babies actually use to calm down. According to Mom Junction, young babies do not know how to self soothe yet—for instance, after a few months when a baby gets upset and wakes up during the night, they may “self soothe” by instinctively touching their own face and end up falling back asleep. But at first, babies will not know how to self soothe, and before they learn, they will basically need their parents to do all the soothing for them—so naturally, they are going to wake up and cry for mom and dad. Some people recommend gently running a tissue paper up and down the baby's face until he falls asleep.
2 It’s Too Early, And She’s Not Tired Yet
Yes, it is possible that a baby may find it difficult to sleep soundly because their bedtime is simply too late, and it is throwing their schedule all out of balance. But according to Today’s Parent, it is also possible that the parents may be putting their baby to bed a little too early, when they’ve still got some energy to get out of their system. So, what’s the moral of the story here? Figuring out whether a baby simply needs an earlier or later bedtime could be the key to getting them to fall asleep soundly during the night.
1 He Is Napping Too Late In The Afternoon
Who doesn’t love laying down for a nice snooze in the middle of the afternoon? Babies and young children always need their naps—they simply need way more sleep overall than adults do. Yes, naps are a necessity for babies, but according to WebMD, the timing of those naps is also important—if parents are putting their baby down for a nap too late in the afternoon, it could end up keeping them up at night. The same thing happens to adults when they nap too late in the day, so it only makes sense that it would happen to babies, too!