It isn’t until a woman becomes a mother that she realizes just how much she took sleep for granted. Her whole life becomes revolved around sleep, how much sleep she is getting, and more importantly, how much sleep is she not getting. Babies come with little sleep, that is a given, but the reality doesn’t hit until mom and dad are in the middle of it.
Due to this, it is understandable why so many parents start to obsess. They ask all of their friends, and they search the entire Internet for little tricks to help their baby sleep longer. There really is only so much they can do, because newborns need to wake frequently to eat, but there are some things.
It is going to be a battle of trial and error because what works for one baby may not work for another. So, what mom’s friend suggest works like a charm may totally fall apart when it comes to her baby. Luckily, there are a lot of tricks out there to help.
A lot of the time, when a baby is having trouble sleeping it is because there is something making them uncomfortable. The puzzle is finding out what is wrong and fixing it the best way we know how. We have found 20 reasons that the baby may not be sleeping, and some tips on how to fix it.
20 Back To Sleep Isn’t So Comfortable
The ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign is an important one. Ever since moms were told to place their babies on their backs to sleep the number of SIDS cases has dramatically dropped. Putting the baby on their back on a firm and empty mattress is the safest way for them to sleep. Unfortunately, this is not always the most comfortable.
Some babies may not like sleeping on their back, and this could cause them some discomfort when it comes to falling asleep. Unfortunately, there is not much to do when it comes to this one because everyone wants babies to be safe. Just remember that all phases pass, and this will too.
19 A Hidden Tooth
As the baby gets older than can be another problem that gets in the way of sleep and that is the teeth popping through. Teething can be hard on a baby because this is probably their first experience with pain. It also tends to bother them more at night. During the day, there is a lot going on that can help distract them from the pain in their gums.
At night, it is harder for them to take their mind off it, and even harder for them to get comfortable. If you are able too, you can give your baby some meds to help throughout the night and let them chew on a cool teething toy for a bit before they go to bed for the night.
18 They Think It's Daytime
As adults, we are trained to know the difference between night and day. Our bodies are regulated, and they are trained to know when it is time to sleep for the night. Babies do not have that ability. They are born not knowing the difference between night and day. So, when mom is ready to crash for the night, the baby thinks it is daytime and is ready to play.
The best way to get around this is to make sure you are setting the right environment. During the day, keep the area well-lit and loud with all regular noises and activity. When night time comes, make sure to keep the lights dim and the activity at a low pace. This will help the baby to regulate their body to different times of the day.
17 Is There A Routine?
A bedtime routine is so important for babies and it can not be stated enough. Mom can also set up a routine from as soon as she brings the baby home from the hospital. A good routine can include a bath, a baby massage, a story, and some cuddles. Doing this at the same time each night can help little ones sleep better and longer.
That is because it will help send their body the signal to start releasing melatonin, which is the natural chemical that regulates sleep. Just make sure that the routine does not contain any of the sleep associations that we talked about earlier.
16 Pesky Regression
Sleep regressions are something that happens to a lot of babies out there, and they are dreaded by parents. They are best described as disruptions in your baby’s normal sleep pattern. So, a baby who was normally sleeping through the night may go through a period of getting up every couple of hours again. It can be frustrating and exhausting.
Babies go through this at about four, eight, and 12 months — though it can vary by baby to baby. These are developmental and it is simply because the baby is learning that the world is just too much fun and doesn’t want to miss out on anything. The best thing mom can do is ride it out and try and stick to the same routine as much as possible.
15 Watch The Toes!
This is one thing that has swarmed social media, and a lot of parents are already aware of. If your little one is extremely fussy and will not settle for the night, it is always a good idea to do a full body check to make sure nothing is there making them uncomfortable.
Make sure to check their toes. There could be a chance that a small string or even strand of hair could be wrapped around a toe. This can be hazardous because it can cut off the circulation and make the baby extremely uncomfortable. It is always a good idea to give your baby a good once over to make sure everything is alright. Also, periodically check the inside of their pajamas to make sure there are no loose strings.
14 They’re Hungry
This is the simplest explanation for why a baby won’t sleep at night, they are still hungry. Newborns wake up every few hours to eat, and that is because their stomach is so small that it will need to be filled up much more frequently. If the baby is breastfed, then this is even truer because breastmilk is digested much quicker than formula.
As the baby gets older, they may require less and less night feedings. Experts do say that by the time the baby is six months old that they should not require any night feedings anymore. However, this doesn’t mean that the baby won’t still demand one. Mom can try giving them an extra snack before bedtime if they are on solid foods to try and get a longer stretch of sleep.
13 No One Likes Change
The truth is, not a lot of people like and accept change very well. It disrupts their life. A lot of adults go on vacation and find that they don’t sleep like they did when they were at home. It is a different place, a different bed, and a whole different routine. This can be the same with babies. If there is a drastic change in the baby’s routine, it can throw off their sleeping.
Of course, there is no world where parents can make sure that every day is the same for the baby, but it is a good idea to try. It is important to try and keep daily life as routine as possible until the baby has somewhat of a regular schedule during the day.
12 Associations Are Important
This is something that a lot of us do that can make the baby uncomfortable, but we don’t even realize it. Sleep associations are what happens when a baby is used to being nursed or rocked to sleep. Anything the mom does to try and help the baby get to sleep can become an association which can be hard to break.
This is because when they wake in the middle of the night, they won’t be able to fall back asleep until the same conditions are met that were there before. That means they will cry for mom to come back in and rock them or nurse them. This can go on all night, and it can be exhausting.
11 Too Tired (Trust Us)
Sleep and logic don’t belong in the same sentence when we are talking about babies. Logically, we would think that the less sleep the baby gets during the day means that they will be extra tired at night and sleep really well. This is true for adults, and the more tired we are, the more we sleep. However, it is the exact opposite for babies.
When it comes to babies, sleep makes sleep. This means that the more they sleep during the day, the better they will sleep at night. If a baby gets overtired it is going to be almost impossible to make sure they have a good night’s sleep. An overtired baby will fight going to sleep at night and will often wake up very grumpy.
10 Too Stimulated!
We take the world around us for granted, and sometimes we have a hard time seeing it through the eyes of a little baby. This world is old news to us, but it is brand new to little eyes that are just getting used to seeing and experiencing. Everything is fascinating and new, and they are going to try and figure out how it all works.
This can cause them to get a little overstimulated and this can make it hard for them to fall asleep. The best way to get around this one is to allow your baby some time to just destress. Take them in a quiet and dimly lit room and let their little mind calm down so that it can settle for some good sleep.
9 Reflux Is A Pain
Of course, if there is ever a thought that there is a medical reason for your baby not sleeping it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor about it. Reflux is a common problem in babies, and it can make them quite uncomfortable. This is when the baby has a hard time expelling gas because their digestive system is so new.
There are some things you can do to try and help your baby. Making sure they are well burped, gripe water, and holding them upright after eating for some time to give the food time to settle. If your little one is still having trouble getting comfortable to sleep than it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about other things you can do.
8 They’re Feeling Too Warm...
Sometimes the fix is a simple one that we often overlook because it is so simple. It is important to make sure the baby is not too warm at night. Being overheated at night can make it almost impossible to sleep. When checking the temperature of your baby, always check the back of their neck or their abdomen. Their hands and feet will often feel cool to the touch, so they are not good indicators of temperature.
Make sure your baby is properly dressed for the temperature of the house. The rule of thumb has always been that they should be in one more layer than you wear to bed. Always make sure where they sleep is not near a vent where the heating comes out as that could affect how warm they are.
7 …Or Cold!
On the other side, we want to make sure the baby is not too cold. This is commonly a problem in the summertime because the houses have their air conditioner running. Much like with heat, if the baby sleeps too close to the vent then they could be getting the brunt of the air conditioner.
You can always adjust what the baby wears to bed if you can’t control the temperature of the house. Make sure they are dressed appropriately, and if they are young enough, swaddling can help them keep warm. When it comes to a newborn, doing skin-to-skin can help their body temperature regulate with moms.
6 Is It Too Loud? (Maybe)
Everyone fears a mom who has just put her baby down to sleep. It was a rough morning and the baby is finally napping. If you happen to drop something that wakes up that baby, you are in for a world of trouble. That means we tiptoe around in the hopes of not being too loud. Every baby is different, and some babies do fine in environments that are loud, and they can sleep through anything.
This is why it is important to make sure that you get to know your baby and what works for them. This may take a bit of trial and error but eventually, it will all fall into place.
5 Is It Too Quiet? (Probably)
A lot of adults can only sleep when it is absolutely quiet, and this means that they often think that everyone needs silence to sleep. This may be true for adults, but not for babies. The reason your little one may not be sleeping may be because it is too quiet. Newborns have a hard time adjusting to the world around them, and that is because they only knew the environment of the womb.
The womb was a loud place and the baby was constantly surrounded by the sound of mom’s heart beating, everything moving through the veins and mom’s constant voice. The silence can be frightening to them. This is why a white noise machine may be helpful to help a little baby sleep.
4 Wrap That Newborn Up!
Helping a newborn sleep is all about recreating the womb and making them feel as comfortable as possible. Another way you can do this is to swaddle. Swaddling a newborn is one of the best ways to make sure that they get some sleep. This again is directly related to life in the womb. Near the end of pregnancy, they did not have much room inside and they spent a lot of time all tucked together.
Being in this big, new world can be a little intimidating. They also have the Moro-reflex which can often startle them out of a deep sleep. Swaddling them can prevent this from happening and help them feel more secure and safe.
3 A Pesky Growth Spurt
Babies grow, and we want them to grow and thrive. Babies go through a lot of growth spurts in the first year of their life and this can have two different impacts. Some babies sleep a lot when they go through a growth spurt, but not all. Some babies have a hard time sleeping when they are growing.
A baby who is breastfed will often not sleep as much when they are going through a growth spurt. That is because they start cluster feeding. A breastfed baby cluster feeds for a few days before a growth spurt because they are trying to build the milk production. There is not much a mom can do to help her baby sleep during a growth spurt, they may just have to ride it out.
2 Could They Just Be Sick?
This one seems like a given, but sometimes it just needs to be said. It could be possible that the little one is not feeling well. This could be especially true if the baby used to sleep fine and is suddenly having a hard time sleeping. It is always important to make sure you are keeping an eye on any symptoms that your baby may be exhibiting.
Keep an eye on their temperature to watch for any fevers. If you suspect your little one may not be feeling well, it is always best to get them checked by their doctor. Your doctor will be able to tell you what you can do and what you can administer to help your little one feel better.
1 Itchy Fabrics?
Babies have very sensitive skin, and there is a possibility that they are having a hard time sleeping because of the fabric of their pajamas. It is important to make sure that the fabric they are wearing is one that works for their skin. This may mean that mom has to do some trial and error before finding the right fit. Material that is 100% cotton is usually pretty good for baby skin.
It is also important that you wash your baby’s clothes in appropriate laundry detergent. Sometimes, the fabric is fine but the detergent it was washed in can cause some irritants. Itchy skin is never something easy to deal with, and sleeping would be impossible.
References: whattoexpect.com, amotherfarfromhome.com