Is your baby driving you crazy because you aren’t getting any sleep? If you’re at your wits’ end, then keep reading because you’ll find some handy advice that helps your baby AND yourself get some well-deserved sleep.
All new mothers and parents know this feeling. What feeling? The feeling of not being able to get to sleep because all you can hear is endless crying. I was sleep deprived, exhausted, and irritable. It was honestly to be expected because why would I assume I could sleep if my daughter wasn’t sleeping. Not only was I extremely tired and frustrated, my daughter wasn’t sleeping either! She wasn’t a happy camper either! The same can be said for my husband. We were all cranky!
Above all else, it was taking its toll on me. I actually thought I was losing myself and my own sanity. I wasn’t doing the things that I used to and I was cutting corners because I didn’t have the energy to do the things that I normally did. This included putting on my makeup, eating healthy, exercising, etc. Children take up so much time out of the day, and I’m sure all of you parents out there can agree with me on that. You don’t get much free time ever with a child in your life. Since I was so tired, I’d use my daughter’s naps as an opportunity to take one myself. I really needed it and I felt like I was taking advantage of her. Her naps were brief so they weren’t even what I fully required, but I savored them like a hot, juicy filet Mignon.
I was slowly losing myself because I was so tired. I was exhausted as a direct result of my baby not sleeping. I tried looking around online and reading books on what I could do, but nothing was helping. I even made the stupid mistake of hiring a baby sleep consultant. Let’s just say that didn’t go so well. It was a waste of time and money. There were a few nights where I thought everything was okay because my daughter actually slept wonderfully. Sadly, that was short-lived. She kept waking up over and over and over and over and I couldn’t do anything about it. Or so I thought…
I’m not one to let things blow up and get the best of me. At least that’s what I initially thought. Regardless, I kept looking and looking for reasons why my daughter wasn’t sleeping. I put in so much time and effort as if my life was on the line, because in a sense, my mental and physical well-being was at stake. I’m going to go over what I learned, and what helped my daughter sleep better.
Let’s examine a few reasons why your baby isn’t getting a good night of sleep and what you can do about it.
This shouldn’t apply to newborns! However, if you put your baby to sleep soon after a feeding, chances are that they probably won’t fall sleep for a while after. Let’s think about it this way: do we go to sleep right after eating a larger meal most of the time? The answer is no. Your body is still trying to burn calories that you consumed and you’d probably have a tough time falling asleep. Also, I would certainly feel better if I waited for them to sleep after being fed to rule out any digestive or other issues related to the meal.
If you do happen to have a one-year-old or a toddler who wants to snack on something before bed, make sure that it’s just a light snack. Nothing too heavy, and no juice. Juice is loaded with sugar and you definitely don’t want to give your little one excessive amounts of sugar before bedtime. Babies less than one year old don’t need a snack before they go to bed because at their age, they aren’t quite at the level of eating solid foods yet, especially not for snacks.
When it comes to newborns, because their digestive systems are so tiny, they require very little breast milk/formula. Because of this, they will typically sleep better after they’ve been fed. However, once they start to grow older, bedtime should be at least an hour after the last feeding when they are between 10 to 12 weeks old. This way, they won’t be too hungry and will have burned off most of whatever they ate before bedtime.
One of the biggest reasons why some babies don’t fall sleep is due to the simple fact that they depend on you to rock them to sleep. If you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. This is a huge mistake I made with my daughter and I didn’t even realize until my pediatrician asked me about it. Maybe your baby tends to fall asleep while in the car, or while being rocked. Maybe they scream or cry immediately after being put in the crib. If this sounds familiar to you, then I think you found the problem.
Remember that this doesn’t apply to newborns. Newborns actually do need to be held and rocked to sleep. Although, it’s important to note that they need to start learning how to sleep independently at some point. Let’s say you’re still rocking your three-month-old to sleep. Maybe they have a hard time sleeping unless you rock them. This is a perfect example of them being too dependent on you to rock them so they can sleep.
Here’s what you can do about it – simply mix things up a little. You can still rock your baby to help them sleep, but do not rock them until they are sleeping. Rock them until they are really tired but not yet asleep. Then, put them down in their crib. Of course, you should expect them to cry and scream and so on, but it’s okay to let them know through a diaper change/feeding/making sure they’re comfortable that it’s time to go to sleep. It’s okay to let them cry a little bit. It’s not going to permanently hurt them.
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All babies need naps during the day. That’s a fact. However, it’s important to note that the amount of naps that infants need vary with age. Newborn needs about roughly 16 hours of sleep a day. Although, this will vary also as newborns don’t sleep that long for periods of time. They typically don’t stay asleep for more than 2 to 4 hours at once. I’m sure you’re very familiar with that though. Sleep training and crying it out aren’t very effective for newborns. Typically, you are going to be holding your newborns almost always or as much as possible.
As they grow up, they will start to sleep for longer periods of time during the night and take fewer naps during the day. This means that once they are about 6 to 8 weeks old, they will sleep longer throughout the night and take around four naps during the day which should be roughly about an hour each. I believe that it’s important to still be flexible with your newborns until they’re 10 to 12 weeks old. Some are late bloomers. Yes, some people say that you can begin sleep training at around six weeks old, but I still think that is too young for most newborns. Once they are about four months old, then they can start having a morning and afternoon nap. Unless your infant is sick, it’s not necessary or even advised for them to nap more often than that.
If your baby is more than four months old yet they are napping greater than three times a day for long periods of time, then this could potentially be the reason why your baby is not sleeping throughout the night.
Although, if your baby isn’t napping enough during the day, then their sleep pattern will also be disrupted at night. You might think that if they are overtired, that having them sleep late at night will be good for them and they’ll sleep long and you just might finally get some sleep yourself! Sadly, this is incorrect. This will make them very cranky. Really try to avoid this if you can!
Nothing is more frustrating than when your baby sleeps through the night, yet the following night doesn’t. It’s frankly devastating, since you’re finally filled with joy that your baby finally got to sleep one night, yet now refuses to sleep through the next. Unfortunately, this issue is commonly found in 3-month olds and even 8-month olds. Some even experience regression again when they’re 1 year old. Let’s try to understand why sleep regression happens.
Sleep regression happens if the baby becomes more aware of their surroundings and if they’re overstimulated during the day. If they keep discovering new things throughout the day, then they definitely won’t want to sleep. I went through the same thing with my daughter and it was so frustrating. As soon as I put her to sleep, she would cry and whine, and sometimes scream because she was so excited from the daily things she was discovering around her bright and brand-new world.
Despite all of the above mentioned, there’s good news parents! There is a solution. It may not be easy to do accomplish, but there is indeed a solution.
One thing that can sometimes slip our minds is bedtime routine. Maybe one day we come home late and don’t get to do what we normally plan to do, and it ends up taking much more time than originally thought. Make sure they are going to bed and taking their required naps at roughly the same time each day. I know this isn’t easy to pull off, but you will be thankful if you do follow with it and are consistent. Let’s say your baby falls asleep quickly after a bath. You should be consistent with this and keep it up because it’s something that you know works in your routine. Just make sure that they are getting the correct amount of naps during the day too.
Another suggestion I can offer is to remember that it’s not easy and to simply hang in there. Remember that this is all temporary, including sleep regression. Eventually, and over time, your baby will get accustomed to their new environment and will begin to sort out the sleeping patterns by themselves. If you have any other questions or concerns, make sure you talk to your pediatrician about babies and their sleeping habits and new behaviors.
Teething can be very painful and stressful for the babies who are experiencing new teeth coming in. Their pain adds to your stress during this time. Some signs of teething include – if they are drooling excessively during the day, having difficulty being fed, wants to bite things, or are irritable. All these things mean that your baby is likely teething and that this pain will definitely wake them up during the night, especially if it’s bothering them during the day.
This is quite the unfortunate truth because everyone’s sleep is going to take a hit due to them being woken up from teething pain during the night. Don’t pick your baby up even if you think that it’ll help. Even though they’re in pain and do need comforting, if you keep picking them up, they will expect you to always pick them up every time they are in pain or irritable. This is another headache that can be added on to the endless list of parenting and this will cause you headaches because they will want you to pick them up, even when they aren’t teething or are healthy.
You can give them a teething ring, comforting words, a lullaby, or gentle pats on the back. But don’t pick them up during the night. Even after you’ve comforted them and they’re still crying, you’re going to need to leave the room and hopefully/eventually they will settle down to go back to sleep. I know this can be immensely difficult because all you want to do is help, but sometimes the best thing you can do in this situation is to leave them be.
If you are not sure or don’t think the situation is improving, you can ask your pediatrician about giving your child Tylenol at bedtime if the teething pain is becoming unbearable. Your pediatricians are there to help, so remember to ask as many questions as possible. If you aren’t sure about anything, you can always ask your pediatrician about any advice with your baby.
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you can’t make a sleep routine completely consistent. External factors come into play eventually and things like a sickness or something else you can’t control like an infection could disrupt their routine. This also includes travel, or, maybe even a new babysitter. Any of these things could possibly cause a change in your baby’s sleep routine.
While it is important to note that you can’t be consistent 100% of the time, the best way to address this roadblock is to keep being as consistent as possible. Even if your routine was changed or disrupted for a day or two or even more, just try to get back on track as soon as you can and resume your original sleep schedule. In short, your goal is to get back on track ASAP to the best of your abilities.
Even if you’re away or traveling, try to match your bedtime routine as close as possible to your original one at home. Eventually, your baby will begin to associate these things and will begin to fall sleep through the night again. While this may not happen initially, as long as you’re consistent, they should start to fall back asleep through the night.
If you’ve ever used something like a fan to help yourself fall sleep at night, then you’ve used white noise. White noise can even help babies stay asleep. This can be anything from a fan to a certain sound. Anything that is low sounding but constant and consistent could be considered white noise. White noise has been known to help various people fall sleep, and this includes babies as well. Give it a try!
Babies are cute, unique, and amazing little humans who will bring you on the most memorable ride of your life. However, the journey there could include countless sleepless nights as they learn to soothe themselves to sleep over time. Always try to be flexible, and if your newborn is crying for long periods of time, then you know something is wrong. Always try to cuddle, hug, and rock your baby as much as you can. They are only babies for once in their lives, and your lifetime too! Babies love physical touch so much! I can’t say that enough, but, don’t let them become too dependent on being rocked or held to sleep. If you’ve been reading this page and my other ones, then you know that it’s not good to let them become too dependent on you or else you’ll have a hard time getting them to sleep. Remember to not feed them before bed either. Also, be mindful of the number of naps that they take during the day. If you do, you’ll be taking every proper step possible to ensure that your baby will definitely sleep better. These are some of the main reasons behind any baby not sleeping properly. Remember that there are countless things you could try differently to get them to sleep and my goal is to share them all with you so that you can enjoy a good night’s sleep that each and all of you deserve! Remember that they won’t be babies forever and to enjoy the time that you have with them as much as possible. They’ll be grown-up before you know it, so cherish each second!
In this post, we covered a good part of what causes your baby not to be able to sleep at night. Also, use common sense. I’m not a doctor, so take my advice carefully. That said, I do have experience and education in this field, but if you have any questions at all, remember that pediatricians are there to answer them.
Did you find any of this helpful? Maybe we can get some parents to share their own tactics and secrets. Are there any secrets or tricks that you aren’t aware of? Are there any that you think will help other parents out that you or your partner learned? Let me know! I absolutely love hearing other parents’ stories and experiences! Hearing them totally makes my day!