Are you feeling like you want to throw in the towel when it comes to this thing called parenting at times because of the fact that your baby is not sleeping through the night?
Let me tell you right now that I can completely relate! When my son ( now a toddler ) was a newborn, I was in the same boat. ‘Get my baby to sleep though the night please God!’ I would pray! I was operating on fumes due to the fact that I had gotten no sleep because he didn’t sleep. I was an irritable mom without getting that rest that I needed and he was even more irritable- a baby that doesn’t sleep is a cranky baby! We made an explosive combination!
On top of that I wasn’t taking care of myself. When I say I wasn’t taking care of myself, I mean that I was neglecting to primp & pamper myself in ways that I normally & usually do to make myself feel clean, fresh and beautiful. Usually when my son would take his morning nap is when I take my shower and get myself ready for the day since I am a single mom and that is my only free “me” time I get. But being so sleep deprived, I would completely take advantage of my son being asleep and fall asleep right next to him, the ENTIRE nap! His naps were only 30 minutes to an hour so even though they were just teasers for me, I savored them so much like they were meant for me.
I was a hot mess due to the fact that I did not sleep because my baby didn’t. I tried to read a lot of books from the library but I ended up dozing off while reading. Tsk, typical. I even made the mistake of hiring a baby sleep consultant, and that was a waste of my money. I had a few nights randomly where my son just magically slept all night and silly me for thinking it was a miracle and going to last because by the next night, my son woke up 3 times and each time I had to rock him for 20 minutes and EVER, SO SOOOO SLOWLY… place him down in his bassinet. Ugh, how stressful.
I am not the kind of person to let my problems to just expand and affect me like that. So I did some research to find out what was the reason for my baby not sleeping properly. I am talking about hands on research as if my life depended on my sleep, because it really did. If I was so tired that I wasn’t 100% “there” if you were talking to me, then that needs to be addressed very seriously. After applying what I had learned, my little son started to sleep better and so did I! Needless to say, that things were a lot better! Let’s look into what these reasons could be which could be preventing your baby from getting a good night sleep as well.
This should not apply to newborns! But the fact of the matter is that if you put your baby to bed right after a feeding, chances are that your baby will not fall asleep for a while after having that feeding! First of all, think about how you would feel if you went to bed right after eating without having a chance to digest your food. You would be restless because of having a burst of energy from those calories that you consumed. Additionally, you wouldn’t feel too good if you went right to bed after a big meal. The same thing is happening with your baby!
If you have a one year old or a toddler who wants a snack before bed, that is okay, but make it a light snack. No juice. Juice is full of sugar and that is the last thing you want to give your little one before bedtime. Also, babies younger than one years old don’t need a snack before bed because during this period solid foods are “just for play” and for exploring.
When it comes to a feeding a newborn, their digestive systems are so small and as a result, they take in very little formula or breastmilk. As a result, they will sleep better after being fed. However, once the newborn begins to age, especially once the baby is between 10 to 12 weeks old- bedtime needs to happen at least an hour after the last feeding. This way, your infant will be up long enough to burn off that extra energy before bedtime rolls around.
A huge reason behind any baby not sleeping is due to the fact that he or she is dependent on being held or rocked to sleep. This was a big mistake I was making with my son and I wasn’t even aware of it until my pediatrician asked me about it. If your baby tends to only fall asleep during car rides, or in the swing, or while being rocked- and your baby screams his or her head off after being put into the crib or bassinet, then that explains the problem right there.
Once again, this does not apply to newborns. Newborns need to be rocked and held to sleep. However once the infant begins to age, then they need to learn to start sleeping independently. If you are still rocking your 3-month-old to sleep, and your baby will not sleep otherwise- then your infant has gotten very dependent on being rocked to sleep.
In order to reverse this, you simply will change things up a bit. You can rock your baby, but place your baby down in their crib or bassinet while they are DROWSY but not asleep. Oh sure, your baby is going to cry & might even yell or scream but as long as their needs are met ( diaper, fed, not too cold or too warm, etc ) it is okay to let them know that you love them but that its time to rest. Its OK to let your baby cry a little. It won’t damage them. That also means if your infant is only snoozing while being in the swing, then the swing must go! It is not helping the situation.
Have you heard of The Snoo? Its a Smart Sleeper bassinet that puts ANY baby to sleep. It comes at $1200 price tag but you can rent it from Happiest Baby for just dollars a day. Read my review of the The Snoo here
All babies need to nap during the day. However, the number of naps that infants need change with age. A newborn needs 16 to 17 hours of sleep a day, however, this will be broken up as newborns don’t sleep for very long stretches at a time. This means they don’t stay asleep for more than 2 to 4 hours at a time. I guess you should know by now that in terms of sleep training and “crying it out” are strategies are not appropriate for newborns. You should be able to go along with whenever they sleep and wake up without never allowing them to cry. Newborns must always be held or held as much as possible.
As the infant ages however, he or she will sleep for longer stretches in the night and fewer naps during the daytime. That means once the infant is from 6 to 8 weeks of age, he or she will sleep longer in the night and need about 4 naps during the day which may last for an hour long each. I believe that you should still remain open & flexible with your newborn up until they are 10 to 12 weeks old. Some people say you can start sleep training at 6 weeks but I believe that is way too young. Once the baby is 4 months of age, then they can start having one morning nap and then an afternoon nap. Unless the infant is sick, it is not necessary and even advisable for the baby to nap more often than that.
If your baby is over 4 months old and is napping more than 3 times a day for long stretches at a time, that will be the reason behind your baby not sleeping through the night!
At the same time, if your baby is not napping enough during the day, then that will also disrupt the sleep pattern at night! Contrary to what you may believe, an overtired baby is not an ideal canidate for a good nights sleep. That is what is guaranteed to make a really cranky baby! You definitely want to avoid this at all costs!
Nothing is more frustrating when your baby finally started to sleep through the night have a regression with that! In fact, it can be quite devastating because you are thrilled that your baby finally got his or her days and nights correctly, and now- the baby refuses to sleep! This, unfortunately, is a common issue for 3-month-olds, as well as for 8 or 9-month-olds, and again for when the baby turns a year old! Later on I will go into more detail about sleep regression in babies.
The reason this happens is that the baby becomes more aware of his or her surroundings at those ages and all of that stimulation during the day is exciting to them. Therefore, the last thing these babies who are making daily discoveries want to do is sleep. I went through that with my son and let me tell you, it was so unbelievably frustrating! As soon as I put him to bed he would whine and cry, and even scream because he did not want to give up on the excitement that was happening around him.
However, if this is the reason behind your 8-month old, or 12-month old baby not sleeping, there is good news because there is an easy way to solve this. Okay, maybe easy isn’t the right word because your baby will still resist, but there is a solution to this problem.
The solution is to always, no matter what, to stick to the bedtime routine! Make sure your baby is going to bed and taking their required naps at the same time each day. If your baby was put to bed not long after having a bath before and your baby fell asleep quickly after- then you keep doing what you are doing. Keep putting your baby to bed after bath time. Just be sure that your baby is getting the right amount of naps during the day as well.
Another tip for you as a parent is to hang in there and remember that sleep regression is temporary. Eventually, your baby will acclimate to his or her new developmental abilities, and the sleeping patterns will sort itself out again. You should always discuss your babies sleeping habits and new behaviors to your pediatrician.
When your babies are cutting their first teeth, that is such an exciting milestone! However, it is also an incredibly stressful time for both the babies experiencing the pain and the parents! If your baby is drooling excessively during the day, has trouble with being fed, is wanting to bite things and is very irritable- then your baby is definitely teething. That pain that your baby experiences during the day will surely wake him or her up in the night.
This is an unfortunate circumstance because everyone’s sleep will be disrupted for a while when the baby is woken up by teething pain in the night. Whatever you do, do not pick up the infant! Even though the baby is in pain and needs comforting, he or she cannot be picked up. Otherwise, your baby will expect you to always pick him or her up every time he or she fusses- even when the teething stage is calmer and that he or she is healthy.
You can offer your teething infant a teething ring, a lullaby, comforting words and some gentle pats on the back. But whatever you do, don’t pick up your baby in the night. Even after bringing comfort to your baby, if he or she is still crying you will have to leave the room and eventually the infant will settle down and go back to sleep.
Another thing you can do is consult your baby’s pediatrician and ask about offering your infant acetaminophen at bedtime if the teething pain is becoming unbearable at times. My pediatrician warned me against using Orajel, which a balm that you are supposed to rub on the gums of your baby to soothe teething pain but I was told that it was linked to a few cases of heart failure with babies. I am so glad that I told my doctor I had started using it on my son for a few days. Very scary! That is why you should ALWAYS discuss what you are giving your baby with your doctor.
Unfortunately, upheavals happen. For instance, the baby may become sick with a cold or an ear infection which will throw off the entire sleep schedule. Or mom may be returning to work which will disrupt the routine. Sometimes you will need to travel for a family event, or a new babysitter has been hired to help you out. Any of these scenarios will disrupt your baby’s life- and your baby’s sleep schedule is the first thing to be disrupted when any big change happens.
The only way to solve this problem is that you keep sticking to keeping the same bedtime routine intact. Be extra gentle with your baby because he or she is stressed but do not give in and start becoming lenient with bedtime rules and rituals. Whatever you do just stick to that bedtime routine and don’t change anything at all. Even if you are traveling somewhere, keep the same routine going the best way that you can. That means if you are at a hotel and there is a crib in the room that your baby is not familiar with- keep the routine the same as you do when you are at home.
That means again if you bathe your baby at home, and the sing some lullabies or read a story before bedtime, then do the same thing while you are out of town. Eventually, your baby will adapt to any kind of change and start sleeping through the night again. Just hang in there in the meantime as difficult as it can be for you.
Do you sleep better if you have a fan going in your room at night? And do you even use a fan for this purpose during the winter and just turn the fan towards the wall? That is because of the white noise from the fan helps you become drowsy and helps you get to the sleeping state which is also known as the Alpha State.
The best training program I personally recommend on helping get your baby to sleep is The Baby Sleep Miracle, by Mary-Anne Schuler, a pediatric psychologist and Baby Sleep Specialist. She talks about how to get any baby, with any type of temperament asleep! Yes, its true she has a tailored solution for even the most stubborn baby!
My son was a special case of sleepless nights. Not only was he stubborn but I had gotten into a routine of some bad habits which were addressed in this ebook. I was able to find the core issue of why my son was not sleeping throughout the night, and I nipped it in the bud! I learned what I was personally doing wrong and was able to get my son asleep within MINUTES.
Your baby is a unique little person, and they are going to take you on one big magical ride. That ride is going to include a lot of sleepless nights as your little one learns how to soothe themselves. You should always be flexible and never allow a newborn baby cry for long periods of time. It is always good to hold, cuddle and rock your baby as much as possible. Babies THRIVE on physical touch! However if you don’t let your baby become too dependent on being rocked or held to sleep, and if you don’t feed your baby right before bedtime – and you are mindful of the number of naps your infant takes during the day, your infant will sleep better. Those are the key reasons behind any baby not sleeping properly, and adding white noise in the picture will only solve that issue! Remember that this time will pass! So enjoy your baby because they will grow up very soon into young adults who will have their own milestones to discover.
Well I think I covered everything that I know of which is a common cause of your baby not being able to sleep at night. Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, just a mommy with a very big PARTY animal for a baby 🙂 He likes to jam jam instead of getting in his jam jams and going to sleep. How are you mommas doing with getting your babies to sleep at night and keeping them asleep? Which tactics do you use? How do you manage to get yourself rest as well? Do you sleep whenever baby sleeps or do you take turns with a partner? I am a single mama so I do it every night all by myself. It’s all good though 🙂 I manage well for a sleep deprived lady. Let me know in the comments below how you are holding up 🙂