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Get Your Baby Sleeping Through The Night, Finally!


Are you & your baby both tired, irritable and cranky from lack of sleep?

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 an online 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.

Baby Not Sleeping Due to Being Fed Close to Bedtime

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.

The Baby is too Dependent on Being Held or Rocked to Sleep

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.  For more information read this article on how to get your baby to sleep independently. 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.

Baby Not Sleeping Due to Too Many or Not Enough Naps the Day

All babies need to nap during the day. However, the number of naps that infants need change with age. For a comprehensive overview of babies sleep patterns from newborn to age five years old click here.  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!

Baby Not Sleeping Due to Regression

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 behabiors to your pediatrician.




Baby Not Sleeping Due to Teething Pain

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.




Disruption in Sleep Routine

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.

Consider Using White Noise to Help Your Baby Sleep at Night

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.

I can tell you right now that white noise helped my baby when he was a newborn to fall asleep within minutes and I highly recommend you give this a try as well! The product is called Instant Baby Sleep and you will want to read the review right here.

I am telling you that this solved the biggest sleeping problem that my son had! With such a simple but effective tool I was able to utilize it to get my son to sleep in MINUTES.

Your baby is 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.

This is a very special swaddle blanket from “The Ollie World” – when my son was a newborn I used this because it was snug, effective and kept my son so happy & peaceful! The best thing about this swaddle is that is fastens close so your baby can’t wiggle out of it. It totally keeps them encapsulated like a little bean. Check out this cool swaddle here:

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 🙂

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Excellent post! Many new mothers willl appreciate the knowledge. It’s indeed a pattern at every stage but most mothers are too exhausted to study this. That’s why experience of reading stuff like you’ve shared is really helpful.  Every parent has to pay close attention to how their babies cry. This will help yo determine whether to pick up or not to pick up the baby. White noise is a great idea I think it works like a charm. Fewer naps during the day is also key, I say play with your baby and stimulate them during the day as kuch as possible, then it will be easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep longer in the nights. 

Thanks for sharing!

I happen to come across your site Sophia, and i’m thrilled, really.

I am a young man who is preparing for the inevitable, i believe not only the mom should be involved, i should help too.

And with the information i have gotten already, i am sure many more will be back to learn more from the work going on here.

Thank you Sophia, and kind regards to Oliver.

Aww that is very sweet, thank you. I think you will be an excellent father as you are already stepping up to the plate! God bless you and your family.

I enjoyed your post very much, you did share most of the common issues which can keep your baby awake at night. Many times we drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out why our baby is not sleeping at night, I have learned from my past experience babies can get out of their sleeping routine very easily. My sons never took naps during the day despite how cranky they become, I found playing my guitar in the babies bedroom settled them down and really did help them to fall asleep. I do recommend parents trying music for insomnia babies, I found it was the only thing which helped my sons to go to sleep.

Thank you Jeff. I agree with you. My son is very hyper and he does not like to sit in his carseat for long car drives. I find that when I turn on the music he is more calmer, more happier and more content. I generally use a white noise machine when I put him down to sleep. I think that was a great idea for you play guitar for your babies… that is rather sweet actually. I am sure they have grown up to appreciate guitar music.

Hi Sophia,

Great article!

I remember that my children when they were babies used to not sleep at night, and this was because I was holding and breastfeeding them the whole day. Of course, the pains and other stuff were causing them not to sleep. Thankfully, they have grown up, and today they sleep their hours and in their bed. But my sister just gave birth a few months ago, and she is going crazy with her baby boy. She even hired a nurse to help her with the sleeping issue. She is exhausted! I will show her your article so she can already apply some of your suggestions. I am sure she will love your article!

Thank you for this excellent post!

Is the saying true, ‘No sleep until college’? LOL because my son is 15 months old and is going through a sleep regression. Just when I thought I nipped it in the bud too! Your poor sister, I so know what she is going through, and you know what? I also hired a nurse when my son was born to help me figure out how to manage him & his sleep. I bet she is exhausted lol. You might also want to share with her this article on white noise for babies because a white noise machine can be really, really helpful and useful when trying to put a newborn to sleep. Good luck!

You said that ‘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’.

However, wouldn’t this be damaging to your relationship with your baby? Letting babies cry to sleep is ignoring their emotional needs, which may hinder their emotional development, wouldn’t it be so? Or did I understand it in the wrong way?

USA today released this article saying that a study of 326 babies left to “cry it out” showed no sign of emotional impairment later on in their life. Harvard University also released this article saying that its OK to let your baby cry it out.  If your baby doesn’t appear to be sick, and if you’ve tried everything, and he or she is still upset, you should consider letting him cry it out. Crying won’t hurt your baby — and sometimes the only way to stop a crying spell is to let it run its course. Of course you should wait until your baby is 4 to 6 months old and ‘ready’ to be sleep trained. Of course, listening to your baby cry can be agonizing. But in the long run, your baby will learn how to self soothe and put themselves to sleep. As long as you are there to meet your babies need when they cry because they are hungry or have a wet diaper, then don’t worry about letting your baby cry when they need to go back to sleep on their own. Its okay to do, it will not hinder your babies emotional development, and you & your baby will benefit from doing so.

oh my gosh would someone just tell me exactly why my baby is not sleeping at night.

In fact my baby is not such a little baby anymore and we are about to welcome in a second real baby now. I’m hoping for a newborn that sleeps!

What would you recommend for babies who wake up at night repeatedly after 12 months?

Toddlers come with a whole new set of sleep problems. He might be waking up too early in the morning, or requires you to be next to him to fall asleep. HIs nap is probably getting shorter and just as you put him down to sleep in his bed, he pops back up again! You were probably expecting him to outgrow his sleep problems by now but it isn’t happening.. here are some reasons why your toddler could be still waking up at night:

1) Hunger – some toddlers still require one night feeding and that’s okay! My son is 15 months old and sometimes he still needs a bottle in the middle of the night. When I give it to him, he drinks it and goes right back to sleep for the rest of the night and that’s okay with me!

2) Wet / Leaky diaper – you can’t prevent a leaky diaper from waking your baby but you can invest in some high quality nighttime diapers

3) Too hot / too cold – try to avoid the urge to overdress your toddler at night because a too warm baby is a restless baby.

4) Sleep Regression – your child will go through about 5 sleep regressions in the first two years of life, for more about sleep in babies and toddlers click here.

5) Teething – your toddler might be teething and the pain is what keeps him awake. Baby tylenol works well for teething, but please first ask your pediatrician 

6) Napping too much – naps are good but if your toddler is napping too much it will interfere with his sleep at nighttime. 12 month old babies still need two naps a day: one at 9:00 and another one at 1:00. Both should be no more than an hour long. When your baby is 15 months he can transition to one nap. 

7) Overtiredness at bedtime – If you are thinking that keeping your child up later at bedtime will help him sleep better at night, you are wrong. Babies who go to bed late usually tend to be overtired at bedtime and wake up during the night. Try making your childs bedtime a little bit earileir to help with night waking that stems from overtiredness

8) Digestive issues- Gas reflux can be very uncomfortable for babies who will obviously wake up at night from the pain. Food allergies can be to blame. If that is the case, you might want to talk to your pediatrician about changing your toddlers diet.

9) Nightmares – this doesnt apply to babies but toddlers who are 12 months old and older are suseptible to nightmares.

10) Room is too bright or too noisy – You might want to consider getting some good drapes that keep out the light and investing in a white noise machine to help drown out other household sounds.

Any one or more of these reasons could be why your toddler is still waking up at night. I suggest you try to see if any of these issues apply and try to fix them before your new baby comes. Good luck to you and please come back and let us know how things are going with your toddler and new baby

Hi Sophia,
Gosh don’t you just wish the baby could tell you what the problem is. There are so many reasons why baby is not sleeping. Thank you for all this information.

I sure do wish my son would be able to use his words and speak to me and explain to me what he needs. In a year or two he will be talking but until then I guess I have to be a mind reader lol

Hi Sophia
I enjoyed this post because I can sympathize with many families that have a newborn in the house and are sleep deprived.It can lead to so many tense situations so there is some really good info here..thank you.

“This parenting thing is easy” said no mom, EVER. LOL, when you have a newborn, you have no sleep. It just comes with the territory. I am glad you found this information helpful 🙂 Thank you.

Hi Sophia, this is a really good post and you have provided a lot of really good information for people who have children that are not sleeping at night.

I have to say that my own children are really good sleepers and I have no problem with them not going to sleep at night. I do feel sorry though for people who go through the phase of their children not sleeping and crying and screaming when they are put to bed. It must really be draining on them.

I certainly know that if I hear of anyone who has these problems I will have no problem refering them to your site.

Hi Cheryl, thank you  really appreciate when seasoned parents appreciate and agree with what I write about here because it gives me validation that I make sense and am giving good information. As a mom of a baby who did a lot of crying and screaming at bedtime, I can say that it indeed was draining.. you hit the nail on the head with that one. I guess there are some parents that are just lucky to have naturally good sleepers.

Yes I agree having an new born baby who struggles to sleep at night is a MASSIVE problem for many new parents. Both my children were really poor sleepers. One was due to medical reasons though – he was born with enlarged adenoids that resulted in sleep apnoea that had to be dealt with medically. The other child was what you said – I think he was simply too Dependent on Being Held or Rocked to Sleep. I know that lots of kids are in this bucket as well. We did try the option on a radio playing in this room whilst he slept. We got mixed results really. I was just wondering what sorts of things did you try with your kids?

Sleep apnea in children is a scary thing. In cases like these, its necessary to have a breathing monitor. Playing a radio in your childs room is almost like playing white noise. It works because it drowns out all other sounds in the house. I use a white noise machine and make sure I put my son down for his naps and bedtime the same time every day / night. 

I would definitely have to try the white noise as I’ve exhausted all other options with my little niece. Sleep is important not just for her, but for the rest of us too. Fingers crossed this works!

I totally agree about the white noise! It’s a must around our house for my toddler and my infant. A big breakthrough for us was realizing not only did we want the baby to sleep but we also wanted the baby to be awake for more than 90 minutes at a time during the day. My first baby wanted to sleep 20 minutes of every hour all day long and was never awake long. When I started keeping her awake for longer stretches she also started sleeping more than 20 minutes at a time!

Sleep is a science with babies in that you have to get the timing just right or else their whole sleeping schedule will get thrown off. Its all with trial and error of course you have to ration everything. Babies generally need to sleep every 3 hours. After a 3 hour chunk, you can best believe your little one is ready to rest. Its just how babies biologically are wired. You live and you learn 😉

Hi Sophia, I love your article. The points you covered will be extremely helpful to many parents battling the “Sleeping Baby Issue”. I totally agree with your advice to not pick up the baby during the night. Picking up disrupts the routine. Having two older sisters, I was lucky to witness two opposing views and the effect it had on the babies.
Oldest sister turned the television down quiet and asked visitors to be very quiet.
My other sister took her babies to parties and they slept like logs.
Keep up the good work.
Dave

Hi Dave! You bring up a really good point. Isn’t that so interesting to see how the things that happen to us as children, affect us as adults!? So its important to make sure that you do your absolute best to make your baby has a comfortable childhood and safe in all ways. You do want them to grow up into well rounded individuals afterall 🙂 Thank you Dave!

In my case it proved to be too many naps. I was happy I had enough free time on my hand to cleanup around the house but I ended up having a lot of sleepless nights, I was a walking zombie. Now I can guarantee he’ll sleep for a full 4-hour section and I can get some shuteye. I’ve had a white noise machine in college but I never bought a second one after that but you’re right, it could help Atticus to fall asleep earlier.

Oh no, I know about that. I know how you feel! Because when your baby is sleeping during their nap you are on a momentum doing chores, work, catching up on things that require your full attention and you just need 10 more minutes, 4 more minutes, they are still asleep, oh let them sleep then! I always regret it later! A white noise machine is a absolute must in our home.

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