Why Do Babies Fight Sleep?

When Begging Isn’t Working

You knew sleep deprivation was a definite possibility when you embarked on the motherhood journey. But now that you’re living it, you know firsthand how difficult it can be to run on empty for days, weeks or even months. Figuring out why this little person won’t sleep may seem like one of life’s great mysteries, but there are a few things you can do to help the problem.

Why Won’t You Sleep?

Sleeping newborn

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Unfortunately, there are many possible reasons why your baby isn’t sleeping. On the flip side, some could be quick fixes. Two things to consider are whether your baby is hungry or needs a diaper change. If either or both of these are the case, try to keep the room quiet and dim as you tend to your baby’s needs. The goal is to get her settled back into her crib, and lots of talking and bright lights can make that difficult.

Your baby could also be waking up because she’s too hot or too cold. Just like we need to be a comfortable temperature to sleep, so does your little one. You also have to consider if your baby simply isn’t tired. Does she have her days and nights reversed? Is a long nap late in the day messing with her nighttime routine? Put some thought into her current sleep schedule and determine if it needs tweaking so she’s tired at bedtime.

Also, some babies may have difficulty falling asleep if they’re feeling overstimulated. Playtime and giggles are fun but may put your baby into an alert state that’s not conducive to sleeping. Your baby may also just really want to be with you and has figured out that when she cries, you’ll come back. Lastly, if your little one is sick, she may understandably have a difficult time sleeping.

Help is on the Way

Rest assured, there are things you can try to help your baby sleep better. Create a bedtime routine centered around calming activities. This could include a bath and story time followed by some cuddles in dim lights using a soft voice. With consistency, your baby can begin learning that this is the routine that leads to bedtime.

Try putting your baby down drowsy, not completely asleep, so she can learn to fall asleep on her own. Also, keep in mind that some babies are noisy sleepers! Your little one may cry out or make other noises as she drifts off to sleep. Don’t rush in right away in case you’re not needed. You can also consider whether your baby would benefit from a pacifier. Some moms choose to use one to help their baby self-soothe.

If you’re still not getting anywhere, you may decide to enlist the support of a sleep specialist. This is an expert who can help you set up nap and bedtime schedules as well as other routines to help your baby sleep more successfully.

Coping With Your Own Sleep Deprivation

Sleeping newborn

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Caring for a new baby can be exhausting and when you’re low on sleep, it can make a challenging situation even more difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Can your partner help with nighttime feedings? Is there a friend or family member who will watch your baby for an hour while you take a nap? You can also take advantage of other offers for support such as help with household chores.

And you’ve probably had someone tell you, when the baby sleeps, you sleep too. This is good advice but it means you have to let other things go so you can nap. The house might not be clean and the laundry might be piling up, but it can wait. Don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself. Finally, know that your baby’s sleep challenges won’t last forever. Yes, she may go through many phases but some of those will be great, like when she sleeps through the night for the first time. Hang in there.