Sometimes it can be a real struggle to put your baby to sleep. It’s not always easy, but with the right techniques and patience, you’ll get there in no time! It can take a lot longer for some babies to sleep through the night than others, it varies from child to child.
You do not need to worry too much though if it seems that your baby is struggling with sleep – sometimes they will find their own routine within a few weeks.
We have put together a list of 11 reasons that may be the cause of your baby not sleeping, as well as some tips on how to cope. Raising a child is one of life’s biggest challenges, but it doesn’t mean that you should give up hope when things don’t quite go according to plan.
Why Is My Baby So Restless at Night?
So, if your baby is struggling with sleep at the moment, then keep reading for potential reasons why and how you can help your baby in the future!
1. Back-Sleeping Resistance
Some babies don’t like to sleep on their backs. In fact, it is much more comfortable for them to sleep on their tummies, however, this has a higher risk of SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and is not recommended.
2. Nocturnal Babies – Mixing Up Night and Day
A common problem with babies is that their routine gets mixed up, so they are not sleeping at night and then sleeping during the day. This of course is incredibly frustrating for both you and your baby, but there are ways you can help prevent this.
For example, limit the amount of time your baby spends sleeping during the day so that they are more likely to fall asleep at night. Alongside this, establish clear distinctions between the baby’s environment between night and day, for example, a dark room for nighttime with no distractions such as the TV or music.
3. Late-Night Feeds
Another reason why your baby might not be able to sleep could be due to late-night feeds. This is because when your baby wakes in the middle of the night, it can become very difficult to get them back to sleep again. Alongside this, your baby may have trouble sleeping due to digestion problems after the feed.
When it comes to getting your baby to sleep, one of the most important things you can do is keep them distracted. If you have a baby who is waking frequently in the middle of the night, try switching off all screens from whenever you have put your baby to bed. You should also make sure that any toys or objects which are being used by your baby are kept away from where they will be falling asleep.
5. Waking Up Too Early
One of the biggest reasons why babies don’t sleep well is because they wake up too early. This is because they are more likely to need sleep throughout the day, which means they’ll be less likely to feel tired at night when it is bedtime.
6. Change or Disruption in Routines
Babies need routine in order to develop. Sudden change or disruption in their usual routine may cause them confusion and affect their sleeping pattern. Babies should have a routine that will let them know when it is bedtime and time for sleeping. For example, they may associate baths with going to sleep, and without one they may not recognize that it is time for sleeping.
7. Dependent Sleeping
Some babies find it hard to go to sleep on their own, and therefore need someone else to help them. It’s normal for babies to want to cuddle and be held while they’re trying to sleep. However, you should try not to let your baby become reliant on sleeping with you because when you aren’t there, they may struggle to fall asleep.
Babies need to stay warm enough to regulate their temperature. If they are too hot or too cold they are going to struggle with falling asleep. Make sure that your baby is warm enough in their room.
9. Teething Pain
Many babies experience teething pain around 4 months old. This can lead to discomfort and crying, especially if they are overtired. Try to give your baby plenty of rest and comfort during these times. They may find it hard to sleep because they are in pain.
If your baby is ill, they may find it harder to sleep. Make sure you check over your baby regularly to ensure that they are comfortable and safe.
10. Gas and Burping
Sometimes babies just need to burp and/or pass gas before they can fall asleep. So, if your baby is having difficulty settling down, try burping them first.
11. Sleeping Crutch
Finally, some babies find it easier to fall asleep if they use something as a crutch. These include blankets, stuffed animals, dummies (pacifiers), etc. Make sure you remove anything like this from your baby’s room before putting them to bed so that they won’t rely on them for sleep.
How To Cope With Your Baby Not Sleeping
1. Don’t panic!
Most babies get through the night fine, but some do take longer than others. There is no reason to worry about your baby not sleeping.
2. Keep calm
If you start panicking, then your baby might pick up on your anxiety and become anxious themselves. Instead, try to remain calm and relaxed. A great trick to not keep going to see them when they cry or make other noises is to buy a baby monitor. To learn more about how baby monitors impact your baby’s sleep, take a look at our article specifically on this.
3. Take breaks
If you are finding it really difficult to cope with your baby not sleeping, then take a break whenever possible. Go out into the garden or somewhere quiet where you can sit and relax. You could even take a nap yourself. (Always leave your baby at home.)
4. Stay positive
If you are feeling stressed and worried about your baby not sleeping, keep reminding yourself that most babies eventually settle down. Also, make sure you talk to your partner, family members, and friends about how you feel.
5. Be patient
Remember that your baby has been learning how to sleep for many weeks now. Give them time and space to learn what works best for them.
6. Find support
Talk to other parents who have experienced similar problems. Ask for advice and guidance.
7. Get help
If you think that your baby needs more help than usual, contact your doctor or a health professional. They will be able to advise you on what steps to take next.
There are so many reasons why your baby is not sleeping – the above list is just a few of them! The most important thing to remember is not to put pressure on yourself and to keep calm.
Most babies will find a way of sleeping themselves and the issues will naturally go away as they grow up. If however, you feel as though there is something wrong, it may be worth taking your baby to the doctor to check up on them and make sure that everything is okay.
Remember, babies don’t always tell us when they’re tired or hungry, so it’s significant to pay attention to their cues so that you can provide them with what they need that should helpfully help them with a peaceful night of sleep.