5 Tips For When Your Baby Won't Sleep

5 Tips For When Your Baby Won't Sleep

Last update: 26 January, 2018

We’ve put together some expert recommendations for parents to try when their baby won’t sleep.

Some babies have no trouble sleeping at all. Even without being put to bed, they will nod off all on their own. But things aren’t always this easy. Some babies have difficulty getting the sleep they need.

Looking after a baby who can’t get to sleep can be frustrating and exhausting. There may be multiple reasons why a baby won’t sleep.

One thing is for sure, however: it’s not that they don’t want to sleep. If your baby won’t sleep, it’s because they can’t sleep. Most of the time, they are just as exhausted as we are.

Lack of sleep is one of the most common concerns for parents of a newborn. It’s hard enough for parents to get enough rest. We already have plenty of things to worry about, without the baby waking up again and again during the night.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that we can’t expect babies to adapt to our sleep patterns from one day to the next.

Tips to help when your baby won’t sleep

The author of the book “Gentle Sleep Solutions”, Andrea Grace, claims that it is possible to teach babies to sleep.

Grace offers some recommendations to help when your baby won’t sleep. We’ll take a look at these below.

Understand that their sleep is different from yours

what to do when your baby won't sleep

As babies grow, they begin to adapt to our routines. In the first few days, however, their way of sleeping and getting to sleep is very different from that of adults.

For example, adults usually avoid long naps during the day, or they have trouble sleeping at night. For babies, however, this is very different.

Daytime naps can be very beneficial for babies and children. Andrea Grace explains that, depending on your child’s age, you should make sure they get a few hours’ sleep during the day. This may even help them to get to sleep at night.

Before adopting a routine, however, it’s a good idea to observe your baby. Every child is different, and their habits change as they grow older.

Longer naps in the daytime can help some children to sleep at night, but things may be different for your baby.

The solution may be to let your child take a nap in the morning, or early in the afternoon. By bedtime, they should be tired, but not exhausted.

And of course, your baby won’t sleep at night if they’ve just woken up from a nap.

Let them go to sleep in their crib

Not all parents will agree with this point. But we are not talking about putting them in another room, just in their own bed.

It might seem heartless, but no harm will come to your child in their crib. That’s why you bought it, right? Avoid letting your child go to sleep in your arms.

“If they fall asleep in your arms and wake up somewhere else, this can alarm them”

-Andrea Grace

If we want to avoid our child waking up suddenly during the night, it’s best to avoid these shocks. When they fall asleep next to us and we move them while they are asleep, they will wake up confused and insecure.

It’s normal to wake up a few times during the night, but not to wake up stressed.

The expert also explains that singing or reading a story can sometimes distract children from going to sleep. Watch your child, and see if they seem more active when we interact with them in this way.

Songs and stories may work for some children, while for others, they can actually prevent sleep.

If they are crying, go to them

help your child sleep better

Although it is less common nowadays, some parents still believe in letting children cry themselves back to sleep. Grace says that this is unnecessary, as well as painful and difficult for most parents to keep up.

If your baby is crying, it’s because something is wrong, so don’t leave them alone. A little sob or whimper may be nothing, but if your baby is crying inconsolably, go to them. Sensing your presence will help calm them down.

We don’t want our child to suffer. However, we also want to avoid nighttime tantrums turning into a habit. So, go to your baby, but let them try to calm down on their own unless they are really howling in anguish.

Assess whether co-sleeping is working for all of you

Whether or not you let your baby sleep in your bed is a personal decision. However, it can sometimes be best to check whether your decision is helping your child to sleep.

Perhaps your own sleep habits may be affecting your baby, if they sleep in bed with you. For example, if you or your partner needs to get up early, it may be difficult for your baby to continue sleeping without you.

The specialist also advises against bringing your child to sleep in your bed when they wake up at night. Responding in this way can stimulate them to do it again. When children are involved, it’s important to be consistent.

When your baby won’t sleep, the most important thing is patience. Be loving, but be firm in applying your strategy. The best recommendation is to make changes, see what works, ask for help from experts and other parents.

There’s no need to give up. With a little effort, your baby will be able to sleep better – and so will you.



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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.