What To Do When Your Baby Won’t Sleep
If your baby won’t sleep, you may be exhausted trying to find a remedy to help. Getting your infant to bed will also get you the rest you desperately need. There can be numerous reasons why babies will not settle into slumber, but you can easily make adjustments that will help them sleep effectively.
- Why Your Baby Won’t Sleep
- They are Hungry
- They are Gassy
- They are Overstimulated or Overtired
- They Are Feeling Sick or are Uncomfortable
- Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep
- Establish a Bedtime Routine
- Get Out for Fresh Air and Sunlight
- Adjust Their Nap Schedule
- Use a White Noise Machine
- Don’t Rush in Too Quickly
- The Takeaway
Why Your Baby Won’t Sleep
There can be various reasons why your little one is not getting the rest they need. Getting your baby to sleep can be easier by knowing why they aren’t falling into their evening slumber. Some methods may work better than others, depending on the reasons why they are unsettled.
They are Hungry
Babies grow at an accelerated rate during the first year of life. They will have several growth spurts periodically, which will cause them to be hungry more often. If your baby used to sleep fine and is now having a hard time getting to bed, try increasing their feeding times or the amount you feed them.
If they wake up during the night suddenly, try introducing a small, quiet feeding to quench their hunger and lull them back to sleep. With mid-evening feedings, remember to keep the lights low, try to avoid loud noises, and with time, your baby will settle back into bed shortly.
They are Gassy
Infants have no way to let you know they are uncomfortable, except through crying. If your little one will not settle down for bed after eating or wakes up shortly after eating, they could be gassy.
Abdominal pain from gas can be caused by not being burped enough during the feeding, or if you nurse your infant, something you eat in your diet may be upsetting their digestion through your milk. Try burping your little more often, using natural remedies like gripe water or infant massage to help work the gas out.
They are Overstimulated or Overtired
If you have had a busy day visiting friends or family members, you may notice that your baby won’t sleep once you get home. While you are tired from all the interactions and need a rest, your baby can become overstimulated, causing them to be unsettled and keep them from sleeping.
Homes with many siblings or a lot of activity going on in the day, including loud noises or constant movements, can easily be overstimulating for an infant. Being overtired if too much time has passed between their last nap and bedtime can also create problems settling at bedtime. Issues can arise when they skip naps or wait too long to lie down for the evening.
They Are Feeling Sick or are Uncomfortable
Several things can interfere with your little one’s rest. Teething or having a cold can create discomfort that will keep them awake. Stuffy noses or sore throats can interfere with a night of restful sleep, causing them to wake up or not settle as they should.
Some infants can be more susceptible to temperature changes. If they are too warm or too chilled, they may remain awake fussing until you meet their needs. Babies should not be too hot with blankets or sleeping in an area with cool drafts.
Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep
There are several ways to help when your baby won’t sleep. It can be exhausting trying to determine the causes why they will not settle, but by incorporating a few basic strategies, you can turn things around.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Having a bedtime routine will help get your baby to sleep better when you keep a set schedule. This way, they will know what to expect each evening as they become accustomed to the routine. Some parents find a warm bath, followed by an evening feeding, helps their baby relax and settle down easier each evening.
By winding down before bedtime, your little one will become relaxed and go to sleep easier. Dim the lights, turn off the television or radio, and spend some time snuggling while reading a story. Infants respond well to predictability, so having the same bedtime routine will make things easier on everyone.
Get Out for Fresh Air and Sunlight
Sometimes a baby’s natural circadian rhythm gets confused. This mixup happens when they are up at all hours of the day and night eating or having diaper changes. To help your infant get to sleep, be sure to take them outdoors during daylight hours. Natural light and fresh air each day will help regulate their wake-sleep cycle, making it easier to settle for bed.
Remember to protect your little one from harmful UV rays and do not stay outdoors for long periods in extreme heat. You do not want them to get a sunburn or heatstroke in hot weather. Use a hat and baby-safe sunscreen to safely enjoy some time outside together.
Adjust Their Nap Schedule
Your baby’s current daytime nap schedule may be interfering with them getting to sleep at night because they are not tired enough. As they grow, their sleep schedule will alter according to what their body needs.
If your baby won’t sleep at night, try moving their afternoon nap to an earlier time of the day. This change can give them longer waking hours before their evening sleep, ensuring that they will be tired at bedtime.
You may have to cut back on the amount of time your little one naps. If they previously had two naps of one hour each, it may help if you eliminate one to ensure they will settle down later in the evening.
Use a White Noise Machine
White noise machines can be a terrific option for helping infants get to sleep. Set these devices at a low volume to ensure that they will not be too loud for their hearing. They mimic the sound that your baby hears while in the womb, encouraging them to relax and calm for sleep.
Not only do white noise machines give infants familiar surroundings, but they can also mask noises that may be distracting to them at bedtime. These devices can camouflage dogs barking, loud traffic outside, or even a phone ringing.
Don’t Rush in Too Quickly
When a baby fusses and wakes up, they can sometimes soothe themselves back to sleep without your help. If you intervene too quickly and rush in to check their diaper or hold them, you may end up waking them up fully, making it difficult for them to get back to sleep.
If your little one is fussing, you could wait for a few minutes to see if they end up calming down and falling back to sleep. If their distress increases and they cry louder or for longer, you can check on them and see if there is something else you might be able to do to get them back to sleep.
Determining why your baby won’t sleep can be confusing, especially for new parents. Many factors can contribute to this issue, including teething, growth spurts, or overstimulation. If your baby is uncomfortable, they may not settle down properly for the evening.
Some simple strategies can help when you are dealing with an infant who needs more rest. From adjusting their nap or feeding schedule to ensuring they get enough daylight and fresh air, you can help get your baby back to sleep as they should. Once your little one can get back to their regular nighttime routine, everyone in the family can get more rest.