Congratulations on becoming a new parent! Nothing is more exciting than holding your newborn baby and feeling that special bond between you. But let's admit it, taking care of a baby 24/7 is no joke, especially when your baby hardly sleeps at night.
It can be exhausting, stressful, and overwhelming, to say the least. But don't worry, you're not alone in this. In this blog post, you'll learn why some babies don't sleep, how much sleep they need, and most importantly, what you can do to help your little one (and yourself) get some restful nights.
Why Do Some Babies Refuse to Sleep?
It's quite normal for newborns to wake up every 2-3 hours to feed, but when your baby struggles to fall asleep or stay asleep, it can be frustrating. There can be several reasons why your baby is not sleeping.
If your baby is not getting enough milk or formula, he/she may wake up frequently to feed. If you are confused or unsure about the amount of milk, speak to your doctor or midwife. Or look online, there's so much good advice these days readily available.
We've lots of helpful advice too for you on increasing your breastmilk supply, if you think this could be one of the reasons they are waking.
Gas and Colic
Poor babies and poor you! Any parent with a colicky baby knows the pain and frustration this can cause. Babies who have digestive issues, such as gas or colic, may find it hard to relax and sleep.
First off, breath, try not to get too anxious about this. Try some belly rubs, cycling the legs and burping techniques. And there's gripe water and other over the counter products that can help with this too.
It's always best to keep a close eye on babies. The can't tell us what's wrong so we need to keep our mommy senses on alert. If they continue to cry and they seem unwell check their temperature and call a doctor if you need advice. It's always best to be cautious with little ones.
Oh the joys of growing teeth! they will start to grow these little white pearls and it hurts mom. Their cheeks may be red, they may have a sore bottom or diaper rash, even diarreah. These are all signs of teething. Get something to ease the pain from a pharmacy and a teething ring.
Try having time before bed to calm your baby. Allowing them to chill and relax before putting them down. Read a book, play some relaxing music, give them a gentle massage. Think chill time rather than over stimulating activities like tv, games and running around. Your baby's brain may be overstimulated by noise, light, or activity, making it harder for him/her to fall asleep.
I for one was guilty of this with my first baby. Finding myself rocking them to sleep still at nearly 2 years old. My back and arms would ache but it was what worked.
But if your baby is used to sleeping in a certain way (e.g., being rocked to sleep), he/she may have become reliant on that to fall asleep, and may wake up when those associations are not present.
This can also be true for lights, and mobiles. Although as a counter argument, it's what some babies love. (I know I Know, it can be confusing. Every child is different)
Too hot or too cold!
I know what your thinking, this seems like too long of a list. But its real, they could be either too hot or to cold, or not. But best to check as it could be something as simple as this. If they are cold try using a sleep sack. They reduce risk of SIDS, (better than blankets). and they can still roll around in them. If too hot, remove a layer or two.
How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?
Understanding how much sleep your baby needs is crucial in figuring out whether your baby is getting enough rest or not. Generally, newborns sleep around 14-17 hours of sleep a day, while older infants need around 12-15 hours.
However, every baby is different, and some may need more or less sleep than others. It's essential to notice your baby's sleeping patterns and look for signs of sleep deprivation, such as irritability, excessive crying, and difficulty waking up.
We've a whole article on getting your baby to sleep from 7pm to 7am, so have a read and let us know how you get on.
What Can You Do To Help?
The good news is that there are things you can do to help your baby sleep better, even if he/she seems to be a difficult sleeper. Here are some tips and advice that may help:
Establish a routine
Setting a consistent bedtime routine can help to signal your baby's brain that it's time to sleep. It could include a warm bath, a lullaby, or a story.
Anticipate wake ups before they happen and be ready with all you need. Diapers, bottles, music whatever you may need keep close by. The longer they are awake the more difficult it will be to get them back off.
Create a comfortable sleep environment
Making sure your baby's sleep environment is safe and comfortable can help him/her feel secure and relaxed. Keep the room cool and quiet. Some nice lighting and white/pink noise work a treat. A sleep aid machine with these features can work wonders.
A comfortable sleeping environment also means comfy PJs or sleep suits. Both adorable and soft on their skin, we've found some baby bamboo pyjamas just perfect for those little ones. Or try out a weighted sleep sack, these are proven to help them feel secure as the weight gives them the sense of a hug ahhh!
Teaching your baby to self-soothe can be helpful in developing good sleep habits. This could involve placing your baby in his/her crib while drowsy but not fully asleep. And how about a pacifier to help them sooth themselves, you can get breast-like pacifiers that feel and look like the breast to help them.
Seek help and support
Don't hesitate to seek help and advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or other professionals. They can provide you with useful information, reassurance, and support during this challenging time. Books are also a great way to learn in your own time.
Changing Diapers At Night! - Ninja Skills
We dread it, but it need to be done right! If a baby's diaper needs to be changed at night, we want to do this as quickly as possible without disruption or they may trouble falling asleep again. This requires, practise and skill!
Here are some tips for changing a diaper at night:
- Keep the lights low: Use a soft night light or a dim lamp to keep the room well-lit enough so that you can see what you're doing, but not so bright that it wakes up your baby.
- Be prepared: Have everything you need within reach, including a fresh diaper, wipes, and diaper cream.
- Avoid unnecessary movements: Try to avoid lifting your baby too much or making sudden movements that could startle them and disrupt their sleep.
- Choose the right diaper: Use a high-quality, absorbent diaper made for overnight use to minimize the need for frequent changes.
- Choose the right clothing for therm with easy access. Some sleep suits have easy quick two way zippers that are great for this kind of situation.
By following these tips, you can help make nighttime diaper changes as smooth and stress-free as possible for both you and your baby.
So don't stress, it's not you, it's them, but that's fine too!
At the end of the day taking care of a newborn who doesn't sleep can be tough, but it's important to remember that it's temporary. They won't be like this forever, or even 6 months to a year with a bit of luck.
With patience, understanding, and some helpful tips and advice, you and your baby will eventually get the rest you need. Remember, it's also vital to take care of yourself and seek support when needed.
Parenthood is a journey, and it can be challenging at times, but it's undoubtedly worth it.
Baby That Rarely Sleeps At Night FAQs
Babies like to test us! Here's some FAQs to help you pass this phase and start getting some shuteye yourself!
How do you know if your baby is just tired or in distress?
When a baby wakes up at night, it can be difficult to determine whether they are in distress or just need to sleep longer. A good general rule is to check on your baby and see if they need anything. This may include a diaper change, a feeding, or simply a comforting touch or soothing voice.
If your baby continues to cry, you can try other soothing techniques like rocking or singing to help them fall back asleep. A baby's distress cry can sound very similar to a cry for tiredness, hunger etc, so it can be confusing i'm afraid.
If your baby is consistently showing signs of distress during the night and does not respond to soothing techniques, it's important to seek medical attention from a pediatrician as there may be an underlying health issue.
On the other hand, leaving your baby to "cry it out" can be detrimental to their emotional well-being. It's important to respond to their needs and provide comfort and support whenever possible. Remember, every baby is different, so it's important to assess each situation individually and trust your instincts as a parent.
Is white noise or pink noise better?
Choosing white noise and pink noise depends on your personal preference and needs. White noise has equal power across all frequencies and is often used to mask other sounds and create a constant background noise that can help promote sleep. However, some people find white noise to be too harsh or static-like.
Pink noise, on the other hand, has more power in the lower frequencies and less in the higher frequencies, which creates a softer and more soothing sound. Pink noise is said to promote deeper sleep and enhance brain wave activity, making it a good choice for those who struggle with sleep or suffer from insomnia.
Ultimately, whether white noise or pink noise is better comes down to what works best for you and your unique sleeping needs. It's always a good idea to try both options out and see which one helps you sleep more soundly.
What are the causes of a baby not sleeping at night?
There can be many possible causes for a baby not sleeping at night and frequent night wakings. Common reasons include colic, illness, hunger, teething, sensory overload, or disruption to their sleep routine.
What are some of the primary reasons why babies do not sleep through the night?
There are a variety of reasons why babies may not sleep through the night, including hunger, teething, illness, development, and changes in environment or routine. Additionally, young infants can be sensitive to stimulation and distractions, making it difficult for them to stay asleep. If your baby is having trouble sleeping through the night, it is important to talk with a healthcare provider about any underlying issues and make sure that they are getting enough restful sleep. Additionally, developing good sleep habits early on can help ensure that your baby is getting enough quality sleep during the day and at night.
What are some tips for helping babies sleep through the night?
Some tips for helping babies sleep through the night include establishing a consistent bedtime routine, ensuring your baby is well-fed before bed, minimizing distractions and noise in their sleeping environment, and avoiding overstimulation before bed. Additionally, setting up a comfortable and safe sleeping environment is essential for your baby’s sleep.
Make sure that the room temperature is not too hot or cold and that all blankets, pillows, and toys are safely out of reach. It can also help to avoid using screens or bright lights close to bedtime and ensure that the room is dark so that your baby can settle into a deep sleep. Finally, pay attention to your baby’s cues and respond quickly when they need comfort or reassurance.
At the end of the day, it may just mean having disturbed sleep for a few months, try reading a book, crossword puzzle or listening to podcasts to get you through those early hours.
How can I tell if my baby is not getting enough sleep?
If your baby is not getting enough sleep, you may notice signs such as frequent night waking, difficulty settling into sleep, short naps during the day, or crankiness or irritability during the day. Additionally, babies who are not getting enough sleep may be prone to illness due to a weakened immune system. If you are concerned that your baby is not getting enough restful sleep, it is important to talk with a healthcare provider for advice and tips on how to help your baby get more restful sleep.
What is the "Cry It Out" method?
The "cry it out" method is also known as the extinction method or the Ferber Method. It's a sleep training technique where parents allow their baby to cry for set periods of time before intervening and don't go to the baby immediately, with the goal of teaching their baby to soothe themselves back to sleep without parental intervention.
The method involves putting the baby to bed while they are still awake and leaving the room. If the baby starts crying, the parent waits for a set amount of time before returning to comfort the baby. The waiting time gradually increases with each night until the baby learns to fall asleep on their own without crying.
While some parents swear by the "cry it out" method, it can be controversial and is not recommended by all pediatricians. Critics argue that allowing a baby to cry for extended periods of time can be harmful to their emotional well-being and that babies need close physical contact and reassurance from their parents during this crucial developmental stage.
It's important to note that every baby is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Parents should always discuss any sleep training techniques with their pediatrician and make an informed decision based on the needs of their individual baby and family.