Baby Isn't Sleeping?
It’s a beautiful thing, to experience being a parent. While it’s beautiful, it’s a tough job and if you have decided to go for it and become a parent, you’re going to experience highs and lows that you really can’t find anywhere else in life. There are some experiences that life has to offer that you can treasure but there are others that can feel like a nightmare. And yet parents are expected to put up and shut up and not talk about their experiences. This is probably to stop them from traumatizing future parent generations!
One of the hardest things to cope with as a human being is a lack of sleep. You might think you can cope when you’re doing night shifts or late nights at the office. After all, you’ve pulled all nighters before, why would having a baby be any different? Let me tell you, though: a baby keeping you up is a VERY different type of sleep deprivation than you choosing to work through the night. When you choose to work overnight, you know that you can stop any time and you are in control of your own physical limitations. A baby forces you to do something completely different. They force you to remain awake and tend to their needs, so when your baby chooses not to sleep and you’re already worn out, it can feel like torture!
Babies not sleeping is not news. Throughout the annals of history, you’ll read about the four month sleep leap and the sleep regression at nine months old. You’ll read about the parents that switch off and take turns and you’ll read about the exhausted mothers being left to do it all. You might also read about the concerns parents have about why their children aren't sleeping and that’s why we’re writing this article for you. Infant sleep is not a thing to mess with, and so you have to learn all you can about your baby’s sleep as much as possible. In this article, we’re going to talk about why your baby isn’t sleeping so that you don't feel like you’re losing your mind. You might not be the problem, here!
They’re hungry and thirsty
Babies only have one method of communication and that’s to cry. They also have the tiniest tummies, about the size of a walnut at birth. That means that they will wake frequently whenever they are hungry and thirsty and expect some kind of feed. Whether you bottle or breast feed is irrelevant; they just care about the milk. Babies cluster feed until around 3 months old when a more routined way of eating becomes their norm. Babies have growth spurts as they get older, and the worst thing you could do is try to force your baby into a routine. What you CAN do, is feed on demand as they demand it, and meet your baby's needs. You will quickly learn to anticipate when their next feed is due and be able to get ahead of it.
Silent reflux is waking them up
There are some articles out there that talk about sleep props and sleep aids. This is not something they will ever need; even if they have silent reflux. This is where the acid in their little tummies refluxes back up the esophagus and burns their little throats. It’s not comfortable and if you’ve ever popped an antacid, you’ll know that! So, the best thing that you can do here is to keep your baby upright after they’ve had a feed – long enough to burp and to let their milk settle in their tummy. Sleep props are not needed, just time before you lay them on their back safely.
Their routine has changed
Think about how much you hate it when your own routine changes. Your baby is the same! They do not like a shift in routine and so if you have to change things around, don't be shocked when your baby protests these newly awful conditions. It’s important to maintain a sense of routine at all times so that your baby knows what to expect. Keep an eye on their sleep cues so that you can make sure you are putting a tired but not overtired baby to bed.
Off the back of the last tip, if your baby is overstimulated, you need to avoid trying to get them to sleep. You'll only frustrate and upset both of you! Adults have trouble falling asleep when they’re overstimulated and they have the ability to think cognitively. Babies have no idea why they feel overwhelmed and overstimulated. The way to avoid this is to avoid too much noise and light as they start to wind down for a sleep.
They don't feel very well
If your baby's waking up through the night, there could be some underlying health problems that you're not aware of. It can be anything from colds, coughs, teething, acid reflux, really just a tummy ache.Each of these things can really cause sleep problems in babies.In case of stomach ache or gas pain, you can walk around and jostle your child to move the gas away.Otherwise, just lots of soothing can help.
Your baby wants to be close to you
Babies go through separation anxiety around six to eight months of age. It can continue right up until they turn 5. While it's lovely that your baby wants to be with you all the time, it's not exactly easy to deal with. The easiest thing that you can do here, though, is to read up on the 4th trimester and learn to understand why they crave your closeness. Your baby has gone from being in the womb to being out in the world, which is cold and unfamiliar. It doesn't smell like you and it doesn't feel safe. If they're waking several times a night and crying and refusing to go back to sleep unless they are with you, then it might be worth looking into the bed sharing rules and the safe sleep 7. This alongside a co-sleeping crib can really help.
They are no longer comfortable
If you've moved your baby from one place to another while they've been asleep, then the new environment could make all the difference to whether or not they stay asleep. Temperature changes can even affect the way that your baby stays asleep at night, so make sure that you put your baby to sleep where they will sleep all night, or with the same conditions and light, noise, warmth and so on.
They are learning something new.
When your baby is learning something new such as a specific skill like crawling, their sleep is disrupted, their brain pattern changes and the way that they rest is different. As their new skill comes through, they will learn to get back to a regular sleeping pattern again, but that can take some time. It’s in this case you want to go back to basics with your baby and try again! It can and will make all the difference with their sleep and you have to remain resilient where possible.
Sleeping is hard to come by as a parent but if you are persistent and patient, you can ensure that your child’s sleep is built with security. They still may not sleep right through the night until much older, but at least you’ll have tried your best.