Your baby does not want to sleep: what to do?

Published : 09-08-2018 12:12:19
Categories : baby-sleep

Your baby does not want to sleep: what to do?

Sleep is one of the main concerns of parents. If you're reading this article, your baby isn’t an exception - your baby won't sleep without a fight! He cries, growls and kicks as soon as the word "sleep" is pronounced. Do not worry! Those issues are recurrent and we will review in detail the reasons that may explain why your baby won't go to sleep.

Being alone in the nursery, not seeing the reassuring presence of Dad and Mom… It is quite normal that your baby does not want to close his eyes. At 3 months, your baby is supposed to sleep through the night. Indeed, when the baby no longer needs night feedings, sleep periods should last from evening to morning. So, why your baby won't sleep for more than a few hours?

Understand the sleep cycles of your baby

One of the major issues parents face is called "sleep debt". Indeed a 6-months baby is supposed to sleep between 10h and 12h per night, or a little less for some of them. Too many hours without a nap during the day add up and turn into a significant lack of sleep. It often causes crying at bedtime but also night time awakenings. Your child lacks sleep, he refuses to fall asleep, and it is a real vicious circle that settles. To avoid "sleep debt", follow these 3 tips:

  • First, start by putting your baby to bed early. In order not to disturb the usual cycle, it is recommended to gradually bring forward the bedtime by ten minutes at most every day for a week. Of course, it will be necessary to also bring forward the mealtime and bedtime routine.
  • Second, look for tired signs in your baby ! If he yawns or rubs his eyes, it's time to go to sleep. Indeed, it is likely that if a baby is refusing to sleep, it is because his time has already passed.
  • Third, try to gradually create a steady structure of the day. It is important for the baby to understand what are the hours of activity and the hours to rest. In order for your baby to develop strong sleep habits, you as parents need to find a balance between the natural sleep cycle of your baby and the constraints of the day.

Fear of being alone

Your baby was used to sleep like a champ and suddenly he refuses to go to sleep? It is possible that he is currently in a period called "sleep regression". Those phases are normal and can be due to periods of change, stress or growth sprout. As your baby grows up, he learns how to manage his biological clock and discovers the stress and anxiety of falling asleep alone. It is therefore normal that your little one has trouble leaving you at night. You will just need to grin and bear it, these periods never last for too long. Here are some tips to better understand this kind of situation:

  • First, avoid associating your child's sleep with a third party element or event. Those could be comfort items (a blanket, a soother, a bottle of milk) or a lullaby, white noise or a hug from mom or dad - they all create dependencies. It is important that babies learn to go back to sleep alone especially during night time.

  • Second, if your child is crying before going to sleep or waking up at night, hug them for 2-3 minutes but no more. It is important to do this as often as necessary to reassure your baby and allow him to have a good night sleep. Staying with your baby for too long can increase the number of night time awakenings because the baby starts to consider bedtime as a pleasant moment.

  • Third, establishing a bedtime routine is essential to sleep training - it facilitates the separation. Clean the baby's face and change his diaper, then spend a quiet moment with him: a story, sweet words or your mere presence may be enough!

Teething and digestive problems

Finally, one of the last reasons why your baby does not want to sleep might be simply because he is teething. Check if his cheeks are red, if he is drooling abnormally or if he has a tendency to chew on everything around him. To alleviate those symptoms, several solutions exist such as homeopathy or a “first teeth” balm. If you do not have these products, a massage and a hot bath can help your baby feel better! Similarly, digestive problems can disturb children before bedtime and during the night. It is important to avoid snacking. Here too, a massage can be a lifesaver to help your baby spend a pleasant night.

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