Most new moms and dads don’t realize that there are various things that can help you and your baby create a sleeping routine so that your entire family can get some proper rest. Is your baby not sleeping enough? Let’s take a look at the five most common culprits of sleep troubles and how you can tackle them to finally get some shut-eye!
Is your baby not sleeping? Here are some underlying causes of lack of sleep in babies.
1. Too much fuss
As parents, we often spend most of our time overthinking every step of the baby-care process, out of sheer desire to help our little munchkins grow into happy and healthy kids. So, we end up showering them with toys, games, play sessions, attention, music, guests, even digital gimmicks, and that leads to an overstimulated baby that cannot calm down before bedtime.
First of all, your baby will benefit from having a routine that includes regular naps, play sessions, but also an unwinding ritual just before bed, when you’ll reduce the amount of stimulation to prep them for sleep. Consider dimming the lights, reading a bedtime story, and using fragrances that soothe your baby’s mind, such as lavender. Keep it consistent, and chances are your baby will soon sleep… well, like a baby.
2. Temperature changes
Although the rule of thumb is that the baby room should be in the moderate range of 60-68°F (16-20°C) to lower the risk of the notorious SIDS and other health problems that might arise as the result of a room that is either too hot or cold. However, every baby is different, and you might be surprised to discover that your little one might need an extra layer to sleep well without being woken up by a low temperature causing discomfort.
On the other hand, if you notice that your baby is dewy with sweat, it’s time to lower the temperature or remove a covering layer so that they can sleep with no interruptions. It might take some time to find the sweet spot temperature of the room and the right amount of covers, but keep learning until you do, and then keep it consistent through all seasons of the year.
3. Sleeping props
Many babies get easily attached to things they find soothing, especially before bedtime, whether it’s their favorite pacifier, a blanket, or a toy. As cute as this may seem to a parent, that also means that every time your baby wakes up, it requires this particular item to fall back asleep, which means you have to get up every single time.
To remove the sleeping prop from the equation and teach your baby to self-soothe for sleep, you can try using swaddle wraps which help the baby remain in the perfect sleeping position, balance their body temperature, and avoid those sudden startles from sleep. Also, try to put your baby in the crib when they are still awake, but drowsy enough to be ready for sweet dreams, rather than in a deep sleep.
4. Hunger and thirst
This is especially relevant for youngsters who are almost ready to start eating solids, so their appetite starts to grow, but the source of food remains the same. In case your family doctor advises you to wait a little bit longer before introducing solids, you can try feeding them a little more milk before bedtime.
For little ones who have passed the six-month mark, they might be feeling thirsty in addition to having a more demanding appetite. Keep your baby well-hydrated during the day with milk, and offer them some water afterward. Monitor their fluid intake during the hot months of the year, perhaps this is when they’ll need even more hydration to handle the heat.
5. An underlying health issue
Why is my baby not sleeping?
If your baby sleeps well otherwise, and you suddenly notice an increase in those middle of the night calls, perhaps your baby is feeling feverish, or there’s a different medical cause to this problem. More often than not, it can be something fairly simple and temporary, such as acid reflux, which your family doctor will help you handle in the best possible way.
Other common medical causes include those pesky ear infections, teething, and sore throats, so you’ll need to check with your doctor on the best way to proceed and help your baby feel better until you can solve the problem.
Pay attention to your baby’s breathing and sleeping position. Signs may vary for pediatric sleep apnea as covered in this guide, and it’s best to see a doctor, especially if you notice pauses or irregularities as they persist for nights or days. Your child may have to undergo an overnight sleep study for diagnosis and treatment.
Moms and dads know that every baby is different, so just remain persistent with the learning curve, alert to your baby’s cues and needs, and you’ll be more than able to cope with all the challenges this newcomer throws your way – even if it’s in the middle of the night!
Brigitte Evans is a Cosmetic Skin Care Consultant and a writer from Australia, with a sweet tooth for makeup and everything sparkly. When she is not drooling over the next big thing in the beauty industry, she reads mystery novels and makes plans for her next trip. She is the proud aunt of Sophie, age 2, who has rounded her Chanel lipstick, but she loves her anyway.