Why won’t my baby sleep through the night?
Baby Insomnia? Read on…
Many new parents panic when their baby won’t sleep according to a set pattern. A baby will sleep when she wants to! So long as you realize this and stop worrying that you’re doing something wrong, you can relax and enjoy your baby more.
Since we aren’t born with insomnia (I tend to think it’s something we develop), baby insomnia probably doesn’t exist. However many babies do have sleep difficulties and even baby sleep disorders.
First check the basics:
Babies worry mainly about three things, she’s hungry, she’s thirsty or she’s uncomfortable (dirty nappy, too hot too cold…)
If all the above are ok then congratulations, you’re doing a great job!
Being a parent is the most important job you’ll ever have and you’re expected to know everything without being taught!
There are so many things a new mum and dad have to learn when a new baby comes along. Sometimes friends and family rally around to give helpful advice. Trouble is the advice, given with the best of intentions, is not necessarily the right advice for you or your baby.
Grandparents sometimes will try to help, not realizing their knowledge is about twenty five to thirty years old and not necessarily applicable to today. Having a new baby is a huge learning curve.
Feeding, teething, crying…But the hardest of them all and the most heartfelt cry is “Why won’t my baby sleep? Why does he keep waking up when he’s not hungry? Why does my infant sleep during the day and then wake up at night?”
“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one!” (Leo J Burke)
Don’t expect your baby to fit into a mould
A baby is a little person with unique needs and wants. He probably doesn’t realize that he’s not supposed to wake up and make a noise at 3 am! That will come later. He just knows that he’s hungry/wet/something hurts or he’s just plain bored!
Its not easy for new parents. Parents are the most sleep deprived people on the earth. You will get through it, one day it’s going to get better. For now, just realize you’re not alone – most adults are going through, have been through or will go through exactly what you are suffering now!
What the “perfect” baby is supposed to do! A baby sleep schedule
It’s important to realize there is no such thing as a perfect baby! They’re all special and they’re all different. The worst thing you can do is compare your baby’s sleep patterns with your friends’ babies. You may assume you have a baby sleep problem when in fact you don’t. For one thing you may not be getting the whole story, for another your baby may simply require less sleep. It doesn’t matter!
There are certain guides out there that give us the approximate amount of sleep a baby needs at certain ages. They are very helpful and can help you plan ahead, but just remember the word approximate and don’t worry if your baby sleeps slightly less or more than the stated times.
Newborn to 3 weeks
16 to 20 hours per day
16 to 18 hours per day
6 weeks-3 1/2 to 4 months
9 to 12 hours at night plus 2 daytime naps (roughly 2 to 3 hours each)
Same as previous except the night sleeps may get longer and the naps will shorten
11 to 12 hours a night plus 2 naps of approximately 1 hour each
The night time sleeps will remain at 11 to 12 hours while the naps will get shorter until they are only taking one nap. The naps will peter out from 4 to 6 years.
Tips for helping baby sleep through the night.
- Don’t rock her to sleep first. Let her learn how to go to sleep by herself. You will be teachingher good sleeping habits. Make sure the room is dark and her cot is comfortable. Don’t use too many covers soshe gets too hot.
- If you hear her during the night, don’t rush in to her straight away. Babies may wake severaltimes during the night, most times they simply go back to sleep. If she becomes distressed, then of course see to her.
- Develop a bedtime ritual. This can be a warm bath, a bedtime story, a cuddle – make it somethingyou will be able to stick to. Don’t make it too long and don’t make it too exiting, otherwise she’ll be wideawake and raring to go! A bedtime ritual reinforces in your baby’s mind that it’s time for bed.
- Let her have her favorite toy. If your older baby has a toy or small blanket they are attachedto, its ok to put it in to soothe them. When they wake up they will feel more secure if its there.Make sure the toy is safe though.
- Try not to take her out of her cot unless its necessary. She’ll work out very quickly thatbedtime is over if you do! Just speak to her reassuringly in a calm quiet voice.
And a few don’ts…
- Don’t put your baby down on her tummy. Putting her on her tummy may increase the risk of SIDS. She may inhale more carbon dioxide and she may also overheat. Always put her on her back.
- Don’t make going to bed a punishment for small toddlers. This just tells them that bed is a “bad place” and you will have trouble getting them in there at night.
- Never threaten any child with “monsters”. Don’t tell them “the monsters will come unless you go to sleep” It will frighten them and of course they won’t sleep.
Should I have my baby sleep with me in my bed?
This is also called co sleeping and there are pros and cons to this question. In the end it is up to you and your partner to decide if will work for both of you (and baby).
Some advantages are…
- You are close to him if he needs attention.
- It’s easier if you breast feed
- Many parents feel it helps them to bond with their baby.
- You may be creating a situation where your baby will not sleep on his own and suffer “separation anxiety” if you try to force him into his own bed later!
- If you or your partner drink heavily, smoke or take drugs, baby’s better off sleeping separately.
- If you and your partner are heavy sleepers, you may roll over onto him accidentally.
- If you are both light sleepers, your baby’s snuffles and movements may keep you awake. Babies can be quite restless when asleep!
- Other things which I’ll leave to your imagination…
However if this is something you want to do, make sure of a few essentials
- There are no gaps between the headboard and the mattress for his head to get stuck.
- No loose bedding or pillows around him which could suffocate.
- The mattress is firm, forget water beds.
- Always put him on his back wherever he sleeps.
- A mattress on the floor is the safest option. If he rolls off this he won’t get hurt.
If you move around a lot in your sleep its probably best to put your baby in his own cot. You can still be close by having the cot next to your bed.
What about a pacifier? It helps my baby sleep better.
If it soothes your baby and keeps the peace then use one by all means. They’ve been around since kingdom come so they can’t be all bad! It’s far better than putting him to sleep with a bottle.
Of course nothing works for everyone and babies are no different. Just try and be consistent in everything you do. This sets the ground rules and gives your baby security as well. Relax and enjoy them while you can!
A safe answer to baby insomnia?
Until now there was nothing we could recommend for young babies with sleeping problems that was safe…
Triple Complex Sleep Tonic contains Calcium Sulphate, Magnesium Phosphate and Calcium Phosphate and can help to restore healthy sleep patterns naturally.
It helps the body relax and produce all the hormones essential for healthy sleep.
Best of all, Triple Complex Sleep Tonic is safe for everyone, including pregnant and nursing women, children, small babies and people on other prescription drugs.
“I took your Triple Complex Sleep Tonic while I was pregnant and have continued ever since because it reallyhelps me to sleep well. I have also used it in a little bit of warm water for my baby and for my three year oldson, who have both inherited the family insomnia and find that they sleep soundly. It is truly wonderful tofind a product which does so much good without the risks attached to the drugs that are usually prescribed!” Lindi B.
If your baby hits six months and still has problems give Serenite Junior a try. Its a perfectly safe herbal blend which will soothe baby and let you get some much needed zzzzzzzzzzzs as well! Serenite Jr. Top remedy for Child Sleep Problems You can get 20% off the preice of Serenite Jnr from me, simply enter this code SAV20INSOMNIA at checkout. No minumum purchase and free shipping.
I don’t come across good resources too often, especially ones I can recommend for the subject of baby sleep. I’m always looking for good stuff that works, but a lot of isn’t worth the e-paper it’s not printed on. However this one must have snuck past me and was recommended to me by a friend and grandmother. Apparently her daughter swears by it.
I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of information, not just theory but information you can grab hold of and use immediately.
This book goes to the heart of the many baby and infant sleep problems so you can all get a good night’s sleep tonight!
“Does your baby wake up in the middle of the night crying out for his/her bottle, pacifier, a story, wants to be rocked, etc..? You’re about to learn exactly what to do to cure this problem!” (page 21)
Sleepytime Secrets is for babies, toddlers and older children too. Anyway Janet explains it all better than I can, have a look at “Sleepytime Secrets”
“I really wasn’t sure if this book would work for my baby because she throws the worst tantrums when shedoesn’t get her own way. But it has been a godsend. Normally she wakes up crying for her bottle at least twiceduring the night — She has slept the whole night through the last 3 nights — Thank you somuch!” – >Emma McMillan (BC, Canada).
Honestly the best book on baby and infant sleep problems I’ve ever read – and I’ve read many!
Got questions? Check out our baby sleep FAQ