Help! My Baby Won't Sleep!
As a parent, nothing is more frustrating than not knowing why your baby isn’t sleeping. Are they hungry? Do they need a diaper change? Or are they truly not sleepy? The occasional change in sleep patterns can be caused by a number of factors, such as teething or illness and are not necessarily something to worry about. However, if your baby is routinely not sleeping there are some steps you, as a parent, can take to determine best practices to get your baby napping!
First, and foremost, it is important to rule out any medical reasons that could be interfering with your baby’s sleep. There are a number of medical causes that could cause loss of sleep, like reflux, a potential food allergy, for example to dairy, or even uncontrolled eczema causing discomfort and itching throughout the day. It is crucial to speak with your pediatrician to rule out any medical causes as to why your baby is not sleeping.
Recognizing your baby’s wake and sleep windows can also aid in sleeping. In the beginning, the cues may be subtle but over time, you should be able to recognize the signs that your baby is sleepy. It is important to note that each child’s signs can be different! Recognizing sleepiness cues is crucial to ensuring that your baby does not over-tire. Babies that become too tired tend to be overstimulated, which can cause an increase in crying and fussing.
A great way to track your child’s sleep patterns and habits is by trying to develop a routine. Over time babies do become familiar with routines and can even aid in your baby’s development. Additionally, routines also help parents keep a schedule. For example, a nighttime routine may involve a bath to relax baby, a bottle or breastfeeding, followed by a book. I find that reading a book can help break the association between feeds and sleep.
Now that we have discussed how to get your baby sleeping once again I’d like to discuss a reason why your baby may not be sleeping as much. Your baby may be naturally a more awake being. Typically, newborns sleep about 15-17 hours a day during the first four weeks. However, some babies do not meet that mark as they are naturally more awake. They may prefer taking shorter naps, even as little as one-hour naps. If your baby is happy and content while being naturally more awake then that is okay and not a cause for concern! However, if you have specific concerns about your baby’s sleep needs, it’s important to contact your little one’s pediatrician.