It is amazing how a baby not sleeping can torment parents (especially new parents) to such a great extent, that they start losing faith in their parenting skills. Just like adults, babies are also individuals when it comes to sleep requirements. This article comprises of some advices and strategies that often help parents battle this problem of their baby not sleeping when they are supposed to.
Here is a list of some complied advices parents usually get from well-wishers, some of which are quite successful:
- Get the baby to nap, because the baby becomes too tired to sleep if he gets overtired.
- Try to cut out some naps so the baby can sleep longer during the night
- Just let the baby cry (but don’t overdo it).
- It’s cruel to let babies cry it out, so don’t.
- Co-sleeping is not advisable, it is dangerous.
- Rub the baby’s back, it makes them sleepy.
- Don’t rub the baby’s back, because then you’ll have to rub his back every time to make him go to sleep.
- Try rocking a baby not sleeping at all.
- Don’t let the baby get used to being rocked to sleep.
- Drinking a Guinness and then nursing the baby makes him sleep longer.
- Nurse the baby to sleep.
- Don’t nurse the baby every time he cries.
Of course, out of all these advices, parents need to see which work fine and are safe to use.
Strategies to Help a Baby Not Sleeping Be Able To Go To Sleep
Now let’s have a look at some gentle strategies you can try to help a baby not sleeping (and you) to sleep better:
- Learn the “tired signs” – no one likes being awake when they are craving for sleep. Every baby shows signs of being sleepy. Parents should be able to pick these signs (such as losing interest in toys and people, becoming very quiet, fussing, etc.)
- Introducing bedtime rituals – this is quite helpful in putting a baby not sleeping to bed. For example, try giving the baby a deep nice warm bath just before bedtime.
- Magic massages – researches have shown that gently massaging babies prior to their bedtime makes them fall asleep easily.
- Making Sleepy Sounds – calming and repetitive lullabies make babies remember the “womb music” (the sound of fluid whooshing and heartbeat). These have a remarkably soothing effect on babies, especially in the night.
- Rocking – rocking, hammock or sling motions lull babies to sleep.
- Snuggling up – wrapping babies comfortably in wraps helps them go to sleep faster as it provides a sense of security. It also prevents the startle reflex (spontaneous jerky movements also called survival reflexes)
- Cutting short the intake of caffeine – breast feeding mums should cut short on their caffeine intake, as babies get a boost of stimulant through the mother’s breast milk. This creates a vivacious cycle and keeps the baby wide awake.
- Day from night – teaching the baby the difference between night and day is quite helpful. This can be done by keeping the lights low and attending to the baby quietly when feeding him at nighttime.
- Undisturbed sleep – avoid waking the baby when he’s soundly asleep. For example, by changing the nappy while the baby is asleep or to feed him. This may end up keeping the baby awake throughout the whole night.
- Breast feeding to sleep – one of the easiest ways babies settle to fall asleep is breast feeding. Alternating feeding with other sleep cues can save this from becoming a habit.
Here are some reasons why a baby may not be sleeping well:
- Inconsistent bedtime routines – every parent knows that consistent bedtime routines are good when it comes to a baby not sleeping. Most parents face the problem of inconsistent bedtime routines as a result of problems such as the baby being too energetic and being hard to slow down or parents may be having to much to do and may not be able to stick to the same timing everyday.
- Presence of parents to go to sleep – The child may be needing the parents help to go to sleep every time. This happens when bedtime rituals or sleep techniques such as rocking become a habit for the baby.
- Misuse of sleep aids – sleep aids include music, pacifiers, swaddling etc. It is important for parents to know when these are appropriate to use and when they may be interfering with the baby’s sleep.
- Inappropriate sleep environment – it should be ensured that the baby sleeps in places he is comfortable in and can go to sleep easily. It should also be ensured that the environment is free of all such things that may distract the baby from sleeping.
It may help parents to come to terms with the fact that in most baby sleep studies, the term “all night” is defined as a 5 hour sleep only. Even those 5 hours are not usually of uninterrupted sleep. Parenting is a great trial for parents, which is even more hectic when it comes to a baby not sleeping well enough.