Moms’ Question: Why Do Babies Fight Sleep And How Can I Help My Kid?
Don’t you sometimes wish you can make your child sleep without all that fuss? Here’s the typical scene: your baby is yawning and looks on the verge of sleeping, but the next second, he goes wailing.
This is not just a mere whimper; he is crying at the top of his lungs. Your little one looks so damn angry about being drowsy, he freaking loses it!
Incessant crying is frustrating, especially during baby’s witching hour. It’s also difficult for mom to keep her cool. You cannot console or even control your baby. All that shrieks is disheartening. You are starting to think that perhaps you are not cut out for this motherhood thing.
So what is happening with your baby? How can you comfort your baby to eventually put him to sleep?
Reasons Why Babies Fight Sleep
- Your baby is too tired, overstimulation
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Irregular sleep time routine
- Discomfort, a room that’s too hot or cold
- Mother’s caffeine intake
- Baby feels unwell or is sick
- Too much noise, or a room that’s too quiet
- Separation anxiety, mom is away
How Can You Help Your Baby When He/she Fights Sleep?
1. Establish a routine
Baby’s circadian rhythm is not yet fully established during his first four months of life. Sleep-wake proportions vary and improve as baby becomes accustomed to living outside mom’s womb.
You have to help your baby to acquire two sets of routine; one for daytime and another one for nighttime.
Babies who are born sick or premature will have a harder time to adjust, self-sooth and to sleep independently.
To help your little one to acknowledge that it is daytime, expose him to some sunlight and a bit of playtime. At night, minimize the lights and maintain a serene and comfortable sleeping atmosphere.
If your little one sleeps too little at night, perhaps he is sleeping too much during the day. Cut down some naptime if your baby finds it hard to fall asleep every single night.
The best thing to do is:
Record your child’s sleep routine and schedule so you may compare his daily sleep times.
2. Minimize stimulation, keep baby calm
Your newborn will find it hard to sleep if there are lots of background noises, chatter or startling loud music.
What can you do about it?
If you have a pet dog that tends to bark at night, consider putting him inside the house to minimize barking episodes. Do not let your baby watch TV especially in the afternoon; it will just disrupt sleep and shorten his attention span.
Babies who are tired will find it harder to catch some shut-eye. Perhaps it is already past his bedtime that’s why he is crying like there is no tomorrow. To avoid this wailing episode, keep your baby calm. Establish a standard bedtime and stick to it.
Give your baby a warm bath, cuddle on a chair, read books aloud or say some prayers. What’s important is for baby to get used to this routine and to keep him/her calm at this hour.
3. Feed before sleep
Try to cluster feed your baby before his bedtime. You will have better luck putting the baby to sleep if he is comfortable and well-fed. Babies need to feed frequently, and nighttime crying spells happen when they are hungry.
If you are breastfeeding, try to co-sleep with the baby so that you will both find it easier to nurse at night without resorting to all that noise.
Avoid drinking beverages with caffeine if you are breastfeeding. A half cup of coffee may be good in the morning but sip no more than that.
Babies cannot excrete caffeine as quickly as adults. Caffeine goes to breastmilk, and it always results to an alert and fussy baby.
4. Deal with separation anxiety
You have caught your newborn peering on his half-closed eyelids just to check if you are still there. Some babies have strong separation anxiety. This is observed as more common on babies of mothers that have emotional or mental issues themselves.
To deal with separation anxiety:
It is best to put the baby to sleep in the same room as you. It will be better if your child is sleeping on a co-sleeper.
Make baby feel that you are just nearby by putting your t-shirt beside his pillow. Your little one finds comfort on your scent; hence he will sleep better and longer.
5. Try white noise and swaddle
Make your baby’s sleeping area as conducive to relaxation as possible. Maintain it at an ideal temperature, put in a humidifier if the air is too stale and play some white noise to keep your baby calm.
Experiment with various types of white noise to see what will work best for your child. Play this starting at your dinnertime breastfeeding session to encourage baby to sleep immediately after nursing. You can also try swaddling. Wrap your baby in a full swaddle so that he won’t be as easy to startle.
Watch out for signs that your baby is overtired such as yawning, losing interest or fussing. Put down everything and tuck baby to bed at the first minute that you see these signs.
All hell can break loose if you delay this for a few minutes. If your baby is still fussy after trying out these techniques, then you’ll need an expert advice. Talk to your child’s doctor and open up about your baby’s sleeping difficulties. Your pediatrician will look for a possible condition that makes your baby less agreeable with your sleep cycles.
Being a mother is a 24/7 job. There are no vacation leaves, and you can hardly call in sick. Have your partner/husband share the burden of putting the baby to sleep. Sooner or later you’ll find the technique that suits your baby best.