After a long day of working and caring for your newborn, you are looking forward to putting your wee one down to sleep. She cries and fights it, but that is normal. She will stop eventually and fall asleep, right? After an hour of screaming, you are at your wit’s end.
Why do newborns fight sleep? I will answer this question and more in this article.
Is Your Baby too Tired? Not Tired enough?
There are essentially two main reasons why most newborns fight sleep at nap time or bedtime. The most common reason is that your baby is too tired. This typically happens when you miss her sleep window.
The sleep window is the time period when she is tired enough to go to sleep quickly but not so tired she has begun crying. When you miss this window, your newborn could be too tired to fall asleep easily.
A less common reason why newborns fight sleep is that they are not tired enough. Rewind and think about how much wake time your baby has had as they are fighting sleep. Throughout the day, younger babies definitely need shorter wake times.
Less Common Reasons Babies Fight Sleep
Though it does not usually hit babies until eight months, separation anxiety can be another factor that affects a newborn’s ability to go to sleep. In this case, the newborn is filled with anxiety due to being apart from her caregiver, and this makes sleep difficult.
If you can safely rule out all of the above, then there is a possible fourth reason. Your newborn could be fighting sleep because of his temperament or personality.
In other words, social, perceptive babies are not interested in sleep because they do not want to miss a minute of life. They know that being asleep is nowhere near as fun and stimulating as being awake.
What If Your Newborn Is not Sleeping through the Night?
Five or six hours is about the best you can hope for from a newborn. Assuming your baby is not wet, sick, or hungry, you might be able to accomplish this by three months.
When you are unable to bear the sounds of cries from the nursery and rush to soothe your newborn, problems begin. This is a strong impulse for every parent. However, you are unwittingly planting the seed for bad sleep habits when you do this.
The bedtime routine is where sleeping habits start. For instance, if you cuddle your newborn to sleep, she will get to the point where she cannot sleep without your cuddles. Consequently, when you have grandma watch her, she will have difficulties getting baby to sleep.
What Are Some Tips to Get Your Newborn to Sleep?
Here are some of my favorite sleep tricks, facts, and tips to aid you and your baby in getting some much-needed sleep:
Try keeping your newborn’s crib free of everything but your newborn. Bumpers, stuffed animals, and blankets can be hazardous and increase the odds of choking or suffocating. All she needs on her mattress is a fitted sheet. Try a sleep sack if you are worried about warmth.
Some babies have trouble sleeping due to a commonly undiagnosed medical condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition results in acids being drawn up into your baby’s esophagus, which causes pain and makes sleep difficult. Talk to your pediatrician if you suspect this.
It is crucial that you establish a set bedtime. For most babies under one year old, 7 pm is an appropriate bedtime according to many experts. However, you also need to take into consideration your work schedule and your newborn’s need to spend time with you.
Keep your baby’s room dark to let her know that it is time to sleep. During the day, use blackout shades or dark curtains to simulate nighttime, and forgo nightlights. Whether after a nap or in the morning, when it is time to wake up, open the curtains to let light in and help her understand the difference.
I hope that I have answered the question of “why do newborns fight sleep?” for you and given you some good tools to help baby get off to dreamland. Sleep well!