Do you have a baby that finds it difficult to sleep and you are wondering why do babies fight sleep? At one point or another in the life of a parent, the problem of your baby resisting sleep or crying when it’s bedtime will definitely arise. It is easy at this point to get frustrated, stressed out and weighed down with guilt that your baby isn’t getting enough sleep. The solution, like some people, wrongfully assumes, is not to be a martyr and sacrifice your own sleep. Far from it. This will only create problems later on and stop you from having meaningful time with your baby during the day.
Here you will find the common reasons babies fight sleep and some ways you can help make your baby fall in with your chosen routine.
Below are reasons why babies fight sleep:
Some babies are just curious and excited about playtime and interacting with you and all the things they are learning that they just don’t want to fall asleep; lest they miss out on the fun! Such babies are highly social and would participate in whatever games you come up with because that’s just who they are. This interferes with how readily they can fall asleep.
2. Getting the baby overstimulated
While you try to allow your baby to experience a lot of adventures during the day, it may affect bedtime. The baby becomes excited and in a wide-eyed state of expectancy, waiting for you to show them the next fun thing.
3. Separation Anxiety
Your baby may have difficulty falling asleep for the sweetest reason. He doesn’t want to be apart from you. He feels safest with you and does not want to part with that feeling!
4. Making the baby Overtired
Some parents think the best way to get their babies to fall asleep is to get them exhausted, so they just fall asleep as soon as they hit the bed. This doesn’t always work, as a matter of fact, more often than not the baby just continues to cry in a manner that mirrors how adults toss and turn for being too tired.
5. The temperature isn’t conducive
Your baby may have a hard time because the temperature in the room isn’t to their liking. Perhaps too hot or too cold or you’ve stacked them in too many or too few clothes.
6. The baby isn’t tired enough!
This happens when your baby has napped one too many times during the day or had a nap a little too close to bedtime. This will make the baby active and very much awake at a time you want him to be drifting off to La-la land!
Now that you know the reasons why babies fight sleep, below are tips to counter it effectively:
1. Move bedtime
For a baby who is very boisterous, social and active, you may try changing the baby’s bedtime by shifting it further into the night. This will allow the baby to naturally run out of the energy to keep going! You can also try minimizing all forms of distractions and noises when it’s bedtime.
2. Minimize anything that may make the baby more active at bedtime
Don’t play games and pass the baby around to different people when you are trying to get him to fall asleep. Remove anything that may make the baby more active.
3. Support your baby!
When you’ve noticed that your baby gets anxious when you are not around, do not leave the baby abruptly. Try holding and soothing the baby and when he gets drowsy but is still slightly awake, you lay him down. If the baby cries, return to the room and reassure him by touching the baby and singing without picking him up.
4. Don’t stress the baby out!
Avoid the myth that proposes that tired babies fall asleep quicker. Have a steady and consistent routine for bedtime that includes feeding, bathing and a massage then bedtime. Having a routine also helps get your baby in the mood to sleep.
5. Try to make the baby comfortable:
Do your utmost to ensure that the baby’s room is very conducive for the baby to thrive. Make the room very baby-friendly. It shouldn’t be too stuffy, and it shouldn’t be too exposed to the elements. Also, take note of the weather and dress your baby appropriately.
6. Reduce Naptimes
One of the reasons some babies are super active at bedtime is because they had too many naptimes or naptimes too close to bedtime. To counter this, let the baby have fewer naptimes and ensure you keep them awake before bedtime.
7. Don’t wait too long to put the baby down
Albeit unintentional, sometimes parents teach the baby the habit that keeps them from falling asleep! You may hold the baby for far too long while he falls in and out of sleep that it becomes bothersome for the baby to stay asleep when you finally put him down.
8. Minimize Interference
It is difficult to hear your baby cry and not pick him up but you have to let him learn to self soothe. Don’t go running in each time to pick him up, wait it out! Let the baby self soothe which babies do on their own. Obviously, when it doesn’t work, you step in and coo the baby back to sleep. Ensure you put the baby back in the crib when he is still half awake. This will help him break reliance on you.
9. Swaddle the baby
When all else fails, your baby didn’t self soothe, and he is getting more anxious then you come in and help out. The essence of letting a baby self soothe isn’t to create a barrier between you and the baby, it is to teach self-reliance. Therefore, when you come in, you show him you’ll always be there. Thus, you swaddle your baby, rock him till he’s drowsy, hold him to your chest till he settles to a rhythm and lay him back down while he is drowsy.
10. Get baby sleep products
There are useful baby products that will help your baby fall asleep easily without fighting sleep. They include:
a. A soft baby crib mattress. You need a soft mattress that will give your baby a restful night’s sleep. A soft mattress helps support the baby’s growing bones and keeps them safe while sleeping. Possibly, if you can get a good one, that comes with a waterproof cover that is soft and washable.
b. A good sleepsuit: For your baby to enjoy sleeping without fighting it, they need a good sleepsuit. With sleep sacks, most babies can bring out their hands and use it to scratch their faces. They can put their hands in their mouths and babble away in the night. But a good sleep suit like the Baby Merlin’s Magic sleepsuit helps the baby to sleep with both hands- free. It is soft and cozy and gives babies a calm sleep environment.
c. A video baby monitor: A video monitor helps you to watch your baby’s activities while they sleep. But there are baby video monitors that do much more than that. The Motorola crib baby video monitor has a light show projector, night light with 7 different colors, lullabies and bedtime stories, great image during the day and night. It is awesome! The sweetest part of it all is that your baby can use it from infant to toddler years. With this tool in your arsenal, it will be difficult for your baby to fight sleep.
d. A Baby shusher: Get a baby shusher that uses a human voice to lull babies to sleep such as the sleep miracle soother sound machine. It is a lifesaver for moms. You can use it in the house, hang it over the car seats on road trips, in the shopping mall, etc. It helps you to free up your time for other things, while your baby sleeps peacefully.
e. A swaddle blanket: A swaddle blanket makes the baby feel comfortable as they were in the womb. It’s like placing them in their natural habitat. Falling asleep in the blanket is easier.
Above are the reasons why babies fight sleep and solutions to help you reduce or outrightly get rid of the habit. These steps can be used in combination with whichever routine you have. This will help to streamline the process and help you and your baby have a more restful night.