What To Do When Your Baby Won't Sleep: Expert Tips
Everyone warns you about the lack of sleep during the first few weeks after having a baby, but what about when your baby won’t sleep after they’ve outgrown the newborn stage?
No matter which stage your little one is in, we know how important sleep is (because when they’re not sleeping, neither are you!). That’s why we’re here to offer a few expert tips on what to do when your baby won’t sleep and share some possible reasons for this dilemma.
Reasons Your Baby Won’t Sleep
Your baby goes through a lot of physical and developmental changes during their first year of life!
For example, during the first few days at home, you’re feeding your newborn around the clock. But by the time their first birthday rolls around, the majority of their meals mimic yours, and they’re sleeping peacefully through the night (or you at least hoped this would be the case).
Considering all of the changes in your baby’s hormones during their first year, they’re bound to have sleep struggles at some point. Here are a few reasons your baby won’t sleep.
Your baby may not be sleeping because they’re under the weather. As a parent, you know your little one intimately and can tell when they’re just not feeling well.
Ear infections are pretty common during a baby’s first year, so this (or another infection) is something to keep an eye out for.
Your little one will experience teething a few times throughout their first few years of life, which means they could lose sleep during these stages.
Check out our article Teething Signs And Symptoms, Plus 7 Tips For Soothing Sore Gums to find out more.
Change In Daily Schedule
Did you or your partner recently return to work? Is someone new watching your little one during the day?
If your baby has had any changes to their daytime schedule, it can throw off their nighttime sleep schedule as well.
Mastering Developmental Milestones
If your baby recently started rolling over, sitting up, or mastering any other developmental milestone, they might have trouble sleeping at night.
This is because they’re too excited and want to keep practicing their new skills. Plus, there’s a lot going on in their growing brain as they work to master each one!
As you know, newborns often won’t sleep because they need to eat around the clock.
If your breastmilk changes or they start to drop a feeding during the day, sometimes your little one’s adjustment to their new feeding pattern may mess with their sleep.
Sometimes your baby is just uncomfortable! Your little one should always be placed on their back to sleep, but not all babies prefer sleeping on their back, which can create a sleep problem.
If your baby doesn’t love sleeping on their back and feels uncomfortable, make sure to get plenty of tummy time in during the day to help them adjust to this safe sleep position.
If your little one struggles with eczema or sensitive skin, they may be extremely uncomfortable at night, which could lead to trouble sleeping. Our Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas can help!
Using microcapsule technology, these 100% cotton pajamas deliver skin-soothing moisture to the skin throughout the night so your baby can sleep peacefully.
What To Do When Your Baby Won’t Sleep
As soon as you narrow down the reason (or reasons!) your baby won’t sleep, you can start tackling the problem and making some changes. But even if you don’t know what’s causing your baby’s sudden lack of interest in sleep, the tips below may still help.
Note: While the list above is helpful, it is not comprehensive. There may be underlying factors involved in why your baby won’t sleep, so speak with your pediatrician if you have concerns.
Swaddle Your Baby
If your baby is under four months old and not sleeping, try swaddling them. And if you’re already swaddling but it doesn’t seem to help, make sure to check that your baby is swaddled correctly.
Using the swaddle technique helps newborns and young babies fall and stay asleep because swaddling mimics the womb and keeps your baby warm and cozy.
Give Your Baby A Pacifier At Night
Babies have a natural need to suckle. Even after a feeding session, this need can sometimes linger. A pacifier can satisfy their need to suckle without you risking overfeeding your baby.
Additionally, sucking on a pacifier helps your little one learn self-soothing techniques and calms them down when they’re having trouble sleeping.
Stick To A Bedtime Routine
It’s important to fill your baby’s bedtime routine with consistency. It’s best to have the same routine every single night, so work with your family to create one that suits your individual needs.
Bathtime is always great to include in your baby’s bedtime routine as it allows time for bonding with your little one at the end of the day.
Try our Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath to stimulate your baby’s senses and gently cleanse their skin while they splash and play! To thoroughly cleanse and protect your baby’s skin without the bubbles, try our 2-In-1 Cleansing Gel.
After bathtime, gently massage your little one with our Hydra Bebe Body Lotion to give their skin long-lasting moisture and help them wind down for bedtime.
Keep Your Baby Active During The Day
One reason your baby won’t sleep at night is that they’re still wired! If they are not getting all their energy out during the day, it can lead to sleepless nights.
Try keeping their daytime routine as predictable as their nighttime one so your little one is active and using up all of their energy.
It may help to schedule times for meals and snacks, naps, playtime, tummy time, and outings so by the time bedtime rolls around, they are tired enough to settle down for the night.
And when you need a quick clean-up during your daily activities (we know how often messes happen with babies in tow!), try our No Rinse Cleansing Water to gently clean your baby’s face, body, and diaper area while you’re out and about.
Soothe Your Baby As Needed
When your baby won’t sleep, sometimes they just need you.
As a parent, you’ve learned what your baby’s cry means. They have a different one for when they are sick, hurt, and hungry. If you’re comfortable letting them cry it out for a few minutes when you know their cry doesn’t indicate anything serious, go for it.
That being said, always assess what your little one needs at the moment, and offer comfort when you can. You can’t go wrong with extra cuddles!
Adjust Nap Time
Maybe your baby isn’t sleeping at night because they’re sleeping too much during the day. Or, as contradictory as it may sound, your baby may not be sleeping enough throughout the day.
You would think they would fall fast asleep quickly (and stay asleep) if they’re not getting enough rest during the day, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
Keep a log of your baby’s sleep patterns for a few days if your baby won’t sleep. Pay attention to their daytime sleep routine, and make a note of how long and when your baby is taking a nap.
This can help you identify if their daytime routine and nap schedules should be adjusted as your little one’s needs change as they grow throughout their first year of life.
Find Out Number Of Required Feedings Per Day
As your baby gets older, they won’t eat as many times throughout the day; however, the amount of formula or breastmilk they need will increase at each feeding.
If your baby is in a transition period, check with their pediatrician to see how many times per day they should eat and how many ounces they need at each feeding.
It may also be time to introduce solid foods to your growing baby. Remember: One of the keys to unlocking good sleep is a full belly, so make sure your little one’s tummy stays full throughout the day.
When the time does come, be sure to keep our Soothing Cleansing Wipes nearby. While these Environmental Working Group (EWG)-Verified wipes are great to use on your little one’s diaper area, they can come in handy when you need a quick clean-up at the table, too.
No matter how you use them, our wipes will leave your baby’s skin feeling soft and hydrated and provide relief if their skin is irritated.
Helping Your Baby Sleep Well
Help your little one sleep well by understanding what’s causing their sleeplessness in the first place. Some common reasons your baby won’t sleep include sickness, teething, meeting developmental milestones, hunger, and a change to their daily schedule.
You can take control and hopefully help your baby sleep by swaddling them, giving them a pacifier, and soothing them as needed.
Remember to keep your baby active during the day, adjust nap time accordingly, and keep their belly full to ensure a good night’s rest.
To stay consistent and enjoy your little one’s bedtime routine, make bathtime a fun experience for the entire family. Choose Mustela’s bathtime and skincare products to use before bedtime, and your baby will be able to drift off to sleep before you know it!