12 Reasons Why Your Baby Won't Sleep
Sleep needs are different for babies of all ages.
- In the first months after birth, the duration of sleep can be up to 18 hours per day. Newborns wake up every 1 or 2 hours and stay awake for about an hour.
- As time passes, the duration of awakening increases, and the frequency of awakening decreases. Average sleep time decreases to 13 or 14 hours by the age of 2.
Parents often have problems with their baby's difficulty sleeping and rapidly changing sleep patterns. It's hard when your baby keeps waking up, but sometimes, a quick assessment of the problem can fix it quickly and get you all back to sleep.
Below, you'll find the 12 most common answers to the question, "Why isn't my baby sleeping?"
Hunger and sleepiness often happen at the same time, which can be frustrating for everyone involved. Babies often get hungry during their first month, just as they need to sleep a lot. This is one of the first reasons that should come to mind if the baby is crying or not sleeping.
- After birth, the size of a baby's stomach is 5-7 cc (the size of a cherry)
- at the end of the third day, the stomach is 20-25 cc (the size of a walnut)
- and at one month, 80-150 ml (the size of an egg)
Solution: Since their stomach is so small, they often get hungry. For this reason, it may be necessary to breastfeed 10-15 times in 24 hours for the first months.
2. Can't Distinguish Between Day and Night
It is normal for babies to have irregular sleep in the first 2 months, as they are not aware of the difference between night and day.
Solution: It can be helpful to open the curtains during the daytime and let the sunlight into the house so that they can distinguish the difference between day and night. At night, it can be put to sleep without light or in an environment with very little light.
2. Health Issues
If a baby who has trouble sleeping also has sudden restlessness, crying, or distress, it may be caused by. . .
- ear, respiratory tract, or urinary tract infections
- difficulties peeing or pooping
- fever and allergies
- diaper rash or acid reflux
- malnutrition or indigestion
- other irritants (there may be a hair-thread tourniquet on a finger, for example)
Solution: Have your baby examined by a pediatrician to check for these issues. If one of these problems is detected and treated by a pediatrician, it is expected that the baby's sleep will return to an age-appropriate range.
4. Disturbing Noises
Parents may think it's good for the baby's room to be completely quiet, but this can sometimes make the baby uncomfortable. Any sound (door squeak, falling object, sneeze) that may interrupt a completely quiet environment may cause the baby to wake up with a start. In this case, the baby will not fall back asleep until they calm down.
Solution: Playing some calming background music or sounds can help a baby sleep more peacefully, but it should be kept at a low volume.
Colic is common, especially in the first 4 months. Colicky babies may experience crying spells that last a few hours a day.
Solution: It may be beneficial to avoid overfeeding the baby, to review the brand if a formula is used, and to try to calm the baby with music called pacifiers or white noise. Exercises and massages suitable for gas relief can also be tried. You can calm your baby with a hug or by rocking them in a baby carrier. You can also try the 5-minute walking technique—studies on this subject show that if the baby is walked around the house for five minutes, they may calm down.
6. Inappropriate Temperatures or Clothing
The temperature of the room where your baby sleeps should be 20-22°C (68-72°F), and the humidity should be 40-60%.
Solution: Ensure that the crib is located away from the heater or air conditioner so that the temperature is not too drastic. Appropriate measures should be taken to prevent the humidity in the room from falling due to the heater during the winter months. If the baby is dressed too thickly or thinly to be suitable for the room's temperature, they will wake up. If their clothing or diaper is too big or too loose, it can also cause them to wake up. Therefore, it is important to dress appropriately for room temperature.
7. Dirty or Wet Diaper
If the baby's diaper is dirty, it may cause the baby to wake up because the diaper swells and presses, and the wetness disturbs the skin. If the diaper is changed less often, diaper rash may occur in babies, which can prevent the baby from sleeping due to pain.
Solution: It is recommended to change diapers every 2 to 3 hours, especially in the first months. In the following months, this number may decrease to 3 to 4 changes per day.
Adults usually fall asleep faster when they are tired. This is not the case in infants. Fatigue can further reduce tolerance in babies, making them restless and making it take longer to fall asleep.
Solution: To avoid over-exhaustion, it is necessary to put the baby to sleep before they get too tired. Practice noticing and responding to your baby's sleep signals and adhere to a regular sleep schedule.
Although this is also a health issue, it should be mentioned. The first tooth usually erupts between the sixth and twelfth months. It is normal to experience sleep disturbance due to itching, pain, or fever during teething.
Solution: The use of teethers and, if approved by the pediatrician, a pain reliever at the prescribed dose may reduce these complaints. Because your baby is in the oral stage, they will often put their toys in their mouth. Dirty toys can cause a gum infection, which will make sleep difficult. Wash all the toys frequently to prevent them from developing a gum infection due to bacteria.
10. Lack of Routine
It is important for babies to have a routine both in terms of what is done before sleep and in terms of sleep time.
Solution: Reading a book before bed, visiting all the rooms of the house to say goodnight, and singing a lullaby are some of the things that can be done to reinforce this routine. It is important to set a certain sleep time and follow through on it. Otherwise, it will cause confusion and make it more difficult for the baby to sleep as time goes on.
11. Stuffy or Blocked Nose
Nasal congestion is one of the issues that should not be ignored in babies because it negatively affects both nutrition and sleep.
Solution: You can wash their nose with a special saline spray made for babies to clean their noses. If you are inexperienced with nasal washing, get advice from your pediatrician.
12. Improper Bed
Babies can't always just sleep wherever they are. Especially as they get older, they will need a private, quiet place with a suitable crib.
Solution: Make sure to have an appropriate spot for your baby to sleep. Having a too-firm or too-soft mattress can cause long-term sleep problems in babies.
Sleep Problems Are Normal for Babies
It's normal for a new baby to experience some sleep issues. Babies' sleep problems are more common in the first months after birth. These problems should first be examined medically by a pediatrician. If there is no medical problem, the solutions above may apply. These tips, from sleep signals to sleep patterns, will help parents get through this process easier.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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