Why Does My Baby Fight Sleep So Bad?
In the early days of new parenthood, it’s a common experience to have a baby who appears to be fighting sleep. It’s discouraging and overwhelming, but there are reasons for why this happens and ways to lessen the struggle.
Reasons Babies Fight Sleep
- Growth Spurts – During baby’s first year, especially after 4-6 weeks and then again at 3 and 6 months of age, babies experience significant growth. This can lead to irregular sleep patterns as well as discomfort, both of which contribute to an unwillingness to sleep.
- Separation Anxiety – Around 4 months of age, babies start to recognize where they are, understand that they were once in the womb, and thus develop a fear of being away from their parents. This adds to tired babies being less able to settle themselves and react with separation anxiety.
- Conflicting Signals – A baby may want to go to sleep, but not know how, especially during developmentally inappropriate wake times. Without the help of a parent or caretaker, they can become overwhelmed and frustrated.
Ways to Combat Sleep Struggles
- Timing – Paying attention to when your baby is signaled to go to sleep is important. There will be indications, such as fussiness, that the baby is tired so it’s important to act proactively.
- Routine – Establishing a consistent routine provides structure, which makes nights more predictable. This comfort can help babies relax easier and helps them set their internal clocks.
- Soothing – Incorporate activities that yield relaxation, such as white noise, music, rocking, and massage. These activities, when repeated nightly, will start to associate sleep with a mild sleep pattern.
Although these suggestions can help to create a better sleep environment, it is important to remember that all babies are different and the results of these techniques may take some time. Stick with it and remember to get help when needed!