An Expert Explains Why Your Baby Isn’t Sleeping
Sleep expert Emma Purdue hears this question everyday. She offers great advice to help your baby sleep in this short article
4 min read
“Why won’t my baby sleep? I’ve tried everything!”
I hear this often. Usually, this is a red flag for me as a sleep consultant. I know that when we reach the point where we are ‘trying everything’, we are usually over stimulating our babies, and this is what is keeping them awake. If you have a newborn, and you are ‘trying everything’, your settling probably looks something like this:
Wrap baby, cuddle, try to put them down to sleep, they cry. Pick up, rock for a bit pop them back down, baby cries, try turning white noise on, baby still crying. Pick up and offer a top-up feed, burp baby, pop pacifier in. Lay baby down, baby starts crying, pick baby up, try rocking with a pacifier. Baby stops crying, put baby down. Baby cries, pick baby up and start pacing the house…..
Your baby is overstimulated and there is no way a nap is happening now. If it’s a newborn you are trying to settle, then you are already heading for baby being too stimulated to sleep after 1-2 pickups. At this stage, I would stick to holding and rocking or patting or feeding until bubs is fast asleep! To prevent this from happening, pick one strategy from the start and stick with it. This will result ultimately in a faster settle.
Consistency is so important to help your baby sleep
If you have an older baby and you are ‘trying everything’ then your settling might look like this:
Pop baby down to sleep, baby cries. Panic, think baby might be teething, offer pain relief. Pop baby back to bed. Baby cries. Decide to try ‘cry it out’. Change your mind after 5 minutes, and try to rock to sleep. Baby still crying…. google ‘why won’t my baby sleep……’
Similar to the newborn, its best to have a sleep strategy you are comfortable with, and one that you can stick to when your baby is overtired, or having a sleep regression, or teething.
Try these practical solutions to help your baby sleep
- Have a good consistent routine.
- Have a positive nap ritual which involves adequate wind-down time.
- Use positive sleep associations such as sleeping bags, swaddles, and white noise.
- Don’t chop and change your settling or sleep training strategies.
- Have a good sleep environment, conducive to sleep, dark and boring!
- When your baby won’t sleep, don’t panic. Be patient, try to be consistent, be patient!
- If your baby is overtired, allow up to double the usual time for your baby to fall asleep, this is normal, and again, don’t panic!
- If you have chopped and changed and wound your baby up, try a quick soothing breastfeed to “reset” things, allow baby to get nice and calm and drowsy and start again from the beginning.
- Give us a call for a comprehensive sleep plan, if this is becoming your normal – we offer free telephone consultations.