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My Baby Hates Sleep


My baby hates sleep. Have you ever heard or uttered these words yourself? Have you ever said that my baby will only fall asleep after they’ve had a full-on scream or crying fit? They always need to be rocked, swung, fed, carried, cuddled, breastfed, just right, and even then still fight the actual falling off to sleep part. They may startle every time that you try to put them in the cot or every time that they almost drift off to sleep. Or once asleep, they then wake up shortly after falling asleep or after one sleep cycle or wake up several times overnight. The reality is that babies do not hate sleep. The truth is, hate is an emotion that they don’t learn until much later in life. So let’s look at some of the reasons why your baby may be resistant to fall asleep.

The first and one that is most commonly discussed is overtiredness. If your baby is sleeping poorly, waking up several times overnight, needing lots of external associations to fall asleep, then your baby might very well be overtired and overstimulated. Overtiredness can make it very difficult for a baby to drift off to sleep peacefully. To assist your baby with this, you need to look at their age-appropriate wake windows. If their awake times are too long or too short, adjust them based on their age and developmental stage. Obviously, some children differ from what’s age-appropriate, but starting with this recommended wake window and changing your times based on your own child’s individual temperament and development will help you reduce their overtiredness.

A similar thing can happen if your baby is under tired. Believe me; I can see the irony in this, and how this can be really confusing for a parent. Under tiredness can happen if your baby is oversleeping in their nap times, or if you’re trying to put your baby down to sleep too early for the naps or at bedtime. If your baby is under tired, it may take them quite a while to wind down or drift off to sleep. At this stage, they may get a bit frustrated about being in the cot for too long before being actually tired. They may also wake up after only short periods of sleep. Overtiredness and under tiredness again can be really easily confused. So start with following age-appropriate wake windows and work from there, this will help you figure out whether or not your baby is one or the other.

Hunger and discomfort can also cause sleep issues with your little one. If your baby is not feeding well at feed times or has not been burped correctly after a feed, they may feel uncomfortable or hungry, and this can cause them to wake up more often during the night or during their nap time. If your baby is young and not having solids yet, you need to look at their feed times in relationship to their nap times. Are they feeding just before the nap? Are they falling asleep on their feed? You can offer them a top-up feed before their rest, but not directly before their nap and not a feed to sleep. Doing this will help ensure that hunger is not causing them to have difficulty falling off to sleep. It’s also essential to make sure that you are burping them well after a feed. A baby who has trapped wind will find it difficult to stay asleep. There are lots of other factors that can cause discomfort during their sleep, like allergies, intolerances, reflux and colic, but I think that’s for another blog.

Older babies may get a little bit of FOMO, and who can blame them? I know that for lots of babies, they don’t really want to go to sleep and they don’t understand the benefits of their sleep, obviously. They want to hang out with the person that they love most. Having a consistent bedtime routine, both during the day and at night-time can improve all of these behaviours, including the FOMO. Lullababy SOS recommends a bedtime routine during the day that is approximately 10 minutes long, and a bath and bedtime routine at night-time, which can take anything from 25 minutes to an hour. At night-time, I recommend a split feed, half before the bath, half after their bath. Once you’ve given your baby their bath, I recommend that you do not return to the living area. The Lullababy SOS recommended bedtime routine is on to their change table, into their swaddle or sleeping bag. Offer their comforter. Pick up and cuddle your baby. While cuddling them, turn on your white noise and darken the room. Cuddle for approximately one minute before placing your baby in the cot to go to sl

eep. Having a predictable wind-down bedtime routine both during the day and at nighttime will reduce and promote positive sleep associations.

A positive bedtime routine will also help trigger tiredness at these times, even if your baby is not showing any tired signs before their nap. If you think that your baby is overtired, overstimulated and fighting sleep, this is something that Lullababy SOS can support you with. To review consultation options, visit the website No baby hates sleep. All babies want to sleep; they just get confused by inconsistencies. All babies need to sleep for their development. It’s your job as their parent to guide them to positive sleep associations to get the best possible sleep for their age and developmental stage.

A well-slept baby is a happy baby, and they have a happy mum.


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