You are a brand new parent and you’ve just brought that little bundle of joy home. You are eager to begin your journey as a loving and patient parent. And then you find that Baby doesn’t always want to sleep when you do; in fact he appears to fight sleep! And once he goes to sleep he doesn’t stay asleep. The Baby Sleep Site® says there are 4 reasons for Baby to fight sleep.
Baby’s Sleep Window
The first is that you may have missed your baby’s sleep window. The “sleep window” is when the baby quiets and goes to sleep on his own. He is tired and knows it and is ready for sleep. If you miss this he will be over tired and will fight sleep. The remedy for this may be moving bedtime to an earlier time or a later time. If he’s fighting sleep the earlier bedtime will help.
Too Much Sleep?
The second reason may be that your baby simply has slept too much during the day and isn’t really tired. This is more likely to be something toddlers do, not newborns. For this problem you’ll want to have a later bedtime for your baby.
The third reason is that your baby might be going through separation anxiety and he simply misses you. This is more likely to happen with older babies though. If you think this is the problem you can go to him to reassure him from time to time.
Personality & Temperament
The fourth reason is this may simply be your baby’s personality and temperament. Perceptive and social babies may fight sleep because they enjoy the stimulation of being awake and more interesting. They don’t want to miss a moment of fun! I think this is why my grandson Emory is hard to get to sleep at night. My solution for this is to play with him until he goes to sleep on his own.
According to the Baby Sleep Site® your baby may go through a sleep regression at 4 months. Babies don’t have sleep cycles like adults do. We go between deep and light sleep but babies don’t do that. At 4 months the brain matures and your baby’s sleep changes to be more like yours. This is normal and healthy but also means that your baby is cycling between deep and light sleep and when awakening from light sleep will have a harder time going back to sleep. The changes that happen during this regression are permanent which is really a good thing. You do want that little brain to mature normally after all. Don’t hesitate to call on other family members to help you so you don’t become exhausted from lack of sleep yourself.
The following are some suggestions to help your baby fall asleep:
Swaddling and/or a Binkie
Swaddling sometimes helps your baby fall asleep as does a pacifier. Swaddling makes them feel safe and warm and if your baby likes the Binkie this will make him feel contented.
Rocking or a Swing
If you’ve been rocking your baby to sleep continue it. Keep doing whatever you’ve been doing to help your baby sleep. Another thing you can do is use a swing or a cradle; the motion of the swing or cradle is often soothing for them and sleep inducing.
Then there is what is called the Dream Feed. This is where your baby is asleep and you give him a bottle. Don’t pick him up or wake him, just put a bottle in his mouth and hold it until he is finished drinking. This will help your baby sleep longer so you can too.
Now, you can begin sleep training. This simply entails teaching your baby to fall asleep alone without rocking or eating. This means you’ll wait until your baby is drowsy but still awake and then put him to bed. Hopefully, your baby will go on to sleep but it could take weeks to accomplish so this isn’t a quick fix like rocking, and dream feed. This will take patience!
Now you know it is normal for your baby to fight sleep, why and what you can do about it! Other family members can help you with all of this so have patience and love and you’ll all get through this!