A newborn baby turns your life around in every sense of the word.
And it isn’t all fairytales and butterflies – becoming responsible for another human being comes with its fair share of stress and difficulties. And while you may feel guilty for having hard experiences and feeling anything that strays ever so slightly away from positive, you need to realise that this is normal. There is nothing wrong with being overwhelmed. There is nothing wrong with feeling the way you are feeling. There is nothing wrong with having thoughts about how difficult it is and how you wish you knew just what to do.
The Sleep Crisis
One of the most common times these thoughts go through your head is when your newborn baby just refuses to go to sleep. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will – it is inevitable. There is no running from it. And there will be tonnes of thoughts that will go through your head – trust me, they’ve all gone through my head. Here are 10 of the most common negative ones that used to haunt me with my children (after the few dozen positive ones that I started off with)!
- When is he going to doze off?! Isn’t he tired of being up?
- She’s GOT to be tired by now – why is she still crying?!
- She has so much energy – she’s been crying since two hours!
- This is too much – I’ve tried EVERY position, everything. What will it take?
- What kind of a mother am I?
- Am I ever going to sleep again in the next 3 years?
- What am I doing wrong?!
- When am I ever going to get all my work done?
- Is it me? Am I so bad at comforting my baby that they won’t go to sleep?
- I’m such a bad mother.
This last one is the most dangerous one. It directly attacks your self-esteem and makes you think that you are not worth anything. Because after all, if you can’t get your own child to go to sleep, how on earth are you going to achieve anything else, right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong.
It’s a process and you will figure it out. And if nothing works and your baby is just fond of staying up, you’ll learn to deal with it. But that’s another discussion for another time. Right now, I want to share with you some reasons why your baby may not be sleeping and some things you can try to get them to sleep!
Why Your Child Might Not Be Going to Sleep
There may be many reasons why your newborn isn’t going to bed. Here are a few of them:
- Your baby might be hungry. Hunger can keep anyone up, right? Well, your child is no different – if they’re hungry, they’re not going to be able to get any sleep. And if they are going through a growth spurt, they will get hungry every hour. And while they are getting the rest they need in between, it may not seem like that to you because the duration of each sleep spell is so small.
- You may want to check if something is causing your baby discomfort. Do they have a dirty diaper? Is there a tiny little tag on their shirt that isn’t letting them be at peace? Are they too hot or too cold? Discover the culprit and get rid of it!
- Talking to your little one, playing with them, all these things are great but they should be done in moderation – you don’t want to overstimulate your child to the point where they can’t go to sleep anymore.
- You know those days when you lie down and you can’t go to sleep because you’re THAT tired? Well, it happens with babies too. So try to put them to sleep on time, otherwise, if they get too tired, they may not be able to fall asleep, at least not easily.
- A startle reflex is a major culprit when it comes to sleep trouble. But don’t fret, because there is an easy fix – swaddling!
- If you have recently changed your and your baby’s sleep routine, they might be finding it hard to adjust. And that is exactly why they can’t sleep. Either move back to the old routine or be consistent with the new one.
Easy Fixes to the Sleep Dilemma
Some of these you may have tried, others you will have heard of, and some more you will not believe to be true until you try them for yourself! But the thing is, what’s the harm, right? You’re up anyway, might as well try something new rather than doing the same things over and over again.
- Swaddle your child! It may seem like too easy of a fix but it works, I swear!
- Move to a quieter room. If there is noise and activity all around your little one, how do you expect them to go to sleep?
- Make sure that they are comfortable – avoid tight, harsh clothing.
- Check to see if they are sick but not yet showing obvious signs. A tiny sneeze may point towards something a little more serious.
- Make sure they are not too hot or too cold – the temperature has a major effect on comfort and comfort leads to a peaceful sleep.
- Gripe water can work miracles – if you have never tried it before, give it a shot. It just might work!
- Burp your baby properly – if you don’t, they will experience discomfort and will find it hard to sleep.
- Bring on the lullabies. Your soothing voice can act as a trigger for sleep.
- Over-stimulation, as we discussed above, is a no-go – stay away from it.
- If you’re too tired to rock your baby every night to put them to sleep, go for a baby bouncer or baby swing and make your life easier.
- If nothing else is working, get the car out and take them for a spin – they’ll likely be asleep by the time you’re back.
The thing is, sometimes you just can’t control your thoughts – one or two negative ones will make their way through the barriers and manifest themselves in your mind. What you can do, though, is either tackle them with positive thoughts or logic and action based on that logic. And trust me when I say this, the latter works a lot better than the former. So the next time you’re finding it hard to put your little one to bed, try to discover the reason why they just can’t sleep. Once you know the problem, you’ll likely be able to find a solution. And even if you can’t pinpoint the problem, implementing at least one or two of the tips I’ve mentioned above will help!
Give it a shot and you’ll thank me later.