What is the price of having a baby? Almost immediately, the sacrifice of sleep, comfort, and sanity pop into mind, alongside the inconsolable wailing through the night that, in other words, stand for the source of most parents’ nightmares. Sure, a baby is the light of the parents’ lives, and of course, there is every possibility that the baby will soon grow out of his/her habit of a crying day in day out, but until then, all the parents can do is pray through their sleepless nights. Whether you’re here as a desperate parent, or just as a curious scholar, there’s one thing that you should know- that is, babies don’t want to fight sleep. In fact, it is during the infancy period that babies need the most rest, as growth hormones are released at a higher rate in infants compared to adults, thus making them sleepy. Most infants sleep for sixteen hours per day, but some can sleep for more than twenty hours. That said, infants can still make a fuss when being put to sleep, which leads one to wonder, why do babies fight sleep?
Here are the reasons why babies fight sleep:
- Babies Feel Overtired
- Babies Are Not Tired Enough
- Babies Are Overstimulated
- Babies Are Under Stimulated
- Babies Feel Hungry (learn about breastfeeding)
- The Temperature Is Unsuitable for The Baby
- Babies Have Separation Anxiety
- Babies Have a More ‘Social’ Personality
- Babies Have a Medical Condition
Overtired Baby/ Baby Not Tired Enough
Among the many familiar reasons why infants seemingly fight sleep is because the parents missed the child’s ‘sleep window’- that is, the best time for a baby to fall asleep. The baby can either not be tired enough to sleep or be too tired to sleep. Hence the racket he/she is making. Fret not, however, as there are a few solutions to this problem. The parents can either keep a sharp lookout for a baby’s sleep window through the baby’s actions, be it eye-rubbing or yawn. It might take a few tries to get right, but when you do eventually recognize the tell-tale signs of a child’s sleep window, the baby will be significantly easier to put to bed. Besides that, the parents can also evaluate the number of naps the baby is taking, and increase or decrease them, depending on whether or not the baby is not tired enough or vice versa.
Overstimulated Baby/ Baby Not Stimulated Enough.
Now, take in the baby’s surroundings. Is there a lot of background noise? Can the TV from the living room be heard, or is the fan making weird creaking noises? Babies are fascinated by everything and anything that moves or makes sounds, which is both beneficial (for the baby, as they are learning new things) and entertaining to watch. However, sometimes the stimulation proves to be too much for the babies, and they start crying out for it to stop. Other times, babies can find it hard to sleep when there’s too little stimulation, which is not surprising when one thinks about how babies had the constant companion of their mother’s heartbeat when they were still in the womb. To make the baby more comfortable, parents should observe their infants reaction to increased/decreased stimulation, and draw their conclusions from there.
Another common reason why babies fight sleep is that they are hungry. If the parents feed the baby right before they fall asleep, the parents run the risk of not giving the baby a full meal, as the baby is too tired to drink till he/she is full. Hence, the baby would wake up at regular intervals to be fed. The solution to this is to feed the baby right after they awaken, as the baby is the most energized at the time. Another answer to this would be that parents can take note how much milk the baby drinks each day to ensure the baby gets enough milk. To know exactly how much milk, the baby needs, parents, can consult a pediatrician. However, do keep in mind that during growth spurts, babies tend to drink more milk than usual.
Temperature Does Not Suit Baby
Much like adults, too warm or too cold a temperature can affect babies’ sleep; unlike adults, babies cannot get up to alter the temperature to their liking.Parents can then use this method known as the ‘toe test’- where the baby’s toe temperature is taken and the room temperature altered to the baby’s liking to know if the child is uncomfortable.It is because babies are often swaddled in blankets and covered up, and parents might overlook the fact that under the sheets, the baby is burning up.
Baby Has Separation Anxiety
Besides all the above factors, parents might want to take into consideration that some babies have separation anxiety. If your child starts crying the moment you leave the room, or can’t stand to be away from you, the then chances are that the infant has a fear of being separated from you. Among the solutions to this, is to go out of the room for a minute, and pop back in repeatedly. Gradually, the child would understand that you’re not leaving them, but only in another place.
However, sometimes when babies fight sleep, it may not be because of any other reason than the fact that the baby does not want to sleep. Everybody has their personality, and that includes babies too. Some babies are so eager and curious about the world that they just refuse to go to sleep for fear of missing out on the fun. These babies tend to grow up to be more sociable and outgoing people- but in the meantime, as babies, they should first focus on growing up. To encourage the child to fall asleep, parents could build a soothing bedtime routine, such as giving them a message and reading them bedtime stories. The parents could also ensure that the surroundings are calming and peaceful- less noise, dark surroundings, etc. to ensure that the child could be lulled to sleep comfortably.
Baby Has Medical Condition
Lastly, if all of the above have been tried and your baby still fights sleep, it might be time for a check-up with your pediatrician. The child’s sleep could be affected by a medical condition, such as:
- Gastroesophageal reflux (wherein stomach contents are regurgitated, causing pain to the baby)
- Simple cold (which may interfere with the baby’s appetite and sleep patterns)
- Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease (which causes painful sores in the mouth and throat)
Regardless of the situation, the pediatrician should have the best possible cure for it.
Why do babies fight sleep? It is well known that babies can be fussy and noisy, especially before bed, but with the right handling, babies could be lulled to sleep comfortably. The reasons stated above should be able to help any parent to calm their infant down and ensure a good night’s sleep, where nobody wakes up crying or screaming.