Are you struggling with a newborn who just won’t sleep no matter what you do?
Tired of waking up exhausted because your baby refuses to sleep for longer?
You were prepared for sleepless nights but not so many of them!
Struggling with a baby who won’t sleep can be exhausting and even depressing.
It can ruin your whole day and if it is a daily thing, you will end up feeling like you just cannot cope.
The truth is that every mom struggles with getting their baby to sleep at some point.
The worst thing is that there are simple things you are doing to ruin your newborn’s sleep.
I had such a hard time getting our first baby to sleep (even during the day) and I could not get anything done.
With our secondborn, I decided to do things differently.
I planned to not be as frustrated and overwhelmed as I was the first time.
This post shares the tips I applied on our second baby who consequently sleeps so much better.
So much better that I can actually predict feed and nap times during the day and at night.
In fact, our second baby started sleeping through the night before the 4 months mark. Something I never experienced with our firstborn.
Here is what is keeping your newborn awake. Immediately get rid of these annoying sleep disturbances to have your newborn sleeping like, well, a baby!
The Real Reasons Why Your Newborn Won’t Sleep
Before we go into reasons why your newborn baby won’t sleep, let us first check how much sleep your baby should actually be getting. You can use this to check if your little is getting enough sleep or not.
Exactly How Much Sleep Does A Baby Need?
Here are estimates of how much sleep your baby needs on a daily basis.
Now that we have established how much sleep your baby actually needs, let us look at the reasons why your newborn won’t sleep.
Tackle them every day and your newborn won’t struggle to sleep anymore.
1. There Is No Bedtime Routine
Are you confusing your baby by doing things randomly with no pattern whatsoever?
Babies love routine.
If they know after a warm bath follows a massage, a feed, and then sleep, your baby will look forward to it.
If today after a bath you take them outside, then a session on the activity gym, but the following day after a bath you give a massage and feed them, your little one will struggle with registering when exactly they can feel free to snooze off.
Establishing a routine does not have to be anything complicated. You are busy enough as it is.
A simple routine, even if you have only mapped it out in your head, is enough.
Try to have a similar pattern for activities that come before your baby sleeps and watch them snooze off as if you have just pressed a sleep button.
2. There Is Just Too Much Noise
The noise levels in your home could be keeping your baby from falling asleep.
There are babies who can sleep through the noise of a barking dog outside, then there are those who won’t sleep with even the slightest noise, like a penny dropping on the floor.
I struggled with getting my baby to sleep for a long time and resorted to just being quiet and still just to keep them sleeping longer.
Every time I opened the door they would open their eyes. If I just sneezed, I had to put them to sleep all over again.
The only thing that worked for me then was to stay quiet.
You do not have to go all quiet in the house but lowering your voice can help a great deal.
Avoid making noise while your baby is sleeping as well.
Being completely still is unrealistic, but do reduce noise in any way you can to help your newborn sleep.
3. Too Much Light
Bright lights fool eyes and the brain into thinking it is daytime. Falling asleep automatically becomes difficult.
If you want to get your baby to sleep, get them into a darker room if possible and have an attempt in there. I bet you will have better results.
Dim the lights at night, enough for you to see your little one.
Keep the noise down and easily get your baby into sleep mode.
4. Baby Is Hungry
Have you ever tried to fall asleep with a rumbling tummy? So uncomfortable.
Now imagine your little baby trying to doze off on an empty stomach, all the while not knowing why they are not getting food…
If you have ever struggled to put your baby to sleep and discovered that they are actually hungry, you have seen how easily they fall asleep after a feed.
A hungry baby just won’t sleep!
Make sure you breastfeed or give your baby formula before putting them down to sleep for the night.
This is so easy to achieve once you have a routine and know the times when your baby usually eats.
5. The Diaper Is Wet
I do not know how many times I missed this.
Especially in the middle of the night.
No matter how tired you are, always check your newborn’s diaper before trying to put them to sleep.
Even if you finally get them to sleep with a wet diaper, they will wake up sooner anyway.
When your newborn wakes up at night for a feed, change their diaper first before giving milk.
You do not want to put them down after feeding for a diaper change.
Your baby might just spit up that milk, prompting you to clean up and keeping your little one awake for longer.
Check your baby’s diaper again before you put them back to sleep.
There is nothing more uncomfortable than sleeping with a wet diaper.
6. Baby Is Too Cold Or Too Warm
Feeling too cold makes your baby feel uncomfortable and unable to fall asleep.
Feeling hot or too warm also makes them uncomfortable and irritated.
So both overdressing and underdressing your baby is a problem.
How should you dress your newborn for sleep?
In hot weather, a short or long-sleeved onesie should be fine.
You can put a light muslin cloth over your baby but make sure you wrap it around them so it does not come loose.
Do not cover the arms.
If it is a little chilly, put a baby grow over the onesie. No socks, no hat, and definitely no mittens.
I do use a hat when it is very cold and make sure it fits snuggly to avoid it coming off during the night when I cannot see.
You can swaddle your newborn up until they are 2 months old. According to Healthline, it is important to stop swaddling before the baby is 4 months old and can roll over.
Alternatively, skip the blankets and use a sleep sack instead.
It is safer as there is no risk of your baby pulling the blanket over their face and being at risk of suffocation.
Feel your newborn’s temperature by placing your finger around their neck.
If it is cold, they are cold. If you feel them sweating then they are hot.
Your baby should be just warm enough for you to be comfortable that they are not too hot or cold.
That way, they will be able to fall asleep without waking up tired countless times.
7. Your Baby Is Irritated
If your baby is already irritable, getting them to sleep is going to take a little more effort.
Your newborn might be uncomfortable where they are sleeping (maybe the mattress is not very comfortable), or they are not well.
If your baby is unwell, be prepared to take longer than usual to get them to sleep.
Make your baby feel as comfortable as possible (lots of cuddles) while treating their condition and encourage them to fall asleep.
8. Baby Is Not Tired
Sometimes we try so hard to get the baby to sleep with no luck.
It might be time for their usual nap but they are probably not tired because the previous nap was longer?
If nap times are too close to bedtime you might always face a problem getting your newborn to sleep.
There are times when your baby might be too tired and take a longer nap.
If this is towards bedtime, go ahead and wake them up.
When it is time for bed, your little one will still be tired and will gladly welcome you putting them down to sleep for the night.
I do not advise making a habit of waking your newborn up frequently. They will not rest enough and could end up being irritable, making it difficult for them to fall asleep.
Your baby needs to be tired (not too tired) enough to be able to fall asleep with ease.
An overly excited baby is so difficult to calm down.
They might actually end up crying and inconsolable.
Trim down busy activities toward sleep time so your baby can adjust.
Take away noisy toys like music toys and rattles and replace them with quieter activities such as reading bedtime stories.
10. Your Newborn Won’t Sleep Without Being Held
Babies are all about familiarity.
That is why they tend to like the company of whoever they spend lots of time with.
Similarly, if your newborn is used to sleeping in your arms, while nursing or with a bottle, or a favorite toy, you might encounter a problem getting them to sleep without that familiar environment.
Avoid getting your baby used to sleep in your arms.
Most of the time when you put them down they cry and this makes the simple task of putting your baby to sleep take so long!
Eventually, your newborn will refuse to sleep without being held.
Put your baby down to sleep when they are already drowsy so that they can doze off on their own.
11. You Are Impatient
Ever heard people saying babies can sense negative energies?
Your eagerness can actually make your baby restless and prevent them from falling asleep peacefully.
When you have a lot to do and literally cannot wait for your baby to sleep, you are going to be so impatient that you start to be tense.
Your newborn baby will feel that tension and become tense as well.
It takes some practice, but take your time when trying to get your newborn to sleep. It will help in the long run.
Practical Tips To Help A Newborn Baby Who Won’t Sleep
These are my go-to tips for getting a newborn who won’t sleep to finally doze off.
- Eliminate all the baby sleep disturbers listed above
- Create a sleep routine
- Co-sleep with the baby if they need you close. Use this co-sleeper to keep your baby safe while co-sleeping.
- Make sure your baby sleeps enough to avoid being irritable. Time the naps
- Dim the lights. Get a nursery night light for night feeds and diaper changes.
- By all means, do not disturb your baby
- Give a warm bath
- Cuddle your baby
- Do not rush to take your baby when they wake up, they might sleep again
Newborn Baby Still Won’t Sleep After Trying Everything
If your newborn STILL won’t sleep after applying these tips over time, it is time to look more into it.
Sometimes there is a more serious underlying reason why your newborn won’t sleep.
It could be a health or developmental reason.
If you reach this point, definitely get a medical professional to assess your little one and rule out any serious conditions.
Getting a baby to sleep is a common struggle new moms face.
Most of the time, the reasons behind your baby struggling to sleep are so easy to change, as you have seen in this post.
Apply these tips and save yourself lots of time and frustration.
Get your newborn to sleep without a struggle.