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Are you scratching your head and wondering why does my baby fight sleep so bad?
If you’ve recently been asking yourself why does my baby fight sleep so bad, welcome! You’re in the right place. We have all been there. We are addressing all the possible reasons AND what you can do about it.
I probably don’t have to tell you how important sleep is. Sleep deprivation is so tough. FOR EVERYONE! When your baby is not sleeping, you are not sleeping. I have been in your shoes mama. The good news is that it won’t last forever.
A variety of factors can contribute to sleepless nights. Let’s dive a little deeper.
This post answers why does my baby fight sleep so bad.
Why does my baby fight sleep so bad?
There are a variety of reasons that can contribute to sleep problems. It is essential to figure out WHY your baby fights sleep. So you are wondering why does my baby fight sleep so bad. Possible reasons are overstimulation, being overtired, not tired enough, disruptions to the sleep environment, separation anxiety, a poor sleep routine, or physical discomfort.
Overstimulation is a possible culprit for your baby fighting sleep. An overstimulated baby can be very difficult to settle down for nap time or bedtime. Overstimulation is caused by too much noise or activity. So if you are wondering why does my baby fight sleep so bad, is your little one showing signs that they might be overstimulated?
Here are signs of an overstimulated baby:
This is the most common reason why many babies have a hard time sleeping. According to Healthline, When babies are overtired their stress response response system increases. As a result, cortisol and adrenaline travel through their bodies. When these two hormone levels are elevated, FORGET about your little one calming down and falling asleep. This is why it is important to look for your baby’s sleep cues. If you’ve been recently asking yourself why does my baby fight sleep so bad, are they showing signs of being overtired?
Here are some signals that you have an overtired baby on your hands:
- Touching their face/ tugging ears/ eye rubbing
Not Tired Yet
Another possible reason why you’re wondering why does my baby fight sleep so bad is not being tired enough. Perhaps your little one is experiencing sleep issues because they are not tired yet. Evaluate your baby’s wake windows. Of course, wake windows look different for every age. If you’re wondering what your child’s wake windows should be, don’t worry there is a section for that depending on your baby’s months of age. Stick with me.
If you suspect your child is not tired, look closely at the length of your baby’s wake windows. As your child continues to develop, their sleep schedule and needs will change. So it is important to be aware of the recommended amount of sleep based on age. Newborn babies’ sleep needs are much different than toddlers.
Keep reading for more reasons on why does my baby fight sleep so bad.
When my daughter was a newborn baby, I remember being so amazed that she could sleep through anything. Well, that didn’t last long.
As babies grow older and become more alert, they can become more easily distracted. Light and noise will oftentimes disturb the sleep environment. The best way to avoid distractions is by investing in blackout curtains AND a white noise machine. BOTH of these tremendously improved my toddler’s sleep time.
Are you still wondering why does my baby fight sleep so bad? Here are some other reasons.
Separation anxiety can throw a wrench in both naptime and nighttime! It can rear its ugly head as early as 7 months. Have you ever heard the saying out of sight out of mind? That is true for young babies.
Typically around the 8-month mark (possibly a little sooner), your baby will learn object permanence. In other words, your baby’s favorite blanket, toys, and people (mama and dada) are still around. Even when they can’t be seen.
THIS is when I appreciated the sleep sack! Sleep sacks provide a great sense of security for babies. They are the perfect sleep solution for sleep troubles. If you do not have one, buy one!
Now for the more obvious answer to the question why does my baby fight sleep so bad.
If you’re asking why does my baby fight sleep so bad, look closely at your routine. Predictability and routine are EVERYTHING. Having a consistent routine allows babies to know what to expect next. This makes nap transitions MUCH easier. If you do not have a solid schedule in place, try creating one that works best for your family and see if that makes a difference. This includes having a consistent bedtime routine!
Another possible answer to the question why does my baby fight sleep so bad is physical discomfort. Physical discomfort can disrupt your baby’s sleep cycle. Gas, reflux, food intolerances, allergies, a cold, ear infections, and teething can make it very challenging for your little one to settle down to sleep.
The good thing is that physical discomfort won’t last forever. Don’t hesitate to take your little darling to the pediatrician if they are suffering. If there is a medical condition, they will address it.
(RELATED POST: 7 Most Effective Teething Remedies)
What To Do About It
We have covered possible reasons that answer why does my baby fight sleep so bad. Now let’s talk about how to effectively deal with your baby fighting sleep. Having a good sleeper is something ALL parents want! So if you’ve figured out the answer to why does my baby fight sleep so bad, use this next section to help you correct the problem.
Create A Sleep Schedule
To promote good sleep habits, it is crucial to develop consistent sleep routines. Having a sleep schedule is a MUST. Whether your baby is still taking a morning nap and afternoon nap, or fewer naps, it is a good idea to figure out a schedule that will work for your child. If you want to know how many hours of sleep your child should be getting, The American Academy of Pediatrics detailed the amount of sleep needed based on age.
- 4-12 month-olds should sleep 12-16 hours
- 1-2-year-olds should sleep 11-14 hours
- 3-5 year olds should sleep 10-13 hours
Pay attention to how long your baby sleeps throughout the night AS WELL AS naps. Getting enough sleep is critical. Evaluate how your baby slept at the end of the day. You are not married to a schedule. If you need to do some tweaking to your baby’s nap schedule, that is okay. You want a schedule that will align with your lifestyle AND your baby. If you observed your baby signaling that they were sleepy sooner than your intended naptime, move their naptime up. Look out for those sleepy cues!
Taking Cara Babies is a great resource. When my daughter experienced sleep issues, their articles were extremely helpful! Having appropriate wake windows established will help your baby sleep. So what awake time is right for your baby?
- 0 to 4 weeks- 35-60 minutes
- 4 to 12 weeks- 60-90 minutes
- 3 to 4 months- 75-120 minutes
- 5 to 7 months- 2-3 hours
- 7 to 10 months- 2.5-3.5 hours
- 11 to 14 months- 3-4 hours
- 14 to 24 months- 4-6 hours
Understand Your Baby’s Sleep Cues
Something all new parents have to learn is sleep cues. Signs that your baby needs to go to sleep! Knowing these cues and responding will lead to healthy sleep habits.
Signs a Newborn is Tired
- Tugging Ears
- Closing Fists
- Jerky arm and leg movements
- Sucking on fingers
Signs a Toddler is Tired
- Not interested in playing
- Fussy with food
Figure Out WHY Your Baby Is Having Trouble Sleeping
Figuring out the answer to why does my baby fight sleep so bad is the first step. If your baby is experiencing short naps or interrupted sleep, have they also been achieving developmental milestones? Meeting milestones can also lead to having trouble sleeping. Learning new skills has an impact on sleep. For example, if your baby just began pulling to standing or crawling, they may experience disruption in their sleep. If your baby is experiencing a sleep regression, you may decide to do sleep training. The Ferber mether worked like a charm on our little darling. I highly recommend it!
If you notice your baby is overstimulated, try eliminating noisy toys and screens before your baby’s naps or bedtime.
If you notice your baby is overtired, make changes to their schedule. Perhaps your little one needs an earlier bedtime.
If you believe your baby is struggling with physical discomfort, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. There has been a time when I thought my daughter had a cold, which turned out to be an ear infection. If there is a medical issue, you’ll want to know right away.
Once you know the answer to the question why does my baby fight sleep so bad, you can take proper steps to improve the quality of your child’s sleep.
Since babies are not yet expert communicators, it is up to us to figure out what is going on.
Set Your Baby Up For Success
I think it is worth reiterating that blackout curtains help tremendously! A dark room is essential. Light and dark have the biggest influence on the circadian rhythm. You will find that blackout curtains help signal when it is time to go to sleep. For younger and older babies.
Keep Your Baby Comfortable
Keep your baby comfortable. I have been putting my daughter to sleep in these pajamas since she was about 6 months old. Her eczema was negatively affecting her sleep. Since making the switch to these pajamas, bye-bye to interrupted sleep. Comfort is everything.
White Noise Machine
Don’t underestimate the power of a white noise machine. This will help your baby fall asleep AND block out loud noises.
Ensure that your baby falls asleep soundly by keeping their room at a comfortable temperature. Another great way to set your baby up for successful sleep is to put them to sleep in their own bed. They will associate their bed with sleep.
Final Words of Encouragement
Look closely at your baby’s sleep patterns. Is your child getting enough sleep? How long are their wake windows? Do you need to make any adjustments?
I have totally asked myself why does my baby fight sleep so bad. To help your baby stop fighting sleep address the following possible reasons: becoming overtired, overstimulated, not tired enough, disruptions, separation anxiety, poor routine, and physical discomfort.
Know that the 4-month sleep regression is a thing. You can also expect a regression at 8, 12, and 18 months. During sleep regressions, stick to your schedule and be as consistent as possible.