Hey, I'm Mckayla! Stay-at-home work-from-home mama building a community for supporting mamas in all walks of life!
Just Mom Things
To top off the experience of becoming a new mother, your newborn refuses to sleep. Whether they would rather be attached to the bottle or boob or the endless loop of tears, a newborn that doesn’t sleep can quickly spell disaster for an exhausted momma. But, why is your newborn not sleeping?
There are plenty of reasons why your newborn is refusing to sleep. First, you need to look at the age of your baby and the time of day before you can determine that this is out of the ordinary. Most babies will not start sleeping through the night until almost six months of age. During the first month or so, babies sleep all the time, and seemingly not at all – this is when you are dealing with the rotation of feeding, sleeping, and pooping.
Once you’ve determined that your baby’s lack of sleep is not “typical” baby behavior, it’s time to look for the underlying reason. Once you know the reason, you and your newborn can start sleeping again.
While there are plenty of reasons why your newborn is not sleeping at night, there are a few that are more common than others. Whether it’s because your newborn has a stuffy nose, is overstimulated, or is struggling to go to sleep because of lack of sleep (it happens), here are the seven most common reasons your newborn won’t sleep at night:
Have you ever cleaned your house and then laid down for bed, only to lay there unable to sleep? The same thing happens to newborns when they have a busy day or time before bed. Meeting new people, traveling to new places, running errands, and similar activities can become overwhelming and overstimulating to your new baby.
If your baby is breastfeeding, it’s possible to pass on sugars through your breastmilk – leading to a “wired” baby before bed.
Sick babies make for sleepless nights. Congestion, coughs, and sore throats are just a few of the symptoms your newborn or baby might be dealing with if they are sick or recovering from being sick. And all of these symptoms happen to make sleeping for babies difficult.
If your baby woke up regularly during sickness, they might try to bring the habit over after they are feeling better, meaning you will need to work on getting back into your typical night routine.
Newborn babies have very short “wake windows” and can get overtired easily, making it harder for them to fall asleep at night naturally. Outside of convincing your newborn to go to sleep, there’s little you can do to help them.
Ideally, you want to work on preventing your newborn from becoming overtired in the first place. This means paying more attention to when your baby is ready to sleep and how much sleep they are getting throughout the day.
Sleep regression is a natural and normal event for babies. Around 4 months old and then again around 6 months, 8 to 10 months, and 12 months, sleep regression makes it difficult for your baby to sleep! Sleep regression happens because your little one is discovering the world around them and becoming more aware of their surroundings, making sleep less and less appealing.
Sleep training and routines can help with difficult periods of sleep regression. While it may not prevent them, sleep training and maintaining a routine can help babies recover from sleep regression sooner!
Some newborns have a hard time sorting out daytime and nighttime, leading to sleeping throughout the day and waking up all night. Luckily, your newborn will likely work out which is which as they spend more time in the world.
If your newborn is still struggling to sleep at night rather than during the day, you can try and help them sort it out. Try limiting the duration of daytime naps, keeping your newborn’s room dark when napping, and avoiding bright lights and T.V. during nighttime feeds.
While changes in your routine like going on vacation or staying out late one night shouldn’t forever mess up your newborn’s sleep habits, they can definitely disrupt them for a little while. When your newborn has a sleep routine or nighttime routine that they are used to, it can be difficult to cope with a sudden change.
To recover from a change in a routine it’s important to get back to your normal routine. One night of change is better than a week of change – and can make a big difference when trying to get back your sleep-filled nights.
You are trying to practice safe sleep for your newborn, but they don’t seem to like back-sleeping. This might look like a fussy baby or the inability to settle when laid on their back to sleep. Newborns actually feel more comfortable sleeping on their bellies, but doing so increases the risk of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome.
To encourage your newborn to sleep on their back, try giving them a pacifier at bedtime or swaddling (before they learn to roll over, then stop the use of a swaddle). Keep building a nighttime routine and avoid buying all the products that are promoting the “best sleep” for your newborn. All they need is a safe space to sleep (crib, bassinet, or play yard), a fitted sheet, and a pacifier.
[…] A majority of babies will wean on their own. As they gain weight and increase their calorie/consumption during the day, they’ll naturally be able to sleep through the night without getting hungry. As I mentioned earlier, all babies are different so yours might be an outlier and need a little assistance when trying to sleep through the night. […]