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Understanding and Overcoming Baby Sleep Issues

Updated: 4 days ago

Oh, the joys of parenthood! Endless love, adorable baby giggles, and... sleep deprivation that could rival a zombie apocalypse!

If you’re reading this bleary-eyed at 3 AM while bouncing a wailing bundle of joy, rest assured—you’re not alone.

The question I hear time and time again is why these sleepless nights happen and, more importantly, how to reclaim some of that precious shut-eye.

Why Do Babies Have Sleep Issues?

1. Newborns and Their Tiny Tummies

In the early weeks, your baby’s stomach is about the size of a walnut. This means frequent feedings around the clock. Hungry babies don’t care if it’s 2 PM or 2 AM—they want their milk, and they want it now! Most babies under the age of 1yrs old are likely to want at least one feed during the night, this is absolutely normal.

2. Irregular Sleep Cycles

Babies aren’t born with the ability to regulate their sleep cycles. Unlike adults, they don’t have a strong distinction between night and day. This leads to those unpredictable sleep patterns that can drive any parent to the brink of madness.

Tired new mum - adora birth & baby West Malling

3. Developmental Milestones

Rolling over, crawling, sitting up—each new skill is exciting for your baby and often disrupts their sleep. They’re eager to practice these new abilities, even at night.

4. Teething Troubles

As if learning to exist outside the womb wasn’t hard enough, teething adds another layer of discomfort. Sore gums can make it difficult for babies to settle down and stay asleep.

Strategies for Overcoming Baby Sleep Issues

1. Establish a Bedtime Routine

Babies thrive on routine. A consistent bedtime routine can signal to your little one that it’s time to wind down. This could include a warm bath, a gentle massage, a lullaby, and a feeding. Repetition is key.

2. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

A dark, quiet, and cool room can make a world of difference. Consider using blackout curtains to block out light and a white noise machine to drown out background noise. Ensure the crib is safe and comfortable.

3. Swaddling

Swaddling can recreate the cosy, secure feeling of the womb, helping your baby feel safe and sleep longer. Just be sure to swaddle safely to prevent any risks.

Swaddled baby - baby sleep adora birth & baby

4. Responding to Night Wakings

It’s natural to want to rush to your baby’s side at every peep, but sometimes less is more. Give your baby a few minutes to see if they can self-soothe. When you do intervene, keep interactions calm and brief—no lights, no talking, just a gentle pat or a quick feed.

5. Sleep Training Techniques

There are various sleep training methods. Each family is different, so find an approach that feels right for you. Consistency is crucial, whichever method you choose. Finding a local sleep consultant can also be a life saver!

Staying Sane Through It All

1. Tag Team

If possible, share night duties with a partner. Taking shifts can ensure that both of you get some blocks of uninterrupted sleep. If you’re solo parenting, don’t hesitate to ask for help from family or friends.

2. Napping When Baby Naps

Yes, you’ve heard this advice a thousand times, and it might sound impossible with a to-do list a mile long. But prioritizing rest over dishes or laundry can make a significant difference in your well-being.

3. Finding Humour in the Chaos

Sometimes, all you can do is laugh! Celebrate the small victories, like a three-hour sleep stretch or a day without a major spit-up incident. Remember, this phase won’t last forever.

Sleep deprivation is a rite of passage for parents, a somewhat torturous badge of honour that comes with the territory.

By understanding why your baby isn’t sleeping and implementing strategies to help them (and you), you can navigate this challenging time with a bit more grace—and perhaps even a chuckle or two.

Remember, every sleepless night is just a reminder of the incredible little person you’re raising, and that’s worth every yawn and groggy day.

So, take a deep breath, maybe grab another cup of coffee, and know that you’re doing an amazing job. Here’s to sleep-filled nights in your near future!

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