As a new mother, you need to deal with all the joys and problems your baby may face. Children’s sleep problems are a common challenge that almost all parents face at some point.
Understanding why your child refuses to sleep, why he is facing sleep deprived, and fighting against sleeping, why your child’s sleep is disturbed, can be very difficult, especially when you are sleep deprived yourself.
Let’s find the possible reasons why your baby fighting sleep, how you can get them, and how to improve their sleep habits.
What causes your baby to fight sleep?
There are several reasons your baby would have trouble settling with sleep deprivation. But by playing detective for a bit, you can get to the bottom of what may be causing your baby to fight sleep as you know your baby the best.
Again, even though you may try to be attentive to your baby’s bedtime schedule, there will be times when you cannot put your finger on the exact reason. Just keep in mind that this phase of less sleep will pass.
So, let’s take a look at some reasons why your baby is fighting sleep:
10 Common Reasons of Your Baby Fighting Sleep
1. Separation anxiety and concern
Separation anxiety kicks in around 8-10 months and again at 18 months. This is when your babies become extra insecure and do not want to leave either parent.
During this period, your babies fight sleep as they miss you and make it crystal clear that they do want the same things and do not want to be separated from you.
2. Too much noise
If your older babies sleep in the noisiest places, then you should be thankful. Most babies fighting sleep want a silent place to fall asleep. Sometimes we as adults may not get distracted or disoriented by the loud noises, whereas our babies might.
If your babies fight sleep, then pay attention to their surroundings. It could be something you think of as white noise but hurts your baby’s ears. So, look for a restful environment for your overstimulated baby at bedtime.
One of the reasons babies fight sleep is due to discomfort. Your little one may be additional delicate, and each new view, noise, and fragrance may be new.
If we as adults had all that sensory information coming to us, then we would also have a hard time sleeping, so before you start jumping to conclusions that they are undertired or overtired or in the middle of sleep regression, try to make your baby as comfortable as possible.
If your baby is fighting sleep, this may be because of the fact that they are undertired. This means that they are not worked up enough or have not wasted enough energy to doze off. To check if your baby is undertired you need to read the signals.
A classic undertired baby situation is when you spend 45 minutes trying to convince your baby to fall asleep. But they look at you bright-eyed the whole time. If you see this happening regularly, that means your baby is undertired.
There may be times when you feel secure that keeping your baby wide awake is better so they fall asleep at night. But there is also such a thing as being overtired. And during this time, the idea of keeping a tired baby awake may backfire.
If while sleep babies are too tired, they have more trouble falling asleep later as they cannot stay calm. They may act more bad-tempered, awkward, or irrational.
6. Sleep Regression
This is very important to consider, but it is highly unlikely that your baby will undergo sleep regression. If your baby has a bedtime routine but is fighting sleep, it may be due to sleep regression. This usually occurs around the developing milestones at 4, 6, 8, and 10 months.
According to experts, sleep regression in babies can happen at any age. But some babies may never experience them. This often happens when babies have a growth spurt, or their brain is developing.
7. Day-night confusion
Sometimes toddlers and newborn babies seem to come alive during the night and sleep throughout the day. This is because they may have a bit of night-day confusion at bedtime, which stops them from falling asleep. It takes time for babies’ sleep schedules to come into play and get their internal clocks tuned to the big world.
Another reason why this may happen is due to a change in their external clock, like during daylight savings, or if they shift to a new time zone. It takes adults some time to adjust to the change, but for babies, it may be longer as they are still getting used to the world.
It is important to know that your baby may not sleep well when they are not feeling under the weather. On the other side, some of the babies tend to sleep more when sick, so each case may differ.
But if you have any concerns about your baby’s health, difficulty sleeping or the reason for your baby fighting sleep, call your paediatrician.
9. Change of location
Most babies can fall asleep no matter the location at bedtime. But some little ones will have trouble sleeping when you try to put them down somewhere they are not used to.
Try not to change their last nap routine, how much sleep they need, where they sleep, and who puts them to sleep, as this may cause separation anxiety.
10. Change in Schedule
A change in a baby’s schedule is enough to make it difficult for your baby to sleep. Anything from daylight savings to different time zones to moving to a new place can cause your child’s sleep schedule to be disrupted and make them fight for sleep.
If you know that your child is facing issues and is fighting sleep, then it is best to get them slowly adjusted to the new schedule prior to shifting or adjustment.
How to better stop your baby from fighting sleep?
1. Keep a watch for good sleep cues
If you want to avoid a tired little one, watch for your baby’s sleep cues. There are signs they will give to show that they are sleepy. These can include in the same order:
- Slow movement
- Eye Rubbing
- Losing interest in things
- Staring off into space
Crying is another one of your baby’s sleep cues to show they are tired. It is more indicative of being overtired. So, to stop your baby from fighting sleep, get them to bed before the wailing and crying start for some much-needed shut-eye.
2. Keep the nursery conducive for going to sleep
If you want your older baby to stop fighting sleep, ensure they are comfortable. Make sure that the sleep environment is what your baby likes. You could:
- Keep the nursery temperature between 68 – 72 Fahrenheit,
- Use blackout curtains to darken the room,
- Apply a white noise machine to assist drown out loud noises in the room
- Use a mattress that is comfortable and safe
3. Swaddling your Newborn
If your babies fight sleep, they may find comfort in the coziness of being swaddled. Try swaddling them to stay cozy and snooze. Wrap your baby in an Organic Swaddle Blanket, which is breathtaking to help regulate your baby’s temperature, reduce the chance of overheating, and get your baby to stop fighting sleep.
You can stop swaddling when your baby starts rolling over. At this point, it is safer for your baby to sleep in a sleep sack.
4. Maintain a soothing sleep training plan
To stop your baby from fighting sleep, check the windows when they are awake and then plan their nap schedule and bedtime accordingly.
A woke window is a doctor-recommended amount of time a baby can awake before becoming tired. This changes how much sleep your baby needs basing on its predictable phase. For example:
- 0-4 weeks – 35 to 60 minutes
- 5-7 months – 2 to 3 hours
- 14-24 months – 4 to 6 hours
If you want to understand your baby sleep routine or plan their sleep cues based on their developmental milestones:
- Get your baby a consistent baby sleep schedule that is based on the wake windows
- Take notes on the quality of sleep
- Watch for sleeping cues to refine their wake range
- Adjust your baby’s wake windows to their wake time
5. Keep a consistent sleep routine or schedule
If you need your baby to fall asleep faster, follow a precise bedtime schedule. Sleep training is very important for those baby fighting sleep, as it clues them into the fact that it is time to rest.
Choose calming activities like a massage, rocking, reading a baby book, singing, and goodnight kisses to hint to your baby that it is time to sleep.
6. Offer a pacifier
When you avoid pacifiers during the day, you can give them one at night to help them stay calm and fall asleep faster. Many babies have the instinctive need to suckle even when they continue after being fed. When babies thrive as they are older, they may suck their fingers to satisfy their needs.
Giving them a pacifier at night when your baby fighting sleep can relieve their need to suckle and help them drift into dreamland.
7. Make their room comfortable
Experts suggest keeping the room your baby sleeps in the dark with blacked-out curtains or shades and a noise machine to cut out the harsh outside noise. Also, keep the room at a good temperature (not too hot and not too cold).
That way, you have the optimal setting for your baby. Along with this, keep your baby’s favourite toys near them.
8. Feed them well through the waking window
If your baby has a routine with food and snacks, that can help keep them full and happy. This also helps you manage a routine that your child is used to and keeps your schedule planned from before.
FAQs on Baby Fighting Sleep
1. Why is my baby fighting his sleep so much?
If your baby is fighting sleep too much, then it may be due to the following:
- Separation anxiety
2. Will my baby grow out of fighting sleep?
Your baby fight sleep and grows out of it as he gets into a sleep routine and sticks to a nap schedule.
3. Do babies take short naps?
Yes, most babies will outgrow their sleeping problems but more babies who take short naps and wake up often at night grow into toddlers who take shorter naps.
4. What are the most common reasons babies fight sleep?
Babies fight sleep for multiple reasons. Among them the most common are unease, teething, over stimulation, traveling, hitting a milestone, discomfort, and infection.
We have shared new ideas and tips to help your baby’s health and get them to sleep earlier. With these details under your belt, you and your little one can have better sleep in no time.
But, no matter the underlying cause of your baby’s sleeping problems, you must provide them with a safe place to sleep. This will help your baby fighting sleep and offer peace of mind.