How to Handle Common Baby Sleep Problems

If your baby has trouble falling or staying asleep, it can cause havoc with everyone’s sleeping schedule.

Babies are constantly developing and growing. Every week brings about the next stage of your child's development, so what routines and tricks worked even just yesterday might no longer be successful.

If you have a troubled sleeper, read on to learn solutions for common baby sleep problems.

Building Associations

The Problem

Is this a thought of yours... “My baby only falls asleep when…”

Your baby could be building associations between what happens right before they fall asleep and falling asleep itself.

This is typically associated with activities and certain environments; a lot of babies fall asleep only after being fed, or when they're rocked or held.

What to Do

The best thing to do in these situation is to slowly separate the activity from sleeping. If you typically feed your baby right before they go to sleep, slowly rearrange the bedtime routine to introduce steps between feeding and sleeping.

You can try the same process if your baby has a movement association or associates sleeps with being held by you.

If your baby can only fall asleep while being rocked,  start to disassociate the movement by rocking your baby until they are almost asleep and gradually build up more and more time in which you are holding your baby without any rocking movement at all.

Or, if your baby associates bedtime with you in particular, start sharing the routine with another caregiver step by step. This doesn't switch one person for another but helps your baby associate the routine itself with sleeping.

Nap Time

The Problem

Baby sleep problems regarding naps commonly stem from two issues. The first, having trouble falling asleep. The second, not napping for very long. Both cause stress on the baby and you.

What to Do

The best way to help your baby fall asleep during naps is to build a clear routine and to make sure that wherever they take their nap is comfortable. This literally means structuring your day around time carved out for napping. Make sure the routine of naps is consistent, even if you are traveling.

If your issue is short naps, there may be something in their napping environment that is disturbing them.

The temperature or the volume in the area might not be just right and your baby is still developing the skills to independently fall asleep without your help once they’re awakened.

So, if your baby only naps for a short amount of time, double-check that they are always napping in a consistently dim room and that you follow a nap time routine that shares a lot of common elements with a bedtime routine.


The Problem

Waking at night. All parents arch-nemesis. Once your baby falls asleep, they might wake up several times throughout the night and it can be tricky to figure out why.

What to Do

First check to make sure that they're not hungry. This can be a common cause for disrupted sleep among young infants but should peter off at about four months of age.

If your baby isn't hungry but is still waking up in the middle of the night, it is most likely because they haven't fully developed the skill to transition from fully awake to fully asleep on their own.

At this point, focus on sleep training to build their skills for falling asleep on their own and between sleep cycles without needing comfort associated with you or movement.

When your baby doesn't sleep, it can be stressful and frustrating. Finding helpful tips for baby sleep problems, provides you the opportunity to build routines that better shape your babies independent sleeping development.

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