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Why Won’t My Baby Sleep Through the Night?

Why Won’t My Baby Sleep Through the Night?

Babies can always let us know when they are upset, uncomfortable or unhappy about something but, unfortunately, they can’t tell us why. Most babies become very discontented at bedtime and through the night and it can be difficult and stressful for parents to figure out why.

Apart from medically-related sleep issues, babies tend to follow the same path of development and experience the same changes in their sleeping patterns.

Separation Anxiety

Your baby should start sleeping through the night at about three months old. However, babies are learning and observing all the time and may begin to associate sleep time with “Mommy-isn’t-here” time. This is called separation anxiety and it is a normal part of development for many babies.

This may cause a pattern of your baby waking up and crying for you. He or she will have to eventually learn how to self-comfort themselves to sleep but this cannot be expected all at once. Babies need to be eased into the habit of sleeping alone.

Develop a calm and relaxing bedtime ritual – this could include a warm bath, feeding, rocking, snuggling, singing or reading. These are all bonding activities and will make your baby feel safe and secure. If your goal is to have your little one sleep on their own, stay with your child until they fall asleep before slowly removing yourself from the room.

Teething and Weaning

Between the ages of 8 and 12 months, your baby will begin to need less sleep during the day and should be regularly sleeping through the night. However, at this age babies are beginning to teeth and this may cause them to wake up in discomfort or you may be weaning your child from breastfeeding which can be a difficult transition.

If your baby is teething, you can try children’s Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to alleviate the pain and help your child sleep. Check with your health care provider before administering any medication and be sure to follow the label for proper age to dose ratios.

If you are weaning your child from breastfeeding and it is causing a disturbance at night, try offering a snack of solid foods (if you’ve already introduced your child to solid foods) or simply increase your nursing time during the day,

The Right Sleep Environment

Take extra care to make sure the nursery is conducive to sleeping and that your baby is clean and comfortable. Check the temperature of the room to make sure it isn’t too cold or too hot and use a humidifier during the winter months to maintain a good moisture balance.

Many times a child’s resistance to sleep may simply be a matter of physical comfort. Before approaching the possibility of other sleep issues, make sure your child and his or her environment are set up to encourage sleep.


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