Dealing with sleep problems in newborns when they are not sleeping through the night becomes challenging for a new parent. Sleep issues in babies are very common, and every parent has to deal with them at some point. Either it’s colic or teething, parents stay on toes if the newborn keeps waking up due to pain or discomforts.
When the baby is having trouble sleeping through the night despite a full tummy, a breastfeeding mom becomes a baby’s pacifier, eventually leaving mom sleep-deprived, tired and exhausted.
Normally, newborns do not have a sleep schedule at this point. Sleeping almost 20 hours a day in a womb does not mean the baby continues to sleep that long after birth. As your baby grows, the sleep hours reduce overtime – and for that, parents need to work smart, not hard. Keeping your baby on a schedule is extremely important at this stage.
As a parent, you must try to follow a schedule with your newborn right from the beginning. This certainly does not mean that you sleep train a newborn with the cry-it-out or leave-the-room methods. It is too early for that – and I would never recommend that.
Newborns communicate through crying – they know no other language; so listen, understand and bond with your baby to make it all less overwhelming.
Newborns need to sleep, eat, and poop, and everything happens at very short intervals for the first several weeks – and they grow so fast over these several weeks. As the baby grows, she should be able to sleep through the night.
Understanding your newborn and their sleep problems gets tricky sometimes – and for that, educating yourself about potential sleep issues is going to be helpful for years to come.
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How to deal with sleep problems so baby can sleep through the night
Well, first things first, new parents should know that sleep deprivation is a real deal with newborns. The biggest favor you can do yourself during that time is DO NOT STRESS OVER BEING SLEEP DEPRIVED.
Just be mentally ready for the sleep-deprived phase of parenthood. However, you can still take some things under control so you don’t have to be a zombie for the whole time.
Here is what you should know about how to manage sleep deprivation with a newborn.
1. Make sure baby is well-fed before bedtime
This is a prevalent reason for your baby waking up to an empty stomach – because breastmilk digests within 60 to 90 minutes, whereas formula-fed babies sleep a little longer.
Using a formula at night could be helpful for your baby to sleep through the night. Some babies, if not all, are generally good eaters and get hungry every other hour.
Formula guilt would not let some moms try anything but breastmilk- ironically, even when there is not enough supply.
Babies sleep while eating and then wake up after half an hour. This happens when your baby does not really eat well and falls asleep because she may be too tired or too hungry. The doctors suggest undressing your baby (just leaving the diaper on, and then feed 15 to 20 minutes each side (if breastfeeding), and then add 2 oz to 4 oz more for top feed.
Just be sure that your baby ate well before sleeping and burped before you lay her down.
2. Room temperature should be comfortable
If you have a nursery set up for your newborns or toddlers, the temperature should be moderately cool so that they could sleep well through the night.
Make sure they are not too warm or not too cold during the night according to the number of layers your baby is wearing.
The ideal temperature for babies is 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Do not place Crib or bassinet close to vent
Having a bassinet or crib closer to the vent could also be a potential sleep problem for some babies. The air coming from the vent continually may affect your baby’s sleep.
With that said, if your baby is waking up too often at night, try to change the crib placement and see if that helps.
Swaddling is a great thing to do with babies. It is a common practice for a very long time to keep babies snuggled through the night.
Ensure that you swaddle your baby every night for the first several weeks to establish a good sleeping habit. For newborn babies, you can use swaddles, sleep sacks, or wearable blankets to avoid startle reflex, which is very common in babies.
Get these cute baby swaddles with a zip that makes diaper change quick and easy.
Also, Burt bee’s wearable blankets are amazing if you want an extra layer.
NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT USE ANY BLANKETS OR PILLOWS IN BABIES CRIBS. It has a
Read more about Mommy’s mistakes with newborns.
You might want to read about healthy things you want to know about newborns if you are expecting one.
5. Your baby does not need too many layers
Too many layers for your baby at night is not a good idea if you have a central air-conditioner and heating system. Try to keep the baby’s clothing suitable depending on the climate of where you live.
Keep babies’ feet covered during winters. However, in colder climates, you may have to use a hat. Hats may slip away at night, resulting in interrupted sleep, and to avoid such things, you must use a no-slip hat for the baby.
6. Ditch buttons and use zip onesies
Using buttoned onesies for bedtime makes babies feel cold at night. Zip sleep and play onesie are awesome clothing essential to buy for babies because not only will they keep your baby warm and cozy, but also they feel more comfortable while asleep
My favorite onesies
Use Sound Machine for noise-sensitive babies
Sound machines can be a game-changer for you and for your whole family. Soon after I started using a noise machine for my kids, I can firmly say that it has helped all of us sleep better.
Many moms swear by using the sound machine for their babies that could significantly solve sleep problems for them, especially for light-sleeper babies, kids, or adults; this product is a total game-changer.
What a sound machine does?
Basically, noise cancels noise.
Any sound machine would have multiple sound options, but I preferred rain sound, as it feels more natural and soothing at the same time. It helps minimize louder noises of your household chores or the noise made by other family members.
This sound machine is perfect for traveling. It is compact, portable, and works on the outlets almost everywhere.
8. Do not let your baby get overtired
Some days your baby gets too tired; It could be due to a family visit, travel, or just overplaying throughout the day. Overstimulated babies and toddlers get cranky and cry a lot. Also, overstimulation results in trouble falling asleep. And if the baby falls asleep, she is more vulnerable to wake up in a few minutes.
Gently massaging overtired babies make them calm and relaxed which could help them sleep better.
Use Earth Mama’s Calendula organic baby oil for massage.
Also, you can use coconut or olive oil to massage the baby before bedtime or at bathtime.
9. burping your baby after feeding baby is essential
For the first several weeks, your baby needs to burp after each feed. Having your baby burp may seem a boring task, especially when you just want to go back to sleep in the middle of the night. Try not to slack on burping your baby. If your baby doesn’t burp, wait for another 15 to 20 minutes, and then try again.
In case your baby delays burping, you can use gas drops, or put your baby slightly elevated in a safe position.
Some babies have sleep issues when they start solid as their stomachs might have a hard time adjusting to the new textures. At this stage using gas drops definitely helps.
Does your baby have frequent gas issues? learn how to relieve gas issues for babies.
10. Prevent Diaper leakage or dirty diaper blowout
Diaper leak is the most common reason for frequent wake-ups. Few diaper brands cause more leakage, making them wet while sleeping.
Boys tend to leak more often; hence, adjusting their penis downwards while changing diapers could minimize the leaks to a considerable extent.
Use Danni’s diaper extenders either in front of the diaper or at the back to avoid any odd pee leakage at night.
Use diaper covers to prevent frequent wake-ups due to heavy wetting or diaper leaks.
Learn about the 5 best ways to prevent diaper leakage at night.
Read more about how to minimize a baby’s diaper blowouts.
12. Rule out any signs of sickness
When your baby feels sick, or could not breathe comfortably due to the congested nasal passage, this most likely interrupts sleep for both baby and parents. Spraying nasal drops in each nostril help loosening the mucus so babies can sleep comfortably.
If you notice any other signs of sickness like fever, difficulty breathing, coughing, talk to your doctor about it.
Read more about how to help a sick or uncomfortable baby.
13. Your baby might be sleeping during the daytime instead of the night
Day and night confusion is a common problem in newborns. It happens when babies sleep during the day and stay awake at night. Establishing a normal sleep schedule for babies is extremely important.
You have to make a clear distinction between day and night when you come back home with the baby after hospital discharge.
14. Keeping day time noisy and nights calm so your baby can sleep well through the night
Days are brighter with more natural light coming through the windows whereas nights are dark and calm. Eventually, once your baby gets the hang of this day and night difference, it will be much easier to establish a sleep schedule.
No matter how adorable your little one gets at night, do not respond if your baby is in the mood to talk. Even for nighttime feedings, keep a night light and never brighten up the room. The nighttime feel has to be consistently practiced.
15. Baby wants to sleep on your chest or Co sleep all through the night
Some babies want to sleep on the chest or they would end up co-sleeping. The moment you put them down in the crib or bassinet, they would wake up.
If your baby does not want to sleep in her crib or she just wants to be snuggled, do not stress and go with the flow. Eventually, your baby is going to sleep on her own; however, it may take more time for you.
For babies who want to sleep on your chest or want to be held up to fall asleep, the best solution is to co-sleep. That way you will be able to get some sleep too. Co-sleeping babies make the best memories.
16. Reconsider Baby’s bathtime
Most often new parents choose to bathe the baby at bedtime instead of morning. Every baby is different, but most babies get relaxed after bathtime and normally they tend to sleep for a short nap. Bathing babies in the morning is another way to deal with baby sleep problems.
With that said, you need to reconsider bathtime if your baby is waking up soon, after a couple of hours, and doesn’t seem to sleep again. Try bathing your baby in the morning and see if your baby could sleep through the night.
However, if your baby is sleeping well during the night after a bathtime, don’t worry about changing the bathtime schedule.
Related: Baby bath essentials.
Watch out for any sign of reflux while sleeping
Babies who have acid reflux issues might experience some serious reflux while they are sleeping. Parents need to be vigilant if the baby gets uncomfortable after a nighttime feed or starts crying, as your baby may need to throw up.
Watch out for any sign of flathead or developing flat spots
Normally, some babies tilt their heads on one side while sleeping. This may cause the baby to develop flat spots on one side, or staying in one position may flatten the baby’s head as it is super soft and take 3 to 4 months to harden.
Despite all those feedings your baby might not be sleeping through the night and wakes up more frequently, especially, breastfeeding babies. Once you wean her off from breastfeeding, the baby’s sleep habits will improve drastically.