You aren’t the only one who needs a good night’s sleep. Your sweet baby also needs to get a good night’s rest to grow – both physically and mentally.
However, what does an exhausted parent do when their baby just won’t fall asleep or sleep long stretches at night? You may be wondering how to get your baby to stop fighting sleep and sometimes the solution is simpler than you thought!
It is completely normal for young babies to sleep more than half of the time in a 24 hour period, depending on your infant’s age. Babies tend to sleep a lot, but just maybe not during the times that you want them to.
First you need to understand why sleep is so important for your baby and then below you will find some great tips on how to get your baby to stop fighting sleep when you need them to go to bed.
Importance of Sleep for A Baby
There is a big misconception amongst parents that newborns only get cranky if they don’t get enough sleep. However the baby can have more side effects from a lack of sleep besides just becoming fussy.
Sleep not only relaxes the brain and muscles of the baby, but according to a study, during sleep is when a baby’s brain is developed. It actively builds a network inside the brain to enable it to think and learn new things.
Sleep is so important in babies for a few reasons, including:
- Sleep Promotes Growth
A baby’s brain secretes growth hormone when they are deep asleep. This hormone promotes their physical and mental growth. If you want your baby to grow mentally and physically strong, then you need to make them sleep longer.
- Sleep Maintains Heart Health
Newborns feel uncomfortable in this world. Looking at new people, new surroundings, etc. makes them feel unprotected. When they cry and get fussy, their body releases stress hormones and makes them feel tired.
If babies are stressed and sleep-deprived, it can take a toll on their heart health. During sleep, the heartbeat slows down and blood pressure also drops a little. These factors help the heart to reduce stress and prepare it to work perfectly for the next day.
- Sleep Promotes Healthy Weight
Ever looked for weight loss tips on the internet? Did you come across the tips that emphasized sleeping for 7-8 hours?
Sleep and weight have an indirect relation. The more your body gets proper rest, the more unlikely you are to put on extra weight. Likewise, if the babies sleep more, their bodies will stay healthy. Failure to get a night of proper sleep makes the baby prone to obesity.
- Sleep Strengthens the Immune System
While we are sleeping, our body makes proteins that are known as cytokines. These help to fight bacteria, germs, and viruses inside our bodies.
In the current times, where almost all the countries are pandemically stricken, it is high time for parents to keep themselves and their babies safe from the COVID-19.
Make sure, you and your baby get ample sleep to strengthen your immune system and fight off unwanted guests in your body.
- Sleep Keeps the Baby Alert
How do you feel if you barely slept for 2-3 hours and then had to report to work? Dizzy, fatigued, drowsy, and inactive, right?
Your baby feels the same thing if he doesn’t get enough sleep. He stays drowsy throughout the day and ends up being fussy for every little thing. On the contrary, if the baby has slept longer and peacefully at night he stays happy, active, and alert throughout the day.
Remember, a happy baby is least likely to give you a tough time. So, to prevent your baby from getting irritated, make him sleep longer at night.
The importance of sleep is not limited to the ones stated above. Proper sleep is equally important for the baby just like a good diet and physical activities.
Top 8 Tips That Will Get Baby to Stop Fighting Sleep
Parents love it when their babies sleep. It gives them some extra peace and quiet and of course it makes for a happier vibe in general.
The only problem that parents face is how can I get my baby to sleep through the night and how do I get my baby to stop fighting sleep?
Although every baby is different, you can learn effective strategies for how to get your baby to sleep through the night. These tips will help them to fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
1. Don’t Feed Your Baby to Sleep
It is one of the most common mistakes made by parents to breastfeed the baby or offer him a bottle when he is fussy or sleepy. While it might help the baby to fall asleep faster, he will soon awake in a few hours.
Reason? Because the tiny tummies of babies accumulate gas that forms while feeding. This discomfort doesn’t let them sleep for long periods of time.
Furthermore, if babies are fed right before they sleep, they will develop an unhealthy relationship with food. They will seek comfort in feeding and it becomes difficult for them to fall asleep without being fed.
Try to establish a bedtime routine where you feed the baby first, then burp and change him. Once he is half-asleep, you put him in his crib or bed.
You can of course feed your baby before a nap or sleep time, but make sure you provide at least 5-10 minutes of awake time before they fall asleep.
Related Post: Establish Healthy Sleep Habits for Your Baby
2. Set the Environment
Would you be able to sleep in a stimulating room that is brightly lit, stuffed with cool gadgets, and noisy? Of course not. Babies need the same environment to sleep as adults.
If you are looking forward to a night of long uninterrupted sleep, then you must make it a sleep-friendly environment.
- Dim the lights of the room
- Draw curtains to block the light coming from the windows
- Limit extraneous noises (Turn off the TV and put your phone on silent if they are still in your bedroom)
- Increase white noise by using a white noise machine or fan
White noises refer to the sound that has the same amplitude and intensity throughout their frequencies. White noise mimics the environment of the womb and should calm down your baby to sleep.
3. Keep Them Snug
Babies love to feel snug and tightly wrapped. After all, this is how they felt in the womb.
Newborns have reflexes that cause them to sprawl their arms involuntarily which can wake them up often if they’re not wrapped up tightly.
If your baby is fighting sleep, they may not feel safe and secure or are waking themselves up with startling jerks of their arms and legs. The best way to prevent this is to swaddle them up nice and tight.
Use a swaddle like the Swaddle Me Velcro Swaddles to keep your baby wrapped up like a little baby burrito! This will prevent involuntary reflexes, like arms jerks, from arousing them and causing them to wake up.
The velcro and tightness of these swaddles is what made my daughter sleep so well for the first few months of her life. They wrap them up so tightly so they can’t break free like traditional blanket swaddles. It makes them feel like they’re being hugged all night long.
4. Establish a Routine
The earlier the routine is developed, the more the baby will adapt to it and follow it. Establish a routine to make your baby fall asleep.
Try to put them to bed at the same time and follow the same bedtime routine every day to make them sleep longer. Also, wake them up at the same time every day.
At first, it may be difficult for you and the baby, but in a few days your baby will adjust to his new routine and as a reward, he will give you a night of uninterrupted sleep.
5. Don’t Force the Baby
If you’re wondering how to get your baby to stop fighting sleep, forcing them to sleep when they’re not tired is not the answer. If you force them to sleep when they don’t want to, they will get irritated and their mind will become more alert.
Consequently, they will fight sleep and just give you a tough time.
Similarly, do not force the baby to stay awake when they are all set to hit the bed. Parents often try to keep their babies awake for long hours thinking that it will help them to sleep later.
This is a huge mistake as our bodies are designed to produce hormones to fight off fatigue when we are exhausted.
If your baby is exhausted, then let him sleep or else he’ll become cranky and may fight sleep when you’re ready.
6. Be Aware of Naps During the Day Time
Some parents may think that keeping their baby up all day will help them to sleep better at night, but this is simply not true. If your baby gets the recommended amount of sleep and wake time during the day, they should sleep better through the night.
Follow the sleep times below and let your baby sleep when necessary, just don’t overdo it.
Remember this simple rule: If your baby is tired, then let him take the recommended naps during the day.
7. Give Them a Warm Bath
One of the tried and tested newborn baby sleep tips is to give him a warm bath before bedtime.
The warm water will make the baby’s body relaxed and sleepy. To make babies sleepier, you can even add a few drops of chamomile essential oil. Chamomile has calming and relaxing properties and is safe for little ones.
8. Give Them a Massage
If your baby is fighting sleep, try giving them a massage. You can incorporate a lotion massage into your daily routine or use it right before bedtime.
Babies love lotion massages and they have even been shown to reduce irritability and help them sleep better! Plus, they feel good for them and can provide great sensory input.
Grab baby oil or a lotion and gently massage. Gently stroke your baby’s shoulders, arms, and thighs to help him doze off. To make it more effective, give your baby a warm bath after the massage session. It will do wonders to keep your baby asleep.
Related Post: Baby Skin Care Tips to Keep Skin Healthy and Protected
9. Give Them Time to Self-Soothe
Parents make a run every time they hear their baby cry and start thinking about how to soothe their baby to sleep. You might think you are helping your baby to fall asleep, but actually, you are stopping them from learning how to fall back asleep on their own.
If they wake up in the middle of the night, do not rush to feed your baby. Let them be on their own for a few minutes to learn how to get themselves back to sleep.
Maybe they’ll find that sucking their thumb soothes them or finding their pacifier. Once the baby learns how to go back to sleep, they sleep longer and you don’t have to soothe them in the middle of the night.
In a Nutshell
A night of good sleep is essential for a baby’s well-being, as well as for the parents. It helps him to grow physically and mentally strong and promotes a healthy weight.
Don’t try to implement every single tip listed above if you’r trying to figure out how to get your baby to stop fighting sleep. Pick up a few and make your baby habitual of it.
And don’t forget one important thing…stay relaxed! If you get agitated or frustrated, your baby will do the same, you don’t want that, do you?
Natali Is a Co-Founder at Little Baby Paws. Little Baby Paws is an online store with one main goal for all parents, and that is to be a one-stop-shop for easy to use baby and toddler essentials.