If you’re wondering, “Why does my baby fight sleep?” you’re not alone. Despite your efforts, your baby’s sleep requirements are constantly changing. The cause of your baby’s resistance may be developmentally appropriate or situational, such as an unusually long nap today. Or, your baby may be tired and ready to forgo her morning nap. Here are some things to consider before trying to convince your child to go to sleep.
Babies’ sleep schedules differ, so it is important to establish a routine and stick with it. Changing your baby’s nap schedule can help. Or, if your baby’s naps are too long, consider reducing their length. This can help them get to sleep at night. If you’re still having trouble, consider bringing your baby to the nursery and adjusting the nap time.
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If your baby is fighting sleep because he is overtired, consider the time and place for napping. A few hours before bedtime, avoid screens and noisy toys. This is an especially important time for a nap because your baby is likely to wake up and be disoriented. Another potential cause is separation anxiety. Babies may fear being separated from their parents, which can cause them to fight sleep.
As your baby gets older, you may need to limit the amount of stimulation your baby receives before bedtime. Some parents successfully remove toys, nursery mobiles, and high-tech rocking bassinets. While they may prefer a certain object or sound, the best solution is to wean your baby off each tool gradually. And remember: a calmer parent is likely to be more successful.
Overtireness is another factor in why your baby battles sleep. Overtiredness affects the body’s ability to regulate itself so that the body can handle the situation. Our biological time clock and hormonal interactions regulate sleep. When our children are overtired, their attempts to sleep are often disrupted by a chemical reaction. The chemical response can interfere with sleep and make it impossible for the baby to fall asleep. These reactions can also affect our sleep.
If your baby is consistently overtired, consider shifting the time of bedtime. If you’ve found that your child is not yet tired, try moving the time of bedtime later in the day. If your baby doesn’t get tired, try instituting a nap routine. Adding an extra 15 minutes to the bedtime routine will relax your child and prevent them from staying awake for too long. Once your baby can fall asleep, you’ll be rewarded with more restful and happy nights.
While sleep needs can vary, the brain’s basic physiological mechanism is the same. It has doubled in size by six months and can regulate sleep more efficiently. Therefore, keeping your routine and sleep associations in place is important to help your baby get a good night’s sleep. Remember: your baby’s sleep is an investment in your child’s growth and development. So don’t give up hope and keep trying!