Baby Fighting Sleep
“Baby fighting sleep” is a description often given by parents who haven’t gotten enough sleep because they were up most of the night with a crying baby. Usually “baby fighting sleep” means simply that a baby is having a hard time going to sleep. What you need to do is find the cause of the sleeplessness and eliminate it.
If your baby seems drowsy, it’s time to lie him down to go to sleep. This also shows him he can go to sleep in his crib on his own. This is very important because if he should wake up in the middle of the night feeling drowsy, he will allow him fall asleep again.
For example, often a mother will rock a child for 5 to 10 minutes until he falls asleep. Then, when she lies him in the crib, he immediately wakes up crying. This experience is totally normal. It takes more time for a baby to be deep enough asleep so as not to awaken. It should be more like 15 to 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes or under.
A newborn cannot go longer than four to five hours without being fed. On average, about 50% of those infants who are bottle fed can sleep through the night when they are two months old. If you are breastfeeding your baby, double that to four months. Don’t expect your infant to sleep through the night till he is around six months old. And even then, you might need to accept that a full night’s sleep is from midnight to 5:00 am.
A doctor may advise several methods to help a baby fighting sleep. The most important one is to put your infant into his crib immediately when he starts to become drowsy.
The child’s last memory should be of falling asleep alone in the crib, not of being fed or of being held or rocked. If you lie the infant down when drowsiness appears, he will still take around twenty minutes to fall asleep.
Don’t pick up your infant to rock him unless he starts crying. Babies cry all the time whether it is day or night. If your child is crying, don’t ignore it. It’s good to pick your baby up to hold or rock him for comfort. During the first three to four months of a baby’s life, you don’t have to worry about spoiling him. Chances are, your baby is colicky.
Another way to get a baby to sleep at night is to discourage daytime sleep any more than three hours at a time. A newborn should be fed every two hours. Remember, crying is a baby’s only method of communication. Crying doesn’t mean you should automatically feed a baby. Spend time just holding your child until drowsiness sets in.
If you do have a baby fighting sleep, take a look at your schedule for feeding and sleep and see if any changes need to be made. Do whatever you can to keep your baby from getting overtired. Don’t push for an infant to sleep all night long before he is ready.