All babies cry sometimes, and all babies have time where they have trouble going to or staying asleep. You might find that your baby has the odd occasion where they won’t go to sleep as easy, or there might be a period of a week or two where they seem to struggle more than usual. Here are the top 9 reasons your baby won’t sleep.

  1. Your baby isn’t tired.
  2. Your baby is tired or overstimulated. It may seem ironic that you baby won’t sleep because they are tired, but overtired babies have trouble winding down and drifting off to sleep. Overtired babies usually need comfort and help to get to sleep, but for others nothing will work, they just need to cry for a while and then they will settle down. Swaddling works wonders for most babies (although not all) particularly if they’re overstimulated and can’t wind down and relax. I recommend the SwaddleMe Wraps which are miracle workers for swaddling over tired or active movers.
  3. Your baby is hungry.
  4. Your baby is wet or dirty, hot or cold.
  5. Your baby has wind or gas pain.
  6. Your baby is uncomfortable. They might be lying on something, have a very hard matress or have itchy tags inside their clothes.
  7. Your baby is sick. Despite being uncomfortable with they are sick, lots of babies have trouble sleeping particularly when they have a blocked nose (it requires them to sleep with their mouth open which most babies aren’t used to).
  8. Your baby is afraid. Young babies don’t usually fear being alone or having to go to sleep, but older babies / toddlers can often develop fears of the dark or become fearful if they are woken by a dream or loud noise.
  9. Your baby is going through a developmental leap. These leaps, also known as wonder weeks can last from a day to a few weeks long and most parents report sleeping problems during this time. If you have ruled out everything else on this list, it might be that your baby needs a little extra comfort as they go through this leap.

Where to Get Help

The best way to learn about your baby and what s/he needs is going to be to arm yourself with information. This could be from family / friends or your local maternal / child health nurse, if you have one.

I highly recommend having a look at the books The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child  (written by Pediatrician Marc Weissbluth, who also has some great videos out).  The book The Wonder Weeks will also give you some really good insights into your baby’s behavior and strategies for overcoming sleeping and feeding issues, and fussiness.

If you need any more reading recommendations, I have outlined the most popular baby books in our virtual book store.