The question of why the child does not sleep well often worries many parents: “My baby won’t sleep, what am I doing wrong?”; “My child is almost a year old, but still does not sleep well at night. When do children start to sleep through the night?”
Any family has asked the sort of question at least once.
How Do I Get Baby To Sleep?
Very often, future young mothers are in illusions, believing that a small child eats and sleeps constantly. And I was not an exception. However, my maternal and professional experience has shown that children, who sleep well from birth, are, in fact, an exception to the rule. And rule consists of the fact that babies don’t sleep like adults. We expect them to sleep like we are used to: go to sleep in the evening, fall asleep, and wake up in the morning. Children sleep differently, their sleep is basically arranged in the other way.
Baby Won’t Sleep: What Are The Main Sleeping Problems?
In general, human sleep is the alternation of two different in their quality sleeping processes: fast and slow. During slow sleep, a person sleeps deeply, doesn’t have dreams, is relaxed, and the body is motionless. In adults, such kind of sleep takes the biggest part of the night or during a day nap. Fast sleep lasts a shorter period of time.
In this case, a person sleeps superficially, dreams, often flip from side to side, changing the position, the eyeballs can move under the closed eyelids, and in such sleep period, it is very easy to wake up. Fast sleep is more typical for infants, they have very little slow sleep. This fact should be taken into account and realized because the child shouldn’t be expected to sleep the way you do.
In addition, it’s important to know that sleeping for any person – is an alarming time. Dreams appear at night, and those dreams aren’t always pleasant. While sleeping, a person loses control over oneself, over the own life, over what is happening around him, at home and in the outside world; it means that immersion in asleep – is a process that involves anxiety.
By the way, not only children but adults at a certain age have sleeping problems. A person usually sleeps well in adolescence and in youth, but then the accumulated stress has its impact, and one is faced with difficulties. In general, the main cause of problems with sleeping lies in the fact that a person is just simply afraid to sleep.
In this respect a baby is more vulnerable than an adult because an adult can count sheep or imagine some pictures closing the eyes, he can lull and soothe himself. The child can’t yet do all these things. Baby thinks that the world around disappears the very moment it closes its eyes and the moment of falling asleep is like a little death for the baby. Therefore, for us, adults, it is very important to take into account this feature of a baby’s worldview, and we definitely should help our children at the time they fall asleep.
Calm Parents – Better Sleep
Parents should also take the fact and realize another important moment: when a baby does not sleep well, you shouldn’t worry a lot about if it necessarily affects somehow on its nervous system or health. Of course, I’m not trying to persuade you not to worry and not to take care of the baby’s sleep. You just need to temper your fears and anxieties.
Remember, the more you worry, the more you are fixated on the problem of sleep, the more you disturb a child (children very sensitive at capturing the mother’s mood), the worse will the sleeping problem be. Try to take it easy and believe that growing up, the child will sleep better and better because it’s a mother who gives the baby basic trust in the world for the first six-twelve months. One of the spread complaints about sleeping problems in babies is that of the baby crying after awakening.
Many babies go through this experience. Mainly those, whose parents are not practicing co-sleeping. When the mother is calm and relaxed going through baby’s bad sleeping or some malaise, she, thereby, in fact, seems to say, “Child, you can handle all of these! The world is not so terrible, it should not be necessarily controlled, and it will meet you with joy as you wake up! “.
Such a promise will calm the child, and it will not be afraid of falling asleep, it will start to gain the experience of waking up and understanding that the world does not disappear during its sleep. Waking up every morning or afternoon nap, the baby will see the mother, who smiles at it, talking about it, the baby will slowly stop worrying and it will sleep better and deeper with time.
Does Your Child Really Sleep Badly?
Very often parents just think that their baby does not sleep well. Let’s consider this situation: the baby closes eyes during feeding, and you think that it is eating, but, in fact, it’s been asleep for a while. Many mothers complain that their babies sleep for only forty minutes during the day. As a rule, they mean the period of time since the baby’s detached from the breast, but they don’t take into account the previous forty minutes of feeding when the child was dozing. But you can count it as sleep. So you should carefully observe your baby and keep track of whether it is awake (as you think) or not.
My Baby Won’t Sleep Same Well, As Before
Young parents often ask why the child that used to sleep well during infancy and wake up at night quite seldom (this applies to children who are breastfed), now, by the age of one year has started to wake up frequently. I think often it is connected with the fact that the six-month-old baby reaches a very interesting period.
By this time, the child becomes more mobile, it already knows well how to roll from its back to the belly, how to crawl and use the limbs – the whole world is ready for the baby to explore it.
And if the mother observes a baby carefully, she will notice: it eats less during the day – the baby has no time. Also, the baby is simply over-excited by the evening. There are so many experiences, unfamiliar objects, to which the child is able to get now by himself, a lot of new flavors and sensations, and the mother gives new complementary foods at this time…
The tiredness of all this is accumulated by the evening that’s why the baby wakes up at night very often. In addition, the child eats during the nighttime awakenings, getting what it did not eat during the day.
Baby Won’t Sleep When Overwrought
I think the problem of the evening crying should be raised in this article, it’s the situation when the child clearly wants to, but can’t sleep. It’s also connected with the overwork. Have you faced up such a phenomenon? It means that hampering systems (those that make the baby go to sleep on time – self-capacity) haven’t yet manifested in your baby, and you will have to work instead of these systems for some time.
It’s very important to follow the regime of the day with these children, to dose their experiences, to monitor closely if a computer or TV is on, to regulate the visits to guests, lessons.
If the time of evening bedtime suddenly moved, if you missed the moment for some reason, and didn’t notice the first signs of fatigue, of course, it will be more difficult to get the child to sleep. But don’t be afraid. In this case, it’s necessary to sway, to give a breast, maybe even to swaddle the baby’s arms, to wash its face with warm water, to bathe the baby.
May Swaddling Be An Option When Baby Won’t Sleep?
The question of swaddling – is a controversial issue in the contemporary world. Earlier the mothers used to swaddle their children before sleeping, but don’t think that the one-year-old baby was swaddled from the morning until the evening. They were only swaddled by the arms at the moment of falling asleep up to one and a half months. So the mother was helping a child, she immobilized and gave it a chance to rest from his own body.
Now babies are rarely swaddled. Modern women think that their children don’t like it. The fact that the baby pulls hands from flannels, they regard as an unwillingness to be swaddled for some reason. But it’s not a protest. The baby is not yet able to understand what is useful and what is harmful. It just moves in the free mode, the unconscious instincts, fears, anxieties drive the baby.
The Baby’s body makes a large number of chaotic movements in the first two months because the child still does not trust the support because it just has left the womb, where it felt confident and safe. And precisely these unconscious movements are regarded by young mothers as a manifestation of discontent, they refuse to swaddle and thus, only increase the tendency of the child to have overstimulation and, consequently, the inability to fall asleep well and on time.
Maybe Swaying Would Help?
So, you have to be prepared for the fact that during the first year you will have to calm the baby inevitably, ensure that the baby is not overexcited, sway it.
A newborn baby needs your embrace! During falling asleep, a baby should be kept tightly to you, or you may lay the child on your body, embracing with hands, thus giving a sense of protection. The space in which the child is located should be tight and warm, reminding the baby of intrauterine conditions.
Also, keep in mind that while being in the womb, the baby was swayed by the mother’s body. And that’s why swaying is still very necessary for her during the first months after birth. Being born, a child comes into a completely different world, and the more the new world will be similar to that one the baby got used to the better the child adapts to it. Do not be afraid to keep your baby in your arms, do not be afraid to sway it if it helps.
Don’t worry that you will have to sway a child forever or that it could somehow damage health in the future. The children were swayed at all times, and you can use this practice safely. It’s more correct, of course, not to swing a child in a cradle or in a stroller, but to hold the baby in the arms, because it knows your body very well: play, gait – so the baby gets in its intrauterine experiences, gets calm and falls asleep.
I also want to note that I have a very respectful attitude to the lullaby, because all the mothers always sang it at all times, accompanying the child to sleep. Mother’s voice and the melody of a lullaby, traditional, meditative, soothing, help the child to fall asleep too.
Co-Sleeping as a Salvation?
When the baby won’t sleep – sleeping together is a great help for the mother at one age but at the other – it can become a disaster for a growing child. When you sleep with the baby in the first six months of life it’s ok. Because this way you save your strength (you don’t have to get up at night), the baby sleeps calmer, and you can just push it to yourself for breastfeeding.
However, the situation when the child sleeps with his mother up to six or eight years – it’s a pathology, and we can say that such a family has serious problems. The child should be put asleep separately. It needs its own bed. And here is the next question, at what age is it necessary to do? You should not worry during the first six months.
A newborn is strongly connected to his mother; its own boundaries do not exist. It sees the mother as part of itself, and so when it is put for a separate sleep, a baby often experiences stress. But after six months, it is already possible to put a baby in its own bed for the first half of the night only in the second half of the night (when your fatigue is high and the baby is not asleep deeply) put it next to you. The final separation, lying on its bed, should occur with the weaning.
When Will The Baby Start To Sleep Well?
The most burning question, which is raised by parents who have a poorly sleeping child: “When, finally, it will start to fall asleep well and sleep deeply?”.
Typically, the first breakthrough in this sense takes place at the time when a mother weans her child from the breast (a year, a year and a half). If she does it without replacing the breast with a bottle or pacifier (especially with a bottle of milk, mixture, yogurt, etc.), a baby usually sleeps much better. It happens so because now nothing distracts the child’s sleep, it will not be woken up by the intestines, which works digesting food, and bladder, which has to be drained.
One says that the child begins to sleep better by two years. However, there are children of two years and older, whose sleep is broken by first terrible dreams, because the mind is mature enough to fear at this age. How does anxiety differ from fear? It doesn’t have a specific source, but when we are afraid, we are always afraid of something specific. Newborn baby worries and anxiety does not allow it to sleep and the older child is able to sleep well, but it may wake up from a terrible dream, and come to your bed. But that’s a topic for another, separate article.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.