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Baby Not Sleeping? 6 Top Pointers That Might Help

When you become a new parent, you may find yourself overwhelmed with information, advice and concerns. So much information can make you question your own motherly instincts, and just generally confuse you! And when your baby isn’t sleeping, this can become increasingly frustrating and isolating. 


Love To Dream works with sleep experts in order to maximise the safety, comfort and duration of your baby’s sleep, and we’re building a community to try and dispel the myths, rumours and old wives tales, to give mothers the most up-to-date (and easy to digest!) facts about baby sleep.


If sleep just isn’t on the cards and you are struggling to understand why, the reason could be below: 

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  • Are you underestimating just how much sleep your baby needs? 

Babies sleep a LOT, and they need to reach a certain amount of sleep time each day to rest and develop. If they don’t meet this, they will accrue “sleep debt” which makes them overtired, and then - ironically - harder to get to sleep. Some parents worry if their baby is rarely awake that something is wrong, but let them take the time they need to grow. It won’t be long until they are a very active toddler! 


  • Are you overlooking the basics?

It can be easy to assume the worst when your baby isn’t sleeping or is keeping you up all night crying, especially if you are sleep deprived and struggling with your own sanity! But usually, it does come down to a fairly simple and solvable reason. Use a logical head and check the basics, like the baby’s temperature, or if they might be hungry. If you usually use white noise, make sure that’s on in the background. 


  • Are you missing your baby’s signs of tiredness?

Babies will show you when they are ready to go down to sleep with little cues. This might include rubbing eyes, and fussing more than usual. You can put your baby down before he or she is actually asleep, and they should soon drift off. Other cues, like yawning or falling asleep in your arms, are cues that your baby may be getting overtired, and when you lay them in their crib, they might struggle to find peaceful sleep. 


  • Are you intervening every time your baby makes a noise?

Not all cries mean that your baby urgently needs you. Sometimes they are simply crying because they haven’t yet managed to fall asleep and they are frustrated. Avoid rushing in straight away if your baby is crying right before they should be going to sleep, and give them some time to get there on their own. Of course you should go to them if you feel that they need the one-to-one contact, but you will be amazed at how quickly your baby can settle themselves once they start to slip into slumber. 


  • Are you using too many different methods?

There are lots of ways to settle your baby to sleep, but try to stick to one preferred method - whether it's singing, rocking, white noise etc. This allows them to have a clear understanding of what comes next when they get this one prompt.


  • Have you broken your routine recently?

A change to your routine is natural and will happen - however if your baby has been used to a structure, they need time to adjust. They need to fully adapt to their new sleep prompts before they feel settled and comfortable in their surroundings. 


Love To Dream MENA sleep expert Julie Mallon adds:

It is worth noting that there are many guides as to how much your child should be sleeping, but we must acknowledge every child is different and so are their sleep needs!

Behind every behaviour of our children is a communication - your little one is trying to tell you they are ready to sleep - or not yet ready yet - and so recognising their sleep cues and really paying attention to their behaviour will help enormously.

Julie Mallon
Julie Mallon


Also, a nap and bedtime routine will reinforce good sleep habits and this needs only to be brief, but predictable and consistent. A short story (start early) in a darkened room, a cuddle and then placed "sleepy but aware" in their cot will help build the essential skills for sleep.


Be mindful - it's ok if it doesn't happen today. This is a process and there is always tomorrow.