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People think that all a baby does is eat, sleep, poop, and repeat but that’s not it. Sometimes, a baby may even fight sleep even when he is sleepy or needs to sleep. Clever, isn’t he that little boy of yours? Your baby may cry when he is hungry, he may make noise when he wants attention. You will understand all these actions but when he fights sleep even when he needs to sleep, you won’t be able to understand it easily. Understanding the cause of this behaviour can help you figure out how to deal with it.
What Does Fighting Sleep Mean?
If you are not aware of the signs of baby fighting sleep, it can get difficult to understand the actual meaning of fighting sleep itself. Try putting your child to sleep the way you do and there will be times when he expresses his irritation or frustration, maybe even crying out loud or pushing you away. This may even evolve into bending the back and rolling around, kicking and punching, and making a fuss in general.
Why Does a Baby Fight Sleep?
Many parents struggle to understand why babies fight sleep during the day or other times when it is actually for their own benefit. There are a number of factors that help a baby fall asleep by itself naturally, and some of them can disturb him if they are not appropriately present or absent.
1. An Absence of a Proper Routine
Having emerged from the safe womb into a world filled with lights and noises, babies can take some time and effort in falling asleep by themselves. The more things are predictable and repetitive, the more babies begin to feel safer and can relax. If the routine after childbirth is quite haphazard, your baby might get confused in knowing when is the time for feeding and when to fall asleep, leading to the feelings of insecurity.
2. An Absence of the Right Atmosphere
The only reference point of a world that babies have is the experience within the womb. The uterus would not only provide a safe haven that was always comfortable, but it also is a place where a baby would be listening to internal body sounds. Once your baby comes outside, make sure that his room has the right temperature; there should be no noise in his room, as well. Some babies even prefer listening to the hum of a fan or a light buzz that helps them fall asleep easily.
3. Being a Light Sleeper
While we might be able to get into deep sleep rather easily, babies usually have a tough time with that. Most sleep cycles of infants last approximately an hour and nearly a third of that time in the initial phase are in the process of reaching a deep sleep stage. Children may find this irritating and fight the natural tendency to fall asleep.
4. Not Being Swaddled
Swaddling a baby has been recommended widely but many parents believe that babies don’t actually like it because they struggle when you wrap them up. While the struggle is true, the reason behind it is usually the process. Once they are swaddled up, it makes them feel like they are back in the womb. It also helps keep their startling reflexes in check, allowing them to sleep calmly. But if you don’ swaddle your baby, he might resist the urge to sleep.
5. Feeding Your Child Fully Prior to Sleeping
This does sound surprising because it goes quite contrary to popular beliefs. Nearly all parents have experienced their babies falling asleep while breastfeeding or bottle feeding, leading them to believe that it is the right approach to do so. However, a baby is usually tired during the bedtime and should not be fed much, as it might interrupt his normal sleep cycle. Give a small feed before you make him sleep and feed him properly when he wakes up.
6. Presence of a Lot of Stimulation Before Sleep Time
Babies are extremely curious about the new world they are in, and are constantly watching, listening and observing closely. They also need a lot of attention and hence they cry so that you interact with them. While this is good, an excess of it can overwhelm the child and leave him excited or disturbed, causing him to fight the instinct to fall asleep.
7. Being Overtly Exhausted or Too Tired
Some parents tend to look at overstimulation from a different perspective. They believe that tiring a baby out will make it easier for them to fall asleep. But babies are not adults and don’t understand the tact of falling asleep by themselves. Therefore, your little one might fall asleep only to wake up repeatedly throughout the sleep cycle.
Tips to Deal With Baby Who Fight Sleeps
Understanding the reasons for why your baby might be failing to fall asleep is one thing, knowing how to calm a baby fighting sleep requires a deft balance of care and affection, as well as discipline in the appropriate manner. Some simple tips can bring a major change.
1. Check For Separation Anxiety and Correct it the Right Way
As rare as it might be, babies tend to feel anxious if they don’t feel the presence of their mother or father around them, making it difficult for them to fall asleep. If that seems the case, you can talk to a paediatrician and understand how best to counter it, without creating a habit of requiring your presence to fall asleep every time.
2. Allow Your Child to Be By Himself if Required
Some children require to be cooed and patted to sleep, on the other hand, there are also a few infants who prefer being alone or cuddle a toy when falling asleep. Consider yourself lucky since all you need to do is put down your child on the bed and let him fall asleep by his own volition. You can sit in a chair just to supervise him, making sure he falls asleep the right way.
3. Change His Sleeping and Feeding Schedules
Maybe the time you put your baby to sleep might be when he tends to be the most energetic and active. Conversely, that time may also be a bit too late, leaving the baby too exhausted to sleep well. Try making adjustments in the schedule by talking to your doctor and see what works the best for the little one.
4. Create a Sleeping Ritual
There is a strong reason why bedtime storytelling or lullabies have existed since time immemorial. Apart from calming down the baby and making him feel comfortable, it also subconsciously signals the baby that playing time is over and it is time to sleep. Repeating it regularly can make it easier for the baby to switch moods and be aware of the routine.
5. Let Your Baby Sleep Earlier or Later at Night
If your baby is fighting sleep, it is important to recognize whether it is due to being too tired or overstimulation. In case your baby gets tired sooner, then it is best to shift the sleeping routine an hour or two earlier than usual, allowing him to sleep before he tires himself out. However, if your baby is still energetic and active, you could shift the sleeping routine later in the night, making it easier to fall asleep without effort.
Figuring out when do babies stop fighting sleep may not be answerable with a specific time duration. However, many babies tend to accept the daily routines, the earlier they are exposed to them. By being aware of your baby’s needs and establishing a fixed schedule based on it, things will be easier for you as well as the little one.
Also Read: Sleep Regression in Babies