Baby not sleeping?

Find out why not right here.

Its all well and good getting some advice on how to get your baby or toddler off to sleep, but knowing why your child isn’t sleeping is the key to putting the right plan into place. Find out more about our sleep plans here. 

  1. Medical Reasons:

    If your baby is suffering from a medical condition which causes pain such as reflux or silent reflux, your baby will definitely struggle to sleep. Conditions such as OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), allergies, eczema, intolerance’s, ring worms, ear infections or any serious illness will also contribute to your child not being able to sleep. Baby not sleeping? Get them cleared of medical reasons first.

  2. Hungry:

    A hungry baby will really struggle to sleep! If you are in the newborn phase make sure your baby is making regular weekly gains, and having plenty of wet and dirty nappies. Make sure your baby has taken a full feed before you attempt any nap. If you have been trying to settle your newborn for 40 minutes or more and they haven’t fallen asleep, try a top up feed to rule out hunger. Older babies are a little more resilient, but still need regular feeds and need to be thriving weight wise in order to sleep well.

  3. Windy tummy problems

    If your baby has a windy or sore tummy from either a poor latch, or drinking a bottle too fast, or even trying new solid foods, they might feel so uncomfortable they struggle to settle to sleep. You’ll often see them pulling their legs up and almost withering around as their tummies hurt.

  4. Over tired

    Once your baby or toddler moves into the over tired zone, tears are inevitable! Over tired children produce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones wreck havoc on your baby ability to sleep and ability to link sleep cycles. Which is why we see the 2 hourly wake ups over night and short cat naps in the day. Baby not sleeping? Maybe they are overtired!

  5. Over Stimulated

    This one is a little bit confusing. But if your baby is not sleeping, perhaps they are over stimulated. Often when our children wont sleep we get frustrated or out of share disappear we try harder and harder to “get” our children to sleep, when all they need is a bit of space. If you are switching between rocking, walking, patting, holding, feeding, cry it out, co-sleeping…. you get the idea! The switching around is over stimulating.

6. Under stimulated

Interestingly newborns need some visual input in order to be able to then sleep, things like a change in scenery, a walk outside etc, give newborns the input they need to calm their central nervous system. Have you ever noticed how when you take a crying baby outside they stop crying? This is why!

On that note older babies definitely need to expend some energy in order to be able to sleep. So try to avoid days where they spend all day in their prams and car seats.

7. Can’t self settle

If your child can’t self settle yet, they might be looking to you for help to get to sleep. Their sleep associations might be bottles, or breastfeeding to sleep, or even rocking or holding to sleep. If this method starts failing, or your baby outgrows it, then you are stuck with a baby who can’t sleep. Baby not sleeping? They might need to learn to self settle.

8. Sleep environment not suitable

In order for your child to sleep their sleep environment needs to be spot on. I am talking temperature, light, white noise, that sort of thing. Yes your friends baby might sleep any where anytime, but the more sensitive children need their environment perfect. Address this before even thinking about any sleep training.

9. Settling technique not age appropriate

Knowing whether your settling strategy is age appropriate is another piece of the puzzle to ensuring your baby sleeps! Baby not sleeping? Maybe the technique isn’t age appropriate. A newborn being settled with cry it out, will definitely not be able to sleep, this is more appropriate after 6 months, similarly a 10 month old being patted to sleep will probably be over stimulated and also struggle to sleep. Match your settling technique to your babies age, and their temperament and you are onto a winner! Check out our sleep packages here if you want help with this.

10. Under tired child

Knowing when to put your baby or toddler to bed is key to them settling well. Baby not sleeping? Maybe they are under tired! If you haven’t progressed your babies awake windows in the first 6 months, then chances are, they just aren’t tired enough to sleep! Similarly your toddler’s bed time will gradually move later as they get older. Especially if they continue to nap beyond 2.5 years old.

Adelaide Baby Sleep Consultant – Kelly Martin 0403 521 222

If you want some help with your child’s sleep, register for a free chat with our friendly sleep consultant team here. We’ll give you a call and chat through your options.