Newborn babies can be tricky little things. You spend so long being told that they do nothing more than feed, sleep and poop, but that really isn’t the case at all! If it were true, there wouldn’t be so many parents literally ripping their hair out trying to figure out why their newborn is crying instead of sleeping. The fact is that your newborn baby is pretty complex and has many needs, which change rapidly as they develop over the first weeks of life. So its little wonder that sometimes we parents can be a little perplexed as to which cry is which, and what course of action we need to take next. Read on to find out the top three reasons why your newborn isn’t sleeping.
So let’s assume you’ve done the basic checks and your newborn is fed, clean, dry and winded. But they’re still crying, and still not sleeping. Here are three reasons why that might be…
This is a huge issue for so many parents, and a really common occurrence. Let’s think about it. How do you know that it’s night time? You know because you’ve had a busy day, the clock tells you it’s evening time, your favourite TV show is starting, shops are closing, people are returning from work… we get so many cues to let us know where we are in each day. But for babies? Newborn babies have no concept of any of these things and therefore very little concept of night and day either. Throughout their time in utero, babies are left to enjoy their time freely, and yet when they arrive into the world we are suddenly expecting them to slot in and conform to our time scales. It just cannot happen like that for all babies.
We need to teach our babies night from day, and there are simple ways that we can do this. Ensure that your day time and night time routines are distinguishable for baby. Through the day, keep things light and don’t worry about minimising sounds. Of course, at nap time you want a dim environment, but for the rest of the time while you’re playing and carrying out chores etc make sure there is a marked difference in the atmosphere. And at night time, make sure you drop everything down to ensure there is a real difference. Dim the lights, cut the TV and keep your voice low and soothing. It will take time, but your baby will lear the difference and sleep will improve.
Baby is hungry
Yes, I know you did the checks. But sometimes, newborn babies need a little help when it comes to eating. So although you fed just twenty minutes ago, your little bundle might not have actually finished their feed after all, and that could be the reason why they’re not sleeping.
Sometimes newborn babies fall asleep mid feed. If this happens, gently wake them with a soft tickle to the cheek, or by sitting them up to wind them before returning to finish the feed. If this doesn’t work, sometimes stripping down to the nappy can help.
Sometimes newborn babies think that they’re full, but haven’t actually taken enough milk to keep them going for any decent length of time. If this is the case, it can feel as though you’re feeding constantly at first, but stick with it. Your baby’s tummy will grow and will be able to take more milk at each feed soon enough, and this will help with sleep. Go with your baby here.
Your baby is poorly
Every parent’s worst nightmare- a newborn baby who is crying and unwell. Please, please don’t hesitate to call your doctor if this is the case for you and you’re worried about the correct course of action to take. It can be scary when babies are so young and unwell, and most doctors will want to check things over as a precaution when they’re newborn.
Before you call though, there are things that you can check to see if your newborn can be eased quickly at home. Take the temperature, check for signs of nappy rash, make sure she is winded. Also check the temperature of the nursery and make sure baby is not too hot or cold. If you cannot eliminate the reason why your baby is crying, call your doctor and try to stay calm.