Whether you’re a new parent or whether you’re about to become one, it can be helpful to take a few minutes on occasion and review the basics. This is true in many areas, and it’s especially true when it comes to your baby and sleep. Many parents can get frustrated when baby won’t sleep or when baby keeps waking, and by remembering what it is that usually keeps babies up you can reduce your stress and hers.

Figuring out why it is that your baby is resistant to falling asleep is the key to both of you getting some rest. Here are some of the most common reasons baby won’t sleep:

  • Baby is uncomfortable. A baby that’s uncomfortable is most likely a baby that’s going to be awake. Many things can cause your baby discomfort, however, and identifying what it is can be tricky. He might have a wet diaper. He might be too warm or too cold. It could even be a lumpy crib mattress, or a hair wrapped tightly around a toe. Doing a physical inventory will help identify possible causes of discomfort.
  • Baby is hungry. We usually rush to this one right away. Our tendency is, when a baby is crying or when she’s not falling asleep, is to stick a bottle in her. It’s true that your baby won’t sleep if she’s hungry, and it’s usually the reason that she wakes at night.
  • Baby is sick. If your baby has a bad belly or an ear infection, you won’t know about it until he has diarrhea or pulls at his ear. You can always check his temperature, and watch for other signs of illness if he just won’t go to sleep.
  • Baby is overstimulated. Sometimes, babies have busy days. Sometimes, they’re trying to master a new skill or practice some task. Sometimes, they just need to cry it out a little bit in order to deal with the massive amount of sensory input they take in on a daily basis. Giving your baby some time to wind down, possibly even before bedtime with a nice warm bath and a bottle, can help when she’s overstimulated.