If you’re a new parent, chances are you’ve already spent your share of nights with little or no sleep while you take care of your baby. This is a normal part of parenthood, and the best advice anyone can give you is to buckle up and ride it out. It does get better eventually. Until then, do your best to get as much rest during the day while your baby takes naps and realize that before you know it, these first few months of your baby’s life will be just a fond memory.
Babies sleep a lot, but they sleep in short spurts. If your baby is sleeping 2-4 hours at a time, then waking up and needing attention of one sort or another, she’s perfectly normal. It’s also normal from time to time for babies to have trouble falling back to sleep. In most cases, this is not a big deal. Your baby will fall asleep eventually. If she seems to be having trouble falling asleep, there may be any of several factors why your baby won’t sleep. These may include:
- He’s not tired. This one can be a bit of a bugger. It can be difficult for us at times to understand that it takes some time for babies to adjust to our schedules and until they do, we need to adjust to theirs. Contrary to popular notion, babies don’t sleep all the time. If your little one isn’t sleeping, it could simply be that he’s not tired yet.
- She has physical needs. Go through the checklist. Has she been fed recently? Has her diaper been changed recently? Is she warm enough? Is she too warm?
- He wants attention. Babies’ needs vary widely on how much direct attention they want and need. Some babies fall asleep best if you lie them by themselves in a dark room and walk away. Others crave a bit more of mom and dad’s face time, and if they are feeling the need for attention, they may fight sleep. There are differing theories about whether it’s best to go take care of a crying baby immediately or not. Whatever you choose is fine, but it’s best to be consistent with your approach.
- She’s sick. Pay attention to your baby’s signs. If she is crying much more than normal (for her) and having a very difficult time going to sleep for extended periods, she may have colic or other kinds of sickness. If you think your baby may be sick, or if she is running a high temperature, call your doctor. Simple advice can often be given over the phone, and your doctor will tell you when it’s serious enough to bring your baby in to be seen.