My baby won’t sleep – what am I doing wrong?
Parents (and others in their lives) may blame themselves when their little one doesn’t sleep well, but it is important to recognize that many aspects of a baby’s sleep are not related to parenting. Your baby might have a medical condition, such as reflux or sleep apnea, that could make it hard to stay asleep. Your baby might naturally be more wakeful, not wanting to miss any of the action! Little ones also vary in their tendency to self-soothe, or put themselves to sleep. And, of course, it is important to remember that it is normal for young babies to wake during the night.
Nonetheless, there are some actions that parents can take to encourage healthy sleep habits. A consistent nightly bedtime routine is a proven strategy to help baby transition to sleep. Keeping a consistent bedtime, waketime, and cut-off time for the last nap of the day can make nighttime sleep more predictable. Putting your little one to bed awake provides opportunities for her to learn to self-soothe. For babies over 3 to 6 months, there are several sleep training strategies you can consider. If you suspect that your baby has a medical condition or you have tried these strategies and not found them helpful, it may be time to talk to your child’s doctor or health care provider, or to a provider who works at a sleep center. But please do remember that while you are part of the solution to your child’s sleep difficulty, you are not the cause!
About Dr. Sarah Honaker