34 Reasons Your Baby Won’t Sleep (Plus 30 Solutions!)

angry mom looking at baby in crib not sleeping

Baby not sleeping?

It can be debilitating when you are exhausted and up again at night to soothe your crying baby, especially when you have a big day ahead. You will start wondering why your baby isn’t sleeping and how you can help him/her to sleep better.

When your baby can’t sleep, they are experiencing a struggle similar to the common life-long struggle that many people have when it comes down to bedtime. Many people develop insomnia from specific triggers such as too much caffeine, screen time too close to bedtime, or even excess stress.

Your baby has their own set of insomnia triggers that may keep him/her from a good night of rest. Being aware of why your baby won’t sleep, can’t sleep, or requires constant co-sleeping is the first step to solving those problems.

baby boy wearing blue winter hat

1. Your baby is too hot/cold.

If your baby is waking up at night or oversleeping, check their bodies for sweat and check both hands for cold fingers. Babies need a little extra warmth than adults to be comfortable. You can also try including an extra blanket. Ideally, a baby is most comfortable at a room temperature of 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (0-22.2 degrees Celsius).


It will change your baby's life!


Sometimes a newborn won’t sleep well in the beginning, but then a routine happens. This routine is excellent for you because you can sleep when the baby sleeps. A newborn is not sleeping for seven to eight hours but still gives you some rest typically.

A newborn can’t sleep without feedings during the night, but will gradually sleep for more extended periods. However, at about two to three months old, and ordinarily sleepy baby may develop this common baby sleep problem.

A baby won’t sleep at this age because he or she is curious about life, and life is too fun for sleep. This problem is an example of sleep regression. It happens at two to three months but happens again between eight and twelve months.

However, you should remember that sleep regression can happen at any age. Life can become too fun at all stages. A baby can’t sleep when there is new stuff to play and people with whom to engage. The world around this baby causes the baby is not sleeping issues.

baby girl wearing pink stripes holding clock

2. Your baby isn’t tired.

When a baby doesn’t sleep, he or she may not appreciate that the nighttime is the time for sleeping. If he or she does not, it can be an uphill battle to convince the baby to sleep.

A typical baby sleep problem is a newborn, not sleeping because he or she hasn’t developed circadian rhythms. Most newborns do not develop these hormonally driven rhythms until they reach about three months old. However, if an older baby is not sleeping, it could be a lack of these hormonal rhythms, also.

Some babies take even longer to develop healthy circadian rhythms. These rhythms are the internal clocks that sync with the 24-hour day and tell us when it is time to be awake and when to be asleep. When a newborn is not sleeping due to this issue, many people believe that they just have to wait it out.

When a baby is in the womb, his or her heartbeat and respiratory rates increase and decrease based on Mom’s schedule. These periods of increase and decrease are due to Mom’s level of activity and the melatonin. This hormone affects the baby’s internal clock. When babies are born, the melatonin from the mother is removed. Therefore, after birth, all babies must produce Melatonin alone.

Even though this issue is developmental, you can lay the groundwork to help young infants to attune faster. A newborn won’t sleep properly until creating these rhythms. An older baby can’t sleep either unless the foundation is strong.


You can help your baby by following these few suggestions:

  • Expose your baby to daylight in the morning and early afternoon
  • Encourage your infant to wake up at the same time every morning
  • Increase your baby’s involvement in everyday activities
  • Avoid artificial light exposure

This last suggestion is a proven tactic to help babies who are not sleeping correctly. Blue light can block melatonin, a hormone produced by your brain to promote sleepiness. When your infant sees even minimal amounts of blue light, it can stop him or her from feeling drowsy or becoming sleepy for over an hour.

This same issue applies to adults as well. You can find a variety of articles about the effects of artificial lighting. It is possible to help everyone in your family sleep better by tackling blue light exposure. It may be worth trying this sleep solution first.

baby boy listening to headphones

3. Your baby is overstimulated.

When the environment is too stimulating, your baby might have trouble calming down. Overstimulation can make it hard for him/her to get to sleep when bedtime arrives. Your baby may become hyper-alert, fidgety, or even anxious.

Your baby’s growing brain can start to be overwhelmed by all of the new signals it is getting. Each experience and new sensation is another neuron firing. All of these exciting experiences are building strong networks in your baby’s brain.

However, babies need a break from all this stimulation to process everything. During sleep, the brain has the job of cleaning up all of the construction in the neurons. Memories and experiences are processed while the brain cleans itself of the waste byproducts caused by energy spent during waking hours.

Reducing stimulation close to bedtime can help your baby’s brain enter a tranquil state. Stimulation comes in the form of sounds, talking, books, toys, turned on televisions, and even talking faces looking at them. There are many ways of boosting a baby’s brain-power.

baby boy crying in diaper on floor with pacifier

4. Your baby is too tired and/or nap-deprived.

If you have ever had a night where you pushed yourself to stay awake and finally got to bed, but then found that your mind just couldn’t slow down, you’ve experienced what it’s like to be overtired.

Babies get that too. If your baby is pushing himself or herself to stay awake when their body starts giving sleepy signals, they’ll likely develop a habit of doing the same thing when it’s time to go to sleep. They’ll wake up more, fuss more, and try to avoid going to sleep. Try to offer your baby more naps throughout the day and an earlier bedtime.

It may seem a little counter-intuitive, but if your baby isn’t getting in enough naps, it’s more likely your baby won’t be able to go down for bedtime either. Babies under one year typically need to sleep every two hours. A baby who is under six months old only needs to be awake for 1.5 hours before going down for a nap again.

hungry baby boy reaching for bottle

5. Your baby is hungry.

A newborn’s need to eat counteracts the tactics you may have tried in the above step. This common baby sleep problem may be the most common reason a newborn is not sleeping at night.

A typically baby will follow this schedule for feeding:

  • Newborns eat every two to three hours or 8 to 12 times each day. The amount they eat will range from ½ ounce the first few days to 3 ounces by the end of the first month of life.
  • A two-month-old will need four to five ounces every three to four hours.
  • A four-month-old will eat four to six ounces every three to four hours.
  • At six months old, a baby will enjoy eight ounces of formula every four to five hours.

A newborn can’t sleep when he or she is hungry, so at first, no solution may be available for this sleep issue. Young babies have to be feed frequently to grow and thrive, and a baby can’t sleep if they need this nutrient every few hours. However, the following techniques may improve your ability to sleep even though the baby is not sleeping through the night.


When a newborn doesn’t sleep due to hunger pains, you can help increase the amount of sleep by dream feeding. This technique suggests you feed your baby a big meal right before you plan to go to sleep. This meal will help your baby feel full to allow you to sleep longer.

If a baby doesn’t sleep for extended periods of time, you can try to add a brief delay before feeding the baby when he or she wakes in the middle of the night. For example, you can change the baby’s diaper or talk soothingly to him or her before picking him or her up for the feeding.

This technique will help eliminate the baby’s association with night waking and feeding. Because of a baby’s need to feed during the night, almost all infants develop this association. When a newborn comes home from the hospital, you should always feed on command to ensure the baby thrives.

However, as the baby gets older, you can begin to try these strategies to help you sleep better for more extended periods. As long as your baby is getting the appropriate amount of food and fluids and your pediatrician approves, these techniques can only help to improve your sleep patterns.

Depending on your baby’s age, if he/she is older than 6-months, their digestive system may be craving more solid foods. Milk provides your baby with strong nutrition, but a baby’s stomachs may need something more to work with. Try gradually introducing more solid food into your baby’s diet and observe if they stay full for longer.

6. Your baby lacks a routine.

When a newborn is not sleeping, a common baby sleep problem is a lack of routine. Research suggests that babies who observe a regular bedtime with a routine sleep longer at night.

When a baby is not sleeping, a consistent bedtime routine may help the child fall asleep faster and reduce the times the baby can’t sleep after waking. This routine can be simple and includes such items as:

  • Bathing
  • Softly Singing
  • Dressing for bed
  • Bedtime story

After reading through all of these sleep problems, you will notice that regular routines are suggested a lot when a newborn can’t sleep. This strategy is recommended so often when a newborn won’t sleep because various studies have proven it to be effective.


Some parents do not believe that regular bedtimes are necessary to avoid sleep trouble. However, the cross-cultural studies associated with sleep issues in babies support another opinion. You will find bedtime for babies is different around the world.

Some mothers or dads have a fluid bedtime while others have an irregular time. Bedtime can be full of fanfare or nothing when a baby doesn’t sleep. The research suggests that most bedtimes are irregular and without any fanfare. Everyone will have an opinion about set bedtimes etc.

Some information you should consider is that irregular bedtimes can create random morning wake-up times. When a baby wakes up at different times in the morning, it can disrupt a new circadian rhythm. This disruption can cause the baby to mixed up days and nights.

Another item to consider is that when a baby sleeps less at night, he or she must sleep more during the day to make up for the missed sleep. Babies typically take short naps during the day. However, if your baby’s naps are disrupted during the day, it may make him or her overtired, which will cause more sleep issues.

Benefits of a routine

A routine can help eliminate these two issues quickly. Setting a bedtime routine as a family will help increase the amount of sleep everyone in the house gets. This change will help everyone feel less tired during the day, so it may be worth trying a set routine.

Your baby certainly benefits from a regular routine. Instead of trying to put your baby on a tight schedule, focus on helping him/her learn to associate certain times of the day with certain activities.

Routine helps to create positive expectations. It helps your baby’s body and brain look for cues as to what is next. Your baby’s body can then adjust to these expectations, getting ready for the next activity: sleep! This type of stability is so important for babies. Moreover, this sense of consistency is beneficial for everyone in the household.

This also marvelously translates into bedtime. As evening approaches, your baby may start to pick up on the cues. The dimming lights, the quieting of activity, and the change of environment might all help signal your baby’s brain that sleep is coming.

dad trying to make sleep routine for baby

7. Your baby has the wrong bedtime.

When a baby won’t sleep, and you are tired, it is normal to try to force bedtime. Sometimes a parent can overestimate the sleep requirements of a baby.

These two issues can lead to a common baby sleep problem. At first, the baby resists bedtime, making it impossible for him or her to sleep. A newborn won’t sleep if you are trying to force him or her to bed. Another issue happens over time, which is the baby may associate bedtime with the failure to sleep.

This association happens when a baby is not sleeping and develops a resistance to sleep or insomnia. The other side of this issue is when parents try to make the baby stay awake too long. A baby can’t sleep if he or she is irritable due to lack of sleep.

A newborn is not sleeping and is very active and energetic. This situation makes it easy to keep the baby awake too long because it can be confusing when a newborn can’t sleep and active.

This activity makes you think the baby is not yet ready for sleep. However, the baby may be overtired, which means instead of being alert because he or she is well-rested, he or she is actually active because his or her stress response system is in high gear.


The first step in solving this issue is to determine if the baby is overtired. You can look for the following signs to help you decide whether he or she is over-tired or not:

Lack of interest in people and the environment

  • Avoids stimulating objects
  • Pulling on ears or rubbing eyes
  • Yawning
  • Eyelids flutter
  • Clingy
  • More active as the night continues

This step is vital to understanding your baby’s needs. With this information, you can begin to decide if your baby’s bedtime is too early or too late. If you think the baby’s bedtime is too early, you may want to push it back.

However, you can help your child adjust to the time set by establishing positive routines around the set bedtime. You can also leave the room, so you are not continuing to stimulate the baby. Another technique is to use the ‘cry it out’ method.

If you determine the bedtime is too late, pick an earlier time to stop the baby from becoming overtired. Along with an earlier bedtime, you can also help your baby wind down by using low-key soothing bedtime rituals.

mom wearing pink dress holding baby boy

8. You’re interfering too quickly.

When a baby is asleep, he or she will sometimes cry out or make noises. These babies are still asleep or only half awake. Babies are sleep talkers, and when you intervene too quickly, then a baby won’t sleep.

This mistake is a common baby sleep problem for new parents because it is easy to misunderstand the difference between this fitful sleep and when the baby is not sleeping. When you touch or talk to your baby during this time, you are actually waking the child.

A baby can spontaneously resettle themselves sometimes during this fitful sleeping pattern. A study was conducted, which showed that some babies waking in the night would go back to sleep quietly while others fussed for a short time and then went back to sleep.

However, when a parent talked or touched the baby, all of he or she awoke. These same parents said that their newborn is not sleeping through the night when asked.


Most parents believe they are proactive by intervening quickly. They think that responding rapidly will help the baby go back to sleep fast. You may feel that your newborn can’t sleep or your newborn won’t sleep.

However, you may be interfering with a tired baby or awakening a sleeping baby. This issue can be easily fixed by following these steps before intervening:

  • First, you should allow your baby a minute or two to settle back down before taking any action. You will know after a minute if the baby can’t sleep or not.
  • After one minute, you can walk closer to the crib, but don’t talk or touch the baby.
  • If the baby is not screaming but just moving and crying out, you should continue not to speak or affect the baby.
  • If the crying is increasing, you can now gently pat the baby’s back of talk soothingly, but try not to pick the baby up unless it is feeding time.

You can avoid becoming the cause of your infant’s sleep problems with these steps. Another technique used by some experts is to allow the baby to ‘cry it out.’ However, this technique is not always as effective as the above-listed steps.

excited girl holding bed time story and pillow

9. Your baby’s bedtime is too exciting.

When a newborn is not sleeping, you probably just want to play and cuddle. As he or she gets older and the baby is not sleeping, you may want to encourage developmental steps including making sounds, holding the head up, etc.

These practices are excellent for a developing baby. However, when a baby won’t sleep, research supports that some parents make bedtime too active. This common baby sleep problem gets the baby excited right before bed, making it harder for the baby to fall asleep.

The baby’s sympathetic nervous system is animated by rambunctious play and energetic talk, which means the baby can’t sleep. As a parent, you may enjoy cuddling with your baby while watching TV or playing on a touch screen.

However, a survey of over 700 parents revealed that a newborn who was exposed to these types of devices took longer to fall asleep at bedtime. This research also suggested that a newborn won’t sleep unless he or she experiences a quiet time before bed.


When a newborn can’t sleep due to over-excitement before bedtime, the first step can be to establish a relaxing bedtime routine. This routine can include:

  • Limit screen time at least two to three hours before the desired time
  • Take a bath with lavender soap to help baby relax
  • Sing soothing songs or listen to white noise or other calming music
  • Cuddle with the baby for a while to help him or her feel secure
  • Feed the baby right before baby and change the diaper

Regular bedtime routines will be discussed further in Sleep Problem #4. Another important consideration for a baby who is too excited to sleep is to move the bedtime. If a baby sleeps from 2 in the afternoon until 4, he or she may not be ready for bed at 6:30 or 7:00.

If you have other children in the house, you may want to establish an “in the bedroom time” every night. This time can be an hour or two before all the children should be in bed. During this time, your older children do not have to be in bed, but they do have to be in their rooms.

This strategy helps the baby realize everyone is settling down to sleep. It will also help the older children prepare their bodies for sleep. It can be a lifesaver for those parents who struggle with getting older kids to go to sleep.

happy baby boy waking up wearing blue star pajamas

10. Waking up is too much fun.

When a baby won’t sleep, sometimes it causes you to have the same issue. Your newborn is not sleeping, and you are not sleeping, so why not entertain you both with some bonding time.

This statement may sound fantastic at first, but it may make it where your newborn won’t sleep because he or she is having too much fun. Too much stimulation at bedtime makes it where a baby can’t sleep, but another common baby sleep problem is too much stimulation after waking during the night.

Some people do not realize that babies are born knowing how to be a social being. They know how to:

  • Identify a loved one’s voice
  • Detect the differences in people’s faces
  • Communicate with you and others
  • Understand your displeasure and other feelings

Recognize their native language when spoken. When a baby is not sleeping, he or she can easily be stimulated by your voice or other ways of communication because he or she is equipped to be a social creature. When a newborn can’t sleep, you should be sure not to make wake-ups too exciting.


You can solve this issue by not engaging the baby in conversation or play. This one step will help to ensure your baby goes back to sleep quickly. Sometimes, your baby has a variety of nighttime needs.

When taking care of these needs, you should do it quietly and efficiently. Another technique is to do these things in the dark so you can avoid artificial lighting, especially blue light. If your baby does not go back to sleep, you should never engage in play or create a loud atmosphere.

Instead, you can try playing soft music or white noise to help lure the baby back to sleep. You can use reassuring quiet words or gentle kiss but try to avoid loud, exciting voices. Some mothers recommend swaddling the baby to help him or her ease back into sleep.

The most important piece of advice is not to play with your baby during the wake ups at night because it can cause the baby to want to wake up during the night.

baby in pink circle and calendar

11. Inconsistent areas.

When a baby won’t sleep, you become tired and maybe frustrated. It is easy to begin to go through the motions when you have no energy because your newborn is not sleeping. This rote way of creating a bedtime routine can cause sleep problems for your child.

This tired mind issue can also make you get off-track quickly from a bedtime routine. When a baby can’t sleep, you may use overly-stimulating soothing techniques on certain nights. Other times when your baby is not sleeping, you may believe nothing is working and use a ‘cry it out’ method.

This changing of techniques is human nature and happens to almost every new mom when a newborn won’t sleep. However, these inconsistencies can be confusing for your baby, which then turns into a common baby sleep problem. When a newborn can’t sleep, this confusion can even make sleep problems worse.


You can avoid this simple mistake by creating a single, consistent approach to the baby’s sleep problems. This plan can be written down so the tired mind can easily follow it. The first step is to determine a sleep pattern for your newborn.

Each baby has a sleep pattern during the different developmental stages:

  • 0-3 months
    • short bouts of sleep with lots of movement.
      • Total average of sleep is 13 to 16 hours a day
  • 3-4 months
    • extended periods of sleep (five hours or more)
      • Total sleep average is 12 to 16 hours
  • 5-6 months
    • sleeps without interruption for five to 10 hours a night.
      • Total sleep average is still 12 to 16 hours
  • 7-12 months
    • some infants are still not sleeping longer than five hours a night.
      • The standard is still 12 to 16 hours each day

These sleep patterns can help you decide which approach is best for you, but remember that a variety of outside factories affect these patterns. When you plan a sleep approach for your baby, it also has psychological benefits for you.

This plan will stop the inconsistencies and remove the feelings of frustration, despair, and guilt parents sometimes feel when a baby won’t sleep. Your sense of competence and confidence will be boosted when the plan works.

tired zombie baby sitting in front of clock

12. Your baby is napping too late.

When trying to sleep, it becomes an automatic process that is out of your control. You are at the mercy of an uncontrollable biological process.

When a baby won’t sleep, these two biological processes may not be developed completely. The first process is called the circadian rhythm, which is also called the ‘body clock.’ This clock tells your baby when it is time to be awake and when it is time to be asleep. It takes time for this clock to develop. This common baby sleep problem is discussed in Sleep Problem #1.

The other process is known as Sleep Homeostasis or Sleep Pressure. Sleep pressure is your body’s natural physiological urge to sleep. This pressure increases the longer you are awake. So, when a baby can’t sleep at night, it should not be surprising.

A baby who has been awake for only a few hours after a long afternoon nap will have trouble falling asleep at night.


If your newborn is not sleeping at night, an excellent first step is to try to extend the last waking period of your baby’s day. This statement means to not allow your baby to fall asleep in the afternoon.

When a baby is not sleeping at night, he or she will probably want to sleep during the day. This desire will make keeping him or her awake in the afternoon difficult. Using this technique, when a newborn can’t sleep will require you to be patient because you cannot create the perfect schedule immediately.

This goal can be completed in small steps. For example, when a newborn won’t sleep, set the new nap time about 30 minutes before he or she would previously nap. Over a week or so, you can continue to make the last nap of the day earlier.

Another strategy to help to accomplish making a longer last waking time is to increase the length of the morning nap. You can do this by trying the following procedures:

  • Fill the baby’s belly before nap time
  • Establish a calming pre-nap routine
  • Ensure the nap space is nap-friendly
  • Create a consistent nap schedule

When other parents have lengthened the sleep pressure building time, they have reported that their babies needed less help getting settled and did not experience as many sleep problems.

baby holding stomach in heart with aqua arrow

13. Your baby is transitioning through sleep cycles.

The body naturally goes through phases of deep and light sleep. There are times at night where you will wake up for just seconds before dosing off to sleep, perhaps with no memory of it. Similarly, your baby will do the same.

This is natural and related to REM sleep and circadian rhythms. Your baby must learn how to get themselves back to sleep after these short phases of waking and dreaming. A baby may wake up during the night and crave the rocking, or sleep prop, they’ve become accustomed to when falling asleep.

This may be a contributing factor as to why your baby won’t sleep. A good remedy for this is to let your baby lay down when sleepy, but ensure he or she remains awake to get used to the feeling of drifting off in that environment. As a result, your baby’s brain will begin to create sleep associations and cues.

baby sucking thumb and self-soothing

14. Your baby is self-soothing.

When a baby won’t sleep, a common baby sleep problem is the baby does not know how to self-soothe. If a newborn is not sleeping, sometimes you may tell yourself you have to wait until the baby is older.

However, science has proven that humans wake up at all ages during the night frequently. Most of the time, people do not remember these awakenings the following day. They have learned over the years how to self-soothe themselves back to sleep. So, hoping for the elimination of night awakenings is probably not a realistic plan.

These same awakenings happen when a baby can’t sleep. However, when a baby is not sleeping, it is likely the baby has not learned to self-soothe. Some babies, when left alone, can resettle themselves without stress or waking others.


Some experts advise you to avoid soothing a baby to sleep. Our natural tendency when a newborn can’t sleep is to feed, rock, hold him or her until asleep. However, research shows that babies who fall asleep in the arms of a parent are less likely to be a self-soother. These same parents also report more night wakings.

It sounds simple to withdraw from trying to put the baby to sleep. However, it is natural for a baby to cry and protest when you do not engage in this behavior. Some babies will experience separation anxiety if you are not present.

Some experts suggest that soothing a baby to sleep trains the child to associated sleep with this soothing. This association makes it almost impossible for the child to sleep without the soothing. These facts make it complicated when trying to create a self-soother.

When a newborn won’t sleep, you can avoid intervening too soon as discussed previously. However, you can try other steps to encourage self-soothing. These tips will help your baby become a self-soother without you having to withdraw:

  • Use a musical crib toy to soothe the baby
  • Be sure to be consistent at bedtime and follow the routine
  • Establish and maintain a calming night waking routine
  • Practice allowing the baby to fall asleep on his or her own
  • Wear a piece of clothing like a scarf during the day and then hang it near the baby while he or she is napping or at night

baby sleeping on stomach warning

15. Is your baby sleeping on his/her back or stomach?

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) introduced a recommendation in 1992 that a baby can’t sleep on his or her tummy due to an increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Since the introduction of this recommendation, the rate of SIDS has dramatically reduced.

You probably know this fact, and you always put your baby on his or her back to sleep. However, your baby won’t sleep lying on his or her back. A newborn won’t sleep, or possibly a newborn can’t sleep while lying on his or her back may be a sign of a common baby sleep problem.

If your baby fusses or cannot settle when you put her or him down to sleep on the back, it can mean that the baby is feeling insecure. A baby feels more secure on his or her tummy. You may be frustrated with this situation, but do not worry. Your newborn is not sleeping on his or her back, but there are some strategies to help with this issue.


When your baby is not sleeping on his or her back, the first step is to consult with your pediatrician. A doctor may want to check the baby for any physical explanations for being uncomfortable sleeping on the back. Some physical explanations for discomfort while the baby is lying his or her back include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Back pain
  • GERD
  • Muscle Strain
  • Constipation
  • Broken bones

However, it is unlikely that the issue is associated with a physical explanation. Most likely, the problem comes from the baby not feeling as secure on his or her back as he or she does on the tummy. If security is the issue, you may want to swaddle your baby. You can also try rocking the baby to sleep.

It would be best to try to skip the sleep positioner, because a consistent routine may have better results. It can be exasperating, but keep laying the baby on the back. Eventually, he or she will get used to this position and fall asleep.

16. Your baby might have growing pains.

You may have experienced growing pains when you were a child or teenager. Babies also experience these painful sensations. Babies might go through a week of having a bigger appetite to accommodate this growth. They may also wake up in the middle of the night hungrier than usual.

A growing baby can become more sleepy, but it can also cause sleeplessness. They may be more interested in playing when they’re entering a new developmental phase, making it harder to calm down and go to sleep.

Around two months is a common time for babies to experience what’s called sleep regression. This means your baby will wake up more frequently at night, even if they previously were sleeping fine. If your baby won’t stay asleep, please try the Sleep Baby Workshop.

If your baby won’t sleep, you need to take a proactive approach. Losing out on sleep is unhealthy for both you and your baby. Please don’t allow your baby’s sleep problems to escalate.

Many babies are restless during growth spurts. Thankfully, these spurts are short-lived, and they won’t last long. They should return to a normal schedule within a week.

young girl brushing teeth

17. Teething

When a baby can’t sleep, another common baby sleep problem is teething. When your baby shows any of the following signs, he or she may be teething:

  • Excessive biting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Irritability
  • Ear pulling
  • Mouth rash
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of sleep

A baby won’t sleep if the pain from teething is waking her or him. Some individuals believe that when a newborn is not sleeping, it cannot be teething pain because the baby is too young. This belief is wrong because teething related sleep issues can start at any age during the first year.

A newborn can’t sleep if his or her gums are being bothersome. Some infants get their first tooth at two to three months, which means a newborn won’t sleep. However, other babies do not get their first tooth until over the age of one. One of the ways to tell if teething is the issue is to look for other symptoms of teething.

These symptoms may not be present when the baby wakes at night, but look for them during the day to provide you with insight into the cause of the baby not sleeping.


Once you are reasonably sure the issue is teething, you can take some steps in helping your baby. You should never ignore your baby; however, you can try avoiding picking him or her up when they wake in the middle of the night.

Instead of holding the baby, you can try to offer a teething ring. You can also sing a lullaby, play soothing music, provide white noise, or give gentle words and pats. This alternative to picking the baby up leaves room for him or her to settle down on his or her own.

If these suggestions don’t work, you may try rubbing a cold, clean washcloth on your baby’s gums. The roughness of the washcloth may provide some relief from swollen or painful gums.

If your baby shows signs of severe pain from teething, you should contact your pediatrician. The doctor may recommend giving the baby some infant acetaminophen at bedtime to help him or her sleep better without pain.

baby holding milk has upset stomach

18. GERD

Sometimes when a baby won’t sleep, it is caused by a medical condition. An example of a common baby sleep problem associated with a medical issue is GERD. GERD is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or Acid Reflux.

Almost all newborns and infants have experiences some amount of discomfort from GERD. However, a baby can’t sleep if he or she is experiencing severe acid reflux or pain. When a newborn is not sleeping, he or she may be having a reflux episode.

Some babies suffer acid reflux more than others, which may be the reason the baby is not sleeping. This fact is back by a variety of studies monitoring the esophageal acid levels in newborns. After a reflux episode, the newborn can’t sleep more often than at another time.

Acid reflux is not classified as a disease until it causes the following symptoms:

  • Refuses to feed
  • Blood in stool or vomit
  • Anemia or iron deficiency
  • Failure to thrive
  • Inflamed esophagus

When your baby exhibits the above symptoms, he or she may be experiencing GERD. However, if your baby is only showing some of these symptoms, he or she may be suffering from a less severe form of acid reflux referred to as GER.


At first, this common sleep issue may seem scary. You must remember that acid reflux is normal in babies. If your newborn won’t sleep or shows other signs of the less severe GER, you can help by following some tips.

You should avoid acidic foods when breastfeeding or feeding your baby. After feeding your baby, you can place him or her in an upright position for about 20 minutes or so. These two tips can help reduce acid reflux and improve baby’s sleep at night.

It is vital to contact your doctor if you believe your baby has severe GERD. A physician has a variety of tests that can help diagnose this condition. These tests include endoscopies and esophageal pH tests.

If your baby does suffer from this more severe form of acid reflux, he or she may need specialized treatments such as medication therapy. These treatments help to prevent damage to the esophagus as well as prevent the baby from choking.

sick baby face

19. Acid Reflux

While every baby experiences some spit up, babies who have forceful episodes of spitting up and discomfort when being put down may be suffering from acid reflux.

If your baby is arching their back, squirming uncomfortably, and screaming when put down, then this uncomfortable problem may be the culprit. This may also be the case if he or she is not responding to regular comforting or calmed by a swaddle.

You may be able to relieve this pain by lessening the amount of milk your baby receives at each feeding. If you are breastfeeding, it is possible to be making too much milk.

If your baby is overeating, their stomachs may just be struggling to take in all of the milk. You can help to lessen this by keeping your baby upright for 30 minutes after eating. However, please notify your pediatrician if you suspect your baby has acid reflux or allergies.

baby in bee costume sneezing

20. Allergies

A common baby sleep problem is allergies. Typically, a baby does not eat anything but formula or breastmilk. However, it is possible that a baby is not sleeping due to an allergy. This allergy is an intolerance to a particular protein found in milk.

It is estimated that 2% to 7% of infants suffer from this allergy. Formula-babies make up most of these numbers. However, if a mother drinks milk or consumes other dairy products, a breastfed baby can also develop a cows’ milk allergy.

If your newborn is not sleeping, look for these common symptoms of a milk allergy:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Other Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Rashes
  • Coughing
  • Runny Nose

A baby can’t sleep if he or she is affected by these issues. If he or she does have an allergy, the baby won’t sleep, may have more awakenings during the night, shorter periods of sleep, and a dramatic reduction in the total time of sleep.


If your newborn can’t sleep, try removing all cow milk products from his or her diet. If you are breastfeeding, you should remove all milk products from your diet. You can purchase soy formula which does not contain cow milk products.

In one study, a group of experts investigated the reasons behind why a newborn won’t sleep comfortably. They found that the newborns with a cow milk allergy increased their total sleep time by 22% after removing all cow milk products from their diets.

Another more extensive study reinforced the results found in the first study. Before the allergy was identified, the babies slept for an average of 5.5 hours in a 24-hour period. After the removal of cow milk, these same babies average over 13 hours of sleep in a day.

It should be mentioned here that a cow milk allergy is different from a lactose intolerance even though the symptoms are similar. Lactose intolerance deals with the principle sugar in all milk, which would include goat, human, cow, etc.

It is rare for babies to suffer from lactose intolerance. Most of the time if a baby suffers from such intolerances, it is because he or she was premature, is malnourished, or had an infection in the small intestine. All of these issues are temporary, which makes the lactose intolerance typically brief also.

baby as ladybug eating a leaf

21. Food Sensitivities

With the rise of food sensitivities, an increasing number of babies are being diagnosed with food allergies. Your baby may be sensitive to only one food, as well.

These sensitivities can irritate the digestive system and cause general discomfort for your baby. Your child may feel itchy or have acid reflux that is keeping him/her awake at night.

If your baby is showing signs of colic distress or developing unexplained or excessive rashes, food allergies should be included in your investigation.

You can start by removing common food allergens to see if your baby reacts positively. Foods such as dairy, wheat, and corn are common culprits. If your baby begins to demonstrate signs of relief resulting from the previously mentioned dietary changes, you should continue your baby on their new diet. When your baby won’t sleep, it is possible multiple food allergies are at play.

If you are breastfeeding, you may also need to temporarily remove these foods from your diet as well. Babies can still get small amounts of these food particles through your breastmilk.

baby girl playing doctor with plush animal in pink chair

22. Sleep Disorder

A baby is not sleeping may be a sign of a sleep disorder. A common baby sleep problem is snoring with 20 to 25% of all babies having this issue. A few years ago, snoring was considered harmless. However, recent research may suggest it can be harmful.

Snoring in babies may be a sign that the child suffers from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. If your newborn is not sleeping and suffers from this syndrome, he or she may be experiencing a full or partial collapse of the upper airways.

This collapse of the upper airways means the baby can’t sleep and wakes up. Other symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome include:

  • Labored or irregular breathing
  • Snoring with pauses or gasps
  • Restless sleep
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Crankiness

If your newborn can’t sleep and shows all of the above symptoms, he or she may have the syndrome. However, you must remember that there are a lot of reasons why a baby won’t sleep besides this medical condition.


If your baby snores, step one is contacting your baby’s pediatrician.

This condition can be troublesome because your newborn won’t sleep. It can be harmful also because a severe case of sleep apnea will deprive your baby of oxygen.

If a child is deprived of oxygen, it can lead to serious cognitive, development, and health problems later on. Another severe side effect of this condition is the increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) because the baby doesn’t awaken when they are experiencing breathing difficulties.

Your baby snoring does not mean it has obstructive sleep apnea syndrome or some other sleep disorders. A variety of other items can cause snoring. If your child is exposed to second-hand smoke, he or she is at risk of snoring.

You may be worried about this sleep problem, but don’t panic. Your pediatrician can screen your baby and identify any sleep disorders. The thing to remember is these disorders are treatable, and the developmental effects can be reversed.

lazy baby boy laying on ground

23. Is your baby lazy?

A baby won’t sleep when he or she is not tired or becomes too tired. So, a baby can’t sleep if he or she is too active or not active enough. Some newborns are naturally super active, while other newborns are more passive.

A common baby sleep problem is where a baby is not sleeping because he or she is naturally passive. If a child is delayed in gross motor skills, it may be the reason a newborn is not sleeping. A mellow newborn won’t sleep because he or she has not used enough energy at nap time to be ready for bed.


If your newborn can’t sleep, you can wait until he or she shows signs of being tired before putting them to bed. These signs include:

  • pulls on ears
  • fist close
  • yawning
  • problems focusing
  • arm and legs movement is jerky
  • frowns
  • sucking on fingers

If your newborn never seems to be tired, you can also try to motivate more movement during the day. The baby can be kept active by taking him or her to the park or use vestibular stimulation. This type of stimulation gets the body moving and can include swinging or sliding or moving the arms.

Sometimes when a baby does not get as much activity as he or she requires, he or she can get aches in the muscles similar to restless leg syndrome. This pain can cause the baby to wake or stay awake, but you can eliminate this issue by ensuring enough muscle movement during the day.

baby getting a massage

Massage your baby

You can tickle your baby’s toes to get the feet and legs moving. You can also help the arms and hands move by getting the baby to hold on to your finger and gently push the baby’s arm up and down.

A solution for this issue is to rub your baby’s legs and arms before laying them down for bed. You can use a warm bath, warm, dry towel, and massage as the perfect transition to bed.

A tip for a relaxing bedtime routine is to try lavender because it has properties that ease stress and helps the body prep for sleep.

happy baby boy playing in leaf pile

24. Your baby loves playing too much.

This common baby sleep problem is almost the complete opposite of Problem #16. In this issue, the baby loves to play too much and craves interactions all night long.

This issue can cause frustration and hopelessness when you are tired and want to sleep while your baby won’t sleep because he or she wants to play. Your newborn is not sleeping, and you are worried. It is going to be okay because the baby may be just what experts call high needs.

This term is not a medical diagnosis; it is a term to describe the issue when a baby is not sleeping because of wanting attention. You can look for the following signs in your baby:<

  • Cry is urgent
  • Muscles seldom relax
  • Feed frequently
  • Unsatisfied
  • Can’t be put down
  • Baby can’t sleep


When a newborn won’t sleep, it can be a sign they are overactive. However, many of the solutions already discussed can help in this situation. An established bedtime routine and massage can be an excellent way to help your baby relax enough to sleep.

A newborn can’t sleep unless you are consistent. You should try to never give in to the baby’s desire to play when it is bedtime. It is also essential to ensure every caregiver is on the same page. Your baby sweet smile and giggles may be hard to resist, but do not play with him or her. If you do play, you will be sending the message that if your baby is cute enough, you will play at night.

A newborn’s light perception can cause confusion between day and night. In this case, it is vital you act like it is night even if everyone else is wide awake. You can accomplish this act by leaving only a few lights on, speaking quietly, and only sing songs meant for bedtime.

At first, a high needs baby may make you feel desperate. However, if you are consistent, he or she will eventually get with your program. It is essential not to play with the baby at night regardless of how cute he or she is.

baby with pacifer on rocking horse

25. Does your baby favor rocking?

When you first brought home your baby, you would tell your friends that my newborn is not sleeping. When a newborn won’t sleep, you are willing to try just about anything to help him or her fall asleep.

Many people probably suggested some type of rhythmic movement, including rocking to help your baby get to sleep. When a newborn can’t sleep, and you are tired, rocking can be a lifesaver because it works as a natural sleep aid.

Babies love to move, so just about any rhythmic movement will help when a baby is not sleeping. However, even though this movement is excellent in the first weeks and months after birth, it can turn into a headache later on. Every time the baby won’t sleep, you will be rocking the infant to sleep.

You have created a sleep association, which is a common baby sleep problem. The baby has associated rocking with sleeping, which makes him/her expect to rock every time. This association even applies when the baby wakes during the night. This practice can become exhausting.

Some individuals will take this information and will never rock their babies when the baby can’t sleep. Rocking has benefits such as bonding time and relaxation for both of you.


The first solution is only to rock your baby until he or she is drowsy but awake. You can place the infant into the crib to fall asleep on his or her own. This process allows you to get the benefits while eliminating the sleep association.

It is okay if you already have created the sleep association because you can begin to transition from rocking asleep to falling asleep on his or her own. The baby must master two small skills. The first skill is allowing the baby to fall asleep somewhere besides your arms. The second skill is to fall asleep without rocking.

Some people use the Cry It Out method. This method allows the baby to learn to put him or herself asleep. However, you may be uncomfortable with this strategy. An excellent replace is to create a new sleep association. This process requires patience and consistency. You can gradually replace the rocking with white noise. You can follow these tips to help you accomplish this replacement:

  • Begin by playing white noise while you are rocking the baby for four to five nights in a row.
  • When the baby is tired, you can slowly begin to transition him or her from your arms to the crib.
  • If the baby starts crying, it is recommended not to immediately pick him or her up but instead use a reassuring, soothing voice.

mom and dad holding sleeping baby outside of home

26. Is your baby sleeping anywhere but home?

Another common baby sleep problem is he or she will sleep in the car or at daycare, but the baby won’t sleep in his or her bed at naptime. At daycare, you know your baby sleeps every day from 12:00 until 2:00.

However, on the weekends at home, the baby is not sleeping during naptime. In fact, he or she may not even sleep but a few minutes. You are keeping to a routine, but the newborn won’t sleep.

Another common baby sleep problem is the newborn sleeping during short car rides, but immediately wakes up when you arrive at home.

When the newborn is not sleeping after returning home, you can become frustrated or overtired. When a baby can’t sleep, he or she becomes cranky and overtired. Being irritable and overtired makes it even harder for the newborn to get to sleep.


At first, you may think you are doing something wrong, but you are not. When a newborn can’t sleep, it can be a variety of reasons. At daycare, they have to handle a multitude of children, which requires them to stick to a rigid schedule such as:

  • 8:00 am Breakfast
  • 8:15 am Wash-up
  • 8:30 am Playtime
  • 8:45 am Bathroom Break
  • 9:00 am Story Time

At home, you do not need such a rigid schedule. Your baby wants to be with you, and he or she is inquisitive. If you know your child is getting enough sleep, you may be providing too much stimulation too close to nap time.

If you are running errands close to your infant’s nap time, he or she may fall asleep. Also, as previously mentioned, rhythmic movement is a natural sleep aid, so falling asleep in the car is natural.

You can allow the baby to finish the nap in the car seat. However, you must carefully monitor your newborn when sleeping somewhere other than a crib. The issue at nap time can be solved by ensuring a more relaxed atmosphere for at least an hour before putting the baby down to nap.

baby getting poked in ear

27. Your baby might be sick.

You may know what it’s like to try to sleep with a cold. A sore throat can be agonizing and keep you in a cycle of pain that keeps you from relaxing. If your baby is waking up all of a sudden and crying in discomfort, it could be a sign of distress caused by the pain of an ear infection or a sore throat.

While these are generally normal for a baby to experience, fighting off infections can be taxing on their under-developed immune systems. If you suspect this is a problem, please seek medical advice. Watch for thick yellow discharge from the nose or swelling and puffiness around the nose and eyes.

When your child is sick, a runny nose, cough, or fever can keep them up when they should be sleeping. Babies start sleeping through the night again when the virus leaves their system.


confused mom with thought bubbles

28. It’s sleep regression time.

Babies start sleeping through the night when their body is ready. However, sometimes, some issues prevent this from happening. Your child will gradually increase their amount of nighttime sleep until they sleep as much as you. Consequently, you must beware of the regression phase.

You may think things are going great. You are getting eight hours of sleep each night and baby started sleeping through the night too. However, out of nowhere, they start getting up more often and regressing to their old ways. There are so many things that can interrupt their sleep that you must play detective to find out the culprit.

Teething is a traumatic time in a baby’s life. It causes them a great deal of pain. Gas is another issue. A colic baby will sleep when the pain permits. If your baby has regressed in their sleeping schedule, then there could be an underlying issue. Here are some of the most common sleep regression culprits:


The best way to solve this issue to establish a routine. This routine can include:

  • Playtime
  • Song
  • Reading
  • Feeding
  • Bath
  • Soft Noise or Music
  • Cuddle Time

You can also be sure that the baby is getting enough sleep during the day but not too much sleep. An overtired baby can’t sleep or settle down to sleep. It is vital to remember during this time that sleep regression is only temporary. The baby must adjust to the new developmental abilities of being able to explore the new world, but once this adjustment is made, he or she will return to better sleeping patterns.

At this time, you can also work to reduce the number of times the baby wakes up during the night for feedings. A variety of options for this reduction are available, and some have been explained in the above sections.

When a baby wakes, he or she may be ready to play again, but do not engage in play during the night. If you entertain the baby, he or she may think it’s time to play every night at the same time. This desire can quickly turn into an unwanted routine for you and your baby.

6 Medical Reasons Your Baby Won’t Sleep:


Snoring is essentially the result of an airway becoming blocked while sleeping.

This is a common issue in babies and adults and can be caused by several different issues including a deformed nose (interior or exterior), deformed septum, or deformed uvula.

Other causes include poor muscle tone or blocked and stuffy nasal passages caused by a common cold or bacterial/viral infection.


Insomnia is characterized by sleep difficulties during the night as well as during the day (your baby may have difficulty napping as well as sleeping through the night).

If these symptoms last for a month or longer, your baby may be diagnosed with insomnia. If your baby’s insomnia lasts over 6 months, the condition is chronic.

Arousal Disorders

Arousal disorders are very common in babies and children. It is commonly referred to as slow-wave sleep.

The word arousal does not necessarily mean that your baby is waking up, but rather they are aroused from a deep sleep. When this is happening, your baby may appear to be both sleeping and awake.

This can look like crying, moving around or flailing, and even appearing to be disoriented or confused.

As always, set an appointment with your pediatrician if your baby is experiencing this particular issue.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes airways to collapse partially or even fully during sleep. This results in your baby unknowingly waking up throughout the night.

With sleep apnea, soft tissues in the airways tense up instead of relaxing. This tension ends up blocking airways and disrupting sleep.

Blocked airways cause oxygen levels in the body to drop.

Even if you may not be able to notice your baby waking up with this condition, it can cause a significant decrease in quality of life. It is important to note that if your baby is breathing loudly and snoring during sleep, take them to a pediatrician immediately.

Don’t panic, though. There are many effective treatments.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central Sleep Apnea is a respiratory condition that is similar to Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

It causes your baby to wake repeatedly throughout the night, specifically because the brain does not signal the body to breathe.

This is a condition that would require medical care and as always, set an appointment with your pediatrician if you suspect baby is experiencing this particular issue.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Restless Legs Syndrome is a disorder characterized by involuntary motor movements.

The cause is likely related to an imbalance of dopamine levels, and RLS has a strong genetic factor as well.

This condition affects spinal cord motor reflexes (twitching or kicking of the legs, for example).

Recommended Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep:

One of the most exhausting parts of becoming a new parent is the lack of sleep that generally comes with having a newborn. While those first few weeks and months may be overwhelming and leave you feeling out of control, the sooner you can get into a bedtime routine when your baby doesn’t sleep, the sooner that baby will develop good nighttime habits that benefit both her and her parents. Start with these tips for a good night’s sleep for both of you:

Create a Soothing Environment

Think about how much better you sleep when the conditions in your bedroom are just right. If your baby doesn’t sleep, there are some simple things to try. With this in mind, you want to put a baby to sleep in a nursery that is soothing and comfortable. Before you start your new bedtime routine, follow this checklist to ensure your nursery is a place that promotes sleeping:

  • Make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature — not too hot and not too cold.
  • Some babies sleep better with a little background noise, so consider adding a white noise machine, radio, or fan.
  • The room doesn’t have to be completely dark but turns down any bright lights. You may consider adding a small baby nightlight.
  • Your baby should have a new high-quality mattress that is firm yet comfortable in her crib.
  • Make sure the bed has a clean fitted sheet. You shouldn’t put a baby to sleep with a blanket or other bedding until after the first year.
  • Don’t add any toys or stuffed animals to the crib. It’s not only a safety hazard, but it can distract your baby, especially if your baby hates the crib.

Don’t Rock Your Baby to Sleep

It’s tempting to snuggle up with your little one in a rocking chair before bed. While that’s fine, you should never put a baby to sleep while she is still outside of the bed.

You can rock her until she’s drowsy, but make sure she’s actually in the crib when she falls asleep. Otherwise, she’ll come to expect you to rock her every night. If she does accidentally fall asleep while rocking, playing, or riding in a stroller, place her in her crib immediately.

Consider a Nighttime Bath

Need a little extra help soothing your baby at night? Consider a bath just before bedtime. The water and the touch that comes along with bathing is soothing enough to help your baby wind down at the end of the day. Some say using chamomile or lavender bath products can help calm your little one even more during bath time.

Make Sure Baby is Comfortable

After that bath, make sure you dress her in comfortable clothing. What your baby wears to sleep matters. Never put a baby to sleep in anything too tight or too loose. You’ll also want to consider the temperature in the nursery. Babies who get overheated at night don’t sleep well, and more importantly, they are at a higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Don’t Get a Late Start

Some parents assume that they shouldn’t put a baby to sleep unless she is exhausted. This myth couldn’t be further from the truth.

Unfortunately, this idea leads to behaviors such as staying up too late, being more active at night, and waiting until the baby is overly cranky for bedtime. All of these can make it nearly impossible to put a baby to sleep without a fight. Instead, provide your baby with a full and active day, and stick to a daily and nightly routine for good sleep results.

Never Go to Bed Hungry

If you’ve ever awoken in the night to a growling stomach, you know just how painful and miserable it can be to go to bed hungry. This feeling applies to infants too. Never put a baby to sleep without feeding her first.

A warm bottle or time spent breastfeeding can easily be a part of your soothing nighttime routine. However, don’t let your baby fall asleep while she’s eating. Just like rocking her to sleep, she’ll come to expect it each night and won’t be able to fall asleep without it.

If your baby is still hungry after breastfeeding, ensure you aren’t overfeeding.

Create a Bedtime Ritual

Baths, bedtime bottles, a story, a quiet activity — whatever you choose to do to help your little one wind down at night, keep it up. Use the same words and phrases while you do it. This repetition provides clues to your baby that it’s time for bed.

Eventually, she’ll come to associate certain activities with going to bed, and that may help her fall asleep and stay asleep easily as you fix your baby’s sleep schedule.

Avoid Too Much Excitement at Night

Just don’t get too excited during that bedtime ritual. Keep your voice lowered, avoid noisy toys, and, again, dim the lights. During your last few waking moments together before you put a baby to sleep, read a story, or listen to quiet baby sleep music instead. It’s also best to avoid eye contact when holding your baby just before bedtime.

When you look into each other’s eyes, your baby may feel persuaded to stay awake to play and spend more time with you. Nighttime should always be calm and peaceful — you may even find that you sleep better when you create this type of environment in your home.

Prepare for tears

You’ve followed all of the tips so far, but no matter what you do, your baby still cries when you put her into her crib. If your baby won’t sleep in the crib, start by leaving the room. Give her a few minutes to calm down. Much of the time, you’ll find that when you put a baby to sleep, she’ll cry for a minute and then drift off into dreamland.

If she is still crying after three to four minutes, step back into the nursery and console her without holding her. Rub her stomach (you should always put a baby to sleep on her back to help prevent SIDS). Massaging your baby is great for bonding with your baby. Make soothing sounds. Allow her to see you standing there. Stick around for a few minutes and then leave again. Try it a few more times if necessary. Over time, your baby’s separation anxiety should lessen.

Be Consistent and Realistic

No matter what baby sleep schedule you create to put a baby to sleep, the key is to be consistent and don’t expect magic to happen on the first or even the second night. While babies are quick to learn routines, it may still take a few days or weeks to get there.

And if your baby is under three months old, remember that the need to eat frequently will prevent her from sleeping through the night. The best thing you can do it keep up that routine until it works and be willing to make any necessary adjustments along the way.

Feeling conflicted?

If you’re conflicted about what type of routine to create, think about what you like when you go to bed. A calm environment, comfortable clothing, a full stomach, quiet time, a few minutes spent reading or listening to music, and a good mood are all usually a part of that. Your baby is just a smaller version of you who appreciates the same conditions. Learning what they are can set you both up for a lifetime of healthy sleeping patterns.

There are so many joys that come with a new baby. That first smile, the first giggle, the joy of the endless cuddles. However, with parenthood, there are a few things that new parents wish they had a handbook to give all the tips and secrets to caring for a baby. One of those things is how to get a baby to sleep. Many parents are faced with the loss of sleep because their baby is having trouble sleeping themselves. There are many reasons a baby may have difficulty falling and staying asleep. However, with this guide, parents can rest easy by trying these tips on how to get a baby to sleep.

Starting and Keeping a Routine

From the first days home, it is important to start a bedtime or naptime routine with your baby. This routine can consist of many things, such as getting a warm bath, having a bottle, reading a story, singing songs, and wearing comfortable pajamas. Finding this routine is something only you and your baby can do together. Having different cues from the environment is what will give your baby the idea that it is time to go to sleep. The routine you establish should be consistent for your baby to become familiar with it. It is important to remember that if it doesn’t seem to work at first, keep trying. When learning how to get a baby to sleep, parents must find the right routine.

Don’t Feed to Go To Sleep

Having a full tummy is essential to get a baby to sleep, but feeding should not be associated with going to sleep. The problem begins when the baby wakes up at night, and the only way to fall asleep is by feeding. Additionally, for breastfeeding moms, it can become a problem when only mom can get baby to sleep. Of course, newborns fall asleep all the time while feeding, but by age 4-5 months, babies should overcome in this habit. If this is still the case, it is best to begin the bed/nap time routine earlier. Feed your baby earlier and then go through the rest of the routine, whether it be a book or song. When you tuck your baby in for the night, he should be awake, but drowsy.

Keep An Early Bedtime

Babies should stay consistent with their bedtime. In the winter, this can be a much easier task, since the sun sets earlier. However, in the summer, it can be harder because the sun doesn’t set until much later. Picking a bedtime and keeping it the same is very important when it comes to being able to get a baby to sleep. Bedtime should not be too late, as this can cause the baby to be overstimulated, making it much more difficult to get a baby to sleep.

Picking a time, such as 7:30, can keep the baby on a routine. The time may differ depending on your baby’s needs, but should not be much later. You can tell when a baby is tired by his calm mood. Rather than being active, he may appear to be bored. During the summer, when sunset is later, make sure to put the baby asleep in a darkened room with the shades down. This low-light will help with keeping the bedtime routine consistent.

Keep Napping Set To Guidelines

The younger a baby is, the more he needs to nap. As tempting as it might be, you need to let your little one take naps in their bed. This precedent allows them to get used to their crib and sets the routine that this is rest time. Of course, sometimes cuddling with baby at nap time is great for bonding. But, the more you can get them used to the crib, the easier it will be to get a baby to sleep at bedtime.

Crib time will also allow you time for yourself to either get rest or take on household chores. Naps should be set for the same time each day, such as one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Also, they should be roughly 1-2 hours long to ensure they got enough rest, but not too much that it will affect when you get baby to sleep at bedtime.


One method that seems never to fail when it comes time to get a baby to sleep is swaddling. Babies feel safe and comfortable when in a swaddle, as they feel like they are back in the womb. Swaddling is the method of wrapping a baby up in a blanket purposely limiting movement. There are many tutorials to show how to swaddle a baby properly. Also, there are many products to help make swaddling easier. It is important to remember that before swaddling a baby, make sure they have a clean diaper. A clean diaper will make things much easier later on and prevent waking in the middle of the night.

White Noise and Lullabies

If it becomes difficult to get a baby to sleep, consider playing soft lullabies or white noise. White noise can help sleep as it blocks out other noises around the house and tends to be soothing. Or, playing soft lullabies that come from a mobile or stuffed animal can help soothe baby to sleep. The best way to decide what to use is playing to your baby’s cues. They will show you what is working and what isn’t.

Active Playtime

By keeping babies active during playtime, they will be more ready to sleep at bedtime. During playtime, keep your baby stimulated with activities such as talking to him/her, including him/her in your daily activities, singing, reading, and even independent play with toys. This practice will make getting baby to sleep much easier as they will be more tired. As mentioned before, be sure not to keep them active right before bedtime since this will make the task of being able to get a baby to sleep that much harder.

When Baby Wakes Up

Even after successfully doing these tips to get a baby to sleep, they might wake up and have trouble getting back to sleep. When you hear a baby cry, try to give her a few minutes to see if she can fall back asleep on her own. If not, quietly go to her to determine if anything is wrong. Perhaps she is uncomfortable with a full diaper or needs to go in the swaddle again. When fixing these problems, try no to make too much of a distraction. Keep the lights at a minimum, as well as the noise. Once the baby is comfortable again, try to get her back to sleep without picking her up. If all else fails, meet her needs, and do what has gotten her to sleep in the past.

Establish a night routine.

Make sure that your baby has a routine. Routine is critical for daytime and nighttime sleeping. As much as possible, keep bedtime at the same time and naps on the norm throughout the day. It may take some time to adjust, but in a short time, your little one will start to know when it is time to sleep.

Choose a bedtime strategically.

Make sure that your baby isn’t too tired by the time it is time for sleep. Contrary to what it may seem, an exhausted baby is one of the main reasons why your baby won’t sleep. This solution ties in with a consistent schedule. It is also essential to make sure your baby isn’t going to sleep too late at night; they may sleep during the day, but if their bedtime is too late in the evening, it can lead to exhaustion.

A strategic bedtime will look different for each family, depending on family schedules. However, the average baby should have a minimum of 10 hours of sleep. Know when your little one has to wake up and count backward to establish a decent time for bed.

Ensure your baby isn’t hungry.

Make sure that you’re your little one has eaten and is not fussing because they are hungry. Hunger can be solved by merely putting them to bed with a bottle or getting in one extra feeding between dinner time and bedtime. A full stomach and a decent night will go a long way to get your baby to sleep.

Babies thrive on schedule and routine.

If you are wondering why your baby won’t sleep, it may be because their bedtime schedule needs finishing. Maybe your baby is feeling overstimulation as he/she is on their way to bed.

A bedtime routine can be as simple as washing up, changing your little one into their pajamas and tucking them in with a goodnight story and a kiss. Keep their room device-free and their toys well out of reach. They will quickly learn that bedtime is for winding-down and will begin going to sleep with ease.

Monitor room temperature.

A room that is too hot or too cold will often cause your baby to wake up after only sleeping for a short time. This cause may be one of the more common reasons why your baby won’t sleep. A room that is too cold will cause them to wake up uncomfortable, while a place that is too warm may negatively impact their breathing, causing them to wake up suddenly.

Keep your baby’s room device-free and relatively quiet.

Too much stimulation in their environment will cause them to wake back up after only a short period. In addition to your baby’s room, make sure if you are still awake, that noises such as the radio or television aren’t too loud to disturb the baby. Being aware of the noise level in the house is an easy way to help your baby stay asleep.

Ensure your baby is comfortable and full.

One of the best ways to help your baby fall asleep as well as to help your baby stay asleep is to ensure they are comfortable and full. A hungry baby may be able to fall asleep initially, but they will soon wake up because their body is asking for food. This mistake is avoidable by ensuring they eat sufficiently before heading off to bed.

Encourage self-soothing.

If your baby tends to wake up more than they should, don’t rush in immediately when they wake up. Frequently, you can get your baby to sleep again by letting them stay undisturbed. If your baby learns that crying when they wake up brings you running, you may be part of the reason why your baby won’t sleep. Take it as a compliment; they are just too excited to see you! If they are persistent in their tears, you can check in on them, calm them, and then leave them to go back to sleep. Consistency is critical, and you will most likely be more upset than your baby.

Not all parents advocate for self-soothing; a successful alternative (or addition) is a baby monitor that allows you to talk to your baby. It can give a pretense of being present when you aren’t there.


There are many ways to get your baby to sleep. Evaluating whether the baby sleep problem stems from needing to help your baby fall asleep or from the need to help your baby stay asleep will give you some direction. With a combination of consistency and patience, there will be a solution that works for you and your baby. It is essential to know that you don’t have to blame yourself for the baby’s sleep problem. Focus on understanding why your baby won’t sleep and then dedicate yourself to a solution. Trust your instinct, and you and your baby will be sleeping blissfully in no time.