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5 Common Infant Sleep Problems (and Solutions)

It’s no big mystery that good sleep becomes a distant memory once you become a parent. The problem is: what’s considered normal infant sleep behavior versus infant sleep problems?

The MamaNatal sleep trainers have assisted our fair share of parents with tackling all of their baby sleep help questions. From sleep regressions to separation anxiety, we’ve learned that moms and dads throughout the world have the same types of issues when it comes to developing quality nighttime routines.

Using a combination of evidence-based sleep science techniques and homeopathic options, you can help your little one tackle five of the most common issues with baby sleep habits.

The Most Common Infant Sleep Issues Faced By Parents

As a parent, sleep deprivation can start to feel like a constant companion. Thankfully, there are ways to remedy some of the most common infant sleep problems. From a baby who won’t sleep in a crib to teething troubles, here’s what you need to know about the top five issues when it comes to getting babies to sleep.

#1: Does Your Little One Have Their Days & Nights Mixed Up?

During the first two weeks of a baby’s life, they’ll probably sleep around 16-20 hours a day. As they move out of those early weeks, however, they should start to develop more regular sleep routines.

What happens, though, when your little one’s routine involves napping all day and partying all night? 

Situations like these happen when they have their days and nights mixed up.

While most babies aren’t ready for strict sleep routines until they’re around 3-to-4 months old, there are things you can do to help them get back on track during those first weeks and months of life.

  • Develop a bedtime routine early on. You can include baths, putting on lotion, a baby massage, reading a book, etc.
  • Keep the room they’re sleeping in dark, i.e., leave off lamps, TVs, and put up dark curtains or blinds.
  • Feed often during daytime hours.
  • Don’t interact with your baby much during nighttime feeds to avoid stimulating them. Alternatively, be sure to play and interact quite a bit during the daytime hours.

#2: Can You Prevent a Sleep Regression from Affecting Sleep Routines?

Does it suddenly seem like sleep training a 4-month old is next to impossible? You’re not alone. This is around the time your baby might hit their first of many sleep regressions.

Throughout their young lives, getting babies to sleep can become increasingly difficult during the various sleep transitions they undergo. These periods often occur when they are experiencing significant developmental changes and usually last a few weeks.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to avoid these events. The best ways to solve your sleep regression problems are merely to continue doing what you’ve been doing all along.

Stick to your routine, create a comfortable sleep environment, and try to keep them awake and entertained during daytime hours.

Additionally, you should try to look for signs that your baby is sleepy throughout sleep regressions. Maintaining infant sleep routines can be made easier by following their cues, such as watching for yawns or babies rubbing their eyes.

#3: What Do You Do If Your Baby Won’t Sleep in a Crib?

It’s time for some hard truth – as appealing as it might be to continually let your baby fall asleep in your arms or against your chest, these can be counterproductive when it comes to getting babies to sleep in their cribs.

If you’re trying to transition your little one to their own space, but your baby won’t sleep in a crib, it’s often because they’ve gotten used to falling asleep another way or in another place. 

Not only do they suddenly have to learn how to sleep in a crib, but they also have to figure out how to sleep alone.

If this problem sounds familiar, there are a few tips you can try to make the move into a crib a little bit easier.

To start with, it’s always easier to put them into bed when they’re drowsy but not asleep. 

When an infant is sleeping, most of their rest occurs during the REM sleep phase, which is also known as active sleep that’s marked by twitching and movements. During this phase, if your baby falls asleep with you and you attempt to move them into their crib, there’s a good chance they’ll wake up – no matter how gently it might seem like you’re laying them down!

By putting them down before they fall asleep, they can drift off on their own.

If your baby won’t sleep in a crib, this can also be the right time to start considering some of the various sleep training methods available. 

Whether you try to sleep train your baby on your own or hire professional baby sleep help from MamaNatal, there are tons of reputable techniques available, such as:

#4: Do Separation Anxiety and Sleep Training Go Hand-in-Hand?

Between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, sometimes younger, many infants and toddlers will face some degree of separation anxiety. Sleep training during these periods might seem like an impossibility, but it doesn’t have to be.

If you believe your little one could be suffering from separation anxiety, be on the lookout for symptoms, such as:

  • Crying when you leave a room
  • Waking throughout the night
  • Not wanting to go to sleep without you being nearby
  • Increased clinginess

If your little one’s separation anxiety is getting in the way of their sleep schedule and causing infant sleep issues, you can still implement various sleep training methods to help.

By teaching a baby to self-soothe with the help of the evidence-based sleep science techniques mentioned above, you won’t just put an end to the sleep deprivation your family is facing. You might also help them start combatting their issues with separation anxiety.

If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to use an infant sleep training method on your own, hiring a qualified sleep consultant might be the optimal solution for your family.

#5: How Can You Help Your Baby Fall Asleep if They’re Teething or Don’t Feel Well?

When it comes to infant care, few things are more upsetting than when your little one doesn’t feel well. 

Whether they’ve caught a little cold or they’re teething, getting babies to sleep when they’re under the weather can be challenging. If you’re hoping to avoid disruptions to their normal sleep patterns, one of the best things you can do is stick with their normal bedtime routines.

Thankfully, there are a few other options which can be beneficial. These include:

Turn On White Noise

Not only is white noise calming to most little ones, but it can also serve as a distraction. Rather than focusing on feeling unwell, using a white noise machine or app in their room can divert their attention to something else.

Give Them a Massage

If a baby massage isn’t a normal part of your infant sleep routines, it might be time to consider them. After giving your son or daughter a bath, gently give them a massage with their normal baby lotion. This will help them relax before bed and, hopefully, induce more restful sleep.

Let Them Take a Teether to Bed

Teething and getting babies to sleep don’t usually go hand-in-hand. If you’re looking for a simple way to make them more comfortable, why not send them to bed with a durable, solid plastic teether?

If your baby is waking throughout the night due to teething, it can also help to have a few washcloths sitting in the freezer. This will act as a cooling and soothing trick to help alleviate their pain.

Consider Medications

While more homeopathic tips and tricks are preferable when treating your baby’s discomfort, there may be times when medication is necessary. Speak with your child’s physician to determine what medicine types and how much are best for your little one.

Learn More About Overcoming Infant Sleep Problems

Are you interested in learning more ways to help develop better sleep routines for your little one? Have you been thinking about using various sleep training methods but aren’t sure where to start?

Luckily for you, MamaNatal is here to help!

When it comes to creating better infant sleep habits, our experienced team has the knowledge and skills needed to help you out. Stop suffering from sleep deprivation and consider hiring a professional sleep consultant.

Contact our team of certified sleep experts today or make an appointment online to start learning everything there is to know about conquering these infant sleep issues.