Are you the parent listening as others talk about their baby sleeping through the night and it’s making you feel envious? Are you struggling every night getting your child to sleep, whilst others are seemingly having an easy time? Why is it that some babies are just plain harder to get to sleep than others? Why do some babies fight sleep? In today’s blog, we’re going to find out.
There are all kinds of factors that may influence how well your child sleeps at night. Your child’s age is important – no one expects a newborn to sleep through the night. But equally, you would probably expect your one year old to manage a long stretch of nighttime sleep. Some of your friends will be talking about how their babies are starting to sleep better, whilst you are still struggling with crying and sleepless nights. Why?
Well, for a start, we’re all born different and so too are our personalities. Some babies are simply more relaxed and easy-going than others. Your child may have experienced a traumatic birth or have sensory issues, health issues or allergies that can affect their sleep. Other babies might simply be more clingy, fussy or nervous of separation from their parents.
Whatever the situation, it is sometimes worth accepting that your baby might just have a personality that makes them fight bedtime and as a result makes your life as a parent that much more challenging. This is particularly the case if your child has entered a bad cycle of not sleeping long enough during the day or night. This build-up of exhaustion, coupled quite often with bad habits, can be a hard one to break.
How to tame a baby ‘sleep fighter’
My oldest child was a baby ‘sleep fighter’. It was so hard to get him to sleep, not just at nighttime but for his daytime naps too. I remember resorting to all kinds of ridiculous methods, desperate for him to drop off. Life was really hard and I was just exhausted.
However, all baby sleep fighters can learn how to sleep better. I genuinely believe this. I’ve had enough experience with my own children and all the families I’ve helped, to see that any child can improve their sleep habits.
The importance of the daytime
Don’t under-estimate the importance of the daytime when you’re dealing with a baby sleep fighter. Ensure your child gets as much daylight as possible, particularly in the morning. Getting outdoors is so important for your child – both in terms of their daylight exposure and the exertion of energy. Of course, their daytime naps are crucial too to avoid an overtired child. Overtired children are far more likely to fight sleep at bedtime so getting your child into a good daytime nap routine is one of the best solutions.
It’s probably best not to view bedtime as a battleground. That’s easier said than done as some children can use it to assert themselves or stubbornly fight to get their own way. My initial approach would be to introduce a soothing and calm bedtime routine to get your child relaxed and in the mood for sleep. There are many ways of doing this – see my blogs on baby sleep music and comforters. Also think about the bedroom environment. You will want to keep the room dimly lit until bedtime and keep the temperature of the bedroom as close to 18°C as possible. Finally, remember to reduce screen time for at least one hour before bed as screens are very stimulating for your child.
It’s probably best not to view bedtime as a battleground.
Once you’ve completed your bedtime routine, you will be in a far better place to focus on reducing your child’s need for your support and presence at bedtime.
Can my baby be sleep trained?
Every child can learn to sleep better. Introducing good sleeping habits can make all the difference if your baby is fighting sleep at bedtime. However, before you start, do read my blogs on ‘How to know when you are ready to sleep train your child‘ and ‘When will my baby sleep through the night’. There are a number of factors to consider and Sleep Superstars can help and support you every step of the way.
There is a lot of information available online and in books, but if you want an affordable, instantly available, expertly created sleep package, Sleep Superstars is here for you. We provide sleep welfare packages tailored to your child which takes into account your preferences as a parent. In addition, our Sleep Support Hub is there to guide you every step of the way – to ensure that you and your child can get the sleep you both need and deserve. To find out how it works see here or read our testimonials.