My baby won't sleep in his crib, what can I do?

Published : 23-11-2018 11:53:00
Categories : baby-sleep

My baby won't sleep in his crib, what can I do?

In the evening, it's time to relax and the whole family deserves a good night's sleep. Yet your little one doesn’t agree: he wants to spend more time with you and won’t sleep in his crib. And your baby will use all possible means to achieve it. Weeping and shouting, then later on other excuses appear "I'm thirsty", "I need a hug from Mom, then from Daddy ... then from Mom" , "The door creaks" etc…

Why does your baby refuse to sleep in his bed? Should you surrender or be firm when you are confronted with your child’s big tears? You, like most of the parents, have to face all those numerous questions and dilemmas and the answer is never obvious! Let's go together through this difficult stage in a young parent's life.

Baby sleep: a dilemma for parents!

Baby sleep is a controversial topic. Should your little one sleep in his crib or on the contrary, should you co-sleep? To those simple at first sight questions, there are as many answers as families! It's up to you to choose according to your feelings, your way of living and of course the comfort of your baby. The good sleepers who have a large bed, will not mind if their child slips into their bed in the middle of the night. On the contrary, the big insomniacs will prefer that the baby learns to sleep by himself. In either case, there is no right or wrong solution. Do not blame yourself if you let your baby sleep with you, or if you want to teach him to fall asleep alone without Dad or Mom. The difficulties related to infants’ sleep are present in any family (except a few lucky ones :). Think about the day when you will wake up your child who has become a teenager in the morning at 11 AM!

Why does baby refuse to sleep in the crib?

While letting baby co-sleep with you or not, is a choice that concerns you, your family and your child's needs, understanding why your baby is crying in his crib may be life-saving! Indeed your child does not yet have the means to express his feelings, needs or fears. Tears and cries are the only way for him to make you understand that he is not well. Here are some possible causes that can cause babies’ cries :

The anxiety of separation - Remember that you are two and that baby has to sleep him alone. Some psychologists believe that very young infants consider their mothers as an extension to their own bodies (the so-called mother-baby dyad) and being apart is unimaginable for some babies. Later on, babies become aware of their own bodies but the anxiety of separation persists, it usually eases up by the age of 2.

Baby is sick - Teething, digestive pain can prevent your little one from falling asleep properly.

Baby has nightmares or night terrors - he needs reassurance. Between 0 and 9 months, it's very hard to tell the difference between dream and reality. Waking up from a nightmare can be very scary!

Baby feels insecure - A strange object or a disturbing sound in the nursery can make your little one feel anxious and prevent him from falling asleep.

Significant events during the day can cause stress for your baby and prevent him from falling asleep. Those events can seem insignificant for you but for your baby a missed nap, a 3 hours trip or meeting new people can be a source of distress.

If possible, try to identify why the baby refuses to sleep in his bed. If he tends to wake up often in the middle of the night after a nightmare, it may be that something is bothering him. You must be present for each nightmare or a night terror because your baby needs you!

Also check that there is no noise that disrupts the baby's sleep at specific times, like the neighbor who is listening to loud music. A baby monitor with a good sleep tracker can help you identify more easily such sounds, such as REMI for example!

Baby won't sleep in crib : a period of "regression"

At around 8 months, most babies enter a so-called “regression” period. While they were able to sleep very well alone, your child will no longer sleep without you! This phase is essential because it helps the baby grow. Separation anxiety is much stronger and your little one is asking for more attention and cuddles. This is a difficult period and can be stressful for both parents and children! You will have to deal with it patiently and reassure the baby. If there is not an external factor and it happens outside of this regression period, it may be a habit or simply your kid’s character.

To find out more, read our article: Sleep regression in babies: what to do?

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What to do so that baby sleeps in his own bed?

Of course, it is not always obvious to accurately identify the reason preventing your baby from sleeping. Especially after 1 or 2 bad nights! Here are some tips to help your baby fall asleep in serenity in his own crib:

The nursery : In order for your baby to sleep in his crib, it is necessary that he appreciates the bed and the nursery! Pay attention to the small details. The temperature should be between 18 and 20 ° C, use a mattress adapted to your little one. Be careful that the baby does not sweat too much and avoid putting large stuffed toys around him! Remember to use night light and make sure there is a little light coming into the room in the morning so that the baby can recognize his environment when he wakes up.

Teach your baby to appreciate his crib : The best way to get your baby to like his sleep environment is bedtime routine. Besides sharing a pleasant moment together, consistency and repetition day after day soothe the baby and help him distinguish between day and night. After feeding your little one and giving him a bath, spend some time in the nursery with him. Tell him a story and give him a lot of kisses and hugs!

Baby falls asleep while nursing : If your baby refuses to fall asleep alone it may be because he has become accustomed to falling asleep while nursing. Yet after 5 months, he is able to sleep through the night. It's not that baby does not want to sleep alone, it's because he does not know he can. Here again, the bedtime routine will be your ally to help him lose this habit! Gradually reduce the breastfeeding time by a few minutes each night. When you see that the baby begins falling asleep, put him in the crib.

Move forward gently :If baby still refuses to sleep, remain hopeful and be patient. But above all do not get upset! It is necessary to be understanding. Baby does not feel secure in his crib for reasons that he himself does not understand. Getting angry will only increase this feeling of insecurity. Give him what he asks for, reassure him then leave the nursery explaining that you are right next to him and that everything is fine. Many pediatricians and moms recommend the famous 5-10-15 method or the method of progressive waiting. It consists of waiting 5 minutes before the first intervention in the nursery, then 10 minutes and finally 15. Each step must be repeated the next day. This technique is however subject to many debates! Although most parents have results by one week, it is better to avoid the 5-10-15 method for the babies younger than one year and to favor a shorter waiting time (1-3-5 for instance).

Making baby sleep is an issue that affects most of the families. Sleep disorders occur in 20 to 30% of all babies. This mandatory period in baby development may be a difficult step to overcome, especially when parents already have busy days! Remember to talk about it with your pediatrician and give yourself a good night's sleep by asking your relative to babysit for one night.

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