Why Babies Fight Sleep & What You Can Do About It

Fight Sleep

The miracle of bringing a baby into the world is magical, but for many parents, making sure their little one gets enough sleep can be overwhelming and tiring. We’ve all known the frustration of rocking our babies to sleep only for them to burst out in tears a few minutes later and wide-eyed again.

On top of that trying to figure out how much sleep they should be getting or why they’re resisting slumber in the first place can feel like an uphill battle.

It turns out you are not alone: understanding why your baby might fight sleep – even when she needs it – is one of parenting’s greatest challenges. So, if you’re feeling completely lost (which we’ve been there too!) read on as we explore what causes babies to resist sleep and strategies that may help ease this frustrating phase.

Reasons Why Babies Fight Sleep

Overstimulation: Babies can become overstimulated and have a hard time settling down for sleep.

Overtiredness: When babies get overtired, their body produces adrenaline, which can make it hard for them to fall asleep.

Hunger: If babies are hungry, they may have a hard time falling asleep.

Teething: Teething can be uncomfortable for babies and make it difficult for them to sleep.

Gas or Colic: Digestive issues like gas or colic can make it difficult for babies to sleep comfortably.

Separation anxiety: As babies develop a sense of object permanence, they may experience separation anxiety, making it hard for them to fall asleep without their caregivers nearby.

Developmental changes: As babies grow and develop, their sleep patterns may change, causing temporary disruptions in their sleep routine.

Illness: When babies are sick, they may have trouble sleeping due to discomfort or a change in their normal routine.

Environmental factors: Noise, temperature, and lighting can all impact a baby’s ability to fall asleep.

Sleep associations: Babies can develop associations between certain actions or objects and falling asleep, making it hard for them to sleep without those associations present.

Tips for Helping Newborns Relax & Go to Sleep

Here are some tips for helping newborns relax and go to sleep:

Develop a consistent bedtime routine: Establishing a consistent routine can help signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep. A simple routine can include a warm bath, a massage, and reading a story.

Create a calm sleep environment: Make sure the room is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Consider using a white noise machine or a soft lullaby to help soothe your baby.

Swaddle your baby: Swaddling can help newborns feel secure and relaxed. It also prevents the startle reflex that can wake them up.

Use gentle motion: Newborns often find the gentle motion of rocking, bouncing, or swaying to be soothing. Try using a baby swing or a rocking chair.

Try skin-to-skin contact: Skin-to-skin contact can help your baby feel secure and calm. Hold your baby against your chest, with its head resting on your shoulder.

Respond promptly to your baby’s needs: Newborns need frequent feeding, diaper changes, and comfort. Responding promptly to your baby’s needs can help prevent them from becoming over-tired and fussy.

Practice safe sleep habits: Always put your baby to sleep on their back, in a crib or bassinet free of any loose bedding, toys, or other objects that could be a suffocation risk.

Remember that every baby is different, and it may take some time to find a routine that works for you and your newborn. Be patient and consistent, and your baby will eventually develop healthy sleep habits.

Sleep Training Methods

Sleep is an essential activity for development, health, and well-being. Babies often struggle to get enough of it as they do not have established sleep patterns yet. Fortunately, parents can use a few sleep training methods to help their little ones get the rest they need.

One popular approach accepts that all babies fight sleep in some way and encourages parents to develop healthy routines and soothing habits to make the process easier on everyone, such as establishing a peaceful bedtime routine or providing a comforting transitional object like a favorite toy or blanket. With these strategies in place, parents can make sure their babies are getting the rest they need while feeling safe and secure.

When to Seek Help from a Doctor

You should seek help from a doctor if you have concerns about your baby’s sleep or if they are experiencing any of the following issues:

Difficulty falling or staying asleep: If your baby is having trouble falling or staying asleep, despite your efforts to create a calm sleep environment, it may be a sign of an underlying issue.

Reflux or breathing issues: If your baby is showing signs of reflux or breathing difficulties, it’s important to have them evaluated by a doctor.

Irregular sleep patterns: If your baby’s sleep patterns are consistently irregular or they are waking up frequently throughout the night, it may be a sign of a problem.

Developmental delays: If your baby is not meeting their developmental milestones or appears to be delayed in their physical or cognitive development, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Unusual behaviors during sleep: If your baby is exhibiting unusual behaviors during sleep, such as twitching, shaking, or excessive crying, it may be a sign of a sleep disorder or other medical condition.

If you have any concerns about your baby’s sleep or overall health, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek the advice of a medical professional. Your baby’s doctor can help you identify any potential issues and provide guidance on how to address them.


Babies fight sleep for many reasons, but the key is to be aware of any triggers or patterns your baby has. Consistency is important when establishing healthy sleeping habits for babies, so create a schedule and stick to it. Don’t forget to establish a calm, comfortable environment for them before bedtime and teach them self-soothing strategies that can help relax their mind and body.

The other important tip is to remember your baby’s individual needs and realize that no two babies are alike. Listening to their signals, responding empathically, and developing ways both of you feel secure and connected will go a long way in helping your child learn the skill of falling asleep without a fight. 

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