5 reasons why your baby isn't sleeping
I love my sleep. If I don’t get a solid seven hours every night I turn into a cranky, crabby creature who can’t concentrate on anything. So I can’t even begin to imagine the frustration and zombie-like function of a parent who isn’t getting any at all.
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But instead of bragging about my undisturbed and peaceful sleep routine, I’ve enlisted the help of Amanda Rentsch, midwife and health care specialist from Johnson’s Baby, to talk about some of the common reasons why a baby may not be sleeping, and techniques that parents can use to ensure their infant has a more peaceful rest.
REASONS YOUR BABY ISN'T SLEEPING #1 Hungry or overfed
“It’s very common to overfeed formula fed babies and many parents are concerned when breastfeeding that their baby is not receiving enough milk.” says Amanda.
“Symptoms of over feeding for formula fed babies include excessive positing, large urine output and excessive weight gain.” Symptoms of underfed babies can include “irritability, unsettled, decreased urine output [less than six wet nappies per day] and not settling between feeds.”
If formula feeding, ensure you’re following the manufacturers guidelines and giving your baby the correct amount. If breastfeeding, “offer the second breast only if the baby is still interested, but still offer the breast on demand, whenever the baby is unsettled.”
REASONS YOUR BABY ISN'T SLEEPING #2 Comfort
“If the baby is dirty or wet they may find this uncomfortable, especially if the skin integrity is not intact [if the skin is damaged] in the buttock region.”
Crying, smell, heaviness of the diaper, red or rashy skin.
REASONS YOUR BABY ISN'T SLEEPING #3 Illness
Illness of any origin is a common reason for restless sleep and should be highly monitored.
“Unwell babies can either present as irritable and unsettled or the opposite being very quiet and lethargic with lack of interest in feeding.” Other signs of illness can be loss of colour, temperature, fast breathing and sweating.
If signs and symptoms of illness are apparent seek medical advice. “Only attempt bath as settling technique if no signs or symptoms of morbidity are present,” says Amanda. You can try offering your unsettled baby a warm relaxation bath (38 degrees), followed by a massage using a baby oil like GAIA Natural Baby - Baby Massage Oil, Jurlique Baby's Calming Massage Oil or Natralus My Little One Relaxing Touch Massage Oil to release friction and distress.
REASONS YOUR BABY ISN'T SLEEPING #4 Teething
As your baby gets older, the pain from teething can prevent them from having a peaceful sleep.
Drooling, crying, refusing to eat and waking in the night.
Try massaging a pain relief gel such as Bonjela Teething Gel (available at Chemist Warehouse) into the affected areas for fast soothing relief. Cold foods or items can also help to numb the pain and decrease swelling.
Amanda’s top bedtime tips:
-Start baby bedtime routine with a warm bath; followed by a gentle massage
-Next, always ensure some quiet time before bed, perhaps read a story (the same quiet story every night – repetition is good!)
-Put your child down in their bed when tired and drowsy, not wide awake.
-Leave the bedroom when your baby is drowsy, and before they fall asleep if you can. That way your baby gets used to falling asleep without your presence.
What are some of the reasons your baby doesn’t sleep? What are your top tips for settling babies?
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