We know that all babies are different. As infants, their interests are limited. They eat, sleep, pee, poop, and cry; in varying degrees and order. There’s no hidden agenda. They do what they need to do and if they require your help; they let you know about it. However, just when you get used to their routine, they change it on you. Even as babies, they learn to keep you guessing. Most parents understand that infants rarely sleep through the entire night, but what happens when they stop taking naps during the day or change their schedule?
If your infant went from sleeping to not sleeping, your first course of action is to check with your physician to identify if there are physical causes to their change in behavior. Write down any signs you may be observing, such as temperature, increased spitting up, continued crying when laying down, etc. It’s not uncommon for even young infants to be diagnosed with reflux. Often this can be rectified with a change in formula and/or holding you baby upright for 5-10 minutes after feedings.
Look for clues that tell you your baby is tired. Some infants take on a grunting sound, fussing, or crying. They may also start to yawn, or go from active movements to those that are more subdued. Within time, you’ll get to know how your infant is communicating that they’re tired. However, if your baby isn’t tired, there’s nothing you can do to force the issue. When they’re ready to sleep, they’ll sleep.
Consider your baby before they were born. They were in a small, enclosed place; with arms and legs positioned close to their body. They felt your movements as you walked around and listened to your voice. Try to duplicate that environment for them.
A majority of infants like to be swaddled (wrapped securely in a blanket). Think of the blanket as a tortilla wrap and your baby is the filling. Wrap the right side of the blanket across to the left and tuck under your baby, bring the bottom part up onto your infant’s chest, and wrap the left side over the right – baby burrito. There are those infants that enjoy being swaddled but like having their hands out; see which one your baby prefers.
Infants are used to hearing ‘white noise’ (music, television, voices). Perhaps put on a lullaby CD or turn the TV down low. Some babies respond best to movement and enjoy rocking in an infant swing. Others love to rest over your shoulder while walking and find comfort having their back gently patted and rubbed. When you feel your infant start to relax, try putting them down in their crib on their back. If after a few minutes they begin to fuss a little, gently roll them to their side, rub their back, comfort them with your words, and return them to their back position.
While in the beginning it may take some time to get your baby to sleep, don’t be surprised if each time you put them down, it becomes easier and easier.