Why Won’t My Baby Sleep?

There is always a reason why your baby won’t sleep. As a sleep consultant I consider myself a children’s sleep investigator, looking at the child’s sleep needs, behavior, and family lifestyle to personalize changes the child requires. Children are born built to sleep; they just have to learn the skills to get themselves to sleep on their own. Newborns are naturally forced by their bodies to sleep because of the rapid rate they are growing and adjusting to all the stimuli around them in this brand new busy world. Let’s talk about 3 reasons why your baby won’t sleep?

1. Sleep is not linear.

Even if your child has sleep skills and has slept well in the past, children’s sleep needs change as they grow and develop. Whether they are going through a developmental milestone, need to change their nap time or duration, or there could be changes in life that are affecting them. A new baby in the house, daycare, stress of a parent, travel, the list goes on. All of these things can impact a child’s sleep.

2. Self-soothing strategies and sleep skills.

If your child can not self-soothe they do not have sleep skills. Self-soothing strategies lead to sleep skills and are also valuable in life for the child to be able to calm themselves in stressful situations. Self-soothing can look like:

Pacifier use

Sucking fingers or thumb

Kicking legs

Turning head back and forth

Clenching fists



Remember you have to give your child the chance to develop these strategies. 1-5 minutes of practice can go a long way.

3. Use of a prop.

A prop will keep your child from sleeping through the night. What is a sleep prop? A sleep prop is something you use as a parent to get your child to fall asleep. Rocking, bottle, nursing, walking, pacifier(too sleep), you having to be in the room, are all examples of sleep props. The child relies on the prop to fall asleep, and when they naturally wake up between sleep cycles, they think they need this prop to fall back to sleep. You must get rid of the prop for your child to learn their independent sleep skills.


Sleep cycles range from 45- 90 minutes long. This is why your child is waking you up all night.

Sleep skills & temporary wake ups.


If your child does have sleep skills and can be laid down awake to fall asleep on their own. Know that the current wake ups are temporary! As I said above the needs of the child sometimes change. If you know they have sleep skills, adjusting the behavior around the child’s sleep could be the solution, or staying consistent and waiting out the milestone could do the trick. If your child is having sleep difficulties and you don’t know where to start, contact us today for a customized program that investigates deeply into the child’s needs.

Self-soothing & sleep skill development

Parents always ask what the best age to start developing these skills is. To be honest you can learn to sleep at any age but newborn is the optimal age to start because they have no bad habits. As a newborn baby everything is new and it isn’t even “sleep training” they are just gradually learning how to soothe themselves. It is incredibly beautiful to watch alongside them.

As I said though, there isn’t a specific age. You can be an adult and learn how to sleep better! When the whole family is getting the sleep they need it is truly life changing! Not only do you need your rest as a parent to show up each day, your child needs proper sleep to grow and develop the way they are supposed to. I can’t stress this enough…it is ESSENTIAL. Their whole entire body, brain, bones, and behavior depends on sleep. Read all about why quality sleep is a necessity for children here. Don’t wait! Contact us today.

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