My 5-month-old baby will not nap during the day or sleep at night without an all out battle. He cries, screams, yells, stiffens up, arches his back, tears pouring down his face, etc. when it is nap time or bedtime.
I know he is tired as he can barely keep his eyes open and when he does finally go to sleep he usually sleeps for about 2 hours.
Any ideas why this is happening or what I can do to help ease him into sleep? My child care provider fights this battle everyday during the week and I know she is getting frustrated (as am I). Help please!!
Baby Help Line:
What To Do When Baby Fights Sleep
I have a few ideas on how you might be able to help your baby:
- First of all, one reason why he might be so upset could be that he is over tired. Have you tried putting him to sleep a little bit earlier?
I don’t know if you have figured out yet for how long he is usually awake between naps (and before going to bed for the night). Many babies at the age of around 5 months or so have a fairly stable 2-3-4 pattern; they are awake for around 2 hours in the morning, then they sleep for a while, then they can stay awake for 3 hours etc.
If you spend a couple of days mapping your baby’s sleep schedule and watch for signs of him getting tired, you might be able to prepare him for sleep before he becomes completely exhausted.
One option could be to take him for a walk in his stroller about 15-20 minutes before he’s about to crash. This way he might just stay calm and drift off to sleep.
- Does your baby use a pacifier? If not, consider introducing one, since many babies find it easier to self-soothe with the help of a dummy.
- Some babies also get calm if a light handkerchief or something similar is placed over their forehead and eyes when about to go to sleep. (Make sure nothing covers his mouth and nose, though!)
- Singing and rocking and stroking his head can also be effective.
The key is really to find a way to help your boy understand that it is nice and safe to relax and to help him get in that stage before he is completely exhausted. Creating a calm and cosy routine that you and your child care provider stick to should help him. It might take a little while of course, to help him getting into a new habit. And in my experience, especially with babies that refuse the pacifier, it is harder to teach them calm down if they are very tired and upset, but it is not impossible!
I hope this helps,
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