Baby Sleep Problems

Written by Christa Gatewood
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There are many reasons that a baby may not be able to sleep through the night or for long periods of time. Newborn babies most likely will not be able to sleep more than two or three hours. As a baby ages, however, the length of time the baby can stay a sleep will most likely increase incrementally.

Types of Sleep Problems in Babies

If a child is not sleeping the appropriate length of time for his/her age, there may be one or more things affecting the child. The problem can be either behavioral or health related. Therefore, it is a good idea to have your pediatrician rule out any potentially serious health problems when a baby is not sleeping.

Some health problems such as asthma, an ear infection, or sleep apnea need immediate medical attention. There may also be a less serious health concern at the center of the problem such as colic. Colic is a very common condition in babies that interferes with their sleep habits. Most babies will outgrow colic on their own.

If the child has a clean bill of health, most likely the problem is behavioral. These problems can be corrected by making simple changes in the baby's routine. For example, some babies will not go to sleep or stay asleep because they are over stimulated. It's hard for babies to settle down (even when they are tired) if there is a lot of play. A good idea is to use the time before bedtime for quiet activities such as reading a book. If a baby wakes up soon after being put down, don't turn the light on in the room or entertain the baby. Reassure the child in gentle tones until he/she falls asleep. Sleep sound machines that play calming white noise can help to soothe the baby as he/she drifts off into dreamland.

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