Baby sleep is often a concern for new parents. It is essential in the development of the baby. Indeed, the lack of sleep in a baby who does not sleep is often underestimated. However, it leads to many consequences, sometimes serious. It impairs growth because growth hormones are secreted during sleep. It also increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. First of all, babies' breathing is disturbed. And then, fatigue from lack of sleep reduces baby's ability to wake up. A sleep deprived baby is also more vulnerable to infections. His immune system is less combative. Lack of sleep also disrupts baby's behavior: excited or unresponsive, irritable, clumsy. Often so-called fussy babies simply lack sleep.

baby sleeping

sleeping baby in a sling June 22 - photo credit @cecilia.shevelenko

All these vital reasons for baby's development lead us to know some basic notions about baby's sleep . The rhythm of sleep in babies changes enormously from 1 to 9 months. At first, he sleeps according to his needs. And, it often doesn't tell the difference between day and night. The number of hours of sleep can vary by about two hours from one baby to another. Then it gradually adapts to the circadian cycle. Sleep difficulties sometimes occur. Why is baby not sleeping? Five reasons are commonly identified. Once the reasons are identified, parents can use techniques to get baby to sleep.

baby's sleep pattern

Baby's sleep pattern changes with age. Major milestones are reached between 1 and 9 months. Here is the "common" rhythm of baby sleep. Of course, every child is different. Don't worry if your child is far from the standards described below. Some children sleep less, others more. As long as they're eating well and gaining weight, aren't grumpy and are growing well, they're getting enough sleep.

1 month old baby sleep

At 1 month, baby sleeps 15 to 20 hours a day. Strictly speaking, it has no real rhythm. He wakes up every 2-3 hours to eat. And, he stays awake for about half an hour.

2 month old baby sleep

At 2 months, baby still wakes up every 2-3 hours to eat. He stays awake for 1h to 1h30. Daily, his sleep fluctuates between 16 and 20 h. He begins to do his nights and remains asleep for 5 to 6 continuous hours.

3 month baby sleep

At 3 months, baby begins to differentiate the circadian rhythm. By getting used to this day-night cycle, her sleep is now divided between an entire night and naps. More precisely, 3 naps of about 2 hours complete a night of 9-11 hours.

baby sleep rhythm

baby sleeps in a sling June 22 - photo credit @spring_in_december

4 month old baby sleep

At 4 months, baby is awake for 2 to 3 hours at a time. He sleeps through the night and no longer wakes up to eat. He always rests on the same rhythm of 3 naps.

5 month old baby sleep

At 5 months, baby has acquired a rhythm and regular schedules of sleep. In general, he sleeps a whole night from 10 to 12 hours. The day is interspersed with a siesta in the morning. Then, during the afternoon, he takes an early nap and a late afternoon nap.

6 month old baby sleep

At 6 months, baby consolidates or finishes acquiring a regular sleep pattern. And the same daily pattern is observed. In general, baby sleeps from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. in one go. Then, naps generally take place from 10 to 11 a.m., from 1 to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 6 p.m.

7 month old baby sleep

At 7 months, babies sleep an average of 15 hours a day. The night always lasts between 10 and 12 hours in a row. The naps, always 3 in number, gradually decrease. They tend towards a duration of 1h30.

8 month old baby sleep

At 8 months, baby sleeps 11 hours straight on average. And, he still rests during the day with 3 naps. At this age, separation anxiety appears. Baby understands that he is a separate person from his parents and that he can lose them. It differentiates familiar faces from unfamiliar faces. This stage of normal development can cause problems when falling asleep. Thus, sleep rhythms may be disturbed.

9 month old baby sleep

At 9 months, separation anxiety is still present. This is the reason why the baby may still have difficulty falling asleep. Setting up a bedtime ritual is very important. Another important change: the nap at the end of the day disappears. This suppression makes it possible to maintain a night's sleep of approximately 10 hours.

Why is baby not sleeping?

Several health concerns can disrupt baby's sleep. Advice from a healthcare professional may be necessary.

Gastroesophageal reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD, is an involuntary backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. Without danger, they are however unpleasant for the baby. Parents can relieve their baby by raising their head when sleeping. Dietary changes can help, such as splitting meals. In case of simple GERD, it attenuates around 6 months to disappear around 1 year to 1 year ½. If it persists or if symptoms are added, a medical consultation is necessary.

infant colic

Colic is a recurrent and regular crying attack. It occurs in the late afternoon or evening. It appears mainly between 2 and 4 months. Inconsolable, the baby is all red. Without any danger for the baby, colic disturbs his sleep. A gentle belly massage relieves baby. Relief is obtained by placing baby on one forearm. The adult wearing it walks slowly until baby falls asleep. Babywearing is also a good trick to reduce baby's colic. Thanks to the pressure of our belly on that of baby and the massage provided by our movements, baby's colic is relieved.

baby not sleeping

Fleece sling June 22


Teething is a stage in the development of teeth in babies. She causes pain that disturbs her sleep. Thus, the baby has difficulty falling asleep or suffers from nocturnal awakenings. Teething usually lasts 3 to 4 days. To relieve baby, medication with medical advice or teething toys can be used.


Otitis is an inflammation of the inner ear. A medical consultation is therefore necessary. Otitis is very painful when lying down. Thus, parents must raise the baby's head so that he can fall asleep. Medication is considered in case of pain with the advice of your doctor.

Ask your healthcare professional for advice

Parents should seek advice from a doctor or pediatrician in the event of significant and lasting sleep disturbances. And also, if the sleep disorders are felt during the day (restless or drowsy baby). Similarly, if baby regurgitates often, regularly suffers from ENT infections and does not grow properly, medical advice is needed.

your stress

Baby is an emotional sponge, he needs you to be calm and serene to fall asleep. When baby has trouble sleeping, when he does not spend his nights and cries often, stress, even anger can invade us. We then enter a negative spiral. Before each bedtime ritual, take a few deep breaths and stretch to relax your muscles. Once calm and serene, put baby to sleep with a smile and positive thoughts.

how to put baby to sleep

baby sleeps in a Palm Sensation sling - photo credit @jestil211

Baby not sleeping?

Baby's sleep is made up of 2 phases: the calm cycle and the restless cycle. During restless sleep, your child may move, smile, cry, laugh, open his eyes... A common mistake is to take baby in his arms thinking he is not sleeping and end his sleep. A baby who has finished his night or his nap should have his eyes wide open and stretch. It is best to let him wake up quietly for a few minutes to see if he does not go back to sleep before picking him up.

Techniques for getting babies to sleep

Several conditions and a few tricks promote baby's sleep. You also need to know how to spot the first signs of sleep.

Ideal conditions (temperature 19.20°, calm, in the dark)

In order to fall asleep and sleep peacefully, the temperature in your room should not exceed 19.20°C. 18°C is the ideal temperature. The atmosphere in the baby's room should be neither too dry nor too humid. The ideal humidity level between 40% and 60% preserves baby's health. To help baby fall asleep and sleep, parents should encourage calm activities before bedtime. Once lying down, it is not necessary to make complete silence. Indeed, baby is reassured to hear the voice of his parents next door. It is important to leave baby in total darkness, so that he can fall asleep peacefully without light stimulation. Moreover, before 18 months, baby is not afraid of the dark. A pilot light is therefore not useful.

Detect the first signs of sleep

Parents should be alert to the warning signs that baby is sleepy. The first signs of sleep are yawning. We can observe a look that is lost in the vagueness. Sometimes, fatigue is manifested by a loss of baby's vitality or, conversely, great excitement. Other telltale signs of baby sleep are eye rubbing and thumb sucking.

baby tired sign

Pacifier or comforter

First of all, the sucking reflex in babies is natural and innate. It is already present in its mother's womb. The suction is satisfied by the breast and the pacifier. Thus, the pacifier comforts baby and promotes sleep. After 6 months, parents can introduce a cotton comforter in the baby's bed. This transitional object facilitates separation from parents. Thus, his pacifier or comforter allow him to calm down and fall asleep alone. Be careful not to give your baby a pacifier too early, if he doesn't know how to put it in his mouth he will need you to go back to sleep...


The lullaby calms or puts the baby to sleep. Parents sometimes hesitate between singing or playing music. Several studies show that babies are more reactive to the voice of their parents than to that of another person. The voice of parents is ideal for strengthening the parent-child bond. Playing music is less beneficial than hearing a familiar voice. Indeed, a parent who sings a lullaby must relax. The baby feels it and calms down. Parent and child are on the same page. It is then serene to fall asleep.

White noise

White noise is a simple sound that repeats over and over again. This background noise rocks baby. Indeed, this monotonous and continuous noise soothes him and encourages him to fall asleep. The ideal is to record the heartbeat of his mother. Thus, baby feels safe in a cocoon of softness and warmth, like when he was in his belly.


Swaddling is the act of wrapping baby in a cloth to limit his movements. Baby thus rediscovers the sensations felt in his mother's womb. Warm and safe, this promotes his entry into sleep. Also, while sleeping, the baby may have uncontrolled movements. These wake him up. Swaddling helps contain this Moro reflex. And thus, prevent baby from waking up with a start. Swaddling also has another benefit. By the light pressure it exerts around baby, it reduces colic.

rock baby

Rocking a baby helps him fall asleep when he can't soothe himself. In the crook of the arms and warm, baby feels safe. This movement securing calm. He thus rediscovers the floating sensations he felt in his mother's womb. The ideal is to rock the baby with a regular rhythm. The most effective corresponds to heartbeats at rest, that is to say between 60 and 70 oscillations per minute. Rocking baby promotes a good heart rate and good blood circulation. Thus, it helps the baby to fall asleep faster. And also, it promotes quality sleep, because the rocking corresponds to its emotional need.


Babywearing is a miracle solution for many parents who have trouble putting their baby to sleep. During his first months, baby needs to feel comforted by your smell, your touch, your warmth and your voice. It makes sense since he was rocked by following your rhythm for 9 months. If you have a baby who only falls asleep in your arms, then try to put him to sleep in a baby carrier, you will be surprised with the result.

put baby to sleep

baby sleeping in a sling June 22 - photo credit @sanna.emelie

cover photo credit @delburgomarine

July 27, 2021 — Athéna Beltran

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