Babies Who Fight Sleep

Why Do Babies Fight Sleep? Tips on how to Stop Your Baby Fighting Sleep

It is well known that if your baby is a good sleeper, parenting can be a walk in the park.  You are refreshed and alert.  Baby is not tired and grumpy. Everything in the world is good.

BUT, if your baby isn't a good sleeper, parenting can be an uphill battle. Even the smallest tasks can be a challenge. Believe me, my two girls were not good sleepers and I have experienced many moments where I would ask myself "Who do I have babies who fight sleep?".  Even the slightest noise would startle them awake. Then it would be an ordeal trying to get them back to sleep.  It's almost as if they were angry at me for trying to get them back to sleep.  Yet, ironically, it was the one thing we both wanted!

There are many reasons why babies appear to be fighting sleep.  And I found with a bit of understanding and taking the time to look at it from a baby's perspective, there were a few things I can do to put the odds in my favor for getting the little ones to sleep without a big fight. 

This article is intended to help parents understand why do babies fight sleep. It is from this understanding where you will be able to pick up some tips on setting yourself up for success in achieving a good night's rest for YOU AND YOUR BABY. 

Babies Fighting Sleep - Why Does it Happen?

Before we get into the tips for getting your baby to sleep, we at the Best Baby Care Tips, find it helps to first gain an understanding of the causes and reasons for why your baby is fighting sleep.  In this section we are going to check out the most common reasons for why babies fight sleep

Babies who fight sleep


This is probably one of the main causes when it comes to babies fighting sleep. 

Generally, over tiredness in babies occurs when they have been put down after their regular bedtime.  When your baby is overtired you will often find they resort to tantrums quickly and settling them is a challenge. Even just putting them into their cot or crib will bring them to tears.

Overstimulation (aka undertired)

Another common cause for babies who fight sleep is because they can be overstimulated or not tired enough.  This can be as a result of the activities that directly preceded the bedtime routine.  Or even if you are putting them down too early. 

Another possible reason for over stimulation is that your baby's room is too bright or interesting. I found that during daylight savings, when the evening light lasted longer, my little girl would struggle to fall asleep and become irritable. I was stuck asking myself "Why does my baby fight sleep?". After a bit of trial and error, I eventually discovered that the light seeping through the window blinds were stimulating her visual senses, allowing her to see more things in the room.  

Separation Anxiety

This is a common cause for a baby's inability to sleep. Or at least - it is a common conclusion many parents make when they are having trouble with their baby fighting sleep. 

More often than not, the baby may be reacting to the parents own separation anxiety and feeding off the anxious environment you may be (unconsciously) creating. 

I admit, I am guilty of this very issue.  It was my own anxieties of separation from my little ones, that made it difficult for them to sleep. My constant need to check in on them more than likely disturbed their sleep and caused them to wake. In addition, my impulse that I had to be in the room to get them to sleep probably delayed their ability to self-soothe themselves, and again fight the sleep that they so desperately wanted. 

Hungry/Too Full

Babies Who Fight Sleep

Another issue I found that led to my girls fighting sleep as babies, was when they were uncomfortable.  This could be as a result from being too hungry or on the other end of the spectrum, when they are too full. 

I mention this as a cause for the benefit of parents who are still trying to find their feet in terms of a good routine for their little one. I found when my baby had a well functioning digestive system (such as regularly having soiled diapers), they were easier to get to sleep - and keep asleep. 

Babies Who Fight Sleep Could be Developing

Once you take a (tired) step back and look at what your baby is trying to achieve in a short space of time, you can begin to appreciate that their bodies are going through immense change. 

From developing muscles, growing bones and teeth - their bodies are constantly changing and adapting to their environment. 

Therefore, once you start to understand and accept that your baby is always going to be changing (especially in the first few years), then you can begin to practice a bit more patience that they may be finding it a bit difficult to fall asleep this night (and sometimes the next few consecutive nights). 

How to Get Your Baby to Stop Fighting Sleep - Parenting Tips

The first thing you need to know is that babies fight sleep because they are tired. They have been awake for a long time, so when their parents put them down in bed at night, they want to stay up! This can be very frustrating for the parent who wants his or her child to go to sleep on command. The good news is that there are ways to help your little one fall asleep faster and more easily than ever before. 

Babies Who Fight Sleep


One of the best tips for achieving consistent sleep patterns is establishing a routine for your little one. Routine allows your baby to feel comfortable with their surroundings and the events of the day. They become accustomed to the activities and the security of knowing what to expect next. 

Forming a good bedtime routine is also a great way to signal to your little one that they should begin to wind down and prepare for sleep. This can be particularly effective for newborns when you include a warm bath close to their bedtime.  The bath replicates the secure feeling that they experienced in the womb, and therefore gives them comfort and warmth. 

Diaper Investigation

This may sound strange, however here me out.  If you haven't already connected the dots, this tip is closely related to the hungry or too full cause for a baby fighting sleep.  There is a treasure trove of information in your baby's diaper. Knowing what comes out of your baby is the best indication of what is going on inside of them.

For example, if they have not had a soiled (pooey) diaper for a while, a reason for them fighting sleep could be because they are uncomfortable while lying down.  On the other hand, if they are not having frequent wet nappies, they could be dehydrated.  Believe me when I say, I learnt a lot from my baby's dirty diapers! 

Understanding and Patience

Okay, you may be saying this is easier said than done, but I firmly believe when a parent comes to terms that they have a baby that is always changing and evolving, they have a mindset shift. A parenting epiphany of sorts. 

As we mentioned earlier, your baby is doing a lot of growing.  Understandably, this can cause discomfort and change.  It will often disrupt a routine that you had going for a few weeks in a row.  It will make your baby seem unreasonable.  What they once enjoyed last week, will now irritate and upset them.  

The sooner you can accept this fact and practice patience, the sooner you will gain an appreciation for what your baby is experiencing.  Rather than viewing their 'fighting sleep' as an inconvenience, you can take a step back and try to look at it from a difference angle = one that is more productive in reaching a sleepy outcome. 

Key Takeaways from Babies Who Fight Sleep

Sleep is important.  Parents and babies that receive a restful night's sleep are much more calm and rational. 

However, parenting isn't always that easy.  There will be terrible nights.  Sleepless nights.  There are many causes for why your baby will fight sleep. In the moment, it may be hard to see what rational reason could cause this, however if you take some time to read up and research the possible causes identified in this article, you can begin to understand how to tackle the sleep issue. 

Let us know what has worked for you for helping your baby stop fighting sleep in the comments below. 

Article written by Best Baby Care Tips

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