Sleep comes naturally to babies, but behavioral sleep problems, such as difficulty falling asleep independently, account for 20 to 30% of babies’ sleep problems. Babies fidgeting in sleep may be due to not having developed a sleep routine, hunger, or need to feel secure. They may also not have started identifying the difference between day and night. Calming activities that your baby will begin associating with bedtime, such as a bath and nappy change, before finishing with a little song, can help create the right atmosphere at sleep time. You may even want to include a baby massage.
Sleep is a complex action with which much remains unknown. However, during sleep, growth and development, memory consolidation, healing, rest, and brain activity occur.
Well, for every baby that sleeps peacefully at night, there will be another who seems to fight sleep and fidget like a warrior determined never to give in to a peaceful night’s sleep.
If you got the little samurai warrior, don’t despair. There are many reasons your baby might be fidgeting in her sleep and plenty of ways to support them with their sleep.
Tips to stop your baby from fidgeting in their sleep
Identifying and resolving the cause of your baby’s nighttime fidgeting can resolve the issue and help your child develop a healthy bedtime schedule.
Here are helpful tips to help your fidgety baby sleep:
1. Create a peaceful day for your baby
If your baby is restless and cranky during the day, her nights won’t be any different. However, you can help by making her day mellow and calm.
Similarly, their day could be challenging if they had a restless night.
- It helps to be prepared if your baby is restless and fussy. Keep the home atmosphere tranquil and spend more time with her to make the day easygoing.
- Most babies show more attention-seeking behavior during bedtime. They’ll long for attention and love from their parents or caregiver. Cuddling with them will soothe them and ensure a comfortable sleep.
2. Understand your baby’s cues
Babies will not tell you they’re sleepy, but they’ll convey clear sleepiness signs.
- If they’re rubbing their eyes, pulling their ears, or have puffy eyes, these signals they feel sleepy. It is the perfect time to put them to bed. When you delay their sleep time, they’ll become more restless and might not sleep then.
- Try taking notes to understand their cues better, when they fall asleep and how long they stay asleep.
3. Create a sleep routine
Just like your little one understands that it is time to eat when you bring their feeding bottle, likewise, you need to create a sleep association.
- Make a routine of giving her a warm birth before sleep.
- If you sing a lullaby, do it daily or play soothing music before sleep. Such a routine will make your baby fall asleep effortlessly.
- When your baby wakes up for her dream feed, switch to soft lights and gentle movements to soothe the baby. This will signal her that it is time to sleep and not play.
4. Avoid change in routine
A slight change in your baby’s routine will make their night restless and fidgety.
- Babies like to be in familiar environments accompanied by familiar faces.
- Also, try to have your baby sleep in the same room and on the same bed.
- If your little one is used to swaddling before bedtime, leave them in their swaddle. Taking the swaddle away will make them insecure, leading to endless fidgeting. The same goes for their pacifiers. If they fall comfortably asleep with it, do not take it away. Research also suggests that using a pacifier during sleep helps reduce the risk of SIDS.
5. Let the surroundings speak to your baby
Babies do not entirely understand the difference between day and night. Since most of the time, they’re inside the house.
- Subtly teach your baby the difference by taking her outside in the daylight for a few minutes in the foyer or at a brighter corner of your terrace.
- Always create a sleepy atmosphere at night. Dim the lights, reduce external noises, and put her in bed to get her to realize that playtime is over. A white noise machine will your little one help calm down.
- You can also adjust the temperature in your baby’s room and use blackout curtains to keep off any distracting reflections.
6. Understand the reason your baby is waking up
You might get annoyed when your baby is all fidgety in the middle of the night and won’t sleep. There are reasons behind your baby getting all fidgety in her sleep.
They may even start to cry because:
- They might have a wet diaper, and it is time for a change. Ensure that her diaper is good enough to last the entire night. Leaky diapers will wet your baby’s clothes and irritate their skin leading to diaper rash developing.
- Sometimes, your baby might be hungry. Ensure that your little one is well-fed before sleep time. You can also make necessary changes to ensure they get a healthy and filling diet. The key to a good night’s sleep is a well-fed baby.
- Do not over bundle your baby. Just dress them enough for room temperature and do not cover their heads. Keep an eye out for symptoms of overheating, such as sweating and quick-paced breathing.
Will co-sleeping help calm my restless baby?
Some parents believe snuggling up in bed with their babies will help calm them down. They may even bed-share all night.
If your baby is below six months, it is safest for them to sleep in a cot next to your bed. But if you want to have your baby in bed next to you, check out our advice on co-sleeping.
Is it normal for babies to move a lot while sleeping?
Babies move around and grunt a lot during active sleep and sleep deeply during quiet sleep.
At the end of each cycle, they wake up for a little while. They might twitch or grizzle, and they might need help to settle for the next cycle.
Not getting your baby to sleep peacefully through the night isn’t a measure of your parenting skills.
Take time to understand your baby’s cues and ways of communicating so that you can help her become a better sleeper.
If you want to learn more about babies’ sleep behavioral patterns, you may also check these posts: