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Baby Symptoms & Conditions

Trouble Sleeping In Babies

Baby isn’t sleeping? Causes of sleeplessness in babies — and how you both can get back to a good night’s sleep.

What is considered trouble sleeping for a baby?

You might think it’s normal for a baby (and often a toddler) to have trouble sleeping from time to time. But the fact is, there are a number of health issues or concerns that might make it difficult for your baby to sleep.

What could be causing my baby to have trouble sleeping?

Anything from a  stuffy nose to an ear infection, reflux or  pain from teething can make it difficult for your baby to sleep soundly. Sometimes developmental issues (like separation anxiety) can also make it tough for him to fall (and stay) asleep.

When should I take my baby to the doctor if he has trouble sleeping?

If his difficulty getting some solid shut-eye seems sudden (like, he used to sleep through the night and now can’t) and continues for weeks on end, or if he seems very uncomfortable when he’s put to bed, call your doc for advice.

What should I do to treat my baby’s trouble sleeping?

If the issue is more psychological than physical, establishing good  bedtime habits (bath, bottle, book, bed) can help him get into a routine that will help him sleep. But if he’s got something else going on (such as pain from an infection or teething), you’ll also need to treat that cause if either of you are going to get a good night’s sleep.

By Jennifer Shu, MD, pediatrician with Children’s Medical Group P.C. in Atlanta and author of Heading Home With Your Newborn (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2010)