5 Reasons Why Your Newborn Isn’t Sleeping at Night

Do you ever wonder why your baby seems to have difficulty sleeping at night, even though they're usually good at it?

Many new parents feel exhausted and frustrated when their newborn won't sleep at night. Babies have very different sleep cycles and needs than adults, and it's completely normal for newborns to have unpredictable sleep patterns. However, there are often many underlying reasons why they may be having trouble sleeping at night. In this blog, we will explore 5 common reasons your newborn isn't sleeping at night and some tips to handle each one.

1. Your Baby is Hungry: Hunger is the most common reasons babies wake up at night. Newborns need to eat as often as every 2-3 hours, especially in the first few weeks. Their tiny stomachs simply can’t hold enough milk to sustain them longer.

If your baby is rooting, sucking on their hands, or crying right before or after a feeding, chances are they need more milk. Try feeding them again, even if it hasn’t quite been 2 hours. Cluster feeding is also common, where a baby wants to eat more frequently at certain times of day.

Make sure to take advantage of nap times to rest when the baby sleeps during the day. Having easy access to diaper changing supplies, water, and healthy snacks can also make middle of the night feedings easier on sleep-deprived parents.

2. Your Baby Doesn’t Feel Well: Sometimes waking at night means the baby isn’t feeling well. Reasons can include reflux, gas, respiratory infections, stuffy nose, and even seemingly minor discomforts that interrupt their sleep.

You can try remedies like burping, gas drops, nasal aspirators, and infant pain relievers if approved by your doctor to relieve discomfort. Holding and rocking can also provide soothing relief. Getting to the source of the distress is key to helping them settle back to sleep. Call your paediatrician if your baby is showing signs of discomfort, vomiting, illness, or fever.

3. Your Baby Needs a Diaper Change: A wet, dirty diaper is another classic reason babies wake up at night. Especially in the newborn days, babies rarely sleep for more than 2-3 hours without needing a diaper change. Newborns have sensitive skin, and even a slightly wet diaper can be irritating.

Get in the habit of checking the diaper first when the baby wakes up crying in the wee hours. Even if it’s just a little damp, go ahead and change it. Make sure you have a good stock of diapers and wipes by the crib so you’re always prepared for those midnight diaper runs.

While you’re taking care of their diaper, see if they show any signs of hunger as well. Multitask by changing them first and then feeding them.


4. Their Sleep Cycle is Off: Newborns don’t yet have an established circadian rhythm regulating their sleep-wake cycles. It develops over the first few months as their biological clock starts naturally syncing to light and dark periods.

When their sleep cycles are off, sometimes babies have trouble moving from active alert times back into the deep sleep they need. Help regulate their cycle by exposing them to natural light and darkness. At night, avoid bright lights and stimulation during night wakings. Keep the room cooler and use white noise if needed to promote sleep.

During the day, make sure the baby experiences natural daylight, even if just sitting by a sunny window. Getting exposure to daytime rhythms helps signal nighttime sleep. As their body clock regulates in the coming weeks, their sleep should become less sporadic.

5. Your Baby Needs You: Sometimes, despite our best efforts to meet all of their needs, babies just want the comfort and reassurance of being close to their parents. Babies experience separation anxiety, and the comfort of touch helps them self-regulate. The feeling of skin-to-skin contact, rocking, and hearing your heartbeat soothes babies back to sleep during stressful wakings.

Your presence reassures them and regulates their nervous system so they feel safe, allowing sleep to come easier. Staying close to your scent helps reduce separation anxiety that hits in the night when they realize you’re not right there.

While having your sleep constantly interrupted is utterly exhausting, remember it’s only a season. Offering comfort when your baby needs you at night strengthens your lifelong connection, even when all you want is sleep. Take shifts with your partner if possible so you both get some rest.



Having sleepless night and walking on the floor at 3 am with a crying baby can feel never-ending. But as babies mature over the first weeks and months, longer sleep stretches come. Their sleep cycles regulate, feedings decrease, and they transition off night wakings. Before you know it, you and your baby will find a rhythm that works for both of you, and those sleepless nights will become a distant memory. And if you're struggling to cope with your baby's sleep habits, don't hesitate to reach out to your paediatrician for guidance and support.

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1. Why does my newborn wake up frequently at night?

Ans. Newborns have tiny stomachs and need to eat every 2-3 hours, causing frequent night awakenings.

2. How can I tell if my baby is hungry during the night?

Ans. Signs of hunger include rooting, sucking on hands, or crying before or after a feeding.

3. What should I do if my baby seems to want to eat more often than usual?

Ans. Cluster feeding is common; try feeding them again, even if it hasn't been 2 hours since the last feeding.

4. How can I help my baby settle back to sleep when they're uncomfortable?

Ans. Remedies like burping, gas drops, and holding can provide soothing relief.

5. Should I change my baby's diaper during the night?

Ans. Yes, wet or dirty diapers can cause discomfort, so it's essential to check and change them promptly.

6. How can I help regulate my baby's sleep cycle?

Ans. Expose them to natural light during the day and create a calm, dark environment at night to promote healthy sleep habits.

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