Why do babies fight sleep?

Hey ff fam,

I know you’re probably wondering, why do babies fight sleep?

The answer is simple…over tiredness.

Okay, this isn’t true 100% of the time, but it often is.

When babies are overtired, they fight sleep. The cortisol in their bodies rises and it causes them to be ‘wide awake.’ When they get that sudden burst of energy, it’s because they’re overtired.

The way I like to think of it is remember pre-baby when you would get home from work on a Friday night, relax and get tired? But then, you would go out to dinner or a bar because it was Friday night and after a little while you had a lot of energy? 

That’s the cortisol rising and giving you a second wind. The same thing happens with babies but they can’t tell us what’s wrong. This is why we put them to sleep before they’re overtired, so the cortisol hasn’t risen and their bodies are ready for sleep.

If you’re following Optimal Wake Time (OWT) (getting them to sleep by their OWT and not starting to rock them at the end of their OWT) and they’re still fighting sleep there could be a few other causes:

  1. Hunger. If they didn’t eat fully, they might be hungry again.
  2. Trapped gas. We want to make sure to burp babies really well because trapped gas can cause them to feel uncomfortable and therefore fight sleep.
  3. Too much daytime sleep. If they’ve had too much sleep early in the day (i know those 2 + hour naps are great in the moment), this can cause them to fight sleep because their bodies have less sleep drive. The problem is, they will get overtired if they miss the nap, even if they had a long morning nap.

The Full Feedings Method® is designed to help you know exactly when your baby needs to sleep based on the OWT for their age. We take the guesswork out of parenting, so all you need to do is rock your sweet little baby to sleep and keep that overtiredness away.

You got this fam, now help your baby to sleep when they need it and enjoy those restful overnight hours.

If you are a member and experiencing fighting naps, reach out to INFANT@FULLFEEDINGS.COM for email support.

If you are not yet a member, check out our NO CRY IT OUT sleep method HERE! We have super affordable online programs that will teach you an easy 3-step method to get your little one to sleep!