Help! My baby has days and nights reversed!
Babies are bound to have their days and nights reversed -- Find out how to get their sleeping routine back on track for a happier and well-rested family.
Change in sleeping pattern
Babies are wonderful, but they’re not always the most cooperative, especially when it comes to their sleeping habits. In fact, it’s not uncommon for babies to have their days and nights reversed.
Why does this happen?
A baby’s sleep habit can, to some extent, be predicted by how they sleep in the womb. I know that might sound crazy, but there is some evidence to support that. However, it has also been suggested that your labour/delivery also comes into play to trigger this situation. The time of day and length of your final stages of delivery and so forth can initiate your baby’s initial sleeping pattern outside of the womb.
Whatever the claims are — they’re irrelevant because it’s not in our hands to prevent it from happening once the baby is born. However, you can try to get your baby on track to sleep through the night (or at least most of it) and learn how to help your baby avoid having days and nights reversed after they are born.
Changing back the routine
Getting your baby to understand the difference between night and day takes some work if they are extremely messed up. But it’s not impossible. Here are a few things you can do if your baby has their days and nights reversed that have proven helpful to mums over the years:
- Limit nap times. Babies who have their nights and days reversed don’t need to sleep a lot during the day. Don’t let your baby sleep longer than an hour a couple of times a day.
- Don’t let them nap past three in the afternoon. A baby who has days and nights reversed needs to be tired.
- Take them outdoors each day. The fresh air and sunshine (indirect) is invigorating and stimulating. Besides, pushing a stroller and taking a walk is good for you, too.
- Keep the house brightly lit during the day. Open the curtains and blinds, turn on the lights.
- Play music and stimulate the baby with fun things to look at during the day.
- Play with your baby. Little exercises that move their arms and legs are energy-boosters.
- Talk to your baby. Even if it’s about the bills you need to pay or how much you dread having dinner with your husband’s boss…talk to your baby. It keeps them alert.
Programming your baby to sleep at night
Sounds like a sci-fi, doesn’t it? It’s not, but there are definite steps you need to take to teach your baby how to tell the difference when they have days and nights reversed.
- During the evening, reduce the amount of stimulation and activity.
- Establish a routine that is consistent (especially time-wise).
- Give your baby a nice, warm bath before bedtime.
- Snuggle and read soothing bedtime stories and sing soft, soothing songs.
Updating the nursery
Make the nursery a place for sleeping. This includes closing the blinds and curtains to darken the room, making sure the crib doesn’t face anything on the walls that is too stimulating, and cutting down on the activity that takes place directly outside the door. If you have to go back and forth past the nursery, pull the door closed or almost-closed to cut the distraction.
The important thing to remember when you have a baby who has their days and nights reversed is that they are not doing it on purpose. They are not out to get you. They’re just confused about the great big world they were literally pushed into. So be loving, patient and committed to being the best parent you can be. Don’t worry, it will come. With training and persistence, sleep will come to both of you…at night.
Did these tips help your child if they had their days and nights reversed? If so, tell us how! We’d love to hear from you! For more on your baby’s sleeping pattern, watch this video: