Sleep problem in Infants: Is your lil’ one sleeping right?

Take a night-night? Nan-a-boo, goo-goo ga-ga? Goo-goo ca-ca? Da-da … doesn’t make sense. However, ask a mother and she will quickly relate to these sounds. Yes, only a mother can understand the sounds of her newborn bundle of joy. But sometimes even a mother fails to understand, why the baby is not sleeping !

It has been seen that raising a kid can become difficult in today’s times. Given the stress and pressure that exists, persistent crying of the babies can create huge stress in the families including marital conflicts, depression, low self-esteem and obesity.

A stressed and tired mind can lead the new parents to make all sorts of rash decisions and might even lead to harming the baby itself! Thus it is extremely important to understand the needs of the baby and enjoy the happiness that the little one brings in the lives of the parents and the families.

The babies stay in the womb for almost 9 months and are used to crouched position, dark warm fluid environment. After birth change in the environment upsets them and ends up affecting their biological cycle .

Normally, wet Nappies, hunger or feeling too warm/cold can cause the babies to sleep less. Yet, if all these causes are taken care of, and still the problem persists, there are some hacks that can help the baby sleep peacefully. Babies slumber down better when they are provided an environment, which they enjoyed in the womb.

To create similar conditions, expert pediatricians suggest the 5-S approach. Swaddling, Shushing, Swinging, Sucking, Side on Stomach Position to switch on the Calming Reflexes. Calming Reflexes are bodily movement that makes the newborns think that they are in the womb.

Swaddling: During pregnancy the babies feel a lot of caresses. Caressing the babies softly and wrapping them tight helps them believe they are in their protected environment.

Side on Stomach Position: After Swaddling holding the baby side on in the arms mimicking its position in the womb calms the baby.

Shushing: The sound in the womb is louder than a vacuum cleaner. Either start a vacuum cleaner/hair drier or shush in the ear as loudly as possible. Keep going on with decreasing intensity.

Swinging: Babies are used to movement in the womb. Gentle back and forth swinging calms the baby down.

Sucking: Babies suck and swallow amniotic fluid inside the womb. Sucking breast or finger calms them down. Offer the breast or their finger to suck when they are upset.

If none of the above measures works, take them for a drive in the car. Most fussy babies calm down when the car is in motion and start crying when you stop at the traffic lights !!!


Establish daytime and nighttime routine by keeping stimulating activities during day and sleepy and passive ones during the night. Keep the room dark during sleep time. Introducing bedtime rituals like singing lullabies is also beneficial. Bathing the babies in warm water and feeding them full aids sleep.

Dr Sreenath Manikanti,
Senior Consultant Neonatologist and Pediatrician
Fortis La Femme Hospital,Rochmond Road

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