You may have heard the saying, "When mama's not happy, then nobody's happy," but if you've ever had a sleepless baby in the house, you know that adage could easily be changed to, "If baby's not sleeping, then nobody's happy." Trudging through rough nights, when your little one can't seem to settle or sleep, spills over into the waking hours, leading to exhaustion. As you search for answers to help your baby rest, you may begin to wonder if a larger issue, like a sleep disorder, is possible. But can babies have insomnia? Because they're the ones who are supposed to have their sleep game on point.
If you're struggling with a baby who won't settle to sleep or wakes often, you're not alone. According to data gathered by the National Sleep Foundation, more than two-thirds of children suffer from frequent sleep problems. However, it's not always easy for parents to discern when a baby is going through a rocky sleep phase and when there's a bigger problem at play. Additionally, pediatricians do not regularly screen for sleep issues in children or discuss the possibility with parents at office visits, as the website for the U.S. National Library of Medicine reported.
To be an advocate for their child's sleep, parents have to dig deeper when their baby is suffering from insomnia since this condition is a secondary one, resulting from another cause. As Health Hype pointed out, causes of childhood insomnia can include (but are not limited to) teething, illness, difficulty breathing, constipation, or food intolerance. In fact, getting to the root of the problem could lead to your child snoozing more soundly. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, for example, researchers found that babies with an allergy to cow's milk suffered from sleep disturbances when ingesting it, but when milk was excluded from their diet, their sleep pattern normalized.
Even though it is possible for babies to have insomnia, the good news is, it should be temporary. With the help of your pediatrician, you should be able to figure out the underlying cause of the sleeplessness. Once that is treated, there's a good chance your little dumpling will be peacefully dreaming each night — which means you can do the same.