Updated: Apr 24
This is probably the most searched google phase! And it isn’t surprising, having a little one who wakes in the night is hard, especially if those wake ups are frequent or your little one struggles to get back to sleep.
So, what can you do ?
Firstly, know that it is completely normal for babies and young children to wake in the night. If your child is waking in the night, I want you to know that you are not doing anything wrong and neither is your child. Your child may be waking for a variety of reasons and knowing why they are waking can be the key to getting more sleep.
Reasons your baby may be waking in the night & what you can do about it
1. They are too cold/warm
The Lullaby Trust recommends keeping the room that your baby sleeps in between 16-20 degrees Celsius. It is also worth checking your baby’s core body temperature because some babies will be warmer bodied and others will feel the cold more. You can check their core body temperature by putting two fingers down the back of their neck or torso. Their extremities (hands and feet) will always feel colder than their core body temperature because babies have poor circulation.
2. They are uncomfortable
Is your baby suffering from reflux? If so, have a look at this brilliant blog by Stacey Zimmel, an expert in breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Is your baby suffering with food allergies? Lucy Upton who is a qualified paediatric dietician and feeding therapist has excellent resources on her website. Teething, some little ones will be really affected by teething (both of mine were) whereas others won’t even notice it. I have a post all about teething and sleep.
3. They miss you!
It is really normal for little ones to miss you at night. Going to sleep is a big period of separation and most little ones will sleep more easily if they are near you.
4. They are hungry.
For young babies they need to feed frequently because they have tiny tummies. As babies get older they can usually go for longer periods without needing to feed. But there is no magic age or weight when we can confidently say that a baby is no longer hungry at night. If you feel that your baby is ready to gently night wean my online courses cover how you can to do this without leaving your baby to cry.
5. They went to sleep overtired or undertired!
If your baby has had too much sleep or not enough sleep during the day, they are much more likely to wake in the night. This does not mean that you need to follow a strict nap schedule set for your baby’s age but rather create a loose nap routine that suits your baby's individual temperament and their particular sleep needs. If you want support with this my online courses teach you everything you need to know about working out what sleep needs your baby has and how you can support these so that your baby sleeps for longer stretches at night.
6. They are scared
It is very unlikely that your baby is scared is scared of the dark. Having spent their early life entirely in darkness in the womb, it is very much something they are used to. Children don't usually become afraid of the darkness until around the age of two-three years old. This is when they start to have more awareness of their surroundings and their imagination develops as they spend more time in imaginative play.
My biggest advice to you, is to know that there are often things that you can do to get longer stretches of sleep but that sleeping through the night isn’t something that you need to get hung up on. All babies will eventually sleep through the night even if you do nothing.