Turn the shades down, change the little one's diaper, put on their Dreamsuit, kiss them goodnight and turn off the light. Getting your baby and toddler to sleep is a PROCESS mama. We know how you feel. Some night's are better than others and for those not so good nights, we asked a sleep experts her opinion on the top reasons why your babe is waking at night..
Top Reasons Why Your Baby Is Waking At Night
Some lucky parents are blessed with amazing sleepers who learn to sleep through the night from a very early age. For the rest of us — who do not have super-hero sleepers — below are some of the top reasons why your baby may be waking so frequently in the night.
One (main) reason that a baby wakes at night is due to brain waves shifting as they move from REM sleep to non-REM sleep. As they move from stage to stage of sleep, it’s common for wakeups to happen. Even as adults we tend to wake up an average of 4 times a night when we are transitioning, the difference is that adults wake and fall back to sleep so quickly that we often don’t even remember waking in the first place. For a baby, when they wake, they will often cry out for help because they don’t yet understand how to soothe themselves back to sleep on their own, which leads to reason number 2.
Lack of self-soothing abilities:
Did you know that infants are not born with the ability to self-soothe at all? No wonder they cry so much when they wake in the night! They literally do not know what to do.
As infants, most parents get into habits such as feeding to sleep and then transferring to the crib once already asleep, or similarly with rocking or driving to sleep. These behaviors are extremely common and perfectly acceptable for an infant. The issue arises when these dependencies carry on too long past infancy and become a crutch that is needed for each and every wakeup. This is when sleep training becomes necessary to redirect those sleep associations.
Does your little one have a hard time self-soothing? You might be able to find some answers here.
Developmental milestones can definitely be responsible for changing sleep patterns. A milestone such as rolling over can be very scary for a baby at night. They may roll over and not be able to roll back, so they panic and cry out. A later milestone would be learning to pull themselves up to stand. A lot of parents are unpleasantly surprised to find their 9-month-old waking up more often and standing up in their crib, and then not knowing how to lay back down on their own. A big developmental leap also takes place between 6-9 months of age when a baby is becoming more independent and self-aware. This brings on separation anxiety and the awareness that you are not there when they wake up, which will cause them to cry out for you.
Teething is a BIG one! Teething pain can last from just a few months old all the way through the molars in toddlerhood. There is no question that teething can disrupt sleep and cause baby to wake!
It's SO TRUE that babies tend to wake up more at night when they hit big physical milestones like standing up and walking! We have wearable blankets that will help keep your roly-poly babes warm, while also allowing them to be free to move around. Check out our Dreamsuits and Dreamsies!
We all know we do not sleep so great when we are sick. Around 6 months of age, a baby learns to put things in their mouth, especially their own hands. This is a great milestone because they can begin to use their thumbs to suck for comfort and self-soothing — but the downside of this milestone is that they tend to start getting sick more often because of the germs they are putting in their mouths. Things like congestion, coughing, fever, vomiting and diarrhea can all contribute to waking in the night.
Pacifier or Bottle:
Starting the day we are born, a baby is conditioned to fall asleep while sucking on something, whether it be a breast, bottle, or pacifier. Many infants who use a pacifier will wake up each time that pacifier falls out of their mouth until they are old enough to find and replace the pacifier on their own. This is probably the number one habit that causes sleep issues and warrants parents to seek out sleep consultants for help.
This one really only applies to infants up through roughly 4-6 months old. Newborns will wake and need to eat every couple of hours during the night, but this should lessen over the first few months and the stretches of sleep between feeds should begin to lengthen. Depending on certain factors, some babies are ready to sleep through the night at 4 months old, while others may take closer to 7 months to reach this milestone.
If a baby is used to getting a bottle or some other kind of sleep prop at a specific time in the night, you better believe that baby will develop a habit of waking at that same time every night for that prop. It could be a feed or another kind of prop, but they will certainly continue to wake and expect it.
Sleep is a complicated thing, and there is never a one-size-fits-all answer. That’s why parents benefit so much from working with sleep consultants instead of trying to go it alone. Sleep training is HARD and requires structure and consistency. You don’t have to do it alone!
Good sleep habits are super important when trying to get your baby sleep — and for ensuring mama gets enough rest too. Learn how to establish good sleep habits here. Also, did you think about that your baby might be cold at night? Establishing and ensuring a good room temperature for your babe could make a huge difference in whether they will actually stay asleep or not. Check out our Dreamsuit — it comes in three different TOG ratings (of degrees of warmth). They will be so snuggly — trust us!
Look through all these explanations and still didn’t find a reason that applied to you? Your baby may be cold at night! A Dreamsuit can fix that and get your little cuddle bugs back to sleep in no time!