Are you wondering why your baby wakes up at night?
Let’s talk about 5 reasons why your baby wakes up at night. To be the best parents we can be for our children, we need to be well-rested—which is easier said than done if your baby is waking up at all hours of the night. This, of course, is common, and there are a lot of reasons why it happens. Let’s talk about 5 reasons why your baby wakes up at night. I hope this helps you feel better about your baby’s night wakings and gives you some tools to overcome them.
P.S. You are not alone!
It is common for families to use a nightlight. They are all over the baby stores and we are often told to use one so our babies don’t get afraid of the dark. However, until babies develop their imaginations, they don’t understand the concept of fear; therefore, they don’t need a nightlight. It is only later that you may need to introduce a light in your child’s room. It is recommended to use a nightlight starting at two years of age (or whenever they start believing in monsters!).
Another crucial aspect to consider is the color of the nightlight. Blue light interferes with the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. If you choose to use a nightlight, choose a warm tone.
Last but not least, your baby could be distracted by his or her surroundings—the light is stimulating. That makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
One reason why your baby wakes up at night may be related to naps. If your baby is napping too close to bedtime, it will affect the night sleep. We want naps to be well-balanced and spread throughout the day. The afternoon nap should be longer than the morning nap, keeping in mind that some babies (if younger than six months old) will need a catnap around 4:00-4:30 pm. This little nap should not be the longer nap, since that would definitely impact the night sleep. The purpose of this final nap of the day is to help young babies make it until bedtime without being overtired.
When you ask yourself why your baby is waking up at night, my suggestion is to look at your baby’s nap schedule and take note if he or she is napping too close to bedtime.
If your baby wakes up at night because of his food intake, what does that mean? Until your baby is 10-12 months old, she will have a hard time digesting certain proteins. If dinner is mostly protein, your baby’s digestive system has to work harder, which will affect the night sleep. Simple solution: serve proteins for lunch and veggies and carbs for dinner.
It is a myth that feeding your baby solids will help him sleep longer. It will definitely help in the long run, but not at a young age. At night, our digestive systems are slower, and, like the rest of us, your baby will have a difficult time digesting heavy food at night.
If she has recently started to eat solid food, consider what you feed her and when. If you make a few changes, you could be surprised to see how it impacts her night sleep.
Waking Up Out of Habit
If your baby is awake every night at approximately the same time, it may be because he is waking up out of habit. Depending on the age of your baby, she may need a night feed, and that is completely fine. But if your baby is older than seven or eight months, and he is still waking up at the same time, you may want to look at why this could be happening.
Is she eating enough during the day? Is he getting enough calories throughout the day? Can she self-soothe back to sleep?
If I feed you a plate of delicious spaghetti at 2:00 am every night for one month straight, you will eventually wake up on your own, hungry and ready for me to feed you at 2:00 am! Your body would be programmed to eat at that time.
The same thing happens with babies. If they are used to eating a full meal in the middle of the night, they will wake up hungry and ready to eat! If your pediatrician suggests your baby is ready to stop eating at night and if you are ready to stop breastfeeding (this is a personal choice!), you may want to slowly wean the feed. With consistency, your baby will eventually sleep right through his nightly feeding time and will be hungry to eat when he wakes up in the morning. You now probably start to have a good idea why your baby wakes up at night!
You may go through a period where your child’s naps (and sleep in general) get worse, even after completing the program. It’s normal to see some inconsistencies in their sleeping patterns where it seems like they are regressing. Your baby is most likely going through a developmental milestone, growth spurt, or even separation anxiety. These happen whether or not your baby is sleep trained.
The good news is these phases are temporary, and if your baby has learned the skill of falling asleep and has become a great sleeper, he or she should be able to overcome these normal disruptions and resume great sleeping habits soon.
You will notice these changes when your baby is about to crawl, stand, or walk. When this happens, stay calm and try to keep the good sleeping habits and routine you have established! It’s often during these periods that parents go back to the old habits, which makes it harder to get back on track.
Of course, there could be other reasons why your baby wakes up at night, but these are five of the most common ones. If you have tried everything and your little one is still waking up at night, call me! I can help you get the sleep you and your whole family deserve. Check out my sleep training programs to support you in your journey!
As Always, Sleeping Babies = Happy Families