Top 10 Reasons Why Your Baby Wakes Up at Night

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Baby Wakes Up at Night

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Baby Wakes Up at Night

1. It's possible that your baby may wake up due to genuine hunger if they are small or under 9 months old. Between 4 to 9 months of age, 1-2 feeds a night is normal, especially for breastfed babies. Formula-fed babies can have structured diets and daytime feeds in a way that hunger should not disrupt their sleep past 7 months. Newborns, especially breastfed ones, may need to be fed 3 times in a night to ensure proper nourishment, which is normal in the initial weeks. It's advisable to feed and then quickly settle your baby so that you both can get some rest in between the feeds.

2. Sleep associations refer to the techniques or things you do to get your baby to sleep. These habits form between 12 to 16 weeks, and if your baby's sleep association requires your intervention, they might wake up at the end of each partial or full sleep cycle, which usually occurs every 2-4 hours, expecting you to repeat the same actions you did previously to get them back to sleep. However, we can help you change these sleep associations to eliminate this reason for waking up frequently.

3. As the summer approaches, it's important to ensure that your little one doesn't feel too hot or cold. One way to do this is to check their sleeping bag - it might need to be replaced with a more suitable tog bag for the summer season or a summer swaddle can be used to prevent overheating. Check out this post on appropriate summer sleep wear.

4. Sleep regressions are common occurrences in the first 12 months of a baby's life and are related to their development, rather than hunger or teething. These regressions happen when a baby's sleep needs or cycles change, when they learn new skills during the day, or when they are about to reach a new developmental milestone. Babies who have healthy sleep habits from birth will experience fewer regressions compared to those who are constantly fatigued or depend on sleep aids to fall asleep.

5. Teething: Teething can disturb your baby's sleep, depending on their age and sleep habits. If your baby is generally calm during the day but wakes up screaming at night, it may not be due to teething. Teething pain is usually intermittent and your baby may remain awake for a while with on-and-off crying. In such cases, try giving them some pain relief and a comforting cuddle. 

6. If your baby isn't napping well during the day, they may be exhausted at bedtime, which can make it difficult for them to fall into a deep sleep or stay asleep. Over-tiredness leads to the release of stress hormones, making it harder for babies to sleep. You can improve your baby's night sleep by working on their daytime naps.

7. Under tired: It can be frustrating when your baby oversleeps during the day only to stay up all night. To avoid this, try gradually reducing their daytime naps to an appropriate length based on their age. This can help regulate their sleep patterns and lead to more restful nights for both you and your baby.

8. Reflux: When your baby is suffering from reflux, it can be difficult for them to sleep, and as a result, you may also experience broken nights. Sleep training cannot help with the pain and discomfort caused by reflux. It is important to help your baby get to sleep, so they are not overly tired, as over-tiredness can make it harder for them to tolerate pain and discomfort. Once your baby is medicated, ask your doctor about possible side effects, as some reflux medications can cause restlessness, gut and wind pains. Being aware of this can help you prepare for any potential issues.

9. Illness: If your baby is suffering from a cold and hasn't been feeding well, they might wake up more frequently at night. Similarly, if they have a gastro bug, getting a good night's sleep can become quite difficult. However, once your baby has recovered, you will need to gently encourage them to resume their normal sleeping pattern. It is recommended that you spend time with your baby in their room while they are unwell. Consider putting a mattress on the floor, as it will be easier to gradually move away as your baby recovers, rather than suddenly forcing them out of your bed if they have been co-sleeping with you while feeling unwell.

10. Leaking Nappy: Some babies are more sensitive to having a wet or leaking nappy than others. To prevent leakage, it's recommended to use a good brand nappy and a cover, if needed. It's important to note that tight onesies can often be the cause of urine leaking out of a nappy, so it's a good idea to check that your baby's pajamas are not too tight.
Share this post if you have friends wondering why their little one still wakes over night.

Click here for more help from the Baby Sleep Consultant team.


Emma Purdue

Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a certified infant and child sleep consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, has a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education. Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn't working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.


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