I’m not trying to offer a magic number here. Newborns wake more often than infants, who wake up more often than toddlers, and so on. But in today’s video, I’ll give you an idea of how often the average baby wakes up at each stage of life, as well as some insights as to what might be causing your baby to be waking up more often than they should be.
One of the most popular search questions is how many times should my baby be waking up in the night? And that is a tricky question to answer. And it really depends on a few different things.
Obviously, it depends on the age of your child. If we’re talking newborn baby, well, that could be once, twice, three or four times. There really is no magic number for a newborn. We know they need to eat. They need to eat around the clock, 24 hours a day. And that’s really challenging and taxing on a parent. I get it. But that is the way their little bodies are designed, and so we have to adapt for the sake of their survival.
Okay, so we all get that, that we have to have newborns eating in the night, and I would never say anything other than that. But let’s now move past that. Right, let’s move into the three to four month age range.
I would say on average, three to four month old babies are waking about once, maybe twice a night for food. So if your baby’s waking more than that, you might wanna check out what else could be going on. And the biggest thing that’s usually going on that’s causing more wake-ups is a prop dependency.
So that would mean that your baby is being rocked to sleep or to fed to sleep, and that is why she’s having frequent nighttime wake-ups. Some of that is probably food-related, absolutely, but some of it’s not. Some of it is prop-related. So she has a naturally occurring wake-up in the night, because waking it the night is normal and common, but because she’s dependent on your rocking or your feeding or whatever it is, she’s going to need your help. She can’t do this on her own.
So, if you’re gonna feed her, okay, she’ll take it. Maybe she needed it or she didn’t need it. But often it’s just the prop that they’re waking up for, so feed me back to sleep, rock me back to sleep, do whatever you did to get me to sleep in the first place, ’cause I can’t do this myself. And that’s why you’re getting more frequent wake-ups.
Now, let’s move into the six month to 12 month age range. Now, there are some babies at the six month mark who still may need one nighttime feed, one. And that would be if there’s some health issues or if there’s any kind of weight concerns. There may be some valid reason why your six month old baby still needs a nighttime feed. If your six month old baby, though, is waking up more than once, two, five, eight times a night, then you have a prop dependency problem. And that is something that you could address.
You don’t have to yet. You could wait and see. But I would encourage you if you’re having multiple nighttime wake-ups past this point that you investigate this. You could have a look at The Sleep Sense Program. I’ll give you a clear step-by-step guide for why your baby’s not sleeping well and how we’re gonna encourage her to start developing some really good sleep skills that are all her own.
Now, if you’ve got a 12 month old and up, though, that’s having any kind of nighttime wake-up, then, again, it’s a prop dependency problem. It really shouldn’t be a food issue. Even if she doesn’t eat great during the day and you’re worried about that, I promise you, if you stop feeding in the night, she will start eating better during the day. It’s just a biological fact.
So, if you’ve got an older still waking up in the night, then you’re gonna look at your bedtime, what’s going on there, what could possibly be the prop. Once you’ve identified the prop, then, again, you would follow the steps outlined in the program for teaching her how to sleep without this prop. And the good news is she can learn it, absolutely she can. And it’s always surprising to me still, 15 years into this business, how quickly they learn it. I mean, it’s a brand new skill for a lot of kids, and within a few nights they’ve figured out how to do this.
So, that’s the great news. Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!