Life would be a whole lot easier if babies came with an interpreter. Crying is basically their only way to let you know something’s bothering them, but it can mean anything from hunger to a wet diaper to tiredness, and everything in between.
And when they’re crying in the night for no apparent reason, that inability to communicate can be frustrating for both of you.
But take heart! In today’s video, I’m going to run through some of the reasons your little one might be waking repeatedly in the night, how you can determine which one is afflicting your baby in the moment, and how best to get them back to sleep and staying asleep through the night.
One of the most common questions I get is why is my baby waking in the night? And that’s a loaded question, really. It’s a tough question to answer because there could be a variety of reasons. So let’s kind of get to the heart of what’s really going on here.
If we’re talking about a newborn baby, and I would say a baby between the ages of brand new to about the five or six-month mark, usually the main reason they’re waking in the night is due to hunger. Babies’ tummies are really small as you already know and they’re gonna wake up frequently looking for food. And that’s just the way it goes.
But if we’re talking about babies past that six months age range, there could be something else going on. I’m not saying it couldn’t be hunger, but I’m gonna ask you to look at a few other things first. The first thing to look at is how is your baby falling asleep at bedtime?
The answer is probably with a lot of help from you. The most common reasons or common ways in which babies get themselves to sleep at night is usually while breastfeeding, while being bottle-fed, or while being rocked. So if you’re answering or nodding your head yes, that is how your baby falls asleep, then that’s the first place to start.
Because what happens if you rock a baby to sleep, it might work really nicely, it might even only take you five minutes to rock this baby to sleep. And then you even manage to get her into the crib and she stays asleep. The problem is that somewhere in the night, she is gonna have a naturally occurring wake up and that’s normal, we all do it. But she’s not going to know how to get back into sleep without the rocking. So the rocking becomes a sleep prop or a sleep crutch, whatever you want to call it, it’s your baby’s favorite strategy for getting to sleep.
And so she is most likely gonna cry for you. You’re gonna come in, you’re going to rock her back to sleep, get her back into that crib. A few hours later, she’s gonna have a naturally occurring wake up again, and still be stuck, how do I do this without the help of the rocking? And that can be the same with being breast-fed to sleep, and it can be the same with the bottle to sleep.
So The Sleep Sense Program is all about teaching a baby independence sleep skills. So getting herself to sleep each night will be her job now. So she’ll combine some sort of strategy that helps her relax, helps her calm herself down and lets sleep come naturally. And once she figures that out and is no longer relying on that sleep prop or crutch, then when she has a naturally occurring wake up in the night, there’s no cause for alarm, she knows how to do this. She can roll over or get in her favorite position or do whatever she does to get herself to sleep again, and you won’t hear from her until morning.
And so that’s the whole goal once we get past the hunger issue, is teaching our baby those independent sleep skills so that they can handle any natural occurring wake up in the night on their own and start sleeping more consolidatedly. And that’s good news for you because it also means that you get to sleep more consolidatedly.
So those are the two reasons really. I mean, sure, is it sickness, could it be teething, I mean there’s lots of other things that could be going on. But if night after night after night, your baby is waking once or twice or five times a night, the first thing you want to do is look at how does she fall asleep initially? What is her sleep prop or crutch? And if you can identify that, then you can start taking the steps necessary to teach her how to do it without those things. And that’s when the magic happens and she starts sleeping through the night.
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!