Up, down… up, down… up, down. Sometimes, if your baby is waking a lot, you can feel like a bit of a yoyo at night.
It can be exhausting for you and then there is the added worry of if your little cherub is getting enough sleep.
As babies grow through different stages, their sleep habits naturally change. Babies of all ages can go through periods of frequent night time waking. Sometimes this only lasts a few days or weeks, but it could go on a lot longer!
If you are dealing with a restless baby it can certainly take a toll after a while.
There are many possible reasons behind night time waking. You can easily eliminate all the obvious ones – not hungry, clean diaper, not too hot or too cold – so why will they still not sleep?! They could be coming down with an illness, teething, or experiencing a change in routine.
While there might not be any precise answers or quick fixes, there are a few things you can try to help baby get back to a “normal” sleeping routine. The most important factors are consistency and patience.
Try these ideas…
A Quiet Pre-Bedtime Routine
Establishing a calm and quiet bedtime routine helps to prepare your baby for a longer rest. Avoid bright lights or loud television and music near bedtime. A nice warm bath, some comfy PJs, and some quiet reading time is perfect. It allows their brain to get drowsy and properly ready for sleep.
Avoid Excessive Stimulation When They Wake
The calm and quiet rule also applies for when they wake up during the night and for night time feeds. Bright lights and loud voices will reinforce the idea that it is time to be awake and alert. Keep the room as dark as possible, use a quiet voice, and move slowly and carefully so you don’t excite them too much.
Reset Their Body Clock
Sometimes a baby might need a bit of extra help to get their body clock sorted out. Especially as young babies cannot differentiate between day and night yet. You can help them learn the difference between night and day using their feeding times. Exaggerate energy and liveliness by being chatty during daytime feeds. Then adopt the calm and quiet rule for night time feeding.
It can be a huge relief for parents when babies know how to settle themselves during the night. A good tip for teaching self-settling is to put your baby down to sleep when they are showing signs of drowsiness, but before they are actually asleep. As they get into the habit of drifting off to sleep in their cot on their own, they will become more likely to settle themselves down through the night.
Try A Security/Comfort Object
Having their favourite cuddly nearby might help babies settle themselves back to sleep. Especially if it has their soother attached to it! You can even try trapping your scent in their cuddly by placing it down your shirt for an hour before bed or nap time. Being able to smell you will give your baby a sense of comfort and soothe them when they wake up.
If you are in the market for a new favourite cuddly you should definitely check out our great range of Gobstopperz! Not only are they made of the softest minky material, but you can attach your little one’s soother to it so they can help to settle themselves at night. Shop the collection now.
Share The Load
Particularly when your baby is still learning a sleep routine or is going through teething or sickness – try to share the night time wakeups when you can. You need all the rest you can get! Try to take turns with your partner or bring Nana to stay for a week!
This final thought might be the most helpful tip of all and one we can easily forget without meaning to. As parents, we are programmed to respond to our children as soon as we think they need us. But waking at night is a very normal thing. We do it now as adults. It happens when our bodies transfer from one sleep cycle to the next.
Over time we learn to notice it less and less, simply rolling over and going back to sleep. Your child will not learn to do this if you run to them every time they make a sound.
So, next time they wake… pause for a bit. Assess if they really need you or if they are simply transitioning to the next sleep cycle with a murmur or snuffle. If they settle back to sleep then you are golden. If the murmur turns into a more insistent noise, then you know they really do need you.