So you thought that your baby is finally asleep for the night only to hear their crying after a few minutes or hours? As a parent, it can be exhausting to experience the baby’s night waking. On top of that, not knowing what’s causing the night wakings can make the matter a lot worse, leaving parents worried and desperate. And, remember that for ‘tips for parents’ you can always visit our blog section.
The exact reason for the night wakings of a child can be different depending on the baby’s age, room condition, weather, and so on. And when it comes to new parents, it is their first experience with a child, which can make the night wakings a lot more stressful. So today, we will look at the major reasons for a baby’s night waking and, as a parent, how you can handle it like a pro!
Top 5 Reasons for Baby’s Night Waking
Although there can be numerous reasons behind the night-waking of your baby, the most common and popular ones are given below:
1. Sleep Environment Is Not Ideal
The environment in which a baby sleeps plays a major role in the quality of sleep and how long they can sleep during the night.
When it comes to setting up the baby’s room, you should try to minimize any distractions that can avoid stimulation. On top of that, also make sure that the room temperature is around 68° F to 72° F (20° C to 22° C). A room that is too cold or too hot can make a baby wake up at night and can also affect their quality of sleep.
If possible & desirable, also take advantage of white noise to drown out any other noise from the outside at night or during the early morning hours (You can easily find apps and videos for the white noise in case you don’t want to purchase a ‘white noise device’.)
Another factor to remember is the consistency in the sleep environment of a baby. If you are co-sleeping with the baby, then changing that all of a sudden will send mixed signals to the baby and will cause night waking.
Last but not least, also make sure that there is no bright light in the baby’s room as that can also disturb their sleep cycle.
2. Not Getting Full Feeds
Another common reason for night waking among babies is not getting full feeds. If your baby is accustomed to snacking throughout the day, they will also want to repeat the same schedule at night. As a result of not getting full feeds and snacking throughout the day, the baby’s metabolism adopts a new schedule and may wake up due to hunger.
Furthermore, if your soothing method to calm down a baby waking up at night is feeding, then that might be a reason why they wake up at night.
That’s why experts suggest that parents should aim for full feeds every 3 hours (around 4 to 5.5 ounces) throughout the day (this will vary according to your baby’s age.) Once a baby starts getting full feeds, the frequency of night waking will become less and less.
3. Developmental Milestones
The first few years of your baby’s life are very important, and they will go through a lot of developmental milestones. In fact, the babies make a lot of progress during the first two years of their life and learn a lot of new skills.
As your baby learns new skills or goes through a transition, these changes can ultimately affect the sleeping pattern. As a parent, you should aim to give your baby enough time to practice these new skills. With that being said, make sure that you do this outside of their normal bedtime or nap schedule.
If the reason for night waking is connected to these developmental milestones transitions, then the most you can do is to manage their time of waking and sleeping. As mentioned earlier, give them enough time and opportunities to practice the new skills when they are awake. But besides that, there is not much to worry about as the baby will return to the original sleeping schedule on their own.
Another common reason that leads to night waking is teething in babies. During the first few nights of teething pain, you will notice a lot of night waking. However, teething pain can happen anytime during the first few years as the child grows new teeth, so it’s something completely normal.
In general, most babies learn how to cope with the discomfort of teething on their own and will return to their original sleeping schedule at night. However, some babies cannot handle the teething pain so well, and it can affect their sleep. If that’s the case, then you should contact your pediatrician and ask them about the possible options.
Most commonly, pediatricians can prescribe pain relievers to help the baby go through teething pain. However, never try to give adult medications to the baby as it can be harmful to their health. Whenever in doubt, always ask your pediatrician or doctor!
5. Inconsistent Sleeping Schedule
Babies sleep best when they follow a consistent schedule throughout the day. Any deviation from a consistent sleep schedule or not making a fixed schedule of naps, feeding, and night sleeping can also lead to night waking.
As a parent, you should try to develop a regular routine of the baby’s actions. For example, you can feed them enough overnight to ensure that they do not feel hungry in the middle of the night. Furthermore, also make sure that their schedule for naps remains consistent.
Any major change in the normal schedule can actually make the baby overtired, which can ultimately lead to trouble falling asleep and night wakings.
Other Reasons for Night Waking
The top 5 reasons for night waking among children are given above. However, there are still a lot more reasons which can contribute towards the night wakings, such as:
- Ear Infections – Any infections in the ear can lead to pain in the ears which ultimately affects sleep. To rule out any issues of possible ear infections, contact your doctor.
- Sleep Regression – It is normal for babies to experience sleep regression when they are 4 months old, 6 months old, 8 months old, and 12 months old. To solve the issue, you can contact your pediatrician or try any of the sleep training methods.
Separation Anxiety – You can try sleep training methods to help your child go through separation anxiety and return to their old sleeping schedule