Baby Waking A Lot At Night?
Answering Your Sleep Questions
If you have a baby or toddler waking a lot at night, it’s so tough. Frequently, the entire family is affected by the night waking. It can have an effect on you as a parent, siblings who need their sleep, and most definitely on your little one.
You may not want to hear this, but waking up at night is normal. You do it every night (even if you didn’t have a little one waking you up.)
Sleep Science Lesson
I’ll keep this one very simple.
Many people think that when you fall asleep, you just sleep and then wake up, that you’re awake or you’re asleep, but sleep is much more complicated than that.
There are different stages of sleep as you go through light sleep phases, followed by deeper sleep phases, and then REM, which is when most of the dreaming happens. The stages of sleep all combine into a “sleep cycle”. At the end of each sleep cycle, there’s typically a partial wake-up. As an adult, you may roll over, pull up the covers, or adjust your pillow. A complete adult sleep cycle is 90 minutes to 2 hours long. Babies past the newborn phase go through similar sleep cycles. Their sleep cycles are shorter, at 35-45 minutes.
Babies frequently wake up at the end of a sleep cycle and frequently don’t know how to get back to sleep without your help.
It’s Not a Rod For Your Back, But…
Many babies fall asleep easily by being fed, rocked, and cuddled. It’s often a lovely time for both of you.
For many babies, however, when they fall asleep in your cosy arms and then wake up later and they’re no longer in your cosy arms, it can cause them to wake up further.
As an adult, if you fell asleep on your sofa and woke up in your bed, without any recollection with how you got there, you may find it a little disconcerting.
It can be the same for many babies, so instead of the brief rousing, they wake up fully, stimulated by the change. They’re often looking for the same support to fall back to sleep as you provided at bedtime, as that’s the way they know HOW to fall asleep.
Meet Kim, Kate & Emma!
This week I answered three questions, from Kim, Kate and Emma.
Kim has an adorable 4-month old who is a pretty good sleeper. The problem? He sleeps for 10 hours and wakes up at 4 or 4:30 a.m., and it’s a struggle to get back to sleep. With a toddler starting the day at 6 a.m., 4 a.m. is early to get up and start the day, and she’s wondering what she can do.
Kate has a 9-month-old baby girl who was sleeping well up until a month ago and is now waking in the night. Her naps are also erratic. She’s wondering what she can do to help her little one sleep well again.
Emma has a 7.5 month-old baby girl, and she is waking up regularly in the night. Sometimes after 20 minutes and other times after 2 hours. She’s exhausted and struggling to keep up with her breastfeeding goals of reaching one year.
In the video, I mention Baby Connect, an app I recommend and use with the families I support.
Watch below to find out more about night waking.
Mary Foster is the founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting, and mum of three little ones (at one time three under three).
She’s a proud Canadian, loves living in England and is passionate about healthy sleep with a strong focus on emotional wellness, using her education background in science.
In 2018, we launched a comprehensive training program to become a Certified Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant and franchise program. Opportunities are available worldwide. Visit SleepConsultantCourse.com for more info.