why does my baby wake at night - causes and solutions to baby's night awakenings

It is a rather common practice for a baby to get up in the middle of the night for a short interval of time on numerous occasions. These awakenings tend to linger on for only a few fleeting moments and sometimes a few minutes. These arousals become a bit of an issue when they become too frequent, linger on for more than a few minutes or the baby finds himself unable to fall asleep by himself without needing you to use the typical rocking, bouncing, jingling, cuddling or other techniques. Does this feel familiar to you and you are getting sick of all this hectic routine? Let’s see if we can help you out here!

Here are some of the causes of night arousals in addition to their solutions:

  • Sometimes your infant is woken up by a loud noise that may be of a car in your neighborhood or traffic on the street. If this is the scenario, then it is prudent to ensure that things are as quiet as possible when the baby is in light sleep or undergoing sleep transitions. You can also try out a sound machine.
  • If your baby is making it a habit to get up in the middle of the night ever so often, then this post will be of great help to you.
  • Infants feel hungry through the day and the night. Older babies may be going through growth spurt, weren’t able to eat much during the day due to teething or are not able to consume enough food during the day to match their developing bodily requirements. In addition, mothers should also keep a check on their breast milk supply to ensure that it remains constant and does not decrease.
  • Baby has developed a habit of eating at night but is fully capable of having his dietary requirements met during the day. Some kind of sleep training can be handy in this situation.
  • Infant is not able to find the conditions and environment that earlier helped him fall asleep and so cannot get back to sleep during sleep transitions and at other times when he gets up. A pacifier or other conventional techniques such as rocking, eating, jingling, swinging, bouncing etc. could be handy here. Here are some sleep training ideas that will assist your infant to fall asleep easily.
  • Baby is unable to fall asleep by himself at bedtime. Majority of the babies who are able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime for at least a couple of weeks or so are able to sleep well throughout the night without getting up in the middle of the night. Even if your infant used to get up at night to get fed will be able to sleep throughout the night uninterrupted if he is able to sleep quickly at bedtime.
  • When a baby is learning a new skill, he tends to practice it before falling asleep or even during sleep. Of course, an attempt to crawl of walk when it is time to go to sleep can complicate things somewhat.
  • There is a probability that your infant is feeling some sort of discomfort:
    • Is he getting irritated by his apparel?
    • Is your baby suffering from eczema? You may consult a doctor if he is not comforted even after using a lotion.
    • Is his mattress causing some discomfort? We highly recommend you to purchase a top quality mattress for your bundle of joy and which is hypoallergenic. If you are using a pack ‘n play as a crib, you may get padded sheets and even extra blankets for padding under sheets just to stay on the safer side.
    • Is your room temperature causing discomfort to the baby? Here is a handy post on getting the room temperature right.
    • Is your baby feeling pain somewhere? Or is he getting troubled by gas? In such a case, you should help your baby burp, ensure he gets calmed down and then put him on bed to fall asleep. In addition, your baby could be in the teething phase, he may be sick or have acid reflux or a diaper rash. There are a few things that do not disturb your baby such as teething when he is awake but as soon as begins to fall asleep, it starts troubling him since they do not have other things to divert their attentions to. You may relate this to your head ache or stomach ache when you are about to go to sleep and unable to do so because of the pain.
    • A wet diaper can also be a source of discomfort for your infant. There are some babies who are more sensitive than the others and prefer the more expensive yet extra absorptive ones such as the Huggies Supreme.
    • A leaked diaper can be really uncomfortable for an infant. This could be because of consumption of too much liquid before going to bed, diapers that do not fit appropriately or may be your baby sleeps in disparate positions that make the diaper leak even when it is not full. Night time diapers, double diapers, diaper soaker or a diaper insert could be really useful here.
    • Babies tend to be very uncomfortable with dirty diapers and of course you need to change them to help them fall back to sleep. A nicely designed sleep, activity and eat routine can help avoid dirty diapers during sleep hours. Here is a handy post on sleep and poop.
    • If you are breastfeeding your baby, there is a likelihood that your infant’s stomach gets upset through something that is too heavy to digest for the baby in the mother’s diet. Similarly, if he is introduced to solid foods or he is on formula milk, he could feel constipated.
  • Some children tend to suffer from separation anxiety
  • As your baby undergoes sleep transitions, he may wake up and make some noise. If he is left alone for some moments, he may fall back to sleep without any help.
  • Children can have disrupted sleep routines that could include something that happened on the present day or the night before. Some children tend to be more sensitive than the others.
  • Your child may be having no sleep routine whatsoever. In such a case, babies find it difficult to have those consistent rhythms that help them know when they should be sleeping and for how long. Here is a handy post on schedule and routine.
  • A pre-sleep routine can be very helpful to children in falling asleep and stay asleep as well.
  • When older babies start sleeping more during the day, they begin staying awake during the night. This can happen even if your baby needs the day time nap. Sometimes you will have to ensure that your baby stays awake for as long as possible during the day in order to ensure a proper night time sleep. This is happening more and more among educated parents who put their overtired baby to bed after a certain amount of wake time. As their infants grow, these parents are not able to introduce the requisite amount of wake times in a bid to facilitating their kid’s rest and hence disrupt their day and night time.
  • Your infant may be sleeping too late. This can be resolved by making him go to sleep just half an hour earlier than the routine.
  • The baby’s last nap begins and ends too late and hence the bedtime is pushed ahead. If their bedtime gets too late, children tend to get up even if they had proper wake times.
  • A baby who used to get up in the middle of the night and play by himself could ask for his parent’s company. This could happen if a baby slept more than it was required or due to the parents reinforcing the waking habit by going into their child.
  • Here is a handy post that discusses the pros and cons of rushing into the baby when he wakes up rather than calmly walking to him and helping him go back to sleep.
  • An early bedtime could be an issue as well.

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No matter whatever you do, abstain from playing with your baby in the middle of the night.