Handling your baby’s sleep cycle can be a bit difficult. When you add 3 sleepless nights to loud cries and workload for the next days - it is a recipe for disaster! Though babies can challenge your sanity, they deserve all the love in the world. Babies do have an irregular sleeping pattern. Some might even sleep during the day and will be awake the entire night. If your baby is waking up quite too often during the night - do not worry. Below is a list of 8 reasons why babies wake up at night:
1. Sleep cycle
While sleeping, we move from one stage to another. Even as adults, it is common to wake up four to five times in a night. However, adults fall back asleep so fast that they do not remember even getting up. Meanwhile, babies are more sensitive and need help going back to sleep. The baby may cry or create commotion to get attention. In this case, just some rocking might do the trick. Some doctors even suggest gradually withdrawing so that the baby may learn to fall back asleep on their own.
2. Mid-night snack
Only if your baby could be taught about the effects of this unhealthy habit! However, this is one of the most common reasons why babies wake up at night. Waking up hungry or thirsty at night is common for younger babies. With age, it should fade away. Try to feed them an hour before sleeping to ensure quality sleep. Consult your doctor to understand the parameters (weight and age) to determine when the baby is ready to go through the night without any meal. Meanwhile, gauge if the baby wakes up to eat something as a habit or for nutrition.
3. Time to change the diaper
Nothing can prevent a wet or soiled diaper from waking up the baby. The sheer discomfort is enough to agitate their sensitive skin. Getting the right size and fit of diapers is extremely important to ensure it is leak proof. You can use a little expensive overnight diaper or may try to use a slightly bigger size diaper during the nighttime to solve the leak problems. Meanwhile, always remember to change the diapers before going to sleep.
Teething can be a difficult time for a baby. In the first 18 months of life, your baby will get between 12-16 teeth. Most babies start teething at around 6 months of age and the response of baby varies. Some handle the pain calmly and others will cry through the night. This pain and irritation can occur any time of the day/night. However, some babies develop the pain before the tooth starts to appear. Thus, this often confuses parents. To identify teething, you can look for excessive biting or need to chew. You may even see them biting on a lovey, crib rail, book, or their own fingers. Further, you may be able to see the tooth beneath the gum line before it emerges or notice small white bumps right before it breaks through.
5. Just the perfect conditions
Temperature, noise and lights have a great impact on the sleep quality. Babies sleep best when the temperature is consistent and cool – somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees. The sudden changes in temperature may startle and wake the baby. Some babies are just light sleepers and every little bump or thump will wake them up. You can try to drain away the noises with white noise. However, excessive use of white noise can create problems in the end. This is because the baby would not be able to sleep without it. Light can create a lot of difference. We associate light with activity and darkness with rest or sleep. It is the same with babies. You may start creating a sharp distinction in terms of lighting by letting sunlight enter the house during the day and shutting all sources of light at nighttime. Darkness triggers the brain to release melatonin (a sleep hormone) and will improve the quality of your baby’s sleep.
Babies tend to fall sick often and frequently get cold, cough or fever. Cough and cold especially can cause a lot of discomfort. A baby might find it difficult to sleep when sick and even wake up several times during the night.
7. Over tiring day and over napping
Most parents feel keeping their baby up until late night might tire them and make them sleep longer. However, it is false. Overtired babies will feel higher discomfort and will wake up multiple times during the night. Thus, it is suggested the baby sleeps at an appropriate time. Meanwhile, avoid letting the baby take long naps during the day. The total amount of sleep is more or less constant - shifting this majorly to during the day can cause you a problem.
8. Sleep associations
A child sometimes associates certain things to sleeping. It can be a lullaby, a blanket, bottle or some toys. It can also be something that you do like rocking, holding the baby or some ritual. If your baby is accustomed to these things and cannot sleep without them, it can create problems. If your baby wakes up in the night even because of sleep cycle transition, they will not be able to sleep back on their own and will cry for your help.
If you’re able to avoid these situations your baby will have the most comfortable sleep without loud cries and crankiness. We hope these reasons have given you an insight and you are able to understand your baby better. However, if your baby is exhibiting some extreme conditions do consult your doctor.