How many times have you heard someone telling you their baby slept so well and now they are waking every 2 hours in the night? I for one can tell you I have heard it many times, it comes with my job! Now this can be very normal especially around the 4 month mark due to the maturation of your baby’s brain in what we know as the four month sleep regression but what about the following months? You just want to have a good night's sleep right...!
You may be asking why your baby is waking so much in the night when they slept so well previously and what can you do to get back on track to you sleep goals? There are definitely things you can do to stop this happening that are perfectly safe and still nurturing your baby's needs.
Firstly we need to take into account your child’s age, weight and stage of development and any medical issues. Of course we would expect a new-born baby to wake perhaps every 2 hours in the night but not a 6 month old or even a 10 month old baby.
Then we need to look at how your baby went to sleep. How your baby falls asleep has a massive impact on their sleep habits. Then we look at how much sleep they are having during the day. These two things will give a huge insight to why you are experiencing many waking’s in the night.
Take a diary over the next few days and just note down how your baby is falling asleep for every nap and bedtime and through the night. You may find a common denominator here…perhaps it is feeding, rocking or even motion in a buggy to sleep. These are the crutches your baby is clinging onto and they only know how to get to sleep by these crutches.
Secondly, take a look at what naps they are having in the day time, times they are and lengths of the nap. An overtired baby will not sleep well at night equally nor will an under-tired baby. If your baby is cat napping or having all their sleep in the morning then they will be overtired come bedtime and this can also be a cause to multiple waking’s in the night.
During the night, sleep cycles slightly differ from the day in that and many babies do wake on the 2 hour mark.
Now, have a think what you are doing when your child is waking every 2 hours in the night? Are you feeding them back to sleep? You may find your child is not taking as much solid food or feeding during the day or indeed at their morning feed and this will be due to the large intake they had throughout the night. This is what is called REVERSE CYCLING. You will need to decrease the feeds in the night and then you will see a difference in the day time feeds.
HOW DO YOU DO THIS?
Well it is easier than you may think but you will need to want to do this and be prepared to take your time and stick at it. There is no quick fix when it comes to sleep shaping, I like to take changes gently and always keep in mind your baby's needs and respond to them accordingly, but once you start and you see results it is amazing and you will surely reap the benefits as will your child.
Firstly you need to ensure your child is the right age, weight and stage of development to be dropping feeds in the night. When your child approaches the two hour mark your child will be entering the lighter stage of sleep, REM sleep. They will be easily disturbed and woken. If they have a strong sleep association in place they will most likely wake and expect the same way to get them back to sleep again.
At this point you will need to pop in place a settling method you feel comfortable and confident to practise. You may like to use your voice, touch or a little cuddle.
When your child wakes again and it has been 4 hours since the last feed you can be assured they may very well be hungry at this point and will need a full feed.
You may start to see a difference in the night feeds now if you have missed a feed at the two hour wake up. The feed may be a little longer and stronger and in turn help sleep more conductively.
If you would like some more help , support and guidance with your child's sleep book in a complimentary call here and we can discuss your sleep challenges and how I can help you more.
Your Paediatric Sleep Coach