6 Common Mistakes That Can Cause Your Baby To Wake Up At Night

Advice from a sleep consultant on the reasons why your baby might be waking up overnight.
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Narrowing down what’s causing your baby to wake up at night is an issue I’m all too familiar with. When you’re the parent of a bad-sleeping baby, you go down a rabbit hole on the internet.

But when your baby isn’t teething or unwell, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why your child is taking ages to sleep or waking up multiple times throughout the night.

Sleep consultant Nina Chitnis at SayHello2Sleep — who essentially gives parents the tools to help their babies sleep better — has offered advice on what YOU could be doing that is causing your child to wake up at night.

Reasons why your baby might be waking up

1. Sleep crutch above the age of 6 months

The first point Nina has made is one she believes is often the biggest one.

A sleep crutch is anything that requires help from parents to fall back asleep, for example rocking, feeding, patting or an object such as the dummy which constantly needs to be replaced.

Nina says: “This is of course an individual preference and there is no right or wrong way as long as it’s working for you and the family. However, if your baby has a sleep crutch and you want to move away from it, it’s essential to look at ways of removing it and allowing your baby to fall asleep independently.”

2. Rushing too quickly or not giving your baby space to fall asleep!

Nina says that giving your baby space to fall asleep is not about leaving your baby to cry. Instead, it’s to give them a chance to link their sleep cycles on their own.

“When babies go from one sleep cycle to another, it may seem like they are waking up, but often they are just trying to fall back asleep, so always give it a moment before rushing to get them up as this could cause them to wake up,” says the sleep trainer.

3. Not knowing the right wake windows

If your baby is showing signs of being tired, Nina says they are often already overtired which can cause restless sleep as they get a surge of the stress hormone “cortisol”.

She advises: “Keep a log of their sleepy cues and note them down, that way you know how long they can be awake for before becoming overtired OR under-tired.|

4. Creating a stimulating environment before bedtime or during a feed/change i.e turn the lights or tv on

Blue light especially prohibits the production of melatonin which is the hormone that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep, explains Nina.

“If you need some light for a night change or feed, it’s best to use a red or amber light. Also keep the environment as calm as possible and avoid screentime in the hour or two before bedtime.”

5. Allowing too much daytime sleep according to your baby’s sleep needs

If your baby is getting too much daytime sleep, it can cause nighttime wakes as your baby would not have enough sleep pressure (adenosine) for the night.

Instead, Nina says to check what your baby’s sleep need are over a 24 hour period and adjust accordingly if needed.

6. Inconsistency

Children thrive on consistency so by constantly giving an inconsistent response, i.e rocking one day, but not another or doing lots of different things will cause confusion with your baby and may lead to night wakes as they wouldn’t know how to fall back asleep!

If you need more information or sleep tips, you can contact SayHello2Sleep on Instagram.