Your little one has been sleeping through the night for some months now and so have you, when suddenly you hear a dreaded cry over the monitor at some ungodly hour. Your heart drops into your stomach and you suddenly feel totally stumped as to how to handle the situation. Don’t worry mama we’ve all been there and know that feeling all too well.
I’m going to talk you through why night wakings may happen to make it easier for you to pinpoint and potentially solve your little one’s night struggles. I should emphasize that this is for parents who have kids who were already sleeping through the night and are suddenly having sleep disruptions.
Causes of night wakings;
Your little one is over-tired or under-tired. Assess your child’s schedule and if they are getting the right amount of day sleep for their age. Get a copy of our Awake Times chart FREE here. If your little one ever has a short nap or has skipped a nap, bring bedtime earlier to avoid overtiredness. Also, always make sure your little one is really ready to drop a nap and not simply going through a sleep regression before deciding it may be time to drop it.
This usually peaks between 10-18 months and ends by the age 3. Start including 10-15 minutes of very intentional, one on one time with your little one just before the bedtime routine. This is a time with no phones or distractions and usually play that is led by your child within your boundaries.
There are about 6 major sleep regressions that can be experienced in the first 2 years of your child’s life which can last 2-6 weeks. Check out our blog post on Sleep Regressions here. If your little one falls within one of these age brackets and was sleeping through the night but suddenly starts waking more frequently at night, takes shorter naps and/or resists the onset of sleep, they may be going through a regression. Stay consistent with your approach to sleep so that when it passes, your little one will be sleeping through the night again.
This can happen from the age of 2 onward and most times is linked to your child being overtired at bedtime. You can help reduce these occurrences by bringing bedtime earlier. Ending screen time 2 hours before bedtime can help and making sure what they are watching or reading is age appropriate and not triggering their nightmares.
Usually by 6-8 months your little one no longer requires a night feeding. Therefore, if they are still waking for a feed it is likely due to habit or that feeding has become part of their process of getting back to sleep. Ensure your little one is consuming all the calories they need during the daytime with an age appropriate solid and milk feed schedule.
These can be your child wetting the bed, your child suddenly is unwell, or simply that your child’s room is too hot or too cold. These are those random events that are perfectly normal and will happen that you need to deal with in the moment.
Address the issue and always stay consistent with your approach to sleep and how you handle night wakings in the same way you did before. If they were truly random or your little one is going through a sleep regression, they should start sleeping through the night again soon. If however they’re still having night wakings after 2-6 weeks, their process of falling asleep and connecting cycles may need some work. No worries though. We’re here if you need to talk that through! Set up a hiccup call with a sleep consultant and we’ll get you right back on track.
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