5 Reasons Your Baby Is Still Waking Up At Night
It’s important for babies to get the right amount of sleep for optimal physical, cognitive and emotional development. How much sleep your baby really needs changes as he or she gets older. Although most babies start sleeping through the night around six months of age, others may struggle to sleep for a six to eight hour stretch of time.
If your little one has passed the six-month mark and is still waking up at night, there could be a few different scientific and developmental reasons for this.
Here are five reasons your baby may still be waking up during the night:
Your Teething Baby Won’t Sleep
Babies typically begin teething around six months of age, but can start as early as three months or as late as 12 months. Signs of teething include: drooling, swollen gums and, you guessed it, trouble sleeping.
Teething can cause a disruption to your baby’s sleep schedule from his or her first tooth, through toddlerhood. Fortunately, there are remedies to help relieve your toddler’s teething pain including teething toys and jewelry, breastfeeding and over the counter medications like Acetaminophen and Orajel teething tablets.
Your Baby is Addicted to Their Pacifier
Babies who use a pacifier often become accustomed to falling asleep while sucking on something. When you child reaches six to 12 months of age, he or she may wake up when the pacifier falls out. One way to avoid this is to eliminate the use of a pacifier around this age (easier said than done, we know!).
You can wean your baby off the pacifier by only giving it to him or her during naptime and bedtime. Then, you can rock or use another soothing gesture to help get your baby to sleep during naptime, only giving him or her the pacifier at bedtime. Once he or she learns to fall asleep without the pacifier during naptime it’s time to work on bedtime!
Their Sleep Cycle is Disrupted
Just like you, your baby experiences sleep cycles. Babies typically wake up as their brain shifts from REM (rapid eye movement) to non-REM sleep stages. As we enter different stages of sleep, our brain waves change and cause us to wake.
It’s normal to wake up 4 to 5 times a night, but as adults, we often fall right back to sleep. When babies wake up as a result of sleep stage transitioning, they may cry out or feel hungry and let you know that they are ready for a feeding.
After the four month mark, many parents notice their babies waking up more often after a chunk of deep sleep; this is call the four month sleep regression. It’s recommended that parents intervene less and less during these periods of awakeness as your baby gets older, teaching them to self-soothe and learning to sleep through the night.
As your baby learns to roll over, you may find him or her experiencing increased periods of awakeness during the night. This typically occurs during the fourth month of life, but can be triggered by other milestones, such as learning to sit (which typically occurs around 6 months) and learning how to pull themselves up or stand (around 9 months).
They May Have an Infection
Around the six-month mark, babies are more aware of their surroundings and often explore the world by picking up objects and putting them (and their hands) into their mouths. This exploration, and increased exposure to germs, puts babies at risk of infections.
Symptoms of infections or colds, such as coughing, vomiting, fever and diarrhea, can cause babies to wake up at night. Sleep schedules typically go back to normal within a few weeks after the illness began, especially if you can keep up good sleep routines.
Fortunately, there are tips and tricks you can use to help your baby sleep through the night.