What Wakes Baby?

There are a few reasons why your all-night sleeper might be waking unexpectedly.

There are a few reasons why your all-night sleeper might be waking unexpectedly.

You are absolutely exhausted after a long, rigorous day of holiday shopping. After tucking your equally worn-out baby safely into her crib, you settle under your covers and prepare for a solid eight hours of rest.

Unfortunately, you awake with a start merely two hours later, as your little one is crying from her crib. She has finally reached the stage where she sleeps through the night (hooray!), so why is she up on this particular evening? Here is a short guide of baby sleep tips.

Disruption of Routine

The most common cause of inconsistent sleep is a lack of routine. Adhering to nap and bed time schedules will help regulate your baby’s sleep cycles, so establish and stick to a routine sleeping schedule, as soon as possible.

An additional piece of advice regarding bed time: Lie baby to rest before she is over-tired. Pushing infants to the limits of their energy stimulates the production of cortisol, a stress-hormone that affects babies similarly to coffee. Securely comfort your tuckered-out munchkin into a baby swaddle at the first signs of fatigue, rather than waiting for the cortisol-fueled, overt-tired buzz to kick in. Both you and baby will have much more peace if you do.

Teething or Other Discomfort

If your routine is solid and baby was not over-tired, take a closer look at the state of her health. Is it possible that she is cutting teeth? Teething is mildly painful for babies; therefore, they may be disturbed by swollen gums during the night. Refer to “Tips for Teething” to help your baby soothe, if this is the case.

Other causes of discomfort fall on a range from temperature sensitivity to illness. Babies’ delicate bodies are vulnerable to temperatures extremes, but there are many different types of baby blankets to ensure she is always comfortable. During hot weather, swaddle baby in the nude with a light cotton swaddling blanket sprinkled with cornstarch to absorb perspiration. During the winter, switch to a thicker blanket – but never leave a loose one in the crib that could come up over baby’s face during the night. Fleece-lined nap sacks are great options to avoid this problem.

If baby is sick, she will surely wake up during the night. A stuffed nosed or congestion in the chest is often the culprit, but over-the-counter medication for babies is available to give her some relief. If baby’s illness appears to be more than just a cold, there is no harm in calling her pediatrician for further instructions. Always err on the side of caution.

Mobile Milestones

She isn’t over-tired or sick, so why is your baby getting up? Well, she frankly might be rising just because she can! If your child has reached the monumental milestones of standing or crawling, she is most likely even more excited about her accomplishment than you are. It is typical for babies to practice their developing motor skills as often as they can. While a few weeks ago, your baby may have woken in the night but lied still and fell back to sleep, the slightest tingle of wakefulness causes your new, mobile baby to spring into action! Do not fret – the novelty will wear off shortly. To keep these night-time stretches to a minimum, give baby plenty of time to practices her new moves on a play mat during the day.

There is a myriad of reasons why baby might wake up in the middle of the night, besides being hungry. To ensure that your older baby stays asleep on a consistent basis, follow daily nap time and bed time routines, put her to bed before she is over-tired, tuck her into weather-appropriate sleep gear, and give her lots of play time to develop mobile skills during the day.

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