Overcoming Night Time Waking
Child care expert and author, Rachel Waddilove offers advice on what parents can do to re-establish a full night's sleep
Once a baby has reached four months, their sleeps get longer and you can expect a "lie-in" to at least 6.00am - if you're lucky! However, your child will have periods when he wakes up for different reasons, and it is good to get to know what they might be...
Even if your baby has got into a routine of sleeping, between four and six months they will wake up again if they are hungry. If you haven't yet started to wean him onto solids, this could be the signal that it's time to do so, as milk feeds are no longer keeping him going through the night. Talk to your health visitor or GP if you'd like to introduce solids before the new recommendation of six months.
Too hot or cold
If your baby's room gets very warm or too cold at night, this can make him wakeful. Unlike adults, a baby won't be able to pull his blankets back on if they fall off. Many mums swear by baby sleeping bags as a good way of keeping covered all night. If your baby's room gets too stuffy, it's a good idea to open a small window and once they're asleep they won't be distracted by outside noises.
Teething is a common cause for unsettled nights, especially between about five and twelve months. Even one night of sore gums, with dribbling and a runny nose, is enough to unsettle even the best of babies. Some mums find that a soothing night feed is all their baby needs to go back to sleep but it can be a good idea to keep something like Calpol/Nurofen handy. If your baby is coughing you could offer water and try to safely raise the head end of his cot a little, or put a bowl of water on a warm radiator when they goes to bed, so that the air is a little less dry.
A full nappy
A large wet (and cold) nappy could wake your baby. Try not to give too much liquid before bedtime (add some baby rice if he is really hungry), and avoid giving neat fruit juices as they can make the urine uncomfortably acidic, which would sting skin over long exposure.
Last but not least, do try to avoid bringing your child into your bed for the rest of the night. There is plenty of time for cuddles during the day, and you may be setting up other problems further down the line otherwise.
If you have got into a regular habit that you'd like Rachel to help you change, she is available on the telephone or for a home visit. To find out more, please visit www.rachelsbabies.co.uk
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