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
Safety advice for bonfire night
New way to swaddle with ErgoCocoon
Related Forum Topics
Re: does any1 know anything that will help me get my baby into a better sleep routen?
clarejayne, Mother of 1, Nottinghamshire
Why is this happening?
Kavanagh, Mother of 4, Wiltshire
Re: Black-out curtains aren't enough!
pen4, Mother of 2, Nottinghamshire
Have Your Say
Comments in chronological order (Total 2 comments)
2 Jul 2010 10:41pm
this is such outdated advice!! All babies and children are different and therefore their sleeping patterns are too. Over feeding your baby in order to try to make them sleep is neither a good idea or a guaranteed solution to sleep problems. It has been proven that night waking is NOT a sign that a child is ready for solid foods and the current guidelines are to wait until a child is at least 6 months and 'ready' for solid food!! I am also a mother who co-sleeps with their child and have done so since day one, there are huge benefits to co-sleeping and I very comfortable with our sleeping arrangements and the way my daughter is developing into a confident, self assured and affectionate little girl!
2 Jul 2010 8:54pm
I don't agree with the last part that advises against co-sleeping. It doesn't mean you're setting yourself up for problems down the line. My baby is 4 months and had never slept more than 3 hours since birth usually never longer than 1 hour so for my own sanity I bring my baby into bed or we'd never sleep. I know many Mum's who co-slept and their children moved into their own room before 1 year and sleep on their own just fine as toddlers.