Picture the scene. You’ve done your gentle sleep training. You stuck it out. You were consistent, you stayed strong, and you followed advice. You went with what worked for your family, keeping sleep the priority and maintaining your focus on the end goal- helping your child to learn good sleep habits for life. And it worked! It all paid off and your baby and you started-at last!- to enjoy longer, more restful periods of sleep. Heck, your baby may even have been sleeping through the night! And then what happened? Bam! Baby starts to wake up in the night again…
Why do babies start to wake through the night after sleeping so well?
It’s a question I’m often asked, and there can never really be one firm reason. Ultimately, only you know your baby well enough to know what is waking her each night, but there can still be nights where you just cannot put your finger on it. You’ve checked off everything on your list and baby is still waking! Why does that happen? Here are just a few reasons:
As explained in this post, developmental leaps are huge for babies, and because of the extent of growth and development that takes place, sleep is bound to be affected. My advice? Ride it out. Stay consistent, stick to your gentle sleep training methods and remember that it shall soon pass.
As your baby grows older she becomes more aware, and with this awareness comes a keen sense of belonging. Your baby will also start to realise that YOU are not with her at bedtime too, so she may have trouble getting back to sleep without you for a while. Remember that its perfectly normal for babies (and adults) to wake regularly; the issues arise when they cannot get back to sleep without help. If you are consistent, show your baby that you are there when she needs you, this phase too should pass fairly easily. Here are some tips to help you ease separation anxiety.
Too much daytime sleep
Sadly, daytime naps don’t last forever. If your baby suddenly starts to wake during the night it might be time to look at how many naps she’s taking, and how long they are too. If your baby is on two naps a day, it might be time to drop down to one. And if she’s on just one, it might be time to look at shortening that nap too.
Lack of routine
I’ve said it before and I will say it again and again. A good routine will work wonders for your night time sleep. And its not just a bedtime routine that you need. What you do all day counts towards bedtime sleep so make sure you find a schedule that works for you and has sleep as a priority. Disruptions in this routine can be one reason why baby suddenly starts to wake up. Read more about why routine is so important, and some tips on how routine can help with night time sleep here.
Rule out a sleep regression
Of course, sleep regressions can occur too, so its worth reading this post again to brush up on those too. And remember- as with all of the above, it won’t last forever. If you commit to making sleep a priority you WILL get through this!