Let’s face it, this question right here is one that many parents ask at some point. And yes, even I did.
So, your baby goes through each night and wakes up at some point which leaves them fussing looking for a way to go back to sleep. And this not only disrupts your baby’s sleep, but everyone else in the house as well.
But before I continue, I need to remind you that when it comes to solving this problem, as with all other baby problems, there isn’t a magic trick or one-size-fits-all solution.
But I can guarantee you that there is one single cause for your child’s inability to sleep through the night. And how do I know that? Simply because it has been the case with most of the clients I’ve worked with!
Now before we jump onto that, let’s explore a few other issues that could be disturbing your child’s sleep:
1. Your child is hungry
If your baby is under the age of 6 months, there is a high likelihood that they still need to feed during the night. It is only around the age of 6 months where you can expect your baby to start sleeping for solid blocks of time of about 11-12 hours without a feed. Of course, there are also some babies who can sleep through much earlier than 6 months old provided they have had enough milk intake in the day.
2. Your child may not be comfortable
If your child is getting too hot or cold, is not sleeping in a comfortable position or suffers from reflux, this could be what’s keeping them up at night. If you feel these could be the possible culprits, I suggest that this be addressed before trying to get your baby to sleep through the night.
And that’s it…
If your baby is comfortable and well-fed, there isn’t any reason they can’t seep through the night.
So, what then could possibly be the reason your child keeps waking up and fussing?
It’s because they haven’t mastered the art of independent sleep!
Now I know that you’ve probably heard somewhere that “babies will learn to sleep better in their own time” or that “sleep is just another milestone”, but let’s be real, it’s not true.
Firstly this advice may make many parents believe that they should suffer in silence as they don’t have an option. With the correct support, parents can support their babies to sleep better.
Now let’s get back to the science of sleep.
As humans, all of us sleep in cycles – yes even adults!
When we move through a sleep and get to the end, we will no longer be in a deep sleep, so we often awake at this point. In adults, we usually look at the clock and realize that we still have some more time to sleep, some wake to go to the bathroom but then we can lay back down and drift back to sleep with no issues.
But with babies, they haven’t had the years of practice and sleep for them is one of the many things they’ve only started doing for a few months, since they were in utero. And what usually happens is that babies are often given sleep aids to help them sleep such as being rocked, taken in a stroller or given a feed.
Now when your baby wakes up, they don’t have the skill to just go back to sleep, they need that sleep aid that they are used to which is often one of their parents coming into the room. And this right here is what causes about 90% of the babies I work with to have difficulty sleeping through.
So what can you do to help your child sleep better without relying on an external source to get them to sleep?
The solution is not the same for everyone and completely depends on what the parents are comfortable with. But more often than not, the cause of night wakings is because your baby is dependent on whatever they have associated with sleep whether it be rocking or a feed.
So yes, babies will wake at night because it is a natural thing, but you don’t need to suffer!
When you support your baby to acquire the healthy sleep skills needed to thrive, everyone is able to sleep well and feel rested.