Every baby has their own individual sleeping pattern and some may be sleeping through the night whereas others might still be waking up. If your baby won't sleep through the night, this can be exhausting and very tiring for you and we understand how frustrating it can be. You might have other duties to do in the morning and the lack of sleep or continuous waking from the baby might leave you feeling anxious. It is very important to speak to your health visitor or GP if you are feeling this way.
There could be a number of reasons why your baby is waking up at night. Firstly, it is essential to do all the basic checks, for example, are they unwell, teething issues, hunger or do they need their nappy changed. Your baby might also feel separation anxiety and it is common for babies who have had no sleep issues before to suddenly become overwhelmed and miss you through the night.
If you haven’t introduced a bottle/feed at this stage before then you might not want to start now as this might end up becoming a regular routine when you really need them to sleep all the way through the night. If you know that teething is the issue and your baby is in discomfort, massage her gums gently and speak to your health visitor when you get an opportunity to do so. It may help to revisit the bedtime and sleep routine and you can do this by:
- Looking at the bedtime starts and judging whether your baby may benefit from an earlier bedtime routine to help fall into a deeper state of sleep
- Look at the routine and see if changes could be made that would encourage a more relaxed sleep
- Routines do need to be flexible and adjustable to accommodate baby’s natural changes and development
- The daytime naps may need moving around or made shorter to encourage longer night time sleeps
- Try to stick with your bedtime ritual and to be firm about going to sleep
- Let your baby know that when it's bedtime, it's bedtime
- You may want to put in a night light or leave the door slightly ajar so the environment is more reassuring for you baby
It might be helpful to keep a sleep diary to see if there is a pattern emerging. When using a sleep diary, try to do this over a period of at least a week and include information such as daytime naps, start and finish times for naps, food they ate and routine before bedtime. This is useful information for health professionals if you do need to approach them for support or help.
Sleep deprivation and fatigue
Parenting a baby who does wake through the night can be tiring and if you feel it is having an impact on your emotional health or wellbeing, please speak to the Health Visitor or GP. It is important to try and find ways of recharging your batteries. Try and go to bed a little earlier yourself, even if it is just a few nights a week. It may help for your body to catch up on much needed rest. Think about your own bedtime routine and try to fit in things that relax your mind such as a warm bath or reading. Think about relaxation techniques that you feel are practical for you to use in your family life. Catch up on power naps when your baby is sleeping, although you may have chores to do, your rest needs to be a priority.
Other organisations that may be useful:
It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us via our live chat service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker.