Is your baby waking numerous times each night?
You’re probably extremely tired and you have tried all the usual burping, wrapping and patting. Nothing seems help! So, what now?
There are many basic needs (I call them foundations) that your baby requires in order to fall asleep and stay asleep for long periods. Here is a list of some of the most overlooked causes of night waking.
His schedule does not suit his natural sleep rhythm
Routine, routine, routine! I know, you’ve heard it before but it’s important to know your baby’s natural sleep rhythm. Every baby is different and every baby requires a different amount of sleep. Perhaps your baby is not ready to stay awake for longer periods like his friends, or perhaps he needs less sleep in the morning but more in the afternoon.
We have all read and tried the various ‘one size fits all’ routines. But what do you do when none of them work for your baby?
Try keeping a journal of your baby’s sleep habits for a few weeks to help determine what his natural sleep rhythm looks like. Look for signs or behaviour telling you that your baby is tired or overtired. Jot anything you notice down, this way you will be able to look back later and discover any patterns.
Her emotional cup has not been filled
You may have heard of the separation anxiety stage that often occurs between 9-12 months of age. You know you have hit this stage when all of a sudden your child must attend every toilet break, cries hysterically when you make any move towards the door and is basically glued to your leg for weeks on end. These feelings are not new to your baby. She has just gained the ability to express them. Babies (just like adults) need loving human contact every day.
Have you ever been around someone who is physically present but you sense that their mind is a million miles away? How did that feel? We all crave that deep loving connection, that feeling of belonging and being understood. Your baby needs this from you. However, you cannot give what you do not have. So, take the time to look after yourself so you can mentally and emotionally be there for your children.
His nutritional needs are not being met
Now I’m not really talking about calories here, since the majority of babies these days are achieving their daily calorie needs. I’m talking about the types of foods these calories are coming from. The Australian Department of Health recommends that healthy fats, vegetables and fruit make up the majority of solid foods being introduced into your child’s diet. Try to avoid giving packaged foods on a regular basis as they often contain wheat, dairy, sugar, food colouring and preservatives. These foods can have a negative effect on a child’s digestion, behaviour and ability to sleep.
Her vitamin D levels are down
Sunshine!! Glorious sunshine!! Who doesn’t need an excuse to get out and enjoy the fresh air and warm summer rays? Vitamin D is important for healthy sleep.
Babies and children require a small daily dose of vitamin D. All it takes is 15-20 minutes of direct sunlight in the morning (the best time is between 6am and 8:30am but any time is better than none). A quick play in the back yard or a light stroll to the park is all you need. Remember to keep baby hydrated on those hot days.
He has a negative association with his sleep environment
If your baby is having a hard time going to sleep and will not self-settle in his room, then he may not feel safe in this environment, yet. Think about it… We set up beautiful nurseries with matching sheet sets and personalised wall art. But from the moment your baby wakes up in the morning, you scoop them up and head to the cozy lounge chair (or back to your bed for morning cuddles). We try again to put them to sleep at nap-time and as soon as they wake we take them to eat and play in the kitchen or lounge room
If your baby is only going into his room to sleep, he hasn’t been given the chance to get to know the feel of the room. The smell, the light and the sounds are all unfamiliar to him. He only knows that he is left alone in there and wakes up alone.
To create a loving and safe environment, make time to play. Play in the cot and in the room each time your child wakes up from sleep. Sit with your baby and play peek-a-boo through the bars of the cot. Try a teddy bear’s picnic or just explore the room together.
She is a mouth breather
This may seem unusual, but there are so many common factors that can contribute to mouth breathing, for example tongue and lip ties, enlarged tonsils and nasal congestion due to allergies or medical conditions.
Mouth breathing at night can can result in your baby being oxygen deprived. When we take in air through the mouth, less oxygen is able to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Lower oxygen levels often result in poor sleep. Meaning your child will wake tired and grumpy and struggle through the day, often going back to bed overtired. Check with your doctor if you are worried about you child’s mouth breathing.
Please note: This article is not to be used as medical advice. If you are considering a sleep treatment please consult your doctor or medical professional. This post may contain affiliate links.