Wondering why your baby keeps waking up crying in the during the night? As a sleep expert, I get asked why this is happening often during my initial discovery calls with parents. The good news is, is that with some adjustments, this can be solved! Now keep in mind, in this blog post, I am referring to babies that are 6 months+, growing well and are ready to sleep through the night without a feed. So, if that is your little one, let’s jump right in to why your baby is waking in the night and crying and how you can help them get a better night’s sleep.
Why is my baby waking up crying?
- Environment: If your baby’s sleep environment is not “sleep friendly”, it can be a factor in why your little one is waking up crying at night. If their room is not dark or cool enough, or if their is too much stimulation in their room, it could be disrupting their sleep.
- Schedule: An overtired baby is a baby who will struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. If your baby’s schedule is inconsistent, if they are not napping in the daytime well, or if their bedtime is too late it can all be leading to middle of the night wake ups. According to the Mayo Clinic ,”Be consistent. Your baby will get the most out of daytime naps if he or she takes them at the same time each day and for about the same length of time. Occasional exceptions are inevitable, of course, and won’t harm your baby.”
- Independent Sleep Skills: This is the #1 reason why your baby is most likely waking up crying in the middle of the night. Let me give you an adult scenario first. Let’s say that you go to sleep in your bed at night as you normally do, and then someone moves you to your garage without your knowledge. Then you wake up in the garage. How would you react? Not so well right? That is because your situation has changed. So, now lets switch to your baby. If your child relies on an external prop (aka feeding, rocking, shushing, bouncing, etc.) to fall asleep in your arms, and then is placed in their crib asleep, when they wake up their situation is different. They now need that external prop to fall asleep again, so they cry out (that is their communication!) for you to come and help them to fall asleep again. As, you very well may know, this can turn into an every hour cycle over the course of the night. As a parent who has done this, I can firsthand tell you that it is exhausting.
3 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better
- Adjust Their Sleep Environment: Make sure that it is dark, comfortable and cool. Invest in some blackout blinds to make sure that the room is nice and dark. Check the temperature of the room and make sure it is 18-22 degrees C (68- 72 F) and that they are in the right amount of layers for the temp of the room. Remove nightlights, mobiles and other stimulants to promote a calm environment.
- Adjust Their Schedule: Don’t know quite how to do that? That is ok! First, download my Free Awake Windows Cheat Sheet and use that to help guide you. Also, consider using the Wake- Eat- Play-Sleep Pattern to help get your little one on a consistent schedule and to help avoid a feed to sleep association.
- Teach Your Baby Independent Sleep Skills: Aka “Sleep Training”. Straight to the point here. Your baby needs your help and support to learn how to fall asleep on their own. Thinking to yourself right now, “But I don’t want to leave my baby to cry!” ? I get it! I am Mom of two! What I want you to know is that there are gentle methods to help teach your baby these important skills, and support them at the same time. What I also want you to know, that as a parent, there are choices out there for your family…find the right fit for you. Once your baby has these skills, you will find that those night wakeups are a thing of the past, because now your little one knows that they are in the same safe sleeping space that they started in, and they can connect to the next sleep cycle all on their own.
Night after night, waking up to your baby crying at night, every hour, can be absolutely exhausting for both you and your baby. I have been in your shoes. Understanding why this is happening and how you can take steps to help them is a great first step! If you try these tips, but still find yourself overwhelmed, know that you are not alone! Take a few minutes to reach out to someone for more guidance. I would love to support you and your family, so consider booking either a complimentary discovery call with me to discuss my Baby Sleep Packages and Support, or book a 45 minute Quick Consult with me to have a few questions answered. You won’t ever regret asking for help as a parent, I know that in my experience, I wish I had sought out help more in my early stages of parenting. I wish you better sleep and sweet dreams!