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Why doesn’t my baby sleep through the night?

You probably have one burning question: "Why is my baby waking up in the middle of the night, and how can I help them (and myself) get some much-needed sleep?"



Your baby waking up during the night and needing you to soothe them back to sleep is exhausting for the whole family, baby included. While there's no universal solution to this problem, there's often a common reason behind it, and understanding that can make a big difference.


Before we dive into the main cause, let’s rule out a couple of potential issues.


Hunger

If your little one is under six months old, they might still need a nighttime feed. This isn't a strict rule, but on average, babies around six months old can start sleeping for 11-12 hours without needing to eat.


Discomfort

Issues like acid reflux, indigestion, being too hot or too cold, or being in an uncomfortable position can wake your baby up at night. If you think discomfort is the issue, address it first before tackling their sleep-through-the-night skills.


Now, if your baby is comfortable and well-fed, there's usually one main reason they wake up at night.


The Real Reason: They Don't Know How to Sleep Through the Night


You’ve probably heard advice like “Babies will sleep when they’re ready” or “Sleep is developmental.” While well-meaning, these comments can be frustrating because they suggest there's nothing you can do to help your baby learn to sleep better. But that’s not the case.


So, what do I mean when I say babies wake up because they don't know how to sleep through the night?


All of us, babies and adults alike, sleep in cycles. When we reach the end of a sleep cycle, we're in a lighter stage of sleep and often wake up briefly. Adults have learned to fall back asleep quickly, often without even noticing the wake-up. Babies, on the other hand, haven't had as much practice.


Babies often get a lot of help falling asleep: being bounced, shushed, cuddled, rocked, or fed to sleep. So, when they wake up after a sleep cycle, they need that same help to fall back asleep. This is why they call out for you in the middle of the night.


Teaching Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night

Addressing this issue can be tricky because the solution depends on your baby and your family's approach. The key is helping your baby learn to fall asleep independently, without relying on external help every time they wake up.


How to Get Started


Create a Consistent Bedtime Routine: Establish a calming routine that signals bedtime, like a bath, gentle massage, or reading a story.


Ensure a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Make the room dark and quiet, and adjust the temperature to a comfortable level.


Practice Self-Soothing: Put your baby down drowsy but awake, giving them the chance to fall asleep on their own.


Remember, every baby is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Be patient and consistent, and you can help your little one develop the skills they need to sleep through the night.


If you’d like more guidance on how to teach your baby to sleep independently, I’d be delighted to help. Together, we can work towards those blissful, uninterrupted nights of sleep that everyone needs.


Be Well! Sleep Well!
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