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Why won't my baby sleep through the night? - Reasons why baby is waking

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

Firstly, it is always important to look at the reasons why baby might be waking at night. Most babies wake up at night. You may hear of some that sleep 10-12 hours straight from quite early on, typically most infants wake during the night and cry out for their parents. There are scientific reasons and some developmental and behavioural explanations for these awakenings.

Sleep cycle - Babies wake up during the night primarily because their brain waves shift and change cycles as they move from REM sleep to other stages of no-REM sleep. Hunger - Babies 6 months+, may still need a milk feed in the night. Crying - Crying is part of being a baby so this will happen day and night. Development - Developmental milestones shift and change sleep patterns. For example sitting up, rolling over, walking can affect babies sleep. Teething - There is no question that teething wakes children at night. Behavioural changes - Advancing sense of independence and self-awareness can cause night- time wake ups. Infection/Illness/Medical reasons - Many babies with colds or viral infections will wake due to congestion or coughing. If baby mouth breathes, has tongue tie etc these can all contribute to sleep difficulties. Dummies and bottles - Babies are typically conditioned to fall asleep whilst sucking on something, so if the dummy falls out or the bottle is no longer there, it can wake them up.

Look next at their day schedule. Are they sleeping too much in the day or not enough? Different children need different amounts of sleep. Getting those crucial naps in place, can really help encourage better night time sleep.

Please remember every child is different, these are simply averages to help direct you, not put pressure on you.

Here is a handy nap guide -

(nap duration & number of naps)

💙Newborn-6 weeks - 15mins-4hours with between 4/8 naps a day

💚6 weeks-3 months - 30mins-2 hours with between 3/5 naps a day

💛3 months-6 months - 30mins-2 hours with between 3/4 naps a day

🧡6 months-9 months - 1-3 hours with 3 naps a day

💜9 months-12 months - 1-2 hours with 2 naps a day

❤️12 months-18 months - 1-2 hours with 1/2 naps a day

1.5-2 years - 1 hour with 1 nap a day

✨Naps tend to drop typically between 2.5-3 years old✨

3-4 years - 30mins a day (if needed)

Once you've done those checks and you still feel there is an issue, fill out my Free Sleep Assessment Form and lets see if we can get to the root issue together.

Find out more about Sleep by Alexandra Sleep by Alexandra helps your family sleep better so you can enjoy more time together. Alexandra Collingbourne is a sleep consultant specialising in safe, holistic methods of getting your baby, toddler or young child to sleep in a way that empowers parents to live better, happier and with more energy. Specialist postnatal depression & anxiety support is also available for those who need it.

● View baby and toddler sleep services from Sleep by Alexandra here

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