There are so many underlying reasons why your baby might be waking up frequently. For the most part, babies are meant to wake up frequently at night, that is just part of being a baby. And it’s part of how their sleep cycles are designed.
There are 6 main categories for things that may be impacting your baby’s sleep and I came up with an acronym to really hone in on them.
If you are more of an auditory learner, you can watch my video on this topic HERE. If you prefer to read, keep going 🙂
Your baby is constantly growing and learning new skills and evolving in all areas of their life, their body. As your baby grows, their sleep needs and sleep cycles are going to change. So having realistic expectations of what your baby’s sleep is at each age can also help to make the whole sleep stress and process a little easier and less stressful.
I include feeding under development, because we need to eat in order to grow and develop. But what if your baby has a feeding issue? What if breastfeeding is not going well, and they’re not actually draining the breast and so they’re not getting a full belly, maybe they have a poor latch on they’re getting a lot of air, and maybe they have a tongue tie or lip tie that’s causing the poor latch. And that’s causing their inability to suck properly to extract that milk.
And so all of these different developmental sorts of things can impact sleep, and cause more frequent waking on a short-term basis. Because literally, when we sleep, our brain is on overdrive, because our brain is processing.
Rhythms, Routines, and Regulations
Find a natural rhythm to your day and be consistent. Creating a consistent, joyful, relaxing routine, especially around sleep time. So naptime and bedtime can really help our bodies and our baby’s bodies to settle down and wind down and realize it’s time for sleep.
The other part of that is that babies are meant to be dependent on us, okay, so we’re not meant to be teaching independence, especially not from an early age – it doesn’t work like that.
Babies also need us to co-regulate with them during the day, and also at night. And this is how they can really start to experience what regulation in their own body feels like so regulating from, from distressed state to calm, but also from calm to calm and regulating through those partial arousals that happen after each sleep cycle.
You have to think if your baby’s environment is conducive to sleep. This is something you have control over.
So generally you want to think like a caveman – dark, quiet, calm, and cool. So you want to think about things like the temperature, often cooler is better than warmer because we sleep better in cooler temperature, you want to think about light versus dark.
You want to think about noise. Isn’t it noisy where you live? Can they hear the traffic outside of the window? Does the garbage truck go by at five o’clock in the morning? You really want to be thinking about these things.
You also want to think about clothing. And to be honest, cotton clothing is a breathable kind of material that is going to be much better than something like fleece, or polyester or synthetics that can really kind of keep you sweaty. We want to be cool when we’re sleeping because we want to be comfortable.
Attachment and Sleep Associations
We’re all looking to build secure attachment with our babies and our children but we have to be honest – you can’t build secure attachment during the day and then ignore all of their needs at night.
It will lead to an insecure attachment because they don’t necessarily understand day versus night. You can choose between connection over separation. Your baby’s sleep can improve if you will be able to build their trust in you.
Making Time For Mama
You matter! Your mental health and self-care matters. Motherhood is not easy and we really need to fill our own cups, too, so we can be able to parent our babies the way we want to parent them. We’ve got hormones and emotions that are all over the place.
You have to make sure that you have some time to re energize yourself and to fill your love cup instead of always focusing on filling everyone else’s love cups. If you can maintain calm and regulate yourself, then your baby has a better chance of being regulated and calm and happy as well.
Sleep Challenges & Interrupters
For all those little sleep challenges and interrupters that didn’t fit anywhere else. So things like illness, things like teething, things like colic, things like travel, things like returning to work things, and many more! All of those things can definitely put a little bump into your sleep road.
But that’s okay. There are ways to get through all of these things while responding to and supporting your baby, day and night. You are not alone!
Want to go more in depth with all of these, while building your own customized sleep plan? I’ve got you covered! I go through each of these categories inside my Holistic Baby: Sleep Without Sleep Training course, which is a comprehensive sleep course for babies 0-2 years. It is one of a kind and really looks at sleep from a holistic perspective. Click here to check it out.
Want more support on sleep, development, reflux, tongue-ties and more for babies 0-2 years? Join our community of mamas in the Sleep Deprived Mamas: Holistic + Heart-Centred Support (without sleep training).