Why Do Some Babies Wake Up At Night?

Having a baby is very exciting. But it’s also extremely exhausting! It can be tough to get some sleep when your little one is up and about.

This doesn’t mean something is wrong. It’s actually perfectly healthy and normal for babies to wake up at night. So before you panic or get stressed out, learn about these five reasons why your baby keeps waking up at night.

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Why Do Some Babies Wake Up At Night?

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1. Hunger

Some Babies Wake Up At Night Because Of Hunger

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If your baby wakes up at night, he/she’s most likely hungry. Little ones need to eat frequently. Newborns should be fed every 2 to 3 hours. This equals 8 to 12 feedings in 24 hours.

Normally, you’ll be able to notice feeding cues like increased alertness or sucking. But if you’re sleeping at night, you’ll notice crying, the last sign of hunger.

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To avoid a crying baby, wake him/her up every three hours for feeding.1

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2. Teething

Some Babies Wake Up At Night Because They Start Teething

Another reason why your baby wakes up at night is teething. Difficulty in sleeping is actually one of the most common signs. He/she may also be cranky, have swollen gums, or be trying to bite or chew hard objects.

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Teething rings can really help. Avoid the ones that are filled with liquid, because they might break and harm your baby. You can also feed him/her cold food, like chilled applesauce, if he/she’s already eating solids.

Most babies start teething around when they’re 6 to 8 months old. Some may start later. Your baby should have a mouth full of teeth by the time he/she’s 2 and a half years, or 30 months, old.2

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3. Tummy Trouble

Some Babies Wake Up At Night Because Of Tummy Trouble

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It’s not uncommon for babies to wake up from stomach aches – just like adults. For babies, it is usually gas or belly bubbles. So if he/she wakes up twisting and cringing, his/her tummy is probably bothering him/her.

To fix this, massage your baby’s stomach. Play around with his/her legs and hips, and move him/her around. These movements will move the gas out and relieve him/her.

You can avoid nighttime tummy aches by always burping after feeding. For older babies, look at the diet and see if anything new has been introduced.

Since formula is harder to digest, stomach problems are less common in breastfed babies. It’s yet another reason to choose breast milk over formulas!3

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4. Lack Of Parent Involvement

Some Babies Wake Up At Night Because Of Lack Of Parental Involvement

By default, mothers tend to be more involved with daytime and nighttime caregiving. But according to the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, paternal involvement is linked to fewer overnight awakenings.

This isn’t just about evening rituals. Daytime involvement and nighttime involvement of both parents lead to better sleeping habits and, therefore, lesser chances of waking up at night.4

Of course, there are other benefits like bonding time. And while it might be difficult to get equal involvement, every little step counts.

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5. Sleep Regression

Some Babies Wake Up At Night Because Of Sleep Regression

It’s no secret that babies change rapidly by the day. And as they grow, they hit phases called sleep regressions. During each phase, they have a hard time sleeping because their bodies and minds are changing so much.

For example, a baby that just learned how to crawl might fixate on the act. One- and two-year-olds may start showing independence.

The first sleep regression typically happens around 4 months. Another one is common at 8, 9, or 10 months and is greatly linked to developmental changes. A brief sleep regression crops up around 11 to 12 months, followed by a big one at 18 months. It can show up again at 2 years, when a toddler starts to become more independent.

If none of these reasons apply to your baby, head to the doctor. There might be an underlying problem. Your doctor may also have suggestions for habits and rituals that’ll help your little one sleep.

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