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Welcome To The Members Area! Forums Baby Sleep Help New Frequent Wakings Reply To: New Frequent Wakings

  • Emma

    April 3, 2024 at 10:13 pm

    Hi Maddie,

    I’m sorry to hear the past few weeks have been tough, especially with your little one being unwell. It’s always difficult to see them like that, and I hope things are starting to improve.

    It seems like your baby’s sleep patterns are evolving, and she’s now experiencing four sleep cycles, waking up in between. The reason she may be continuing to wake up between sleep cycles is because she still feels unwell. If this is the case, you might find that she naturally starts to link sleep cycles. However, if you find these frequent wake-ups continue, here are some strategies to help her get back to sleeping better through the night.

    1. Identify if she is waking overnight due to hunger or comfort.

    Document each overnight feed for a few days to differentiate between hunger-driven and comfort-driven wakings. For breastfeeding, note the duration of each feed; for bottle feeding, record how much she drinks.

    After collecting this information, review it to see which feeds were likely due to genuine hunger — indicated by longer breastfeeding times or higher amounts of milk consumed — and which were likely for comfort, shown by shorter feeds or less milk consumed.

    2. For comfort-driven wakes, use other soothing strategies to help her fall asleep

    If she wakes up during the night looking for comfort, it’s best to try not to feed her to sleep, as this can become a hard habit to break later on. Instead, you can gently rock or bounce her in your arms and gradually reduce the amount of hands-on strategies you’re applying while she is in your arms. For example, when she is lying in your arms, rock her, as you gently pat her bottom and ‘shush’ her. Then, as she settles down, stop rocking her (so stand still) and continue patting her bottom and shushing. If she remains calm, stop patting her and continue shushing. Then stop shushing so that she falls asleep in your arms while you’re standing still. Then, place her in the crib. Stopping the rocking and patting before she falls asleep helps her become comfortable with falling asleep without movement (so she is not reliant on movement to fall asleep). This will make it easier to move to using the pyramid technique when you’re both ready.

    3. Separate feedings from naps

    It sounds like she is currently feeding to fall asleep during daytime naps. It would be good to separate the feed from the nap, if possible, by adopting the wake, feed, play, and then sleep pattern during the day.

    4. Have a consistent nap and bedtime routine

    When she is tired and it’s time to help her fall asleep during the day, have a consistent nap routine that you do. Do this nap routine even if you plan to have her sleep on you, in the pram, or in a baby carrier. A quick and consistent nap routine will signal that sleep is coming and it’s time to wind down. This routine will become a sleep cue you can use when you’re ready to attempt naps in the crib. Also, ensure the last activity in this routine is calming. For example, your baby’s nap routine could be: change her diaper, put on a sleeping bag, go into the bedroom, close the blinds, turn on the white noise machine, turn off the lights and then sing her a lullaby while you rock her in your arms.

    5. Try the settling pyramid if you have the time and energy.

    When it’s time to settle her to sleep, if you have the energy, use the settling pyramid (as this gives her a chance to practice falling asleep in the crib with your support). If you need to climb to the top of the pyramid and pick her up, check your energy levels. If you have the time and energy, you can settle her back down, and when she is calm, put her back in the crib and descend the pyramid following her cues. If you don’t have the energy or time, or she is too distressed, settle her to sleep in your arms, using the gentler steps I outlined in point 2.

    6. Just try the first nap of the day

    If you don’t have the energy or time to apply the settling pyramid for every nap, just use it for the first nap of the day. Babies tend to find it easier to fall asleep for this nap, so you’re more likely to have success.

    7. Have a consistent wake-up time.

    Wake her up within the same 30-minute window every morning. This will help in the maturation of her circadian rhythm, which in turn will lead to more consistent bedtimes and encourage more sleep overnight.

    I hope these tips help and things get easier soon.


    Also good luck with the move!