If your little one is napping well in the day (roughly the right amount for their age), has a consistent bedtime routine that is followed every night and then goes in their cot awake and puts themselves to sleep, they should be able to self soothe and sleep well throughout the night.
However, despite all of the above, some little ones still wake in the night.
If this is the case for your little one, then here is a five step process that you can follow to improve things;
1 – Make sure your baby doesn’t have any sleep associations which you are reinforcing. The easiest way to do this is by looking at what your little one wants you to do when she wakes. If for example she wants you to feed her every time she is waking up try and change the routine. Try and feed her before bed. The aim is to completely remove the association that your baby has with milk and sleep. Is there a sound your baby can hear when she goes to sleep that she can’t hear in the middle of the night when she wakes? Sometimes it is the washing machine on downstairs, or a cot mobile that baby falls asleep to.
2 – Double check that your baby is getting the right amount of sleep in the day. If your little one doesn’t get enough they will be exhausted. This will cause her body to produce the stress hormone, cortisol. Extra stress could lead to frequent waking in the night. If your baby gets enough sleep and she is relaxed then they are more likely to sleep through the night. Just be careful not to give your baby too much day time sleep as this might lead to less sleep in the night.
3 – Is your baby waking for a dummy? If your baby falls asleep with a soother or dummy in his mouth, then he will most likely call you to help him find it when he wakes at night. This is obviously an irritating reason to be woken up for. To avoid this happening ensure that your baby is able to find the dummy for himself. You can do this by placing lots of soothers in the cot or by using a Sleepytot baby comforter. At first, when he wakes, you may need to go in and guide your baby’s hand to where the dummies are in the cot, or on the Sleepytot baby comforter. Some babies may need a few nights to learn this. After a few nights, give him some time to find the dummy before you go in and at each waking, leave it a little longer before you go and guide his hand to the soother. Within a few nights your little one should be able to find the dummy for himself and will fall back asleep within moments of waking up.
4 – Is your baby waking for a night time feed? If so, have a read of How to Wean your Baby off Night Feeds and give it a few weeks before doing any further sleep training. Hopefully you won’t need to!
5 – Once you’ve checked the above, if there is no connection between your baby’s bedtime routine, daytime sleep and why she is waking at night, then you will need