Babies start to feel anxious about being separated and at night this can mean a normally sleeping baby can wake up often. Your baby may be worrying that you won’t return and needs reassurance that you will return. Baby may also be teething or has decided to try out his newly learned skills at night.
So how do you get your baby to continue to sleep through and to sleep in a cot?
By this age babies need 14 hours of sleep a day and can have single sleep periods of up to 7 hours. During longer periods they have likely woken but can be settled down so something is now waking your baby up.
You can try to start a routine by having his morning and afternoon naps at the same time each day and limit to 30 minutes each. An overtired baby at night can sometimes be a result of getting too much sleep during the day.
Following the same routine leading up to bed time can help baby to realise that it is sleep time.
However, check that there isn’t something wrong – nappy needs changing, lost his favourite toy, becoming poorly (??).
When baby awakes at night, try to keep the environment calm and not stimulating. Turning on lights, talking in a loud voice can make your baby think it is time to be awake. When you enter the room keep the light off or low. Sometimes keeping a hall light on or from another room may give you enough light to see. Speak quietly and limit words – you don’t want to have a full conversation – you could go in singing a favourite lullaby or nursery rhyme – perhaps the same one as when you put baby down – he may remember it is bed time.
It is important to continue nursing as the majority of baby’s nutrition should be via breastfeeding. It is not a bad thing to nurse your baby and even if they fall asleep nursing it is ok though you want to get your baby to their cot drowsy but awake so they don’t rely on you to fall asleep all the time.
It may take a few goes for your baby to settle at night. Stay calm and they will find it easier to understand that it is sleep time. You may have to take some naps when baby does during the day so you don’t get overtired.
As with many situations with a baby, this phase will get better and we promise your baby will eventually sleep. Try to be as patient as you can and cherish the time together.