First of all, big virtual hugs to you. As a mum of two myself, I know the struggle is real, and the quest for a peaceful night’s sleep can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Although, sometimes we’ll never know why they’re unsettled, we’ll dive into the mystery of some of those midnight meltdowns and explore some possible answers.
Firstly let’s address the normality of night wakings: hunger games, love actually and deli belly and are very common reasons for night wakings and of course the solutions are very easy. Let’s look in to some of the not so obvious but still very normal reasons for baby unsettled at night.
- Teething Troubles: Ah, those pearly whites wreak havoc on your baby’s dreams. Teething can be a major culprit behind those restless nights. Course he won’t sleep if he’s hurting and no wonder she doesn’t sleep if she’s got a dull ache in her mouth. You wouldn’t either!
- Growth Spurts: Babies seem to have growth spurts at the most unexpected times, and guess what? Nighttime is no exception. During these periods, your little one might be extra hungry and in need of extra cuddles and feeds to fuel this growing malarky!
- Illness: One of the biggest sleep thieves! Again totally normal and although sleep is the best medicine, where he has a raging temperature, or she has razors in her throat, sleep is the first thing on the list to go! Even if it’s not obvious why they are ill, an unusual unsettled night may mean something is brewing! Thanks nursery!
- Overstimulation: During the day, babies are like sponges soaking up all the sensory overload around them. They love it, of course, the noisiest and most annoying toy will be their favourite, however sometimes, that overstimulation, especially near bedtime may make it difficult to wind down at night.
- Sleep Regressions: Brace yourself for the dreaded sleep regressions. Just when you thought you had cracked the code to a good night’s sleep, developmental milestones, leaps and new skills can throw everything out of whack. It’s a phase, and like all phases, it shall pass. (eventually)
Here are five tried-and-true ways to help settle your baby at night:
Gentle Bedtime Routine: Establishing a soothing bedtime routine can work wonders at any age. This doesn’t mean you have to clock watch or follow a strict structure. Babies love predictability, (just like us adults) so create a sequence of calming activities before bed. This could include a warm bath, low lights, a gentle baby massage, the same comforter and a lullaby. Consistency is key, so stick to the same routine every single night to signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down.
Comfortable Sleep Environment: Take a look at your baby’s sleep space. Is it comfortable and conducive to sleep? Or is it more like Piccadilly circus? Ensure the room is dimly lit during bedtime to create a calming atmosphere. Consider using a white noise machine to drown out dads snoring or the toddlers ipad. Additionally, make sure your baby is dressed appropriately for the temperature – not too hot or too cold.
Dream feed: For younger babies, a dream feed can be a game-changer. I swore by this with both mine. Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, the comfort of a full tummy at the same time you go to bed resets their body clock so you both get a nice stretch of sleep at the same time. (In theory)
Swaddle or Sleep Sack: Swaddling can be another game charger that provides a snug and secure feeling, AKA mimicking cosiness of the womb. If your baby enjoys being swaddled, make it part of your bedtime routine. For older, rolling or busy babies, transition to a sleep sack. These make sure they can’t kick the blankets off and get chilly overnight.
Baby Massage: Our bedtime baby massage sequence is specifically designed to entice those sleepy hormones out! It ticks all the boxes, it ensures connection, reassurance, relaxation and flatulence 🤣 A recipe for real life sleep!
Remember, every baby is unique, it will take some trial and error to discover the perfect combination that helps your baby settle at night. Be patient, stay consistent and tag team it with Dad to take care of yourself too – a well-rested parent (ha!) is better equipped to handle those nighttime parties! 💤🌙
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