Editor’s Note: Our friend, Brooke Nalle is a leading Sleep Consultant in the New York City area, helping parents and individuals get much-needed, healthy rest. She’s graciously allowed us to share this article, originally posted on her site, www.sleepyonhudson.com.
Why does my baby wake up at night? When will he sleep through the night? These two questions go hand in hand and are the two biggest and most popular questions that I get in my practice as a sleep consultant. They also happen to be my favorite questions to answer.
Your baby wakes up at night for a few very important reasons.
-She is hungry and needs a feeding. A baby’s stomach is only so big and can only eat, digest, and metabolize a certain amount of milk and at certain intervals. As a result, most young babies can’t eat enough during the day hours, say from 7am to 7pm, to make it through the night with no additional feedings.
-She is uncomfortable. She enjoyed her night feeding, gave a small burp, went back to sleep, but is not moving into light sleep and realizing that there is a bigger burp that needs your attention.
-She is hitting a stretch to light sleep cycles (light REM sleep). She seems wide awake, calling out, even crying, but her eyes are closed. This is REM sleep and can usually result in a return to deeper sleep rather than a full wake up.
-You rocked him to sleep. He has slept for 3 hours and is switching from a block of sleep cycles to his next sleep block. He can’t handle this transition solo and needs you to rock him again.
Related: “Expecting Sleep: Baby Edition”
Your baby will sleep through the night when she can …
-Eat enough during the day to no longer require a night feeding.
-When she can eat with less GI discomfort. She can burp well post-feeding and can pass gas easily when needed.
-She can connect her own sleep cycles and doesn’t require you to rock her back.
So when does this finally happen? Some babies are big enough and efficient enough day eaters to sleep through the night around 3 months and some need a little boost until 6/7 months. Some babies learn to fall asleep on their own, and some need a little nudge from you. I encourage you to reach out for help along the road if you feel that you are hitting too many roadblocks on the way to better sleep.
-The NwP Team