When your baby wakes up during the night, are they hungry? Sometimes. Sometimes they are not crying from hunger. They are crying because they are tired! What? Why would they cry from being tired? Why don’t they just sleep if they are tired?
About 16 weeks of age your child develops sleep cycles, similar to adult sleep. During their sleep your baby will enter into light sleep where they are barely asleep.
What will happen?
1.The baby may awaken completely or
2.The baby will continue the sleep cycle by moving into deeper sleep.
Your baby needs to learn the skill of how to continue through that sleep cycle by continuing into deep sleep. This is a skill for your baby to learn, just like all the other skills they are trying to learn.
When your baby does not know how to move back into deeper sleep, your baby will start to cry. The crying is because your child is frustrated and wants to sleep. Your child is tired but does not know how to get back to sleep.
Your child does not want to be awake during the night any more than you do.
Our bodies crave sleep.
When your child is crying and calling for you, they want you to get them back to sleep just like you did at bedtime.
If you nursed your child to sleep, your child will want you to nurse them back to sleep again.
If you rocked your child to sleep, your child will want you to rock them back to sleep again.
If your child sucked a pacifier to get to sleep, your child will call for the pacifier.
Your child wants you to recreate the environment of when they fell asleep in order to return to sleep.
This leads to many night wakings and many times of calling for you the parent to help them. We end up with broken and fragmented sleep for child and parent and both are exhausted.
What is the solution?
The goal is for your child to be put in their bed relaxed and calm but not asleep. When the child finishes the job of going to sleep, the child can use that same skill during the night while in the shallow portion of the sleep cycle.
Avoid allowing your child to associate rocking and nursing or feeding with the process of going to sleep. Move these activities earlier in the bedtime routine so that is not how the child finishes the process of “going to sleep”.
Parent and child feel much better and more alert after a good uninterrupted night of sleep.
Following a phone/skype or in-home consultation conversation, I write a personalized sleep plan to help a family reach their chosen goals. For two weeks I coach and encourage the family to become successful with their sleep goals.
Contact me for a FREE 15 minute phone call to discuss your sleep situation and how I can help you.
Infant Tummy Massage to Relieve Gas
To see the complete massage instructional video: