Why Is My Baby Waking Up Every Hour

Why Is My Baby Waking Up Every Hour

Leaving the hospital as a first time parent, I vividly remember having multiple thoughts. How am I being trusted to take care of this small human? They are letting me just…leave! I remember being terrified the entire drive home. My husband drove slower than he had in his entire life. I was too afraid to leave our daughter in the backseat, alone, so I sat in the back just staring at her little face, holding her little hand, and imagining our beautiful life.

Why Is My Baby Waking Every Hour?

Four hours later, I put her down in her bassinet, expecting her to just fall asleep. I smile looking back. No swaddle. No paci. I just sat in her bassinet cold turkey. As you can imagine, she immediately started sobbing. 

I looked at my husband in a panic. This was not in the cards. She was just supposed to sleep. Like she did in the hospital. Because that’s what babies do, right? I’ve seen all my friends’ babies sleep. Babies on Netflix and in the movies. They just go right to sleep. What a funny joke that was. 

After hours at night of figuring out that babies don’t “just sleep,” I looked at the clock and it read “3 A.M.,” I looked at my dog, who gave me the eyes of a forlorn companion questioning her entire existence and wondering why I would bring home this small human who wouldn’t stop crying, and I told my husband to hang it up for the night. I sent him to get a few hours of sleep, and I sat and held our daughter (while the white noise one) as I watched Gilmore Girls holding her as she slept. 

Did our life end up being that beautiful life I imagined on that car ride home? Honestly, yes it did. But did my husband and I spend countless hours together trying to figure out how to get our newborn baby to sleep more than an hour in her bassinet or crib. Yes. Yes, we did. 

As a parent, you hope and pray that your baby will sleep through the night. Or like us, you are blissfully unaware that this problem even exists. However, it is normal for babies to wake up frequently throughout the night for many reasons. Frequent night wakings can be extremely challenging for parents, leaving them exhausted and desperate for solutions. Today, we will explore some of the reasons why babies wake up often throughout the night and what you can do to help your little one (and yourself) get more sleep. 

Why Is My Baby Waking Up Every Hour

Hunger

One of the most common reasons a baby wakes up during the night is hunger. Babies, especially in the newborn stage, have small stomachs and need to feed often. Their nutritional needs are high as they grow rapidly, and their digestive systems can only handle small amounts of milk or formula at a time. As they grow, the need for nighttime feedings will typically decrease, but it can take several months for a baby to sleep longer stretches without needing to eat. 

Naps 

Daytime napping can significantly affect how well a baby sleeps at night. If a baby has poor quality naps throughout the day, they may become overtired, which can lead to frequent night wakings. Connecting sleep cycles can be a hard skill for some infants and babies to learn. Is your baby always waking up at 36 minutes on the dot? He or she is really trying to connect those pesky daytime sleep cycles. 

On the flip side, if a baby sleeps too much during the day, their drive to sleep may not be high enough at night, which can cause them to be waking every hour. It is important to ensure that your baby gets the right amount of sleep during the day. Watching wake windows and capping naps, if necessary, can help eliminate these concerns. 

Self-Soothing

Babies will often wake up during the night because they haven’t learned to properly self-soothe. All of us enter a light sleep phase, and if noises wake us up, we almost unconsciously put ourselves back to sleep. Self-Soothing is the ability to calm oneself down and go back to sleep without external help. This skill typically develops over time, but until it does, babies might rely on a sleep crutch, like a paci, or their parents to help them fall back asleep. Implementing a specific sleep training method can help your baby learn to self-soothe and reduce night wakings. 

Illness/Teething

Discomfort from teething, illness, or a wet diaper can cause a baby to wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Babies are sensitive to changes in their environment and physical state. So if your baby is suddenly waking up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, it could be worth checking for signs of discomfort or illness. Addressing these systems promptly can minimize night or early morning wakings. 

active baby

Developmental Milestones

As babies grow, they will go through various developmental milestones that can disrupt their sleep patterns. Learning to roll over, crawl, or stand up can cause excitement and restlessness, leading to more frequent night wakings. These milestones are often called regressions, or periods of time when a baby who has previously slept well suddenly starts waking up frequently at night. These phases are temporary and remaining consistent by providing a bedtime routine and consistent intervention to early mornings, night wakings, or naps, will help you and your child ease through the regression more smoothly. 

Temperament

Some babies are naturally more alert and sensitive which makes them more prone to frequent night wakings. These babies may have always had a difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep on their own. Understanding your baby’s temperament can help you tailor your approach to their sleep needs. 

From hunger to naps to temperament, there are many reasons why your baby may be waking up every hour. You may be very prepared for this chapter in life, or you may be like my husband and I and blissfully unaware. Either way, remember that every baby is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Patience, consistency, and a bit of trial and error will eventually lead to better sleep for both you and your baby. 

Sleep Shore Sleep Consulting

If you’ve tried these tips and are still up all night long with your infant or baby, we are here to help! If your child is unable to fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up at a normal time, it may be time to consider sleep training. Sleep Shore offers personalized solutions for each unique sleeping situation to get your little one on track- whether they’re a newborn, infant, or toddler. Sleep training offers babies and children with the skills to fall asleep on their own so they can wake up feeling more well-rested- and in turn, you’ll feel more energized, too! See what this mama had to say about our sleep services below: 

“Molly has been instrumental in helping my daughter get on a schedule. I started working with her when my LO was 4 months old and she was a tremendous amount of help coaching me through the “4 month sleep regression” and giving me the right tools to help guide her into be a fantastic independent sleeper. Molly listens to you/your child’s needs and does not push the traditional sleep training methods on you. She tailors her approach to fit your individual needs. In addition to, she has been helpful in adjusting her schedule as she gets older and is a great sounding board to help guide me through this journey as a first time mom. There are a lot of courses out there but the tailored approach that Molly takes with each client really sets her apart from the rest”.

MOM OF A 6-MONTH OLD

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