why do babies wake up at night

Why do babies wake at night?

Quick Links: Baby's First Year

Babies wake at night because they have no idea or concept of nighttime. Your little darling mostly sleeps when they’re tired and wakes up when they’re not tired. This is because a baby’s circadian rhythm isn’t formed when they’re born, it takes time to develop.

Karen Thomas, a professor at University of Washington who has studied the relationship between mothers and their infants’ sleep-wake patterns for the last decade, wrote in this article: “For parents, the harsh reality is that infants simply don’t have mature circadian rhythm. Their brains are not developed enough to fully follow the patterns and they cannot self-regulate. If circadian rhythm is a dance, newborns don’t yet know all of the steps.”

So if that is the gist of why babies wake up at night, what good is it to try and get them to sleep? Because starting and developing a healthy sleep pattern is important – especially if parents ever want to get some shut eye. Plus, if you’ve developed a good awake/sleep routine for your baby by the time their circadian rhythms develops, which is over the course of the first 2-4 months, getting your kids to bed and not stalling at bedtime will be a breeze(Okay, maybe not a breeze! But it will be easier.). So it is worth any time and effort you can muster.

What?!? Sleeping Babies Regress?

So your little one has been sleeping through the night with no issues for weeks now. You have your nighttime routine perfected and all is well with the world. Until you face the next sleepless night.

Yes, your baby can stop sleeping through the night. When your cute little one learns to do something new, like walk or talk, they may for a time unlearn how to stay asleep at night. Parents may get excited when babies go through normal developmental milestones, but little do they know that they can count on their baby’s healthy sleep pattern regressing because of it.

From HeartSwaddle.com: “While some babies regress just a little bit other babies regress a lot more and will often have to relearn old sleep habits following the developmental milestone. Common developmental milestones are learning to roll, sleeping on tummy, crawling, pulling up to standing, talking, social milestones, and babbling/talking.”

Other Reasons Babies Wake at Night

There are other reasons that babies wake at night and should any of them become a habit, they they can pose a problem. Otherwise, parents should deal with each as it comes up, trying different approaches until one suits. For instance, if a certain food causes your baby to have loose stools at night, prevent that from happening by not feeding the baby that food.

  • baby wants attention
  • baby would rather sleep in mom’s – or dad’s – arms
  • teething
  • illness
  • dirty diaper
  • hunger
  • growth spurts

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