My five weeks old Miracle Baby wakes up every 45 minutes!

by Susan
(Cleveland Oh)

Question: Why does my 5 weeks old baby wake up every 45 minutes to an hour both day and night. And when he wakes up he breast feeds and takes long to sleep especially at night?

Heidi’s Answer: Hi Susan,

Everyone, babies, children and adults alike sleep in cycles. During one cycle we go through different stages of sleep ranging from very light to very deep sleep. A baby sleep cycle differs from ours mainly in that it is much shorter (50 minutes compared to our 90 minutes). Also a baby spends more time in light sleep than in deep sleep.

At the end of each cycle, there is a brief moment of awakening before the next cycle begins.

Older children and adults have learned to ‘sleep through’ this brief awake phase and (ideally) do not notice that they half wake up several times a night.

In newborn and young baby sleep patterns, this brief wake phase is a key moment: it is very easy and natural for a baby to wake up completely rather than simply go on sleeping.

All of this to explain why your baby boy wakes up after 45-60 minutes: namely at the end of one cycle. We can get his body used to sleeping for more than one cycle in a row by helping him through to the next cycle.

One easy way to start with this is to keep him on the move during his naps. You can use a baby sling at home or out, take (long) walks in the stroller or car rides.

Or, you can go to him before he wakes, say 30-40 minutes after he went to sleep. Place your hand on his belly, or lie next to him, or pick him up: whichever works best to gently comfort him while he keeps sleeping.

Do this whenever you can, you will quickly find that he learns to sleep for longer.

Other than this, he is still very young and his sleep patterns are constantly developing. In particular his day/night rhythm is something that needs to settle. And it is something where you can help by giving clear day/night cues both with light and dark and with active and quiet moments. Please check the newborn sleep patterns and baby sleep schedule pages for details and practical tips.

Good luck!

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