Hourly Wakings Checklist - part 2
Latest update: June 9, 2018
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
We continue the checklist for helping you
find out why your baby is waking up so frequently (every hour, every 45
minutes, every 2 hours, ...). Remember to go through every single
possible cause because even the
possibilities that you don't really expect or notice upfront
may be exactly what is playing.
Whether you observe teething clearly with dribbling, sore gums, flushed
cheeks or it's hidden with
your baby cranky for seemingly no good reason: teething can and does
cause frequent (as in every hour) wakings, almost always with crying
due to the general discomfort and pain.
Although teething pain does not stop during the day it is mostly at
night - without distractions and parent soothing nearby - that babies
suffer. Verify for (hidden)
teething signs and remedy as much as possible.
7. Unable to self soothe
There is no way around it, self
soothing is the unmissable key to sleeping through the night. If your
baby is unable to settle independently and as such has not learned to
sleep through a cycle, she will lightly wake up completely in-between
sleep cycles (i.e. roughly every hour).
Weaning from helping with
settling is very doable,
whether it's holding, rocking, nursing, sitting next to, .... To get
long-term results though, you need to work with gentle and progressive
techniques: they give your baby's body and brain the time to truly
acquire the skill and do it happily for the rest of their lives. My award-winning
self soothing program helps you use these gentle techniques most
Even if you are unsure whether this is the main cause for your baby to
wake up every hour, do work on settling independently because without
it there is little hope for progress.
8. Busy nights
Some environments are too restless to allow for uninterrupted sleep. As
an adult you may have gotten used to the sounds, but lots of street or
neighbor noises, loud TV sets or just a lot going on in or around the
house, can seriously disrupt a baby or toddler's sleep patterns.
Take away all sources of noise and activity that you can, even if it
inconveniences you. It may only be necessary for a couple of weeks,
once sleeping is better, you will be able to relax about it again.
For noises you have no control over, a
white noise machine in the bedroom works wonders: the soft
background blocks out unwanted, irregular, hard, disturbing sounds and
gently soothes at the same time.
9. Over-active body and mind
Over-tiredness, new skills &
developments, stress picked up during the day and anxieties are a
couple of the processes a baby can go through, and which keep her body
and brain very active, also when she's supposed to sleep.
Over-tiredness is a special one, because an over-tired child will often
not seem tired at all, on the contrary after having caught their second
breath, they seem more active and energetic than ever. It can be a
delicate balance so always be on the lookout for signs of
over-tiredness. Being over-tired is only remedied by enough sleep so
For other causes of an over-active body and mind, a strict full hour wind-down
before bed is crucial and makes all the difference.
10. Physical discomfort at night
Most mild illnesses or discomforts (cold, minor virus infection,
teething, bruise after falling, ...) are felt more at night than during
the day. During the day there are more distractions and there is
usually immediate and constant comfort thanks to parent or carer
But at night, alone in the dark even weak teething pain or unease
during a cold, can feel much worse, and simply keep baby from sleeping
through. Lots of waking up, with crying, often surprise parents to a
baby who seems perfectly fine all day. Browse through the solving
causes of poor sleep section to relieve maximally.
Another type of physical discomfort is when a nerve and or bone got
stuck (often during difficult or lengthy births): that can simply make
it painful to be lying down, in whichever position. Verify the osteopathy
checklist to see if that could be applying for you.
11. Stimulating food or allergies & intolerances
Stimulating food and foods to which the body is allergic or intolerant,
disrupt a young baby or toddler's sleep. This includes short naps and
frequent wakings at night, usually with crying out of discomfort.
When breastfeeding eliminate
from your diet, and once started on solids avoid for baby to have
sugary foods or drinks, chocolate, non-herbal tea and coffee from the
early afternoon onwards.
Discuss with your doctor or ask
me if you suspect allergies or intolerances.
12. Stuck sleep pattern
Young babies easily get stuck in sleep patterns other than their good
natural ones. These are grown-into patterns that we do not want, such
as waking up hourly. The most typical stuck sleep pattern is that due
to hunger. Whether feeding out of need or comfort, a real hunger
feeling does cause a baby to wake up.
Ill-fitting naps and nighttime bedtimes can also push a baby or toddler
into unlucky sleep patterns. And even without a specific origin,
getting into a pattern sometimes simply happens.
Reversing stuck sleep patterns, like breaking with a bad habit,
usually is not easy. The techniques require patience and caution: how
sleep is arranged in the body is a delicate balance, to which we'll do more harm than good if not treading
For the specific techniques for keeping asleep, altering stuck patterns
for frequently waking up and sleeping longer in the morning, you will
Sleeping Through e-book helpful.
Or, with an even more comprehensive action plan specifically designed to reduce frequent nightly waking, my Overcome Frequent Waking e-book will give you the precise tools you need to achieve exactly that.