September 04, 2023

Do you feel your baby is constantly waking overnight?

Do you feel your baby is constantly waking overnight?

Do you feel as soon as you fall asleep at night your baby wakes up, again… and again.. and again?

You may be experiencing frequent night waking and although unsustainable long term can have several contributing factors as to why they happen.


This means that the space your baby is sleeping in is not encouraging consolidated sleep and may be waking them up. This can be something as simple as turning your red light off. You can read all about creating a sleep conducive environment here.


Newborn babies wake often and while it seems excessive as a newborn parent it is completely normal in the early days to see wakes as often as every 2-3hrs. Once your baby is slightly older, they will naturally start to increase those lengths between feeds. But if find your little one is constantly snacking throughout the day, they may need some assistance from you (or an IBCLC, dietitian) to get them having nice full feeds both day and night.


This can happen when our little ones simply need either less sleep or more awake time. Think of sleeping over a 24hr period therefore if their total sleep requirements are 14hrs but they are having 4hrs of that during the day, naturally they only need 10hrs overnight. However, the increased sleep during the day may result in not sufficient sleep pressure created to encourage a long sleep overnight.


The opposite of above can also result in frequent waking, if your baby is having too much awake time during the day what can happen is their body responds by releasing cortisol (also known as the stress hormone). The body does this as it feels we may have gone past our maximum awake time threshold, but it can see we aren’t going to sleep soon, release cortisol to keep us awake for longer. In this situation it may be hard for your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep especially in the earlier hours of the morning when the body starts releasing cortisol again getting us ready for the day.


Research does show us that during peaks of development you may also see sleep regress, this may lead to more waking overnight. It too shall pass.


Waking more overnight is also very common in both cases of your baby being both unwell and also teething. One of the most common reasons for this is that cortisol which is a natural inflammatory is releasing during awake periods, at night the body ceases it’s release therefore discomfort may be experienced more.

If you’re still freaking out about the transition, we can help!

  • For small tweaks to strategies have a look at our Quick Chat - 15min  option
  • For parents struggling with several things such as catnapping, frequent night waking, early morning rising or things that simply no longer work, have a look at our Phone + One Week Support option.
  • Not sure what is right for you? Get on the phone to one of our experienced consultants with our FREE 15min Discovery Call