My child keeps waking up: what can I do? (Video)
Health visitor Penny Lazell talks about some of the things you can do if your child keeps waking up during the night.
My child keeps waking up – what can I do? Penny: By about six months of age, it's reasonable to expect that most babies will be sleeping for long periods through the night. But, actually, 50% of children up to the age of five may well have night wakings. There are many reasons your baby may be waking in the night. They might be hungry, they might be teething, they may be unwell, they may be afraid of the dark, they may be having nightmares or they may be too hot or too cold. If you think your baby is hungry, you could give them a later feed or a little snack before bedtime. Something like a glass of milk or a banana actually helps them go to sleep. If you think your baby or child is afraid of the dark, you could introduce a night-light either in the hall or in their bedroom. Or give them something that smells of you, a little cuddly toy or a teddy. If you can't find any obvious cause for your baby waking up, it could be that they might be lonely, so moving them in with a sibling might work or rescheduling their bedtimes, which is waking them 15 minutes before they would normally wake in the night and then resettling them back to sleep. And this changes their body clock. To teach your baby to fall asleep by themselves, the most important thing is a good bedtime routine and allowing them to self-settle. So get them into their cot, tuck them in and then leave the room for five minutes. Return after five minutes and then settle them down again. Gradually start extending this time until you get to about 10 minutes. Then start returning every 10 minutes until they fall asleep. They will fall asleep, even though this might take a long time, but usually you will have result within about two weeks.
Last reviewed: December 2016
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