5 Essential Strategies to Masterfully Handle Night Wakings in Children

by Myra Hartzheim
A pediatric sleep consultant holds a baby that keeps waking in the night
Outline


Night wakings in children are a common challenge many parents face. Understanding how to respond effectively to night wakings can make a significant difference in both your child’s and your own sleep quality. Let’s explore some expert insights on tackling this issue.

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When Responding to Night Wakings, Age Matters:


When it comes to night wakings, the age of your child plays a crucial role. For infants 6 months old or younger, the response focuses on ensuring both the parent and the child get the most sleep possible, keeping in mind the importance of safe sleeping practices.

  • Self-Soothing and Sleep Shaping:
    Infants are still developing their self-soothing skills. Therefore, for babies younger than six months, immediate soothing is often necessary. However, if you’re exploring child-led sleep shaping, your approach might differ, depending on the specific needs and development of your child.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Wakings:


Understanding the nature of night wakings is key. Unhealthy wakings are often characterized by difficulty settling, restlessness, and tearfulness, indicating deeper issues that might need addressing. In contrast, healthy wakings, where the child falls back asleep easily after a brief check or nursing, are wakings every healthy child experiences and those can be responded to in the following ways:

Responding to Healthy Night Wakings: Tailored Strategies

The approach to night wakings can vary significantly, especially in relation to your sleep training journey. Whether you haven’t started sleep training, are in the middle of it, or have completed the process, each situation calls for a unique understanding of your child’s needs.

Not Sleep Trained:

If sleep training isn’t part of your approach yet, your response should focus on what helps both you and your child achieve the most restful sleep. The key is finding a balance that ensures comfort and rest for everyone.

In the Process of Sleep Training:

The response during sleep training depends largely on your current stage in the process. If night wakings continue without improvement, it’s important to seek support tailored to your situation, as nuances in sleep training can greatly influence outcomes.

Have Sleep Trained:

  • When Your Child is Sick: Offering extra comfort and assistance in getting back to sleep is appropriate for sick children. Understandably, they need more support when unwell.
  • After Sporadic Disruptions: If disruptions like travel or visitors cause the waking, your response should still be consistent. However, aim for a supportive and encouraging approach rather than fully assisting them back to sleep. This helps maintain their independent sleeping skills.

Navigating night wakings requires a balance of understanding, pre-determined, and tailored responses. Remember, each child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If you’re facing challenges in this area, don’t hesitate to seek out more personalized advice. Cura Sleep Group is here to help!

A pediatric sleep consultant holds a baby that keeps waking in the night

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Sleep

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