What is a night time party? This is when your child is waking up throughout the night or waking and staying awake for a long period of time at night.
There are many reasons for these parties that parents can be forced to partake in. If your child is waking several times a night or staying awake for long, know that you are not alone but you can reduce these parties in several ways.
An important note to make is that all humans will wake several times a night. We all wake slightly at the end of our sleep cycles. Typically, we simply go into the next cycle of sleep with very little time in between cycles. Night wakings are only an issue if your child is waking up and requiring assistance for more than 4 days in a row.
Before we can talk about ways to reduce night wakings we need to discuss the reasons these wakings often happen.
Reasons for Night Wakings:
1. Overtired: When children are overtired they will wake several times a night or stay awake for long periods of time. (Click here for a list of the recommended hours of sleep needed)
2. Not Awake Enough During the Day: If our children are not staying awake enough during the day they often do not feel the need to sleep through the night.
3. Developmental Milestones: Each time a child learns a child is learning a new skill or reaching a developmental milestone it can often affect their sleep. Some of the most common developmental milestones that affect are as follows: rolling over, crawling, sitting up, crawling, separation anxiety, increased vocabulary, and vivid imaginations.
4. Not Enough Calories in the Daytime: If a child is not getting enough calories during the day they may be genuinely hungry at night.
5. Teething: Pain from teething can impact a child’s ability to stay asleep at night.
6. Illness: When are littles are not feeling well they may wake several times a night. It is important to help our littles when they are not feeling well.
7. Sleep Association: A sleep association is a person, place, thing, or action that helps a child go to sleep. There are several very common sleep associations. The most common sleep associations are as follows: feed (breast or bottle) to sleep, rocking, bouncing on a yoga ball, and/or a pacifier; If your child has a sleep association but they stay asleep all night, there is no problem. It becomes a problem when you are having to go in to assist your child in inserting the pacifier, giving a feed, rocking, bouncing, or just being there.
8. Wake to Feed Association: This is when our little ones expect a feed as soon as they wake.
Now that you know the common reasons for Night Wakings you can make changes that will result in more sleep.
Things to do about Night Wakings:
1. Watch the hours your child is awake through the day. If your child is not awake enough or is awake too much they will have interrupted nights. Often adding or reducing your child’s awake window by 15 minutes will reduce the night wakings.
2. Reduce the length of total daytime sleep. This may mean that you have to drop a nap or reduce the one nap.
2. Increase the calories your child receives through feeds (breast or bottle) and/or food depending on their age.
3. You can fade out or quickly remove your child’s association with going to sleep.
4. Change your child’s diaper or have a quick little “chat” before you feed when they wake up. This can be 30 seconds to 1 minute long. This will reduce the wake to feed association that can creep in.
Below is a video I did in the Supportive Sleep Learning and Parenting Group all about “Middle of the Night Parties”. Enjoy! If you would like some additional support to work out why your child is having middle of the night wakings. Feel free to book a free 15-minute call with me to discuss things further