I write this post now, fully refreshed after a good night’s sleep during which my baby has slept right through. If that sounds like some utopian fantasy for you, and you find your baby waking every 2 hours at night, you might want to read on.
Full disclosure – This is my second child and she loves a full night’s snooze. She’s a rare one, I know! We’re very lucky to have a baby that sleeps through. It wasn’t always this easy though. I’m convinced that she is karma’s reward for surviving the countless wakeful nights with her older brother.
My son would wake every 2 hours each night, which at the time was completely ruining both mine and my wife’s health. We were utterly exhausted. I had a long commute at the time and actually remember trying desperately not to fall asleep on the drive home, with blaring stereos and icy air conditioning barely getting me to safety.
So what can you do? Hopefully these tips we received from doctors, nurses and family might be able to make a difference to you. We eventually improved our son’s sleeping by testing most of these methods to see which made a difference.
How to Stop Your Baby Waking Every 2 Hours at Night
Is Your Baby at a Comfortable Temperature?
How often have you struggled to get to sleep yourself when you’ve been feeling too warm or cold? Babies will similarly struggle to get comfortable if the temperature isn’t right.
It’s a balancing act of course. As babies are unable to regulate their own body temperature until around the 18 month mark, it falls to the parents to ensure that they are in an adequate sleep bag.
This can actually be pretty nerve wracking. We’ve all read the reports that overheating can increase the risk of SIDS, but potentially leaving your baby too cold can be just as worrying. If you want to remove any guesswork or doubt from your mind, a groegg is a godsend.
Groeggs read the temperature of the room in which your child sleeps, and light up with the correct colour to correspond to the thickness of the grobag your baby should wear.
We spent a large amount of time assuming that I was the reason that my son kept waking. I am unfortunately, a bit of a house shaker when it comes to snoring. After a couple of test nights with me sleeping in another room however, we found that my son was still waking constantly (it’s possible that my snoring was reverberating through the whole house though).
If you suspect that you or your partner are snoring, sleep in a different room for a short spell to see if this is your child’s bedtime issue. There’s a multitude of snoring aids that are readily accessible, from special pillows, strips that stick to the roof of your mouth, and throat sprays.
Is your Baby Hungry?
It’s worth mentioning that my son was a GIANT. He was born a forcep-snapping 10lb 9oz and only continued to grow bigger by the day. It seems obvious now, but the main reason he kept waking was because he was so hungry.
My wife breastfed him, but despite the midwife’s protests to the contrary, neither of us were convinced that my son was drinking enough to satisfy his hunger. We eventually supplemented his breastmilk with a couple of bottle feeds each day which seemed to improve his sleep. By the time we ended up feeding him special ‘hungry baby’ milk, we’d nailed it and he was sleeping happily with a full tum.
If you find your baby feeding every 2 hours at night, this is the most likely solution to get results for you. Remember that if your baby is around six months old, it could also be time to start weaning your little one and starting on the appropriate food.
It makes sense. I can’t sleep if I ‘ve had too small an evening meal. That’s my excuse for my king-sized nightly banquet anyway.
Babies are kind of used to at least a low level of noise around them, or even a deafening cacophony if they have older siblings! With this in mind, some parents find that a toy or machine that produces white noise can help to relax a baby.
After spending so long in a womb with all the gurgling, heartbeats and muffled outside noise going on, it’s little surprise that babies can feel more comfortable when there isn’t complete quiet.
Is Your Baby Exerting Enough Energy?
After several sleepless nights, it’s often tempting to nap whilst your baby does in the day. This is pretty sensible and allows you to catch up on some much-needed shut-eye. Where it becomes problematic however, is when you allow a baby to oversleep during the day.
You’re allowing them to catch up on their sleep at a time when you don’t really want them to, leaving them sunny and refreshed just in time for bed!
If you can tire them out during the day with age-appropriate physical activities such as bouncing, you may just get them off a little bit easier at night.
Is Your Baby Getting Enough Fresh Air?
I don’t know if there’s any science behind this, but I swear that when the family and I have been to either the countryside or the coast for the day, we all have a healthy sleep that night. If you’ve got somewhere nearby you can go to, it’s certainly worth a try!
When I forget to pull them down, my youngest doesn’t sleep. It doesn’t seem to affect me, but she definitely picks up on it.
If you still find that your baby waking every 2 hours and regularly distressed during the night , don’t be afraid to have a chat with your GP. It’s possible that the child could have allergies or colic. Thankfully for us though, we’ve found that a combination of the tips above seemed to have helped us out significantly. Good luck!
Routine can help too. Just don’t allow it to morph into my son’s ridiculous bedtime routine.
Struggling to understand what your baby wants? Learn to read your baby’s mind!
You’ve got them to sleep, but now you’re too anxious to get to sleep! Using a baby monitor for longer than usual can give you extra peace of mind.
Got a toddler that won’t sleep properly either? Here’s a few different things you can try with them.