Infant’s Sleep

Infant Suddenly Very Restless at Night?

My 7-month-old son was becoming a much better sleeper including no longer feeding overnight. Now over the last week or so my son has become so restless at night. Waking up regularly over the first few hours and then staying awake for an hour in the early hours of the morning. I knew there are many reasons to what can cause this but thought I would investigate it more to see if I had missed anything.

Babies can have “split” nights where they sleep half the night, wake for an hour to several hours to then falls back to sleep for the rest of the night. They will wake up happy and you will be unable to settle bub back to sleep no matter how hard you try. This is usually due to their natural sleep cycle being out of balances. It can be extremely frustrating but weirdly enough this once used to be a normal routine for people. It may mean adjusting babies sleep pattern to be later or earlier depending on their current routine.

Many things that can disrupt sleep or split sleep:

  • Too hot or too cold- feel down bubs back to tell
  • Teething- pain and temperature, can give Panadol to help with both
  • Eczema- regularly moisturise and check over bubs skin for irritation
  • Growth spirts and learning new skills (sleep regressions)
  • Hunger- ensure that bub is getting the adequate about of feed by calculating the amount from bubs weight
  • Too much or too little sleep during the day- bub will only require a certain amount of nap time, ensure that sleep is at appropriate times so that baby isn’t tired and being put to bed early
  • Going to bed too early- it is said that once a routine is developed, then around 7pm bedtime is best, but follow baby’s cues
  • Feeling unwell- fevers, colds or yuck stomachs can make them be a bit more unsettled and need more attention
  • Poor routine- baby needs to unwind and have signals to tell them, it’s time for sleep. Becoming quiet with a book, bath, and cuddles each night at the same time.
  • Teach them to self-settle-putting them to sleep a bit more awake over time and not intervening too early, babies make a lot of noise and move a lot. Wait until you are sure they aren’t going back to sleep, having minimal interaction to settle them again.
  • Avoid interaction at night, make it boring by not talking or giving much eye contact.

After all this I ended up realising that he was used to the air-conditioning being on and with it now cooling we don’t use it as much, the noise must have been like white noise to him. I put on some rain sounds over night and that seemed to help with the restlessness. I put him to bed a bit later than I usually and that also helped.

It is an ever-learning process as baby grows and develops. Their sleep pattern changes with growth spirts, teething and learning new skills. There are plenty more interventions but if nothing seems to work, check with your health professional.

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