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HELP my baby wakes every 2 hours overnight

Aug 17, 2022

HELP! My baby is waking every 2 hours at night!


This is a message I receive frequently! 2 hourly waking overnight is such a relentless cycle and is exhausting for everyone involved. So why does it happen?


A baby's sleep cycle overnight is approximately 2-4 hours long compared to day sleep cycles which are around 45/50 minutes long. Check out this video for a visual of what a night sleep cycle looks like for your baby:


As always having a holistic understanding of your little one's sleep will help you to pinpoint any reasons for frequent night waking.


The two most common reasons for waking every 2 hours overnight:

  • Unable to self settle and resettle
    If your little one is relying on a 'parent dependent cue' to go to sleep then they're likely to wake fully a the end of a sleep cycle and need that cue again to get back to sleep. Examples of parent dependent cues include rocking, patting, shushing, replacing dummies, co sleeping, motion or feeding to sleep.

  • Overtired from day sleep
    If your little one is overtired from their day sleep, they're more likely to wake fully at the end of a sleep cycle due as it's harder for them to get into a 'deep sleep' because of a build up of cortisol (awake hormone) from their day. Catnapping, having a long morning sleep and a short 2nd sleep and missing 3rd naps depending on your little ones age can all impact the quality of their night sleep.

Often it's actually a combination of both of these factors that will lead to frequent night waking. Note: It's also important to consider other factors for frequent night waking including hunger, illness or teething. See your GP or MCHN if you have any concerns. If this is an issue you're experiencing currently and you have no idea where to start to change things - come and join us in Lets Flourish! You can get same day access to this coaching program and have 4 weeks of coaching and support from me (Jazz). This is for little ones aged 4 months to 2 years of age.

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