If you are trying to work out why your baby (4-12 months) is waking in the night, try our night-waking quiz:
1. Does your baby fall asleep while feeding or being rocked?
YES - My baby does need help to get to sleep.
In order for your baby to sleep through the night, she needs to be able to settle herself when she first falls asleep.
- Click here for info on teaching your baby to self settle
- Click here to buy our best selling sleep program, The Sleepeasy Solution DVD.
- Click here to buy the 'No Cry Sleep Solution'.
NO - My baby already knows how to fall asleep by herself at bedtime, and doesn't rely on feeding or rocking to get to sleep. See the next question.
2. Does your baby find it hard to settle at bedtime or resettle in the night as she is crawling round the cot or standing up?
YES - my baby is all over the place, gets arms and legs stuck, bumps her head or just won't lie down.
Movement in the cot is a developmental stage that babies eventually grow out of. But you can help your baby settle much quicker and sleep through the night sooner by limiting their movement in the cot.
- Click here to buy a Safe T Sleep or read FAQ.
- Click here to read about and buy attached sleeping bags.
NO - My baby doesn't move in the cot. See the next question.
3. Is your baby waking as he has kicked off all the blankets and is cold? (Waking from cold often occurs at about 4am):
YES - I often find my baby has kicked off his swaddling or blankets, and is cold. I often need to go in and tuck him back in.
Your baby is much more likely to sleep through the night if he stays a comfortable temperature all night, and doesn't need you to tuck him back under the blankets.
It's also good if you have peace of mind that your baby is the right temperature without needing to constantly check!
NO - My baby doesn't kick his covers off and he stays warm all night. See the next question.
4. Is your baby still swaddled but comes unwrapped during the night?
ES - My baby will sleep through if he stays wrapped, but now he constantly gets out of his wrap.
It could be time to start the transition to a sleeping bag, or look at the options for effectively swaddling bigger babies:
- Click here to read our swaddling information
- Click here for instructions to wrap with one arm out
- Click here to buy The Sleep Store's big stretch wraps.
- Click here to see our range of big swaddles for babies over 3 months
- See the previous question for information on baby sleeping bags, which are an ideal next step after swaddling.
NO - My baby is still firmly wrapped when he wakes in the night. See the next question.
5. Was your baby sleeping through the night but started waking again at around 5 months old?
Babies sleep cycles change a lot at about 5 months, and many babies who were sleeping through suddenly start waking several times a night. Generally this happens when a baby has not learned to self settle, and has some help to get to sleep (rocking, feeding, dummy, patting etc).
All babies change from drifting in and out of light sleep, to waking fully 4-6 times a night. A baby "sleeps through" when they can get them self back to sleep during the night without crying out for mum.
YES - My baby has started to wake again in the night!!!
- Read the solutions to question 1 - teaching your baby to self settle.
NO - My baby has always been a night waker! Go the next question.
6. Could your baby be over-tired, as she only catnaps during the day?
YES - my baby is a cat-napper and often looks tired during the day.
Over-tired babies wake more during the night, rather than less! So use a structured routine and other strategies to try increasing the length of her day sleeps:
- Click here to read solutions for catnapping.
- Click here to order our best selling sleep books
- Read about routines for babies
NO - My baby is already in a structured routine and sleeps well during the day. Go to the next question.
7. Does your baby still have feeds in the night?
YES - my baby still has feeds during the night, and I feed her as this is the quickest way to settle her. If she's waking and taking the feed, she must be hungry!
Most babies over the age of 4 months can go through the night without a feed, particularly if you do a dreamfeed at about 10pm. For many babies, continued night feeding actually causes more waking, as baby thinks she needs the feed to go back to sleep. She also isn't being given the opportunity to learn to settle without the feed.
- Click here for information on dreamfeeds
- Click here to buy our best selling sleep program, The Sleepeasy Solution, which includes information on weaning off night-feeds.
- Click here to buy The No Cry Sleep Solution, which includes information on gentle weaning off night feeds and feeding to sleep.
NO - I don't feed my baby in the night. Go to the next question.
8. Does your baby rely on a dummy to get to sleep and resettle in the night?
YES - I am always putting the dummy back in my baby's mouth during the night, as it's the easiest way to resettle her.
Your baby can certainly learn to sleep through the night and continue using a dummy, but not if you keep putting it in for her. Your baby needs to learn to use the dummy as a self-settling tool, which means putting it in herself. If she can't learn to do that, get rid off the dummy!
NO - my baby doesn't have a dummy.
Have you worked out what is causing your baby to wake in the night?
If not, read the following article for more information:
Where to now??
If you still don't know the problem...it's likely to be that your baby can't self settle!!! All babies wake 4-6 times a night and 'sleep through' when they can resettle without your help.