You know the schedule by now. You have daytime feedings, mixed with playtimes, followed by a bedtime feeding and then the rough one, the late night feeding. Typically your baby should eat and then go back to dreamland but that is not always the case. So what do you do if your baby won’t go back to sleep after a night feeding? We’ll discuss some tried and true techniques that can help you with this as well as touch on the ‘why’ aspects of this issue. So without further ado, let’s discuss why baby won’t go back to sleep.
When baby is not going to sleep after a night feed
There are a few common reasons why your baby is not going back to sleep immediately after feeding. If your newborn won’t go to sleep after a night feeding then check the following:
- Does baby need to be burped? – Baby might be a little gassy after a feeding, if you want to rule this out then a quick burping session is a good idea. After the burping, swaddle up your child and lay them gently back down and see if your little one relaxes.
- Do you have a ‘bedtime ritual’ or prop you normally use? – If baby is used to going to sleep with a baby projector or music then they may have become a little reliant on their ‘nightly ritual’. That’s okay, you can always start the music or projector and set it’s timer though you might consider eventually weaning them from the ritual so that instead you can simply associate a dark room and their nightlight as meaning it is time to go to bed. The nice part about this approach is that you can put baby to sleep much more easily if you are away from home or if one of these items becomes damaged. Just a thought.
- Did you change their diaper before bedtime? – .If so, then you can likely rule out the diaper. If baby is just, well, awake and doesn’t seem fussy then the best thing that you can do is simply swaddle them up and put them back to bed.
What if my baby still won’t go back to
If these techniques do not help there are still a number of other things that you can try. Quite a lot, in fact. We’ve collected a few of the best and easiest methods in order to assist you for when your little one wants to stay up late. Some tactics that you might try are as follows:
- The wonderful wedge – Get a wedge for your baby’s mattress. This will help your baby to sleep at an incline, which is very useful if your baby is staying awake due to hiccups or due to feeling gassy.
- Projectors and noise machines – We mentioned having a night routine and if you don’t have one, you should consider getting a music-playing projector for baby or a noise machine. Projectors typically put interesting shapes on the ceiling such as stars or sea creatures while playing soothing music for baby. The noise machines give you the same without the light show, although they tend more to nature sounds such as birds, rain, trickling water like a river runs through the room. They can be invaluable for lulling your child quickly into a deep and refreshing sleep but you will eventually want to wean them off of this as they get older so that they can sleep with standard cues on their own.
- Curtains routine – During the day the room should be bright! First thing in the morning you open those curtains so that baby knows it is dawn. Later in the evening, close those curtains. Definite cycles of dark and light in baby’s room will help them to develop their own sleep cycle so that there is no confusion about what time should be sleepy time.
” Gas drops are extremely effective and they work fast.”
- ‘Breakfast in bed’ – If your newborn won’t settle at night after a feed session, try giving them to baby while he or she is lying down. With a wedge your baby will have their head inclined and if you get them in the habit of taking their night feeding while lying down then they will go to sleep so much faster. It’s sneaky, but it works!
- Gas drops – Often when baby won’t go back to sleep after a late feeding the issue is gas. If your child is over 3 months of age and your pediatrician approves it then get a hold of some gas drops. Gas drops are extremely effective and they work fast, providing your child with swift relief before they become TOO awake and inconsolable until dawn.
Weaning your child off of night feeding
If your child is at the 6 to 9 month range of age then you should begin weaning them off of the night feedings. Check with your pediatrician for confirmation and start letting your child simply sleep through these times. As your child gets older their schedules are going to vary quite dramatically from the early years and night feeding is one of the first things to go (Hooray!). So check with your pediatrician regarding how to properly wean your child from night feeding and ask them for a sample routine for a daily schedule so that they can get their vitamins during the daytime. Also, celebrate, because soon you’ll be getting more sleep at night too!
Some final words
In this article we have discussed what you can do if your toddler or newborn simply won’t go back to sleep at night after a late feeding. This is not uncommon, so be sure to use these tips and exercise your patience until you find what works best for your baby. Soon these late night feedings will be a thing of the past before you know it you’ll be reading articles about the ‘terrible twos’. Until then, happy parenting!