Baby > The essentials > Sleeping > Sleep problems and concerns > Factors stopping your baby sleeping

Factors stopping your baby sleeping

Information on the typical causes of baby and toddler sleep problems with advice on how to overcome them and establish a sleeping routine.
There are many factors that can affect a baby's quality of sleep:
  • Diet - Ensure your baby is receiving a balanced diet during the day so he doesn't need to wake up for feeds at night. 'Demand feeding', where parents believe every time their baby cries it's because he's hungry, results in the baby feeding little and often when he's capable of taking a bigger feed and sleeping for a longer stretch in the night.
  • Hunger - Certain foods and drinks can affect the sleep of young babies and toddlers. Breastfeeding mothers should avoid alcohol, artificial sweeteners, excess caffeine and highly spiced foods.
  • Over-tiredness - Many babies and young children don't settle to sleep easily in the evening and wake up several times a night because they are overtired.
  • Over-stimulation - Allow a quiet wind-down period of 15-20 minutes before naps or bedtime as over-stimulation before bed affects how well they settle and sleep.
  • Illness - A baby under 3 months of age will usually need help to get through the night when he has a cold or is ill.
  • Anxiety - By the age of 6 months, babies begin to realise they're separate from their mothers and may show signs of separation anxiety or stranger anxiety. Responding quickly and positively to his anxiety rather than ignoring it will, in the long run, help him become more confident and independent. However, don't let your baby feel he's being rewarded for his night-time waking by giving him too much attention.
  • Discomfort - Ensuring the room temperature is neither too hot nor too cold and he's dressed comfortably makes all the difference to his sleeping

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My 2yr old girl wakes every single night without fail at least twice shouting for one of us and crying.I wiuld rather her just sleep with us and be done with it,as i know she will sleep then! but my husband wont allow this,so he gets up and sits in her room until she goes back to sleep.We have tried leaving her to cry,she only gets worse and has a huge tantrum! which we cant ignore as A she wakes her older brother and B has RAS so will end up having a seizure.
Her room temp is fine,she has supper and milk still so she isnt hungry,she just wants to be with us! However this sleep deprovation is causing major problems and driving us insaine..Other than putting her on ebay! i dont know what to do as nothing seems to work.Anyone with experience please giveme some ideas.
by sarahlou00 20th Jun 2013, 2:49pm
Please help!! We have a 2 year old son who has slept through the night from 12 months 1930 - 0730 every night to the point you could set you watch by him. Last weekend he had an episode of croup caused by a chest infection. At first his sleep pattern remained the same then last Wednesday (incidently the same day the cat scared him...anything in this?) he refused to go to sleep in his bed. He refuses to lie with us and just wants to play. I even resorted to driving him in the car this weekend and carrying him to bed for some sleep just so we could get some sleep of our own!! Has he forgotten how to sleep? I am away with work in 3 weeks for a week and really want to help our little boy out and his lovely mum (we also have a 5 month old beautiful girl). Any ideas would be great. I hear lots of people go through this but it never seems to be anyone we know!!
by AH77 24th Jan 2011, 3:04pm
Has anyone got any ideas my 16mth old son still wakes up once maybe twice a night for milk in his bottle he suffered severe reflux till he was 11mths old but is fine now he eats fine but i still have this problem,i always give in as i also have a 2 yr old who wakes up when he starts screaming as he doesnt stop till i give in please help ..............
by samlouise76 21st May 2010, 4:09pm
Can anyone help me, my son who is 3 months old has not slept properly for the last two days. In total I think he has managed only 5 hours. He had his BCG two days ago, could this be affecting him? Also, he will only sleep if I hold him, as soon as I put him down, within 10 minutes he will wake up and scream. Please help!!!
by froggy88 8th Feb 2010, 9:24am
my baby is 6 weeks old and he keeps streching himself for the past two day, which makes his sleeping pattern changed and stay me awake too.Is there a way through this
by babydemba 11th Jan 2010, 3:20pm 9month old daughter tosses and turns in her sleep all night. Well, at least her eyes are closed and she's not complaining so I think she's "sleeping". Anyone know why she is doing this? I know she's not getting a restful sleep and she does end up waking up because of it. Last night I gave her a bottle and changed her and gave her tylenol, none of which seemed to make a difference. After some time she did fall asleep for a bit and was tossing again. Any comments????
by misschloe 5th Jan 2010, 3:49pm
hello mumofjohn. my son did the same-a sleeping bag made no difference! I think you have to put up with it for now, but as he gets older he will sleep in the same poition for longer and you won't have to move him. I used to go into his room about an hour after bedtime and move him down if he had moved, and then again when I went to bed I would do the same. If I had to get up in the night for any other reason I would do the same. Sometimes this helped and there would be less need to be woken up by his strange noises!
by appleshake 12th Nov 2009, 9:34am
My son hs slept very well since he was about 3 months old, only waking up once to get a feed at about 4 o'clock. I have always had a very good routine with him and he normally goes to bed between 7.30 and 8.30, however in the last 2 weeks he is a nightmare getting to bed and has been crying in his sleep, seemingly standing up and won't settle again until either partner or I lay with him. If we try and move he crys again and works himself into s tupour. Help me please? x
by K3zza123 31st Jul 2009, 2:22pm
My son who is now almost 7 months slept very badly waking about every hour throughout the night until he was eventually started on medication which seemed to help his reflux at 5 months old. At this point I also noticed that he seemed more content to sleep in his pram, and so sleep deprived I let him. Now that he is getting older and bigger i need to get him into his cot, which he is currently not happy about. Any ideas????
by winfred 15th May 2009, 9:23am
Hello, I have a 9 month old girl and she keeps waking up at odd times. Im starting to wonder if her sleep is compromised by allergies to our dusty old house or the 2 cats. If it turns out that she does have allergies or asthma, (and I dont know if she does, yet) what might I do to accomadate her. Any products or tricks I should know about? We keep a humidifier and a space heater in her room right now. Thank you.
by samarkandy 17th Mar 2009, 9:21am
My little boy is 19 weeks old and is a fabulous sleeper, but not without issues! He sleeps on his front and has done since he was weany and sleeps for 12 to 13 hours a night which is very good. Unfortunately about 3 times each night I am woken by his grunting (in his sleep!) because he has wriggled up his cot (in his sleep!) and is crammed into the very top corner with no covers. I take him gently by his legs and pull him down, tuck him in and go back to bed, all without him waking! How can I stop him wiggling up to the top of the cot? Is a sleeping bag the answer?
by mumofjohn 11th Mar 2009, 9:15am
i have a 3 month old son. he also goes to bed at round 7 but by 12.30 he gets up. i think he is now realising that he is detached from me and he is now adjusting
by sexynicolekim 2nd Mar 2009, 9:26am
Hi my baby is 7mths he has last bottle at 10.30 3 meals a day and is still waking up at 2 or 3 for milk then at 7. ive not tried controlled crying , i always give in aftre half an hour as he wakes my 5 yr old daughter who is at school.Im he goes to bed every nite at 7 really well but just cant get him through the nite. louisa09
by louisa09 19th Jan 2009, 9:53am
the factors above have really made a difference,my 4 month old son has just started on baby porridge and rusk and since then hes been really restless at night,today il change his diet and just give him either 1 for his breakfast and his milk the rest of the day and see how he goes tonight.thanks.
by noley 28th Mar 2008, 9:31am
Help please. My grandaughter is just 5 months old and after a shaky start (milk allergy diagnosed at 1 month after several nappies full of blood) , she is making good progress. Unfortunately she has become very reliant on her dummy during the night and last night woke my daughter up every 15 minutes for it to be replaced She is definitely not hungry as she goes back to sleep immediately dummy goes in, but as you are all well aware, daughter getting very frazzled and is worried this trend may continue

Would it be wrong to take dummy away now and has anyone any advice as to how to go about it. Whether to do it gradually (not giving it to her during the daytime naps) or to just stop it altogether. Or should my daughter continue with dummy as obviously teething will be rearing itself shortly

Must add I am NOT an interferring mother (I live 100 miles away from daughter) but she has no access to computer during the day and at the moment she has no spare time in the evening to seek advice. I, on the other hand am retired with time on my hands and as you can see from the time of this post, suffer from sleeplessness

Any help/suggestions welcomed.

Thank you

Groovy Nana
by Nanatomillie 16th Jul 2007, 9:00am
I had the same problem until I started using a safety sleep. They're essentially a waistband with a velcro opening which is attached to a sheet that wraps around the bed. To buy one isn't cheap, but if you can sew a straight seam its not hard to make your own!
by Kiwimum 15th Nov 2006, 9:53am
After reading the comment added before this my baby shares the same problem, however he will go back to sleep 9 times out of ten, the only thing is every night for the last two months he has woken up at about 3 o'clock in the morning, hes tired , not hungry but will not go back to sleep, so the easy option is for him to sleep in our bed and he is happy then how can i break this routine, its hard for us in the night as we are tired as we both work
by chloe 14th Oct 2004, 6:28pm
My baby often moves around alot when she sleeps and this causes her to hit the crib bars which makes her wake up alot during the night. After she awakes this way theres no way she'll calm down by herself she needs to be calmed down and she continues to do it all night long. Eventually I'll just let her sleep in my bed so I can get some sleep because thats the only place she has room to roll.
by BlueEyedBunny222 15th Sep 2004, 4:23pm