Baby Waking Every 2 Hours? Here’s How I Helped My Baby.

If you have noticed your child waking up almost every two hours from their sleep and you do not know how to help them? Don’t worry. I was in the same boat. I decided to research all I could on how to help my little one sleep better through the night.

How can you help your baby sleep better? There are numerous ways to help your child be able to sleep better throughout the night, especially if they are waking every 2 hours. The first thing you can do is asses if their waking has to do with anything you can solve right away. If everything seems fine, then you will want to start looking into some tips to help babies sleep better. These tips are mentioned further in the article. 

Babies tend to have a long sleep schedule than older children and even adults. It can be frustrating if you have come to realize that your baby is not getting the best sleep it can. It can also be even more frustrating to not know how to help them with that situation. Luckily, there is a ton of helpful tips, guides, and information on a child’s sleep schedule and how to help them achieve that steady schedule.

What Can You Do?

The very first thing you can do to help the 2-hour waking is to make sure that your baby is not waking up for reasons that can be relatively easy to fix or control.

(This can be having too much sleep during the day or even too little sleep during the day).

Both of those factors can affect the way your child is able to sleep comfortably through the night. It is important that your child has a better schedule when it comes to sleeping. Especially if they take day and afternoon naps (and if the naps go on for a long time or a short amount of time).

Another probable cause for your child’s restless sleep is simply if they are hungry. Though beyond 4 months of age your baby won’t need to be eating overnight, and this applies especially if they are able to go longer in-between feedings.

If your baby wakes only to suck a few times before falling back asleep, it is likely that they are simply wanting to suck themselves back to sleep instead of actually needing to feed.

The best thing you can do to break this habit of waking every 2 hours is to encourage your baby to settle as naps start and at bedtime as well. The night restlessness should be gone if you follow this rule.

How to Help Your Baby Settle Before Bed

If you are not sure on how to settle your baby before bedtime or naptime, I can help with that as well!

Some of these tactics might help your baby sleep better but it is not guaranteed since all babies are different on how they respond to things.

Make daytime feedings social and lively, and have nighttime feeds be calm and quiet. This can help your baby set their own body clock and be able to know the difference between night and day.

Give your baby a chance to fall asleep on their own. This can be a bit difficult if you are used to helping your baby to fall asleep. But you can start this tactic as early as six weeks. This is the time where your baby starts to develop a natural circadian rhythm, and sleep-wake” cycle.

You can place your baby on their back if they are sleepy but are still awake. If you tend to rock or feed your baby to sleep, they will start to depend on it. (This can become a problem if you want them falling asleep on their own).

Be sure to set a short and simple bedtime routine! You should start this at about three months. Having a simpler bed routine can encourage some quiet time before bedtime. You can do this by turning off the TV, and winding down any activities they may be doing.

This will help set the scene better and your baby is more likely to be relaxed.

You can start bedtime with a bath. Having a relaxing bath and being placed into pajamas right after can help your child start to realize that it is time to get sleepy.

After their bath, you can follow up with either a lullaby, story or calming massage. It is up to you as the parent which route you want to take when putting your child to sleep.

If you keep up with a consistent bedtime routine, it will condition your baby to know when it is time to go to sleep. Be sure to finish the bedtime routine in the room where your baby will fall asleep in.

(It is advised to have your baby sleep in the same room as you for the first six months.) 

This bedtime ritual should last no longer the 30 minutes!

Give them a security object. If your baby is over six months old, you can give her a security object. Which can be many things:

  • baby blanket
  • stuffed animal
  • pacifiers

It is around six or seven months that your baby will start to become aware of their separation from you. So, by having this familiar object with them can be comforting for them.

Do not give your baby a comforter or soft toy if she is younger six months, this can increase her chances of having sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Before you place the toy in her crib, keep it near you or on you for a little while so that it can smell like you.

Better yet, if you are breastfeeding you can express some breastmilk onto a small piece of muslin (a cotton cloth). Babies actually have quite a strong sense of smell, so if she wakes up startled the smell of you will calm her down.

Wait and see if your baby settles on their own. Once your baby is about four or five months old they are likely to need fewer night feedings. Instead, they will need to be sleeping longer.

If your baby is crying once you put them down, listen to a few seconds before you go to her (even though your instinct is telling you to rush to them). This will just give them some time to settle.

If they continue to cry you can go to them and pat them gently but tell them that it is time for bed. You then should leave the room and wait a couple minutes and check on them again.

Once you are up to your third or fourth attempt and you feel that they are still getting distressed you can pick them up. Check to see if they are all right and just repeat the process.

This can be a difficult method to try since your baby is likely to feel a bit distressed from your separation and the inability to sleep on their own. But once you can figure out the trick to getting them to sleep on their own, their nights won’t be as restless as well as yours.

Have you heard of Smart Sleeper? A smart sleeper is a revolutionary bassinet equipped with artificial intelligence that detects when your baby cries. When your baby wakes up and just needs to be put back to sleep, The Snoo will play white noise AND vibrate until your baby falls back to sleep. If your baby is crying because they are hungry, The Snoo will alert you to come and feed your baby. Isn’t that fancy or what?

You can buy or rent The Snoo for just dollars a day. Read my review of The Snoo, Smart Sleeper here

Sleeping Methods

If you find that you are a parent that relies on rocking your baby to sleep or feeding them milk at the same time, then you know that these methods do not work that well when it comes to putting your baby to sleep.

If know of no other way to put your baby to sleep, don’t worry. There is sleep-training. This is a way to let your baby soothe itself, and teaching them that they are capable of falling asleep on their own.

Babies who are older than six months that have been taught to soothe themselves have an easier time falling asleep when it comes to bedtime!

This is entirely worth a try!

What is the right age to start sleep training?

This is mainly based on the development of your child. Though it is somewhere between four to six months when your baby has not had much time to get used to being rocked to sleep.

At this time babies are usually ready to start learning how to fall asleep on their own.

And it is around four months that babies will go through what is called Sleep Regression because their sleep cycles will change and there will be longer periods of lighter sleep during each cycle.

Some parents feel it best to wait until things have settled for their child, but there is no set rule that says you have to do the same.

Before you begin

Some simpler strategies to help with your child restless can be:

  • Cuddling up with your baby in your own bed. Comfort her so she knows it is time to go to sleep. You can lie down together, cuddle, and even pretend to sleep. This will confirm that it is time to sleep.
  • Share the role of comforter with your partner! You can both help your baby fall back asleep. Once your child no longer needs a night-time feed your partner can go and comfort them.
  • Tune into your baby’s needs! You can make sure during the day that they feel secure with whatever they need. Even during the night, they might wake do to her nappy being full, or maybe they are not feeling well.

Now, before you even think about “training” your baby, you need to make sure that you are following a regular sleep schedule and are putting them to bed at a consistent time every night.

Starting at about two months old it is a relatively good idea to put them down in their crib while their drowsy but still awake for them to be able to fall asleep on their own. This will help them get used to it.

It is advised by some experts that it is best to feed your baby at the beginning of the routine so you can avoid having them associating falling asleep with being fed.

Note: The age of your baby will determine what kind of sleep-training method you will choose. 

Once you accomplished all the ways to get a good night’s sleep in place for your baby and you are ready to have them learn to fall asleep on their own here are 6 common methods to do so:

1 Check and Console

The general principles to this method are that you want to continue to check on your baby in intervals but never feed or rock them back to sleep. This means that they are not falling asleep on their own.

Once you placed your baby back into the crib and you have waited for your preset amount of time you can go in and reassure your baby with some touch or words.

It is best not to pick up your child. 

You can continue to check back in on them, increasing the amount of time between visits until you reach about 10 to 15 minutes. Then just keep at it until they fall asleep.

When they wake up, you start over again!

This method can be a bit hard to work on but at most, it will take a week to start seeing its effects and progress.

2 Cry it Out

The idea behind this method is that you do not want to respond to the crying of your baby.

Similar to the check-and-console sleep method you will go through the bedtime routine and get your baby ready for bed and put them into the crib wide awake and walk out.

(This sleep method is known to be the most controversial of them all, and some experts differ in opinion on what to do next.) 

The next step to take depends on what stage your baby is at developmentally, and it also depends on what the parents themselves prefer.

There are two methods to go about this:

  1. You can leave your baby in the crib till morning. (This can be hard since it is likely that your baby will be up every hour crying).
  2. Wait for at least one or two wake-ups before going back into the room. If they wake up after midnight, it is OK to go back in and comfort your baby for a few minutes and you should leave again.

There are a few parents who hesitate about following through on this method because of the amount of crying that is involved. It will be difficult at first, there is no denying that.

It is important to try it for a week before determining that it does not work well. 

But as you continue with the method the nights will get easier.

3 Chair Method

This method, in particular, requires a large amount of discipline on the parents since it is a very gradual sleep method.

As you prepare your baby’s food, instead of leaving the room, sit in a chair next to the crib.

When they fall asleep, you leave the room, but every time they wake up you will sit back in the chair till they fall asleep again.

As the nights go on, you will move the chair farther and farther away until you are out of the room.

This method is not looked upon highly since there can be some negative effects on your baby.

It can be confusing for them to have you watch them cry and not respond. Though the damage that is done depends on the baby’s age and their developmental age.

4 Pick Up, Put Down, and Shush-Pat

This method is for babies younger than seven months. This method is best if you stay in the room with them without helping them fall asleep.

You can stand over their crib, and shush them, pat their tummy or even apply pressure to reassure them.

Another option is to let them fuss, but if they start to escalate you can pick them up, calm them, and then put them back down before they fall asleep.

This method really works well for younger babies! As for those after six months your presence might make your baby more upset, and if you pick them up and put them back it might be too much stimulation for them.

5 Bedtime-Routing Fading

With this method, you can use whatever method you were using before to have your baby fall asleep. This can be rocking and nursing. But you should decrease the amount of time you spend doing this until you finally don’t have to do it at all.

This technique is great if you want the crying to lessen at nights, but there are some parents who find this technique difficult to follow through on.

It will take a few days to be able to accomplish this, and for some parents that seems like there is no end in sight.

It is worth a try if you want your child to be able to fall asleep through the entire night.

6 Bedtime-Hour Fading

This method is not to be confused for the one above it! Bedtime-hour fading has you put your baby to bed at the time they are used to or the time they naturally fall asleep at.

You then make that their bedtime for a couple nights. This instills a consistent routine, and you can then move this bedtime earlier by 15 minutes but still keeping with the routine.

The bedtime can be moved every 15 minutes until you have your baby falling asleep at the time you desire!

Overall, these methods can help with any problems your baby may be experiencing while falling asleep at night!

I would check out my link to The Baby Sleep Miracle Program, by Mary-Ann Schuler. It covers everything possible in regards to teaching your baby how to sleep. There are some very useful techniques that are in this program which I don’t discuss due to the fact that it is more tailored towards your individual baby. Check it out here!

Related Questions

What time should my baby wake up in the morning? For most infants, toddlers, and preschoolers the natural bedtime is between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and the time they usually wake up at is between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.

How do I get my baby into a bedtime routine? This depends on the parent and what they want to follow when it comes to the routine of their baby! Though, it is advised that when getting a baby ready for bed you should:

  • bath them
  • put on a clean diaper
  • lotion and massage them
  • put on their pajamas
  • feed them
  • swaddle them
  • sing a quick lullaby

And eventually, they are able to fall asleep!

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