When you are the parent of a newborn, you learn to function on less than the acceptable amount of shut-eye.
Parents around the world ask why their child keeps waking up every 10-20 minutes throughout the night?
What can you do, and when will these precious infants finally learn to rest for more than two hours at a time?
There are many reasons why a baby might go through various sleep/wake cycles.
Some of the reasons for the constant sleep interruptions are easy fixes
but other situations require a bit of detective work.
First, you need to remind yourself that babies don’t come equipped with the ability to sleep for long periods, which is why sleep training is essential.
What you are experiencing is normal, and it won’t last forever.
By the time a child is six months of age, they can go for more extended periods without food, which means they will sleep longer.
However, before six months, it’s highly unlikely that they will sleep throughout the night.
The Most Common Reasons Why Your Baby Keeps Waking Up Every 10 Minutes
#1 Separation Anxiety
Babies spend nine months snuggled up to your heartbeat.
They heard your blood flowing, felt the warmth of your body, and enjoyed you talking to them.
Being on the outside in this big world can be scary.
They are all by themselves and often long for that intimacy they once felt.
Babies are very close to their mothers, and when they find themselves in a crib all alone, they may cry, wanting to see you.
It’s very natural for them to have these feelings, and with time, they will learn to adjust.
One of the best ways to comfort them is by taking away some of the silence.
A white noise machine, a fan pointed away from the crib, or soft music may be the answer.
They don’t want to be alone, so give them some background noise to comfort them.
#2 Hunger Pangs
The average baby will sleep two to three hours during the night.
A nursing baby sometimes eats more often as they long for that soothing from their parent.
The recommended age for an infant to start eating solid foods is six months old.
Until that time, the baby will eat more as they are struggling to keep their belly full.
Once they start on solid foods, it’s possible to extend their mealtime by half-hour intervals.
So the first week make them wait two and a half hours, then the following week three hours, and so on.
Ask the pediatrician when and if it’s acceptable to add cereal to the baby’s bottle.
Cereal can help to fill the infant’s belly and allow them to sleep longer.
Teething is one of the most trying times in a parent and newborn’s life.
The endless hours of crying and excessive slobbering can send you over the edge.
However, remember back to a time when you were suffering from a toothache.
The constant throbbing and sharp pains can make you lose your sanity.
Now, imagine that you had that pain occurring in various areas in your mouth.
It’s nothing short of torture.
If an infant is teething, then they are in intense pain.
You can quickly identify these areas by the swelling, raised zone where a tooth is pushing through, and their behavior.
It’s not uncommon for them to have a fever along too.
You can help to soothe their pain with some gum, numbing gel, or a cold teething ring.
Thankfully, the discomfort won’t last forever.
If your baby keeps waking up every 10 minutes, then you might suspect teething.
#4 Diaper Rash
Have you ever experienced a rash where your legs rub together when doing excessive walking?
Gaulding skin is not fun, but the same friction that causes your outbreak causes a diaper rash.
The constant moisture, irritation, and diapers can all be too much for the baby’s delicate skin.
They may be waking up every few minutes because they are in pain.
A good rash creme can help them to feel relief.
If the rash doesn’t seem to go away, try changing detergents and diapers.
When the problem is still present no matter what you’ve done, then it’s time to head to the pediatrician’s office.
#5 Reverse Cycling
If mom is away during the day, the baby may refuse to take a bottle if they want to be nursed.
By the time the mom gets home, the baby is ravenous and not wanting to do anything but eat.
The infant may adjust their schedule to reverse yours so that they can have your undivided attention.
They may not want to sleep at night because they want to be up with you.
If you are a nursing mother, then your child will want to latch on to you constantly.
To combat this problem, try giving them a bottle in the evenings too.
Sure, nothing is going to replace the joy of nursing, but you need some rest and relaxation also.
If you are at work all day long, the sitter will need to find a way to get the baby to take a bottle.
It may take some time to work out a schedule that benefits everyone.
#6 Growth Spurts
When the baby hits a growth spurt, your child is going to be more fascinated with their newfound abilities than sleeping.
For instance, a baby that has learned that they can turn over is going to perfect their new task.
Also, keep in mind that a child that learns they can move is going to be excited about traveling.
As a parent, you worry more when they start rolling over, standing up, crawling, and eventually walking.
However, it’s all part of the growing up process.
These growth spurts can cause sleep disruptions.
Don’t worry; they will soon become accustomed to these new activities.
If baby keeps waking up every 10 minutes, then you might assume they are sick.
If you’ve checked the diaper, their belly is full, and everything else seems to be in order, they could be fighting a virus.
Infants have a delicate immune system. A common cold to you can be devastating to their little body.
Things like RSV, Scarlet Fever, Influenza, and Roseola is hard on them.
If they have a fever and have been fussy for more than 24 hours, then it may be worth a trip to the pediatrician’s office.
Unfortunately, infants can be plagued by allergies from an early age.
Did you know that most people develop their allergies by the age of ten?
If you notice things like running eyes, constant sneezing, irritated throat, and other common sinus problems, then it’s probably worth having evaluated.
Allergies can be miserable to deal with at any age.
#9 Bad Sleepers
Why is it that some children seem to sleep well through the night from birth, and others are struggling to get good sleep through adulthood?
Some people are just better sleepers than others.
Could your baby be a bad sleeper?
Is the mom or dad a bad sleeper?
Genetic traits, like slumbering habits, can be passed on to the baby.
Your child may need habitual associations to get any rest.
Imagine the worst gas you’ve had and the pain you had with it.
Do you remember the agony?
Gas can be so bad that it bubbles up into your chest cavity and makes you feel as if you are having a heart attack.
Your infant can also experience gas from their milk, or a chronic condition called colic.
They can have a milk allergy that is firing up their stomach, but the only way they can communicate this to you is through crying.
Colic is one of the most painful medical occurrences for both the parent and child.
Babies can shriek hours on end from gas pangs, and parents feel their sanity is being tested for the constant shrilling screams.
There are all sorts of tips and tricks on how to resolve these issues.
Expect sleepless nights and lots of trial and error to find a resolution that works.
When Is It Time to Call the Pediatrician?
As a parent, you’re not always going to have all the answers.
In fact, there will be many days where you just go on gut instincts and pray it all works out.
However, when baby keeps waking up every 10 minutes, it can wear everyone in the house down.
When in doubt, have it checked out.
Most of the pediatrician’s offices understand that some typical infant issues can be cause for alarm.
They have all sorts of advice that can help you to get through the rough patches.
If this is your first child, you may be a bit more on edge than a well-seasoned parent.
Consequently, when it comes to your baby’s health, you can never be too careful.
- Baby Thrashing In Sleep, Not The Biggest Of Worries
- Is Your Baby’s Bedtime Too Late?
- Sample baby nap schedule for 3- and 4-month-olds
- When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night?
- Night Terrors
- Understanding baby sleep cycles