6 Normal (but Alarming) Baby Health Issues

Why Is Baby Waking at Night Again?

For moms and dads with a newborn, sleep deprivation is unavoidable. But few parents expect a reprise when their child is nearly a year old.

"Meredith was sleeping through the night at 12 weeks, but then, a few months later, she started waking again at night, screaming," Warthen says. "We'd have to go in and calm her down, put the pacifier in her mouth, sometimes a couple of times a night."

Alas, even the dreamiest sleeper will experience plenty of setbacks during her first year. "At about 2 months, there's a honeymoon period with sleep where you feel like you're getting into a real rhythm with your child. But that starts to wane at about 4 months," Dr. Danielson says. Even little life disruptions can have a big impact on sleep, so things such as traveling, being sick, teething, growth spurts, or nearing a developmental milestone can make your baby start waking again, temporarily. In these instances, stick to your bedtime routine and soothe your child with comfort but not overinvolvement. (Pat her on the back, but don't pick her up and bring her into bed with you.)

One of the most common stumbling blocks parents encounter pops up at about 9 months. "Children start to understand the concept of object permanence, that things still exist even though they can't see them," Lerner says. "So they know that when you're not in the room, you're out there somewhere. And they know they can use their voice to make you come back."

While it can feel like your baby is backsliding, try to remember it's just the opposite -- she's taking huge developmental leaps forward. And as long as you don't pay too much attention to the protesting, your baby will sleep soundly again before too long.

"If you start getting very involved again in nighttime interactions, it can perpetuate the waking," Lerner says. "So respond, but keep the interaction brief. Peek your head in, just for 15 seconds, to let your baby know you're there but that nighttime is for sleeping."

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