Friday, October 4, 2013

Top 5 reasons why babies wake up at night

This post is brought to you by Pampers.

Hello and welcome to your weekly dose of wisdom from Pampers Mommy me!

I'm going to admit that I get a little thrill whenever I see myself and my kids on the Facebook page of Pampers Philippines. I know it's uncool to be thrilled about it but I think it is so cool to be a Pampers Mommy! I'm learning a lot about how sleep is vital for our kids' development, I get to share what I've learned to my beloved mommy readers, my blog gets promoted to a community that has 135,000 members, and I get to dispense advice!

I also admit getting more than a year's supply of diapers for my kids is so very welcome!
I got free diapers and a yummy chocolate cake!
I turn around to put the cake in the ref and the next second I see this!
They climbed up! I almost had a heart attack! Boys!

Anyway, for this week's topic, we'll be taking about sleep disruptors. I bet that one of a new parent's first questions is, "When will my baby sleep through the night?" Well, that really depends on you, the parent, and your baby.

There are many reasons why a baby wakes up at night. For one thing, babies are designed to sleep light. Oh darn! Yep, you read that right. Mother Nature made babies easily awakened for their own good (yep, not for the good of poor sleep-deprived parents!). Imagine if babies slept the 8-hour, deep sleep of adults. Tiny tummies need refilling every 4 hours max. Sensitive baby skin gets easily irritated by wet diapers. Loud noises may mean danger. A stuffy nose may mean being unable to breathe. Little disturbances may not affect us adults but these can mean life or death for vulnerable little ones! That's why babies are light sleepers—it's a survival thing.

So today we'll try to find out how to ease baby's worries, to make him feel so secure that his sleep—and consequently, his proper growth and development—won't be so disrupted.

Five Reasons Why Babies Wake Up at Night

1. Startle Reflex
New parents worry when their baby gets startled while asleep. That's when the baby suddenly jerks his little body and flails his arms and legs. This is very normal. No need to worry! It lasts up to when baby is 4 or 5 months. It could be triggered by a loud sound or an unexpected touch.
What to do: Make sure baby's room is quiet. Our bedroom is far from the kitchen, for example. We also employ white noise to shush out environmental noise. With Vito, we used a toy giraffe that creates white noise. With Iñigo, we use the BBC channel set on low volume (nothing like soothing British voices!).
Avoid unnecessary touching of the baby, like checking if his diaper is wet (get a good diaper like Pampers Comfort) or pulling down his shirt (my kids wear a onesie or frog suit) or adjusting his blanket (better yet, don't use a blanket. Use sleepsacks.).   

2. Hunger
Newborns have tiny tummies, about the size of his fist. So his tummy gets filled up with milk pretty quick. It also uses up that milk just as quickly. That's why a newborn wakes up hungry every 2-3 hours.
What to do: Breastfeed! Since breast milk is instant—no need to prepare or warm up—a baby who wakes up is quickly nursed back to sleep. No need for him to wait, wake up even more, or get upset for long. Plus, mommy's breast is such a source of warmth, comfort and cuddles so baby goes back to deep sleep immediately.
If your baby is formula-fed, try to find a way to quicken formula preparation. I can't give tips since I'm a breastfeeding mommy so please share in the comments. Thanks!

3. Illness
A mommy's heart is always so worried when she has a sick baby. Baby can't sleep if his nose is stuffy, if a bad cough racks him awake, if a fever makes him feel chilly or hot.
What to do: Try to make baby feel as comfortable as possible. When my kids have colds and coughs, we nebulize them, even while they're sleeping. We also consult with their pedia and religiously administer the babies' homeopathic meds so that the boys will get well sooner.

4. Light
Light, even something as pale as moonlight, can disturb a baby's sleep. Light suppresses the hormone melatonin, which is what helps us sleep.
What to do: Keep baby's room dark, as dark as possible. Use a lamp with a soft light in case you need to get up in the middle of the night.

5. Discomfort
The room's too hot or too cold. Baby's clothes are too snug. The diaper isn't absorbent or it leaks.
What to do: Check if baby's okay by observing if he's sweaty (too hot) or if his limbs are a bit blue (too cold). Use soft, comfy onesies that fit baby well. Use super absorbent diapers like Pampers Comfort so your baby is protected from wetness and leaks. It's such a good diaper, you won't even have to check it if it's full or if there's leakage! Like I said above, even the simplest touch can disturb baby's sleep. And this is what Pampers said:
  • Pampers Comfort not just protects baby’s complete sleep against wetness, but also strengthens mom’s belief that  she is providing her baby with the best possible care he needs to achieve optimum brain development.
  • With other brands, mom believes that she needs to wake-up at night to check the baby’s diaper, but she doesn’t realize that even checking baby’s diaper disrupts his complete sleep and hampers baby’s brain development.
  • When baby sleeps through the night, night after night, it is a key step in baby’s development.
  • Complete night-time sleep is very important to baby’s development and growth. It is associated with more positive daytime behavior, mood and temperament, and better physical functioning.
There are many more reasons why baby wakes up at night (click here!). The important thing is to understand the reasons (click here!) and to not be frustrated. Put baby on a sleep schedule, make his sleeping area as comfy as possible, keep him dry, fed and loved. Sooner than later, your little one (and you and daddy!) will be enjoying a good night's sleep!

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  1. Help My baby wakes up every hour at night. Desperate for sleep?

    1. How old is your baby? When they're newborns up to about 3 months old, babies wake up often to feed. That's because they have tiny tummies that get hungry. If your baby is older, try to find out what the sleep disruptions are—noise, discomfort, etc.

  2. i'm also a Pampers mommy! it's true when they say that 1 pampers is one dry night :) lucky you, you got tons of Pampers diapers from them, hehe.

    REAlity Bites

    1. Yes! Hubby and I were so happy when the boxes arrived! Enough diapers for more than a year! =)

  3. Hi Frances! What are the pros and cons of using disposables like Pampers vs cloth diapers like Next9, BabyLeaf and Tushy Wushy. I think you're the best person to answer this because I know from your previous entries that you've used cloth diapers din (loyal reader here!).

    Can you also enlighten us about the proper way to dispose diapers? Especially if one can't afford those fancy nappy bins. :) Look forward to hearing from you!

    -Mommy M

    1. Yes, I used cloth diapers for the longest time! I only quit when I didn't have household help anymore. I tried! But when I found myself elbow deep in dirty laundry water washing cloth diapers at 3am then waking up at 5am because the kids wake up at dawn, I decided to go disposables. The lack of sleep made me an awful mommy, snapping and shouting at my kids all day! =(

      Cloth diapers are actually very absorbent so baby stays comfy for a couple of hours.
      Since cloth diapers don't keep baby dry, baby learns to be toilet-trained earlier (supposedly because this didn't happen with Vito!).
      Environment friendly.

      Expensive at the start since a set of 3 diapers is about P1,000.
      Fills up fast so you have to change baby often.
      You have to wash them. Some people say that this lessens the environment-friendly cred of cloth diapers because of the amount of water and detergent you need daily.

    2. The proper way to dispose of diapers is to scrape off poop into the toilet bowl first. Then wrap the diaper into itself and seal it using its tape. If you're out, bring a plastic bag and put the dirty diaper in it, seal it, then throw away. This way, it won't stink up other people's bathrooms =)

    3. "The lack of sleep made me an awful mommy, snapping and shouting at my kids all day! =("
      --I'm guilty of this! Now, I make sure that I sleep 6 or 8 hours (which seldom happen) so I won't be cranky. Until now I remember my son's face when I yelled at him.

      "The proper way to dispose of diapers is to scrape off poop into the toilet bowl first. Then wrap the diaper into itself and seal it using its tape. If you're out, bring a plastic bag and put the dirty diaper in it, seal it, then throw away. This way, it won't stink up other people's bathrooms =)"
      -- I didn't know I need to scrape off the poo into the toilet bowl before I throw them on the trash bin. Silly me! Imagine the awful smell when I throw something in the trash bin. Yikes! Now I know! But I do sprinkle some Baking Soda in the trash bin. Wala lang para hindi ganoon kabaho! ;p

      When I go to the mall, I always bring Mothercare's Nappy Sack. It works well...when he was 1-2 years old! LOL. Now that he's 3 and eats whatever he likes, his poop smells like.. ugh.. it's so hard to describe! Basta it's awful that the nappy sack can't block the smell na! Haha! :))

    4. Thanks, Frances! Never thought about the scrape-before-you-throw-in-the-bin technique! Nice tip!

      Mommy M


This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!