5 simple steps to solve hourly waking without sleep training

baby in cot awake and waking hourly through the night

You might be reading this because you are fed up with the pressure to sleep train your child. However, the reality is you may also be struggling with very frequent or hourly waking and are willing to try anything to get some long stretches of sleep.

The good news is that there is so much you CAN do to improve your little one’s sleep without leaving them to cry. It’s a good idea to start making changes in the day first as no one wants to cope with doing something different in the middle of the night.

Let me share with you five game-changing strategies that I use with every family I’m working with to reduce those hourly wakes:

1. Correct Daytime Sleep

Every baby is unique and understanding their personal sleep needs is crucial. The first think to look at is how much sleep your baby is getting in the day. They may actually not need as much sleep as they are having or the timing of their naps may not be meeting their needs. Too much day sleep or naps at the wrong time of day is one of the main reasons for frequent night waking.

2. Focus on Connection

Night sleep is a long period of separation from you and if your little one is not getting enough connection with you in the daytime, they will be looking for more through the night. This is particularly important if you have been apart at work and childcare all day. Prioritise connection when you are back together again. Think skin-to-skin, sharing a bath, breastfeeding, playing together, dancing to music…

3. Optimise Daytime Feeds

As your baby becomes more interested in the world around them, they are easily distracted during day feeds and often make up for this at night. Try to optimise daytime feeds as much as possible. You may find it helpful to go into a quiet, dimly lit room or use a nursing necklace. If your little one is now eating solids, it’s a good idea to include some higher-calorie foods in their diet such as lentils, sweet potato, cheese, sour cream and full-fat yoghurt.

4. Consistent Bedtime Routine

Research shows that having a consistent bedtime routine actually promotes better sleep. Aim to establish a predictable sequence of activities that signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Select 4 or 5 activities to include in your routine such as a warm bath, gentle massage, reading a bedtime story, or singing a lullaby. Consistency is key, so doing this in the same order every night will help your baby recognize and anticipate sleep time.

5. Select the Best Sleeping Environment

As your baby gets older, they become very aware of their surroundings and what happens as they are falling asleep. Co-sleeping may have been working well for you but you may now be finding that you are disturbing each other and your baby will sleep better in their own sleep space. Other babies are comforted by your presence and sleep better with you close by. Working out what works best for your baby can make a big difference.

So, there you have it – five strategies to tackle hourly waking without resorting to sleep training that you can focus on in the day. Remember, every baby is different, and what works for one might not work for another. But with a little patience and consistency, you can help your little one (and yourself) get the restful nights you both deserve.

If you need more personalised support to work out your baby’s unique sleep needs or solve their hourly waking, check out my 1-1 packages or my all-inclusive group sleep coaching program for exhausted Mums who are going back to work (or already there).