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Handling Night Wakings After Your Baby Has Been Sleep Trained

Successfully sleep training your baby is a major milestone. Once your little one has learned to self-soothe and sleep through the night, it can feel like a hard-won victory. However, even after your baby has been sleep trained, there may be periods when they wake up during the night. This can be due to various factors such as developmental regressions, illnesses, or changes in routine. We’ll explore how to handle night wakings after your baby has been sleep trained to ensure the maintenance of independent sleep.

Sleep Training Methods


Before diving into handling night wakings, let's briefly revisit the four common sleep training methods:

1. Pick Up/Put Down


This sleep training method involves picking up your baby when they cry to comfort them and then putting them back down when they are calm. The goal is to provide reassurance while encouraging self-soothing. This approach can be labor-intensive but is a gentler option that may suit sensitive babies or parents who prefer a more hands-on method. Keep in mind that this method CAN take longer and isn’t suitable for older babies.

2. Leave and Check (Ferber Method)


With this method, you leave your baby to try and self-soothe for predetermined intervals before going in to check and comfort them without picking them up. The intervals gradually increase in duration, teaching the baby to self-soothe. This method balances giving your baby space to learn self-soothing while ensuring they know you are nearby. This is our favorite, most effective method at Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting. Pairing this method with the understanding of a cry scale is what we recommend as moms and sleep consultants.

3. Stay in the Room (Chair Method)


Here, you stay in the room with your baby, gradually moving farther away from their crib each night. You offer comfort without direct intervention, allowing your presence to provide reassurance while they learn to fall asleep on their own. This method can be ideal for parents who want to maintain close contact but reduce the baby’s dependency on them for falling asleep. This method is suitable for all ages but doesn’t always mean faster times to fall asleep. It can be the right choice for some families though!

4. Extinction (Cry It Out)


The extinction method involves putting your baby to bed and not intervening, allowing them to cry until they fall asleep. This method can be challenging for parents to endure but is often effective for babies who need a clear, consistent signal to learn to sleep independently.

Night Wakings after Sleep Training

After successfully sleep training, your baby may start to experience night wakings. This is normal and can be attributed to several reasons such as:


  • Sleep Regressions: Developmental leaps, such as learning to crawl or walk, can disrupt sleep patterns. These regressions are temporary but can be challenging. In addition, your baby's schedule may need an update. Checkout our best advice for baby sleep schedules the first year and beyond.

  • Milestones: Major developmental milestones can excite or unsettle your baby, leading to night wakings. They might be processing new skills like sitting up or standing, which can disrupt their sleep.


  • Illness or Discomfort: Illnesses like colds or teething can cause discomfort, leading to frequent wakings. It's crucial to ensure your baby is comfortable and not in pain. During this time, you will want to provide care according your child's pediatrician so that they can stay as comfortable as possible.


  • Travel and Changes in Routine: Travel or changes in routine, such as a new sleeping environment, can disrupt your baby's sleep patterns. Maintaining a consistent bedtime routine can help mitigate this. Even on vacation or at a family member's home, mimicking the sleep routine and environment is possible!


  • Reintroducing Night Feeds: You may find yourself feeding your baby during the night again if they wake up frequently. While this can be comforting, it can also disrupt the sleep training progress if not managed carefully.


  • Co-Sleeping: If night wakings lead to bringing your baby into bed with you, it may provide temporary comfort but can disrupt their ability to sleep independently.

Assessing Your Baby’s Night Wakings: A Mental Checklist


When your baby wakes up during the night, it’s important to first ensure their basic needs are met. Here's a mental checklist to help assess the situation:


1. Check the Diaper: A full, wet diaper can be uncomfortable and wake your baby.

2. Look for Signs of Illness: Ensure your baby is not unwell, teething, or experiencing discomfort.

3. Consider Reflux or Digestive Issues: Babies with reflux or other digestive issues may wake up due to discomfort. A trapped burp can sometimes cause night wakings.

4. Check for Bowel Movements: A dirty diaper can cause distress and needs to be changed promptly.

5. Assess the Sleep Environment: Ensure your baby is not in an awkward or uncomfortable position. the sound machine hasn't turned off or the blackout shades haven't fallen down.


If everything appears to be in order, it's time to consider the next steps for handling the night waking.

Resuming Sleep Training


If your baby is waking up and you've ruled out any immediate issues, it might be time to resume a sleep training method. Given that your baby has already been sleep trained, you may want to opt for a less hands-on method. Here are some options:


1. Leave and Check -Ferber Method


If you used a more hands-on approach initially, transitioning to the leave and check method can be effective. By allowing your baby some time to self-soothe before checking in on them, you reinforce the skill of falling asleep independently while still providing reassurance.


2. Extinction Cry It Out


For parents who are comfortable with this method, the extinction approach can be a straightforward way to address night wakings. Since your baby has previously learned to self-soothe, this method may help re-establish those habits quickly.

3. Maintain Consistency


Regardless of the method you choose, consistency is key. Stick to your chosen approach and bedtime routine to reinforce healthy sleep habits. Consistency helps your baby understand what to expect and reduces confusion around sleep times.

Hiring a Sleep Coach

Handling night wakings can be a stressful and tiring experience for parents. If you’re struggling to determine the best approach or maintain consistency, our sleep coaching services at Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting can provide invaluable support. Here’s how we can help:


Personalized Guidance through the Sleep Training Process: Our sleep consultants offer tailored advice based on your baby's specific needs and circumstances.


Expert Sleep Support for Babies, Twins and Toddlers: Benefit from the expertise of as sleep consultant who understand the nuances of pediatric sleep and can help you navigate challenges.


Free Discovery Call with one of our Sleep Consultants: Schedule a free discovery call to discuss your baby’s sleep issues and explore potential solutions. Book your call today at this link


Our team at Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting is committed to helping you and your baby, toddler or twins achieve restful nights and establish predictable sleep habits.

Baby, toddler and twin sleep consultants

Handling night wakings after your baby has been sleep trained can be a challenging but manageable task. By understanding the reasons behind night wakings, using a mental checklist to ensure your baby is comfortable, and choosing an appropriate sleep training method, you can help your baby return to sleeping through the night.

Remember, consistency is crucial, and if you need additional support, our sleep coaching services at Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting are here to help you every step of the way. Don't hesitate to reach out for a free discovery call to discuss your child's sleep needs.

This article was written by Lindsay Loring, owner and senior sleep consultant at Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting. Lindsay is a sleep coach in the St. Louis, MO area and coaches families worldwide. Contact the team at Tweet Dreamzz today to start again on the path to peaceful nights.

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