Top 15 Reasons Why Baby is Waking At Night

15 reasons baby is wakingWhy is baby waking at night? Is it hunger? Discomfort? Something else?

Use our checklist to figure it out!

Top 15 Reasons Why Baby Is Waking At Night

    1. Hunger: Newborns need to eat around the clock, but even older babies need one (or possibly two) feedings at night. We generally recommend an attempt to night wean around 9 months. Although we consider it normal for a baby to need one night feeding up to 12 months of age in some cases.
    2. Wet/Leaky/Dirty Diaper: There’s really no way to prevent wet or dirty diapers from waking your baby. But you can do something about leaky diapers that disturb your baby or toddler’s sleep.
    3. Sleep Associations: Rocking or feeding your baby to sleep isn’t necessarily a problem – that is until your baby needs you to re-create her sleep associations in order to fall asleep when she wakes between sleep cycles. For details about what sleep associations are, and how they form, browse through this article.
    4. Too hot/too cold: Your baby will obviously be uncomfortable if she’s too cold. But avoid the impulse to overdress your little one, too. Babies and toddlers (and adults!) tend to sleep restlessly when too warm. It’s best to keep your baby’s room at an optimum temperature for sleep. Want to know what babies and toddlers wear to bed? Read through this article.
    5. Sleep regression: Your child will go through about 4 or 5 sleep regressions in the first 2 years of life. Want to know when the regressions happen and how they affect sleep? Check out this sleep regression post.
    6. Teething: Growing a mouthful of teeth is hard (and sometimes painful!) work for a baby. Read this article for tips about how to handle teething and its effects on sleep.
    7. Illness: Despite your best preventative measures, your baby or toddler will sometimes get sick. During an illness, be prepared for your baby or toddler to wake often, and provide all the comfort you can.
    8. Napping too much: Long daytime naps are a good thing – until they interfere with night sleep. That’s when you know your baby is napping too much. Remember, your baby or toddler’s overall daily sleep amounts tend to stay the same. But, your little one will shift sleep from nighttime to daytime. So consistent long naps will mean less sleep at night. Check out this article for details on how many naps your baby or toddler needs, and how long they should be.


  1. Overtiredness at bedtime: While it may seem sensible to keep your baby up later at bedtime, in the hopes that she’ll sleep all night, the reverse is actually true. Babies who go to bed late tend to be overtired at bedtime and sleep worse than babies who go to bed early. Try shifting bedtime a bit earlier, to help with night waking that stems from overtiredness.
  2. Discomfort: Big things, like vaccinations, can cause discomfort. So can small things, like an itchy shirt tag. If your baby seems to be in pain, or highly agitated, see if you can pinpoint a source of discomfort.
  3. Digestive issues (like gas or reflux): Gas and reflux can be very painful for a baby, and will obviously disrupt sleep. Food allergies may be to blame. If that’s the case, try a change in diet. For more help with digestive problems, see your baby’s healthcare provider.
  4. Food allergies or sensitivities: Food allergies and sensitivities cause a whole host of problems for your baby or toddler – including sleep issues. For details, read this article. For more information about starting your baby on solid foods, check out How to Start Solid Foods with Your Baby.
  5. Nightmares or Night terrors (12+ months): This won’t apply to younger babies, but if your little one is 12 months or older, nightmares (or night terrors) may begin to disrupt nighttime sleep.
  6. Room is too bright: Our brains associate light with being awake. That’s why it can be a good idea to let your newborn nap in a bright room, in order to sort out day/night confusion. But once your newborn has days and nights sorted out, it’s best to keep your baby or toddler’s room dark during sleep.
  7. Room is too noisy: Despite conventional wisdom, you can’t teach a baby to sleep through noise. Some babies and toddlers are just light sleepers. Every little sound wakes them up! For these little ones, white noise machines and apps are crucial for good sleep.

Do any of these reasons baby is waking at night look familiar?

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44 thoughts on “Top 15 Reasons Why Baby is Waking At Night”

  1. I have a 15 month old who used to sleep through. We are on our 3rd week of being up. She screams at the top of her voice. We check all the usual.hinger. wet. Even give calpol and teething gel. Nothing will settle her and it’s getting worse. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Dianne,
      Thank you for checking out The Baby Sleep Site! I’m sorry to hear you’re having such a huge sleep bump. Unfortunately, as you saw in the article, there are a lot of reasons for toddlers to wake at night. If you’ve ruled out a health problem, like an ear infection, we would next recommend going to a personalized sleep consultation, since a sleep consultant would be able to take a sleep history, look at her schedule and upcoming milestones, and help you make adjustments to maximize her sleep. You can see our packages here:
      I hope this helps, and please let us know if you have any questions!

  2. My baby wake up so many time in night and she is crying she is 15th month old,and when I give milk then she sleep she wants every time milk bottle in the mouth

    • Hi @Sorath, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with your daughter’s sleep. Here is a link to a free guide that will give you some tips to help your baby sleep through the night:
      It may take some time to implement the tips so hang in there! If you need more support, please let us know. We have a lot of other resources including personalized sleep consulting if you need more help. Please feel free to contact us directly anytime at [email protected] and we can help point you in the direction of other resources we have available that can help.

  3. My 13 month old wakes up every single night screaming on the top of his lungs. He wont let anybody hold him to comfort he wont calm down on his own it takes a long time and he cries to the point he throws up. I try to put lullabies on the phone for him to hear and see and try to offer things to him just so we can get him to just stop crying. We all can’t sleep especially my poor 6 year old. What can we do? His bedtime is at 830 same routine, bath, lotion, then dim lights in the room and put him in the crib

    • Hi @Bianca – Thank you for writing and I am sorry that your little guy is waking at night, and understand how really tough it is when baby is screaming loudly and will not settle! We completely understand how perplexing and exhausting this can be! If you are looking for free resources, we welcome you to peruse our blog with hundreds of free articles or, if you prefer to bypass some of that, we have e-Books and premium resources available where the research has been done for you. Or, for the fastest service, we have expert sleep consultants waiting to help get your family sleeping well!
      All of our email consultation packages for new clients include a Personalized Sleep Plan, which is a detailed guide written just for your family given your specific sleep history. If you would like help fro one of our wonderful and caring consultants, at any time, please check out our sleep consultation packages here:
      Hang in there! Please contact us if you have any questions at any time!

  4. My daughter is 1 and she rolls around and moans in her sleep the entire night. I’ve tried feeding, changing nappies more regularly, sleep positions, changed from her cot to our bed, I’ve nearly everything. She will sleep in our arms for 10min and then she is back to moving around.

    Please could you shed some light on this matter.

    • Hi @Tyron – Thank you for writing, and I am sorry that your little one is not sleeping peacefully! Have you asked your baby’s doctor about this? Perhaps she is a very “light” sleeper and is sleeping just fine, but for your peace of mind, you may want to confer with your pediatrician. We would be happy to take an in depth look at her sleep and her sleep history and help create a schedule and routine that will maximize her sleep, and a Plan to implement! But again, you may want to check in with her Doctor first!
      Please contact us if you have any questions! : )

  5. My child is 2 1/2yrs he wakes up in a middle of his sleep n night. Whn he wake up he dont cry or scream bt he wants us also to wake up with him. If i gv him feeder also he tk tht in mouth with eyes open till morning 7.00 n thn he goes to slip

  6. my babe just turned 1. he falls asleep on his own (bed and naps). gets up often at night, and recently ALL night. i believe it’s due to him being too cold; i add blankets through the night. we’ve tried different room temps, we keep the fan on- but pointed away, but he’s constantly slipping out of the blankets- sometimes hes completely out. i’ve tried putting him in a sleeper, but he would wake sooner from being too hot. i believe he is teething- he’s had 6 teeth for a few months now, he’s always chewing/biting, but i don’t feel that teething is the problem; he’s not in pain. any ideas?

    • @Loranda, thank you for writing to us. I am sorry you are experiencing frequent night wakings with your son. If it is the temperature, I would continue to experiment with different sleep sacs and pajamas – they make different thickness of sleep sacs so you do not have to get a heavy fleece one for instance, if you are in a warmer climate. Another contributor to the problem may be that your son has some sleep associations that are causing him to wake up. When he wakes, how are you handling putting him back down? Does if you are having to help him go down for those wake ups, you will want to slowly wean him from whatever that may be (rocking/bottle/nursing/etc). Here is a link to an article about sleep associations with more information on that: and another article series with different sleep training methods:
      I hope you see some improvement in his sleep soon! Thank you for using the Baby Sleep Site as a resource for sleep!

  7. My 19 month old daughter has not been a great sleeper since she was about six months old (waking 3-5 times per night), but in the last week or so, she has been sleeping even worse. It is hard for her to stay settled for even an hour. Is this an 18 month sleep regression or is this just her sleep habits getting worse?

    • @ Julie – It’s likely the 18 month regression that’s exacerbating your usual problems, I’d guess. But rest assured that at this point, you really don’t have to suffer through awful nighttime waking! Your little one is no doubt biologically and developmentally ready to sleep through the night. If you haven’t already, it may be time to try sleep coaching. Our free toddler guide ( is a great place to start. Hope that info helps! Good luck to you and to your family 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  8. Hi there, any tips with this situation…
    My 5 month old has 3 or 4 sleeps a day (generally 3 now). Puts herself to sleep during the day with a eat play sleep routine. However at bedtime- usually 6-630 she cries hysterically. Breastfeeding is not relaxing and we give her a bottle. She generally gets very upset once in the cot. We leave her to cry, go in and reassure (which makes it worse) then end up rocking her till she calms down. She sometimes goes back in the cot awake and goes to sleep. She is still feeding once overnight with no issues. Thanks!

    • @ Kate – how frustrating! Have you tried reconciling your daughters usual schedule with our sample 5 month old baby schedule? You can see it here: 3 naps is on the shorter side for a 5 month old, so it may be that you need to adjust the timing of naps to allow for a 4th catnap; that may ward off overtiredness. It could also be that bedtime is too late. Look closely at the gap between the end of her last nap and bedtime; it could be that the gap is too long, and that by bedtime, she’s overly tired and upset.

      Hope these tips help, Kate – best of luck to you! Thanks for commenting.

  9. My14 month old son always takes 2 naps a day, ranging from 1-2 hours each. Goes to bed between 7-7:30. And always wakes up around 3:45-4. Plays around in his crib for an hour or so then might fall back to sleep until 6. How can I get him to sleep thru until 6. Could he be taking to long of naps during the day?

    • @ Fallon – yes, those naps do sound on the long side – and bedtime at 7:00 is a bit early if his second nap is 2 hours long. I’d recommend making sure that all naps are done by mid-afternoon, if you want to stick to a 7:00 or 7:30 bedtime. Or, if that’s not working, you may want to push bedtime back a bit.

      Hope that helps! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  10. My 20 month old daughter was doing awesome. One solid nap of anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours and sleeping from 7:30 or 8 until 6:30. Not sure what happened but we are dealing with tough naps (not wanting to go to sleep) and then often when she dies she’s waking up screaming – we had two days in a row of awesome so I’m hoping we are on the way out. She’s also been waking at least once most nights, usually around 5:30. We go in and feed her and she goes back to sleep. I have a feeling we shouldn’t be feeding her but it’s easy and we know she’ll fall back asleep for at least 45 minutes. Hoping it’s teething and that it will go away! I’m pregnant with #2 and need my sleep!

    • @ Jessica – possibly a late onset of the 18 month sleep regression? If she normally sleeps well, then I’d bet this is a phase that will pass. Hang tough and keep doing what you usually do.

      Hope this helps, Jessica! Best of luck to you and your family (and hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well!). 🙂

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