At your wits’ end about what could be causing your child’s wintertime sleep fussiness? Here are a few of the more common reasons he could be waking up:
TEMPERAT ATURE: Your baby might be too hot or too cold. The ideal room temperature is around 21° C, says sleep consultancy owner Petro Thamm. If you can boost the thermostat to maintain this warmth, you won’t need any extra clothing. However, if your home’s heating is an issue, Thamm recommends a sleep sack – it’s effectively a wearable blanket, but much safer (since baby could kick a blanket loose and suffocate). “If swaddling a newborn, dress him nice and warm close to his body with a vest or something before swaddling. If his torso stays nice and warm, the rest of him will also,” she adds.
STUFFY NOSE: Babies hate having blocked noses, says Dr Dyssell. “They don’t easily breathe through their mouths. So if they’ve got a blocked nose – whether it’s from winter viruses or allergy – they will certainly sleep badly. It’s definitely worth sorting out.”
EAR INFECTION: Children can develop fluid behind their eardrums (from a blocked nose or respiratory infection) that makes for discomfort and poor sleep. See a doctor.
FEVER: Normal body temperature is between 36 and 37° C, but this can vary by a few points of a degree from child to child. If your baby has a fever, keep him hydrated with breastmilk or formula, apply a cool cloth compress and seek medical attention as soon as possible if it persists.
SNORING: If a baby snores, there is an underlying medical condition that needs medical attention, says Dr Dyssell.
ACID REFLUX AND HEARTBURN: “In young babies less than six months of age, acid reflux with heartburn is a fairly common problem,” reports Dr Dyssell. He recommends seeing a paediatrician if your baby always cries when you lay him down, wants to feed frequently or sleeps poorly.
HUNGER: For some babies, breastmilk or formula just doesn’t cut it after four to six months. Dyssell says a simple weigh-in at the doctor will tell you if your baby should be introduced to weaning foods (solids) to help curb their hunger.