What causes sudden night waking in a 10 month old?


Why is my once-slept-through-the-night 10 month old now waking up nightly around 4-5am, and the only thing that’ll get him back to sleep is milk?!?! He already cut two teeth, but I hate going back to feeding him in the middle of the night when he went 12 hours straight for months!

My first guess would be that this is a sleep regression that is being driven by separation anxiety. You didn’t mention that your son has separation anxiety, but he’s at an age where separation anxiety appears and can cause sleep trouble. His waking may relate to his sleep pressure dissipating to a level where he’s waking at a sleep cycle, wondering where you are and calling for you. The tricky thing is that once he wakes he may recognize that he is a little hungry. It’s probably not the hunger that is driving the wake up, but rather the waking for another reason that is drawing his attention to a little hunger that was suppressed before. You can either ride this out, because he may go back to normal after the separation anxiety subsides or you can do an intervention to teach him that you are available if he needs you, but unnecessary if he doesn’t need you. If you have previously done some sort of sleep intervention, then going back to that should communicate to him that it’s time to sleep. I hope that helps!

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