What are they and how can we help them?
False starts are what happens when your baby wakes up between 30-60 minutes after going to bed and they can happen for many different reasons.
Possibly the most common reason for false starts is overtiredness – now this is a word that is said A LOT in the sleep industry and it’s really not as scary as it sounds. You will know if your child is overtired because they will back arch, be disinterested in toys or engaging, cry or be hard to distract and fall asleep very quickly at bedtime when you notice these things and false starts are happening then shorten that last wake window, see if there is a difference in your baby’s temperament, how quickly they fall asleep and if the false starts decrease
Low Sleep Pressure
What I mean by sleep pressure is tiredness. When we have low sleep pressure, we are simply not tired enough to fall asleep or to stay asleep for very long. If your little one is going to bed soon after their last nap, taking a long time to fall asleep and then waking soon after going down, try and lengthen that last wake window before bedtime to allow sleep pressure, or tiredness to build!
Babies love to feed to sleep, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that (if that comes as a shock to you to hear that from a sleep coach then you really need to read my ‘about me’ section of my site!) what can happen when a baby is really sleep and feeds to sleep is that they do not finish their feed, the sucking motion makes them sleepy and they are out…what that can mean though is they wake 30-60 minutes later wanting to finish their feed. It is absolutely fine to offer them a feed again at this point, or give them the opportunity to finish their bottle.
Babies learn through their senses, and they attach through them too. Babies, even when asleep can sense when they are not next to a caregiver. Our unique smell, our warmth and our comfort is our babies main sleep and nervous system regulation association and often they will wake frequently until we are by their side – this is normal! It won’t be forever either, as children mature, so do their nervous systems which mean that they are better equipped to sleep more independently. If this is happening, what I recommend is to stay with your baby for that first sleep cycle, hold them or have some physical contact with them, at which point your baby will have fallen into a deeper sleep and you should be able to sneak off for a cup of tea/shower/you time before going to bed.