False starts can be heartbreaking. Picture this, your little one is asleep in their cot, you make your dinner and you're about to sit down to eat and you hear them cry. But they were just fast asleep and they have been for the last 45 (ish) mins. What is going on?
Your little one has experienced a false start. But why has this happened and what can you do to help prevent them?
1) Check their wake window
Making sure your little one has gone down with the correct wake window can be a quick and easy 'fix' to a false start issue. An overtired baby can struggle to connect that first sleep cycle, so make sure your little one is going to bed at the best time based on when they woke from their last nap.
If you've not already read it, we have a blog called 'Wake windows – what are they and why are they so important?' which gives you a guide on the optimum wake windows for your child by age.
2) Your little one went into their cot already asleep
This might sound like an odd reason for a false start, but hear me out. If your baby has been rocked to sleep or fed to sleep, it might be they are waking at the end of their sleep cycle and are a bit confused by the fact they went to sleep on you...and now they're somewhere completely different. I don't know about you, but that might freak me out a bit too.
Try making sure your baby is settled in their cot so that when they are connecting their sleep cycles, they know where they are and can drift happily into their next cycle.
3) Something in their sleep environment isn't right
Are they too hot or too cold? Is there light creeping in that is disturbing them when transitioning to a new sleep cycle? Make sure that your baby is dressed appropriately for the temperature and check there are no lights disturbing them,
4) They can't settle independently
If your little one isn't able to settle independently then they may wake between sleep cycles as they are looking for your support to help them drift back to sleep