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False starts – what are they, and why are they happening?

What is a false start?

Are you placing your baby down to sleep, and then 20-60 minutes later they're calling out for you again? This right here is known as a false start!

So you've just got your baby settled to sleep and BAM, they’re up and may be looking for support to get back to sleep again. This can sometimes happen once, or a few times before they settle for the rest of the night. False starts can happen as a one off, however, they can also develop into a pretty frustrating habit.

So, let’s have a look at a few reasons why your child may be having a false start at bedtime, and what we can do to eliminate them.

1. Is your baby overtired?

The most common culprit for false starts is over tiredness. This can be due to a lack of overall day sleep, or a too long wake window at the end of th

e day. By the end of the day your baby or toddler may be quite exhausted and struggling to settle into a deeper sleep. Try moving bedtime forward by 15 minutes, or work on consolidating their day sleep and aiming for an age-appropriate total of day sleep. Take a look at my routine guide for 3 weeks to 3 years, for age appropriate routines to optimise day and night sleep.

2. Are they having micro naps?

Does your baby or toddler fall asleep whilst they were feeding at bedtime and wake to finish their feed 30 minutes later? If so, try bringing your feed before bed a little earlier to ensure they take a full feed before settling down for the night.

3. Are they under tired - Is bedtime too early?

Are you simply trying to settle your baby for th