What Makes Babies Wake up at Night So Often?

Renowned biologist David Haig explained that babies’ frequent awakening at night is a natural evolutionary mechanism.


Many young parents notice that their baby ceases to sleep at night after the age of 6 months. Frequent waking up and crying exhaust the parents so much that they feel the child intentionally does not let them sleep.

Biologist David Haig of Harvard University believes that this is true! According to him, frequent awakenings of six-month babies during the night are associated with the evolutionary tactic that reduces the parents’ chances to have another child.

The strategy of frequent awakenings makes the mother constantly draw the baby to the breast for it to fall asleep again. Placing the baby on the breast frequently stimulates lactation and supports the high levels of the prolactin hormone, which is a natural way of contraception for parents. At night the levels of prolactin increase, and the frequency of nighttime breastfeeding guarantees prolonged breastfeeding. In turn, high levels of prolactin inhibit ovulation and prevent the woman from getting pregnant.

According to the scientist, this tactic was developed by babies millennia ago to reduce the likelihood of another child, who may become their rival for vital resources. Thus, the infant’s chances of survival are greatly increased and develop fully.

According to Professor David Haig, such natural selection in infants resulted in the pattern of suppressing the mother’s reproductive functions and increasing the interval between births.

Indeed, too short breaks between the births of siblings are usually associated with high child mortality. That is why babies could develop a new survival mechanism in the course of evolution: to be placed on the mother’s breasts at night as often as possible, causing the lactation to continue as long as possible and enhancing the natural contraceptive effect of breastfeeding.


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