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Why a 8-month old still wakes up many times at night?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I have a 8 month old boy. He is never a good sleeper. Since he was born, he cried a lot and I had to hold him almost all the time. I was very tired and eventually I had to let him sleep on me to get some sleep. I don't know if he lacks feeling of security or there were other reasons. Anyway, later he could sleep in bed but only in our bed. Dad had to move to another room to get enough sleep as he has to work. So Kevin had been sleeping with me in our bed since then. I never could use his cradle once. It seems to me it is hard for him to sleep tight. Anything noise can wake him up. He has a bad habit of drinking breast milk while sleeping. He usually goes down at around 8 p.m. and can sleep for an hour sometimes and then cries. I have to rush upstairs and breastfeed him again until he sleeps again. Then I have to leave very quietly. Sometimes I have to go down and up several times. Then after half an hour or an hour if I am lucky, I have to do this again. Then again. When I go to bed at about 11 p.m., he still wakes up several times during night. I can see that he really wants to sleep and looks very sleepy. But he moves his body and looks very upset. I just can't find why he does this all the time. Gassy? Stomachache? But when I sleep with him during the daytime, he is usually fine. If I sleep with him, he can nap for two hours. If he sleeps by himself, he usually only nap for half an hour and I know he needs more sleep. I am at mat. leave now so I can still get some sleep during the daytime but what am I gonna do when I go back to work when Kevin is one year old? Many moms told me to do "cry-it-out" sleep training but Kevin easily goes hysterical when crying and I am not sure if I should keeping doing this. How can I let him sleep better? Some people told me that Kevin will outgrow it and sleep longer and deeper. But when is that going to happen? Based on current situation, I am not that optimistic.

Any advice is welcome.

post #2 of 17

Our boys are a lot alike. My son is 10.5 months old and he wakes up too during the night and the only thing that helps him is my boob. However, I've noticed that as he gets older, his sleep is getting better. He used to wake up 3 times between 7pm and 10pm and now he doesn't wake up at all. Since, starting daycare and teething, he often gets colds and I find his sleep is disturbed because he is so stuffy. So I suction out the mucus and that helps.

I am starting to think that cosleeping is disruptive to him. He naps fine alone. Unfortunately, I am not motivated to move him out yet. I'm waiting to go from our bed to a twin bed next year. Trying to get him to sleep in his crib resulted in sleepless nights for everyone.


I don't know if this helped or not. He will grow out of it.You'll  notice improvement in weeks, not months.


Hang in there.

post #3 of 17

Moved to FBNP

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all your replies. I don't mind co-sleeping with him but I am just wondering if sleep training would help him sleep better. Sometimes I am worried if he gets enough sleep or not. I was concerned about his many wake-ups during the night and short nap during the daytime. Last night, he went down at around 8 p.m. and woke up crying only half an hour later. I ran upstairs and tried to calm him down but he just couldn't go back to sleep. I have been always wondering if there is anything bothering him that affected his sleeping. So I decided to hold him once to see if he is better. He still woke up sometimes but didn't move at all. When he saw me hold him, he just opened his eyes and went back to sleep very easily. I guess the only reason he wakes up crying many times is because I am not with him. However, there is one more puzzle. At night, when I co-sleep with him, he still wakes up crying even if I offer him breast milk. Many times he wake up at 2 a.m. and I would pat him and breastfeed him. But he sometimes doesn't want to drink but still look like something is bothering him. It is frustrating when you are not clear what is going on there.

post #5 of 17

Maybe there is something in your diet that gives him gass, or maybe he needs a chiropractic adjustment. My oldest wasn't a good sleeper. He woke up all the time, and had horrible colic. #2 is a really good sleeper, but he does wake up every 2 hours to feed and he's 7 months.

post #6 of 17

Bump. I'm having the exact same issues. I too have an 8 month year old boy and looking for more feedback on this issue.

post #7 of 17

My girls have both been like that, I think it's pretty normal for a breastfed, cosleeping baby to wake often during the night  My first didn't start sleeping through the night until after she weaned at around 2 years, until that time she woke every 2-4 hours to nurse and currently at 5 years old she still wants to sleep with DH or my arms wrapped around her, holding her.  If we slide her to her own pillow she'll sleep an hour or so, then wake us up to hold her again.  She never napped without us in bed holding/napping with her.  Now that she's 5 she doesn't nap anymore, so that isn't an issue, but she still needs to be in our bed, snuggled up to us to sleep.


My second is 15 months old and still wakes every 1-2 hours all night long to nurse.  She has the same temperment as you've described with your little boy.  A very fussy, needy, baby from the start.  She does nap in her crib, but still at 15 month and has since birth needs to be swaddled tighly and laying in her boppy pillow to sleep.  She only naps about an hour at a time like this.  At night I hold her.  It is frustrating to never get more than 2 hours solid sleep at a time, but I know that this won't last forever.  Sure if I left her to "cry it out" she'd probably eventually learn to sleep, but at what cost?  It's my opinion that babies left to cry it out learn to go to sleep on their own because they feel they are abandoned in their bed and learn that noone will come to respond to their needs so they give up.  I couldn't do that to my child, so we deal with the frequent night wakings.  I think once she weans she'll start sleeping better, and I know my kids won't stay in my bed forever, so I enjoy them while they're small and I can snuggle them.  I know I'll be really sad when they're too old to need me to sleep with them at night., not that I wouldn't love a couple night of good sleep, but after that I'll be really sad. 


My plan at this point is to wait until my girls are a couple years older, then move them to a room/bed together, so they'll still have each other to snuggle with, but Dh and I will get our bed back, we'll see.  Anyway, i think your baby sounds pretty normal and I wouldn't stress about him not getting enough sleep with the frequent wakings, babies cycle through the sleep stages much faster than adults, so it's normal for them to wake frequently.  It's us that are left tired because we don't get the long periods of deep sleep, babies deal with it fine!  HTH :) 

post #8 of 17

EmilyG - That makes me feel better. It's good to be reminded that none of these stages last forever and that what we're experiencing is normal. 

post #9 of 17

It's very normal for infants to want to sleep with mom and to wake and nurse through the night.



post #10 of 17

jyan034, I'm so glad you posted this! My daughter is 8 months old and she is EXACTLY like your son. She will go to bed around 6:30PM and get up around 6AM, but between those hours she wakes up every 1-2 hours. Each time she needs me to replace her pacifier or nurse her for her to go back to sleep. There is no other way. During the day she won't nap for more than 30 minutes. Even if I sleep next to her! She only has two 30 minute naps a day, and I know it is not enough. She acts overtired and cranky. She has been a needy, clingy baby from the start. I'm a single mother, so the fact that I haven't had a decent night sleep in over 8 months is killing me. I'm desperate, but I also feel strongly still that cry it out, or sleep training, is only good for the parent and does not help the baby.


I've tried to take away the pacifier hoping that will help, but she cries so much that I give her the pacifier. If anyone has any suggestions about how to wean a baby from a pacifier, I would love to hear it. I read No Cry Sleep Solution and her method has not really worked. Everything else I read mothers said they just took away the pacifier "cold turkey" and let their babies cry. I really don't want to do that.


I keep hoping that as she gets older her sleep habits will improve, but I don't think they will.


post #11 of 17

Totally normal. 


Some helpful information regarding human babies and sleep:


Sleeping Through the Night


Normal infant sleep


post #12 of 17

Your boy sounds a lot like mine.  D was a colicky baby and a crappy sleeper, period.  Then about two weeks ago it was like a switch flipped, he slept through the night for the first time three days ago, and it surprised me for sure!  I attribute it to a few things-

1.  age and maturity, he will be one next weekend

2.  teething lull.  His first teeth came in at 4 months and it has been constant since.  He has all but his two year molars in now so I think for the first time in a while he has no teething pain.

3.  eating more solids and fluids other than nursing.  He is on three squares a day plus two snacks of regular human food, cows milk, water, juices, the whole nine yards.  So I think he's filling up during the day instead of saving all his feeding for overnight.

4.  A wee bit of sleep training.  It is important to me to get a little break in the evenings, and I was sick of having to go to bed at 8 with the boy.  Around 11 months the tantrums kicked in too.  We still nurse to sleep, but he goes into his bed after that.  For a while we would play the up down game, but I really beleive my son understands what's going on, and he wants mommy, but mommy deserves some of her own time every day.  So one night I just told him sorry, it was time for sleep after he cried when being laid down for the 10x time.  And I listened, and he wasn't sad/scared crying, he was MAD AT ME crying.  I've been making a big effort to not respond to tantrums by giving him what he wants, so I thought "why would this situation be different?".  And you know what, he screamed like a banshee that day, and hasn't since.  Now, the caveat is I don't beleive in cio for babies, but for toddlers and older kids?  Well, I guess I think they're a little smarter than we give them credit for :)

post #13 of 17

I think your situation is pretty normal. I have an 8 month old girl and she wakes up once about 30 minutes after she goes down around 8. I usually get back into her bed with her and nurse her (she has a twin mattress next to our bed on the floor). She sleeps until about 3, and then I pull her up into my bed and nurse and cuddle with her until about 8, when she wakes up.To clarify, we are nursing on and off pretty much the whole time between 3-8 am. I know it is hard to hold your ground when a  lot of people are telling you that CIO or sleep training is the way to go, so hang in there! There are a lot of resources in the Family Bed and Nighttime Parenting Forum (It looks like this post has already been moved to that forum). Im pretty sure there is a resource guide in a sticky at the top of the forum that has a lot of great websites and books that can help you teach your baby to sleep better, without crying it out. Good Luck!

post #14 of 17

i am very much against sleep training personally. i want to add my DD wakes alot at night still and shes 14 m/o also want to add my friends baby is 18 m/o and was formula fed and not eating at night since 6 m/o and was sleep trained at 11 m/o but still wakes frequently at night.

post #15 of 17

Very timely thread. I spent much of last night wondering when my 8 month old would sleep more than an hour or two at a time at night. In addition to waking up quite regularly and nursing, she also kicks and pushes away from me rather emphatically. But she still wants to nurse. And I want to sleep. Well, it's nice to know other moms are going through the same thing.

post #16 of 17

Hello to everyone who posted on this thread! I am in the exact situation with my 8 month little boy, and I'm just wondering how things turned out for all of you. Did your babies ever sleep through the night? Here's our situation. I put Felix to bed at 7:30 in his crib after nursing him and walking him around until he falls asleep. He sleeps til 9:30, when I go and nurse him and them put him back in his crib (we just started this a couple weeks ago instead of all of us going to sleep at 9:30). Then, he wakes at about 1 and we bring him to bed, where he nurses on and off til 6. The past few weeks, he's been waking up screaming when he's in bed with us and is inconsolable, unless my husband gets up and bounces him back to sleep. We are at our wits end, and REALLY desperate for some sleep. At this point, my husband often gets frustrated and goes and sleeps on the couch, leaving me to deal with getting Felix to sleep. I am against CIO, but I am considering a modified CIO, where I lay next to him and keep my hand on him while he cries. Is this wrong? Any advice is much appreicated!

post #17 of 17

I agree with the above posts that this is, although frustrating and tiring, pretty normal. My breastfed cosleeping kiddo is now 21 months and still wakes at least every 2-3 hours to nurse all night. He was also a very intense, colicky newborn who has never slept well. For several months he woke every 30-45 minutes very fussy unless I followed a very strict elimination diet. But now we are off the elim diet and he sleeps well, but wakes often to nurse. Like some other moms have said, I just try to remind myself that I'll be sad when he sleeps through the night every night without me, and that day will come some day!

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