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Baby wakes up every 40 minutes day and night

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Help! I haven't had time to post much here, but this morning I had the bright idea to try and ask advice from all of you:


I have a daughter who is almost 6 months, and while she is an absolute delight when she is awake (which is most of the time!), she only seems to sleep in 40-50 minute segments. We've been reading and trying to follow the "No Cry Sleep Solution" for two weeks, but she is getting even more attached to nursing to sleep, being in arms, etc. not less. She is completely breastfed, no solids yet, and co-sleeps with us. 


During the day, I can often sneak her into her crib for her naps, but she has never slept more than 50 minutes before waking up and needing coaxed back to sleep (more rare- and then she will not be put down again), or just popping up ready to get up. This is frustrating but doable, the real trouble is she also does this all night! I feel like I have tried everything to get her to fall back to sleep by herself, but she wants to be nursed, and that's that. She is never fully awake, but she'll cry and toss and flail until she is given the breast- and if she isn't she will wake herself up fully and holler. My DH and I are starting to lose it- we feel like we just fall asleep before she is fussing again.


I have been fending off the "cry it out" advice for months now, but I'm not willing to try it. She is really, really attached to me and my instinct is that is a good thing. It would be nice if she would at least take her dad, though. I am exhausted.  Any advice is welcome!



post #2 of 12

Well, it does get better.  Our kiddo was similar to yours at that age.  Things were fine and dandy until she hit her 4 month sleep regression and then nighttime sleep went to hell.  It was around 6 months of age, however, that she began to keep a nap schedule and started to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time. As much as we tried things from the no-cry sleep solution, it really seemed that she couldn't sleep for longer until she was developmentally ready.


During the day, the baby kind of developed a 2-3-4 nap schedule (well, ours was more of a 2-4-3).  Wake up at 7am, up for 2 hours, and then down for her first nap at 9am.  She used to sleep for 20 minutes, then extended it to 40 minutes on her own (I tried some of the Pantly solutions to keep her asleep and teach her to fall asleep on her own...jury's out on whether or not that did the trick), and usually sleeps about 50 minutes (and occasionally 1.5 hours) at her morning nap.  Then she's up for 4 hours before she naps again at 2pm.  I really push her till then, but I think she would have preferred a 1pm bedtime.  She naps in the afternoon for 1.5 hours.  She always wakes up in the middle of this nap and needs help going back to sleep.  Early on this involved nursing, and now most of the time she just has to see me in the room and she puts herself back to sleep.  Then 3 hours later, it's bedtime for the night.


Nighttime is when the real fun begins because we're running back to her every 45 minutes or so to get her back to sleep until we bring her into our bed for night where she nurses on an off all-night-long.  There's been short periods where things have gotten okay, but with all of the developmental stuff happening and teething, I think it was a real crapshoot between 4-9 months.


I think that you may have a baby that doesn't need to sleep as much during the day as you think she does?  I believe I've read that they need around 14 hours of sleep per day at this age, but it's broken down as 10-12 hours overnight and 2 hours in naps.  While we usually got 12-13 hours a day of sleep.  As she started to nap for longer during the day, she needed less sleep at night.  There are babies who just don't sleep as much.


As for nighttime, I can just offer hugs and say it gets better.  We have a crappy sleeper.  But she's less crappy than she used to be.  What also really helped for us, is that we worked with a naturopath and identified some food sensitivities. We found that she was screaming out in the middle of the night, which only woke us up and not her, to pass gas.  When we've lowered some histamine levels for these foods (dairy, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant), she doesn't have that digestive upset anymore.  I also found that when she went through these periods of high nursing throughout the night it was related to growth, a new developmental milestone or teething.  It would be intense for a few days, then subside for a few days.

post #3 of 12

If it doesn't get better pretty quickly, be sure to look at whether something might be irritating her system, specifically foods. DS was that way and we finally found out at 19 months (19 months of no sleep for me!) that he had sensitivities to gluten and dairy. In a 3 day period he went from waking every 30-90 minutes to sleeping through the night no problem. When DD came along we had the same issue so of course I cut out everything possible and it didn't get better (but I looked fantastic). Many doctors and a lot of frustration later, turns out she has celiac disease and was reacting to the wheat protein in my shampoo. Finally at 15 months she went from sleeping 30-60 minutes at a time to sleeping through the night in 2 days. It was crazy!


Both kids constantly wanted to nurse. Turns out it was probably helping comfort them from the pain they were in. I feel terrible to this day that we didn't figure things out earlier but the one comfort I have is that I never let them cry it out. My daughter in particular was likely in a great deal of pain and at least I was able to comfort her until we figured out how to fix it.

post #4 of 12

I'm in the exact same situation. I'm wondering who you saw to evaluate your baby's allergies? My doctor says they don't test little ones.


post #5 of 12

They don't test babies for IgG (which is a sensitivity) versus IgE (which is an allergy, however, it's a skin test and apparently not always accurate on infants).  Can you find an allergist in your area who does blood work?  Otherwise it's trial and error.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

wow I didn't even think of an allergy of some kind. I think I'll make an appt with the apparently wonderful homeopath my cousin goes to in MA, in the meantime, I'll start keeping note of what I eat vs. her sleep journal...thanks mamas! 

post #7 of 12
Originally Posted by LusMum View Post

I'm in the exact same situation. I'm wondering who you saw to evaluate your baby's allergies? My doctor says they don't test little ones.


We saw a Naturopath for nutritional response testing but DS was 19 months at the time. You need to find someone who is pretty good at it but I'm not exactly sure how well it would work with a 6 month old.


With DD I started cutting stuff out since she was so young and I wasn't sure how accurate any type of testing would be. Gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, and corn are big ones, do those first (and believe me, I know how hard it it). Next do eggs and nuts. I ended up eating only meat (with a good amount of fat) and veggies and while it wasn't much fun, I was extremely healthy and lost all my pregnancy weight and then some while maintaining my milk supply. Hopefully you'll get lucky though and it will be one of the common ones and you'll get relief quickly.


In the meantime, big hugs! This is hard particularly when you are already so sleep deprived!

post #8 of 12
Originally Posted by roisin32 View Post

wow I didn't even think of an allergy of some kind. I think I'll make an appt with the apparently wonderful homeopath my cousin goes to in MA, in the meantime, I'll start keeping note of what I eat vs. her sleep journal...thanks mamas! 

Keep in mind that keeping a journal might not be effective as it can takes a few days or even weeks for an allergen to clear your system.  So unless you are using long rotation periods with foods, it may not be enough time to see effects. Sorry :(

post #9 of 12

My babies were always awake often, but more like every two hours.  I was thinking maybe get ears checked?  Even with exclusive breastfeeding we still had fluid on the ears/ear infections starting at 6 months.  Even when baby seems fine while awake, lying down can cause the pressure on the ears that makes them wake up. We finally ended up going to an ENT because they can do a test that checks pressure on the ear drum, that might not be caught by a regular ped.  One of my sons grew out of ear problems by age 2.5, probably because it was at that point that his narrower than normal eustation tubes finally grew enough to drain properly.  My other son did end up getting tubes put in at about 18 months, and they helped a lot. I fought it for ever, and don't think it's always necessary for ear problems, but it did help him tremendously.


And of course, there's teething!  Always happens as soon as you seem to get on a good sleep "schedule"!

Edited by yellow73 - 3/11/12 at 8:35pm
post #10 of 12
Hello mommies I know this thread is old but I am desperate! My newborn used to sleep great after he turned 3 months he started taking short naps and waking every 1-2 hrs at night. Now at 4 months he is up every 35-40 mins!!! I am going crazy. I have a three year old and needless to say I can not nap and sleep with him so co sleeping is out of the the question. I want to spend some time one on one with my 3year old. Just wondering Rosie 32 if you ever got any answers or if it was just time that resolved your babies problem?! Thank you!
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi Eredmond, I just got an email notifications about this- forgot about this thread! I have to say, nothing we did helped her sleep habits. She just had to get bigger (like, a lot bigger. She is 2 now and *almost* sleeps through the night…just a few wakings, but no night nursing). Nightweaning really seemed to help, but I didn't try that until she was about 18 months. We had a completely regular night time routine, and eventually that has seemed to take, in the sense that she is conditioned to go to sleep when we put her to bed. But as a baby, she just. wasn't. a. sleeper. It was SO TOUGH, I'm sorry to hear that you are going through it as well!!! It wasn't allergies, no method or sleep training regimen made the slightest difference (we never did the cry-it-out). I am now convinced its just personality and baby…but we are due a new one in a few weeks, and this time I am trying more of the "Happiest Baby" tips (I have a cousin with 4 and its worked beautifully, she says): so big white noise (and the noise machine seems to have helped the toddler already quite a bit), swaddling, pacifier. All these things are probably a bit late to try with a 4 month-old, but maybe not? Anyway, best of luck, maybe he will just outgrow this stage sooner than later!! 

post #12 of 12
Infant sleep cycles are approximately 50 minutes, whereas as an adult sleep cycle is 90-100 minutes.
It is normal for infants to wake and seek security, seek nourishment, then go back to sleep into the next sleep cycle.
There is information on sleep cycles in the following link:
Edited by Asiago - 12/3/13 at 3:41pm
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