Help! My 4-month old wakes up 4 times a night! - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-10-2007, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 4-month old son Gabriel has been waking up about 4 times a night for the last couple of weeks. He'll go to sleep around 9/9:30pm and sleep for about 3 hours, after that he wakes up every hour / hour-and-a-half. It's making me lose way too much sleep, but I don't know what to do about it!

He'll usually go back to sleep as soon as I nurse him, within minutes (sometimes even less than a minute!) so I'm pretty sure he's not hungry. I don't believe in letting him cry himself to sleep and besides, that would take so much longer! I thought maybe his bassinet was uncomfortable since he was getting way too big for it, but we just switched to a crib this weekend and he still wakes up all the time. It would be easier if I could co-sleep, but I've tried and I just can't sleep very well with him next to me.
DH is in the other room and can't help because he makes 14-hour days at work, so he needs his rest.

What do I do to make him sleep longer/wake up less often???
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:40 PM
 
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My son is 13 months. He nurses and goes to sleep at 8:30, wakes at 11:30 to nurse, again at 3:30, and again at 5, and again at 7. It is exhausting. I was bound and determined to cosleep. I did it for 6 months. The worst 6 months of my life. I figured out that I was not sleeping because he would nurse on and off all night and kick and push away all at the same time. He is not a cuddler. It was wonderful to but him in his own bed. I decided that getting up for 5 - 10 minutes every few hours was better than not sleeping at all. I only have one child and so not much experience, but I would say that his waking and sleeping will go in spurts. That is what it had done with us. When my son is feeling great he sleeps better. If something is bothering him he wakes more. I have often not figured out what was making my son wake more until after the fact. Teething, ear pain, belly ache, cold, food he ate, food I ate, often I never figure it out. He is only 4 months old. Give him time. I read today about a 16 month old who is still nursing every hour. I feel blessed.
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:52 PM
 
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I totally feel your pain, as I am sure many of us can. My 5 month old was sleeping well until about 4 months, and for the past 4 weeks has gotten up at least every 2 hours, sometimes more. I thought I would die of sleep deprivation. We are not in to cry it out either. She sleeps right next to us in a co sleeper, because I have a hard time with her in bed with me too. Here is what we tried:

1. Swaddling, she hated being wrapped up!
2. Having dh go to her for a few wakings and rub her head, hold her hand, and if that didn't work, then pick her up and rock her. This atleast gave me a little break, but it only worked a few times.
3. Mostly I just pick her up before she totally wakes and nurse her for a few minutes, she'll go right back.
4. I have eliminated wheat and dairy from my diet. I think this really helps, WAY less gas.... for both of us. hehe
5. Tried swaddling again and IT WORKS!!!! For the last week she gets 3+ hour stretches and is even napping during the day, which she NEVER has!
6. I have tried letting her sleep on her tummy, but she still woke up.

I would have a little chat with your hubby though. I too get caught up in the whole "he works all day" thing, but so DO I! I work 24 HOURS a day and can't function on no sleep! I have a hard time pumping much extra, but maybe try letting dh give her a bottle at night and let you atleast "catch up" on a little sleep.

Know that you are not alone! Last month I made some posts on the night-time parenting fourm and realized that it is totally normal for babies to start waking more around 4 months. Try everything, just because it doesn't work now, it may tomorrow. So try again!

Hang in there mama! Hugs!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:55 PM
 
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Hate to say it, but mine never woke up that little. DD is still hourly/every two hours at 11 months. DS started sleeping well by 2.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:00 PM
 
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My four month old generally wakes up three times a night, and I thought I was doing well. I don't think that four night wakings is a whole lot for a four month old.

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Old 04-10-2007, 06:00 PM
 
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sounds like you hit the 19 week sleep regression! look at a calendar and see how close your babe is to being 19 weeks out from his gestational (40 week) due date. i think it peeks at 19 weeks, and then often gets better.

in the case of my DS, it didn't get much better- we're up about every 1.5 to 2 hours even now, at 7 months. what changes is your coping strategies.

Distraction is not the same thing as play.
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Irma Lisette View Post
My 4-month old son Gabriel has been waking up about 4 times a night for the last couple of weeks. He'll go to sleep around 9/9:30pm and sleep for about 3 hours, after that he wakes up every hour / hour-and-a-half. It's making me lose way too much sleep, but I don't know what to do about it!

He'll usually go back to sleep as soon as I nurse him, within minutes (sometimes even less than a minute!) so I'm pretty sure he's not hungry. I don't believe in letting him cry himself to sleep and besides, that would take so much longer! I thought maybe his bassinet was uncomfortable since he was getting way too big for it, but we just switched to a crib this weekend and he still wakes up all the time. It would be easier if I could co-sleep, but I've tried and I just can't sleep very well with him next to me.
DH is in the other room and can't help because he makes 14-hour days at work, so he needs his rest.

What do I do to make him sleep longer/wake up less often???
I could have written this about my dd!! I have no advice - just hanging in there with you!
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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Completely normal.
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Aletheia - He is exactly 19 weeks old today...but he was born 2.5 weeks early and it started about 2 weeks ago. I sure hope it will get better...so far it seems like every month he adds another night waking! :P

ColoradoKat - # 3 is what I've been doing, except lately as soon as I put him back down, he'll wake up again.
As far as swaddling goes, I guess I could try again, but he hates not having his arms free! Even a blanket is too much!
And my hubby does work very hard, he gets up around 4:30am, works hard all day (physical work) and doesn't get home until 7 or 8 at night. He only has time for a shower, dinner and about 1 hour of relaxation (tv) before he goes to bed, around 9:30pm. He can barely keep up with the work as it is, and is totally exhausted by the end of the week!

I guess it could be worse but I still hope DS will get better soon. I've always needed 7 or 8 hours of sleep, but finally got used to 6. Now it's only about 5 hours a night and I have no energy during the day to get anything done!
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:10 PM
 
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Sounds familiar. I'm a big fan of The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley - some of her ideas worked really well for our toddler when she was a baby. Right now I'm too tired from waking up every 2 hours to even read it again...

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Old 04-10-2007, 09:16 PM
 
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No advice to give, but seeing how our little ones are almost EXACTLY the same age, just wanted to say my son wakes up that often, too. A very similar pattern-- he sleeps 3-4 hours, then he's up every hour (seems like he used to sleep longer : ). Cosleeping is what has made this a completely bearable situation for us.
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:25 PM
 
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Bring the babe into your bed. He won't wake completely and you'll avoid having to get up to get him. If you're scared about him being close, put him perpendicular to you, with his feet on your belly. Seriously - cosleeping is the way to go. And will it be worse sleep than you're getting now?

I know waking up that often sucks. DD and I stir in unison and I get her latched on without even noticing. But when she was teething terribly she woke up every hour and had to be bounced back to sleep which made me a mama-zombie.
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:06 PM
 
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Every baby is different, but this is what often works for us. He's 4 months old...

My son was always a fairly good sleeper....3 or 4 hour stretches from the very beginning. We often had to wake him to nurse. Now, when he was doing growth spurts or if something developmental was going on, he would wake every two hours or even less than that. We did have a few weeks of that here and there. As recently as a week and a half ago, he was waking every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, but then every hour or so after 3:00am. Some weird growth thing.

Then, he reverted to his normal decent sleeping. He actually has slept 6 and 7 hour stretches (and one nine hour stretch over the weekend!). I don't expect this to be the "norm", but it's nice to know he is capable of doing it!

1. He's swaddled after he falls asleep (usually nursing).

2. He sleeps in a co-sleeper, but not next to me....next to DH! I need my sleep and it bothers me a lot more when he makes night noises. I have frequent insomnia, so I need to be with him in the room, but not right next to me.

3. When he wakes up, DH hands him to me to nurse. When he is still drowsy or if he has fallen asleep, DH then re-swaddles him and walks him around until he is deeply asleep. I think this is important because he can fall asleep without nursing and without mom!

My DH is an attorney and sometimes works 80-90 hour weeks. He gets up with me every time. He knows staying home with an often fussy baby is no picnic. Every bone in my body aches and I NEVER get a break. At least he can eat his lunch without trying to distract a baby!
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:19 PM
 
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He'll usually go back to sleep as soon as I nurse him, within minutes (sometimes even less than a minute!) so I'm pretty sure he's not hungry.
Nursing isn't just for hunger--it's also for thirst (which is sated very quickly) and comfort. Short of CIO (which I am obviously totally against), I don't think there's much you can do to make him wake less often at that age, unless there's something specific bugging him (teeth, illness, likes/doesn't like swaddling/crib/whatever). It's completely normal.

My dd was actually sleeping through the night from 2-7 months, but right around 7 months...no more. She typically wakes 3-4 times a night now. I have her in a crib right next my bed, I nurse her back down in a few minutes, and then we're done. I *might* consider gentle nightweaning (NCSS or similar) after a year--probably not complete nightweaning, but maybe trying to cut back on wakings--but definitely not before.
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:53 PM
 
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Sounds perfectly normal. My 12 month old is still up every 45 minutes.

Dawn, mama to D (3.06) & N (9.07) C (11.09) & Still-in-shock surprise due in Aug!
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Old 04-11-2007, 01:56 AM
 
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That would be a good schedule for me. I had twins the first time waking me 8 times a night. A colicky singleton at 3-7 months screaming for 5 hours a night and then a preemie on an apnea monitor who woke to nurse every couple hours to nurse and between when the durn alarm would false alarm several times a night. I know very few four month olds who have not been force sleep trained who don't wake frequently at night. Some women get blessed with a super sleeper right off the bat, but then I am sure they get other challenges I did not.

I did have hubby take kids in early evening and I would hit the hay for a big old nap before the fun started each night! Eventually it gets better.

Lorrie
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Old 04-11-2007, 03:36 AM
 
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My 10 mo DS wakes 4-6 times a night, so it's not all that unusual. I know...that's not much consolation if you were just getting used to more sleep.

Your little one could be teething, going thru a growth spurt and needing more milk, or just plain wanting to feel you, knowing you're close by. Do try co-sleeping again, if you can. Buy a bed rail if that will ease your anxieties, or a co-sleeper. In the end, if it works, it may be your best friend. DS and I nearly always stir in unison, too (someone else mentioned this), and we usually manage to nurse like a reflex action, without disturbing our sleep.

hth, best of luck...

p.s. you could try nursing him more often during the day and see if that reduces the # of night wakings. My feeling though, is that he is just readjusting his sleep patterns...
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Old 04-11-2007, 06:08 PM
 
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My dd has really taught me to live in the moment...I guess because she is our last and I know how quickly they grow and change. I guess mommy-amnesia happens for a reason because I know my toddler DD was even worse then this but I can't really remember much of it. It went by so fast and she'll never be that bitty baby again. That's probably how I'm surviving the frequent nightwakings now. I just embrace it because it will not last.

I'm sure you love cuddling with your DH. It feels so comforting and warm and loving. Now imagine how your baby must feel, a helpless little soul trying to find herself in this busy world...imagine how comforting nursing is to her. She's next to the person she grew within for 9 months. She has a bit of your body in hers, so to speak. She can sleep because as long as that bit is there, she knows she's not alone in this huge-to-her busy world. Sometimes I look at my dd nursing at night in the moonlight and it literally melts me to know that she finds so much comfort in me. Don't worry about Sept. because soon Miriam will be sleeping thru the night and you won't even remember these days. I have a feeling Miriam can teach you to live in the moment, if you only let her!
I copied & pasted a recent reply of mine to another mama in your (our) shoes!

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Old 04-11-2007, 06:13 PM
 
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I would try cosleeping again. It's MUCH easier that way. And during the day try to nap when he does. I've got a 14 mo. old who still wakes that much or more, sometimes. It's hard...and I know!! Hang in there!

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Old 04-11-2007, 09:40 PM
 
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This thread is making me feel so much better about ds's sleep. I'm so tired of people asking me if he's sleeping through the night yet. I just want to shake them and yell "No!"

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Old 04-11-2007, 10:20 PM
 
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This thread is making me feel so much better about ds's sleep. I'm so tired of people asking me if he's sleeping through the night yet. I just want to shake them and yell "No!"
When people ask me that, I widen my eyes and say, "Of course not! I would lose my supply, obviously! I certainly don't want that."

They usually either have no idea what to say or go, "Oh yeah....of course!", while looking confused.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:27 PM
 
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My DS (12 mos) has slept for 6 hours straight 3 times in his life. He usually wakes every 2-3 hours for a drink. We co-sleep and it's definitely convenient for me to just roll over and lift my shirt!

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Old 04-11-2007, 10:44 PM
 
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This thread is making me feel so much better about ds's sleep. I'm so tired of people asking me if he's sleeping through the night yet. I just want to shake them and yell "No!"
:
I tell them that I've never slept through the night either!
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:09 PM
 
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This thread is making me feel so much better about ds's sleep. I'm so tired of people asking me if he's sleeping through the night yet. I just want to shake them and yell "No!"
I usually just say that dd sleeps AT night. Of course if I'm in a cranky mood I go with the whole, "nobody sleeps through the night, so it's silly to think a baby would" rant.
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:09 AM
 
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sorry but that is normal and count yourself lucky DS has Never slept longer than 3 hours and he is 27months old!! until he was 18 months he got up every 1.5 to 2 hours if I was lucky!!!!
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:31 AM
 
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4 times a night at 4 months old?! Thats horrifying!





Sorry, you'll get no sympathy from me as my 10 mo old still nurses every 1-2 hours with a 3-4 break in the middle of the night. I've never had a child that only woke 4 times at night until after they were weaned. To be honest I'd be worried about the baby who did sleep though the night.

Seriously?
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:47 AM
 
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Though it does sound perfectly normal for your 4 month old to wake 4 or more times a night i understand wanting to lessen the wakings, wouldnt we all!

I personally havent minded my little guy waking throughout the night because he sleeps in a pack n play next to my bed. when he wakes i hardly have to wake up i just grab him and nurse him for a couple minutes and if i havent fallen back asleep then i'll toss him back in bed. most of the time i dont recall waking at all. Sometimes when he wakes up continually i will pat his back instead of nurse him. If you are willing to go with less sleep for a few days you can commite to patting him to sleep when you know he isnt hungry. it will get easier after a couple of times.
the only info in the "no cry sleep solution" that worked for us was having a key word. Ours is "nigh- night" when i say that he automatically lays down and settles back to sleep.

just know that this time is very short and you will survive!!!

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Old 04-12-2007, 02:57 AM
 
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my ds didnt start sleeping longer than 2 hour stretches ( he often woke every 45 min to an hour) until he was almost THREE. i tried everything.

my best advice is that you go easy on yourself cuz you are sleep deprived. try to nap with your baby in the day. and definatly co-sleep.

sounds totally normal to me, too.
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Old 04-12-2007, 07:12 AM
 
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I just wanted to comment - What a cutie pie!! He's a big, strong, happy,boy and you should be very proud of yourself! This too shall pass. I can't help you, my 7 month old wakes up 4 times still. I have learned to live with sleep deprivation, although my dh thinks I am just a bear, I think I do okay. Ds is my 4th and only one was a good sleeper. I just kiss him when he wakes up in the middle of the night and realize, This too shall pass, because with my other 3, it has and I miss them. They are 13, 12 and 8. Hang in there!
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Old 04-12-2007, 09:58 AM
 
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To be honest I'd be worried about the baby who did sleep though the night.
Aw, Harrison has often (but not consistently) slept very long stretches and he's fine. 75% percentile in height and weight, actually. It's me I'd worry about.....my breasts are like giant water balloons when he finally does wake!
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