My baby is almost 6 months. What I'm used to in night waking is they'll stir, maybe grunt, fuss a tiny bit, kick a little, and root for the breast a lot. I'll get them hooked up before they're fully awake, they nurse back to sleep, and thats the end of it. This little guy.. what am I gonna do with him? He wakes up quietly. And becomes nice and alert. I never have any idea how long he's been up by the time I wake up. last night, I woke up when he is crawling and made it halfway to the foot of the bed. Our mattress is on the floor so falling isn't a concern. But geez! He wakes up in the dark and his first thought is to get up and run away? And its a lot more difficult to put a baby back to sleep who is wide awake. He can sleep a nice long stretch, like 6 hours, so no complaints there but wouldn't ya think he's hungry?! and he doesn't nurse to sleep, so a 6 hour stretch of sleep means 7-8 hours since he last nursed. Why why why doesn't he wake up and hunt out a nipple like his life depends on it? I often find him playing with his feet, or just babbling quietly and blowing raspberries. He won't nurse to sleep no matter what, but I'd think maybe there'd be a chance of him nursing to sleep if I got him when he was only stirring. he doesn't "stir". Stirring babies wake me up. Oooh no. His little eyes pop open and BAM! alert! I'd think it was just a phase but.. this is a lot like when he was 0-2 months. he never, not one single time, would wake, then nurse right back to sleep. every night waking involved 1-3 hours awake before going back to sleep. he's not spending that much time awake these days but he still thinks middle of the night is a great time to play.
All babies are different. It sounds like this is just the way his brain is wired and there may not be much you can do about his waking patterns. My only suggestion is, if you're not already, to make a very clear difference between sleeping time and awake time. Get black-out curtains so there's total darkness during sleeping time, including naps, and keep them open during awake time. White noise is great. We turn on rain sounds to set the mood for sleep for our kids, and turn it off right away in the morning. We're very consistent with the white noise so now when we turn it on (we use an app on our phones called Nature Sound) there is no question that it's time to sleep. Bedtime routines are good for getting him in sleep mode too, then for night wakings you could repeat a part of the routine to get him back down.
If he is napping a lot during the day that might be why he is waking up at night so much, and waking fully alert--if his sleep needs have been met during the day then he just won't be tired. If this is the case you could encourage fewer or shorter naps--I wouldn't wake him from a nap if you think he really needs the rest, but you could gently try after he's been sleeping for an hour or whatever, and see if he wakes up. Then chances are he will make up that "lost" sleep later that night.
No matter what, be very very grateful for those 6-hour stretches!! Those are very rare for my kids, now 2.5 years and 9 months. I've probably slept 6 consecutive hours less than 10 times in the past 3 years, so you are definitely lucky there!
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