Four month old baby suddenly waking every 3 hours at night
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Four month old baby suddenly waking every 3 hours at night

by Lisa
(Ontario, Canada)

Question: Hello, My 4 month old had a great night time routine. He would go to bed at about 6:30pm with a full belly eating 6 oz and would wake up at about 11pm and then 3:30am to eat a 6 oz bottle at each feeding. He would then sleep until about 7am, on occasion waking at 6:30am.

Suddenly, he has been waking almost every 3 hours.

For example last night he went to bed at 6:30pm (6 oz), woke up begging for food at 9:00pm (6 oz), 12:30am (6 oz) and 4:30am (5 oz). During the night I wait until he starts crying to go in to feed because in the past he might just make some noises and go back to bed.

At 9:00pm I tried just comforting him and putting him back down but he was screaming. I'm assuming it's a hunger issue because he does eat all the bottles.

During the day he eats between 4-6 oz every 2-3 hours depending on how long he naps for. I've tried upping his bottles, but he will stop himself.

I'm not sure if I should just "go with the flow" and feed him when he wakes, or if I should not feed him except at like 11pm and 3:30pm and just comfort him if he cries. He does know how to fall asleep on his own and doesn\t fall asleep while taking a bottle.

Thanks

Heidi's Answer: Hi Lisa, You are pretty much describing a model growth spurt.

So yes my first advice is to go with the flow: feed him when he wakes and does not go back to sleep by himself.

Your main task will be to get him back to sleeping as before once the growth spurt is over.

For this, make sure you keep the night feedings as short and as dull as possible. Do not switch on any light, do not leave his room with him and interact as little as possible. Put him down as usual and always in the same way.

In a week or so, try again to comfort without feeding at the 9pm, or the second next one after that. If it's to no avail, feed anyway to keep the awakening short.

If he still keeps waking like this in two or more weeks, and you think it has become habit rather than hunger, you can start reducing his food intake at those extra awakenings by diluting the formula little by little.

It is a good idea to, in the following weeks, up his bottles during the day. If he stops himself as you mention now, that is fine. If he'll take a little more here and there, that is good.

In the coming month he will also develop into being able to eat a bit more per feed, and go without for longer. So if during the day you can move towards feeding every 3-4 hours gradually, that will also be good.

Good luck, take care,
Heidi

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