My 4 month old baby wakes every 1/2 hour to 1 1/2 hour.... :-/
by Emily Goeke
(High Point, NC)
Question: Hi, My little boy will be 4 months old on the 15th... He's never been a great sleeper. He would not sleep anywhere but in our arms or our bed or sometimes the swing since the first day home.... He stopped just falling to sleep like normal newborns when he was bout 4 or 5 weeks...
He now has to be worked down into a nap by bouncing and white noise... Then he will only nap for about 30 minutes... During the night he will not do anything but take his 30 minute nuitap until 10 or 11 at night even though we started his bedtime routine much earlier trying to get him to go down earlier....
We also started out trying to get him to spend the first part of his nightly sleep in his crib... Except for one night, we have been successful in getting him to sleep about 2 hours in the crib, then I lay down with him in the bed and nurse him back to sleep.... From then on he begins to wake every 1/2 hour to 1 1/2 hours....
He had pretty much the same pattern before we started the first portion in the crib... He and I would lay down and the first "stretch" was bout 2 hours and then the usual 30-90minute..... When he was younger he was a bit colicky and has had reflux... so we didn't push anything too much....
His tummy seems much better although I still do worry that gas upsets him during the night b/c he's been such a gassy guy... I'm sort of at my whit' end with it ll... I feel like I'm filing him nd myelf... We tried the "cry it out" one night nd we both ended up crying for quite while.... I really don't know what else to do....
I was trying to gradually wean him from nursing as much at night by trying other ways to get him back to sleep & thought I was seeing some progress, and then it's like he has regressed, now when he wakes he fusses and he didn't use to do that...Help!
Heidi's Answer: Hi Emily,
That all sounds pretty hefty for you, so let's see how to improve things at best.
First of all, I would pay very close attention and look for any colic, gas or reflux symptoms. They may not be so clear as in the first months anymore but may still bother him.
Check my baby gas, colic in infants and baby reflux pages. Take a note of the relief remedies there to help relieve any discomfort your son may still have.
Especially keep the habit of feeding upright as much as possible, do not skip burping - even at night - and it may be worth experimenting a bit with your own food (dairy, allergenes, ...) to see if it helps.
It was a good idea to start weaning from the nursing at night. Don't worry about the regressing though: it probably only takes some flexibility.
With that I mean, it is OK to nurse when the other methods don't seem to work. Don't forget that 4 months is a typical growth and development spurt so he may need just a little extra in these weeks ...
It might be easiest for you if you decide on which awakenings you will feed and not feed consistently. Say you nurse after the 2 hour stretch. Then for the next nursing, wait until 3 or 4 hours have passed. Fixing a 'schedule' like this beforehand will make it easier during the nights.
Also insist on a consistent bedtime routine and a regular sleep schedule. Starting naps and nights an hour or so earlier (avoiding any over-tiredness at all) may help him settle more easily, and sleep for longer as well.
And then finally, to help make the naps last longer (get him physically used to sleeping for longer), ocnsider the baby sling trick.
Then at night, you can also try to avoid him waking up: try to catch him about 10 minutes before waking up. Then place your hand on his tummy, or hol his shoulders to try and keep him asleep. This may take some practice but can work really well once you get the hang of it.
You will find complete details on this and other keeping asleep techniques in No-Tears Sleeping Through the Night.