My 8 month baby wakes every hour! Please help!

by Nancy

Question: Hello, We are desperate for sleep! I have read lots of advice and your advice but still become stuck in the middle of the night. My daughter use to sleep well till she hit 5months. Now she wakes every hour sometimes every ten minutes. She gies to bed at 7pm with little fuss, she eats well in the day plus takes her milk. She sleeps in her cot with a sleeping bag. She wakes all night long - either for her dummy - sometimes I give her water - and then a bottle at 2am. I've tried letting her cry - she gets very cross - I've tried classical music - cuddling her - sleeping with her - medicine n gel for her teeth - change her nappy ...etc... It's basically a circus!

She takes two naps a day usually 45 minutes or an hour at the most and sleeps in her cot.

I just don't know what else to do to keep her asleep. She is a light sleeper but how do I fix it?

Last night after Reading your advice we managed to skip the milk, I stood with my hand to her face n hushed her to sleep, which sort of worked but still kept waking. Plus I moved her bedtime to 6.30

The 2nd night went well, bed at 6.30 then awake every half hour till about 10 when she slept till 6! No milk all night.

Last night not as good - she hadn't eaten that much at dinner but went to bed with no fuss at 6.30, slept till 10 then 1 then 2 then 3.30 then 6. Still haven't given her any milk. We just put her dummy back in or sometimes teething gel if she really gets cross. Everytime I go into her she is at different end of the cot so moving around probably doesn't help. 

Heidi's Answer:

Dear Nancy,

It's quite common to have a baby who sleeps great at first, regress around 4-5 months. Most often it is a growth spurt but sometimes a cold or teething or similar, that triggers a fresh string of night awakenings. Sleep patterns are developing drastically still at that age so they easily change over.

It is good to realize though that the good skills learnt before are not all lost and that keeping up excellent sleep hygiene (schedule, routine, encouraging self soothing, ...) is the basis to improve things as quickly as possible again.

The frequent waking you describe though is most often linked with a persistent (even if mild) discomfort, growth spurt related hunger and/or a timing issue.

Review my article on What to do when baby wakes up every hour to get clarity on why the wakings happen, and how to resolve.

The earlier bedtime was a good idea.

One supportive step is to ensure there's is not something seemingly trivial waking her up. What seems like a detail to us can keep a baby awake all night. Too much or too little light, street noise, noises at neighbor's, your blankets if she is in you room, a wet diaper, hot or cold in her room (temperature can sometimes vary not enough for us to notice but a baby would) ... Work to avoid any of these possible disturbers as much as possible.

And of course yes if she is teething that can disturb her sleep as well. Not directly because of not feeling great, but sore gums can lead to decreased appetite, and therefore more hunger overall, so also at night. You may find one or several of the home teething remedies very helpful. Do these not just at night but through the day to relieve her discomfort as much as possible.

The fact that she moves around a lot in her cot could be waking her up but on the other hand it is not something that you can avoid. The sleeping bag is the most you can do to keep her from moving too much. But some kids just will do this moving around and it can actually help with soothing later on.

Now to work on keeping your daughter asleep for longer stretches, address naps and nights. Review nap scheduling here or as part of the Overcome Frequent Waking program.

Nights. I'm not sure if you put her down awake of if you help her settle. If you help her settle, start working with the gentle self soothing method. Use the same technique of gradually putting her down earlier at night wakings.

Best of luck to both of you,

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Help! 8 month will not sleep through
by: Charlotte

QUESTION: Would really appreciate some advice right now as I am overly desperate and in need of some sleep. My 8 month old has never slept through, we have always had at least 3 wake ups a night but the norm is every 2 hours. Our daily routine goes a little like this. 7.30am wake up 10am nap (45 min) 2nd nap normally 1pm for 1-5-2 hours bedtime at 6.30pm. Naps are always taken in his cot and we have a bedtime routine of bath, story and bottle. Wake ups are normally every 2 hours but can sometimes take my baby an hour to fall back to sleep so in reality by the time I fall back to sleep I am having 30 min naps before the next wake up. I am really struggling at this point -and getting very upset at not knowing what I am doing wrong. I also have an older child who I find I have no energy for.

HEIDI HOLVOET's REPLY: Hi Charlotte, that is rough, I know, so let's work together on improving to longer stretches and more independent sleep.

To start, have a look at the overview here:

If you can at all join me in the Overcome Frequent Waking program (

that's ideal as it gives you the techniques and action plan to get started, and you can ask me your questions on the private group as you go. Hang in there, we've got this!

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