Habitual Wakings


What is a habitual waking?
When your child starts to wake up at the same time night after night after night or the same time during naps (usually after ~40 minutes) you may have a habitual waker on your hands. They are in a habit of waking at a certain time, but should ideally be
sleeping longer. What to do?!

The Baby Whisperer states that "nine times out of ten a child who wakes habitually doesn't need more food (unless he's going through a growth spurt)" (p 191). If your child is going through a growth spurt he will most likely eat a lot when you feed him, and will probably be waking up at random times.

A child may wake up habitually to play too. For example, if you play with your child when he wakes at 5 am, he may continue to wake up at this time for your company.

Before considering that habitual wakings are the problem makes sure to rule out other causes first (see night awakenings and short naps).

You can help baby break the habitual waking habit by:
  • Trying wake to sleep (click link to see how to do this)
  • Leaving him in his bed until the expected wake up time (remember to have realistic expectations)
  • Waiting progressively longer periods of time (maybe in 15 minute increments) every few days before going in to your baby
  • Soothing him back to sleep when he wakes up (e.g. shush-pat if under 6 months, hold your baby quietly, rock your baby, do part of your wind down routine, place a hand on your baby's back and offer comforting words, use the swing)
  • Trying P.U./P.D.
  • If he is used to eating at each waking (eating at night is a habit but he is capable of getting all his nutrition during the day), you can either do the options above and wean him from waking and eating at the same time, or you can wean him from eating and then wean him waking. Some babies will stop waking with no other intervention once they get out of the habit of eating when theY wake.

It is not unusual for there to be a period of regression with sleep training--especially if it is related to habitual wakings. If this occurs, you can continue using the methods you used previously to fix the issue.

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165 comments :

  1. HELP! MY 10 week old goes to bed between 8:30 and 9:30 each night and will sleep until 2:00 or 2:30 am. My hubby then feeds him a bottle (about 5 oz). The baby has recently started to refuse to go back to sleep, unless he either nurses or has a pacifier. He just can't be hungry and we don't give him his pacifier when he goes to bed but after him crying for 30 minutes in the middle of the night, we don't know what to do. Any suggestions???

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  2. Anonymous,

    I have several thoughts...

    He is at an age where some babies that didn't have sleep problems start to have them. Sometimes they have been using a sleep prop that didn't cause problems before but now starts to cause problems, or sometimes they simply have a harder time going to sleep and styaing asleep.

    Does he normally nurse to sleep for naps and at night? If so, this may be what is making it hard for him to go back to sleep at night time. You could try slowly dropping this habit during the day (assuming he has it). If he doesn't normally nurse to sleep, you could still try slowly dropping it at night. There are some good tips in the no-cry sleep solution label for doing this.

    Does he have a bottle during the day? If not, you might want to try offering it during the day to get him more used to it.

    Also, having some kind of routine might help things out too. It is hard to have exact times baby eats and sleeps at this age, but having some kind of pattern often helps. Eventually it should get more consistent and predictable.

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  3. So glad I found this blog! My daughter is 3 1/2 months and has been night waking every 3 hours on the dot since she was 3 weeks old. Typically it's 12am, 3am, 6am (approximately). She's Breastfed and with each waking I've always fed her and she always eats quite a bit and then goes back to sleep easily after 10-15 mins. How do I know if she's waking due to hunger or if it's just programmed into her? Only twice has a PU/PD or pacifier worked, and then it only got her another hour of sleep. Thanks for your help! --Wendi

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  4. Anonymous,
    It can be tricky to figure out if baby is hungry or not, and it can be even more tricky to figure out if baby is hungry at night because she is used to eating then but can get her nutrients during the day, or if she is hungry at night and really needs to get the nutrients then.

    Most likely, since your daughter is 3.5 months old, she can go through the night with just one feeding, or possibly a dream feed (usually around 10-11) and one other feeding. In fact, she very well may be able to go from dreamfeed to waketime in the morning, but of course you'll have to slowly work towards that so you don't do anything she isn't ready for.

    So I would probably work on starting to drop one feeding and then once you do that and she has had some days to get used to it and is starting to eat more during the day to make up for the dropped night feeding, you can start to work on the next one. You can work on dropping any feeding, but it might be more convenient to try to drop the middle of the night one first. Then you can work on extending her to waketime, and then work on dropping the late night/dream feed (although she MAY need to keep this for some more months). Some people try to drop the feed cold turkey and won't feed baby until the next feed time. You can comfort baby during this time, offer a pacifier etc. It is probably going to be a bit easier, though, if you slowly decrease how much food you offer at a feed or if you move the time you will feed baby back a little bit every few nights like it mentions here:http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/08/core-night.html

    Before you do this, make sure baby is healthy and gaining weight well. Also make sure she does well once you drop a feeding. Like I said, she shouldn't need that many feedings during night anymore, but every baby is different so there are no guarantees, so it is always a good idea to keep a close eye on baby. Good luck!

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  5. I should have also mentioned that some babies, when waking habitually, won't eat much at a feeding and that is how you know it is a habitual waking. But this is not true for many babies.

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  6. My daughter is 8 months old now And wakes up at 12am or 1am and 4am or 5am every night I thought she was hungry so I fed her every time

    (she use to wake up almost every two or three hours and my She had to be rocked to bed until 6.5 months now she needs a bottle to sleep my ped told me to let her cry it out because shes at a very healthy weight I couldn't do it )

    I started to wake her up a half an hour before she usually gets up and feed her she only drinks 2 ounces I'm wondering if I should continue doing this or just stop feeding her at night and wake her ?

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  7. Anonymous
    At that age, I think that pretty much any child, if they are on solids, shouldn't need a feeding at night. So I would stop feeding her at night. She can get all that she needs during her day time feeds. I would slowly decrease how much you give her at night to get her used to no food at this time. She might stop waking if she is waking from hunger at night (but note, just bc she feels hungry at night doesn't mean she needs to eat then, it just means she is used to eating then) but she very well might continue waking after you stop feeding her bc she is waking out of habit and/or is getting into light sleep and needs help falling back asleep. So helping her learn how to go to sleep on her own (when going to sleep and when she wakes) is probably a main issue going on here. It'll be hard at first to teach her to (however you do it) to go to sleep without sucking on a bottle but if you persevere, it will get better. You could try offering a bottle of water or diluting feeds over time, or you could give a lovey, even offer a pacifier (might not take it if she's never had it before). I'd look over some of the sleep training posts in the index. The ones by the baby whisperer and the no cry sleep solution have methods that don't involve crying that you might like. I'd work on having a good sleep routine if you don't and avoiding overtiredness too. It will take a lot of work in the short run to change things, but in the long runt things will be so much easier. You just have to look toward that end goal to keep you going when things get tough!

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  8. hi, my baby is 4 months ols and wakes at 5.30am every morning, he would take a bottle if offered but he isn't really hungry. we have just taken his dummy away at night because we were doing the dummy run up to 10 times a night, so far this is going well, he goes down without dummy, we get him up at 10.30 for a DF and he goes thru to 5.30, what should i do... if we give him the dummy will he get dependant again or should we let him cry it out???

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  9. Anonymous-
    You could try giving your son a pacifier when he wakes at 5:30 to see if he'll go right back to sleep. If he keeps losing the pacifier at that time then this might not be a good idea. Keep in mind though that babies around 6 months can usually put a pacifier back in their mouths (they even sell little stuffed animals that connect to pacifiers so it is easy for baby to find and put in his mouth) so if you only have to get up a couple times for the pacifier (not 10-yike!) then it might be worth giving it to him until then.

    As long as he is healthy and gaining weight well, he should definitely be able to go from df to waketime. Even if he was hungry then, I would suggest weaning him from the feed anyway--he can get what he needs during the day.

    Look over the early morning waking post. There are ideas on that one. If you trouble shoot eveything then it might be a good idea to leave him since you sound like you feel ok with that. He'll learn to be happy soon when he wakes at that time and will hopefully learn to fall asleep soon then too. Some babies go through an early waking phase in the morning for quite some time for no obvious reason and they eventually out grow it. No fun though! Just when you got excited that you got to sleep through the night :)

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  10. hi,
    my baby is almost 7 months old. he has alway slept very well but 3 weeks ago started waking every hour. if i pick him up he quickly settles and i can put him back into his cot but i know he will not sleep longer than an hour.he doesn't always try to feed he just wants the closeness. i alway nurse him to sleep at night but during the day he has no problem drifting off himself. any advice is really appreciated.

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  11. Anonymous,
    I'm guessing that when you say he is waking every hour, you mean at night time?

    7 months is kind of a weird time to start having sleeping problems only at night. Separation anxiety can start around this time but you'd think that it would affect night and day sleep. But, babies know that night sleep is longer than a short nap so that might be the differentiation that is happening.

    I would evaluate if there is anything that is different going on now. Anything different with the sleep environment, home environment, developmentally etc. Look over this post
    http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/01/night-awakenings.html
    to rule things out.

    Babies that are fed to sleep at bedtime can end up not having problems sleeping for naps bc they know the different between these two different times. But I think it is possible that baby can eventually end up having problems with this. So I would probably work towards putting him to sleep awake at night which might end up solving your problem, especially bc the night waking seem to be more of an issue where he needs you to fall back asleep.

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  12. thank you so much for the advice, you are amazing.

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  13. Nicole,
    No problem. Glad I can (hopefully) help!

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  14. Hi,

    My daughter is 7 weeks old. Since she came home from the hospital, she started sleeping 5-6 hour stretches at night feeding and going right back to sleep for another 4-5 hours. She has continued to stretch her nights, last weekend she slept 8 hours straight three nights in a row.

    She is bottle-fed with breast milk. She eats a total of 6 times a day (one of those feedings in the middle of the night). I cluster feed at 7 & 9 pm. She goes down for bed following the 9pm feeding, she's sleepy when she goes down, but is still awake and will put herself to sleep without much help.

    For the last four nights, she has waken up at 3:30pm on the dot. The first night she had a really poopy diaper, so I changed her, thinking that was why she woke up. She wasn't hungry. I was able to put her right back to sleep. The second night, same thing; however, no dirty diaper and she didn't go back down so easily. She was up and down for the hour following and then she was hungry. Same thing the third and fourth night. When she wakes up, I give her a few minutes before going to her, when I do go to her, I make sure she isn't hungry, I try the shush pat, I've tried a pacifier, ect. She's in and out of sleep for about an hour and then is hungry and ready to eat.

    I think she might be going through a growth spurt, but I'm not confident that I know what this looks like. Yesterday she started taking 3oz at each feeding (normally she takes 2oz), she also got one extra feeding in during the day because she was really hungry. Seems like a growth spurt to me, but she's never hungry when she wakes at 3:3am...so is this growth spurt related or is it habitual waking? And what to I do?

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  15. Summer,
    There is often a growth spurt around this time, it is also a common developmental leap time too. These two things can make thinks (sleep, poop, wake times) go a little crazy for several days. This pattern will happily repeat itself over again several times in the first year! The main thing to do is often just keep doing things as normal as possible, feeding more as needed, and wait it out. If you find if things don't change after some waiting, then I would start to do more problem solving or see if some habits have been created.

    Usually just a few days isn't enough to make some kind of permanent habitual waking habit, but that isn't always the case. I would always rule out food first which it sounds like you are doing. With babies this young I will always feed at first when they wake up (assuming it has been somewhat of a reasonable amount of time) at night. If I am positive they are not hungry after a couple days then I will try to help them go to sleep another way or possibly leave them for a few minutes to see if they'll go back to sleep like you have done. At this age my personal preference is to help baby back to sleep with quite a bit of help at night. So I'll leave baby to see if he'll go back to sleep by himself, but if he starts to get upset or if a long time passes with him making any kind of sound I'll go in and help him go back to sleep. Because baby has already gone a while without food and you smell like food this often makes a now wide awake baby want food before going back to sleep. So sometimes it is easier to go in the second baby stirs and help him go back to sleep before he really wakes up. This method can also help get baby out of the waking habit too. It is hard to say what method will work best (or if time will simply change things) bc every baby is so different. But it sounds like leaving him for a while is just making things worse so you might want to try rushing in to help her go back to sleep. If this doesn't work after several nights, I would consider the feeding issue again--well always consider that, especially bc he is in a growth spurt right now. Then maybe try some of the other methods suggest in this post.

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  16. Help!! My son has been sleeping from 8.00-11.15pm, then up for a last bottle, then down for the night until 6.30am since he was 6 weeks old. He is now 16 weeks and for the last 3 weeks he's been waking up at around 2am and 4.30am every night. He settles fairly quickly with the dummy so sure he's not hungry but why has he suddenly started waking when he was sleeping through before?!

    He is still swaddled as he finds it hard to get to sleep without, but when i go in he often has an arm out but not always, could he be getting too old for swaddling?

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  17. Anonymous,
    It is possible he is getting too old for the swaddle, but I wouldn't conclude that bc he is getting his arm out. I would say getting his arm out means you need a better swaddle :) So maybe that is why he is waking up at night and your issues will be fixed once that is fixed. If not, then I wouldn't be surprised if his waking issues stop after a few more nights of helping him go back to sleep. Babies (and even toddlers) will have a few rough days every now and again when they won't sleep their best then they will go back to how they used to sleep. If he keeps up the habit, then you will have to evaluate things more. Look at his environment, naps etc (look at the post night time wakings). If you look over that and everything seems to be ok, then you might need to work on trying to break the habit with some of the suggestions above. Good luck! Sorry it took me a couple days to get back to you!

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  18. Hello - I'm stuck! My son, who is now 12.5 months, had a very rough few first months of life. He was the baby in the nursery crying and they actually brought him in to me the second night as he was too loud for the other babies. That habit of screaming crying lasted for the first few months (and he still melts down very easily) and sleep is something he's never naturally come by. As all those other babies were sleeping he was crying and I feel like he still is :) When he was younger I nursed him whenever he was upset as it really was the only way to get him to stop screaming crying and now a year later we've backed ourselves into a corner.
    At bedtime the only way I can get him down is to nurse him to sleep...and he is still waking anywhere from 2-5 times a night. And when he wakes he mostly needs nursing to fall back asleep. My husband tries to hold and rock him or pat him while he's in the crib but he cries for 30 minutes and then I nurse him and bam in 5 minutes he's asleep. And while he's being held he pushes and shoves. We've tried to have my husband also give him bottles during the night of water or watered down milk but he protests, squirming and pushing the bottle away. So we always end up back at the breast because we all need sleep.
    But its taken its toll as I am working full-time and operating on never more than 3 hours of sleep at a time.
    The interesting thing is that the babysitter, my husband, my mom & sister all can lay him down awake for naps and he falls asleep. And they've done it at bedtime as well (we thought that may solve our problem...he learns to fall asleep that way then he'll stay asleep) but alas at night no matter how he goes down (and I'm still only able to get him down with nursing) he still wakes at night...the first time almost always around 2.5 hours after going down.
    I don't want to do CIO but I'm just not sure how else to help him...
    Any advice?

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  19. Lauren-
    That is good that he will go to sleep with other people sometimes. But obviously he is wanting to be nursed at every waking when you are around which can get pretty tiring obviously! If you want a change to happen, you have to keep in mind that it will be a lot harder at first and will take some time, especially with a gentle method. But the trick is to keep in mind the long term goal. I find it best to make a plan ahead of time and tell yourself you are going to do it no matter what. That way when you are feeling tired in the middle of the night you don't try to make decisions about what to do then bc most likely you'll do the quickest and easiest thing possible which is not best for the long run.

    The no cry sleep solution and the baby whisperer both have good advice for someone in your situation that doesn't want to do cio. Look under them in the blog index. Here is a link specifically for the no cry sleep solution to get you going: http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2010/04/change-your-babys-sleep-association-for.html

    You probably want to work on either nursing to sleepiness but not sleep or putting to sleep in other ways besides nursing to drop the eating habit/need at night followed by learning to sleep without those new non-nursing put to sleep methods.

    Change may be hard, but if you stick to it things will probably improve before you know!

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  20. Hello,
    My daughter is 11 1/2 weeks. She has been sleeping between 6 and 9 hrs each night until a week ago. She loves her bed time routine and falls asleep with out a dummy (she is hardly using it during the day either).
    In the last few days she has been waking during the night. I don't think she is hungry, and if I give her a dummy she will go strait back to sleep (and won't even wake up). However, she will not always fall into a deep sleep, and than wake up again if she lost it.
    I tried rubbing her tummy instead. She fell asleep but woke up three more times.

    I am quite scared she will get used to sleeping with a dummy and wakes up whenever she loses it.

    I am breastfeeding by demand. - so far I was lucky as there was no night time demand.
    She usually goes to sleep around 10.
    She only started using the dummy about a week ago- before that she refused it, but became more sucky lately.
    Any suggestions as to how to get her back to the habit of sleeping through the night without offering a dummy?
    Thank you

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  21. Anonymous,
    She is at the age where some babies will have a hard time making it through sleep transitions that they used to sleep right through.

    Does she nurse to sleep at all (bed or naps)? Does she use a dummy for naps? Does she take long naps or does she wake up after 30-60 minutes after the sleep transition? If she's doing any of these things, it might be a sleep transition problem--she is unable to put herself back to sleep on her own when she wakes.

    If you feed her does she continue to wake often after that? If not, maybe it is hunger. Sometimes kids will go to sleep with a dummy but then have a hard time getting into a deep sleep if hunger is bothering them or they'll wake after the first sleep transition.

    So if you are sure she isn't hungry then it very well might be a sleep transition problem. I wouldn't say it is specificially a pacifier problem (but I could be wrong-you'll have to evaluate further) since it doesn't sound like she is using it much. The pacifier just happens to be soothing so it is helping her go back to sleep, just like rubbing her tummy (although it might take longer to do since it isn't as soothing for many kids) or nursing her would do.

    The way to help your baby get through a sleep transition varies on what you feel most comfortable doing. Look over the sleep prop post(in the index) and see if you are doing any of these things. Then look over the night waking post to see if any of these things stand out. Next look over the sleep training posts to see what seems to work best for you and baby. Doing something like rubbing her tummy can work if you just try and do it only until she is drowsy--that goes for whatever you do to help her at this time.

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  22. Hi- I have a question about my 3 week old son.for the first week at home he would sleep for four hours at a time at night.now he wakes every 2 hours or more.I nurse him every time but half the time as soon as he's been at the breast for 3-5 minutes he's ready to sleep again so it doesn't seem like he even was hungry.I took his pacifier away because it would fall out and i'd have to get up to put it back in.is he waking more now because he's using me as his pcifier now?during the day when he's ready to sleep I put him in his bassinet and let him fuss forabout 5-10 min and he will go to sleep without the pacifier.i'd like to do this at night too but willthis mean he will keep waking more to use me instead?i'd really like some advice so that I can make the right choices now to start good sleep habits and hopefully have him sleeping through the night as soon as possible because I'm totally exhausted with getting up over and over during the night.and yes- he does have a nightly routine every night.bathtime,then feeding and to bed.thanks for your help!!

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  23. Ida Maria,
    It is possible he is using you as a prop to get back to sleep whenever he wakes. From the sound of it, he probably isn't hungry every time he wakes. I would try to work at getting him back to sleep in a way besides feeding. He will most likely keep waking for a short time (couple days to a couple weeks) but then will get used to not eating at that time and will stop waking.

    How to go about this. With my second I would give him a short time to see if he would go back to sleep like you are suggesting. He often would go back to sleep and after a short period of time stopped waking as often. Another thing you can do is offer a pacifier. But it sounds like that was causing more problems. You can also go in and help baby go back to sleep keeping in mind that this is harder than feeding right now but will probably help reduce wakings in a short time.

    Keep in mind that you will probably only want to slowly extend one eating time at a time unless he does the others by himself. So don't try to jump back to 4 hours in one night and then expect him to go another 4 hours after that the same night. Once he learns to put himself back to sleep he very well might do this by himself. What I would do is keep in mind the normal wake time of my baby. If he woke up much earlier I would wait to see if he'd go back to sleep on his own. If he started crying I'd give him a pacifier and sooth him for a minute making sure the pacifier didn't plop right out (you could do a little cio/fussing here instead). After that if he started crying again or wouldn't be soothed I'd feed him. Usually it worked well so I didn't do more than that. But if it hadn't worked well and he was eating as often as your son, then I probably would have tried to hold him off of eating for a short time in other ways just to kick him out of the eating every 2 hour habit at night which very unlikely he needs.

    You just have to keep in mind the end goal because it can be easier to feed in the moment but it doesn't help things out next week! Make a plan before you go to sleep and stick with it. If you make a plan in the middle of the night you'll probably do whatever is easiest at the moment--at least that is the case with me. Good luck!

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  24. Hi - I have a seven month old and she has always slept through the night until a couple of weeks ago when she has started waking in the night at various times but this has now settled at 3.45am. WE thought it was maybe her teeth so go in and put gel on her gums, but she then just starts to have a kick around in the cot and smiles at me as though she wants to play. She becomes very active at this time and if I then leave her she cries when I leave the room and then thrashes around so much she ends up stuck on her front and cries out. It is taking over an hour to get to back to sleep using gentle patting and PU/PD (which doesnt seem to work as she just cries as soon as put down and starts playing as soon as picked up), or some nights putting her in our bed. We have recently just dropped the dreamfeed but did this very gradually as the baby whisperer book suggests - could this have caused sleep issues? Would you suggest we just let her cry it out as the crying is not always constant, unless she ends up on her front but she is able to roll now anyway so should be able to get out of this position? I'm finding ut impossible to go back to sleep after she does so its getting very tiring! Your help is appreciated!!! Thanks

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  25. Ali 22,
    The pu/pd you are doing seems to be fine. It might take longer to work with her acting like that, but that isn't terribly uncommon.

    I definitely wouldn't put her in her bed unless you want her to keep waking up wanting to be put in your bed. She'll catch on super quick!

    With the rolling, if it is infrequent you could roll her back when she gets stuck. Or if you leave her she'll hopefully realize that she needs to figure it out on her own and work at getting a better position by herself. If she has just started rolling all over it isn't uncommon for this to cause sleep issues--she might just be waking every morning when she drops into light sleep and attempting to play but then getting stuck and frustrated. Just a random thought.

    If you just dropped the df and this has all started You could always give it again for a few days and see what happens. But most likely she doesn't need this, especially if she seemed to be fine as you were dropping it and right after.

    There is a developmental leap around 29 week if I'm remembering right which can cause a bit of caos for baby for a couple weeks.

    First off, evaluate your daily routine to make sure things seem "normal". I would probably either try some wake to sleep for several days to see if this works then maybe some pu/pd again. If you don't like he idea of those you can always do some cio and see how it works. Wish I could tell you why this has suddenly started. It is hard to know sometimes but hopefully it'll be over before you know it.

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  26. Hi Rachel,
    My almost four month old daughter (she is my third child) was a pretty good sleeper - sleeping about 5 to 6 hours, waking for a feed and than waking for another early morning feed around 5:30 and going back to sleep. We have been nursing and rocking her to sleep but have recently stopped the nursing part but let her fall asleep in our arms. Our current problem is she wakes up multiple times throughout the night now - about every two hours and I know she is not hungrey. How do we get her to stay asleep and break the habit of feeding her to sleep. Is she too young to let CIO? I just can't see how I can get her to go to sleep on her own at bedtime and throughout the night. Also we do swaddle her - is this a habit we should be breaking as well?
    Thanks for your help!!!
    Natalie

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  27. Natalie,
    Sounds like a classic sleep prop problem. First I would drop the feeding part which it sounds like you have don. How you go from there is kind of up to what you feel comfortable with. I personally think some CIO is ok at that age as long as you make sure other things, like a good sleep routine and proper wake time, are in place first. There are other methods you can do too which are under the sleep training section. There's the no-cry sleep solution which is a gradual, no crying approach, the babywhisperer involves some crying in your presence and others listed there mainly sugget some form of CIO.

    People often stop swaddling around this age, but you don't need to if it seems o help. But if you are doing some form of sleep training right now fir the rocking it might be nice to get it all over with and also give her the chance to find her fingers and sooth herself. Go by your instincts a bit for the timing on this one.

    Good luck!

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  28. Hi Rachel
    Thank you so much for your advice. Your blog is amazing and so helpful. It can be very confusing having to go through all the books and you have done that for us.

    I think you are right that we are going to have to do some form of CIO because I don't think she knows how to settle herself at night and go back to sleep on her own if she wakes during a sleep cycle. But I was wondering was we are still feeding her in the night and I don't think she needs that. Should we wean her off that with a bit of CIO or can you use some of the other no cry approaches? Should we start with the bedtime feed or the middle of the night feed in terms of putting her to bed sleepy but still awake - so not feeding her to sleep. Also because she is my third we are not on the best nap schedule because I have to take my other kids places but I try to get her down every two hours or so but this means she can sleep when we are out and for long periods of time. Do you think that sleeping too long during her naps will effect her night time sleep? She I start waking her after about two hours?
    THanks again for all your help!
    Natalie

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  29. Also, she does most of her naps in the swing. Do you think I should wean her off that to help her night sleep?

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  30. Natalie,
    Forgot to mention that there can be a growth spurt at this age so be mindful of that. I like to wean from a feed before doing cio, but that is just my preference. You can wean by doing any form of comfort without feeding them---pacifier, rocking etc. You can decrease how much you feed, move it a bit later etc.

    If she is napping in the swing that very well could cause problems at night with sleep if she isn't sleeping in the swing then.

    Too much day time sleep can definitely cause sleep problems at night. I would try not to do more than 2 hours. Keep a log if you are able to and see how she does with less/more daytime sleep. Of course, too little naps can cause night time problems too!

    If you are doing cio (or whatever form of sleep training) at night, I would start at the beginning of the night and go from there.

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  31. So, I'm really at a loss. My daughter is almost 4 months and has slept thru the night (a 5 hr stretch) maybe twice. Her night wakings have always been erratic and I just assumed that she has been waking out of hunger since she was on the small side and still eats every 3 hours during the day. She is gaining nicely though, and IMO, is no longer small. However, she typically will only eat 2 oz at each feeding and when I try to feed her more, she spits it up. She is breastfed but I fed her expressed milk for a few days for a break, and to see how much she was taking in each time. I've supplemented a few times with formula to see if it would help with sleep and it seems to make no difference. I have tried to dream-feed her to get her to go the distance, but that only seemed to disrupt her natural rhythm and create a new habit of waking at the time that I'm now thinking of breaking her of since it's not helping. I'm not a fan of CIO, at least not this young, and in addition, she is colicky so her crying only escalates if left unattended and can go on like that for a long time. I just don't think it would work for her right now.
    So, I guess my questions are how do I know when to feed her at night? Right now, she's having her last feeding at 7, and going to sleep at 7:30, with a dreamfeed at 10:30 or 11. She will typically then wake up just a few hours after that (usually 1:00-ish) and I would assume by now that she isn't hungry at this time, but she's waking out of habit. However, for several weeks now, we have been holding her, rocking her, shushing her, back to sleep to get over that "habit" but she then goes down and wakes up every 15 minutes for hours until I finally feed her. This has been going on for nearly 3 weeks. We've tried the BW's pu/pd method for nearly 2 weeks and it's not working, if anything I just feel like she's getting dependent on us coming in and picking her up whenever she cries at night.

    As for naps, she is napping in her crib and goes down easily for the first 45 minutes, but always wakes up after this amount of time. After which, we will try shush/pat or pu/pd, but again, after implementing these tactics for weeks, they just don't seem to be helping. I've tried to go in an beat her wake cycle by stirring her slightly, but that doesn't help either. I'm home alone during the day and also have a 3 year old, so picking her up and putting her down for an additional hour just isn't practical anymore.

    In the middle of the night, I am in such a state of delirium, I am just at a total loss as to what direction to go in. Please help.....

    - Amy

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  32. Amy,
    FYI, I wouldn't be surprised if her "colicky" behavior at this age is just over tiredness. You might be surprised what suddenly happens with her disposition once she starts to sleep better.

    If you don't want to do CIO, I think that is fine. Do what you feel comfortable doing.

    As for naps, if nothing seems to be extending them then I would stop fighting it for now and reorganize your day to work with shorter, more frequent naps. They very likely will fall in place by themselves or with a little work at a layer age. Be sure to look at the short nap post. Make sure to be watchful of over tiredness.

    I am also in a state of delerium in the middle of the night so I find having a specific plan ahead of time is a must ;). It is especially important if you want to be consistent at night. If the df is causing problems then you can try changing the timing of it it or drop it. Some babies don't do so well with the df. Some options include feeding for less time/less oz every few nights. Start with one feeding and move onto the next once you drop one. You will want to know when baby wakes up normally And not feed before that time. You can move babies feeding time back around 15 minutes every few nights. If baby goes longer by herself, go with that time from mow on. Remember, just work on one feeding at a time. Have you tried wake to sleep? Try working on dropping the feeds first and baby often will stop waking by herself without other methods. Or at least will wake less often.

    At 4 months, if she is healthy she can definitely do 8 hours. There are a few experts that will disagree, but you will always find some disagreement. So I would work towards that at least. I bet she can even do longer but we won't go overkill ;).

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  33. I guess I'm still confused about what to do about the frequent wakings. There is really no consistency to the times she wakes so wake to sleep is hard to determine. Do u know why a baby might wake so frequently; like every 10-20 minutes for 3 to 4 hours? That is what is killing me the most! Thanks so much!!!

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  34. Again thank you so much for all your advice and responding to the comments. We have begun sleep training and trying to rid her of her night associations. But her naps are still a real struggle, they are short and she often fights napping in her crib. How can I get her to sleep longer in the day and not cry in her crib?
    Again thanks for all the advice!

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  35. Also...even though we have weaned her off the sleep associations to get her to sleep at night and at nap she is still waking up to feed 2-3 times a night. Should we be weaning her off one of those feedings and how would I do that?

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  36. amylep
    I would start by working on the first night waking and treating the others as you have in the past (with a feed?). You work on dropping that first feed which often stops the waking at that time. When you do that, you work on the next waking.

    She might be waking frequently because she is overtired, she needs help getting herself back to sleep (she is in lighter sleep at this time so wakings are more common), she feels hungry at this time and wants a feed (think of the evening snack we often have because we feel hungry but we don't really need it, it is just habit), she is getting too much sleep during the day. be sure to look at the post on this for more ideas. Good luck!

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  37. The bug and the bee,
    "How can I get her to sleep longer in the day and not cry in her crib?" Consistency and time. Also a positive attitude from you, working on good timing (not overtired) and a good sleep environment (see post). Sometimes kids just need to get older before they will do longer daytime naps.

    At 4 months, she really doesn't need to eat more than once at night if she is healthy, eating like she should be during the day and gaining weight well. how you drop a feeding is up to you. I like to move a feed later slower and/or decrease how much you give for a feed. Once the feed is dropped they often stop waking. If not, you can do cio or some of the baby whisperer stuff or whatever else you feel comfortable doing at this time. Good luck! So glad things have improved.

    ReplyDelete
  38. So, I just wanted to update you that per your suggestion of dropping the dream feed, we are finally sleeping once again at our house. I just think the dream feed was messing with her natural rhythm and creating a habit that wasn't helping. She now has her last feeding at 7, is down by 7:30, wakes to eat around 1 or 1:30 and doesn't need to eat again until wake up which is between 7 and 8. My only problem now is that she is still waking at 5 or 5:30, wide awake and alert. She's not hungry, I've tried to feed her, but this only wakes her up more. I thought this might be wake up time for us, but after about 20-30 minutes she wants to go back to sleep, and sleeps for nearly an hour. she's in a co-sleeper, so it's hard to ignore her since she so alert and happy, and because she wakes so alert, she's impossible to put/soothe to sleep right away like other night wakings. Any suggestions? Thanks so much for your help this far, I feel like I've got some of my sanity back!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Amylep,
    Yeah! I'm glad some things have improved. Maybe try the wake to sleep for a few/several nights with that early morning waking. Or maybe just keep things dark and quiet and put your hand on her tummy to comfort her but don't do much more than that. She'll likely get upset, but hopefully she'll decide that it isn't play time at the moment and she'll go to sleep. These wake ups early in the morning can be tricky things to get rid of! make sure to look over my post on early morning wake ups.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I am frustrated I have a daughter who is coming up to 9 weeks. She was waking twice in the night at 2 and 5. One night she sept until 3.30 so I implement the core night as per Gina Ford. She has now begun to wake earlier and earlier in the night and crying so I am going in at regular intervals and patting and offering reasurance but not feeding her. She now does this every nigh at varying times and it is making me anxious that I am doing the right thing or should just go back to feeding when she wakes as I am awake waiting for her to wake up, When I have patted her etc she does go back to sleep and then wakes around 4 and then I feed her. Last night she woke at 1:40 (earliest yet) and cried for about 20 mins with me going in but then woke at 4.40 was fed and then got up at 7.30 but would only take a small feed so then I worry that she wont take enough in the day so will be waking more in the night should I feed or continue to push her through. She settles well after her bath and bed routine and has to be woke at 10-10.30 for her last feed and then sleeps again. I just dont know if I am doing the correct thing or if I am making things worse surely she should not have to be cried down every night which has been happening for the last week. Any advice would be appreciated.

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  41. Clairefootman,
    Because there are so many growth spurts the first few months, I usually suggest feeding baby when she wakes just to make sure she is getting the needed nutrition. This is only if the feeds seem reasonable and not just a huge sleep problem (like waking every 1 or 2 hours all night). I might help baby along and offer a pacifier or only feed on one side when baby wakes if she is waking earlier than usual or if I feel she can go longer before eating, but I don't do anything drastic. Obviously some people push for more consistency and longer periods at an earlier age, I just don't usually feel 100% comfortable doing it so I am careful about doing so. Maybe if I knew the baby and could get a very good feel for the wakings and eating patterns I might do it, but I have a hard time otherwise. Maybe if you going in showed some improvement, but since the wakings are getting worse and earlier, they might be food related. I personally don't worry tons about getting too much food at night at this age. I do worry about it when they get a bit older, but for now I don't usually notice huge problems with this unless they are feeding an unreasonable amount at night.

    Oh, you might want to try something like a swing when she wakes at night. If it is food related she probably won't go right to sleep or will wake shortly after. If it isn't, she hopefully will fall right asleep and stay asleep and get out of the habit of waking.

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  42. Hi Thank you for advice will continue to feed her thanks again.

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  43. clairefootman,
    Let me know how things progress.

    Rachel

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  44. Wonderful blog! We just made great progress with our six-month-old. He had been waking every few hours crying, and I spent hours every night walking him to sleep. After one night of Ferber (with 32 minutes of crying), he's had three nights of going to sleep with a quick toss and turn, then out like a light! I was totally against crying it out, but at last realized that many nights he was crying for long period of time anyways and still not sleeping. So it seems like it's working for us, at least for now :) He's slept about nine hours (from 7:30pm to about 4:30am) for the last three nights. This morning when he woke at 4:30am, I nursed him and he promptly fell back asleep after a few minutes.

    Question is, any advice on avoiding this 4:30 wake up call? I'm certainly grateful to have these nice nights now, but am wondering if I should be feeding him at this early waking, trying to get him to settle himself back to sleep, or possibly feeding him sometime earlier during the night? He's just starting solids, so I'm not sure if he can go longer than nine hours without food. I feed him around 4-6 ounces of breast milk just before bedtime. Any suggestions welcome! Thanks.

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  45. Hi, Rachel,
    Our almost 4 month old daughter goes to bed between 7 and 8, but habitually wakes up approx 40 minutes later. She falls asleep very quickly, usually on her own, at bedtime, but when she wakes up 40 minutes later it takes upwards of an hour to get her back to sleep even though she's still tired. We've tried getting her up as if that was just a nap and putting her to bed later, which only made things worse. We've tried going in and giving back her paci and stroking her forehead a few times, but usually still takes a long time. We've tried picking her up to rock her; usually if she falls back asleep she wakes up and still won't stay asleep for good until 9 or so. We've tried letting her fuss while one of us stands by her crib with a hand on her tummy to let her know we're there. In short, we feel like we've tried everything but CIO, which we don't want to do, and it's only gotten worse. We feel stuck, because we know she's still young and needs comfort and security, but we also don't want this problem to continue and to create sleep crutches. It's exhausting and discouraging, every evening, and not fun for any of us.
    She also almost always wakes up 30-45 minutes into every nap. Occasionally she'll fall back asleep entirely on her own. most times I go in, replace her paci, and stroke her head for a few minutes. Occasionally she won't fall back asleep at all even though still tired. Not sure what to do for naps, either--same tensions as in the evening.
    Once settled for good for the night, usually by 9 or 9:30, I dreamfeed her at 11ish and she doesn't wake back up until 7 or so in the morning. So overall, great sleeper, but I would like to get past this waking in the evenings and naps problem.
    Help!

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  46. Hi, Rachel,
    Thanks for your site. Great articles.
    We have an almost-4-month-old daughter. We put her down for bed between 7 and 8 following a routine of diaper change, lotion massage, nurse/burp, and reading a book if she's up to it. Sometimes she falls asleep while nursing, but we usually try to put her down drowsy but awake. She falls asleep very easily at bedtime, but every night wakes up approx 40 minutes later. It usually takes upwards of an hour to get her back to sleep for good. We feel like we've tried everything; we've eliminated hunger, gas, etc. as causes for her waking and thus I think it's a sleep cycle transition issue, although once she is settled by 9 or 9:30 she'll sleep through till 7am with a dream feeding around 11 and no more problems.

    This is an exhausting and discouraging process every evening, as it has been going on for over a month and a half and we are at a loss for what to do. We thought we were maybe putting her to bed too early, so we tried both pushing bedtime back and letting her take a catnap at 7ish and going to bed later--neither worked. We've tried picking her up and rocking, which sometimes works, but most of the time it still takes a long time to get her back to sleep for good. We've tried staying in the room, replacing her paci, and giving her the assurance of our presence and/or stroking her forehead or putting her, but again, usually still takes an hour at least. We've also tried not coming in immediately and letting her fuss for a few minutes first--she usually doesn't full out cry, just more of a complaining cry, but she doesn't fall back asleep and we don't want to actually let her CIO.

    We're stuck and need help. She does a similar thing during most naps--wakes 30-40 minutes in. Occasionally falls back asleep entirely on her own, but usually I must go in and replace the paci before she'll fall back asleep. Naptime is much better than evening--though she wakes, she will usually fall back asleep for an hour or more, however I suspect the two are related.

    We don't want to let her CIO--we recognize she is young and needs comfort and security. But we also don't want to be reinforcing the waking problem and creating sleep crutches. I've read about wake-to-sleep and even sort of tried it, but not sure how to apply it in this situation. She is pretty reliant on her paci to fall asleep (and stay asleep for naps and that first part of nighttime sleep), but I don't know how to change that without CIO. She sleeps swaddled because with her arms out she knocks paci out and gets frustrated. Thoughts?

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  47. Jack's mom,
    I'm so glad you are both getting more sleep! CIO is no fun, but it can work wonders at times. At 6 months some babies can go 12 hours, but others will need a feed for another couple months. It is hard to know what your baby needs so I would try to gently drop the feed and if he won't do it, wait it out a bit longer and he'll either do it himself in a while, or you can try to drop it again gently if he isn't too much older than this, or a little more aggressively (possibly with cio) if he is much older than this. You could try wake to sleep (see post) or just feeding him less each night. I like to at least start by doing one sided feedings when trying to drop a feed at night, letting baby suckle a bit longer on the one side helps them be more ok with getting less milk without throwing a fuss. If you were to do a feed at an earlier time, I would only do it if you are doing a dreamfeed. But I probably wouldn't do that at this time since it'll probably backfire starting it at this age. The goal is to have that early morning feed get later and later until it disappears and turns into the morning waketime feed.

    Hope this helped.
    Good luck!
    Rachel

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  48. diggingbeyondthesurface,
    For naps, make sure to look at the short nap post. You might want to try leaving her for a few minutes to fuss to see if that helps. If it doesn't help, I'd probably keep up what you are doing for a while. Short naps happen no matter what you do with many young kids. They often go away by themselves with time, or with a little sleep training (if the baby is at a ready and receptive age for this) at a later age. I would make sure waketime (see post) is appropriate. Too little or too much waketime will lead to short naps. You might have to keep a log (see post) for a while to figure out the best wake time. Wake time will be a bit shorter than the average since her naps are so short.

    For bedtime, this is a relatively common problem and pretty frustrating! It seems like some babies want to treat bedtime like nap time for a while. Even my oldest did this for a short time. With many babies they only do this when they are very overtired so make sure that isn't the case. one thing you can do is try wake to sleep (see post) or you can try going to before she wakes and helping her through the transition in anyway that works to get her out of the habit waking. This may be by giving her hte pacifier, feeding her rocking her etc. Just get there soon enough that she isn't wide awake. You can also try keeping her up unitl the later time of 9 and slowly moving her bedtime to an earlier time (so her body gets used to it) until it is at the ideal time.

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  49. Bill,
    I'm thinking you are the same person as the one above? At least the situations are similar, as is the voice in the writing. Let me know if you aren't.

    Additional thoughts are...I wonder if she has the evening fussiness going on still. Maybe she will get over that soon here and go to sleep fine in the evenings. My kids didn't sleep well in the evening until around 4 months for this reason, even though my youngest wasn't extremely fussy, only slightly.

    You might want to look in the techniques by the baby whisperer. They sound up your ally. Look at the blog index for posts on her books. There is a post on wake to sleep that talks that is based on information in her books.

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  50. Hi Rachel,

    My daughter is 5 months old. We travelled when she was 3 months old to 2 different countries, spending 4 weeks in each country and staying at the same place. When we left on our trip she was sleeping 7pm-5am, quick feed and back to sleep until 7/8am. 3 weeks into our holiday she started waking every 3 hours. I thought it was maybe the 4 month sleep regression or a growth spur. I fed her every time she woke.

    Now it is 8 weeks later and she is still waking every 3 hours. Unfortunately while we were on holiday we were so busy during the day that I would be too tired to try and pat her back to sleep that I would just feed her (she is still exclusively breast fed).

    Well, now that we are back home and I am not getting much sleep this really has to stop. She still sleeps in her bassinet in our bedroom

    My husband thinks CIO may work, but I am not too keen on doing that. Something in the middle may be better. Also, she doesn't feed very effectively during the day because it seems she notices everything around her. When at home I take her into our bedroom and feed her there. It works because there isn't much distraction.

    Thanks so much!
    Liza

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  51. Lizzy,
    The distraction while eating at this age is normal. She may also be getting so much to eat at night she isn't hungry during the day.

    I would work on dropping those feeds first. One at a time. Then I would work on extending out sleep. If you want an inbetween method. I would try out the baby whispere methods. You can find her in the index. You can also go to the sleep training section where it lists other methods.

    I would say you should go back to what was working before and things will often fall into place, but i have a feeling that will not be the case in this situation and you will probably have to do some sleep training. but do try to replicate some of the things you did before that seemed to help.

    Make sure to look over the index to posts that may apply to you like waketime, pre-sleep routine etc.

    Rachel

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  52. Hi, I have an 11 month old daughter, she had regular nap times at 9 am and 1pm, she eats 3 meals a day and 3 bottles... For months now she has gone to bed at 7pm, and woken up at 6 am with an hour to 2 hrs of awake time around 2:30 am. She wakes up tossing and turning talking baby talk, seems like she can't get comfy... She sits and talks to her pillow pet, which she won't sleep without... I almost never go in, she falls back asleep eventually, but we are both up this whole time every night and I am exhausted so I know she must be. Why would this be happening? Every now and then she has a night where she sleeps through but it's rare... Any suggestions?

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  53. Wanted to add she rarely cries, she just talks or moans and groans as she tosses... I'd it gets to be closer to 2 hours I will go in, last her down, give her her binky and pillow, rub her head and leave and she usually falls back in about 10 min... It's killing me to lose that sleep in the middle of the night... I feel like she never gets into a deep sleep.

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  54. Gem's mom,
    My guess is that she has too little or too much nap time or too late of a bedtime for her. I would guess too much nap time. I'm not sure how much it is, but look over these posts. I would try to keep closer to hshhc with the issues you have. Well, at least compare to that. If you are off much, maybe try reorganizing sleep a bit.

    http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/02/night-time-sleep-whats-average.html
    http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/02/total-sleep-whats-average.html

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  55. Hi!, My baby is 4 months old, and util 4 nights ago she used to wake up only ones at night at around 4am or 5am to feed. She sleeps from 8pm till 8am, with one feeding. But for the last 4 nights she wakes up also at 1am or 2am and eats and go right back to sleep. I do not know if i should do something about this? She always falls asleep on her own, at night and for naps too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frog,
      If it is a new thing that started out of the blue and she sleeps good otherwise, I'd guess it was a growth spurt. I'd wait it out a while longer and evaluate how much she is feeding at this time and at 4/5. If she seems to not need the feed then I'd consider working on dropping it.

      Good luck!
      Rachel

      Delete
    2. Hi!
      Thank! She takes a whole feeding when she wakes up, so it might be a growth spurt. How long should i do this before i do something to drop it. If it is a growth spurt i wonder how long should it last for?

      Delete
    3. frog,
      It is hard to say how long a growth spurt will last. Often only lasts a few days. I doubt it would last more than a week or two tops. You'll have to evaluate how her feedings are during the night and even evaluate them during the day (to see if they've dropped--she may end up eating more at night instead of the day) to figure out when it is time to do something about this feeding if it continues. If it seems like she isn't very hungry during this or the other night feeding or it seems like she is eating less during the day then I'd consider helping her drop the feeding.

      Delete
    4. Thank you very much, you are so nice. Will look for those things :)

      Delete
  56. Wow, so awesome you take time to answer everyone's posts- thank you!
    My son is 9 months old and has never been a good sleeper at night, but it's been even worse lately. He learned to crawl and pull up a few weeks ago and now when we put him down to sleep, he just pulls up and stands crying. We tried letting him CIO but only lasted 20 minutes because he was completely hysterical. So, we bounce him to sleep and put him down, he wakes up 30 minutes later and we repeat until we've had enough and we strap him in his carseat and rock him and then he'll sleep anywhere from 2-5 hours. We need a new strategy! Does P.U./P.D. work? What do we do about the standing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. krissy,
      Pupd definiantly works much of the time. With your situation I'd work on practicing getting up and down from a standing position. Sounds like he is standing then protest crying more than just standing and crying for help to get down. Either way, I would PD when he is sitting or standing and crying. If he isn't crying but standing, give him as little attention as possible so he doesn't seek for additional attention and possibly even turn things into a game.

      Delete
  57. Hi! You're fantastic for replying to everyone!
    My almost 7 month old isn't really on much of a routine because we're always doing something different each day, so nap time is always different, but always happens when she is tired. Usually she wakes up happy, but lately she's been waking up crying and not long after she goes to sleep (she falls asleep without any props).
    My real issue is we're still feeding her one to two bottles at night and I feel she doesn't need them, but it's the middle of the night and we're all used to it. Some nights it's only at 1am that she wakes for a feed then up at 6. Other nights it's 11pm and then 4am and up at 6.
    I'd prefer to not do CIO, but PU/PD doesn't work as she doesn't settle in our arms, quite often she gets more upset until we just give in and feed her. I go back to work in two weeks time and she's off to nursery for the first time. It's got to stop! :) Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ketch,
      Suddenly waking up crying may be overtired, wonder week, or phase due to something else. The waking up crying not long after going to sleep sounds more like overtired but maybe she has an upset tummy from solids or something.

      To drop those feeds at night without crying you will probably have to help her extend them even though she may be upset in your arms. Just soothe the best you can. You may want to follow somewhat (adjust to your liking) with the core method. But considering her age, I would really try not to offer that feed until a certain time. She will be fine without it (well, with a max of one feed, at least)
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/08/core-night.html
      You can also try feeding with each waking, but feeding a small amount. There is also the dilution method where you add a little more water to each bottle every few nights (only one bottle at night at a time, you don't want baby to get too much water). I don't have much experience with this method so I'm not the best to consult on it though. You just need to make sure you do it without giving baby too much water at this age so I'd probably check with the pediatrician first.

      Rachel

      Delete
  58. What to do??? My 7 month old son has been a great sleeper until a few weeks ago when he had a horrible cold and struggled to breathe and eat. We over came that battle but now he awakens on and off ever few hours. Sometimes he wants his pacifier, other times he has rolled onto his stomach and seems to have forgotten he knows how to roll back over! He rarely wakes due to hunger anymore. Waking for a the never ending stream of needs is getting very draining on everyone. Suggestions would be very helpful!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Augemomma,
      Was he sleeping without sleep props prior? How did you get him to the point he was at sleep wise? It sounds like he now wants attention at night when he used to be able to settle himself. So you will need to work on teaching him how to do that again. You may repeat what you did to get where you used to be. Sounds like he needs to learn to sleep without the pacifier or needs to learn to put it in (which will take practice and maybe some frustration on his part). Sometimes waiting a few minutes before offering it is enough for some kids waking every time it falls out. I wonder if he is still a bit sick or really overtired since he seems more irritable and easily frustrated with rolling. Or maybe he doesn't want to try to get comfortable himself anymore and just wants you. Either way, a reduction of attention during sleep times is what is needed, however you feel comfortable doing that. Check out the sleep training index for ideas if you need them. If he has never had any sleep training and usually goes to sleep with some sort of help from you or someone else, this is a peak time to suddenly start having issues. So he may resist you quite a bit and show little improvement without you making changes.

      Sickness is tough. I try to comfort baby as much as is necessary but not more. If you have some firm sleep habits in place it will make things easier. Some kids are pretty good at going back to old habits (or making up some new ones) very quickly and any sickness throws them off, even if mom and dad aren't introducing a bunch of props and still trying to allow them to fall asleep on their own.

      Good luck!
      Rachel

      Delete
  59. I can't keep my 10 weeks old awake in the evening so he usually falls asleep at about 7.30 and wakes up after 30 mins nap. Then he doesn't want to go back to sleep until 10 pm. What should I do? During day he has 2 small naps about half an hour and 1 longer one (sometimes 2 hours) I always make sure he doesnt sleep after 5pm. At 7pm I give him bath and then he falls asleep at 7.30pm, wakes up at 8 and doesnt sleep until 10pm. At night he wokes up at about 2-3am for a feed and then at 6 am for another feed and 9am when I get him up.
    I have tried to feed him at about 6pm and then when he wakes up at 8pm and first few nights he fallen back to sleep straight away.Not anymore :( should I do anything differently? any suggestions please :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IvanH,
      He very likely will improve with this as he gets a few weeks older. Many kids do better with going to bed earlier as they age. He may also be a bit fussy in the evening or just have a hard time sleeping in the evening at this age which will, if you keep working at it, improve in a matter of weeks.

      Some things to consider:

      Try increasing daytime sleep if you can. Give him some extra naps if he won't take long naps. Look over the waketime and total day/night sleep posts in the index. Also look over the short nap post and the extending nap post.

      Consider putting him to bed a bit earlier to see if it helps. You may also want to give him an extra nap (even if it past 5 pm--this will matter more as he gets older and may not be an issue now) in the evening to reduce the long waketimes and to keep him from getting overtired. It may give him a slightly later bedtime which may help him at this age. Likely the earlier will work better, but some babies really prefer the later bedtime for a while longer.

      Consider going in to him right as he wakes in the evening and trying to get him to go back asleep. Do what you need to do to have it happen starting with minimal attention (patting/shushing) and moving to more as needed (feed).This can help many babies get into the habit of sleeping through this transition.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Rachel

      will try to give him more naps during the day and see how it goes :)

      Delete
  60. Hi Rachel,
    I am hoping you can help us with our 12 week old son. We are feeling like his sleep has been getting progressively worse over the last month. At 5-7 weeks he was giving us 5-6 hour stretches then 3 hours and another 3. Occasionally we had some 1-feed nights too. Since about 8 weeks his sleep has been all over the place. We put him down for bedtime between 6:15-7pm depending on his last nap. He is nursed to sleep but we try to ensure that his eyes are open before putting him in his crib. 99% of the time he goes to sleep without a peep (same for naps although he is never nursed to sleep before a nap). Lately he will wake between 11-12 where we give him the pacifier and he will sleep for another hour or two until he needs to be fed. He goes back down again without a peep but often wakes up before 3 hours (3:30-ish). We try to hold him off until at least 3 hours. Then after this feed he wakes up an hour later or moans and groans until we get him out of bed at 6:30-ish.

    A couple of other points:
    -I try to follow strict WTs and a routine in the day. He always wakes up at the 45-minute mark during a nap but it can be extended about 50% of the time
    -he eats about every 2-2.5 hrs in the day from both breasts. I only offer one breast during overnight feedings. We top him off with an extra 2oz of BM or formula before bed.
    -we go to bed early (since he goes down so early!) so a dream feed seems unappealing
    -I tried wake to sleep for naps in the past and he would just wake up fully between transitions anyway
    -we swaddle, use white noise and all that jazz. We are not opposed to cry it out but it's likely too early right now

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Sorry...a couple more things. We only use the pacifier for naps and to get him back to sleep at night. We also never really need to help him get to sleep....it's the getting back to sleep that he needs help with!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Samantha Yeung,
      If your milk supply is ok, see if you can't stretch those day feeds out a little bit. That helps many babies extend out feeds around the clock (to an extent, obviously--baby probably can't go more than 3-4 hours sh during the day).

      How is he doing now? Many babies will improve the sleep around this age, at least at night. Many gets worse if they are very sleep prop dependent.

      See if you can't leave him to settle for a couple minutes when he wakes. He may go right back to sleep.

      I'm not sure why he is waking in the early hours suddenly and unable to go back to sleep. I wish I could give a good reason. Make sure he isn't napping too much during the day or too little (sounds like he is probably ok though). You've got an early bedtime already. It isn't uncommon for a baby to do one long stretch then need a feed soon after, but needing it after just a couple hours seems unusual at this age. If I have it right, he is just waking those three times at night? You are offering a pacifier once and then he has a hard time for some time in the early morning hours? Does he have reflux problems at all? Have you tried leaving him alone in the early morning hours? How does he does. Does he grown and sleep or does he start to cry. Sorry, I'm not tons of help here. Look over the early morning post to see if there is something I've missed. My brain is only half working right now.

      Delete
  62. Hi Rachel, i'm looking for some help with our 11 week old. She is exclusively breast fed and eats every 2 - 3 hours during the day (she only ever takes from one side and this seems to satisfy her, i've tried feeding her both but she isn't interested). We implemented a df at around 8 weeks at 10.30 or 11pm and she managed to sleep through to 6 or 7 no problem. Recently she has begun to wake at 4am on the dot looking to be fed. Ive tried a paci but to no avail! she won't go back to sleep without being fed. then she wakes up as usual between 6 and 7 looking to be fed again! help!! Otherwise she is a great sleeper and goes down around 7.30 - 8pm after her bath. She is cluster fed between 6 and 7.30 and is very sleepy at the df but wakes up and takes a full feed from one side as usual.
    She gets between 3 - 4 hours of sleep a day in a series of short and longer naps. She is putting on weight fine, but this 4am sudden wake up is beginning to worry me, as I' know she can go until at least 6am. Any help to eradicate this 4am waking would be greatly appreciated!!!!
    thanks, LA (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lyndsey-anne brown,
      she only ever takes from one side--sounds good if she is satisfied.

      At her age, many babies will benefit from an earlier bedtime. sometimes a later one can cause extra night wakings. You've got that cluster feed which makes things later. That may be helping or hurting you. At this age most babies on a routine don't need that cluster feed. IT may be causing her to take less at the df and then not be tanked up enough at that time so she sleeps less.

      You might want to try wake to sleep(mentioned in post above).

      Make sure to offer the other breast at feeds just in case she is starting to need more (especially at bedtime)

      If all that doesn't work, consider holding her off a little longer every few hours when she wakes at 4 am. Make sure her growth continues well and that she doesn't seem to be eating full feeds each time she wakes which means she might be in a growth spurt.

      Delete
  63. Hi there, Thanks for all of the great info.- I think I have a question that hasn't been addressed yet:

    I have a 6 month old who has pretty much nursed every 3 hours since birth. Including nights. We're trying to fix that NOW- at 4 months old I thought he was improving as we had a week of 5 hour and 6 hour stretches at night (ie, 7pm-midnight, nurse, midnight-5am)- but now he still wakes every 3 hours.
    If I nurse him he falls back asleep immediately.

    We have good naps established- about 1.5-2 hours after he wakes/eats/plays...and he goes down for those just fine since he tuckers himself out playing...

    But- bedtime now- 7pm-8pm he goes down after about 10 min. of us singing quietly, holding our hands on his chest for warmth (he is swaddled still), patting his forehead/hairline-- he just sweetly turns his head to the side and falls asleep. 45 minutes later ON THE DOT- BAM- awake, pissed, crying-- if we can get his pacifier in quickly he goes back to sleep for 10 minutes, but then, again, BAM- up and this time he's hysterical... no amount of patting or cooing or re-swaddling (he usually gets free the first time- it's not very tight, just for security feeling for him)...nothing helps him calm down besides- picking him up.

    So- we do. IF we try 'bed time' again- every hour...it's the same, put him down, crying turning into a LOT of crying turning into so much he needs to be picked up.

    For the past week we just pick him up but keep everything dark for 3 hours and try again at 10pm or 11pm... just holding him with us (he's wide awake)..and basically we can't do anything in the evening since it's dark and quiet!

    How do we train him to get past these 45 minutes of light sleep?
    He's never really had to 'self-soothe' since he wakes up to nurse--but I'd also like to change THAT since I don't want to be his human pacifier!!

    Any advice is GREATLY appreciated!!!
    sk

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    Replies
    1. Me/SK,
      Often being overtired and a too late of bedtime(especially when overtired) will lead to those frequent night wakings.

      I'd work on getting him to fall asleep on his own when he goes down at bedtime. Soothing him before he falls asleep is fine, but let him do the falling asleep on his own by himself. Usually after babies do this (sometimes it takes a couple weeks) they start to wake up much less at night. BUT, maybe you want to work on those night wakings sooner or maybe they don't go away with this. So you need to choose some sort of sleep training method (look over the index) and stick with it. With waking up at 45 minutes (the first sleep cycle) going to bed not overtired helps but some babies will still need to be helped back to sleep then (if it is quick and doesn't lead to other issues) or you'll need to do your sleep training method then too.

      Good luck!

      Rachel

      Delete
    2. Thanks Rachel! We got over the 45 minute waking hump-- now working on shortening the time it takes him to fall asleep (about an hour 15 min of crying, waving hands, ALMOST sleeping, crying again, frustration at not being able to fall asleep I think, etc)- we did pick up put down but now he knows as soon as I pick him up that it's 'great' so he's quiet when I just go towards him. Lately have been sitting by the crib either holding his hand or hand on his chest, but again, if he is uncomfortable the intermittent crying goes on for an hour. Will keep at it though. Thanks again for all your help!

      Delete
  64. Hi Rachel! I'm so glad I found this blog. It's so helpful! But I have a specific issue with my habitual waker and I need your help PLEASE!
    I'm in the process of trying to wean my 11 week old from feeding more than once at night. We usually put him down for his long stretch somewhere between 7 30 and 9 30. Depending on what time he was put to sleep he wakes up between 1 30 and 330 to eat for the first time. I don't do the dream feed so I don't mind to wake up the first time to feed him. My problem is the second time he wakes up! He wakes up on cue at 5 30 every night (well actually that's morning) no matter what time I feed him the first time. I know from what I read by your posts that it means he is habitually waking up. It used to be that I would feed him at the 2nd wake up but my pediatrician told me to try to cut that feeding out and so for the past 2 weeks I've been trying other things. First week I would give him water and it worked for like 2 nights because he would wake up but just play around in his bed for a little and eventually fall back asleep without crying but I started giving him a pacifier instead of the water and this whole week he wakes up at 530 on the dot and cries until I come into the room and stick the pacifier in his mouth. The problem is that he needs me to hold it in his mouth or else he spits it out and cries again. So basically I'm standing there holding the pacifier in his mouth for about 40 - 45 minutes. He falls back asleep but it's an issue because then he's up at 7 or 7 30 for the day, which is less than an hour later! How do I break this habit! I can't take it anymore! Please help!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennyberok,
      At this age, often a couple weeks makes a huge difference with extending night sleep. But, you've got the sleep prop issue that has popped up. You might want to consider offering the pacifier to help him calm down then going back a few minutes later after/if crying continues.

      Trying for an earlier bedtime might help here as well as trying to extend the first feed out a bit to change around the waking of the second feed or move it all the way back to the morning wake up time.

      Good luck!
      Rachel

      Wake to sleep might help you get over this waking.

      Delete
  65. Hi Rachel - this is a great blog and I have found so much helpful info - thank you! I was hoping you could give me some advice. I have a 3.5 month old son who used to sleep a 5-6 hr stretch at night, then wake approx every 3 hours to feed (he is EBF). At around the 12 week mark (which was the same time we moved him from a cradle in our room to a crib in his room), he has begun waking up every 1.5-2 hours all night, which I think corresponds to his sleep cycles. There is no longer a long stretch at night. We can sometimes soothe him back to sleep without feeding, but I'm still feeding around 2 times per night. I don't think he's that hungry because he usually falls back asleep after a few minutes of eating. When I don't feed, we either give him a pacifier, shush-pat, or hold/rock him back to sleep. Are we starting a bad habit with the pacifier? We have not been able to master putting him down drowsy but awake. He will fuss/cry if we try to do that. He is also not napping very well/consistently during the day. He almost always wakes after 30 minutes. Sometimes we can get him to go back down for another 30 min-1 hr, but other times not. My question for you is, how can we help teach him to soothe himself back to sleep? Is cry it out the only option, and if so, is it too early to try it? Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Samantha,
      It does sound like sleep props are starting to impact keep a lot. The pacifier can turn into a pretty big prop with some babies, but not with others. Often you have to wait and see with that one, but not offering it more than needed and and not rushing in o offer it can help.

      Look over the routine posts, eat/activity/sleep post and the posts in the sleep training section in the index for ideas on what to do next. CIO isn't the only option.

      Rachel

      Delete
  66. Hi Rachel, thanks so much for your reply. I'll drop the cluster feed before bedtime and let you know how I get on. Shes been feeding like a little monster the past 2 days and The past 2 nights she's woken at random times (1am, 4am one night, and 2.30am, 5am last night) and has taken full feeds (both sides!) during those wake ups! hoping its just a growth spurt as her feeding seems more stable today! will let you know how it goes! thanks so much, your blog is fab! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Best of luck lyndsey! Sounds like you are in a growth spurt right now. Also, adjusting the df time may make a difference if things don't settle on their own.

      Rachel

      Delete
  67. Hi, my 11 month old wakes once almost every night (he sleeps through about one night every 7-10 days). He cries at first but I just sit at the side of his cot and he stops after 10 minutes, he then spends at least an hour trying to get back to sleep before he gives up and starts crying again, eventually he will get back to sleep (once he's exhausted or if I give him a bottle (which I rarely do as he drinks lots of milk during the day). As he's taking so long to get back to sleep is it possible he is hungry and still needs a feed in the night? (he tends to go back to sleep straight away if he has a bottle).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. England,
      I am of the opinion that a healthy 11 month old who is growing well doesn't "need" a feed at night. You'll get different opinions on this one, but this is mine. If you consistently do not offer the bottle and give minimal attention he will likely improve at falling back to sleep and will possibly stop waking all together. Wake to sleep Method may also help here.

      Delete
  68. Hi Rachel,
    I've been reading your blog and I hope you'll be able to offer some guidance around the sleep problems I'm having with my 11 week old boy. He was sleeping fairly well until week 6 (when he would sleep 6 hours straight and then do another 3 hour stretch after a feed - I am exclusively breastfeeding), when suddenly he started waking every couple of hours at night. His day sleeps have always been very short, about 30-45 mins each. Lately I am able to pat him back to sleep after he wakes during his day naps so it's not hunger that is waking him.
    He resists going to sleep early even though we bathe him, feed and put him to bed by about 8pm. He wakes after a short nap and will only go down for the night around 10pm or so. He then wakes at about half past midnight to feed from both breasts. He's then waking at around 3am and again at 4am, and at both these times I pat him back to sleep. Then at about 5am he wakes again to feed. Then it's waking again at 6am and 7am when I have to pat him to sleep until he is fully awake around 8am. Sometimes he will have a long morning nap from 9am until 11am or so but this doesn't happen everyday. Unfortunately I haven't been able to give him a consistent daytime routine due to all this nighttime waking.
    I know he doesn't wake so many times from hunger so I'm not sure what's prompting these wake ups. We used to rock and pat him to sleep in our arms but we've stopped that now and pat him in his crib until he's drowsy after which he falls asleep himself (occasionally with a pacifier but most of the time without it). Any advice you can offer would be amazing as I'm only getting about 4 hrs sleep a night now and feeling quite zombie-like!

    Thanks,
    Mal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown,
      IT feels like I already answered this somewhere recently. Maybe there are just a lot of 11 week old babies struggling with sleep right now (or a lot of moms who are starting to get really worn out by this time!)

      Anyway, if it wasn't answered:
      "Lately I am able to pat him back to sleep after he wakes during his day naps so it's not hunger that is waking him."--that is great that you are able to do that!

      I wonder if he started to wake more frequently at 6 weeks due to a growth spurt and then got into the habit of waking even though he no longer needed the food that often then.

      He may be resisting sleep in the evening bc he is overtired (even possibly undertired) or because he wants to play and not sleep--a personal favorite reason to resist sleep for my kids! Some kids will have a hard time sleeping in the evening until 3-4 months so that may also be the case right now.

      I would try to help him to back to sleep after that initial wakeup after bedtime. Nurse to sleep if you need to. I wouldn't get him up. I'd keep things dark and quiet, and try real hard to get him bakc to sleep. If he doesn't go back to sleep, I'd still keep things like they would be in the middle of the night. It is night time for him, you wouldn't get him up in the middle of the night to play, don't do it now either. It will just reinforce the no sleep habit right now.

      Does he have reflux? Sometimes that can have something to do with the early morning wakings repeatedly, but more likely it has to do with overtiredness and sleep prop issues.

      That is great he is going to sleep by himself with soem soothing by you. Seems like he may still be a bit dependent on help to sleep though so I'd try to wean even more from the soothing if you can--do it until even less drowsy.

      See if an earlier bedtime doesn't help. Also look over the top sleep tips post(found in index).

      Good luck!
      Rachel

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your reply Rachel! He sometimes shows symptoms of reflux, it's not a daily problem but some days are worse than others. This week has been particularly bad and he has been bringing up lots of milk.
      He definitely has sleep prop issues and is most definitely overtired - I'm lucky if he sleeps 12 hours in a 24 hour period! But then when I try and get him to sleep longer he really resists it and wants to play and look around at everything and vocalize.
      I'll have a look at the Top Sleep Tips post now. I've been trying everyday to give him an early bedtime but he treats it like a short nap and just wakes after 30-45 mins wanting to play:(

      Thanks!
      Mal

      Delete
  69. Hi Rachel - hoping you can help as I am out of options. My 8.5 month old still wakes every 2-3 hours every night. She goes to bed at 6pm and wakes every 2-3 hours after that and wants to nurse - if i try offer dummy or sooth her she just screams - she just wants to nurse. She takes a big feed usually at 8pm, 12pm and 4am and the others in between are smaller. I am thinking of weaning her in hope that formula will help her sleep better. She feeds every 3-4 hours in day and has 3 solid meals a day. I am sure its habitual. How do I break the habit of wakings and feedings for a breastfeeding baby? Thanks in advance - Tanya

    ReplyDelete
  70. I forgot to add - she self settles for all sleeps and never falls asleep nursing.. always goes down awake

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tanya,
      I don't think weaning from breastfeeding is the answer here. As you said, the wakings at night are habitual. They are because she is used to waking and being offered a feed, not because you are nursing. It is possible, though, that she will wake less if you wean, sometimes that is enough for some babies to stop the frequent wakings. But many babies will continue to wake for a bottle instead. Anyway, if you feel the need to wean, that is totally up to you and may be necessarily at this time for some reasons, just know that in regarding to this situation, doing so isn't fixing the actual cause of the problem which is an inability to fall back asleep without eating.

      OK,so if she does the act of falling asleep without eating, that is a good step, but it sounds like she still need the eating to fall asleep--it just isn't to fall completely asleep. Make sense? so to stop the wakings, I'd stop the feedings (all or maybe leave one if you feel the need to). Wean them slowly out so she has time to move her food intake from the night to the day. Be prepared for her to be upset as she learns to soothe to sleep in another way besides eating. It will pass if you are consistent. You may want to soothe her as she gets used to going longer between feeds or do some sort of checking method. It is up to you. I'd look over the sleep book reviews and the articles found in the sleep index section of the blog for an idea of what method will work for you. Best of luck!

      Rachel

      Delete
  71. Hi Rachel,
    I am so happy I found your blog! I have been trying to figure out what to do about my 5 month old's sleep schedule. He was getting to 5-6 hour stretches at night on his own at about 3.5 -4 months and then we went on vacation and he came back sick and it was back to waking up every 1.5 - 2hrs!
    Now he's back on about 3 hour stretches at night but it's only every few days that he'll get a 4.5hr sleep in.
    It's taking a huge toll on me!
    He is breastfed and has begun solids so I don't believe he's really hungry as he's waking and I am (on occasion)able to put him back to sleep without feeding him. I do the shush pat method at those times. But some nights he wakes up screaming and nothing will soothe him but nursing.Recently he has begun to rollover (front to back and back to front) as well as sit on his own so I don't know if he's now going through a growth spurt or what.
    How do I get him to sleep longer and stay asleep without any night wakings?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amber,
      He may be going through some developmental changes that can make sleep more difficult for some time. But I still try to only give so much attention during sleep times--and offering extra feeds isn't going to help in the long run.

      Even if he's in a growth spurt, I really don't think he needs to eat that often. He can move some of the food he is getting at night to the day. The key will be to not offer food at night until a given time (or something like the core method found in the index) even if he is upset. You will not get him into the habit of eating less at night if you end up giving in and feeding him. Just move slowly with extending out how long he goes between feeds. And make sure he knows how to soothe himself to sleep when he falls asleep, particularly at bedtime. If he can't do this, he'll likely keep up with extra night wakings for some time--and they'll very often keep coming back if they go away for some time. Take a look at the top sleep post and the night time sleep post found in the index of the blog. Good luck!

      Rachel

      Delete
    2. Please help! My daughter is 5 1/2months. She learnt to self settle 3 weeks ago and falls asleep easily. She is breastfed with formula at 6.30 (200ml) and we started weaning 2 weeks ago introducing a new veg/fruit every 2 days. She has a 1-2tbs at 11am and 5.30pm. She has a breast feed at 7am,11am,3pm and 5.30pm. She sleeps easily at 7pm but wakes about twice before 2.30am when I finally breastfeed her. She then wakes at 4 or 5am and can take an hour of pupd before settling. I then wake her up at 7 to start the day. I'm exhausted and don't know what I'm doing wrong. I thought teaching her to self settle would solve all my problems :( she naps a total of approx 3-3.5hrs in the day. I will try anything. Please help! A desperate mum in need! Xx

      Delete
    3. Episodic,
      Nothing jumps out to me with the information I have. Look over the top sleep post and corosponding links in it to see if something helps you there. Last feed is at 6:30 so I'm guessing bed is shortly after that which sounds reasonable. I wonder if new foods and/or formula upset her tummy at all (I doubt it is the cause of the issues though).

      Pupd may need to be done longer for it to be effective or you may need to adjust how you do it. Look over the pupd post in the index. Try not to rush in or give attention when not needed during sleep times.

      Consider trying wake to sleep, at least for the 4/5 waking.

      See if a bedtime a little earlier helps.

      You can always change your sleep training method around a bit if this isn't a good fit for you. Look over the methods in the index under sleep training.

      Also glance a the early morning wKing and night waking posts to see if anything jumps out to you.

      Best of luck!
      Rachel

      Delete
  72. I have a 7 month old that will not sleep thru the night. She has done wonderfully going to bed. but every night the same thing. She goes to sleep around 6:30 Cries at 930 for about 3 minutes. I dream feed her at 11(she wakes up readily when I open the bedroom door) then at about 4 am she wakes up screaming. Some nights she will go back to sleep but my husband has started to get her up at 5:30 he feeds her cereal and gets some good baby dad time. i get up at 6 and breast feed her. we take an hour nap at 7 then are up for the day. with two other 1 to 2 hour naps. What do I do with her waking up at 4. my husband and I both need to get some sleep!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharon Kelly,
      Look over the early morning waking post here
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/04/early-morning-awakenings.html
      I'd mainly think about trying wake to sleep and/or minimizing attention at that time.

      Good luck,
      Rachel

      Delete
  73. Hi Rachel, my little girl is 13 months old and has just been weaned from breast to bottle as I've just gone back to work. She's never slept through the night, but before she was weaned we had got to a point where she was just waking once between 4 and 7am for a feed, then going back to sleep until 8:30am, which was great. Now though, she's waking around 2:30am - we're giving her a small bottle (5oz), but she then takes 2 hrs to go back to sleep! She's not crying, just talking, walking round her cot, crying out occasionally but not much. She falls asleep again around 4:30, then wakes again at 6:30 / 7am for the day. She goes to bed around 7pm and has one nap during the day for around 2hrs, so she's getting about 12hrs of sleep out of 24. Any suggestions on what we can do to stop the waking, or at least have her go back to sleep after she's woken up in the night? Thanks, Sharon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi again - just an update - the last two nights we've given her a dreamfeed, as I felt like if I could just stop her waking at 2:30, she might improve. She's had a full bottle at 10:30, then woken at 3:00 (rather than 2:30) for another feed - but, she is at least going back to sleep afterwards! We're cutting the volume of that feed down ounce by ounce, and as she did when we cut her other nights out, she's just waking earlier for her next feed - so she had 3.5oz at 3, but woke at 5am and had another 6oz, then slept till 7:30. I'm hoping that we can get her going until 5am again, then can start work on cutting out that feed!

      Delete
    2. Sharon,
      Yeah, I was going to suggest trying to cut out the feed(s). At that age, if a feed is causing a problem, there is no need to have it so your best bet is to stop giving it. I'd also try to give as little attention at night as possible. She is adjusting to the new changes and will probably get used to things and sleep better in time on her own if you try to keep good sleep habits.

      You can always try 'wake to sleep' instead of the dreamfeed.

      Delete
  74. Hi Sharon,

    My little one is almost one and for the past two weeks has been waking up around 2am every morning. It started when we went back East and she had to get used to the 3 hour time difference, and has since continued now that we're back home. Before that she was waking up at random times, but not every night. When I go into her room I pick her up and sway her (with pacifier) which calms her down, but as soon as I put her back in her crib she bursts out screaming again. The only thing that soothes her and gets her to sleep is nursing, but I don't want to start these early morning feedings again. Any advice for this would be great. Thanks! Erin

    ReplyDelete
  75. Hi Rachel,
    My 12 week old used to sleep through the night (for 12 hours straight without waking up for a feeding) for a few nights between 9-10 week. For the past week or so, she started waking up once every night at around 3 am for a feeding (she usually goes to bed at around 8:00-8:30pm and wakes up at 7:30-8:00 am). When she cries at 3 am, she does take a full bottle. How can I tell if she is really hungry or this is habitual waking? Should I let her CIO so that she can eliminate this middle of the night feeding? Also, her daytime naps are all over the place at different times every day. It really depends on what time she wakes up from the last nap and she can stay awake only for 1 hr to 1.5 hrs from her last nap. How can I put her on a fixed nap schedule to better plan my daily activities around her waking/sleeping time? Any advice/suggestions will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  76. Hi Rachel,

    I've found your blog very helpful. I have a 16 week old baby with reflux. He's been on medications since 4 weeks of age and is finally doing a little better. He was sleeping through the night(8 or 8:30p bedtime and 7am wake time) about 9 or 10 weeks of age up until about ten days ago. He started waking once per night and broke out of his swaddle(I've tried all different types and sizes but he breaks out no matter what). I would try to re-swaddle and comfort with pacifier but he would not go back to sleep. Only after a full feeding would he go back to sleep. Now he's waking twice(usually 12am and again at 5am) in the night and again, full feeding is the only solution to get him back to sleep. He is formula fed and feeds every four hours during wake time and gets 6oz per feeding, which only gets him to approximately 24oz but ped says at his age they should be drinking 25-30oz. Problem is I can't fit them in during wake time and thought a dream feed would be the final feeding for the day. But I did try a dream feed at 10pm for two nights and he still woke up again at 5am. What can I do?

    ReplyDelete
  77. Good Evening. I would love some advice concerning my 14month old. He was a colicky baby for four months,at which time we used swaddling to reduce his discomfort. We have tried various methods, natural herb remedies, even medication to help him to sleep through the night...but to no avail. We have been able to establish a nighttime routine ( bottle, bath, bed...) and we reduced the time it takes him to fall asleep from 1.5 hours to around 45 min. Normally the first time part of the night passes quite well..then from 1am onwards he wakes up constantly. We have tried feeds, pat/shusshing him to sleep/ soft music...etc..and to no avail. Either he wakes as we leave the room, or he doesn't close his eyes. He doesn't have the greatest napping schedule during the day but most days I can get him to sleep 1.5/2hours during the day. We are exhausted and we have another baby due in Feb. I would appreciate some advice. He is in bed and asleep by 8:30 ..and out of bed at 6am.
    Thank You

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jehan Lecocq,
      Take a look at these posts and go one step at a time with a routine, groundwork for good sleep (like an earlier bedtime) and sleep training
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2010/11/blog-user-guide.html
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2010/02/top-sleep-tips-for-children.html

      Delete
  78. I'm hoping you will be willing to give us a bit of individual advice. We have a 9 month old boy. He has a great sleep routine (walk, bath, nursing) and falls asleep every night at 7:30 pretty much on the dot. He takes 2 great naps a day, almost always at the same time. Sometimes he is fully asleep when I put him down, but more often than not, he is put down drowsy (his eyes will flicker open as I put him down and he will reposition for a minute). So all of that is great. But our night times are a disaster. He wakes crying every hour or 2 (up to 6 times a night!) and will cry until I either nurse him or rock him back to a deep sleep. Most nights he is back asleep within 20 minutes. But every 2-3 nights I end up rocking and nursing for 1-3 hours before he is asleep enough to go quietly back into his crib. During those 1-3 hours, I will often try as many as 10 times to put him back down only to have him sit back up and complain until I pick him up again. If my husband tries to help, the baby will scream so loud that I can't sleep anyway so it is usually just me (Mom) that's up with him. If I sleep for a two hour stretch, it's been a great night. I don't want to do the cry it out. We tried it once and it just is not for us (the baby vomited and screamed so hard he was hoarse for days). He is a beautiful and extremely active baby who crawled at 4 months and just seems so excited to look at and see everything... He has always been very high energy as though he doesn't want to miss a thing! I have been considering trying to wait a few minutes each time he cries out at night to see if that reduces the wakings. My husband has also suggested that perhaps only he should go to the baby at night to reduce the mommy reinforcement of me going in. To me, that would just be another version of cry it out since the baby would scream for hours. We are willing to try anything within reason. The challenge has been that all of the methods we have researched seem to acknowledge that there is a period of adjustment, often several weeks, that the parents sleep less, not more. If I sleep any less I literally will not be sleeping so this has not been a reasonable option.
    We would just love some help and advice. Thank you for this great blog. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  79. Hi Rachel,
    my baby is 7 months and a half. Between 4-6 months she was sleeping for 10-11 hours and waking only once for a feeding. As she completed 6 months she started night waking many times (sleeping stretches of 1-3 hours). At first I considered it was her teeth, later, I thought I could be gas, but now I think she simply cant get back to sleep on her own. She always goes to sleep nursing, and eventually rocking, because every time I put her on her crib, she starts yelling and crying if she is still awake.
    During the day she takes 2-3 naps of 40 min. to 2 hours long. She started eating solids also as she completed 6 months, and now she eats 1 veggie during lunch and 1 fruit at about 4-5 pm. She really hates smashed baby food...
    She doesnt have a rigid schedule for naps, but we do have a consistent bedtime routine, with bath, nursing and eventually rocking and singing. If her last day nap is not too late during the day, she falls asleep easily during nursing, and when she awakes at night, she usually gets back to sleep in 20-30 min. of nursing.
    I was thinking of trying the pu/pd method but Im not confident. How do I know that she really isnt hungry during night time if every time she awakes she feeds about 10 min (her average feeding time day or night).
    Also, will it be to drastic a change if I stop her night feedings, her nursing to sleep, and my not being there for her, all at once?
    What should I do? What is the best for my baby girl?
    Thanks, Adriana.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown,
      Sounds like you already know what is likely going on, she's using you as a prop to help her go back to sleep.

      I would try to get a little consistency with the naps. That'll help her nap better which will help her overall mood and will also help with night sleep.

      At this age, if she's falling asleep nursing, she's probably overtired by that point.

      You may want to start off by trying to get her on a bit more of a routine with feeds and sleep and monitor how long she is awake (and compare it to my charts) and how well she sleep with that (keep in mind that she may be crashing sometimes when she sleeps longer--not that she may have had a perfect waketime prior to make her sleep longer). At the same time, you can start to reduce how long you feed her at night. Work on one feed at a time and she'll move the food to the day. She is old enough to get all her food during the day, but if you wean from those feed (a couple minutes less each day) then she'll have a good transition with the night hunger. You can do all at once, but she'll likely be upset for quite some time as she adjusts to multiple changes. And she's eating quite a bit at night right now, so I'd probably work on reducing that a bit first regardless.

      I usually suggest solids at breakfast and lunch first so it doesn't disrupt night sleep as their body is getting used to them. You could try baby led weaning if she isn't a fan of pureed food.

      I hope that wasn't too confusing!
      Rachel

      Delete
  80. Hi Rachel:

    Since my 9 week old was born, he has consistently been waking around 2am and 5am. We now have him in daycare, so he comes home pretty tired. We do a feed around 530pm, bath, some relaxing time in his swing, and he falls asleep around 7. We do another feed and put him to bed at 830, and he usually transitions to this well. We do a dream feed around 1030, and then he ALWAYS wakes at 2am, and lately has not been eating much. He is then back up around 445/5. We have tried holding him off with a pacifier but he has never been a big fan. My question is- at 9 weeks and close to 12 lbs- is it feasible that he does not need the 2am feed, and he is waking from habit? He is a good sleeper otherwise, and if he needs it I don't mind getting up for it of course. I just wonder if he is waking from habit since he has woken at the same time since birth! Should we slowly decrease his bottles at that time? Also, friends think he is going to bed too early, but he falls asleep quietly on his own around 7pm without a fuss, and seems happy. In the past we would keep him up til 9/930pm and he would still wake at 2am. Any advice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JenStewart,
      Tell your friends they are wrong :) His bedtime should be early for optimal sleep length, and to reduce night wakings. There are some babies at this age who won't go to bed earlier, but if you can get it to happen, then certainly do! I would probably try to get a feed right before his bed so you don't have that extra night feed in there--that alone can disrupt night sleep. It is possible he doesn't need that extra feed. Doing as you suggested, weaning slowly from it, is a great idea at this age. It'll make things harder for a few-several days, but in the end it'll be easier. I wouldn't push too hard at this age though, because with a little more time, feeds are often dropped on their own. But like you said, if he isn't eating much, then it may be habitual and wouldn't be as easily dropped on its own. Take a look at these two posts (and associated links) for more pointers.
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/01/how-to-set-stage-for-good-sleep-tear.html
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/search/label/sleep%20charts

      Delete
  81. Hello Rachel,

    We sleep trained our daughter at 6 months, and she was a dream - slept 7pm-7am every night. Last month, I took her to China with me on a family emergency (it's a 12 hour time difference) for 10 days, and it took her almost the entire trip to get back on schedule with her days and nights flipped. After we came home, it took another 2 weeks to get back on track, and with daylight savings time, she now sleeps from 8pm-7am, which I've been told is normal for am almost 1 year old. Lately, for the last 5 days, she has been habitually waking up screaming at 3-3:30am, for about 5 minutes, then she settles herself back to sleep until her normal wake up time of 7am. Nothing else has changed so we are unsure why this is happening! The only consolation is that she knows how to soothe herself back to sleep. But it's disturbing to us that she has been waking up at 3-3:30am suddenly and without fail for almost the first week. Could this be from when we took her away (we came back the end of February) or something else? She does not wake up cranky at all and is pretty happy in general, so she seems like she's getting enough sleep. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! PS - we still give a dream feed of 4oz at 11pm, but we are trying to wean her off that by progressively feeding less (it used to be 7oz at 11am).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ange,
      Try a bit of an earlier bedtime to see if it helps. That often fixes random wakings like this. Likely it'll just go away soon on it's own--especially if she's got some extra fatigue from all the recent changes.

      Delete
  82. Hi there
    My baby is 9 weeks old and had always been a poor sleeper at night. We have 2 problems at the moment. The first is all 4 naps in the day start at 45 minutes. I am mostly able to rock him back to sleep. If he can't get ba k to sleep there is a major meltdown and screaming. He pretty much can go down to sleep day/night by himself. The second problem is that his first stretch at night is usually only 3/4 hours long. Then he pretty much wakes up every 2 hours after and then very unsettled altogether from 4 am - 6:30. I feed him when he wakes at night and he goes back to sleep without help. I'm starting to run out of energy. Any advice would be great.
    Simone

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    Replies
    1. Year 5D,
      If you aren't already, don't let him sleep more than 2 hours straight during the day (including the short nap in addition to whatever you are able to add onto that by helping him back to sleep), feed him around every 3 hours during the day, try making bedtime a bit earlier, evaluate if he's got any reflux issues (could be causing some unslettling after lying down flat for several hours at night). 3/4 hours isn't terrible at this age, but I bet he can probably do a bit more. And every 2 hours after that certainly can be WAY exhausting. First off, make sure you are not rushing in. Wait a couple minutes to see if he's going through a sleep phase and will go back to sleep. Then, work on extending those feeds out a bit. It'll be harder right at first, but get easier before you know it. Try offering a pacifier when he wakes to see if it'll put him back to sleep. IF that doesn't work, try rocking him back to sleep. If all else fails, even if you get an extra 10 minutes out of him, that is great. After doing that a few nights, it'll help him his metabolism a bit back.

      As for short naps, that is pretty darn common (see the short nap post if you haven't already). With some babies, if you leave them a few minutes at this age they'll go back to sleep, but most won't. So I'd work on not having him overtired when you put him down, have a good pre-sleep routine, and if needed, rock him or put him in a swing to help extend those naps for now.

      Delete
  83. Thanks for your advice it's great. Seems that night chunks are ow extending to 3 hours which is better than 2 of course. There just isn't any routine but I'm trying like crazy to get into one.
    Simone

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    Replies
    1. Simone,
      Just take it one step at at ime :) I forgot to mention to encourage full feeds, especially at night right now.

      Delete
  84. My 16 week old eats very well and regularly and was sleeping easily and wasnt too much trouble. She dropped the night feeds about a month ago as she eats enough formula during the day. An 11pm dream feed never really worked so we would feed her at 7.30pm and then again at 2.30am before she stopped waking up.
    However now she has started to wake up at 2.30 on the dot and again at 5/5.30. When she wakes up at 2.30 she doesnt cry for food, she will wriggle about and want her dummy, and eventually will go back to sleep but it takes an hour. Then at 5am she is AWAKE. Really AWAKE. Really happy, wriggles, squeals, gurgles etc, so I leave her in the cot until 7am. However it means that the rest of the day is a mess because she is exhausted, in the mornings she cant stay up for longer than an hour and then only sleeps for 30/40 minute naps. She is in and out of the cot like a yo yo! I tried to give her a dream feed at 11pm but she woke up anyway, at 3.30am. I tried wake to sleep and it delayed her waking from 2.30 to 3. However I only tried that once. Any advice much appreciated! I feel nervous about giving her an extra feed at night as it feels like we are going backwards. Also - this sleep regression, will this just go in a month or two or is this a new routine which will continue if I dont do anything about it?

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    Replies
    1. Valerie,
      Try an earlier bedtime, consider that the pacifier is causing the problems, if you decide to do wake to sleep again, try for at least 4 days. If wake to sleep doesn't work, consider offering as little attention as possible at the early night waking. At the 5 ish waking, you could try wake to sleep. Sometimes feeding then (if she'll go right back to sleep) will allow you to feed 15 minutes later every few days and move the feeding later until morning. If that wont work(or you're not up to it) ignoring until 7 am often helps babies get out of this stage. It can take a while though. The main thing that would make the phase last even longer would be giving lots of extra attention at each waking.

      Rachel

      Delete
  85. Hi Rachel,

    I have a five month old daughter and I breastfeed her as well as give her 2 solid meals of fruits/veggi purees at noon and cereal porridge at around 6.30pm. She sleeps at 7.30 pm. During the day she feeds about every 2 hrs. My problem is she wakes up every 2 hrs during the night and would usually feed for 5 mins sometimes 10 mins. After 4 am she wakes up every hour.we are having a hard time at night and feel so exhausted. She sleeps in her crib, from past couple of days we have been trying to put her drowsy in bed and have managed to get her to fall asleep. She has 2 naps in the day one around 9-11 am and one around 1.30 to 3.30pm. Sometimes she does take a small nap from 5- 5.30 pm. We Would really appreciate any suggestion to get her to sleep well at night.

    kind regards,
    Jo.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Hi Rachel-
    Thank you so much for this site! I visit it often!
    My 4.5 month old little girl has had what I would consider a “sleep regression” going on for about the past three weeks. We’ve been trying different things, and I’m just not sure what’s best, because nothing seems to be working, but maybe we’re not sticking with things long enough! She goes to bed for the night between 6-7 pm. She goes to her bed drowsy but awake and falls asleep on her own. Sometimes I nurse her right before putting her down, but she’s always awake. Usually I try to nurse her before her bath and story so she doesn’t associate nursing with falling asleep. But time-wise, it doesn’t always work out.

    She was a pretty good night sleeper until a few weeks ago. She’d start with a 5-6 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep, wake once or twice to feed but go right back to sleep. She’d be in bed pretty much 7pm-7am. Now, however, she will wake up about 3 hours after she goes to bed. For a while, she woke up about every two hours, though that’s improved. At first, I thought maybe it was a growth spurt, so I nursed her every time she woke. It didn’t take me long to realize, however, she wasn’t really hungry. She was just needing the breast to fall back asleep. So my husband and I decided to set times that I’d feed her (twice—once no earlier than midnight and the second time at least three hours after her first night feeding), and that I wouldn’t feed her any other time. Still, she’s been waking after three hours every night. My husband will try to soothe her back to sleep, and sometimes it will work—he’ll hold her or pat her or give her a paci. Then she’ll wake at midnight and I’ll feed her. But some nights (like last night) she’s inconsolable. She cried from 10-midnight, with my husband and I alternately going in about every 15 minutes, trying to calm her, get her to sleep. Finally, I fed her at midnight and she fell right to sleep. She woke again at 3 and I fed her. She woke again at 5:30 but I waited to get her until 6, when she fed and fell asleep for another two hours.

    So I feel that even though she seems to go to sleep well on her own at the beginning of the night, she still has the association with nursing during the middle of the night! If she was older, I would try to cut out night feedings completely, but I’m just not sure she’s ready not to eat at all at night. I feel stuck because I genuinely don’t know when she’s crying because she truly needs to eat, and when she just needs help going back to sleep and the breast is her only way to do that right now. Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated! We are not opposed to letting her cry, but I also don’t want to jump straight to that conclusion if there are other things we can do first. Thank you!

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  87. My almost 6 month old has been sleeping 12hrs straight at night since 13ish weeks. Her bedtime is anywhere between 7:45-8:30, usually 8, it just depends on her naps that day and if I've gotten enough food in her. She use to wake for the day at 7:30 sometimes 7. For the past 3 weeks she's been waking anywhere between 5:00-5:45am. She doesn't wakeup crying, more like talking or complaining. I let her talk until she sounds like she is getting upset, then I go in and swaddle her arms, give her a bink, and she goes back to sleep. Sometimes I have to go back in a few minutes later and do it again. She'll then sleep until 8:15-8:30.

    We started solids over a month ago. She's still not really interested in solids though. She's big for her age 21-22lbs. Easy baby. Formula fed.

    8:00 wake up 9oz bottle with 1tsp cereal for spitup
    10:00 sleep
    12:00 wake 9oz bottle with 1tsp cereal for spitup
    1:45 2oz friut
    2:15 sleep
    4:00 wake bottle
    6:00 sleep
    6:30 bottle
    7:30 2oz veggie
    8:30 bedtime with bottle

    I guess I'm confused what I should do after she wakes from her second nap(2:15 nap). Should I cut that last catnap and try solids at 6:30 instead of a bottle? What I'm trying to correct is her habit of waking at 5:30am even if it pushes her start of the day to 7:00am.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we're past the 5:00am waking. I cut her last catnap and put her to bed at 7:30. She woke once at 2:30. I went in, swaddled her arms, gave her a pacifier, and she slept until 8:00.

      I also failed to mention before that she was pooping at that 5:00am wakeup, I'm assuming. I cut that last veggie meal and she woke up poop free. I'll probably do that for another day or so to hopefully reset her poop time to something other than the middle of the night.

      My question now is, she's been waking at random times in the night. Only once a night. She's not crying, mostly talking with some moaning. For example at this moment that I'm typing, she's been awake for 2.5 hrs. I went in at 1.5hrs to swaddle and bink but she immediately poked her hand out the swaddle and took the bink out. I repeated and she did the same thing so I left. She's still not crying, just moaning but I'm sure it will come soon. I'll get her back to sleep eventually either by swaddling again or feeding (which I haven't done a night feeding in months).

      My question is how do I best deal with her night wakings. I don't want her to start waking hoping to just see me or that she can talk for a couple hours and then I'll come in and help her sleep. I don't want to start any bad habits. At the moment I do the very least necessary to get her back to sleep. I also try not to go to her until she sounds on the verge of crying. I don't say a word, no pickup or pats or anything, no lights. Just swaddle and bink and I'm out of the room. Is this the best I can do or should I wait until she is actually crying?

      For your information, she just started crying finally. I went in to swaddle and bink and she's asleep. No feeding.

      Delete
  88. Hi i have a 5 month old that used to sleep from 7.30 at night until 5am that was until we went on holiday to nz. Now she wakes at 2.30 every morning. I have tried pu/pd and shush pat but only a bottle stops her crying. Please i need some help as i go back to work soon and this can't continue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel,
      You could try wake to sleep, but likely the wakings won't stop until you stop giving her something to wake for. She'll definitely keep waking if she's getting food and any large amount of attention. So to stop the waking, you need to stop the feed (even if she resist) and have her go back to sleep on her own (with some assistance from you in whatever method you do).

      Delete
  89. Thanks i will try. It is going to be hard though.she gets very upset.. We will do it though. Thanks again for the advice

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    Replies
    1. I wish there was some magical easy solution, but there rarely is. Just try to be consistent and the hard part will be over soon.

      Delete
  90. Hi Rachel,
    I need HELP. My 14 month old has ALWAYS been an early bird and I think it's habitual, as little I do seems to help it. It goes in trends of either 5:35 for a few weeks, or sometimes even a week or so of 5:00am. He has been sleep trained, taked reasonable naps etc. I don't go to him until 6am, but he never resettles. He tends to nap for 1hr at 8:30/8:45, 1.5hrs at 1ish. Some days he is falling apart by 6:00pm, but I've tried bedtimes between 6:00 and 7:30 and it hasn't made a diffrence in his wake up time. He seems to be always and takes naps easily, so it's hard to think he needs less sleep. I'm not sure what to do but I'm heading back to work soon and would like to TRY something and have a plan. Wake to Sleep? Pushing back the morning naps? I'd love some direction! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Courtney,
      There's only so much you can do with the early morning wakings unfortunately. I would double check that the environment is good in the am before doing anything else. Try going in and lying down quietly a bit before he normally wakes up and watch and listen to see if you can find any disruptions. Light is a huge culprit, but you'd probably be getting more wakings in the summer if that was the only problem. After that, both your suggestions are good things to try. Makes sure to try them out at least for several days at a time (especially the nap) before moving on. Not responding is going to be one of the top things to help not reinforce the habit, unless of course you can get him to fall back to sleep quickly if you go in, in which case, that is something to consider doing as long as it doesn't backfire with even earlier wakings.

      Best,
      Rachel

      Delete
  91. Hello,

    Help please!!!! I have a 6 1/2 month old boy who I am sure is habit waking! No matter what time he settles, usually between 1830-1930 he wakes nearly every night at 2am and if he settles quickly he will usually wake again at 0400. So far we have been going into him, putting his dummy in and leaving. Sometimes this sends him straight back off sometimes he isn't interested and will chat to himself for anything between 20 mins and 2 hours. I'm exhausted. I no longer feed him in the night, stopped that about 3 weeks ago as it was affecting his day feeding, he wouldn't be interested in the morning, so I figured he wasn't really hungry and was just taking it as it was being offered. He has two naps a day, usually 1.5-2 hours in the morning and again about an hour in the afternoon, sometimes he swaps them around and has shorter nap in the morning and longer in the afternoon. He usually wakes at 0600-0700 and I never go straight in to him in the morning in case he is only stirring and not waking. I need him to stop waking in the night as my sleep is not good and I rarely go back off after he has woken. What can I do for the best??? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jodie Ricketts,
      Sometimes babies will go through a little phase where they'll talk to themselves at night for a bit. There isn't tons you can do about this when they are so excited with all their new skills and the world around them. But you can try the wake to sleep method to see if it helps or try not responding, at least not by reinserting the pacifier. That pacifier might be part of the issue--that's something you can not reinsert, get rid off, or wait for him to put back in since that won't be too long as long as he has the chance and maybe something handy to help him get it in more easily like a pacifier holder or some sort.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Rachel, my gut was telling me we have probably been relying on the dummy too much. I have just put him down for nap and would usually go back in when he cried to put his dummy in for him but since I know he can do it himself I left him to cry and figure it out. Popped back a few minutes later and he had found it, and sent himself off to sleep. Do you think at night if he cries we should try leaving him for progressively longer periods before going in to help him find and put his dummy back in??

      Delete
    3. Jodle,
      At night I'd be more inclined to put a lot of them in there, maybe attached to something like one of these:
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2011/12/pacifier-plush-stay-put-holders-product.html
      and waiting for him to find it. You can go in there for progressively longer times, but honestly, I think it can be the same distance of time too, it doesn't matter too much as long as it isn't too often for him and making matters worse. If you go in, I'd probably try to have him put the dummy in himself. calm him, put it near him, maybe guide his hand to it.

      Delete
  92. Hi there..

    I have a 5 month old ds with reflux.. he used to sleep 13 hours a night but for 6 weeks he stirs from 5am.. I don't rush into him some days he will fall back to sleep others he will really cry resulting in my 2 year old dd waking up.. I've tried giving his dummy, patting his back, black out blinds, a fan, early bed time, later bed time, I can tell his not ready to get up.. some days I can manage to settle him but will take me ages.. he has 2 to 3 naps a day.. 4 bottles and 3 meals.. but due to his reflux he has his bed milk at 5.30 and tea once he finishes it.. do you think it could be hunger.. I think he may be ok having milk just before bed now without being sick.. if this doesn't work what else can you suggest.. I'm really struggling now and its getting me down.. thank u ..

    ReplyDelete
  93. Hello,
    I have a little girl who is 12 weeks old and ebf. When she was first born we'd occasionally get 6-hour stretches of sleep at night, then feeds every 2 hours 'till morning.
    I started doing a dream feed around 1 am, when I would go to sleep, to get her to last longer before having to wake up to feed her again. Now, I realise that I must have created a bit of a habit. Recently, she has been waking up 3-4 times during the night, the first being at 1am.
    I never thought anything of it, but after reading your blog, I realise that maybe she is forsaking food in the day and eating more at night instead, when she probably could get her nutritional needs met during the day.
    Help? Suggestions?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doula Robyn,
      Sometimes the DF can mess things up for some children and their nights get pretty chaotic after it is introduced (although I'd still give it several days just to be sure). If she is waking up much more than she used to you can try waiting a few minutes before going to her, seeing if you can soothe her back to sleep without a feed, holding of on a feed even if it is just 10 minutes a night. Just some ideas. You are right, she probably can be getting more food during the day instead of the night (although she still likely needs at least one during night sleep) just make sure to do a slow transition so she can move her food needs to the day slowly as she gets less at night.

      best,
      rachel

      Delete
  94. Thanks so much for helping all these moms! I have a 12 month old who was born 11 weeks premature. So technically he is 9 months old. He has never been a sleeper. He is ebf and i am dairy free which explains the first 6-7 months of night wakings. However now he is up all night all the time..crying fussing. We get maybe 2 to 3 hours of sleep a night. I nurse to sleep but have changed the night routine a little so the nursing happens first and i walk him to drowsy and put him in bed where he falls asleep with me patting his back. He sleeps about 3 hours total of consistent nap sleep a day. I am desperate for sleep. It seems as though sometimes when he wakes at night his belly is hurting him. But we have semi 2 different doctors and they say he us healthy. I am considering starting solids again. We tried a couple months back however his belly was not ready. Any suggests would help. Thanks againd

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  95. Hi! It's so encouraging to hear that I'm not alone! I feel like a BW failure! :) My 5 m. old has been a great sleeper from the beginning, sleeping 10-11 hours at night until about 3 weeks ago. She began waking once in the middle of the night, fussing off and on (and the occasional hard cry) for up to 2 hours. I wouldn't go get her for fear of creating a habit. After multiple nights of 2-2.5 hour waketimes, I began getting up and putting her pacifier in to help her back to sleep. It worked a couple times, sometimes nothing. Is it possible that she's hungry? She eats pretty well during the day. I tried nursing last night and she acted hungry, but then wouldn't drink much in the morning, like she is full. If it's growth spurt, have I been starving her? I don't mind CIO (I did that at first for naps) but I don't want her to be hungry!! It sure is frustrating to be up for 2.5 hours every night! :) Good thing that smile in the morning is so adorable.

    Wake time during day: 1.5-2 hours
    2 long naps (2-3 hours) and 2 short naps (30-45 min) during day
    Put down awake but drowsy
    Bedtime 7:30-8 ish
    Waking random times b/t 230 and 430

    Sincerely,
    Babywise Dropout (sung to the tune of Beauty School Dropout from "Grease")

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  96. Hi,

    My 8 1/2 week old son has been doing the following for the last 6 or 7 days:

    9-2am - sleep
    2am - feed, but only about 2 oz. as he's still quite asleep
    4am - feed, about 4 oz
    6am - awake, but isn't interested in eating
    8am - back to sleep

    Could it be because he's not getting enough at the 2am feeding? But why then is he awake at 6am after having 4 oz. at 4am? It's getting quite frustrating and I'm tired of being tired! I'd rather not get him into the habit of getting up at 6am but I"m not sure what to do.

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Heidi,
      It's not uncommon for a baby to do a long period of sleep followed by a short one at night. But if he's really sleepy during the 2 am feed, then he may not be eating much. I'd let him wake up a bit more before the feed. With the 6 am wake up and not being hungry, this'll likely adjust with time--he's still so little and things change so much each week. You can try an earlier bedtime at night to see if it helps or try to get him to go back to sleep in whatever way works (feed him in the dark, use a swing etc). Don't worry tons about a 6 am habit of waking right now because this changes around a lot with babies in the next few months. It's nice to have a later wake time, but there is only so much you can do right now to encourage it. You can also take a look at the early morning waking post.

      best,
      rachel

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  97. Hi, I have a 5 month old baby who was born 6 weeks premature. He is now a normal healthy weight with no issues. He is put to sleep every night at between 7.30pm and 8pm and he goes down swaddled and awake in his own room and usually falls asleep within 10 minutes of whimpering (last feed 10-30 minutes before bed). We do not offer him a soother. He wakes at either 1 am ish and 4 am ish or just 4 am ish and then at 6am. We have been guilty of bringing him in with up the last few nights at 6am to get a little extra sleep! I nurse him back to sleep whenever he wakes as I have convinced myself that is the only option! I really want to drop the 1am feed but am not sure how to do it. During the day we have him on as much as a routine as possible but he is the king of the 30 minute catnap! any advice would be much appreciated

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  98. Hi, need your advise. My baby is 11 months old and she wakes up 2 to 3 times during night for bottle feeding. Originally, I thought she is hungry so I was giving her full formula feeding of 4 oz. However, reading other posts and talking to her dr., I believe it's habitual. Since last two weeks, I have been diluting her feeding to 50% and she still finishes all 4oz. We have a night time routine for her where She usually has her dinner(solids), gets cleaned, read a book or
    two and then 4oz. Formula before falling a sleep. I usually put her to sleep, but without rocking her, carrying her etc. I just lay down next to her and sing nursery rhymes and she goes to sleep without much of a fuss. But she won't go to sleep on her own. I was thinking of reducing her formula to 25% with water and eventually get to water only and then reducing the amount from 4oz. Is that a right approach? What's your suggestion? Any help would be appreciated.

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  99. Hi Rachel,
    I'm so glad I found this site! My son is 5 months old. For the past two months (for the most part) he has had the same routine. He gets a bottle before bed and goes to bed by 8:30. He has woken up habitually at 1am and 5am every single night it never fails! I tried letting him cry one night at his 1 o clock waking, and he cried for 3 hours until I couldn't take it anymore! I hate to let him cry for that long. He will not go back to sleep on his own. If I feed him when he wakes up at 1, he will only play with the bottle and not drink much. I'm not sure what to do at this point and any advice would be so greatly appreciated.. Thank you so much! :)

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    Replies
    1. Brittany Parker,
      Try some of the suggestions above, such as wake to sleep. Make sure to try it consistently. Not sure if you normally feed upon waking, but if you do, you would want to drop the feed first before expecting the waking to stop. If you were to do CIO, you would need to do it consistently each night for most likely several nights. It would likely end up working, but it sounds like this isn't something you feel comfortable with (although maybe some kind of cio where you attend the child might be?) so I wouldn't attempt it again unless you feel like you could follow through.

      best, rachel

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  100. Hi Rachel

    I have a ten week old son who goes down to sleep at 630 and then gets a dream feed at 1030. Be might wake up briefly from gas I think around 1 or 2 but if I come into his room and give him his pacifier he will go back to sleep until around 3-330. This is five hours from his last feed so in some peoples eyes it is sleeping through the night but when I offer him food he only drinks an ounce or two instead of his usual four ounces which leads me to wonder if he was not hungry . that being said I can't seem to get him to go back to sleep otherwise with just the pacifier or shush pat. I can hear his tummy gurgle but he has always been really gassy so I wonder if it is that and not food. Should I try to cut out this feeding? I have tried to top up his bottle to five ounces to get that extra few ounces during the day but he never seems to take it and spits up a lot. We do the eat activity sleep routine during the day but he is not great at napping during the day and often wakes up after a half hour. Any suggestions?

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  101. Hi Rachel,
    I'm glad to find your site with lots of helpful advise. I have a 12 wk son who is addicted to nursinf to sleep ( nothing else can get him go back to sleep even rocking could take him an hour to go back to sleep at nap time). He wakes up every 10mins or 20 mins after naps. He wakes up every hour and a half at night time. I tried everything to resettle him but he ended up being overtired at later afternoon ans we ended up get him to bed at 10:00pm. I now try to start him get to bed early at night like around 7:00 ( bathtime ect...) But he still wake up 20 mins like for a nap. My question is, when i want to change his bedtime earlier, should i start from waking baby up in the mornng or start from bedtime routine?

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    Replies
    1. Hai Pham,
      Start with the morning wake time. But at 12 weeks, you probably still won't have a totally consistent day and bedtime. Just do the best you can. Best of luck getting more sleep--for the two of you!

      rachel

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  102. I am looking for some advice on my daughter. She is almost 7 months old and since 4 months has needed a feed 5 or 6 hours after settling down for the night. She has always been an early riser getting up at 5am to 5.30am. At that point she is very alert and we usually get up for the day.

    For the last couple of weeks she has been waking on most nights every 3 hours and is often quite distressed when I try and settle her- screaming usually and

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  103. ...inconsolable. The only way we can get her back to sleep is in a rocker. I have taken her to the dr and she had a congested ear but no signs if that now nor teething symptoms. We started weaning a couple of weeks ago but I have cut back in case it was wind. She now just has a breakfast of porridge or fruit/veg puree. In the last week or so we have mastered leaving her to fall asleep on her own after some crying usually (no more than 10 mins). She is bf but has a bottle at lunch and before bed. I tend to bf when she wakes at night as nothing else seems to work. Any thoughts greatly appreciated

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    Replies
    1. It sounds like it's likely a sleep prop issue--she doesn't know how to fall asleep well enough on her own.

      Delete
  104. Thanks Rachel. What do you suggest to help? She is awake after the bf and I leave her on her own to gurgle/groan. The only time I step in is when she is screaming as she becomes very stressed

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    Replies
    1. You would want to do something besides rescue her when she gets distressed (i.e., some sort of sleep training) otherwise she'll keep needing your help to get back to sleep then.

      Delete
  105. Great, thank you. We go on holiday in a weeks time so expecting all routine to go out of the window but when we are back I will start sleep training. Thanks again

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  106. hi! I think my son is a habitual waker. He is 8 months old but for the last 8 weeks or so he has been waking up at 9pm on the dot, then 11pm, 1am, 3:30am. Its been torture! I have finally managed to get him to settle on his own for all but the 11pm one, (this was always the one where he had almost a whole bottle). I am wondering how to tell if this 11pm wake up is habitual or hunger. He is not a great eater during the day so I am worried that he may need this night time bottle.....although surely at this age he shouldn't? So confused!

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  107. my daughter is almost 13 months old. These last few months she started waking up every night, before she would sleep 12 hours. This last week, she started waking at around 11 and I cant get her to sleep unless I feed her. I tried picking her up and calming her and putting her back down ,I tried to only give her 3oz milk last night and she just screamed until I gave her more, once she had 6oz in total she was fine and back to sleep. She woke at 4 briefly and went back to sleep on her own. I don't think she should be hungry at 11 when she has a full bottle at 7pm. I try to give her a good supper and bed time snack but she has been very slow to eat solids at times. she also started waking much earlier in the morning usually 6 where she use to sleep until 7. I can handle the early mornings if I can only get her to sleep back through the night. I am at a lost!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,
      the solution is simple but not simple at the same time :) She doesn't need food but is waking for it wanting it. So you simply need to stop offering the food, regardless of protests. I wonder if her sleep schedule isn't a little off. Maybe she's overtired which has caused the wakings? Or maybe she simply woke randomly for one reason one night and is now into a habit of it.

      Delete
  108. ok ill work on not feeding her, should I just go cold turkey or cut back. Also she has been very wet when she wakes up should I change her or do the little as possible and just get her back to sleep

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    Replies
    1. If you can help it, I wouldn't change her when you get her up. Put on an extra big diaper if you need. If she's only eating at bedtime, she should be good until morning. As far as cutting back or going cold turkey, if she's only getting very little anyway, it'll probably be easier to do it cold turkey. If she's getting tons, you could try cutting back an oz every few days but if this just makes her upset, i'd just drop it cold turkey. She may feel hungry for a few days, but she won't starve --she can get all she needs during the day.

      Delete
  109. Hi Rachel,
    I have a 17 week old daughter. She used to have awful evenings, crying and not settling until somewhere between 9 and 11 but then she would do a 6 hour stretch of sleep, usually 11-5. At 14 weeks something suddenly changed and her evenings got a lot better. In fact, it's hard to keep her awake past about 6:30! Unfortunately that seemed to make the nights terrible and she went through about a week of waking every 1-2 hours. This settled down and she did a couple of 11-4. I tried not to feed her if she woke before this and she did settle back with the dummy. For the last week or so however, she has started waking at 10 for her bottle (prior to this we were dreamfeeding at 11). She has 6oz of formula (is otherwise breastfed) and then wakes at 2/2:30 and again at 5/6. I really feel that after 6oz of formula she should be able to go a lot longer than 2! She is fed 3 hourly during the day but has started being a bit distracted during feeding and obviously I don't know how much she's taking. I think the problem is that she is waking with gas but has got into the habit of comfort feeding in the night. If it is gas waking her then I don't know how to stop this or to get her to go back without a feed. I try shush pat and dummy but it only seems to work for a maximum of an hour but usually only 15 minutes! I really don't want to keep feeding her! Help!

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  110. We have two girls 3 years and 3 months and 4 years and 9 months (in school full days) in the same room. Most nights at least one of them is awake generally one once and one twice looking to sleep with us. My husband is not as good as returning them to bed and for the last couple months the first one has been sleeping in our bed. We have gotten ourselves into a bad situation which is getting worse now that we have two waking up. Generally the youngest goes to bed at 8 and the oldest between 8:15 and 8:30 but we are laying with them until they are almost asleep. In the last week or so we have tried implementing cuddle time downstairs with their show and cut bedtime cuddles down to a few minutes instead of until they are asleep which is a little difficult so we are putting them back to bed about 3 times at bedtime. They both have bedtime buddies and we leave a night light (fish aquarium light) on for them as I thought it was helping them during the night for awhile and now I can't turn it off or they cry when they get up. They are still getting up at night trying to sleep in our bed. I am putting them back in their beds but it is still quite a few times a night and a few extra right now as neither one is getting to stay with us. On occasion the youngest may need to pee but is not generally why she is up. My husband is always concerned about one of them getting really upset and waking the other one but everyone needs more sleep.
    How do we get rid of ourselves and the aquarium as props? The light wasn't on last night when I took the youngest to bed (I usually put it on when I get pjs ready) and she is not ready for it not to be on. They both claim to be afraid of the dark, I'm sure the youngest gets this from her sister who is looking for reasons she can't sleep in her own bed she even says it's too hard. We have a bedtime routine of pjs, milk and snack, show with cuddles and bed (now limited cuddle time in bed).

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  111. Oh the youngest generally naps from 12:30 to 2:30.

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