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Thread: 4 month old baby wakes up every hour

  1. #1

    Default 4 month old baby wakes up every hour

    My baby was sleeping through the night two months ago and now for the last few weeks he has been waking up every hour. The only way to calm him down or make him go back to bed is to give him the boob. He sleeps in bed with me. I try to put him in his crib but he just wakes up the second I lay him down there. I don't know what to do. Let him cry himself to sleep? Continue letting him use me as a pacifier? I only breastfeed or I pump and he gets a bottle when I'm at work. Any advice would be great because I'm exhausted and need to function during the day work. I think I've created a monster by giving him the boob whenever he wants it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,944

    Default Re: 4 month old baby wakes up every hour

    Mama, you haven't "created a monster" by being a responsive mommy. It's very normal for babies to start waking more around 4 months- so much so that there's even a widely accepted term for it: the 4 month sleep regression. It doesn't happen because you're allowing him to use the breast as a pacifier or because you're been too lenient or because you forgot to hop on one foot while singing the national anthem, or whatever other crazy reason people have to explain why the sleep disruptions are your fault instead of nature's fault.

    4 month-olds tend to wake because:
    1. They are beginning to teethe and teething hurts. You might not see any teeth break the gumline for months yet- but trust me, they are moving around in there.
    2. Development. 4 month-olds are mastering a ton of new physical skills (reaching, rolling, kicking) and also mental skills (recognizing faces, understanding that they can interact with objects like toys or their own fingers/toes, following people and objects with their eyes, etc.), and all this newness tends to wake them up.
    3. Hunger. It doesn't matter if your baby slept through the night for a couple of months prior to this. Most babies continue to need to eat at night throughout their first year.

    I know this is tough to hear when all you want is a decent night's sleep. I suggest doing the following:
    - Sleep when baby sleeps. If this means going to bed at 8:00, do it. It's temporary.
    - Turn the clock to the wall. Sleep disturbances hurt more when you look at the clock and realize just how late/early it is and how little sleep you've had. If you don't look at the clock, a lot of the disturbances will blend into a haze, and it won't hurt as badly.
    - Forget the crib. Babies hate sleeping alone. Sometimes they wake because they're lonely in addition to being hungry- so cut down on the loneliness aspect and you may get more sleep. At least you won't have to jump up and down getting baby in/out of the crib.
    - Get a nap on the weekends. If you have a partner who can take baby over for you for a couple of hours, that is.

    I also recommend Elizabeth Pantley's book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" for a realistic, breastfeeding-friendly look at infant sleep, and for gentle techniques which may encourage more nighttime independence.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Default Re: 4 month old baby wakes up every hour

    been there an it was a phase. Now she is 8mo and still wakes up frequently but as we sleep together sometimes i dont even remember how many times she asked for breast.
    It took me a while to understand and accept without frustration that "sleep like a baby" means that this little ones wake up a lot!... baby´s sleep is evolutive and some day they´ll sleep just fine.
    Its hard, but being a mom is a full time job 24/7 a great advice is to forget about the clock.
    "Give the breast is give your best" (i´m giving my best!!)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,408

    Default Re: 4 month old baby wakes up every hour

    HI Kash13. I am sorry you are so tired. not fun! Did the more frequent nursing start happening after you returned to work? Or some other upheaval in baby's life?

    I agree with previous posts. Generally it is normal for any baby to wake more often at night to nurse after sleeping longer stretches-at 4 months, still very young, certainly, this is 100% normal. You want to rule out illness (like an ear infection) whenever there is a big behavior change like this but that should be obvious.

    Also many moms who are at work during the day find baby starts to wake more often at night. This is not because baby is "using you" for anything. It is because baby needs a certain amount of physical connection with his mom. If he cannot fulfill that need during the day, he will fulfill it at night. A plus to this is your milk production is helped by frequent nursing and you are meeting your baby's needs. The problem of course is, tired mom.

    Since this is probably normal and likely a phase, you could do nothing and ride it out.

    However, if you like, you could try getting more nursing sessions in during your personal awake time, and you could also discuss your baby's eating habits with baby's caregiver. If they are limiting the NUMBER of bottle sessions (for example, giving baby larger bottles every four hours instead of small amounts more frequently) you might want to talk to them about cue feeding your baby instead. Also they should be making sure bottles are slow and relaxed so baby is getting more of his sucking needs met during the day when you are not there. These things won't hurt and may possibly help. See http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    NY
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    Default Re: 4 month old baby wakes up every hour

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    I know this is tough to hear when all you want is a decent night's sleep. I suggest doing the following:
    - Sleep when baby sleeps. If this means going to bed at 8:00, do it. It's temporary.
    - Turn the clock to the wall. Sleep disturbances hurt more when you look at the clock and realize just how late/early it is and how little sleep you've had. If you don't look at the clock, a lot of the disturbances will blend into a haze, and it won't hurt as badly.
    - Forget the crib. Babies hate sleeping alone. Sometimes they wake because they're lonely in addition to being hungry- so cut down on the loneliness aspect and you may get more sleep. At least you won't have to jump up and down getting baby in/out of the crib.
    - Get a nap on the weekends. If you have a partner who can take baby over for you for a couple of hours, that is.


    I am a full-time working mom of an almost 11 month old who has always, always, always been on the highest end of the night-nursing spectrum. I cannot agree more with these tips and suggestions.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: 4 month old baby wakes up every hour

    My 1st son was the same way. It was awful... I feel your pain totally! What I did after about a month of no sleep was put him in bed with us. It was the only way he slept and I was able to function a bit better vs not having any sleep It only lasted til about 6 months and I started putting him back in his crib and he started sleeping through the night again. I hope things start getting better soon!
    Proud mama to 2 boys

    DS # 1- 4 years old, EBF for 6 months

    Currently EBFing DS #2 age 4 months

    BF goal: 1 year

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    40

    Default Re: 4 month old baby wakes up every hour

    PP's have already covered all the bases, I just want to add my experience: my son had this typical '4 month sleep regression' and it lasted till he was around 6 months old. Now he is 7 months old and he still wakes up 3 times a night to feed. I am not comfortable with co-sleeping (did try it at some point, my back was not happy cause I slept in a cramped position because of fear I will roll on top of him... :/ ) but he is sleeping two steps away from us, literally. I don't look at the clock anymore and I get all the sleep in the weekends or when he naps.

    I don't think you've created a monster by giving him the boob every time he wants it. It is his basic need to eat and to be close to you. So you are doing a great job mama, I do hope you get some rest too!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    New Jersey
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    Default Re: 4 month old baby wakes up every hour

    I went through this almost exactly. We made Ellie's bedtime earlier and for some reason that worked. I also added in a dream feed before I went to sleep which usually buys me about a 4 hour block of sleep before she wakes up (around 2-3) and then I get another block of sleep until about 5 or 6. A lot of nights and on the weekends I nap which has saved my sanity. My theory has been to change what I do as much as possible working around what she does so as her schedule and needs change I try to adapt to fit that. Trying to change what she needs or wants is like trying to wrestle a porcupine.
    You may also want to look into some other sleep arrangement like a swing or a rock and play. Might help you stretch those hour breaks to 2 hours.
    mommy to Ellie - 2/28/13 8lb 3oz 19.5in

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