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!"