Help! my baby won't stay asleep

Carolina - posted on 04/14/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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My 4 month falls asleep quickly when I rock him, but he has trouble staying asleep and he won't fall asleep on his own. I haven't tried the "cry it out method" but the other way isn't really working, because i don't see any progress and I still have to go several times to soothe him back to sleep. I've tried put him down awake too and it doesn't work. And forget about naps, he only stays for 15 to 30 min. What should I do? Heeeelp :(

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Katie - posted on 06/26/2013

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My 4 months is the same thing, I'm desperate!! He just doesnt stay asleep, he falls sleep just fine, never had to rock him or anything but he just sleeps at night for 4 hours straigh or less, after that forget it, he wakes up every hour!! I'm a zoombie walking and have tried everything and nothing works!!! I let him cry last night, we went back to sleep but for just 40min, then wakes up again and so on... I cry every day, I dont have al ife anymore, have read all the books out there and nothing works! During the day he sleep only 3 times and just for 30 min each, crazy!!! I just dont know what to do anymore!

Kelly - posted on 04/15/2009

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I know a lot of people don't like this book, "On Becoming Babywise" by Gary Ezzo but it seriously saved my life and I just keep meeting more people who swear by it. I got it after being deperate with my 4-month-old who was exactly the same way as you've described your baby. I was so sleep-deprived I even hallucinated on occasion. The basic principles in it are VERY helpful. I'll try to write them out for you so you can get an idea.



1. Baby's schedule should always be in this order: Sleep, Feed, Play, Sleep. (I was reversing it.) The only exception would be the nighttime feed before bed.



2. Most babies need to be trained to self-soothe, i.e. fall asleep without you rocking them, nursing them, etc. This is where you put them to bed tired (not overly tired) but awake and if they wake up after 40 minutes of being asleep (babies have 40-min sleep cycles and often wake after that period), leave them to fall back asleep on their own.

3. Give them full feeds, i.e. both breasts until baby gets the hindmilk too (that's the thicker milk that comes at the end of the feed which is more filling) so that the 4-month-old is eating every 3-4 hours not more often, which would be called "snacking."

4. The more solid your routine is, the faster the baby will take to it and keep to it.



It is a hard adjustment to make because you will be training yourself to understand your baby's cries, which are really hard to hear. But eventually you will be able to tell whether your baby is crying because they need you or because they are just soothing themselves to sleep. You wouldn't think that it would be very soothing for a baby to cry himself to sleep but both of mine did that. With my second I didn't wait until she was 4-months before I trained her to sleep and so since she was an oblivious newborn I could actually stand next to her bed and watch the whole falling asleep process and it was fascinating.



Your 4-month-old should be sleeping at about 10-11 hours a night and having 3 2-hour naps. He should be eating 4-6 times a day, feeding him after waking up plus before bed and an afternoon snack if you think he needs the extra.



Sleep begets sleep. It may sound strange by it your baby sleeps well at night he is more likely to sleep well during the day and vice-versa. Don't be discouraged if your baby is not a "textbook" baby. Neither of mine were but they are both good sleepers now, with the occasional issues. I think that's just because babies are always changing and growing.

Sybil - posted on 04/14/2009

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My baby wouldn't stay asleep either..he is now 7 months but honestly the only way i could get him to sleep was to sleep with me...i know people say it isn't good but it was the only way i could actually get a good nights sleep too. His naps at first when he was born were really short...he slept mostly in the swing during the days or in a bouncer seat...have you tried any of that...I've also done that cry out method....never works for me either

Carolina - posted on 01/04/2011

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yes Laura i found a way for my baby to stay asleep...i followed kelly's advise and worked like a charm...you just have to pick a routine in this order: Sleep, feed, play, sleep and stick to it. I also had to use the cry it out method later on. It did work for me and now my son is 2 and is a good sleeper (night terrors and teething wakings don't count, lol). Good luck!

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Chloe - posted on 01/05/2011

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Have you had any trouble with reflux with him? That was the deal with my DD too and we found that she had GERD and that she was just screaming and unable to sleep because she was in pain from the reflux. We tried a lot of stuff but the Nap Nanny works wonders for us because it holds it at a comfortable position for her to sleep without lying flat on her back with her reflux. Good luck!

Laura - posted on 01/04/2011

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Carolina, did you ever find a way to solve this problem of your baby not staying asleep? I'm going through the same thing right now with my 4 month old. I have to get up about 6 times a night to put him back to sleep. He can't do it on his own.

Alison - posted on 04/16/2009

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you poor thing. i went through the same thing w/ my little girl. its rough. although my daughter would always sleep great at night. all i can tell you is be patient he will eventually get it. my daughter now sleeps 2 1h naps and goes down pretty easy. i think the trick was to stick to a predictable schedule and at around 6 mo she learned to cry it out. i think it ok to let baby sleep on you..you do what you have to to survive and nap yourself. also if she fussed for about 45 min to an hour i quit trying to get her down and tried again in an hour. this helped.

Sydie - posted on 04/16/2009

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it helps knowing that other moms are struggling with getting their babies to sleep

Cynthia - posted on 04/14/2009

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keep him active during the day. Making sure he has had lots of exploration time of objects, chewing and feeling kind of toys.



Walks in the stroller are great. If where you live is cold still make sure their hands are covered and baby is well layered to keep him warm. If you don't want to go outside try your local mall. Any moving object will usually put them to sleep (carrier, stroller, swing, carseat, etc) WIth the price of gas car rides are just too expensive:-)



Make sure the room he's in isn't too cold, or too hot. Babies in cold rooms won't settle and hot ones will wake them easily and be thirsty all the time.



I've never tried using a white noise machine I just turn on the radio in the next room. with our first son I ended up putting a kitchen clock in his room, a cheap $5 one from Ikea. It must have sounded like a heart beat. it worked great.



My two sons are both very different in the physical end opf actually getting them from falling asleep on my husband or I into the crib. Our first would be out like a light and we figured out we had just under five mintues to get him into his crib (basically as soon as he fell asleep) we had to get him to carefully/slowly into the crib from our arms. Our second son is the exact opposite. If we try putting him in the crib from our arms too soon, he wakes up. We need to keep him in our arms for at least 5-7 minutes sometimes 10 min after he's fallen asleep.



Hope it helps. good luck. He's a cutie.

Sydie - posted on 04/16/2009

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it helps knowing that other moms are struggling with getting their babies to sleep

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