Waking at night but not hungry..what causes this?

Liz - posted on 08/20/2010 ( 18 moms have responded )

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I have a 16 week old daughter who was sleeping 7 hours at night without waking but in the last week or so she wakes up 3 times at night and only is hungry maybe once out of those three. She wakes up grunting and eventually wakes herself up. I pick her up and rock her back to sleep and she wakes again in a couple hours. I'm not sure what is causing her to wake all of a sudden. If it was a growth spurt wouldn't she be eating every time? Any suggestions on how to break this cycle?

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Marcia - posted on 08/27/2010

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I went to a sleep clinic when my son was 12 lbs. I wish I could scan the papers we got onto here but my scanner is broken anyways I will give some tips they told us.
1. at 12 lbs the child doesn't need a night feeding any more. They are waking up out of habbit.. my son was waking at 3 am and 6am constantly!
2. If you stop the night feeding the child will eat more during the day to make up for lost feeding in the night!
3. NEVER rock your child back to sleep. You are best to let them lay there play cry and learn that they need to self sooth back to sleep. We put my son to bed at 8pm from 2 months and he has now been sleeping untill 7 or 730 since then. He does wake up to play but he has learnt to self sooth back to sleep!
If you go in and rock the child back to sleep the cycle continues.
Also they said this would take 3 nights of letting them cry back to sleep and guess what they where right 3 nights of HELL then smooth sailing since then... we have gotten full night sleeps since.
I wont lie sitting there listening to your child cry really sucks... but we shut off the monitor actually i just turned it down and let him cry that way if he started to choke or anything i could hear it.
the other thing was to be home at schedule naps teach them that bed is where they sleep after about 2 weeks you can go out again with them but trust me naps are way nicer in their bed they get good sleeps then.
I will admit since we started this everything is more routine his naps are at the same time his feedings are at the same time and he's a lot more happier.
The other thing is we bath him at 7 feed him a bottle at 715 and then put him to bed at 8 they said to give 45 minutes before the last feeding that way it has time to settle digest a bit and they wont need to wake up once they are on schedule.

Katie - posted on 08/25/2010

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My daughter also 4 months started doing this to out of now where, and after talking to my dr. he suggested that I start when she starts to cry go in change diaper giver her meds (if needed, shes teething) then DONT PICK HER UP but try to soothe her turn on a musical toy or just pat her till she falls back to sleep. Its similar to the Ferber Method but a MUCH nicer way of doing it.. at this age my dr explained they learn rewards, which mean if you have spent alot of time putting your baby down to sleep and giving them a bottle then each time they wake up give bottle again, they are used to this, they think "oh cry and mom will come in and soothe me" I didn't think about this until after my dr talked to me, its funny when you start trying to put them to sleep or sleep training you see all the bad habits you have created, I know most people don't believe in sleep training but I did it with my daughter for a week after she started sleeping about 10-12hrs a night she got used to getting that much rest. and now she goes to bed at 8 pretty regulary. so maybe with you pick her up, shes used to soothing to sleep that way, which means that when she wiggles out of blanket shes uncomfortable and cries for you to bring the comfort. try new ways of soothing her instead of picking her up, or your going to start the habit of her only being able to go back to sleep when you rock her... then your going to be really tired....

so good luck...

and its ok if she cries because you dont pick her up, just dont let it go on for more then 5-10mins the first month, try humming or saying shhhh mommys here, something to soothe her....

worked for my daughter was hard at first but no i am glad I stuck with it...

Jessica - posted on 08/23/2010

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My son has been doing the same thing! I know my son is teething so my guess is maybe its cuz his mouth hurts...but heck if I know...Seems like we all have the same problem but no one with answers lol

Katie - posted on 08/27/2010

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That is JUST LIKE how my daughter started..and now she sleeps Great, she still gets up sometimes at 3:30-4:00am hungry but she downs the bottle and goes back to sleep.

Janice - posted on 08/22/2010

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That's what my daughter did when she was escaping her swaddle...grunt grunt grunt grunt grunt, and then I would come in and she would have woken herself up because she had escaped her swaddle. That was when I knew I had to transition her into a grobag. Sounds like she's getting more active in her sleep. If she is grunting and not crying I would just leave her be. I am still getting up 3-4 times a night with my little man so haven't had a whole lot of sleep since he was born, but he wakes up hungry each time...or he's not feeling well. But from the grunting it sounds like she is struggling to get out of her swaddle. Good luck

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Melaina - posted on 08/27/2010

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I totally agree with the sleep training, if they're NOT hungry, however, some babies really do still need to eat after 12lbs!! Some babies also wake more during the night when they are mastering new skills. My daughter is 4 months tomorrow and has been rolling all over the place for the last few weeks, trying very hard to crawl and she is also waking up when she's not hungry. I too just pop the soother back in her mouth, turn on her aquarium music box and let her fall back asleep in the crib. My son did this as well. It's totally normal for babies to start and stop sleeping through the night, so hang in there and good luck!!

Liz - posted on 08/27/2010

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Marcia I appreciate the advice! It is great. The night before last I fed her at 3 and last night at 4. Tonight I will try 5. She's a little over 12 lbs so that was good to know

Marcia - posted on 08/27/2010

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you basically have to let him cry it out and by the third night he will not wake up..
my boy still wakes up about 5 ish but he plays and then goes back to sleep and he's sooo super happy in the mornings its like he's totally different!
if your breast feeding she said you will still have to feed once in the night.... we use formula it last longer... the big thing about a baby and eating in the night we didn't realize till she told us is that its very routine for them so they will wake up at usually the same time. with my boy it was 3 am every night so when he woke up at 3 we just had to let him get over it and during the day he would drink a extra bottle instead of say having 4 he'd have 5 then the next night he would wake up at 4 instead of 3 and you let him cry he would cry about 15 minutes to 30 minutes and then he figured out what a thumb was and now he sucks it for his self sooth method.
it sucked listening to him cry for 15 minutes but you know what now it was way worth it! he eats more during the day his sleep is more routine and he eats regular bottles regular amts at close to the same times... its been great!
if you breast feed i would suggest getting up at night for that one feeding because breast milk doesn't hold them over as long as formula does

Kayla - posted on 08/27/2010

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How do you NOT feed a baby at night?? Like if i dont feed my babe, he just SCREAMS! So, how do I get him outta tbe habit of waking??

Nicole - posted on 08/26/2010

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my little girl used to do this and sometimes still does shes been teething since 12 weeks and shes 21 weeks today she used to do it when she was going through growth spurts too as she just wanted to feel secure i know its tiring and u feel like a zoombie most days!!!

Liz - posted on 08/26/2010

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Everytime she wakes up now i let her cry for five minutes and go pat her butt or turn on her glowworm. She never cries more than a couple minutes. I dont feed her unless her cry is desperate or i can tell shes hungry. last night i didnt have to feed her till 4am. She drank it and then right back to sleep till 630am. like the above response i bleive that babies learn that if they cry and get picked up, fed, or rewarded they will continue the behavior. at first i was worried zoey "would hate me for letting her cry" but she woke up just smiling and happy as can be. its worth the few tears because soon baby will have a full peaceful nights sleep.

Carine - posted on 08/25/2010

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I've found the same with my son, now almost 18weeks. He also wakes up a couple of times, only drinking once. It might be some kind of a growth spurt or the teeth. They might not come out for a while still but if u find her chewing on things u will know. They get very irritated with it. Hope this stage will get to an end soon. Goodluck!

Liz - posted on 08/24/2010

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Well tonight is the first night out of the swaddle so we will see if that was the issue. Last night was the same thing..waking up not hungry. I just picked her up rocked her and put her right back down bc she stopped crying. Hopefuly tonight she will wake like she used too..not till 3 or 4 :)

Stacy - posted on 08/22/2010

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I'd like to hear responses too. Mine did this the last week or two and then within the last two days is doing better, but I think he's on a growth spurt? He's eating every 1.5 - 2 hours during the day the past two days? But I blame everything on a growth spurt.

Leona - posted on 08/21/2010

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I cant wait to hear the answer to this one as my daught nearly 4 months has just started this too. Waking every 2 hours but not hungry i just pat her back to sleep. Im up at 11 1 3 5 an 7 its painful. Cant wait to get some advise myself. But atleast we both know we are not alone in this weird phase

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