Baby wakes frequently at night.

Heather - posted on 10/10/2010 ( 38 moms have responded )

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My baby girl, who is 10mo old, started waking up every 2hrs while we were visiting family in the states (in August). She's been waking every 2-3hrs, every night since then. It's really starting to wear on me. I play soft music, that is made to help babies sleep, but it doesn't help. For the past 2 nights I have tried putting her in my bed around 4am, but it doesn't help her sleep longer either. When she wakes, she cries until I pick her up & she almost always nurses. I don't plan on weaning her til she turns 1yr old. Right now I would just like for her to sleep longer than 2-3hrs at a time during the night. Any suggestions?

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Ashley - posted on 10/11/2010

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I agree with Lise. For whatever reason, parents are told that babies SHOULD be sleeping through the night as early as 2 months. This just doesn't make sense to me. Babies change so much in their first year. Reconnecting with Mom through breastfeeding when they wake up with sore gums or they are in a strange place is one of the few comforts we can offer them, so why deny that? I think if your baby is waking up at night and wants to nurse, just go with it. If you nurse in bed, you can both fall back to sleep and no one loses much sleep. I’ve done it this way for 6 months with mine. Everyone is happy and the little one continues to sleep longer and longer each week.

Millie - posted on 10/18/2010

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I had one of my children that nursed through the night for a long time. I finally changed my expectations. I didn't expect to sleep through the night and suddently i was ok with it. When you expect to sleep through the night you are disappointed but if you don't expect to then it is a true blessing when it happens. Having raised 4 children - it seems like a hard and long time now but the children grow up so fast and some day you will miss that quiet time with your baby.

Megan - posted on 10/19/2010

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‎"Cry-it-out does not lead to 'sleeping through the night' - it results in learned helplessness."

http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/cons-of-c...
http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/dangers-o...
http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/sleep-tra...

Waking at this age is normal. It is not biologically normal for babies/toddlers to sleep through the night till around the age of two. Babies are not designed to sleep through the night. I love the comment about changing expectations. I think all to often adults project their adult expectations onto babies/child who have no way to fulfill those expectations without causing harm to the child in the long run. Everything is a season and seasons change. My two year old and almost four year old still wake up at night. The two year old to nurse and my four year because she needs a snuggle. A kiss and hug and tucking her back in is all it takes to get her to fall back asleep.

Have you read the No Cry Sleep Solution, that is what I would suggest.

Heather - posted on 10/19/2010

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I'm glad the co-sleeping works for most of you. That does not work for us! I'm not against it at all. It's just that my daughter has restless sleep if she sleeps in the bed with me. She loves her own space when sleeping and has been sleeping in her crib since she was 3mo old.

Aizah - posted on 10/19/2010

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OMG, my baby and I need to travel if our visa would be approved. Reading from your experiences got me a little scared. i never had a problem with baby sleep, she would nap twice and sleep again at around 7pm.. then she would look for me to bf her about 9 pm. i would lay on her side and we both doze off to sleep.. then after couple of hours i would feel her looking for bf again then i would just fed her while we are both asleep... then tada** baby gets 12 full hours of sleep and mommy gets 10...

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Rachel - posted on 10/21/2010

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i have tried the elizabeth pantley method that starts to works till teething gets bad then its back to two three hrs i just dont know any more either

Eve - posted on 10/19/2010

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It's pretty normal for babies--even those who have been great sleepers--to start waking at night around 9-10 months because that's when they usually develop object permanence. Before object permanence, if they can't see you, you basically don't exist in their brains because they don't have the capacity to remember that something exists if they don't see it. Once it develops, though, they wake and know you're somewhere. They want to see you, so they cry.

The mistake we made was comforting Alex by picking him up and taking him to bed with us. (If co-sleeping is a good solution for you, then you could try that. It was working fine for us until Alex started scooting in his sleep, and now he's a risk for falling off the bed or, worse, down the stairs if he got out of our bedroom.)

So...now we are trying to re-train a 14-month-old who has gotten used to coming to our bed whenever he felt like it! I loved the snuggling and felt like we all got more sleep that way, but I can't risk him getting hurt if he rolls off the bed and I don't wake up in time to stop him.

What has been recommended to me is that we go to him and pat him, talk to him, soothe him, but don't pick him up. Try to stay no longer than a minute and let him cry for five minutes. If he is still crying after five minutes, go back in and soothe some more.

I don't want to let him cry at all, so I rock him in his bedroom until he goes back to sleep, but he doesn't come to our bed until morning. For my husband, he will go back to sleep without being picked up most nights. Each night is a little bit better--last night he slept through until 5:15 am, whereas a week ago he was waking up at 12:30-1, then 4:30-5, then 6-6:30. Each night he takes just a minute less to go back to sleep than the night before. It's slow going, but we aren't letting him cry.

For us it's a compromise between what was recommended and what we feel is most compatible with our parenting style.

Millie - posted on 10/19/2010

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I know it is hard when you don't get enough sleep and you want the baby to sleep through the night. Some are wondering how long to let the baby sleep with you in bed. when i was a little girl we all slept in the same bed because we only had one bed. So only the wealthier countries have a decision like this to make. One thing i will assure you is that no child is going to come home from the prom or football game and crawl in bed with you. So enjoy the close time you have with your baby or toddler. It is very short and you will miss it terribly as they grow up

Heather - posted on 10/19/2010

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To help your daughter sleep in her crib, I suggest letting her play in her crib during the day when she's awake. I did that with my daughter so she would get used to being in there. Give her a few soft toys to play with & let her play in there a little each day. After you do that a while, then just lay her in there for a nap. After she takes daily naps in there, then try to put her in there at night time. I do everything slow & gradual with my daughter and so far it has worked best that way. :) Good luck.

Shelley - posted on 10/19/2010

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This is very encouraging to read because my daughter who is 8 months old wakes up at least 3 times during the night. She sleeps in our bed. I have been trying to train her to sleep in her crib but I am not opting for the CIO method. I think I will just have to come to acceptance that she will not be sleeping through the night anytime soon. Her bottom two teeth are starting to poke through, so I am thinking that may be the issue with her sleeping habits.

Nermina - posted on 10/19/2010

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It means so much to read that my girl(7months) is not the only one.. Just recently she also started waking up every 2 sometimes1.1/2 hours and nothing helps apart from soothing her and occasional breast feed. She also doesnt have long naps during the day :( The only thing that is pushing me through the day is the thought that this is a "phase". I am starting to hate this word:):)
I think that as parents we singed up for this so God help us :)

Jessica - posted on 10/18/2010

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same boat there...my boy sleeps in my bed because its been like that from day dot with me and i love my sleep. it used to be every 3 hours but since he has been teething it is every 2 and he still doesnt have any teeth poor little munchkins i have asked myself over and over kis there a light at the end of the tunnel??? coz it doesnt feel like it and now i have an even biger problem up my sleeve and that is to ween him out of my bed and into his cot ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Tania - posted on 10/18/2010

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Post another commentjust saw your comment about ''plenty of food through the day" ... you might find her little body is having a hard time working on digesting on eof those foods you have given her or simply the quantity... consider trying not making her food a big deal to finish etc, she won't starve, she'll tell you if she's hungry - ?? just a thought??

Tania - posted on 10/18/2010

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Hi Leah, while some of your comments are helpful, not all babies are eating anything at 6 months, and this is okay - making food a bigger importance to a baby at this time will only reduce their appetite for breast milk and the benefits of it.
"I" get up for a wee and drink in the night, I Totally expect that if my baby wakes to pee he will want a little drink (not eat - yep - there are different kinds of breast 'feeds') so babies drinking at night - totally cool.
any number of things including this age where security and trust are forming more solidly, and this time also baby is spending SO much time playing, night time is the perfect opportunity to re-connect with Mum.
Continue to do whatever feels comfortable to you, my baby is in my bed, so wakeful or not, i get enough rest - most of the time!
Have you mastered lying down to feed? as opposed to picking her up to feed? also, look into any foods you have introduced, she may be wetting more and find either the nappy or her bladder is uncomfortable.
Try looking up EC or natural infant hygiene, she could possibly be too sleepy to pee properly at night and wakes with a bladder full, lets a little out and crashes out ? with EC, you can 'cue' her to pee - in her nappy or a potty/bowl or over a nappy, then get a dry one on her.... you never know! sometimes it's the last thing i try here and it works, we onyl do EC Part time.

Tash - posted on 10/18/2010

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A lot of people told me it was just the age when my daughter started doing this, she had slept through the night from 5 weeks old. She started waking every few hours from about 4-6 mths and then again at about 10 mths, some of this coincided with starting to roll/crawl and then some teeth started to come through. I also let her get into bad habit of feeding during the night to get her back to sleep cause i was soooo tired and feeling lazy, made a rod for my own back however. i broke the cycle by switching to giving her warm water in a "like breast" bottle (she was used to bottle and BF as had to use formula whilst recovering from mastitis when she was 1-4 weeks old - then exclusively BF) this comforted her but also her stomach felt full temporarily without getting "food" so over a couple of nights stopped waking up cause the feed had no lasting nutrition or fullness. I hated the "crying it out" theory at that age too (though have been employing it recently coupled with the rapid return technique -she's now nearly 2 yrs old- as we just moved to new house and she has a "big girl bed now"- she's very cheeky!)
I also found controlling her sleep routine worked wonders, she had been going to bed at around 8.30-9pm and sleeping until about 6.30-7am, when she kept waking in the night a mother form my group suggested putting her to sleep earlier- which i though was illogical and would mean she'd wake up earlier- surprisingly it worked, i started putting her to bed at 6.30pm and she started to sleep through (without waking) until 8-9am- woo hoo!!! Also even though she was a lousy day sleeper i started to make her atleast rest/play in her bed alone at 10.30am and 2.30pm for up to an hour each time which was great- she wouldn't always sleep but it gave her time to chill and me time to get something (anything!) done around the house- or have a shower as some days that was my only chance!
Main thing is make a plan and stick to it (and make sure your partner does too- that's a whole other conversation!!) they know you love them but they also need boundaries from a surprisingly young age.

Heather - posted on 10/18/2010

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My baby girl has recently started sleeping better at night. She sleeps 6-7 hours straight, then another two segments of 3hrs straight. Yes, try to give him more attention during the day. Another thing that might make babies wake frequently at night is if they have a new accomplishment (they want to wake to practice the new thing). My daughter has recently started taking steps on her own, so she really wants to practice walking. I make sure to give her lots of walking practice throughout the day. Another thing you might want to try is playing soft, quiet music in the room. I suggest Rainforest Music, Nature's Lullabies...got it at Wal-Mart.

Ntombikayise - posted on 10/18/2010

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Well i feel you gal i have been encountering the same problem with my 10month old boy and yesterday i was complaining to my husband that if i can have a full 8hrs sleep that would be lovely because he constantly wakes up at night and i BF but nothing helps until like 4am that when he starts settling in i was thinking maybe it's because of the relocation and the diff in hours since August but hey i'm so tired and i can't even sleep during the day because i have to look after him and also the house. Thanks Leah about your suggestions i will definately try it as well anyway i will try everything to get my little one to sleep...

Lisa - posted on 10/17/2010

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i have been having the same problem. this started when my son turned 6 months and he is now 8 months! he had been sleeping through the night since he was 6 weeks old. at his 6 month check the doctor found fluid in his ear and said he had an ear infection. he was on antibiotic and he was still waking up. I just took him this past wednesday and she said there was fluid again, but not an infection and I asked if it just never cleared. she used a machine called a tympanogram which measures pressure in an ear. turns out, he has a flat ear drum which causes a ot of pressure (like when your ears have to pop) we are going to a specialist on Monday to schedule surgery for tubes. :(

Heather - posted on 10/17/2010

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Thank you everyone for your comments and personal opinions. Crying it out is not an option for me! As one of the previous comments said, crying is the only way babies communicate. So I will not let my daughter cry it out. That just isn't for us.
Michelle, I agree with what you said. I think she might be wanting more attention during the night, so I've been focusing on giving her more love and attention during the day. For 2 nights she finally slept in longer segments, at 5 & 7hrs each. :-) This will be a slow process but I can handle that. I know I too will miss all the cuddles and special moments as she becomes more independent.

[deleted account]

This week at a local healthy baby group we spokes about how babies develop, first trust, exploring then independence. My son once he started the exploring started waking up during the night again - this seemed to happen whenever we would not be spending as much time together during the day then it was like he was tanking up on love during the night. My Mom told me a piece of wisdom hold every loving moment you can with the children as one day your child will stop calling for you and will spead their wings . Even though I remember exhaustion with my son getting up every 1 1/2hrs when he was little but I miss the cuddles and snuggles he gave me when we were the only two up in the whole house!

Lise - posted on 10/16/2010

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Babies should get the bulk of their nutrition from breast milk or formula until they are a year old. At this age, babies don't manipulate people. Because they don't talk, crying is their means of communication. She may just want to be held, but crying for you is how she can tell you... Just throwing that out there.

[deleted account]

hmmm, sounds like baby girl has you wrapped tightly on her baby finger... Babies get out of whack with traveling. . . I recommend what my doctor says to do and that is to not hop to it every time you hear her cry. It'll be tough and you'll be lying in bed awake, but within a few nights, she'll get the drift of figuring out how to get herself back to sleep. My daughter cries out loudly and wakes me up, but I am slow to get to her and typically she does just that, cries out loud and fusses for a few seconds but since I don't come, she has figured out how to put herself back to sleep. I know how you feel, my now 16 month old wouldn't sleep next to me after waking up in the wee hours of the morning. So, stick to your schedule and be slow to her room to soothe her. . . at 10 months old, she should be getting other nutrients from regular food and not needing too much breast milk. Make sure that her belly is full and that she is comfortable (warm and cuddly/ not too warm) in her jammies. Hope this helps!

Daniela - posted on 10/16/2010

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My son is 9 months and i have been battling the same exact thing for months...Or should i say he never really slept longer that 3 hrs since birth. SOme nights its even worse, hes up every hour or so and also always wants to nurse. I am exausted. I tried everything. I even started formula at night to see if that kept him doen longer..but no luck. I come to realize that it is what it is and eventually as they get a bit older things will change. For now i only wish you luck and try napping in the day when she naps to catch up on your zzzz's.

Bethany - posted on 10/16/2010

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Most babies have a natural sleep cycle, it sounds like her's has been disrupted by the trip. Try letting her cry it out... check on her every fifteen minutes, calm her a little by rubbing her back, but don't nurse her. You'll set the patterns in motion that will last at that age, so decide now what you want to keep happening, and what you don't! :o)~

Ilene - posted on 10/13/2010

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We just got our 10 mo old to start sleeping through the night. It was a hard fought battle but mommy and daddy prevailed. It literately took a week, but what we did was...let him cry. It was awful. He would wake up at midnight, 3 and 5am. when he woke up my husband and I just laid there and cringed while he cried. After 15-20 minutes one of us would get up, put the pacifier in, lay him down and walk away. No talking, no eye contact - nothing. After 15-20 more minutes repeat. It was a Looooooooooooong week. But now he's the best sleeper!

Sarah - posted on 10/12/2010

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Similar experience here! Took a trip to the UK and now Clara no longer sleeps through the night. It has resulted in her sleeping w/ us so I can nurse her back to sleep. We've been doing this for almost 3 months. I think it was a combination of teething and her acknowledging that she gets hungry every 3-4 hours instead of sleeping through those signs. I don't want her in our bed nor do I want to feed her 3 times/night but that's what it has worked out to being. Some nights are worse than others. I'm hoping it'll get better, as so far it has. We will also deal w/ the consequences of her being used to being in bed with us when it's no longer "needed" presumable at a later date.

Heather - posted on 10/12/2010

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Thanks for the comments everyone. We did co-sleep until she was 3mo old. The only reason we stopped at that time was because she had restless sleep from being so close to me all night long. She sleeps better in her own bed. But my husband is currently deployed, so maybe the co-sleeping will work again now that there's more room in the bed. However, I tried it for 2 nights in a row and it didn't help her sleep any longer.
I feed her plenty of food during the day, but she still wakes a lot in the night. And she isn't over tired. I try to get her to take another nap in the day but she doesn't. Even when she took 3 naps in the day, they were very small...she isn't a big napper & instead sleeps 12-13hrs at night.

Lise - posted on 10/10/2010

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can you nurse sidelying? that's what i've done and i've been "sleeping through the night" since my daughter was 3 months old. she just latches herself on without waking.

babies go through SO many changes, i always think about when i was pregnant (one big growth spurt, like my lo is going through) - if someone had told me i couldn't drink water or eat, i would have been miserable. i've never limited the amount of nursing my lo has been able to have and she started sleeping through around 11 months.

Michele - posted on 10/10/2010

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I had the same problem, exactly. It was REALLY hard. She woke up numerous times during the night. She is almost three now and still wakes most nights at least once but thankfully she goes back to sleep easily. Time may be the only cure. Nothing I tried worked when she was so young. Wish I could be more helpful. I was often cranky and irritated from lack of sleep so I hope you are better able to cope than I was. The one little thing that did seem to help was making her be as physically active as possible. This would make her go back to sleep easier for me when she did wake and I found she didn't wake quite as many times. Good luck!

Ania - posted on 10/10/2010

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Heather...I think your baby might be overtired if she is taking only one nap that is so short, that is why she can't sleep at night. Try to put her twice around 9 am and 1 pm. There is this great book Healthy sleep habits happy child it will really help you understand some things. My son doesn't sleep either and it also started after traveling....but he goes through so many milestones, teething, standing something new everyday, I just hope it will pass soon, because I'm really exhausted. I can't sleep with him, because he would nurse all the time, which hurts and I can't move because he is on top of me practically all the time and wakes up anyway

[deleted account]

I have the same problem with my 5 month old son. I have put him on solids at the moment as he is always hungry soon after a breast feed. I had hoped he would sleep through most of the night. My local clinic nurse told me to give him water to drink instead of breastfeeding after his last feed at 11pm as this would stop him from waking (12am to 6am). He would soon realise (usually after a week) that there was no reason to wake up for water.

This worked but as everyone has stated, any change in his development, teething, rolling over, crawling etc would mean he has a broken nights sleep and therefore I would be up soothing him (not feeding him) at regular intervals during the night.



I have put him in my bed at 4am when he 'wakes' up. I then say nothing verbal to him and close my eyes and go back to sleep. He either follows suit or plays with his toys until i wake up. I did this for about a week and he got used to it.



Patience is what I draw on now to get through this and it gets better!

Leah - posted on 10/10/2010

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I was having this same exact issue. My son is 10 1/2 months. We traveled about a month ago to my brothers and after we came back is when it seemed to start. Before the trip he still woke at least once to BF. I had this problem with my daughter too but not as bad and long. I first thought it was is teething and then I thought he was having a growth spurt or something. Which both could have been sometimes. I have read a few things on baby sleeping and talked to my mom and found out that they are just looking to be soothed by their mommy and breastfeeding. I also read that by 6 months or so, babies don't need to eat during the night. First thing to do is feed them more solids and BF during the day and a good BF right before they go to bed, they will be full and won't wake as much. They are making the change to eating more solids and need more because they are growing. My mom also told me that he should be sleeping through the night and to feed him more during the day. She told me to wean him at night and not feed him until the morning. Just don't feed him. Put him back to sleep by other ways but don't breastfeed him. I tried this and it did work. At first he woke a a couple of times in the early part of the night. I put him back to sleep and he slept without wanting to BF until 5am. I have only been doing this for a week and so far it's getting better. I feed him more and more during the day. Healthy Snacks in between his meals like fruit, veggies, cheese, etc. Good Luck Ladies.

Heather - posted on 10/10/2010

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Lydia, thanks for your comment. My baby's problem must be teething too since nothing else is working. She sleeps about 8pm-9am, but wakes a lot during the night, and only takes one nap a day, around 2pm for about 30min-1hr.

Lydia - posted on 10/10/2010

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i feel with you. we have the same story going on here after travelling... waking up like 6-7 times a night. before my daughter used to sleep through the night, sometimes waking up once to drink (when it was hot). now we were down to waking up twice a night and she started teething during the nights... i don't know what to do either... i try to stick to the regular naps/bedtime schedule (she sleeps 8pm until 5:30-6:00, around 9:00am-10:00 first nap, 1:30-3:30 second nap) it helped her get back to her sleeping rhythm after 3 weeks or so, but now because of the teething we are waking up alot. it also doesn't make a difference to her if she's in my bed or in hers, only it's easier for me if she nurses often to have her right next to me.

well, i hope for you that things get better.

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