Any suggestions for hourly wake-ups??

Katherine - posted on 09/13/2012 ( 25 moms have responded )




Hi Ladies. I am a Mom to and 8.5 month old baby boy who is very precious and lovely but is making motherhood seem like the hardest thing I have ever done and I have never doubted myself as much as I have since he was born. I am a pretty competent individual having worked in the film industry for 10 years (read crazy hours, little sleep and lots of pressure), organized my own wedding, been a teacher and home birthed a baby. Yet this all pales in comparison to how hard I am finding this. He was never a great sleeper from the beginning and I used to walk around the complex at all hours to get him to sleep. He then started sleeping in stretches of 4.5 hours and I thought woohoo, we are on to something!! Alas-we were not. He then decided to start waking hourly and thats when the fun began. :( I have been to the homeopath for sleep drops, fed him more solids, held him (aware baby style), breastfed him at night, been for body stress release and nothing has helped. We co-sleep and he still breastfeeds in the day. He has never taken a dummy and I don't want to have to try sleep training (not willing to do it if its not guaranteed. actually its probably not an option). Please tell me that someone else is/ has gone through this and if there were any solutions. Oh-also tried magnesium to help him relax and massage after bath time. Someone suggested iron-which I will try tonight. I am just having the life sucked out of me and Its no fun. (believe it or not I actually liked life BC!!) HELP!! :)


Belinda - posted on 09/13/2012




Firstly, are you putting him to sleep still? whether rocking, singing, nursing, holding? The fact is that until your baby is able to fall asleep on his own and is not nursing at night he will continue to wake up and need you to put him back to sleep the same way he initially fell asleep. Falling asleep is a learned skill, it is not an inborn knowledge, especially when you have been doing all the work for him. No matter what supplements you give him, or calming routines you offer, he will keep waking up if he needs you to get him back to sleep. Oh also if he is a fairly alert baby? Consider that some children do not do well with co-sleeping, they are easily disturbed and distracted by sounds from the family bed and rouse easily thus not sleeping well.

Any retraining will bring about crying at this point. It is his ONLY way of communicating and he will be frustrated that he has to do all the work now. But once he becomes used to this he won't care. However and this is a big however. You have to be comfortable with whatever choice you choose, because if you are not convinced that you are comfortable with the method you choose you will be inconsistent and your poor son will be so confused! Sleep training does not need to be purely cry it out, but if you choose to do this there WILL be some crying. You just don't have to leave him alone to cry. Google: the sleep lady shuffle for example.

Leisa - posted on 09/15/2012




I would let your cry it out or "ferberizing" as many moms have suggested here. I did it with both children, now 9 and 11 and it worked wonders! No long term effects or problems which some people fear. There is a great book by Richard Ferber that has step by step instructions on the method. My son was a horrible sleeper and I followed this method verbatim. Within two nights -sleep! It's harder on the mother than the child. Trust me it works!

Minet - posted on 09/14/2012




First, let me tell you that whatever you decide to do, it is the right thing. You are a great mom - I'm basing this on the simple fact that you are reaching out and sacrificing your own comfort for your son to be comfortable.

Second, relax. You know you've tried everything else. You are doing what you need to do to make your and his life better and more comfortable.

I'm not sure if you're still breastfeeding but you are still co-sleeping and that may be the issue. I'm all for breastfeeding and co-sleeping but not to the detriment of your sanity. A mom is no good to her children if she's stressed out all the time. Your child may be picking up on your vibes. I know it's hard to hear this, but it may be time for you to put your son in his own crib in his own room.

I don't know what sleep training is and if this is it, I apologize in advance for wasting your time. My pediatrician suggested this when I was having issues getting my son to sleep.

Develop a bedtime routine, i.e. bath, massage, reading and rocking. Then put him in his crib and let him cry. In 5 minutes, poke your head in (not your body) just to make sure he's not stuck or in danger then promptly leave the room. This time let 10 minutes pass before you check on him again. If he's still not in any danger, then let 15 minutes pass, then 20 minutes, then 25 minutes, then 30 minutes. At this time, if he has cried the entire time, he will have cried for an hour and 45 minutes and you're allowed to pick him up. It sounds horrible and the first time I tried it it almost broke my heart but at the 20 minute mark my son finally fell asleep. The next night, it was at the 10 minute mark. After that, it was almost no crying at all.

This is teaching him to self-sooth. Once he learns that, your life (and nights) will become easier. While it's happening, grab a glass of wine and settle in for the long haul. It will get better. If it doesn't, then a trip to the pediatrician may be in order. There may be another issue.

Whatever you decide to do, please take care of yourself. You are no good to him as a zombie. You need to get sleep so you can be the best mom you can be.

Good luck.

Shelly - posted on 09/14/2012




My son was like that until he was about 1-1/2 or so. I was so thoroughly sleep-exhausted, I barely remember anything about his first year of life. Eventually we did the "cry yourself out" routine. I went about it a bit gentler than some methods, in that I would let him fuss for 5-10 minutes, then go to him, talk to him and reassure him, but not pick him up. It took 3-4 nights, but ever since he was a great sleeper. I just wish I had done it a lot earlier. You might think it harsh, but just think of how much of a better mom you will be when you are not constantly exhausted. So really, you are doing him a favour in the long run. The other thing you can do to help him learn to sleep on his own is to put him down for naps while he still awake. Wait till he is really sleepy, then lay him down, perhaps stay with him a bit at first, but then let him go to sleep on his own. This will teach him to put himself to sleep instead of relying on you to calm him.

Aimee - posted on 09/14/2012




Hi my name is aimee and I have a son that was the very same it was a nightmare. He never slept until I stopped breast feeding and put him in his own room. When he was in with us he woke every 30 mins. As soon as we put him in his own room and let him self soothe(this nearly broke my heart) he slept for 6 hours I know it still wasn't a full night but it was so much better.... He is now nearly 3 and he goes to bed at half 8 and wakes between half 7 and half 8


View replies by

Rachel - posted on 09/25/2012




My son is an atrocious sleeper, but we found we were waking him when we went to bed, and things were a little easier when he went into his own room... don't worry you wake at the smallest squawk (believe me) ... We then realised part of his waking is change in temperature in his room and he was getting cold in the middle of the night so he is now put in a sleep sac each night. We have also realised our neighbours wake him when they go to be and wake in the early hours. We are gradually working out the causes of the night wakings, we are gradually working on solutions. Good Luck.

Carly - posted on 09/22/2012




Is he hungry? That is my first question.

My first born (Curtis) I found wasn't eating enough during the day, but I also had to do some controlled crying (or whatever they have changed it to now). But also liked to play around at night sometimes. Second child is a dream :-) lucky me...

What worked for me and was advice from someone who went to sleep school was this...

Night time routine good night etc.

Baby cries - go in pick up give a hug and lie back down

Baby cries - go back in at 2 mins shush blanket back over

Baby cries - Go back in at 4 mins dont say anything

Baby cries - Go back in at 6 mins dont say anything

Baby cries - Go back in at 8 mins dont say anything

Baby cries - Go back in at 10 mins dont say anything

He only got to 10 once or twice. They also say it takes 3 nights and for me this was true, by night 3 not much, my sister used this same method also. Sadly with Curtis I had to do controlled crying a little bit, for some reason he would do really well for a month or so and then start waking up again so I probably had to do it a few times.

I dont believe it harms a child, I think it teaches them good sleeping habits for self settling in the end. Curtis is now 4 years old and has slept through the night since 12-14 months old before that it was a little broken as I stated above.

Happy Controlled Crying

Anna - posted on 09/18/2012




I never sleep trained as I'm very much against CIO. BTW, Dr. Farber has been on the news lately and is claiming that he will be revising his sleep training book based on new research which shows CIO negatively impacts babies. Unfortunately, I went through the same thing and all I can say is I co-slept and nursed back to sleep, which is what helped me survive through it. It will get easier and easier. This is likely just a phase due to developmental milestone or teething. My son is 2.5 yrs old. We still co-sleep and nurse at night. I'm in the process of trying to teach him to fall asleep without the breast at bedtime by using other soothing techniques like holding him and telling him stories. But an 8 month old not sure if that will work with. I tried it back then, wasn't working. Trust me, when your child will be 2.5, you'll forget what you're going through just like you forgot the pains of labor. Good luck.

Miriam - posted on 09/17/2012




sorry to hear that but you will survive!! I have 20 month old twins who still do that (TWO OF THEM!!) have never slept a whole night in their life up multiple times at night EACH. and I like you refuse to let them CIO. so I guess you just wait till they grow more (2 3 years) and you can talk to them and use incentives.. my boys understand and talk a lot now, so I usually come in and tell them go to sleep mommy's tired, sometimes they do sometimes they tell me mahk (milk) or pepi (pacy) but they just want me and yes milk a couple times at night, they eat well and drink well through the day, but its a habit....

User - posted on 09/15/2012




one mom suggested honey. Fyi honey is not recommended before age of one because it can contain small amounts of botulism in it.

Tama - posted on 09/15/2012




My second daughter who's now 4 NEVER slept as a baby, she didn't nap in the day from 1 year old and was breast fed until she was 2. We didnt have a room for her until we moved when she was two and a half so she shared our room with her bed next to ours but she always ended up in ours. We didn't want to let her cry as I tried once when she was 1 and she got into such a state I knew it was not right for her. I'm afraid some kids take longer in learning to relax and go to sleep and to also stay asleep. My daughter got better at going off as she grew out of toddler but still had interrupted sleep throughout the night, I'd have to compfort her and reassure her several times a night. It was only when she started nursery at 3 and had her own room that she began to improve but now she's perfect, she loves her sleep. She goes off in 5 mins from her head touching the pillow and sleeps 13-14 hours. She's always been a very active child, really full on. My other 3 children sleep and have always slept really well, my youngest is only 4 weeks but he's showing signs of being a sleeper. I would just go with it, it will change as babies change their pattern from one month to the next. My lack of sleep lasted 4 years and I got used to it but I'd say my daughter was an extreme case and I was not up for any of these methods to "make her sleep". Just cuddles, reassurance and lots and lots of patience. Good luck!

Kim - posted on 09/15/2012




The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley is a great book . My son 7 mo old and nurses. When he wakes I nurse and pat his bum. If he's uncomfortable he fusses. Usually just laying him on my chest and patting him puts him back to sleep. I personally could never do CIO method. If that's the way you feel you need to go, try the book I mentioned. It's a great alternative to CIO... I used it with my first son and it was a great help! Good luck....

Pamela - posted on 09/14/2012




Newborns are VERY sensitive to their environments. It could be that he is reacting to your stress and that it is not his own energy imbalance, but yours.

You say you co-sleep. Try putting him in his own space. I do not know if they still have bouncinettes. They were originally from Australia and were webbing material stretched across a frame that allow air to circulate around the baby and the frame was built so that you could gentle bounce the baby using your foot. My children loved them. Once the baby has fallen asleep you can transfer him to his own sleeping space.

I also always used a rocker to put my children to sleep when they didn't go down easily. Rocking and breastfeeding at the same time does wonders. I breastfed at day and night. Not sure why you are not breastfeeding at night as well.

You may also try Bach Flower Remedy....Rescue Remedy which is basically to soothe stress and only takes a drop on the baby's tongue. You can get the Bach Remedies at a health food store. You can also try peppermint or chamomile tea with a drop or two of honey after the bath and massage.

I really do feel that he may now be reacting to your stress from the problem, compounding it all! The highest and best to you as you try the remedies suggested from concerned and loving moms!

Niki - posted on 09/14/2012




I don't have any earth shattering thoughts for you. I went through this with my first child. Co-slept, she figured out how to nurse without help (while co-sleeping). The child never learned to sleep through the night one her own till she was nine.. This is the why part you may want to consider.. She has some significant sensory integration issues, read up on it - its worth your time. It would NOT have mattered what I did, and I tried several different things, she needed some sensory feedback she was not getting,. She could not self soothe, and I felt like you. My girl needed pressure from a heavy, but not too hot and not too heavy blanket. We found the right one at age nine. I hope you get sleep soon:)

Sally - posted on 09/14/2012




Can you sleep while he nurses? If I had to be awake every time my almost 3 year old nursed at night, I would have died a couple years ago.

Aimee - posted on 09/14/2012




My son did that for a while what I found out was he was cold. Try putting him in two sleepers so when the covers comes off him he still has warmth. I can understand not wanting to do the sleep training .... hardest thing I have ever done but it worked. When he would wake up I would wait 15 minutes before going into get him. He needed to learn how to self sooth. I know a couple of people who have hired a sleep doula ... she came in told them the best way to set up the room for sleeping and when the baby would awake at night she took care of it. It would be something to look into for sure. Good luck!

Elfrieda - posted on 09/14/2012




I totally agree with Belinda. It sounds like he's waking up every sleep cycle and can't get himself back to sleep, which is horrible for you and for him. One bad thing is that once a baby is overtired, it's much harder for them to sleep properly, so you get into a vicious cycle of not enough sleep.

My son would stay asleep for hours after I finally got him to sleep at night, but he didn't nap much and we had to jump through all kinds of hoops to make him sleep. (one month the only thing that worked was jumping up and down for 35 minutes with him in my arms, the next month that didn't work, but going for a walk down a gravel road - not asphalt! - was the only thing that worked, the next month he could fall asleep while eating, then the next month it was something else)

When you're this tired, you absolutely do not want to try anything unless you're sure it will work, so I totally understand you there! What we did was (at 8 months old) add something to help train him that didn't make it harder on us. So usually one of us would spend about 2 hours putting him to sleep. Our change was that we started a bedtime schedule (7:30 pm) and a routine that we wished would work. (pjs, story, bottle, songs, goodnight) So far it wasn't any harder. Then we'd put him down in his crib, leave and set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes. He cried and carried on, but as emotionally draining as that was, it was also a bit of a refreshing break from being in the room holding him while he cried and carried on. Again, not any harder. Then we'd go back in and do whatever monkey dance he required to fall asleep that night and it was easier to be patient with him because of that 15 minute break.

This is a very gradual method of sleep training, but it worked without any extra effort on our parts except to come up with the plan. By the time he was 10 months old, he would fall asleep often without even crying (usually he would cry from the time I walked away from the crib until I had gotten to the foot of the stairs, about 60 seconds, just out of disappointment that the day was over), and almost always before the 15 minute timer went off.

That probably won't work for you, but if you come up with a strategy that might help your son get better sleep habits that doesn't put a lot of extra stress on you, you'll be able to do it even with how tired you are and even if you don't see results right away. Anything to help him learn to sleep will benefit him, I'm sure. My son basically had a personality shift when he started getting enough sleep. (for the better!) Well, so did I. :)

Maya - posted on 09/13/2012




I agree it sounds like teething.

I co-sleep and breast feed on demand, so the nights he wakes up more often, I prop myself up slightly on my pillows, latch him, then lie back and relax. I usually wake up 2 hours later, with baby sound asleep on my chest.

So, all in all I don't loose too much sleep if we have as much as four or 5 wakings in the night on a difficult night, when he's having a bad spell.

I work full time, so no day sleeps to catch up for me! I do go to bed early though.

Just remember, when you wake in the night, no eye-contact, no getting up, no walking/rocking, no lights on, no iPad!! At most, if he's squirming around, I pat his bum a little while he's feeding.

If yours is used to you getting up and walking, you might need to lie there, and let him cry in your arms for a bit. Try to relax, telling yourself they're perfectly safe, and once it's over, they'll literally pass out, and sleep like a log.

Dove - posted on 09/13/2012




Personally speaking I'd just nurse him back to sleep. I wouldn't sleep train at 8.5 months, but, of course, I'm quite anti-CIO. ;) And yes, I'm aware how tiring it is. My son was up 1-5 times a night every night until he was gently night weaned at 2. We've had no middle of the night sleep issues since (except for the occasional bad dream, illness, etc...) and it's been 2.5 years of great night sleep.

What you do or do not try is entirely up to you though! Good luck!

Amy - posted on 09/13/2012




Yeah I went through this when my daughter was about the same age, only she woke up as frequently as every 20-30 minutes at night. We did not co-sleep at that age but she was breastfed on demand. The reason she woke so frequently was because she was teething and and was waking up because of the pain and discomfort. There were nights that tyelenol helped for the first few hours but then she would wake up every 30-40 minutes the rest of the night, some nights I would just hold her all night because that's the only way she would sleep. Every time her tooth came through she went back to her regular sleep patterns but it was 2-3 weeks each time she was teething.

Ella - posted on 09/13/2012




Babies r a little like dogs lol they have t be learned or taught how to do us thing,sleep is the same ur child needs to learn to get him self to sleep,if u don't fancy the harsh cry it out root which I didn't then try this let him cry for 1 minute go in rub his bak or put covers on him,walk out then leave for 2mins go bak in n do the same as befor each time he cries leave it an extra minute but go no longer than say 6mins as. Ur limit heathen learns u will cum just not straight away trust me it really works x

Vicki - posted on 09/13/2012




I agree with Bobbie. I had to let my son cry it out. I kept going in his room everytime he cried and he continuted to wake in the middle of the night until he was 1yrs old! I had to do something. It took 3 days of crying and me too, but he started sleeping all night after that.

Good luck Katherine

Bobbie - posted on 09/13/2012




He is old enough now to self sooth. I may sound harsh but it isn't. Considering the poor little guy is probably just a worn out as you are. Here is my story.

I had a baby boy age 7 months who had a young mother trying to go to school and work nights as well. His Aunt kept him for her at night for a while but he too didn't sleep deeply. I tried to work with him and thought it was sleep scheduling and getting use to being up at odd hours, not so, he just woke himself up at his own times and immediately demanded stimulation, which of course got him really awake, over tired, and the then the cycle would begin all over.

I waited until he was comfortable with me and my home so he knew he was safe. Then I simply made sure all his needs were met, that he was in a safe warm dark room without need of covers, in a one piece sleeper and nothing in the crib. I placed him in while awake so he didn't wake up startled that I was no longer there but rather saw a smile on my face and heard a calm voice say nite nite as I laid him down and left the room. I didn't shut the door and I didn't go into him at all. He was a mess that first night. Cried for a while, feel to sleep then woke to cry again and demand in a screaming cry that he get attention. He then would scream, cry out, sleep for an hour or so and wake back up. I let him go through all of this without going in to see him at all. Now, before you get upset and say no way, I had seen it done on tv by a pediatrician. He stated that habits by the exhausted parents had unknowingly brought it to this nightly fight. Sometimes the boy age 1 screamed and cried for hours on end only to have his mother go in and get him. The pediatrician said that the mother had unknowingly taught him that he could out last her and if he didn't give up he could get his mom to sooth him and rock him for hours. What the pediatrician said is that mothers who haven't tried the cry it out method at all will have better luck and a much shorter time of crying from their child IF They allow the child to settle himself down and exhaust himself from crying. What it does is it teaches the child to sooth himself and accept his surroundings as peaceful and calm. Now this mother on the tv program was out of her mind with worry about her son even though they had a camera in his room showing he was okay. They had to talk her out of going to him more than once. But the end result for that child was 6 hours of crying. His mother had always gone to him after he cried for an hour at first then longer and longer until he was conditioned to scream louder and longer to get her to come. A normal first night won't be anything like that. But this woman was so ready to give up the next night and cried to her husband saying she just couldn't put her baby through another night of crying .The peditrican had her repeat the same calm "nite nite" and kiss and leave the room. Low and behold the camera showed the little one whimper, look around the room, see his same surroundings and lay down and go to sleep without crying. Your child will do the same thing without a dummy or night lights or toys in the crib or anything around him to distract him from falling to sleep.

If you decide to try this know that you must be in it for the night. Not to go to him what so ever until the morning. He will wake up many times throughout the night and without you coming to him he will learn to self sooth, that he is okay and will get himself back to sleep. In nights to come when he is awaken for any reason his mind will not request stimulation to sooth him, rather his eyes will adjust to the dark room, he will know it is still sleep time and he will fall back to sleep faster and faster as he soothes himself faster into falling back to sleep. Expect this to exhaust you both, but that isn't anything that you don't already endure and without any good results. Simply prepare yourself to do the right thing by him if you want to try this and don't torture him by peeking in, walking by or going in to touch him or even look at him. He will be on high alert that night and needs to feel safe and comfortable in his crib for his own sake. Once you place him in his bed it is time stop co sleeping, it apparently isn't working for either of you and doesn't bring any peaceful nights.

By the way. My son's girlfriend has a son age 2 who always slept with his mother when with her and his dad when with him. He refused to take naps and cried and woke all through the night. My son put his foot down in his girlfriend getting up to sooth him. At first he went to him and just said lay down because he was in a new home. That boy now is amazing! He is still 2. You tell him it is nap time and he blows you kisses and goes to his room willingly, climbs into his bed and sips water from a sippy cup and dozes off. Same thing at night, no getting up, no fears, no worries. He loves his room now. HE CONCURRED HIS OWN FEARS AND LEARNED TO SOOTH HIMSELF.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms