16 weeks old waking up every two hours at night--normal?

Anca - posted on 02/21/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Hi! My daughter is 16 weeks old and she still wakes up every two hours at night, every night. Usually, after 3 or 4 am, she actually wakes up every hour, not every 2, and keeps doing that until the morning at 7 or 8 am.



I read about all these other babies who sleep "through the night", whatever that is defined as sleeping 4 or 5 hours or even longer stretches of sleep at once. To me, it just seems unreal; or surreal.



so, do you think I do something wrong, what advice do you give me? the potential source of problems could be:

1. we are co-sleeping, meaning me, my husband and my daughter all sleep in one bed

2. she is fed exclusively breast milk

3. my husband snores very loudly

4. my daughter suffers from GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease)



In order to remedy the situation, I bought this white noise machine, a very loud one. It seems to help, in the sense that she falls asleep back easier (without me having to sing and rock her for half hour), but she still wakes up every two hours, and toward the morning (after 3-4 am) wakes up about every hour.



What do I do wrong? Is it normal? Is this ok for her? I haven't had a chance to talk to her pediatrician in this much detail about this, I did mention about the sleep issues, but this was about one and a half month ago, and I kept waiting for things to improve. What was normal for a newborn, is no longer appropriate for a 16-weeks old baby, right?



thank you for the help, advice, suggestions, or simply sharing your experience.

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Victoria - posted on 02/22/2009

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My son never seemed to sleep except for when he was in my arms and on the couch.  (I spent the greater part of 4 months sleeping on the couch in a 1/2 sitting up position, with my son in the my arm closest to the back of the couch.)  This was the only way I was able to get 3 to 4 hours of sleep at a time.  I tried everything:  placing him in his crib half asleep to teach him to fall asleep on his own; placing a hot water bottle in his bed to warm it up before he went in; I tried wrapping him in a shirt I had worn for several hours; turning on one of those "heartbeat" sound machines; waiting until he was in a deep sleep (usually 30 minutes) and then putting him in the crib but NOTHING worked and he would wake up the SECOND he touched the mattress.  I even tried the "let him scream himself to sleep" thing but he screamed for over an hour (with a 30 second break every few minutes and did this over several times each day for a few days) until he was hoarse, soaked from head to toe, "beet red" and almost hyperventilating.  I decided that I could not do that to my child and that if it took sleeping close to me for him (and me) to get some sleep, than I would deal with the consequences later.  After that, I brought him into our bed and he would sleep for a few hours at a time. (I think he only had about a dozen 8 hour sleep nights in his whole 1st year!!)   I am proud to say that my son (who is 3 1/2) and I, as well as my husband and my son, have a great relationship and he spent his first "whole night" (10 hours) in his own bed in his own "big boy" room we decorated for him for his 2nd birthday.  He had a few nights where he woke up in the middle of the night and crawled in bed with us (this happened quite often for several months after his sister was born a few months later) but he went back to sleeping in his own bed after that.  He did, and still does, fight it sometimes but I just try to look at these times as MY time with him because I know there will be a time later that he won't want me NEAR him.



In the beginning, it was very hard on me when he wasn't sleeping and I did find myself yelling to my husband to wake up and take a turn just getting him to sleep so that I could sleep and he could then place my son next to me in the bed.



Just make sure that the two of you can make some "quality" time for each other when your child is playing quietly in her playpen or sleeping in the bed next to the two of you.



Just remember that this IS normal, not all babies are the same and that just because you have to put in a "little more effort" in their childcare right now, doesn't mean it will always be like this. 



Also, if your pediatrician/family doctor says it is okay, you may be able to start feeding her infant rice cereal.  This may help, or try supplementing her milk with formula (it took my daughter several attempts over several weeks to get her to take the bottle instead of the breast sometimes, but she did give in eventually.



I hope that this helps and that you now know that you are not alone out there.  I used to ENVY those who had babies who slept "the whole night," but now I look at all the extra time I spent with my child and I think that I'm the LUCKY one, I just didn't know it at the time!!!!!

Victoria - posted on 02/23/2009

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It is NOT good to let your baby sleep on their stomach!!!  I have been told by my ob-gyn, my family doctor and by the health nurse (that visited when I got home from the hospital) that this can increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and even after 1 year old, it can increase the risk of SUDS (Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome, same as SIDS but for older babies).  Same with putting a child to bed with a bottle, not only is it not good for their teeth, it is possible for the baby to choke on their bottle (especially if you THICKEN it with cereal) since they will be drinking it while laying down.

Lisa - posted on 02/22/2009

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hi....16 week is very young...dont listen to other stories or people who say oh yea mine was sleeping through at 2 days!!! lol.....each child is different. i have 3 and my first was sleeping through at 9 week, my second at 4 month but my third only just started at 18 month...i see you breastfeed....i did too with my third and it was not until i stopped that she started to sleep!!! im not saying give up breastfeeding....but i think formula milk just fills their bellies up that little bit more....so if you think you could do this try giving the last feed a formula feed instead of you...i would do it earlier while still so young rather than leaving it because when i tried giving my daughter a bottle at 4 month she would not have it...which is why i ended up feeding her myself until 15 month...i didnt want to, i wanted to stop about 1, but she loved it and it was the only way to get her to sleep, or comfort her....hope any of this helps...if not just think she will eventually sleep through they all do!!! good luck ....

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Claire - posted on 08/26/2012

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Hi I can only say what has worked for me, my little girl is now 4 months old and has been sleeping through since 7 weeks old, she had breast milk only for the first 6 weeks but now has bottle and breast, I found bottle milk kept her full for longer so giving her most of her last feed bottle then topped up by breast helps her sleep for longer, she has been in her own room from 3 weeks and is now in a cot so she has more room and settles so much better on her own, she now sleeps for 12hrs each night,

Hope you find something that helps soon

Cyndy - posted on 02/23/2009

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I have 4 kids, all of them were breastfed for over 15 months and three were fed till they were 2 to 2 1/2 years old. As long as you are breastfeeding they will continue to wake up about every 2 hours.Babies do this because tyhe breast milk is made for them and it is very easily digested. When they go through a growth spurt they will wake up more often until your milk supply adjusts to her need. They will only start sleeping longer when you start giving them more solid food. It is okay to give them water in a bottle so when she wakes up in the early morning try giving her an ounce or two of water to soothe her back to sleep. Don't turn on all of the lights and make a big production when she wakes up during the night. Keep it very quite and peaceful. Don't make it fun for her just do what is needed. You need her to learn that nitetime is sleeptime and that daytime is playtime.

Kim - posted on 02/23/2009

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hi anca, i can completely relate, my daughter also was doing the exact same thing...i researched on the internet, asked many mums for advice etc...my daughter still wakes up every 3-4 hours and on the odd occasion maybe 5...i breastfeed and formula feed as well, she just wasnt getting full on the breastmilk and was constantly feeding from me, i was breastfeeding only at night...i read about filling them up more during the day so they will know daytime is for eating, playing etc and nighttime is for sleeping...it has helped some...bottlefeeding does fill them much more and gives you that extra couple of hours sleep...i have trouble with my daughter waking up and not going back to sleep at night, sometimes she wants to stay up and play for up to 2 hours!! if you decide to stick with only breastfeeding you probably will be on the 2 hour routine for a while..i decided to stop worrying too much about sleep patterns and figure it will sort itself out in time, good luck!

Joy - posted on 02/23/2009

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Quoting Jodi:



DON'T be tempted into solids if she's only 16 weeks; try it if you reach the end of your tether, but if she throws it back up she's not ready. Formula topups at night is the best bet for a bubs so young, but bear in mind it's completely normal for babies to wake several times during the night up to the age of two. It's been proven that self-soothe methods of sleep patterning cause long-term emotional problems, particularly in communication. It doesn't teach a baby how to soothe themselves at all, but that there is no point in letting anyone know there's a problem, as crying is their only method of communication. Do what you feel is comfortable and right for you, but it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job (if tiring), my daughter woke every two hours also and I felt like I was going insane by four months on, two months later however her wakey times reduced to once every three to four hours, then four to five, and now I don't know what to do with the sleep I have so you'll get there, just keep persevering. Try massage with lavendar oil, night time baths, sleeping her in a bouncer so she's at an angle, automated rockers, colic massage, but try to keep overmedication as a last resort. Her wee tummy's still getting used to food! Rest yourself during the day when you can as well to prepare; housework can be for husbands and partners for a while, and remember: you're not doing anything wrong. You're her mum, and you're there for her, and that's what she needs most of all. :)





My baby self settles himself BUT he also does let me know when soemthing is wrong. It is because of the routine i have him on that i know when something is wrong. Because he can get himself back to sleep if I hear him cryng out of the ordinary I can go to him knowing he needs something. Babies who self settle dont cry and scream they simply babble and goo and gaa and are happy to put themselves back to sleep. Obviously if they scream and cry something is up. Babies are much more clever than people take them for. They WILL always let you know when something is wrong and you as a parent should know by their behaviour when they are not well.

Sandra - posted on 02/22/2009

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i would start youre daughter on rice cereal even 2 teaspoons before bedtime. then let her drink from the breast till she is sleeping. my little one didnt sleep through the night i did this for a couple night and now she sleeps amazing.

Vanessa - posted on 02/22/2009

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Hi Anca,



My daughter was exactly the same way.  She is now 21 months old, and while things are MUCH better, she is still not a great sleeper.  We also coslept until she was 14 months old (now she only comes into our bed sometimes in the middle of the night)  Every baby is different, and I basically think that some kids are born sleepers while others are not,.  I think that the GERD is probably affecting her sleep, as well as the fact that she is probably teething.... breastfeeding is not just for food, babies will use it for comfort as well, so she may not be hungry, but have teething pain... I wouldn't suggest the cereal before 6 months - when we started cereal (6 months) it did not make her sleep anylonger ....



There is nothing you are doing wrong.... I think cosleeping is great and the most natural thing in the world to want to be close to your baby, and the same goes for your baby girl, she just wants to be close to you... on the flip side, it is also very hard and draining when your child won't sleep and they are constantly wanting to breastfeed in the middle of the night... all I can say is hang in there, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, for some babies it just takes longer than others.... I think 4 months is a bit young to try any kind of sleep training but I would suggest checking out Dr. Jay Gordon's website - he has some amazing advice on helping the cosleeping, breastfeeding child sleep during the night.....



Good luck!



 

Jodi - posted on 02/22/2009

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DON'T be tempted into solids if she's only 16 weeks; try it if you reach the end of your tether, but if she throws it back up she's not ready. Formula topups at night is the best bet for a bubs so young, but bear in mind it's completely normal for babies to wake several times during the night up to the age of two. It's been proven that self-soothe methods of sleep patterning cause long-term emotional problems, particularly in communication. It doesn't teach a baby how to soothe themselves at all, but that there is no point in letting anyone know there's a problem, as crying is their only method of communication. Do what you feel is comfortable and right for you, but it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job (if tiring), my daughter woke every two hours also and I felt like I was going insane by four months on, two months later however her wakey times reduced to once every three to four hours, then four to five, and now I don't know what to do with the sleep I have so you'll get there, just keep persevering. Try massage with lavendar oil, night time baths, sleeping her in a bouncer so she's at an angle, automated rockers, colic massage, but try to keep overmedication as a last resort. Her wee tummy's still getting used to food! Rest yourself during the day when you can as well to prepare; housework can be for husbands and partners for a while, and remember: you're not doing anything wrong. You're her mum, and you're there for her, and that's what she needs most of all. :)

Mandy - posted on 02/22/2009

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I don't know if it is normal but my son is the same way.  we tried a bottle of formula before bed and started cereal a little earlier than 6 months.  This seemed to help in the respect that I can sometimes get a 3 or 4 hour sleep out of him but than 1 - 2 hours subsequently.....



 



At 4 months he was waking every 1 - 1 1/2 hours to be fed during the night and every 1 1/2 to 2 hours during the day.  I thought he may have reflux but he has never been a baby that spits up but does burp a lot and seems to swallow something after he burps....



 



When you find out let us know...



 



Completely tired,



Mandy

Maria - posted on 02/22/2009

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My son has reflux and still gets up every 3-4 hours at 6 months old. His medication is only one dose, and he takes it int he evening. For the first 2-3 months he was up almost every hour. I had to go back to work at 6 weeks, and I constantly felt like I was barley functioning. I noticed the biggest difference when we movied him to his crib, we have the mattress at an incline (abotu 30 degrees) and roll a blanket under his bottom to help him not slide. He is getting too big to stay in a good position now and we are getting a crib wedge for him (arpillow.com). I'll let you know how that works out. I also started puttign him to bed awake with his musical glow seahorse at abotu 4 months. This way he got used to putting himself to sleep. I can put him straight back to bed after feeding and burping him at 1:00 and 5:00. Too bad i can't go back to bed after that 2nd feeding. :-)

Joy - posted on 02/22/2009

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The co sleeping might be disturbing your little one. I had mine in a bassinet next to me till he was 5 weeks old and then moved him into his cot because our breathing/snoring and getting up for toilet was disturbing him. My son also slept alot better on his tummy, much deeper sleep and for a lot longer. He has just started rolling though and has learnt to sleep on his back. Occasionally we will hear him wake at night but he goes right back to sleep. Trial and error with your baby and you will soon find something that works.

Lillie - posted on 02/22/2009

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Well, i could give u a couple things to try.. Your baby might be teething now. Her gums might be itching her because my son use to sleep all night until 5am after 6weeks but when he reached 12weeks he has been waking up 3-4 times a night. And basically its because he is teething. I give him a tsp of Calpol b4 he goes to sleep so he could be relieved of pain until at least 3am. But i'm not encouraging u to give calpol to her everytime she is like this. Only once if u see she really isn't sleeping. - Also maybe your baby likes to sleep on her stomach.. since Lucas was born he has been sleeping on his stomach, now he is 5 months 2 weeks. - Also.. i dont believe in giving a baby cereal until he/she is 6 months because you're over crowding the little baby's stomach. Giving babies cereal b4 they're 6months makes them fatty. So i've noticed. I'm only being honest with you. Oh yeah and i also have a little lullaby toy i bought that is attach to the crib to help him sleep. It's from fisher price and i think it's called "Rain Forest Lullaby" it plays soft music and also have a little waterfall that glows a blue soft color what relaxes the baby. My son goes to sleep watching and listening to it. Well i hope this information is helpful to u. Good Luck!

Lacey - posted on 02/22/2009

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It may be very well be the reflux but I just found this video on my home page and had to share it with you. It is of a father snoring and his baby sleeping. Watch it.



 

Andrea - posted on 02/21/2009

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I've had 2 reflux babies. It gets worse later in the night. Is she on meds? If so, you might try giving her nighttime dose as close to bedtime as possible so it lasts until morning. You could also have her sleep on an incline- not a pillow obviously, but a crib wedge or the crook of your arm.

I would avoid the cereal. At this age you don't give solids to make them full, just to get them used to eating.

Lacey - posted on 02/21/2009

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Well one thing that you could consider if you haven't is introducing her to cereal. Our son was not sleeping through the night and I started giving him a little bit of cereal at night at four months and he wouldn't wake up near as much at night hungry. Spoon feeding the cereal that is. Everyone has different opinions on when to start the cereal so you have to decide what you think is best for your baby. Another thing that you may want to consider is her not sleeping with you anymore. I think that it will be easier to break that habit at a younger age. You and your husband tossing or turning at night may be waking her. Maybe if you just start out putting the playpen next to your bed and laying her in there for the night to see if she doesn't wake. You may all sleep better if she is not in your bed. She is at the age that she will need to learn to comfort herself some. If you and your husband are right there then she may be less likely to do that.



Remember all babies are different. It doesn't mean that you are doing anything wrong. You just need to figure out what works for you and your baby. I would definitely try something a little different though. James lays down by 9 or 10 every night and sleeps until 6ish. We don't miss those nights up and down.

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