Waking every hour at night

Claire - posted on 05/02/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 3.5 months old, and for the past 2 weeks, she has been waking every hour at night. Sometimes all she needs is a cuddle in the upright position, but most times i have to breast feed her to get her back to sleep. She sleeps with us in our bed, as she wont sleep on her own. She doesnt sleep much during the day, and usually feeds every 3 hours. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how i can get her to sleep for longer periods?

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Ashley - posted on 05/02/2009

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At 3-4 months babies should only be awake for about 90 minutes at a time, and they should be in bed around 6pm for the night. They need about 4-5 hours of sleep during the day (about 3 naps) which will help them sleep better at night. Make sure you have a bedtime routine, something consistent and in the same order every night. During the day begin your method of putting your baby down and have her where you want her to sleep within 90 minutes of being awake, and have her there by 6pm at night. This will help minimize the night waking as well as help her get enough rest during the day.

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Ashley - posted on 05/09/2009

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My daughter did that too and I thought it could be a number of things, including reflux (still a good idea to mention it to your MD). She is going to scream because she is not used to it and it is her way of dealing with the change. I know I sound crazy and mean but I consulted with an infant sleep doula who did a lot of research on how infant's brains process things. A baby will react this way when something has changed in their routine/environment whatever. It has something to do with the hypothalamus and that is how they process the change, anyway. I know it is hard to listen to them scream but what would happen if you just left her alone for 30 minutes without going in once she has started crying? You know she needs to sleep and by going in every 15 minutes it may be disrupting her and stimulating her even more and making it twice as hard to fall asleep. This is how my daughter was. If I went in before 30 minutes and picked her up, even if she just saw me she would scream even harder and louder. If I left her alone she would stop before that 30 minutes was up. (I think I would have a hard time falling asleep too if someone was coming in to my room every 15 minutes). It takes 3 whole days for a baby to adjust to a change so it won't be a quick fix. And the older they are the louder and longer they scream. And the more tired they are they scream louder and longer too. You can just keep these things in mind if the doctor says she's fine and there is no need to worry about reflux. Again, it's totally up to you what you feel comfortable with. But I was okay with letting my daughter cry because I KNEW she was tired, she was only crying to learn to sleep, she was fed and dry and she would fall asleep within those 30 minutes at the beginning. Each day got a little easier. We still have weeks here and there where her naps aren't the best due to teething, vaccinations, she's learning a new "trick", but for the most part she's a good sleeper. And yes, it does sound easy but it is not. It is hard work, but I found it to be much easier than rocking my baby for 30-40 minutes only to have her scream the minute I set her down. It was too disruptive and stimulating for her. Now we both sleep better. And now she doesn't cry at all. I just hear her squeal at first and then moan for awhile while she's getting comfortable and then she's asleep. So it does get easier. Good luck to you and I hope your baby girl does not have reflux.

Claire - posted on 05/08/2009

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Thanks Ashley for the routine. It sounds easy... but for a baby who screams every time i put her in her cot, i think it may be a bit difficult. I have tried not keeping her awake for longer than 90mins, though she doesnt seem to want to sleep. I put her down in her cot, she plays for 20mins, then screams, so i leave her 15mins, then go in and calm her, then put her back down again. She continues this for 90mins, then falls asleep for about 10mins, then wakes up screaming again. Should i then just leave her to cry for 15mins and see if she goes back to sleep?

I have been researching GORD, a type of reflux, and by the sounds of it, she has it. We have a doctors appointment in a week to see if she does and if anything can be done, as if she does, then that would be what is keeping her from sleeping.

Thanks again for your help, i just hope she takes to it.

Ashley - posted on 05/07/2009

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Hi Claire,
I consulted with an infant sleep doula when my daughter was 10 weeks old and she gave me the best schedule/routine for infants. At 3-4 months they should only be awake for about 75-90 minutes at a time so keep that in mind when you are formulating your schedule. My doula gave me this schedule in case you couldn't find one to suit you on google...it worked wonders for my baby.
6am- wake up (let the baby wake up on her own, but this is a pretty typical time)
6:30am feeding (6-8oz) or 20-30 min BF
7:30am down for Nap #1, must be in their crib for 90 minutes.
10:30am feeding
11:30am down for Nap #2
2:30pm feeding
4pm down for Nap #3. baby should not sleep past 4:45pm (this is a quick cat nap)
5pm bedtime routine begins
bath, pajamas, feeding, bed by 6pm.
A few days of doing this my daughter has been sleeping wonderfully ever since.

Claire - posted on 05/06/2009

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Thanks jennifer for your help. First of all, i dont really have her on a routine. She feeds every 3 hours, and falls asleep about 8pm at night (though only for a hour or 2 before she wakes), though apart from that, no routine. About sleeping during the day, she doesnt sleep much during the day at all. Some days i am lucky if she sleeps for 3 lots of 30mins, other days she can fall asleep for 2 hours in the middle of the day, and sleep for a few 30mins periods also. So there is really no consistency, as she still has the same sleeping pattern at night. At night time though, she does just wake, and her eyes stay closed and she just figgits and whinges for a bit, so she knows the difference between night and day.

For the past 5 days, i have been putting her in her cot, in her room, for her daytime naps, though she usually takes about 30mins to fall asleep (not much crying..she mainly just lays there and crys for the last 5-10mins), and only stays asleep for a max of 30mins. She has still been sleeping in our bed at night. I know i need to get her into her cot at night also, but once she is asleep at night, i dotn want to lay her in her bed, her to wake up, and then have her crying. I feel so bad when she cries and has little tears running down her face... Though by the sounds of it, that is going to be the only way i can get her into her own bed.

I have just started giving her a cuddle rug (thanks to your idea), and that seems to help. She likes holding onto things and also i think she likes it against her cheek. I give this to her during teh day, as i check on her every couple of minutes, but i wouldnt be able to give it to her at night, as i am worried she would pull it over her face. What age was your son when he started sleeping with his lovey?

I am going to go and search google to see if i can find a rough routine for a 4month old, and try and enforce that. I will see how i go. Thanks for your time and help :)

Amy - posted on 05/03/2009

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Make sure your Dr checks her for GERD, non of my kids slept long naps until they started the GERD medicine, they they were napping for hours a time ;)

Jenni - posted on 05/03/2009

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oh man... i know the feeling... i think alot of mom's go through this the first few months... it all depends on what u feel comfortable doing... first of all do u have her on a routine? babies on routines do soooo much better at sleeping... if ur not sure what a routine for a 3-4 month old should be on then u can search google for "4 month old routine" and u should find some samples... it's a lot of work to get them on it (sounds easy in theory, but it's far from it) but u'll ensure she's not getting too much daytime sleep which would keep her up more at night... that's the next possible problem... do u find she sleeps more during the day? if so... she still doesn't understand nightime and daytime... there's an easier solution to this prob... wake her for feeds more often during the day... (it's called "wake to sleep")... even with my son on a routine he was still waking up throughout the nite and had trouble sleeping without me... i tried a few no cry solutions but had no success... by 4 months he was trying to stay awake the whole entire day and was miserable... the only way i could get him to sleep was to nurse him and as soon as i tried to lay him down, within 10 mins he would be up again. i eventually caved in and tried 'ferberizing'. you lay them in their crib/bassinet after a good nursing session (to make sure they're not hungry) and let them cry for 5 mins, then go in and comfort them without picking them up for 1 min... then go back again in 5 mins... and then 10 mins and so on... i personally would never let him go for more than 20 mins and rarely ever had to... it would usually only take 15 and just when i was feeling so guilty about lettting him cry that i was considering getting him... he would be asleep... after a few days the crying was less and less until it just turned into moaning to coax himself into sleep... he's almost 10 months now and an amazing sleeper... he still cries at times when i put him down but for a minute at most and goes to sleep... he also has a lovey... which is one of the most amazing tools for helping babies to sleep and feel safe... it works great when we're not at home and he sleep in grandparents play yard... he buries his face into it and goes right to sleep... try offering her soft things she may attatch herself to... right now, ur her lovey :)

Claire - posted on 05/03/2009

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Thanks ladies, i will give both those suggestions a go. I didnt realise she should be sleeping so much. Will keep you posted. Any more ideas would be great :)

Liza - posted on 05/02/2009

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My son Logan (4.5 months) recently started doing that so I started giving him a blankie to cuddle with. Now when he wakes up I just make sure he has his blankie and he goes right back to sleep.

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