PLEASE HELP! My 4 month old wont sleep

Lisa - posted on 12/07/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )




My son was sleeping for 5-7 hours a night at 2 months old and now he wont sleep for more than 2hours. He'll be 4 months on Dec 17th and I dont understand how he sleeps worse now than when he was 2 months old. Any surgestions on how to get him to sleep more would be great. Also I went back to work when he was 2.5 months old because my husband is staying home for the year. My son also doesnt really nap nearly enough. If he sleeps for 2 hours in a day we are lucky. PLEASE help my husband and I are exhausted


Renae - posted on 12/07/2010




Your baby's night sleep is disturbed because he is becoming highly overstimulated during the day. Fix the day nap and the night sleeping will take care of itself within 2-3 weeks.

Normally, at 4 months a baby should be awake for NO MORE than 1.5 hours at a time. Being that your baby is already sleep deprived, it is probably more like 45 minutes for him.

Here is some information about tired signs - start looking for these after 40 minutes of him being awake to start with:
The tired signs for newborns which almost all babies do:
• Jerky movements - look for a “hook punch” with a clenched fist
• Pulling at or scratching ears (some babies scratch behind their ear or their head)
• Difficulty focusing, looking “through” you or appearing to stare at nothing (you find yourself trying to figure out what the baby is looking at), some babies even go cross-eyed.
• Fussiness (e.g. when a usually favourite toy only amuses them for a brief moment)
• Difficulty calming down
• Crying when put down or “being clingy”
The tired signs for newborns that some babies do:
• Sucking on hand or fingers for comfort
• A distinct frown that only appears when they are tired
• Clenching fists
• A cry that sounds like a growl
• Arching their back

As soon as you see a tired sign, get him to sleep however you can.

Here is some information for your husband since he is the one home during the day and most men know nothing about awake time for babies (no offence to men sorry!):
Below is the duration a baby should be allowed to stay awake for.

• Birth to 3 weeks: 15 to 30 minutes, never more than 45 minutes.
Baby needs lots of sleep and is usually only awake while feeding.

• 3 to 12 weeks: 30 to 45 minutes, never more than 1 hour.
Baby still needs a lot of sleep with no distinction between day and night.

• 3 to 4 months: 45 minutes, never more than 1.5 hours.

• 4 to 6 months: 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, never more than 2 hours.

• 6 to 9 months: 1 to 2 hours, never more than 3 hours.
Most babies need a very early nap about 45 minutes after they first wake. Missing this nap is often the cause of clinginess, crying or naughty behaviour.

• 9 to 12 months: 2 to 3 hours, never more than 4 hours.

You are welcome to contact me with any questions.

Jessica - posted on 12/08/2010




My daughter did the same exact thing when she was 4 months cause of a growth spurt. Do you feed him right before bed time and when he wakes up in the night? Have you started feeding him rice cereal? When I started feeding my daughter rice cereal once a day and giving her a bottle right before bed she slept longer.

Michelle - posted on 12/07/2010




This could be either a "mental" growth spurt or a "physical" growth spurt. The differance is that a physical spurt involves less sleep more food and mental is less food more sleep to allow the brain to grow and catch up to the body. This could also be a symtom of a Chiari Malformation.

Erin - posted on 12/07/2010




Maybe a growth spurt? How long has the change been going on? To be fair though, lots of babies still only sleep for 2 hours at a time at that age, you were just spoiled to have that break around 2 months. My son is almost 6 months and wakes every 2-3 hours with maybe once a week giving us a 5 hour stretch. My daughter was sleeping 7+ hours a night by 7 weeks so every kid is different. Just remind yourself "this too shall pass".


View replies by

Tanya - posted on 12/09/2010




I went through the same thing with my's normal, just try to hang in there it'll get better

Alison - posted on 12/08/2010




I agree with Renae. Your son should probably take 3 naps a day. And remember, babies are constantly changing so take nothing for granted.

Hayley - posted on 12/08/2010




The best person to ask may be your doctor. He could have an ear infection, it could be a growth spurt. The doctor would know best.

Jennifer - posted on 12/08/2010




Do you have routines around his naptime, bedtime established? Do you still swaddle him? My youngest who is now 7 months old has always been a good sleeper but we have always had a routine with her for example she is now eating baby food so lunch and then nap. At bedtime she often times gets a bath right before, a little baby massage with lotion before putting clean diaper and warm jammies on..She is then relaxed and falls asleep rather quickly. I also tend to rock her a bit before she goes to sleep, do you do that?

Jane - posted on 12/07/2010




I'd go with the growth spurt too...honestly Lisa...these things happen sometimes. You can't MAKE a baby sleep more then he/she will sleep. Have you talked to your pediatrician?

Lisa - posted on 12/07/2010




Its been going on for about 2 weeks now and what worries me is that he dosent nap much during the day

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/07/2010




gee wizz... so sorry. He is going through so many changes right now...a growth spurt could have destroyed his sleep pattern. can do it mum!

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