Baby Hints & Tips

Frequent Waking in Babies

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frequent waking in babies

Community question: Frequent waking in babies

My three month old will only sleep for short bursts during the day, usually about 40 minutes. What can I do to encourage him to sleep longer?

  • This is a sign that he is in need of a bit of gentle sleep training – teaching himself to self settle. A sleep cycle is generally 40 minutes, training bubs to self settle will help him get past the initial sleep cycles and sleep for a couple of hours.
  • My 4 and a half month old dd is EXACTLY the same!
  • My bub does the same thing!
  • This sounds like he has a sleep association which disappears after he falls asleep – it could be things like being put in the cot already asleep, being rocked to sleep, losing a dummy etc. Breaking that sleep association could make a difference.
  • 4 mnths is when they start sleeping in sleep cycles which are 40mins long. He needs to learn to go back to sleep after the first cycle as an average nap should be 2sleep cycles. Try patting him as he reaches the end of the first cycle so he realises that he needs to go back to sleep. Make sure he falls asleep again and whenever he wakes up after that take him out and praise him for going back to sleep!!
  • Ahhh this makes sense. My son is 3 months and sleeps for 40 minutes at a time during the day
  • 4 month sleep regression, its a real thing. Google it
  • My ds did the same thing and nothing i did changed it. At 10 months he figured it out for himself.
  • My 7 month old does this all night every night . If I go down and put his dummy in and pat him on the back usually he’ll go back to sleep but if I leave him to see if he’ll go back to sleep on his own he just cries and cries.  It gets  to the point where us coughing and slurping and need to pick him up he’s that worked up. So tired from it !
  • My dd did did exactly the same, I would try to resettle after 1 sleep cycle (40-45mins) and if she would resettle just feed, play, sleep (continue with routine). I stressed heaps at the time that she would be like that forever and I couldnt/wouldnt try cio or cc and I tried every other technique in the book (pat, white noise, sshh, etc) but trust me when I say they out grow it naturally so don’t stress too much, before you know it they’ll have fewer longer sleeps, mines now has 1 sleep a day 11-1 at 15mths! Good luck xx
  • My dd did this ( still does at timed and is 15 months old). If she wasn’t upset after waking at the first cycle I would just leave her until nap time was over. Eventually she learnt to sleep longer. Would always get her up though if she slept longer then the cycle. It only happened/happens during day.
  • I really dislike sleep training as earlier suggested but sleep training is not recommended to do before 12 months anyways. maybe try asking this question on the Pinky Mckay facebook page. she gives great sleep advice.
  • Sleep training can make it worse. Elizabeth Pantly the no cry sleep solution has great tips and pinky McKay are both very realistic.
  • As others said above, it’s about the time for the sleep cycle to end. It’s pretty normal to wake somewhat at this time, and most bubs will make a few noises, even chat to themselves a bit, maybe a bit of a small whinge. Unless your bubs is reasonably upset, I would try and see if he can get through it on his own. This won’t happen straight away though, it could take him up to 20 mins to fall back asleep but he’ll get better at it and it’s all part of learning to self settle so it’s good to give him the opportunity to do so if you can. My bubs was exactly the same and is a great sleeper these days. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with teaching your child good sleep habits at any age, as long as you are always there to comfort them when they need you 🙂

I’m after some advice on sleeping. My 4 month old has previously been a really good sleeper at night until 3 nights ago. He only used to wake two or three times. Tonight he is waking every 2 hours. Dont know why. Anyone else had this?

  • It could it be the start of teething ?
  • Baby could be going through a growth spurt….
  • Maybe it is teething, growth spurt, wonder week or something else, the solution is offering feeds if he’s hungry, cuddling, and waiting it out as patiently as you can (in your sleep deprived state… I know it sucks, sorry!). If you think it’s teething I can recommend an amber necklace (you can even get bracelets/anklets now to sleep them in if you ?’re comfortable), but otherwise the solution is the same for whatever the problem, so try not to stress too much! It’s hard but go with it, things will be back to normal soon 🙂
  • We are going through something similar with our 6 month old and it is such hard work but changes so quickly…same thing happened with our 2 year old and it was a combination of teething, growth/dev spurt and just being a baby!! Lots of coffees and walks in the sunshine!!
  • Has your baby started solids yet? A child health professional told me people blame night waking on teeth when it is usually more to do with being ready to start solids and bubs waking hungry. My baby started teething at 3 months, solids at 4 months, is now six months and cut first tooth yesterday. She has never woken during the night even when teething and sleeps 7-7 with no night feeds, I think giving solids has a lot to do with that. She also has a teething necklace. Maybe your bub is ready for some food?
  • My dd is 4mths and was doing the exact same, feeding every 2hrs on the breast, was very tiring and draining that’s for sure, I have started to introduce solids to her and she seems to be going longer between feeds at night now, not sure if its helped or she was just having growth spurt but she has settled a bit, still feeding every 2hrs during the day though, but don’t mind if i get sleep at night!
  • Your little one might be teething early. My little guy sleeps great except when he’s teething.
  • Yes my dd was only waking 2 times in 12 hours and the last 3 weeks now wakes every 3 hours. She is 4.5 months. Seems to be quite common and from what I’ve read, a result of lots of developmental milestones happening at this time. We have had 3 weeks of it and I’m just hoping she goes back to what she was doing before. It sucks that’s for sure. Oh and my dd is teething too which is adding to the wakeups. Good luck.
  • Maybe a growth spurt so needs the extra feeds? Or Maybe he’s ready for solids?
  • Maybe not warm enough and may need a sleep feed
  • Could be a wonder week or a growth spurt?
  • Has he had his 4 month needles? My son sleeps like crap for about a week or so after his needles
  • have u tried dream feeding? i did that and my son now sleeps al night and has been doing this for almost the last month although he is only 3 months old

Can anyone help? Our nearly 9 month old keeps waking up constantly through the night. All it takes is a cuddle to settle him but any ideas why he would be doing this?

  • Most likely for the cuddle, it usually only takes a couple of times for the baby to work out the way to get get mum into the room. Hannah
  • I actually read somewhere the other day that at 9 months and 18 months they get alot of separation anxiety which would kind of explain why a cuddle is all it takes to settle him again.. but apparently it only lasts a few weeks. Cassandra
  • My daughter is 9 months too. And the same thing. She did the same thing when she got all four bottom teeth. My guess is its Teething! 🙂 Stacey
  • I agree with Hannah. You may need to just ignore him and he will go back to sleep. I had the sane problem with my daughter when she got sick, she would wake up and I would comfort her back to sleep so then of course she wanted it ever night so I had to do the tough love thing and ignore her and she eventually got back to her normal sleeping pattern. It only took 2 nights.  Carly
  • Maybe you could try wrapping him so he feels comforted. Coralie
  • I let my baby cry, and even though it was hard, after the 3rd night, he was back to normal!!! Mirella
  • Have you tried giving a glowworm or teddy for him to sleep with? Even if you sleep with it one night so it has your scent on it…Then let bubs sleep with it.  He can cuddle it and smell you – hence feeling more secure? 🙂 Tamara
  • It’s a habit and a bit of knowing how to get mummy wrapped around that little finger. Just ignore bub and stay out of the room. You will be able to tell if the cry is different and that means there is something wrong, by 9 months Mum’s know the different cry patterns of their babies!! Susan
  • My tip would be to look at how he falls asleep when he first goes to bed. If he needs cuddles to fall asleep then he may look for them every time he wakes.
  • So if he doesn’t already you could look at teaching him to self settle. Then when he wakes maybe he will self settle himself again. This has been an issue for me and when my daughter self settles she certainly sleeps much better. Good luck. Tanya
  • He has self settled himself to sleep since he was 4 months. When he wakes i put in his dummy and see if he goes back to sleep but he doesn’t so i cuddle him, then he gets restless so i put him back down and he goes to sleep. Hope this makes sense.  Skye
  • Maybe you could start trying to reduce your input. Eg trying to pick up until settles then pop in cot and pat or gently rock in the cot. Then aim not to pick up just pat or rock or shhh or whatever works. Then reduce the patting or whatever down until you are not needed. A fairly slow process, but an alternative to cry it out. Tanya

How have you dealt with frequent waking with your little one? Were you able to overcome it?
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