Babies: 3 - 6 Months

My 4 month old still only sleeps 2 hours at a time at night...strange?

From all the posts I've been reading with all these babies STTN or only waking up once, I'm starting to wonder what I'm doing wrong...  L wakes up every 2 hours at night, usually to eat, once in a while he just stirs and cannot get himself back to sleep without me soothing him.  He will go right back to sleep once he's eaten or after just a couple minutes of soothing.  If I leave him on his own when I hear him stir, he will eventually start crying.  I feel he is too young to CIO, so I always go to him.  He will not take a paci, but does sometimes suck on his fingers to self soothe during the day, however he will not do this at night to put himself back to sleep.  

During the day he eats every 2-3 hours typically (demand feeding) and I EBF.  I rarely pump, but when I do after 2 hours I usually get 4oz total.  I'm wondering now if he's eating and waking so often because of there not being enough milk for him to last longer?  When he was 4-6 weeks old he would sleep for up to 5 hours at a time, but that ended too quickly.  He has 3 naps during the day, at least 1 hour each.  Am I doing something wrong that is hampering his ability to STTN or at least sleep for longer stretches?  

Any help would be greatly appreciated! 

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Re: My 4 month old still only sleeps 2 hours at a time at night...strange?

  • is he sleeping in his crib? How's he doing weight-wise? Is he swaddled?

    Have you read any of the sleep books? I learned a lot of great tips from the No-Cry Sleep Solution. It's also helped stretch out her naps a little bit too. 

  • might be the 4 month wakeful all you can do is ride it out kellymom talks more about it though

    http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/4mo-sleep.html 

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  • I don't know if this will ease your fears a little about how much milk he is getting but I pump far less than you, and also ebf every 2-3 hours and DD sttn.  Try not to be too hard on yourself - I doubt you are doing anything wrong.  Some babies are just tougher in this aspect.  I really hope it gets better soon.  Keep up the good work!
  • image MrsFv20:

    is he sleeping in his crib? How's he doing weight-wise? Is he swaddled?

    Have you read any of the sleep books? I learned a lot of great tips from the No-Cry Sleep Solution. It's also helped stretch out her naps a little bit too. 

    He sleeps in his crib, which is in our bedroom.  He is a long and lean baby, I'm not sure where he is in his percentiles (his pedi appt is on Monday).  We weighed him with our Wii 2 weeks ago and he was 13lbs (but who knows how accurate that is), and he measures 24 inches long.  He doesn't look skinny, but he doesn't have huge rolls.  He was 8lb3oz and 20 inches long at birth.

    I am half way through Happy Baby, Healthy Sleep Habits.  I have tried putting him down when he's showing signs of being drowsy, but he just squirms and within 10-15 minutes he will be full out crying.  Perhaps I will try to No-Cry Sleep Solution as well. 

    ETA: We haven't swaddled since he was a couple weeks old.  He cries like crazy when you swaddle him up tight.  When he was that young we did sleep sacks.  He is a hot baby now, so he just wears a sleeper to at night.  Anymore and he gets all sweaty, even with a thin receiving blanket and it's 18-20C in here.

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  • image jkkg317:

    might be the 4 month wakeful all you can do is ride it out kellymom talks more about it though

    http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/4mo-sleep.html 

    Thanks for the link.  He's been like this since about 6 weeks, so I don't think it's the 4 month wakeful period. 

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  • If you find an answer, let me know! My DS has been like this for a while now. He wakes every 2 hours at night, sometimes more. I'm guessing this may be more from his eczema though. He used to sleep 3-4 hours a night, but after his first big breakout at 3 months, he sleeping has been bad. He's starting to get better now, but it's a BIG work in progress. My mom keeps telling me to stop feeding him at night and to just give him water instead of milk. She's annoying with her old-style methods. Thank god she doesn't sleep with me!
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  • My ebf DS only sleeps for 2-3 hour stretches at night. Some times less. I'm a zombie. He will only fall back asleep after nursing and refuses a bottle.

    Sorry I'm no help, but you are not alone.

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  • image jkkg317:

    might be the 4 month wakeful all you can do is ride it out kellymom talks more about it though

    http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/4mo-sleep.html 

    Thank you for this thread! This makes so much sense. Very helpful.

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  • I could have written this.  Went for our 4 month appt yesterday, and Pedi said that his sleep habits sound pretty normal for a breast-fed baby.  All babies are different.  Mine just likes to eat about 2-3 ounces at a time, and eats about every 2 hours.  Around the clock.  Just the way it is, and I won't be letting him cry, because I know he is hungry.  

    Sounds like your LO is the same way, just likes to eat often.  I know it is tough, I'm there with you.  We will get sleep eventually :)  Good luck. 

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  • image jenna214:

    My ebf DS only sleeps for 2-3 hour stretches at night. Some times less. I'm a zombie. He will only fall back asleep after nursing and refuses a bottle.

    Sorry I'm no help, but you are not alone.

    this is pretty much my story as well. 

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  • sorry to keep adding stuff (been a long day, lol) but the other thing that really helped with our LO was adding white noise. We looked at the noise machines but never got around to ordering one, we just put a fan in there. It helps her a lot in terms of continuous sleeping.
  • I could have wrote your original post.   I dont know what to do.  :(
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  • My almost 5 month old sleep on average only 2-3 hours at a time at night.  And when I try to not nurse her in the middle of the night, it just pisses her off more.

    Not everyone has a kid that is STTN already.  You aren't alone. :)

  • My daughter is the same way and has been from day one.  She was a none sleeper since the day we brought her home.  She would only sleep about 8 hrs the entire 24 hr period including naps it was crazy!  It has SLOWLY gotten a little better.  When we go longer then 3 hrs between feedings at night my hubby and I celebrate!  I was very worried about her because all the books say she should be sleeping longer and almost thru the night.  I asked her doc about it a week ago at her 4 month check up, and she said that every baby is diff and waking up like that is what works for her.  She may just need to eat that often.  It made me feel much better.  I did find that if my daughters room got too cold she woke up faster then if I kept it a degree or two warmer. I also switched the nightlight we had in there to be a little dimmer.  Do you use a sound machine?  We found it worked great for her.  Although lately I've been putting it on a timer to switch off after a hour so its quieter in her room and that seems to work now that she's used to sleeping in her room.  Sorry I'm not much help but those are the little things we've tried that have increased from 2 hrs to 3-4 between feedings
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  • Until last weekend, we were in your exact same situation.  DD is now 4 months, 2 wks old and until last weekend, has never slept more than 4 hours at a time (4 hours was rare, though... usually woke up every 2-3 hrs at night).  I EBF at night, and she got pumped bottles during the day.  She has bad reflux and our pedi just suggested that we try her on soy formula with cereal added to every bottle (we were beginning to mix BM and formula towards the end there as I wouldve had to have stopped BF in April anyway for work related reasons).  So the night we started her on the soy + cereal, she slept 5 hours at a time and only woke up ONCE during the night! Since then, she sleeps 4-5 hour stretches and only wakes up once to eat.  I think in our case, it was combination of the the soy formula and the cereal which were makinng her more comfortable and filling her belly up more.  GL to you!
  • I was just about to post the same thing!  Some people say it doesn't work but we did start to add some cereal to her evening bottle and it seemed to help. My daughter also had reflux and we put her on soy and she's on special meds too and it seems to have made a diff also. 
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  • image harleyjo:

    I could have written this.  Went for our 4 month appt yesterday, and Pedi said that his sleep habits sound pretty normal for a breast-fed baby.  All babies are different.  Mine just likes to eat about 2-3 ounces at a time, and eats about every 2 hours.  Around the clock.  Just the way it is, and I won't be letting him cry, because I know he is hungry.  

    Sounds like your LO is the same way, just likes to eat often.  I know it is tough, I'm there with you.  We will get sleep eventually :)  Good luck. 

    This is us exactly as well.

    I know how the OP feels, it's so easy to wonder what's going wrong when you read so many post about the babies who sleep through the night.(and have everyone you talk to IRL tell you about their babies STTN starting at 6 weeks or something) It's hard, really hard after this length of time but my baby is healthy and happy - and I'l have many years of full nights of sleep in my future, just not now.

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  • I'm so glad that I'm not alone.  I guess it's a situation like a PP said where I've never heard of others having the same situation as I and just heard about those who STTN.  I would love it if he slept longer stretches, but I am happy to do what he needs. I just wonder how long it will last, perhaps until we try some solids near 6 months... hmm.
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  • Do you have any idea how much Lo is getting?  Possibly Lo needs more!?  Have you tried doing formula before bed?  I didn't have a great sleeper either (I use formula).  After our 2 month appointment our pedi suggested feeding LO a bit of yellow vegetables everyday.  Since then, we have been getting anywhere between a 5-7 hour stretch (and LO loooovves eating a few bites of veggies).  After our 4 month appointment I will start cereal.  I wouldn't put it in a bottle though.  I will use a spoon.
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  • image shaw:
    Do you have any idea how much Lo is getting?  Possibly Lo needs more!?  Have you tried doing formula before bed?  I didn't have a great sleeper either (I use formula).  After our 2 month appointment our pedi suggested feeding LO a bit of yellow vegetables everyday.  Since then, we have been getting anywhere between a 5-7 hour stretch (and LO loooovves eating a few bites of veggies).  After our 4 month appointment I will start cereal.  I wouldn't put it in a bottle though.  I will use a spoon.

    As a personal choice I decided not to use any formula with Lincoln, and will hopefully be able to BF him until he's ready for cow milk at a year.  Perhaps when he starts some cereal in a couple months it will help his sleep. 

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  • yep same thing here.

    At least for me, at four months I just had hoped it would be better, becasuse how long can you really go without sleep? Dylan goes down pretty early, around 6pm. I nurse him and then offer him 2oz of formula in a bottle to "top" him off. It works, he does a much longer first strech which helps.

    If you don't want to do formula. What about pumping for his last feeding? You could offer him an extra large bottle and see if he would sleep longer.

     

  • image CopperT0p:

    image shaw:
    Do you have any idea how much Lo is getting?  Possibly Lo needs more!?  Have you tried doing formula before bed?  I didn't have a great sleeper either (I use formula).  After our 2 month appointment our pedi suggested feeding LO a bit of yellow vegetables everyday.  Since then, we have been getting anywhere between a 5-7 hour stretch (and LO loooovves eating a few bites of veggies).  After our 4 month appointment I will start cereal.  I wouldn't put it in a bottle though.  I will use a spoon.

    As a personal choice I decided not to use any formula with Lincoln, and will hopefully be able to BF him until he's ready for cow milk at a year.  Perhaps when he starts some cereal in a couple months it will help his sleep. 

    So far not true for us.  lol  We started oatmeal at 4 months and just started some fruits and veggies too.  She still wakes up every 2-3 hours.  I put her down at 7pm and she's always up between 9-10 to eat.  I keep telling myself it's a growth spurt, but this growth spurt has been going on for the longest time!  lol

  • image NorcalLinds:

    yep same thing here.

    At least for me, at four months I just had hoped it would be better, becasuse how long can you really go without sleep? Dylan goes down pretty early, around 6pm. I nurse him and then offer him 2oz of formula in a bottle to "top" him off. It works, he does a much longer first strech which helps.

    If you don't want to do formula. What about pumping for his last feeding? You could offer him an extra large bottle and see if he would sleep longer.

     

    Because he eats every 2 hours during the day, I never pump because I don't get a break and wouldn't have enough there really to make a difference.  I've tried pumping an hour after a feeding and barely got a total of an ounce. 

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  • image CopperT0p:

    ETA: We haven't swaddled since he was a couple weeks old.  He cries like crazy when you swaddle him up tight.  When he was that young we did sleep sacks.  He is a hot baby now, so he just wears a sleeper to at night.  Anymore and he gets all sweaty, even with a thin receiving blanket and it's 18-20C in here.

    Have you tried swaddling since he was a couple weeks? DD "hated" it too, but we re-tried at 3 months and she slept that night for 7 hrs straight and fell asleep on her own. We swaddled from 3-6 months for her.

    Try it again! And try the escape proof "genius" swaddle method, seen in siggy.

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  • According to lactation consultants, doulas and other moms I've spoken to, this is NORMAL!

    DS also eats every ?2.5 hours in the day and wakes to eat at least every 3 hours in the night, not to mention waking for his pacifier a few times a night. All together, he probably wakes up 5-6 times a night.

    He is nearly 5 months old, weighs 19 pounds and while he is breastfed, he also takes formula sometimes, and it doesn't make a difference to the frequency of feedings.

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  • image jenna214:

    My ebf DS only sleeps for 2-3 hour stretches at night. Some times less. I'm a zombie. He will only fall back asleep after nursing and refuses a bottle.

    Sorry I'm no help, but you are not alone.

    This for us too.

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