Author Topic: 4 month old frequent night wakings for over 3 weeks  (Read 927 times)

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Offline jellytot7

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4 month old frequent night wakings for over 3 weeks
« on: January 30, 2016, 08:16:50 am »
Hello

This is my first post and apologies for the length but I am in a downward spiral at the minute and my sleep deprivation is affecting my relationship with both DS and DH. I have followed an EASY routine with my DS from early on and up until Christmas, when he turned 3 months, he was doing so well with only 1 night feed, no DF. He then took a cold and had to be nursed through some nights just to ensure he slept at all. For the past 3-4 weeks I have been trying so hard to get things back on track but he continues to wake at least twice a night on a good night. I have closely monitored his A and S times during the day and have got the first 2 naps sorted to at least 1.5hrs. I think if I get the evening timings right things may improve but there always seems to be too much time from 2nd nap to bedtime. He self soothes, goes normally 4 hours between feeds and generally naps well.

Yesterdays routine went like this:
6:40 awake
E 7:10 (6oz)
A 1hr 40mins - I have discovered this is his optimal time to get a good nap. His cues are not that reliable.
S 8:20 - 10:00
E 10:30 (4.5 oz) Normally this would be 11am but he seemed hungry... obviously not!
A 2hrs
S 12:00 - 13:30
E 2:35 8oz
A 1hr 25mins
S 3:25 - 4:10 - had hoped this would be at least an hour then evening might have made sense.
A 1hr 15mins
S 5:25 - 6:25 - I had to waken him! Maybe he thought he was down for the night as he was sleeping so soundly.
E 6:40 (6oz)
7:15 bath
7:40 in bed
8:10 asleep - normally he wouldn't take this long going to sleep.
10:45 DF (5oz) - I introduced DF a week ago in desperation but not sure he even needs it as his morning feeds have become smaller.

He woke at 2:30, 2:50, 3:00, 4:15 all very brief & just inserted dummy to put over again. I think he then woke at 5:45 happy and didn't go to sleep again. I got him up at 7am.

The night before he only woke twice and was asleep for 7:10 although his naps were all over the place (I took him out to the shops as I was getting cabin fever - not worth it!).

I normally move bedtime depending on his last nap. Is this the right thing to do? He used to wake faithfully at 7:20 but this has also stopped and got earlier - maybe 6:45 if I'm lucky.

I don't even know where to start. Can you see anything that I am doing glaringly wrong? I don't even know where to begin with this. Any words of wisdom would be gratefully appreciated. I want my happy baby and my life back!

Thanks in advance xx

Offline trimbler

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Re: 4 month old frequent night wakings for over 3 weeks
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2016, 20:18:39 pm »
Hi there and welcome to BW forums :) Sorry to hear you're having such rough nights, you must be exhausted! Not sure if this helps you feel better, but you're probably right in the middle of the 4mo sleep regression :-\ it's a tricky time for most of us, and unlike the other SRs you'll go through with your DS, this one is where his sleep changes radically from what it used to be. I don't pretend to understand all the science but one of the classic effects of this is that LOs often find they need whatever circumstances they had at the beginning of their sleep to be recreated whenever they stir, or transition between sleep cycles (which is a partial awakening that adults also experience but don't usually remember, we just turn over and go back to sleep) - so in his case it may well be that if he falls asleep with a dummy at BT, he needs to have that dummy back again in order to transition between sleep cycles during the night. Do you feel this could be happening? There are two main approaches to dealing with this - one would be to continue doing what you're doing, reinserting the dummy when needed, and in the meantime trying to teach him to reinsert it himself, although he's probably still a bit young for that. The other would be to wean from the dummy, using shh pat and/or PUPD. Are you familiar with these methods from the BW books? There are good reasons for keeping a dummy so please don't feel I'm pushing you towards weaning it, it's probably something you'll want to discuss with your DH anyway.

In any case it may be that we'll be able to see an improvement in night sleep without having to wean the dummy, so we could start by looking at your routine and seeing if there are any tweaks that could be made...

Can I ask how many feeds he's having at night now? I couldn't work out whether it was just the dream feed or more? Do you always get him up at 7am no matter when he wakes? Or was it just that particular day?

I always moved BT depending on naps, sometimes not just on the last nap but also considering the day as a whole. Other parents prefer to keep BT fixed - I just knew if I pushed too hard after short naps then we'd end up with OT, so I always did as you do and move it about, but I liked to keep the 'WU' time consistent, even if that meant waking a sleeping baby or letting a happy, awake baby chatter to his/herself until it's time to get up.

Looking at your routine I think you've both done really well with those first two naps :) You'll want to push out that first one at some point, but I know mine both preferred shorter first A times so I'll happily believe that yours does too :) Your comment about cues being unreliable is actually pretty common by this age, most of us find that A times are a better guide by now.

I did wonder why the third A time was only 1h25mins, does he seem especially tired by that time? I'd actually be thinking about stretching that one longer in hope of getting a longer third nap. Some LOs at this age manage 2x 2h naps plus a CN, but if yours are more like 1.5h then you may well still need three decent length naps to get to BT without getting OT.

You're probably right about him thinking the fourth nap was his night's sleep - which is likely why he had to be woken and then struggled going down again. That night was then quite short overall, with the EW - that suggests OT to me. Can I suggest that if the third nap is short, you either try EBT (ie BT 11-11.5h after morning WU, or the time you got him up in the morning) or go for a really short CN, say between 10-30mins, and then pretty much straight into BT routine after that - well, depending on how long your BT routine takes - you could aim for sleep around 1h after a 10min nap or 1.5h after a 30min nap, for example - you'll find what your LO needs, they're all a bit different as you know :-*

On a different note, are you able to work out ways of sharing the load with DH? Could he take on a night over the weekend for example, or help you have a lie in or early bedtime yourself? It's so hard functioning on little sleep, I'm terrible at it :P so I get what you're saying about it affecting your relationships (((hugs))) Remember, this phase is hard but it will pass, and in the meantime please try and be kind to yourself and get any rest you can - perhaps a nap during the day if you can?



Offline jellytot7

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Re: 4 month old frequent night wakings for over 3 weeks
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2016, 09:17:06 am »
Hi trimbler

Thanks so much for your detailed reply. It is so comforting just to get some objective advice. I am horrible without sleep! DH & I got a night off on Saturday - DS went to MIL. It has revitalised me for now!

I had considered that it was sleep regression but he only turned 4 mths on 24th and I didn't think it should last for so long. I have also considered the dummy as a prop but he generally only uses it during wind down then spits it out in the cot and plays with the silky until asleep.

Your question about feeds at night made me think last night when he woke at 3am and was unsettled for an hour. I gave him 3 oz and he was asleep within 15mins so perhaps he is hungry and the dummy calms him enough to fall over asleep a little?? I never considered this as he is normally inconsolable if you let him get hungry during the day. I normally only give him a DF but last night he woke crying at 11pm so it wasn't technically a DF and took 8oz. He was a very hungry boy yesterday draining all 8 oz bottles but for 2 where he took 6oz. I'm currently stoking up on frozen weaning food as I think I might be nearing this time.

I would normally let him stay in his cot until 7 if he is happy but if not I'd get him up earlier and feed him. If he sleeps on I would only leave him until 7:30 but this hasn't happened in a long time - except of course he slept to 8:40 for MIL!! Thanks for info on BT. I will continue to move as I think needs be.

Now that I am looking at that third A time... I have no reason why it was so short other than I wasn't thinking by this stage! 3 decent naps may be what is needed looking at that - thanks! I will look more carefully at that third nap and consider EBT as you suggest.

Thanks again for your time and input! It has given me some renewed energy.


Offline trimbler

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Re: 4 month old frequent night wakings for over 3 weeks
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2016, 23:18:16 pm »
So glad to hear you've had some rest :) I don't think the dummy should be an issue then, if he's not actually falling asleep with it in - perhaps you could try resettling in the night using the silky (is that a comfort item?) instead, or shh pat, or whatever form of soothing works for him. Just so that he's not coming to expect the dummy (ie help from you) when he wakes?

You may well be right about the hunger waking him - there is also usually a growth spurt at 4mo, so hopefully that won't last too long. Don't reach for the solids just yet unless you've discussed with your medical professional - it's not usually recommended before 6mo so do seek advice on that. As my doctor said, the milk is actually richer in calories, so focus on the milk intake for now.