25 answers

14 Week Old Hard to Get down and Stay Asleep at Night

My 14 week old is hard to get to sleep and stay asleep at night. She usually wakes form her afternoon nap at 4:30 and we try to put her to bed early (6:30 - 7) and she does go down. But once she is asleep she wakes every half hour and we have to repeat the soothing process of rocking, etc. She is swaddled and sleeping in her crib with some white noise and we do have a bath, feeding routine in place. When she finally goes down at 10/10:30 and she only sleeps 3 hours, waking at 1 and 5am.

A few weeks ago she had been sleeping 9-4am, so we are very tired and upset, especially now that I go back to work next week. I feel bad since I know my little one is tired.

Any advice is appreciated!

B.

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Featured Answers

Read Dr. Marc Weissbluth's book or call him at ###-###-####. If you do, you will all sleep and you will have a healthy, happy baby!!!! Good luck, M.

I agree that you might be taking too long to put her into bed. We also used Health Sleep Habits and it is very useful. I would also suggest pushing her last feeding closer to her bed time. One other thing, if you are comfortable with it, is letting her fuss for a few minutes when you first put her down. You know she is safe in her bed, and she will start to learn self soothing. That can be very important, especially in the middle of the night when she is awake, but not needing to eat. Good luck.

M.

More Answers

lots of folks have mentioned "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth, and I think the book would be invaluable for you. It sounds to me like she is way overtired by the time she goes to bed (overtired infants have chemicals that are keeping them up, which makes it harder to get into a deep good sleep). The basics from his book suggest that a bedtime routine should be roughly 20 minutes, so the hour process is too long and engaging for her. It's too much activity for nighttime, it needs to be kept more chill and brief. In another book, The Baby Whisperer wrote about a simple schedule of Eat, Activity, Sleep, which also coincides with Weisbluth's opinion that babies should be put down ready for sleep but not actually asleep yet. When you rock or feed a baby to sleep, they are not learning how to lull/soothe themselves and will become dependent on your rocking/feeding every time they wake even a little. So feed her, then give her a bath, snuggle and rock until drowsy, then put her down.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Babies that young take a little while to get into a routine. It sounds like you are doing such a wonderful job setting and keeping one that works for you and your family. Try to move her bedtime to about 7:30 or 8pm and everytime you go in from that point after, try to rock her less and less until you are not taking her out but just putting a hand to soothe her while shes still in her crib.
Dont get too upset if she has good sleep nights followed by some interrupted ones. Soon, if you keep sticking to your "guns", you will find that there will be more sleep filled ones to come than not. And understand this, we have all been there and know how difficult it is to be a first time Mom. If you believe in yourself you will get through this I promise!

It sounds like she doesn't know how to fall back asleep upon waking up. Believe it or not, it's a skill that babies need to learn. It's important for them to realize that once they wake up in the middle of the night, it doesn't mean it's time to get up--they have to learn that they can simply put their head back down and go back to sleep. For them to do this w/o prompting, they must be able to recreate their sleeping situation by themselves. If you are picking her up and rocking her during this time, she thinks that is normal and is what is supposed to happen when she wakes up at night. Instead of picking her up, go in and pat her back or bottom and say ssssshhhh until she settles down. Everytime she starts to fuss, do it again and then stop immediately when she quiets down. Repeat this until she stays quiet and settles back down. Very soon you'll notice her going back to sleep on her own. Also, I don't know if you're running in there every time as soon as she is awake or not. If so, try waiting and letting her fuss for 5-10 min before going in and see if she calms herself back to sleep. If you can tell she is just getting herself more worked up, I'd go in and start patting and sssshhhing. Once I started doing this my baby became a much better sleeper. Blessings!

I am sure everyone will recommend the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby" by Dr. Mark Weisblut because it is fabulous. Falling asleep is a learned process and children often take a while to learn it. your baby is still quiet young. By about 4 months old a baby should be able to sleep through the night and not need any feeding during the night. I think the advice in Weisblut's book is make sure your baby is getting enough naps, once 90 mins awake or even an hour has passed look for the signs of tiredness and the moment you see them, get baby to go to sleep. Sleep begets sleep. So having baby well rested helps baby stay well rested. At 14 weeks, baby might be able to go from 10pm to 5 or 6pm if you feed baby at 10pm. If baby wakes, probably after about 3 hours as we have 3 hour sleep cycles, see if you leave baby for a little while if he /she can fall back to sleep. If you go in each time, then you are in some ways disrupting the babies attempts to fall to sleep on his own. Good luck. Working on it now is well worth it as some people who always take baby into their bed and don't let them cry at all often have years of problems, which isn't good for anyone's health.
It will get better - around 8-16 weeks can be really hard.

I also used Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child as a resource book for all three of my kids. My first was a difficult sleeper until I was recommended this book, it saved my sanity!

While early bedtimes are great, her afternoon nap seems late for a 6:30 bedtime. I have an 8 month old. He wakes around 6:30, back to sleep around 8:30, sleeps for an hour and a half or so. Then up until 1 or 1:30, back to sleep until 2:30 or 3. Bedtime is between 6:30 and 7. He sleeps a 12 hour nite and has been doing so since he was about 5 months.
Also, get into the habit of using the same rituals for all naps as well as bedtime. My baby starts rubbing his eyes at nap as soon as we walk into his room and start closing the drapes. I put on some music, change diaper, rock him with his bottle, then put him into his crib (awake). Same for bedtime. If you drag it out too long, it could hinder the process of the baby learning the cues for sleeptime.

Good luck, hope you get some sleep soon!

Picking her up and rocking her was your first mistake. If you are sure that she can make it through the night and she's not hungry, then check her diaper and then shhh her for a few minutes before walking out. Don't turn on the lights. Don't pick her up. Just pat her bottom if she's on her tummy now, and sing her a short, soft song...or just shhh her and then walk out. Repeat every 15 to 25 minutes until she gives up and goes back to sleep. She's training you...and I know because my first trained me. Didn't make that mistake with the second. She learned right off to go to sleep on her own (i fed her and laid her down. Very little rocking. Some singing while she nursed...and then right down into the crib...asleep or not)

I eventually had to use the technique mentioned with my oldest when she was about eight months or so. I was so tired I was hallucinating. It took about four or five nights but she finally understood that she going to sleep and mommy wasn't going to pick her up. I took her pacifier away too because it would fall out about 100 times a night and I would find myself crawling around the floor looking for it. (I started to believe it was invented by satan himself to torment me) Anyway, it took about four or five days but she started sleeping through the night.

Sometimes they go through little phases. Don't give in or change your routines because you will have to start all over again.

good luck!!!

Hi B....
First, I need you to clarify..is she 14 weeks or 14 months? In the header it states 14 months, but in the body it syas 14 weeks. I totally undertand...we've all been in that groggy I can't get any sleep state...

I'm kind of assuming 14 weeks...She may be growing and may just be telling you she's hungry. One thing I've learned after 3 is just when you think they have a pattern, they change it (especially little ones. Also, you may be trying to put her down too early. Maybe try keeping her up later until say 9 or 10, feed her before bed and then maybe she'll sleep from 9 or 10 until 5 or 6. I also noticed that she was sleeping form 9 until 4, so she may have been used to that and now trying to put her down earlier is messing with her a bit. I hope this helps!

J.

Maybe she just doesn't require more sleep than that. Try keeping her up until 8-8:30. Maybe she'll sleep longer during the night.

Another vote for "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". It's written by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a Chicago Pediatrician who specializes in infant/child sleep issues with over 30 years of research.

Even if you never use the techniques in the book, it would be especially helpful for you to understand the sleep cycles and patterns of infants, and then you can tailor your techniques to respect her need for sleep.

Sounds like you need a shorter bedtime routine. Try to keep the bedtime consistent, and practice a brief but consistent bedtime routine. Have you tried the lavender bath products? They are supposed to soothe little ones into lala land.

It also sounds like you need to do some sleep training with your daughter. Sometimes she's just going to have to cry. She's old enough now that she can learn to settle herself back to sleep, and it's imperative that she learn. It will take about a week for her to really get with the program. We really liked the sleep book by Ferber.

Good luck. She'll go in stages like this a few more times before her first birthday, and each time you just need to be firm and go back to the sleep training. If it continues for more than a week and you're really consistent with the sleep training, call your pediatrician to make sure that nothing medical is the issue.

Hi B.. :) It sounds like she may be sleeping too late in the afternoon to be back in bed by 6:30. In addition to Weissbluth's book, there is another book I found helpful called "The Contented Little Baby Book" by Gina Ford. This book describes actual schedules for babies over the course of their first year. She recommends babies that are 3-4 months old to wake by 7am, nap from 9-9:45am, then nap again from noon to 2:15pm and then start the bath/feeding/bed routine around 5:30pm, with the baby in bed by 7pm. Of course this should be adapted to you and your baby's needs; however, she recommends no more than 3 hours of sleep during the day. My son wakes around 6am, plays until around 8:30 when it is time to eat and then he sleeps from 8:30/9 to 10:30/11. We then play until 1/1:30 when he eats and sleeps until 2:30/3. We then start his bath time around 5:30pm and he eats and is in bed by 6:30pm. He usually sleeps until midnight/1am and then is up to eat..going back down until 6am. It may take some time to find a schedule that works for you both but I found that having one quickly became a routine for us. Hope that helps. :)

Hi B.--
It sounds like you're putting her down too early. I'm a mother fo 3 girls. All of them have been different sleepers, but one thing was true for all. There is little window of time when they are ready for bed. If you miss it, bedtime could become difficult. IF you're too early, exactly what is happening with you happens. If you're too late and she is overtired, she may go to sleep well, but toss and turn a lot at night. My only suggestion is whenyou first see the sign of being tired, do your bath and bottle and put her to bed. Also, I never rocked my babies to sleep unless it was an accident. :) They always seemed to sleep better when they fell asleep in the same place they went to sleep.

Good Luck,
S.

Let's see - 14 weeks old. Yep, just about right. Are you breastfeeding this baby? Babies experience a growth spurt around this time and a breastfed baby will want to nurse more often for a little while in order to increase Mom's milk supply. Whether or not your baby is breastfed, she may be experiencing a growth spurt and doing what comes naturally. At 14 months few babies sleep all night anyway. the fact that she did for a few weeks gave you some respite. Waking at 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. is pretty normal at this age. It will change. And change again. That's how babies are.
Good luck.

Hi B., do your little one sleep on her back? Is the 4:30 nap a scheduled one or is it the time she always fall asleep?

I asked this because my grandson wasn't a good sleeper either and they told my daughter-in law to make sure to put him on his back to sleep and it wasn't working. I started putting him on his stomach and that was all it took,everybody was able to sleep. Try and keep her awake even if you have to bathe her at 4:30 and by going up around her neck, and having to turn her over to wash her back will keep her from sleeping and see if that helps. Talk to her and move her around so she can nod out and see how long this last. Change her bed time to later than 6:30 and see if she'll sleep longer. Try and see which enviroment she sleeps better in, while she's in the room where you're watching tv or in a quiet room. Instead of baby sounds she might like the talking in which a radio could help. I hope this helps. S.

B.- One more vote for Healthy Sleep Habits. I have twin boys that are almost 7 months old. At 14 weeks, they would start the day at about 8 am & be in bed before 7:00. They would only be up for 1.5-2 hr time span during the day & I would never let more than 3 hours lapse for feedings. It sounds like you have a good bedtime routine in place. I also found on Supernanny's Website a great method called controlled crying. My boys would wake every half hour, but the key is to not pick them up out of their crib once they are put down. Soothe them with your voice. Sometimes just knowing mom/dad is right there by them, is all they need.

I also have a 14 week old. She is my third child...thankfully she is a very good sleeper. My daughter wakes up around 4:30 from her nap too and usually goes to bed at 8. Sounds like you are establishing a good schedule. You may want to try and put her to bed a little later. 6:30-7 is pretty early. Might be she isn't ready for bed yet. Good luck...it'll get better...

I think you are really on a good track so far. My little guy would go down and need soothing every half hour. I would tend him two or three times (sometimes more) and then he would get his sleep momentum. I wonder if it's a bit of cluster feeding at night.

For 14 weeks sleeping from 10-6 with only one waking is pretty good. Babies start to be able to get better sleeping around 4 months. Until then their brain isn't mature enough. You are doing great with already having a routine. I know it's hard, but hang in there. I think you are close to a break through. My little guy just turned 4 months today, and he slept from 8-7, only waking once (at 5). It sounds like your little guys patern was similar to mine, so take it as encouragement that he could turn a corner soon:)

I agree that you might be taking too long to put her into bed. We also used Health Sleep Habits and it is very useful. I would also suggest pushing her last feeding closer to her bed time. One other thing, if you are comfortable with it, is letting her fuss for a few minutes when you first put her down. You know she is safe in her bed, and she will start to learn self soothing. That can be very important, especially in the middle of the night when she is awake, but not needing to eat. Good luck.

M.

Hi,
Try Johnson & Johnson's Bedtime Bath and some warm milk before bedtime. Also, classical music can be very soothing for babies.

All The Best,
D.

Hi B.,

I can relate to what you're going through. I'll tell you about our situation... Our son is 8 months but we went through a period where it took forever to get him to sleep. He would get up from his nap about 4:30 and then we would let him take a little snooze (20 or 30 minutes) rocking him on our laps or in his swing around 6 or 7. That usually gave us a chance to eat dinner. I thought if we put him to bed that early that he wouldn't sleep very long at night. We'd start getting him ready for bed about 9 and sometimes he wouldn't fall asleep until 10:30 or 11. But, once he was asleep, he'd usually only wake up once in the night to be fed. I was worried that we would never get him on a normal schedule. But, it DID happen eventually.

The Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is a great book, but not for parents who swaddle. We swaddled our won as well, and although I loved it, we would have to make sure he was completely asleep before laying him down, otherwise he would become unswaddled and never get to sleep. The book has great advice for training your baby to soothe themselves to sleep and when we stopped swaddling, it was helpful. In the middle of the night, I would go in the minute I heard him before he became unswaddled and totally woke up. It was very frustrating because sometimes he'd wake up during his naps and I was constantly rocking him back to sleep. On the nights that he didn't want to go to sleep, we found that putting him in his swing swaddled did the trick. It was like surgery trying to get him from the swing to the crib without waking him up, but it worked. I felt like I was teaching him bad habits by running into his room or putting him to sleep, but when he (and we) were ready, these things cured themselves and now he's a great sleeper.

We eventually stopped swaddling him at 5 months, and although it was tough, laid him down unswaddled and awake. He only woke up a couple of times the first night and we were amazed how well he did. Now, we turn on the noise maker, read a few books, and lay him down awake. He doesn't cry and usually falls asleep within 10 or 15 minutes. It's been a long road and I've felt very defeated at times. It WILL get better, especially when it's time to stop swaddling.

How long has she been waking up every half hour? I've found that my son will go through strange phases that last for about 3 or 4 days, sometimes even longer. I think our really rough bedtime routines lasted for a month or two. I was working from home, but for you, having to get ready for work again soon will be tough. Is your daughter gassy? We started giving our son gas drops before bed and making sure we had burped him well.

I'm sorry this has been so longwinded and I hope there are a few things you might be able to take away from it. It will get better, I promise. Sometimes just accepting the fact that you're going to be tired and have to get up helps with the frustration. Good luck and write me anytime.

E.

I know being a 1st time mama is rough, I'm one myself and did my time with a poor sleeper, but honestly your baby sounds perfectly normal. Forgive me if I sound snarky, but MOST babies don't usually sleep through the night until anywhere between 7-9 months. I too stressed about doing the right thing so that my baby would sleep through the night. What I learned through LOTS of research is that those babies are the minority. Yes, your baby slept well for a while, but you basically lucked out. Don't bother with "cry it out" right now either, their brains aren't capable of retaining memory past a few hours so all that crying will not teach her a lesson for the next night (there is scientific proof of this).
Since you are going back and stressing about getting enough sleep, I'd consider charting her sleep patterns in writing so that you can find out her waking limits and tired times. Make sure not to take on all the responsibility yourself - share it with your partner. If you're still nursing, you may have to let your partner deal with the nighttime duty since infants can be very sensitive to the smell of breastmilk. Also, don't be afraid of co-sleeping. Babies don't create a bad "habit" of it unless their parents play the accomplice! We co-slept until about 6 months when we decided to agressively transition him to his crib. By 8 months he was sleeping through the night in his crib, waking at about 5-6 when we brought him back to our room for the morning feeding. Of course, a month later he began getting all his teeth at once so sleep went out the window again! Now, my 16 month old sleeps 11 hours a night and takes a 2-3 hour nap during the day! You can experiment with waking her earlier from her afternoon nap so that she'll be sleepy earlier. 6:30 may be too early especially if she's waking at 4:30. I found my son to have a longer waking period in the evening as opposed to the 2 hour stretch in the morning. HTH's!

Read Dr. Marc Weissbluth's book or call him at ###-###-####. If you do, you will all sleep and you will have a healthy, happy baby!!!! Good luck, M.

Hi B. -

Maybe three hours aren't enough to make him tired...I would push nap time back an hour, put a four hour spread in there before bed, and that might work. my boys are 4 and 2, and my 2 year old naps from 1-4, which has always been his afternoon nap time, and is in bed and asleep quick by 8:00pm. I don't know why, but that last hour really seems to make a difference with him. Also, make him laugh a lot before bed, it'll tire him out. lol Good luck! :)

I haven't looked to see the other responses--I'm sure there are TONS, but here's my two cents worth...

I'd follow her lead. If she's not sleepy when you're trying to put her down, don't put her down then; it's only going to cause you guys the grief you're feeling already. My daughter didn't have a truly predictable sleep schedule until she was about 6 months old which upset me as I thought she'd have some kind of schedule at 3 or 4 months. I started to read online and found that most babies don't get that till around 6 months, which was certainly the case for her.

I know it sounds anal (and probably is!), but I actually made an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of when she was going down and waking up to see if in my sleep deprived state I could find any patterns. I started to notice things after tracking it for about 2 weeks... She'd been going down for the night around 9 and slowly it got earlier and earlier till she hit 6pm all on her own. She's almost 16 months old and still sleeps from 6pm-6am, though I'm sure my days are numbered with that bedtime!

Hope this, along with all of the other advice I'm sure you've gotten, is helpful. Just be patient and know these things will work themselves out. Plus, if you're going to be working, you may want her to go to sleep a little later so you can spend more time with her anyway :)

I understand where you are coming from!!! I was in the same spot you were at this age and it lasted until he was 5 months old when we finally implemented the readings of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. It is basically the cry it out method though you you should read it and understand the logistics behind it before you go through with it. I would encourage you to get it and read the sections on 0-4 months and 5-17 months. It will not take you more than a night. Maybe have your husband take over nighttime responsibilities while you read it one night and then he reads it the next night. There is a method to it and it works. Don't do it until you are ready though because emotionally it is difficult for a few nights. Do it over a weekend when your husband is home and can be supportive. It sounds though that your daughter has lost the ability to fall back asleep on her own...our son did too. It only took him 1 night to "learn" to fall back asleep on his own but it was one of the most difficult things to go through with. Now he sleeps 12 hours through the night and takes 2-3 long naps a day....sounds good, huh? It can happen and it will when you are ready. Don't do what I did and fall asleep at the wheel when you are on your way home from work...try and do this before you go back to work (with your pediatrician's approval, of course). Good luck!

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