K.H. asks from Three Rivers, MI on September 15, 2008
4 Month Old Not Sleeping Well
Hi everyone! Here is the situation. I have a 4 month old daughter that just started daycare about 3 weeks ago. She had started sleeping through the night for us around 8 weeks (from about 10:30 at night until about 6 or 7 in the morning). We (my husband and I) felt so lucky for her to be doing that. Well, that only lasted for just over a month. Now that she has started daycare she has been waking up every 2 to 3 hours at night. She starts crying and when I go in her room, her eyes aren't open, but she is obviously very aggitated, so I will pick her up, change her diaper, and then nurser her. The thing is, she will only nurse about 5 minutes before she is sound asleep again (to the point where I can't wake her up to get her to latch on anymore). So she is only up for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time, but I am exhausted. It takes me a while to get back to sleep. I feel like a zombie. Any suggestions on what to do? I don't think she is truly waking up because she is hungry, or maybe she is but isn't getting enough to eat to let her sleep for very long. I just don't know what to do. Is she doing this because of her new daycare schedule? She seems so tired when she gets home from daycare that I think, just maybe she will sleep a little longer for us. I don't know what to do! I'm soooo tired!
1 mom found this helpful
R.T. answers from Detroit on September 16, 2008
My daughter did the same thing when she started daycare. It was because she was not getting long enough naps, so she was restless at night. I think it takes time for babies to learn to slepp through the noise at daycare. I also started swaddling my daughter with a swaddle me (I still do and she's 8 months). That helped to keep her more content. Good luck!
G.B. answers from Detroit on September 16, 2008
I imagine the day care is the cause. Sounds like what you're doing is the right thing. Try to relax about it and not wake yourself up so mucch. Do you have to change her diaper or can you just nurse her a bit and let her drift back to sleep? I'd say you're lucky she doesn't stay awake very long.
M.M. answers from Detroit on September 15, 2008
I went to work full time when my little guy was 5 months. he wasnt eating milk during the day for the care providers so being the crafty little devil that he is he switched his feedings to night time :) I would imagine that could be some of it - mine was almost sleeping through the night before I went back to work and now still wakes three times a night at 1. I would think the other part is missing you and your smell... could you bring her in your bed or in a pack n play next to you and reach a hand in to assure her during the night? may give you a little more sleep :)
J.H. answers from Detroit on September 16, 2008
My pediatrician said that after 3 months, as long as the baby is of "normal" size (meaning they're not too small or underweight), babies don't NEED to eat in the middle of the night. It sounds to me like it's probably caused by the change in her schedule due to a new daycare. I would suggest trying to simply soothe her when she wakes in the middle oft he night. You should even try leaving her in the crib and just going in and rubbing her back and use a soothing voice to say something like "It's OK, mommy's here, you can go back to sleep". Just keep doing this and she should eventually soothe herself back to sleep. Hopefully, after a few nights of this, she'll learn to fall back asleep on her own. If you go in and start picking her up and rocking her back to sleep or nursing her back to sleep, she'll learn to rely on this. Also, you may want to try putting her to bed earlier than 10:30. I know it sounds funny but sleep breeds more sleep. And she may not be napping as well at daycare as she did at home so she may need more sleep at night than before. Best of luck!
D.H. answers from Detroit on September 16, 2008
Before I had kids, I always thought that "sleeping through the night" was a one-time accomplishment and once it happened, you didn't have to work on it anymore. But I quickly learned that it is an ongoing process, and as soon as I thought we had it figured out, their sleep schedule would be disrupted due to illness, vacation, change in schedule, etc.
Your baby is still very young, and there are so many reasons that she could be night-waking. Even though she's only nursing for a few minutes (babies become quite efficient nursers by this age), her reason for waking could still be genuine hunger. Our pediatrician, who is a cry-it-out advocate, said that some babies up to 6 months still do need to eat in the middle of the night. I've read other pediatricians who say that some babies up to 12 months still need nourishment at night. It could be that she's going through a growth spurt, which would explain why she was sleeping well before but isn't anymore.
I completely understand your exhaustion, and I would recommend in the short-term doing whatever you need to do temporarily to get more sleep so that you can think clearly about how to best solve the issue. For me, that meant bringing my baby into our room, but for others that may mean sleeping in different part of the house while your husband tends to the baby's night needs or deals with letting her cry it out. It's really whatever you're comfortable with.
Finally, I would recommend the "No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. It has a lot of good, gentle ways to encourage babies to form healthy sleep habits. And I've found that the earlier you start, the easier and quicker it works. Good luck!
D. answers from Detroit on September 16, 2008
I havent read the other responses but i will tell you that my son was the same way...kind of. he never quite slept through the night but he was doing really well. he was a big boy, in the 90% all around, so he would wake up to eat away. but as he got older, he started crying in his sleep. i would do the same thing you would do. then it turned into crying and rolling around agitated and uncomfortable. well, i wont go into details but i will tell you that he has several food allergies. does your child have eczema at all? my son also had many ear infections and ear problems (as a result of the unknown allergies and colds). so long story short, if she happens to show any signs of skin rashes or anything like that, feel free to email me and i can help you try to figure it out. My son went through some horrible times because no doctor ever thought to mention (or didnt know) that the way he was acting could have been from allergies and he is just now, at 22 months, starting to heal. good luck!
D.D. answers from Detroit on September 16, 2008
K., have you tried letting her cry it out? If she isn't really hungry you don't want her to get used to you coming for her every time she cries. I know it's tough, your instinct is to go to your baby, but it will be better for you all in the long run.
C.N. answers from Detroit on September 16, 2008
I don't respond to many posts, but I always resond to ones like this. I have 3 boys, one is 14 yo, one is 10 yo and the baby is 16 months. All of my children have had issues with ear infections. So, first and foremost, I would call the Dr and have her checked to make sure she is not experiencing some sort of pain. Ear infections present themselves in all sorts of ways, not always with a fever or other symptoms and they are almost always worse at night due to the pressure of the fluid on the eardrums when they are laying flat. When my son started daycare he was 7 months old and low and behold within the first 6 weeks we had an ear infection. All the exposure to new germs and such can cause your little one to have a lot of different small illnesses at first. My son also cut his first tooth at 4 months.....I would call the Dr and see if you can get her in. If you can't do that today, I would use motrin tonight and see if there is a difference in her sleep pattern. If she sleeps better, it's likely that she is indeed experiencing some pain. It's hard when they only do it at night and especially when you have just started daycare, it is hard to figure out what is going on. So, for her sake and yours, you should probably eliminate the possibility of an illness with your pediatrician. Then, if it's just separation anxiety, then you can deal with that. I would think since she isn't staying up with you long enough to nurse or coo and goo, that it doesn't sound like she is hungry or having sep. anxiety.....and I think my dr said that doesn't really start until about 6-9 months..... I completely empathise with being a zombie at work... I hope she gets straightened out soon and hopefully she isn't sick and just needs extra TLC.:o) I was never one to let my babies cry it out, I don't think there is any rationale in letting an infant cry....maybe a toddler, because they have the logic to understand what is happening. But, most resources will tell you that when a baby that age is crying they need something.....and take it from me, there will be a time when you wish you could have those moments back, even if they are in the middle of the night. I never let my kids "cry it out" untill they were old enough to understand, and I have very independent and well adjusted kids!! GOOD LUCK
C.H. answers from Detroit on September 16, 2008
Hi K., your baby might be teething. Maybe try some orajel. It's around the age they might be getting some teeth. Good luck.