25 answers

4 Month Old Who Just Doesn't Want to Sleep

Hi, I have a 4 month old son who sleeps for 45 minutes in the morning and about the same in the afternoon. He is exhausted by 7-8ish at night and I wake him at 10:30 to feed him (breastfeeding) and then he wakes again at 1 (which usually takes about 1 hour for him to go back to sleep..with lots of screaming). He wakes again between 4-5 ( I feed him) and he's back asleep in 20 minutes only to wake again 45 minutes later at which time we are up for the day. I thought infants his age were suppose to be sleeping anywhere from 10-12 hours straight. Why does he keep waking up during the night and how come he won't sleep during the day. What can I do to encourage him to sleep.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

So basically what was happening is that my breast milk production went down and he was just HUNRGY. My efforts to feed him 4 times between 6am and 3pm then, almost every hour between 3-7pm and again at 11pm to increase my production and make sure he was getting enough, didn't work. We had the 4 month check up and he was underweight and I started him on formula and now he is much much happier and he is sleeping longer durations (only waking once during the night, at which time I feed him). He is taking two 2 hour naps during the day, is put to bed at 7, wakes at 2, back to sleep until 5:30-6! Much better!!! Developmentally the Pedi said he is doing GREAT..very strong! Whew! Thanks to you all for taking the time to give your advise and share your experiences. I very much appreciate it.

Featured Answers

I was told never wake a sleeping baby. I would try to skip the 10:30 wake up and see if that makes a difference. He should be old enough to not have to be woken for food.

D. B

My advice.....don't wake him at 10:30 to feed him. He may sleep longer for you. I would also say just to create a routine for him. Routines help the child know what's coming....even infants.

More Answers

I was told never wake a sleeping baby. I would try to skip the 10:30 wake up and see if that makes a difference. He should be old enough to not have to be woken for food.

D. B

Good for you for breastfeeding and being so aware of your son's sleep cycles! It's a myth that babies should be sleeping through the night at this age. Some do, but it's rare and not the norm. Here's something to try- don't wake him for his 10:30 feeding. He will wake if he's hungry, and he'll sleep if he's tired. Remember- there are 3 things in his life he can control- his eating, his sleeping, and his pottying! All you can do is provide predictable routines for him, which gives him the chance to self-regulate. During the day, you can try a few different things- I find that my dd will actually sleep longer during the day if I play soft music than if I don't. She sleeps at night with the white noise of the fan, but even at 20 mo. she still wakes for night nursing. Maybe wearing him in a sling while he naps once during the day will help him sleep longer, too. That's the only thing that helped Maia to sleep. And the 12-14 hours a day of sleep for your baby isn't necessarily all at the same time. Blessings to you!

Hi: I agree with some of the other moms, don't wake the baby up to feed him at 10:30. I had the same problem with my daughter. She never napped as an infant and only started napping once she started moving around. Don't get discouraged! Try to get into a regular routine of nursing and napping during the day. I ended up giving my daughter some cereal before bedtime and that really helped get her through the night. Talk to your doctor to see if that might be an option for you. Good luck!

Hi, my daughter is 6 1/2 months old and she went through a similat sleeping pattern at 4 months. Only she would sleep for 3 hours in the morning at daycare but not at home. I found that a schedule really helped my daughter. Babies their age can only stay up for about 3 hours. So, I put her down for a nap 3 hours after she woke up for the day, and I make her nap in her crib. She also used to always fall asleep eating, I also breastfeed, then I would transfer her to the crib. Her pediatrician told me to put her in her crib AWAKE. That way she isn't confused when she wakes up in a different place than she went to sleep. I found this helped tremendously at night. She still wakes up twice at night, at 11:30 and 3:30, but goes right back to sleep. When you get up with him at night make sure he gets a full feeding, even if you have to wake him up, which I know is HARD. But again, this helped with my daughter sleeping for a longer stretch. I hope this helps, please feel free to email me if I can be of anymore help. Good luck!

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you can't expect him to sleep 10-12 hours between feedings. I would disregard any info or advice you get unless it relates to breastfed babies.

I see no problem with you waking him to feed at 10:30pm, I assume that is right before you go to bed. Otherwise his schedule sounds very normal to me for a breastfed baby. I have three children who were exclusively breastfed- breast milk is utilized more easily than formula and breastfed babies will feed more frequently than formula fed. Don't let that make you think that giving formula will make him sleep longer, or switch any of his feedings, breast milk is what's best and it's awesome that you are still nursing him. Pat yourself on the back for that, and maybe you can ask your husband for help with sleeping? Catch up on the weekends by napping or having him get up with your son in the morning so you can sleep in. You can also try putting him to bed earlier, there have been some recent studies that babies actually sleep more when you put them to bed earlier.

Good luck and peaceful sleeping!

Hi J., you must be exhausted!! I have 4 month old boy/girl twins..They are both sleeping from 8pm to 7am, but it took some work...my daughter did it on her own at 2 months. But my son took his own time. He would wake up every 3 hours still wanting to eat while she slept. So I started just putting a pacifier in his mouth instead of feeding him and rocked him back to sleep. Also, I never woke him to feed him. You may want to not wake him and just see how long he'll sleep. He also sounds over tired and may need more of a set schedule with naps during the day. I know thats hard with a 4 month old but I have them on a strict 3 hour schedule of feeding for an hour, activity for an hour than lay down in either swing or crib for quiet/nap time for an hour. Then it's feeding time again. The last feeding at 7pm I give them a bath then feed them and snuggle them in a quiet room and put them down to fall asleep. By doing this every night they know it's time to sleep. I hope some of this helps you, I know how hard it is to keep pulling all nighters...Also, breastfed babies tend to want to feed more. I breast fed only for 3 months. So that might be why also...Good Luck and hope you get some good advice.

hi there,

my daughter went thru a similar phase. From early on she was doing marathon naps from 12-4 and waking up once at night. Then by four months she was doing three 45 min naps (9am,12p,and3p) and she too was tired. I started putting her to bed earlier between 6 and 6.30 and she slept like a log. Also, she should be at the point where you dont have to wake her to breastfeed.

She is 10.5 months now and does two - 2hour naps. Keep in mind that their sleep patterns will change every now and then so try and go with it. I would suggest, however, reading Dr. Weisbluth's book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". It has done wonders for my daughter's sleep (and ours!) Good luck!

4 month olds dont usually sleep through the night. They are going through too many growth spurts. Do you nurse him between 7-8 at night? If you do, why are you waking him at 10:30? Maybe let him sleep and then he will wake on his own when he needs to be fed. Keep up with your daytime schedule and his naps might get longer. Advice is always so hard to give because every child is so different.

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