29 answers

5 Month Old Not Sleeping Through the Night.

My 5 month old son won't sleep through the night. It's not as bad as it use to be (waking up 3-5 times a night), but he still wakes up at 3am every morning. No matter what I do, I can't seem to get him to sleep through the night. The only time he sleeps through the night is if he screams and cries during his bath before bed. (and I don't want him doing that lol) I never had this much trouble with my 2 year old, he started sleeping through the night the day he turned 3 months. Any advice would be welcome! I'm to the point that I'm willing to try just about anything! Thanks in advance!

*edit* He does sleep in the same room with his big brother. At 3am, everybody is asleep, so there's no noises to wake him up. He was sleeping in his swing (he couldn't sleep at all laying flat), but he's been in his "playpen" now for a couple weeks and has been doing fine. (all but the waking up at 3am part) I'm bottle feeding him (Couldn't breastfeed him =/) and he's eating baby food/cereal now. Just before he goes to bed, I feed him a 6oz bottle with some cereal in it. (I was told that should help him sleep)

Hope this new info helps.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well, I've tried a number of things and this is what worked....

I tried just telling myself "he will do it when he's ready" so I just kept feeding him when he woke up. Then, to my surprise, he slept through the night! I was all excited and happy for him, but it was short lived. He started waking up at about 3am again. This time thought, I just tried giving him his "passie" and tucking him back in. (He really likes soft blankets touching his face) That seemed to work, so I stopped the feedings for a while. Now he is almost 6 months old and he pretty much sleeps through the night! Sometimes he sleeps all night without waking once, sometimes he wakes once just to be tucked in, and sometimes (rarely though) he wakes to be fed.

I'm in no hurry now, I'm going to let him do it at his own pace. I realize now just how different 2 kids can really be. Even if they are from the same family. lol. I'm just having one other concern with him, but I will post that later.

Thanks to all of you for all the help!

Featured Answers

Most young children at that age won't sleep. It could be the feeding before bedtime that is waking him up as he would have a soiled diaper, but he could also have gas. Perhaps he has a favorite toy that he likes to sleep with? Maybe you should try that. Try laying him on his side with a pillow behind his back, that will eliminate the possibility of a gas problem and may help his breathing and sleeplessness.

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More Answers

He is still young and shouldn't be expected to sleep through the night just yet. Some kids will start early like your other son did, but some won't and you might have to do sleep training later on to break the habit. My understanding is that babies generally aren't ready to go 10-12 hours a night until they are at least 6 months. My daugter was 11 months when we had to do some sleep training. She did very well because she was ready to sleep through the night at that point. It was an easy process to get her to start sleeping through the night, but I had to get up with her at 3am every night until she was ready and that was hard. My opinion is if your little guy isn't ready, then it is going to be much harder than if you wait until he is. I know my answer isn't serving your request like you probably hope it would, but I am a firm believer that you shouldn't force your baby to do anything until he/she is ready. Try some training and if it is awful, then wait a while and try again. We started putting our daughter in her crib awake and taught her how to fall asleep on her own. Then when she woke, she would be able to fall back asleep with out me or my husband. She cried for 10 minutes (if that) the first night and then that was it, she has been sleeping wonderfully every night since and she is now 16 months. I have heard horror stories of hours of crying for 3-4 nights straight and I believe that when it is that difficult they aren't ready, but I could be wrong. Go with your gut on this one. Good luck. BTW-it is a myth that adding cereal to the bottle will help them sleep longer. Your little one is waking for comfort and he may still need a night feeding.

2 moms found this helpful

A.,

I REALLY empathize with you right now. I feel like I'm going to go CRAZY if I don't get some sleep!

I would like to share some perspective, in hopes that it makes it easier. I have a almost 13 month old that isn't sleeping through the night. Not only that, but on a good night she wakes 3-4 times, and it is common for her to wake EVERY HOUR! I have tried just about everything (setting the line at letting her cry it out).
Before becoming a mom, I was a professional nanny. I have never heard of or experienced a child waking as often as mine does. If she wasn't a extremely happy, active child I would think something was seriously wrong.
No person is like another, and its the same with kids. Your 5 month old's sleeping habits won't be like your 2 year old's. I think a sense of knowing what your child's personality is like is important. I realize my girl is a very active, independent sort that would rather be awake than asleep and I have put lots of energy into a bedtime routine to calm her down.
My suggestion is to gauge his personality. Maybe he wakes at 3 because he thinks everyone SHOULD get up then, or maybe he really is hungry and can't go the whole night. I wouldn't expect a 5 month old to not be hungry at least once. Lastly, a sense of humor is best. He won't go off to college needing you at 3am every night!

Sorry so long. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Every child is different and at 5 months old, he is still pretty little. I'm betting he just needs a bottle to fill his hungry little tummy. Make sure his head is high on the pillow so he doesn't get an ear infection or you could feed it to him while holding him in an almost upright position. Or make sure you feed him RIGHT before going to bed, like after his bath and pajamas are on. But either way, getting up once in the night is nothing to worry or complain about. It's all a part of motherhood and he'll grow out of it soon. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

You didn't mention sleeping arrangements, but our little guy was only waking up because he heard others in the room with him. At the time he either had to sleep in our room or his brothers. We put him in the pack-n-play in the living room and he started sleeping the first night. We let him sleep there a few nights and then put him back in with his brother. He never had a problem again, and even now doesn't wake up no matter what happens.

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Well you can always do the cry it out method. But to be honest he is still pretty young to be sleeping through the night. And actually only waking up once at night is really good for a 5 month old. I got my daughter to go to bed at 8:00 every night when she was 3 months old but she would still wakeup to nurse 1 to 2 times a night until she was like 10 or 11 months. Then i finally weaned her from nursing at night and then she finally started sleeping the whole night like from 8:00 until 7:30am. Remember that all babies are different and just because you were blessed with a great sleeper for your first child this one will be different. And again only waking up once a night for a 5 month old is really really good so i would just give it some time and in a few months he will probably sleep the whole night.

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I guess the question is how long he stays awake. My first child didn't sleep through the night consistantly until she was 3 rys old. My 3rd child is almost 2 and sometimes he sleeps through the night and sometimes he doesn't. Most of the time when he wakes up he just needs to be covered up with his blanket and he goes back to sleep. Too hot, too cold, or hungry, are all reasons your baby may be waking during the night. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Lucky you on the 1st one...Mine have never slept through the nite. But the trick I did learn to start getting them to that point.. Was I would feed them at 11p.m. they'd sleep til 5a.m. or 6a.m., then I would start backing off about 10 mins a night, it usually lasted until they were 10-11months old then they sleep from 9p.m. to 6a.m. (pretty good I thought) we'd have set back with growth spurts and teeth but primarily I have great sleepers. Good Luck I hated being woke up after midnight....

1 mom found this helpful

Hate to tell you this, but your older son was actually sleeping through the night much earlier than most babies do. My 9-month-old son still wakes at 3a every night to eat, too, and that is developmentally appropriate for his age. At 5 months you should expect at least that. There is a great book that outlines clearly what is typical at different stages of development; it's called, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Check it out. It might at least ease your mind that everything is as it should be with your son's sleeping. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I think some kids just have different habits than others. My son didn't sleep through the night until 10 months old! I was breastfeeding...which may have contributed. We eventually put several pacifiers in bed with him so he could always find one (he loves them) and that helped. We have also had to do the "cry it out" technique a couple of times...but he never cried more than 3-5 minutes tops before falling asleep. It might just be a matter of time for your little one. Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Our 6 month old goes down at 7, wakes at 11 and 3 to nurse, then is awake at 6. Our pediatrician says babies this age cannot go 10-12 hrs without a feeding (I guess the ones that do are the exception, not the rule). "Sleeping through the night" is defined as going from 12-6 by many! Our pediatrician said we could work on getting her to only wake once (he recommends Ferber's method), say at 1 am, but to not expect her to go longer than 8 hrs without a feeding.

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I have 3 sons (now 15, 13 and 11) and NONE of them slept thru the night until 15 months. Note...my idea of sleeping thru the night is 8pm - 6+am. We tried "crying it out" for all three and it made the situation worse. They only woke up more. I did breast-feed all 3; until 10 mos, 13 mos, and 12 mos, respectively. Do what YOU and YOUR BABY needs to do. And remember, this WILL pass. Enjoy the sleep you do get now and know you'll get plenty later on. :-)

1 mom found this helpful

As long as any teething or sickness can be ruled out: 5-month old babies are old enough to sleep through the night if they weigh around 12 pounds or more, then they do not need that 3 am feeding. Babies have a rhythm to their sleep waking and they have to learn to go back to sleep by themselves when they wake in the night. There are many ways to do this. The ultimate resort is the "cry it out" method. At some point with all 3 of my kids, by the time they were 6 months, I had to do this. And it really lasted many hours, but made the hugest improvement in the shortest time. The main thing you want to teach the child is to self-soothe back to sleep (so he doesn't need you in the equasion). There are many ways to do this and I think you will learn many of them in all the responses you get. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I know a lot of people with a lot of babies. Some sleep through the night at 3 months and some don't until 3 years. I just got the latest Dr. Sears (www.askdrsears.com) newsletter and there's some info on sleeping through the night.

Sounds like your kids are following what I call "The 180 rule"-- anything that works with the first, the second will do a 180 and be the complete opposite.

Believe me, I know the sleep deprivation well. Our 19 month old will have weeks at a time where she sleeps through the night, and then you'll stop again for a while waking up and having difficulty putting herself back to sleep. There are so many things at play for them. She wouldn't sleep anywhere but on our chests for the first few weeks of life.

Think of it this way-- when he wakes up in the night, you know he's alive and not a victim of SIDS. Boys are more likely than girls to fall victim to it so maybe try looking at it as an exhausting reassurance. Your stress will feed his stress and potentially make sleeping more difficult.

I view it as a gift when we sleep through the night-- from the onset I figured we basically wouldn't get a good night's sleep for 3 years after our daughter was born :)

Good luck and grab a nap when you can!

1 mom found this helpful

I have always read that 6 hours of sleep is considered sleeping through the night for babies. I think it is very normal to wake up at least once. I have a 6 month old boy and he still gets up once through the night. I think you were VERY blessed with your first!!

1 mom found this helpful

My dd used to be the same way and I found out she had an ear infection, also she used to get pretty bad gas during the night. So we gave her mylicon for the gas and she started sleeping through the night. You could also start giving the child a little bit of rice cereal for dinner and that might help fill him up. I hope this helps and gl

1 mom found this helpful

That's actually really good and really normal for a 5 month old. Be grateful he only wakes up once!
Sounds like your other child was a miracle sleeper. Give him a few more months before you try and wean the bottles at night. My 1 year old still wakes up twice during the night, so I think your situation sounds great! I did some research and its normal for them to wake up once a night until they are about 8 months or so... But everyone has their own opinions. That's why you can find 5,000 books on babies and sleep out there!

1 mom found this helpful

I just figured out that my son gets cold around that time (it is the coldest part of the night). We have been running our AC with the warmer weather and we have been putting him in short sleeved shirts, and he has been waking up. Now he wears a blanket sleeper whenever we run the AC and he sleep again!!

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A.,

It sounds like you got spoiled with your first! Waking up only once during the night is totally normal for a five-month old, and much better than a lot of babies I know! Many children continue with at least one night waking well up to a year old.

I know you are hearing at a baby "should" be able to sleep through the night. I would recommend you do your own research about this, because this statement is extremely misleading. The medical definition of "sleeping through the night" is one five-hour stretch. Your son is certainly doing that and more.

It may be that your son needs to learn how to soothe himself back to sleep. "The No Cry Sleep Solution" is a wondeful book. It is packed with ideas for setting up bedtime routines and helping babies learn to get themselves back to sleep without leaving them to scream in vain for their mothers. You should be able to find it at your local library, or most bookstores have it in the parenting section. It helped us get my oldest sleeping through the night when she was 1 year old. One of the main recommendations that she offers is getting babies to sleep earlier. If your son is screaming through his bath and bedtime routine, it sounds like he is totally overtired. One of the things that we learned from this book is that by the time baby is yawning, rubbing his eyes, fussing, etc, he should already be in bed. Keep an eye on him for these signs. Whatever time he starts should be when you aim to finish his bedtime routine. Slowly adjust your bedtime until it finishes at that time. It's not easy getting babies in bed early, (especially when you have a toddler to deal with) but it is so worth it to have a happy, healthy well-rested baby!

Despite what some will tell you, it may also be that he is hungry, in which case there is nothing you can do about it until he gets bigger. Their little tummies simply may not be able to hold enough to get them through a 10-12 hour stretch. If you try some "sleep training" methods and they don't work, you might just have to give him some time to grow up. He is still a very tiny baby. Both my daughters were up once a night until they were about 11 months old.

Best of luck,
S.

1 mom found this helpful

Hey A.,
I have a 6month old son, he has been sleeping through the night since 2 months, but I used to have that problem of 3am then 5am. Are you on a pretty good feeding schedule? I mean is it routine- every 3 or 4 hours? I am nursing but I used to feed him whenever he seemed fussy (which was a lot), but once I started a pretty solid routine (it varies some days- no body is perfect) and also a night time routine- dinner/bath/bed,he started to sleep through the night for about 8-10 hours and now that we are on solids as well he sleeps for a solid 12 hours (its wonderful!!). When he wakes up is he hungry/wet/scared? Sometimes when they wake themselves up that early, if they are not really crying, try to let him just lay there and see if he will put himself back to sleep?
Also, it may be a growth spurt or teething. I know my son started teething at 4 months and his teeth still are not in yet (I see them but they are not pushing through his gums yet).Hopefully some of this helps? Sorry I rambling, I just know how the 3 am feels. Hopefully the little man starts sleeping longer.
Take care!!

1 mom found this helpful

Ditto on the advice you received re: Healthy Sleep Habits - it's a great source for information and I think you'll find that waking one time a night is pretty good for a 5mth old. I have a 7mth old little girl who goes to bed at 7:30 but is still up twice a night for feedings. It's gradually getting better and the book really is comforting.

1 mom found this helpful

Arrg! Don't put cereal in his bottle! That is an old wives' tale. Talk to the doctor about that. The waking up could be a number of things --- too warm/cold, teething, growing pains, gas, wet diapers, scared, ... So, you need to figure this out by trial and error. We double pajama are son so he doesn't get cold. We give him acetametaphin/ibuprofin when he is teething or experiencing growing pains. We give mylicon for gas. Our current problem is the diapers we are using don't hold through the night. So our son is waking up because the diaper has leaked and gotten his pjs wet. So, we're in search of better overnight diapers. We leave a night light on. He has a blankie and a stuffed dog for lovies. Sometimes I leave one of my dirty shirts in his crib. The smell is comforting. If you have done all of this and it still doesn't work --- time to let him cry in 5 minute increments (5-10-15...) up to 30 minutes. This won't fix itself overnight because it's become a habit. It might take days or weeks to fix. Also--- if he has trouble sleeping flat --- I wonder if he has indigestion/gas. You can tilt a crib mattress. Try soothing music and/or white noise. Do the kids HAVE to sleep in the same room? Separate rooms would be nice so you can do the crying out thing. Good luck. I feel for you because we're going through this right now as well.

1 mom found this helpful

according to my mother, some babies don't sleep through the night until later on. she believes that the baby will sleep when he or she is ready. my baby is 4 months and still wakes up at least twice. i don't expect too much improvement. it'll be a happy surprise when he does though. :)

1 mom found this helpful

A.,
Just remember all kids are different. Just because your second doesn't sleep through the night doesn't indicate a problem. My daughter, also my second, is now 14 months old and continues to wake up around 3 or 4 every morning for a bottle still. No matter how much she eats before bed she still wakes up. I do luck out every once in a long while she sleeps all night but very rarely.

Working mother of 2, a 21/2 yo boy and a 14m girl and the best husband a woman and mother could ever ask for.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
Every child is different with sleeping through the night. My son was almost a year before sleeping through without waking at least once during the night. I don't think at 5 months it is that unusual.
Good luck,
SarahMM

1 mom found this helpful

YOu don't like hearing your baby cry at bathtime, so that rules out crying-it-out. Whew! So, if he wakes up at 3AM, what time does he go to sleep? The medical definition of sleeping through the night is 5 hours. If he goes to bed at 10PM or earlier, and sleeps until 3, he is sleeping through the night. Many babies under 12 months old need one or two night feedings. Make sure he is getting enough ounces during the day, and see if it makes a difference. If not, maybe a mind-shift to "this is normal, it won't last forever" will help. Hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.
From my understanding around 6 months is when the average baby sleeps through the night and this is about 6-8 hours straight. From what I have read, 6 months is about when a baby can go that long without eating (of course if medically ok). My first didn't sleep more than 8 hours through the night until he was about 18 months. My 4 month old still eats at 8, 1, 5. I hear you when you say you just want some sleep-it is hard to get up some nights. If you find any tricks for that age, let me know! Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A..
My only advice to you is to try not to get too frustrated and to try not to compare your two children. My oldest didn't sleep through the night consistantly until she was almost 2 years old. My youngest was much earlier...thankfully!!! I hope you find something that works for your family. Although it is difficult when you aren't getting enough sleep, remember that he will grow out of this stage before you know it and then you will be wondering what happened to your little baby :)

1 mom found this helpful

First, hang in there :) I know your pain. Our preemie baby really didn't start sleeping through the night until she was about 5 1/2 or 6 months. I was breastfeeding but we started giving her a "snack" before I nursed her to bed. She liked bananas, mangos or yogurt so we'd give her as much as she wanted before bed, nursed and then she slept through the night. Not sure if this method will work for you but we were willing to try anything to get to sleep. Not to say the trick worked every time but even a couple good nights of sleep will help you and your husband.

Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful

Most young children at that age won't sleep. It could be the feeding before bedtime that is waking him up as he would have a soiled diaper, but he could also have gas. Perhaps he has a favorite toy that he likes to sleep with? Maybe you should try that. Try laying him on his side with a pillow behind his back, that will eliminate the possibility of a gas problem and may help his breathing and sleeplessness.

1 mom found this helpful

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