25 answers

8 Month Old Wakes up a Lot During Night

I have seen the sleep issue posted and discussed many times but I am still struggling with my 8 month old waking several times during the night.
We put our son to bed around 7 every night. Bedtime is a breeze, he goes down without any issues after I have nursed him. Typically he will sleep until 11:00-1:00, and then he is up every 2-3 hours after that. It seems as though he is just hungry. About 2 months ago he was sleeping 7-4, and then down again until 7 (which would be amazing at this point. Yawn.) If we try to rock him back to sleep he will continue to fuss and cry until he is nursed. So we tried giving him a bottle (4-6oz) but he still will wake up a couple hours later wanting more. I thought he wanted to be comforted and snuggled so last night I just left him in his crib and fed him the bottle, finished, popped in his binky and then he rolled over and went right to sleep. He is usually able to put himself back to sleep after fed.
He is eating cereal, pureed fruit, etc about 2 times a day, along with formula and breast milk. It's hard to believe that he is really that hungry all night. We end up changing him during the night, too, because his diaper is usually soaked. I should also mention that he does not have any teeth yet. We have been telling ourselves "It must be the teething." now for the last 2 months. How can I turn his schedule around so he is satisfied throughout the night. We are not big fans of letting him cry it out. But I am extremely tired (and cranky), and hope for some suggestions to help our beautiful baby boy sleep longer during the night.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi my son was the same way and I was so tired. My doctor suggested putting a few pacifiers in his crib so when he fusses he'll end up finding one and popping it in. It worked!!

At 8 mos, I would feed him solids 3 times a day. What time does he have dinner? If you give him rice cereal and 2nd foods (or whatever you give him) closer to his bed time since he goes down at 7.

I once received in the mail and ideal feeding schedule for an 8 - 12 mos. It went as follows:

Breakfast:
3-5 tbs cereal
6-8 oz milk

Snack
2-4 oz juice diluted
dry toast strips (ex)

Lunch
3-4 tbs veggie
3-4 tbs meat
6-8 oz milk

Snack
2-4 oz milk
2-4 tbs fruit
3-5 tbs cereal

Dinner
3-4 tbs veggies
3-4 tbs fruit
3-4 tbs meat
6-8 oz milk

Now at 8 mos, I found this to be a lot of food, but atleast I had a guideline to go by.

Hope this helps you. (By the way this thing came from a formula company not some random mailing)

More Answers

I agree with Jane - watering down the bottle. It may in fact be learned hunger. Does he wake at random times during the night (actual hunger) or the same time (learned hunger)?
Some babies actually wake due to hunger until they are a year old!

I would try to feed him more ounces of milk during the day. How many ounces does he take in at night?
If it is 8 ounces for example, add 2 ounces to 4 bottles during the day.

Since you are also nursing, you can add a nursing session (if possible) instead, and increase the amount of time he nurses. Nurse, burp, nurse, burp, and nurse again. Make sure he is full!

Does he drink less milk during the day because of the solids? Always make sure he has a full bottle or a full nursing session prior to any solids.

If this, along with the watering down of the bottle does not work, he might be a very hungry boy!

In that case I would wean him off of ONE night feeding, after a week, then another, after another week, then another.

To wean him off you would more than likely need his dad to go in at night and console him back to sleep without any food (he'll expect your breast if you try so it will be harder).
The next time he wakes that night for food, feed him, but only a bottle. And so on as time progresses. No more nursing at night - especially since it worked for you last night.

Some babies give up easier on the night feeds once they realize they'll only be getting a bottle.

I know - so much work! I hate sleep issues. I have a one year old who thinks napping is a waste of time. Sigh......

You'll get a lot of advice on this site about sleep training methods and books to read. We did "cry it out" and it was tough but successful. However, I understand why you don't want to do it. I just have a comment on the waking up wet - if he's nursing or having a bottle at night, you are pouring a lot more liquid into him and therefore he's going to give you a lot more output. If you can avoid feeding him, he will eat more during the day to get all the nutrition he needs. Of course this isn't so for very young infants, but you are talking about 8 months old. That is what our pedi told us when our son was 6 months, and it worked. She was right. Good luck and I hope you find something that works. The waking-up-wet isn't helping his sleep or yours!

Hi my son was the same way and I was so tired. My doctor suggested putting a few pacifiers in his crib so when he fusses he'll end up finding one and popping it in. It worked!!

EVERY Mom hates the Cry it Out. My son was almost exactly the same @ 7.5 months and when I read that by 9 months he really doesn't need to nurse during the night I couldn't figure how we would get there because he was still waking every two hours (and I was EXHAUSTED!). So we did the dreaded, awful, horible, feel-like-a-bad-mom Cry it out! He's 14 months now and I still remember the heartbreak as I cried longer and harder than he did across the hall in my bed. I just didn't know what else to do. My midwife said, "Just give it 3 days" and I had heard weeks so I figured I could do 3 days. Night one was bad. I showered, I went and sat in the car, I cried while my husband held strong for me. 45 minutes nite one with one other wake up where he cried 5 minutes. That was it for night one. Night two was 15 minutes and one 5 minute cry in the middle of the night. Night 3, no crying. I felt victorious and on the road to rested. He slept better than I did cause I kept waking up with a start wondering... "Where am I? Where's the baby?" Clearly crossing over to crazy from lack of sleep. I also read (not sure if it's true but gave me comfort) that the crying acts like an amnesiac where as if they are crying they don't remember it in the morning. He woke up happy and snuggly, not wanting to punch mom in the nose and holding grudges! Good luck and remember learning to fall back to sleep is a skill we all need. Help him learn this valuable lesson. Imagine if everytime we woke we NEEDED to do a song and dance before we could fall asleep. Now that would be frustrating. So much they need us to teach them, some so very basic. We're all out here on your side.

H., First, I have not had that problem, in fact, we had the opposite problem. Our little girl didn't want to eat 6-8 months. Now it is much better. Anyway, your story triggered my memory of what my pedi said at her 9 month. He said don't be suprised if she wakes up at night. Now that she is moving around more she will be burning more energy and may wake up in the night. He said, don't try to comfort her just feed her and let her go back to bed. Hope you get some sleep. B.

I didn't let my son "cry it out" at bedtime until he was about 6 months. I happily (and sometimes not so happily) woke up with him to feed him... Until he slept through the night a few times on his own. I knew he could go all night without eating, so I distributed the ounces he was no longer eating at night into his daytime feeding schedule and when he woke up at in the middle of the night I just let him work it out on his own. He would cry and fuss, but he did learn to soothe himself back to sleep. It seemed like his body's clock just got stuck on that time to wake up, even though he didn't need to eat. Each night he woke up and fussed, I would go in and pat him on the back or stroke his head and make sure he had his pacifier. Each night I waited 5 minutes longer before I would go in. After about a week he was able to soothe himself back to sleep everytime he woke up. He now sleeps through each night, from 8pm (bedtime routine starts at 7:30) until about 6:30 or 7am. He is now 7 months old, and I'm finally getting sleep!

I didn't like the idea of letting him cry it out until I realized that one week of unhappiness on everyone's part would end up with wonderful results. The first night I went in after 5 minutes, then he kept crying so I went in again after 5 minutes. The next night I extended to 10 minutes, etc. I don't remember exactly how long it took, but it was less than a week. The end result was a happy baby developing healthy sleeping patterns. He no longer relies on me to get to sleep, so that's a gift I've given him and my family.

My little one still doesn't sleep through the night. Have you tried to co-sleep, it makes it easier in terms of getting the sleep you need while your baby nurses. I definitely am not a fan of crying it out either. Maybe try to co-sleep?

I would make sure that he has no underlying food allergies. My little guy slept very good until he started solids and it turned out that he is allergic to dairy, soy, and wheat which wasn't an issue while I was exclusively nursing because I didnt eat very many of things He still at 18 months wakes once during the night but its a brief period of time and I think its just a comfort thing but he is doing much better since then. Good luck. I hope he starts sleeping for you soon.

Oh my goodness H.! What he is longing for is you! are you still breasfeeding? Or just bottlefeeding at this point?? either way he is looking for closeness with you. I've had similar situations with the nighttime. The best thing to do? put him in a sling (so he is close to you) as much as you can during the day, and take him to bed with you! (at least give it a try for a week or two weeks) you would be surprised at how simple these techniques work. It does not sound like hes teething, or hungry, he just needs his mommy! Have you ever read any Dr. Sears books on parenting? They are so amazing, especially the nightime parenting book. If you are concerned about co-sleeping (honestly it is the best thing ever for you and your baby) check out the book Co-Sleeping by James Mckenna(?). I would listen closely to him and your instincts on this one, he just needs your closeness!
GOOD LUCK!

he's hungry! Feed him the fruits and veggies baby food for lunch and supper. By 8 months, I think ours were eating a whole jar of veggies, or meat and veggies, and a whole jar of fruits at noon, and again at supper. Give him baby cereal in the morning, and maybe a little before bed, too. And let him snack on finger foods in between meals, like cheerios, honeycombs, graham crackers, etc. We were going too light on the food when ours started eating the baby food. Let them eat as much as they want. They'll let you know when it's too much! He'll sleep better if he's satisfied. If he wakes up at night, give him a full, big bottle, not just 4-6 ounces. that's not enough. Just the opinion of someone who's been there twice! Good luck.

Hi H.,

I have a similar situation with my now 10 month old. He used to sleep beautifully until September. At my regular check up with our naturopathic doctor (I use both a regular and a naturopath), and she asked what he and I were both eating. In giving her our diets (he is still nursing), she came across a few "trigger" foods that can cause irritable stomach/bowel issues and uncomfortable gas, etc. in younger children. I started an elimnation of those things from our diet and within 2 weeks he was sleeping 6 hours straight (after doing the same thing yours does... sleeping good til about 11 or so, and then waking up ever 1-2 hours or less at times). So he goes down now, wakes at 11, and then goes right back to sleep for about 6 hours. I went through something similar with my first and after 4 weeks of elimination, he was completely sleeping 11 hours through the night. I can't suggest what your son's "trigger" food could be, so I recommend you find a naturopathic (not homeopathic, by the way, their approach seems to be a little different to me - naturo's tend to start with what you are putting into your body causing the symptoms to start; homeo's tend to do all the pellets to alleviate symptoms, in my understanding and experience) in your area, if your insurance covers it and see what they might notice in your diets.

Best wishes! I hope this helps!!

S.

I went through the very same thing. My son would go to bed then wake up around 1am. I would nurse him then out him back to bed. Once I decided that it may not be hunger that was waking him I thought lets see. So one night I gave him a bottle and he didn't seem to want it at first. But he finaly took it. THen went back to sleep. The next night I just picked him up and held him for a minute then put him back to bed. If he cried I would wait about 5 min. then go in and rub his head. And just let him cry. The next night he slept through the night. I think it is all about connecting with mommy in the middle of the night. He knew I would nurse him so he would want that. But once he knew I wasn't going to nurse him all night he slept through the night. Now ever once in a while he would wake up but I would just rub his head or something then walk out of the room and he would o back to sleep. He was never hungry or sick or anything. I just needed to get him off the boob at night. Because not only was I not getting any sleep but no one including the baby was getting any sleep. Your baby ios definitly old enough to sleep through the night without a feeding. I did this around 7 months. I had to because without the sleep I was not being the best mommy I could be during the day. I think you can try the cry it out way on your own terms. Do what you feel comfortable doing. I know I had an extra bed in our babies room and I would lay in the bed because I could leave him crying in there and just go away. So I would pick him up at first say mommies here it's ok. THen put him down. He would cry for about 5 min then I would pick him up and not say anything. He would cry 5 more min. THen I would rub his head. Then he would like cry but barely. Like he was tierd of crying but would try one more time to get his way. It was funny I just knew that it was a battle of what he wanted and me knowing what he needed which was a good night sleep. And really the next night he slept through the night. SOmetimes they say it will take a few days but I think he loved his sleep. It only took him one night.. Hope this helps. Mommy you and baby need your rest..

I just went through this with my now 10 month old son. He was sleeping really well through the night and then started waking every 2 hours at night to nurse. I read some of the book "the no cry method" and found out that feeding him a good size bowl of mixed grain cereal made with juice and applesauce about 30 mins to an hour before bedtime and then breasting feeding at bedtime helped quite a bit. My son still has his 3 meals and 2 snacks during the day, but it didn't seem to be enough to get him through the night.
He still does cry a bit during the night, but I found that he cries in his sleep. I don't like to let him cry for long, but I will give him 5 - 10 mins to see if he quiets down on his own. Most times he does.
Also, if he is teething, we found that Disney Naturals teething drops work great.(you can get them at Target) They are all natural and use chamomile which also helps to relax him.
I hope you find what works best for you and your son.

My 7 mo old was sleeping thru the night as well up to about a month ago, and after two bouts with colds/coughing is waking up on average 1x on the overnight. i.e. asleep at 8p, up at 11p, up at 5-6a for the day. She is really active and has boundless energy, manages to burn a lot of calories in her johnny jump up requiring a larger diet. As per our doctor's recommendation for her age, she is actually eating 3x a day, the equivalent of 2 jars of stage 2 food at each sitting. You may want to consider boosting his food level up and the amount of times a day he eats. We do fruit/cereal in the a.m., bottle for nap, vegetables for lunch, bottle or 2 in afternoon, vegetables/cereal for dinner, breast for bed.

i use to add cereal to my daughters night time bottle. I also use to compensate during the day with water bottles. My sister in law would give her son watered down fruit in a bottle--like a thick fruit juice. With the cereal I needed to put a bigger hole in the nipple.

It's called trial and error. Not all babies even at 8 months old sleep through the night. My son also had the issue of needing to be changed in the middle of the night due to soaked diapers (soaked through his clothes to the sheet). Not sure why but after a few months we did not have that problem any more. He does wake up in the am after sleeping through the night soaked though, sometimes through to his clothes but not usually.
It may very well be separation anxiety too! Teething may also be the issue. So what I would suggest is after you nurse him before bed also give him a little formula in a bottle or just give him a bottle and skip nursing. That way he will feel more full with the formula. Give him Hyland's teething tablets you can get them at CVS & most other stores. They are completely safe & better off with those than Tylenol (especially if your not sure if teething is the sleep issue). Then change his diaper just before putting him in bed.
If you need to change him in the middle of the night, don't make eye contact with him or talk to him. Make the change quick and in dim light then put him back in bad without saying a word.
You may have to let him Cry It Out for a few nights too! Again it may be separation anxiety. So go into him to let him know you are there, only stay for one minute and leave.
Look up the CIO method on line "Ferber method". Good luck.
I tried all these things I mentioned to you with my son and it worked great.

He could probably be doing more solids during the day. I would up it to three meals/day and you can start adding in more filling stuff - yogurt, mashed rice and beans, etc. He might be able to do finger foods soon too - puffs are a good start. You can also try watering down the bottle at night, starting with 1/2 strength formula and then working down to just water. He probably is hungry at night, but its a learned hunger and hopefully you can wean him off of that. Good luck.

H.,

I have gone thru the same thing, more than once. I thought it was either teething or a growth spurt. My daughter is a preemie so her growth spurts are not at the typical times thru the first year. I spoke to my doctor and she said there is no magic cure and that if something didn't work one week it might work the next. So I read all the sleep books. From Dr. Sears' you must do the family bed to an English author who said let them cry it out at 15 minute incriments at a time. Although I didn't follow any one 'recipe' or theory I did get some tips. The couple of times I have changed my daughter's schedule at night it has always involved a sleepless night for me. The 'no cry method' book says if you want to do it there way plan on your sleep being interupted for the duration of the time you are 'training' the baby.
Basically what I have done (not the no cry method but something that has worked for me) is helped my daughter fall asleep without nursing. She would wake up at midnight and it would take me 2 to 3 hours of rocking, bouncing, patting her back, whatever it took to get her back to sleep without nursing. This seems to thru her into a good loop of making it thru the night with only 1 waking or none -for a while at least. The last time I did this we were up from 1am to 2:30am when I put her on a blanket on her floor and patted her to sleep -on her tummy - she has never slept on her tummy before so once she was asleep I went and got a blanket and laid down on the floor next to her. Of course I didn't sleep but she didn't wake up til 5am. I nursed her then and put her back in her bed and she slept til 7am. Since then she has slept from 6:30pm or 7pm til either 5am or later. Of course when they start to crawl, stand up or walk these all inturpt their sleep and teething in another one that is difficult. I've had to give my daughter a cold teether to help her in the middle of the night.
So although it's not an answer of 'do this and you will have piece' it's a start and I would consult some books or just go by your gut with what you think will work.

Good luck,
L. M

I agree with Kathleen, crying it out is a method that is hard for us as moms, but it teaches our children to soothe themselves and not rely on us running to their every need. It is a skill for life.
It sounds like he has just started a routine at night, much like our body clock tells us when we are tired, hungry, etc. The more you feed him at night, the more he will want/need it. I think at 8 months, he should be sleeping a good 6-7 hour stretch at least. I was feeding my daughter three solid meals a day along with nursing at 8 months. Basically, she ate her meals with us and I nursed her throughout the day, too. Your son may be going through a growing phase and is more hungry, so possibly adding some more solids in a third meal would help him. At night, I suggest a good hearty dinner, bottle/nurse and then the first time he wakes, (just change his diaper if needed) and put him back down. If he cries, let him cry for a timed amount of time before you go back in to soothe him. Just rub him and tell him you love him and then allow him to try and soothe it out for a longer period. He will eventually cry himself to sleep. It's okay to let them cry as long as they are safe-- keep telling yourself this!
It helped me if my husband did some of the soothing with my daughter because she didn't see him as the "milk" supply. It helped a lot. I encourage you to try it for a week and see the results. For encouragement:I have a friend who is still getting up at night with two children in he middle of the night who are in pre-school and older because she refuses to let them cry ever and so they want to eat or be comforted in the middle of the night. They have no skills to put themselves back to sleep or be alone. Talk about being sleep deprived!!!! One look at that and I realized what lessons I am giving my daughter about life. Good luck H., D.

I am experiencing the same issue with my little guy. Except, the mistake I have made since his birth is nursing him to sleep each evening. From birth, he co-slept with my husband and me, and at around 4/5 months, we started to put him down in his crib at the start of the night and then he would come into our bed. I absolutely will not let him cry it out. I bought the book, "The No Cry-it-Out Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley, and I have read it, but have not put a sleep plan into place. As for the teething, my little guy has been teething since he was 2.5 months and has 4 teeth, with his eye teeth about to break through. It has been such a long process, so I wouldn't be surprised if that was some of your son's issue with sleep. My son has not done well with teething. Good luck and as they say, "this too shall pass."

Hi H.,
I understand you & your husband are not big fans of the crying it out method. However, your son is old enough (& I suspect weighs enough) to sleep through the night. My husband & I went through the same issues when our son was 9 moths old. Within a couple of days of letting him cry it out a couple of times per night in his crib, he's now sleeping until 7am. If he hasn't already woken up by 11pm, I wake him to feed him a normal bottle & he's all set thru the night. If you & your husband want to get some sleep & stop letting your son dictate your sleep schedule, you need to spend a couple of nights letting him cry it out. You'll be amazed how quickly it works & you'll be grateful for the extra sleep!
Good luck,
R.

At 8 mos, I would feed him solids 3 times a day. What time does he have dinner? If you give him rice cereal and 2nd foods (or whatever you give him) closer to his bed time since he goes down at 7.

I once received in the mail and ideal feeding schedule for an 8 - 12 mos. It went as follows:

Breakfast:
3-5 tbs cereal
6-8 oz milk

Snack
2-4 oz juice diluted
dry toast strips (ex)

Lunch
3-4 tbs veggie
3-4 tbs meat
6-8 oz milk

Snack
2-4 oz milk
2-4 tbs fruit
3-5 tbs cereal

Dinner
3-4 tbs veggies
3-4 tbs fruit
3-4 tbs meat
6-8 oz milk

Now at 8 mos, I found this to be a lot of food, but atleast I had a guideline to go by.

Hope this helps you. (By the way this thing came from a formula company not some random mailing)

He is in a sleep pattern that you will have to slowly break. We started weaning our baby off bottles by giving him less and less in the middle of the night. Now, he does not wake until 5 or 6 and then just needs us to give him his pacifier and he goes back to sleep until 7 or so.(8 mos. old) It's really a rythym that takes some time to break.

My 7month old daughter eats way more than that during the day. She has always been a good sleeper and sleeps no problem at night but my older daughter now 2 still wakea up at night and at 8months she went through a growth spurt and was eating 1 bottle during the night. My 7month old eats 3 meals a day and 3 8oz bottles. She is not a big fan of the bottles and lets you know when she is down but my older daughter drank 4 8oz bottles still at this age. You could aslo start table food my daughter has been eating since like 6 months. She loves being able to pick it up herself. (good things to start with are peas, cheerios, soft potatoes, yogurt) my daughter only has 2 teeth but she eats whatever we are eating for dinner and sandwiches for lunch. I hope this helps alittle and maybe more food during the day will help with the night. Ps my older daughter went through a growth spurt at about 15months and wanted yogurt in the middle of the night for a week so it might keep happening. I am hoping my younger daughter keeps up her sleep pattern and my older daughter will start following her sister and stop waking up at night

If you think he IS teething, try giving him a dose of tylenol or motrin before bed and see if that makes a difference. If he's still getting up, it's because he's hungry!

From reading your post as well as the other responses, I would have to say that I think you need to be feeding him more during the day. At her 9 month check-up my pediatrician said that my daughter should be eating 100% table food by her first birthday! I know that about that age I told my husband that I felt like all I did all day long was feed her! But when babies don't take in enough calories during the day, they wake up at night to make up the difference. The fact that he was sleeping through the night before would make it seem to me that since his calorie needs have changed, so have his sleep patterns. Get some of the food pouches that you can put some chunk canned peaches in and let him work on that for a while (the peaches are also good frozen when he is teething). Give him a saltine or two (low or no salt version). Try the Gerber puffs. His jaws and gums are as strong as they would be if there were teeth in there. You can give him chopped up deli turkey and ham and he'll plow right through them as well as soft cooked frozen or fresh vegetables.

As far as crying it out...in the 13 months since I have had my daughter, I can say that every time she woke up crying in the middle of the night there was a doggone good reason she was crying! Every once in a while we have a rough night, but I look at that as the trade off for having such a sweet little kid in our lives. If she has a rough night it's becasue she does have teeth coming in or a cold coming on. Her latest body pattern has her making a bowel movement about 2 hours after we put her down. And I'm certainly not about to let her fester in it when she wakes up crying!

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