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.

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