11 answers

My 4 Month Old Seems to Sleep So Little

my 4 month old son only takes about 3 or 4 20 min naps a day. he hardly ever goes down for more than that during the day. also at night he wakes up every 2 hours or so if not more, and he rubs his eyes really hard and moves his head back and forth like he is having a hard time sleeping. he is pretty gassy most of the time, so i think that has something to do w/ it too. i am strictly breastfeeding @ night, but during the day he gets some formula, i have tried giving him formula before bed to fill him up, but it dosnt seem to help. has anyone else had similar problems?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

More Answers

1) Feed on demand, 24/7, if you are not already.
2) A baby this age typically gets "tired" after about 2-3 hours of "awake" time. So gauge his naps that way. And keep consistent about his nap times/routines. EVERYDAY have the same routine. This helps a baby a great deal.
3) he sounds either "over-tired", or did not get a "full" nap... and was woken before he could get back to sleep on his own and continue napping. (babies often stir or "seem" awake... but actually are not completely done with their nap. Try not picking him up right away, unless he is crying.... and see if he will go back to sleep).
4) rubbing his eyes, and moving his head back and forth... tells me that he is STILL tired and not done napping... this is a thing that MANY babies do... when they are tired. They do "rhythmic" movements to get back to sleep.
5) If he is gassy... use infant gas drops. That is what we used with our babies. It helps a great deal.
6) "filling up" a baby prior to bed, does not always "make" a baby sleep all night.
7) he is 4 months old.... at 3 months old, this is/was a growth-spurt time... and when they need increased intake to keep up with their growing body and rapid development.
8) sleep phases does occur... and so, it often just affect their sleep. Its normal.
9) Make sure you do have adequate milk supply.... or he will not be getting enough either. Also make sure he is latching on properly... or he will not be getting enough from nursing either.
10) some babies, will only nap well, in their crib/at home. Not on the road in a stroller. BOTH my kids were like that.
So I was always home at their nap times.
11) a baby this age, will not have a regular sleep pattern yet. It takes time, he is still so young.
12) Per my Pediatrician, for the 1st year of life, a baby needs to be fed on-demand 24/7, as this is their PRIMARY source of nutrition. NOT solids, and not other liquids.
13) "Sleeping through the night", for a baby, means sleeping at least 5-6 hours straight. A baby this age, will typically not be sleeping all night. They wake because they are hungry. This is normal. My kids woke like that too.

A great book is "What To Expect The First Year", which you can find at any bookstore.

Just some ideas,
All the best,

1 mom found this helpful

HI, I have 13 month old twins but we went through the same thing around the same age. that is when I turned to the techniques in Healthy Sleeping Habits, Happy Child. I really needed them on a schedule for my own sanity and of course it is very beneficial in their growth and development to get good naps in. At night, one was a good sleeper and one woke up a lot like your son. We just had to let him cry it out. I put them down at 7; the bad sleeper would wake up at midnight and I would get him up change him and give him a bottle (soft light, and no talking or interaction) he then would wake up two or three hours later and I just let him cry. Each night his crying would be for shorter and shorter periods until he finally would sleep until 5. At 13 months he sleeps from 730 to 5 am. Not the best but I think he just can function on less since he is very happy all the time. I HIGHLY recommend the book I mentioned. and P.S. "filling" him up did not work for us. I personally think they just want us not the bottle that is why little eye contact and talking is the best way to go at night. Good luck!

4 month growth spurt. feed more often.
basically, your baby is waking more often to be fed. i believe that this is the MAIN reason at this age (4months), especially if your baby was sleeping well before this (otherwise it's also gas etc.).
plus, he's more alert now..so he may not need as many naps. But at around this stage, your baby is almost ready to go about 2 naps a day (morning and afternoon). I started transitioning my two kids to a 4-hour schedule around 4-5 months.

Basically, a four-hour schedule. For my kids, it went like this

breakfast at 8a.m.,
Nap at 10a.m.,
LUNCH at noon,
Nap at 2pm.,
Dinner at 4-5p.m.,
nighttime bottle at 6-7ish then down for bed ...THROUGH THE NIGHT; no middle-of-night feeding)

well babies don't really know how to sleep ..they have to learn how to fall asleep..and yes the gas could be the problem..try colic tablets by Hylands that worked for gas on my son..only thing that did. If you're not using Good Start Supreme Comfort Protein formula u may want to try it..introduce it slowly..whenever u switch formulas u introduce it an ounce at a time. At 4 months i remember i used to nap with my son..then i'd sneak out and leave my pj top w/ him and i left a wig on the bed so if he opened his eyes he'd see some hair..i know sounds nutty..i have a lot of wigs from when i was into theater.
then when he'd wake i'd go back in and lay down w/ him til he fell asleep again..they want to be close to u still.
You could also try the stroller technique my mom taught me..she would push my son back and forth in the stroller facing him towards a boring wall..then he'd fall asleep and she'd wheel him into his bedroom..we'd get good naps then..
Do u have his room blacked out w/ black out curtains and a sound machine?
You could also add just a little more water to the formula than you have been sometimes that helps with gas also.

You may need to alter what you are eating...what we consume ends up in breastmilk. With our son it was all about routine. Go to bed at same time, playing soft music. Maybe he just doesn't want to miss a moment.

SH gave great advice.

SH gave great advice. Everything she said is right on. Feed on demand is very important for babies. Like she said feedings are different sometimes babies have growth sprouts and NEED more feedings. I did not put out enough milk. I found out when I was pumping my milk supply was very low. (I found this out right away) So I pumped what I could and put it in the refrigerator and fed him formula most of the time. When my milk added up to what he needed for a feeding I fed him my milk. As long as it was still good.
Like I always say you can never spoil a baby. The more you are there for them when they are babies the more secure they are later. A CHOC Doctor and nurse told me this.

He might be reacting to something you are eating. Eliminate "the big eight" (google allergenic foods) from your diet and see if that helps. You could keep a food journal and his reactions, also, but it is one step removed, so I think you might be better off eliminating the major culprits for 2 weeks and reintroducing them one at a time for a week to see what might be bothering him. Good luck

yes, we had a similar problem. my baby had a food allergy and once i took out what she was allergic to it helped her sleed longer. also, try to make a scheduel and stick by it. i use the 12hours by 12 weeks book and it helped!
you baby might have a soy or dariy allergy... or stay away from gassy foods. dont eat brocoly, beans etc while you are breast feeding.

aslo, is your baby pooping a lot thru out the day?

I had the same problem and then I read The No Cry Nap Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and it really helped. There are a lot of suggestions on how to get your baby to nap longer. I never realized how important naps are. Plus she mentions that longer naps during the day actaully helps baby sleep better through the night. Good luck!

I agree, SH had some great advice. the biggest one for us was when we realized we were not paying attention to her tired cues and in fact we were preventing her from sleeping when she needed to. Sleep begets sleep and at that age I think our daughter stayed up maybe two hours and then needed to go back down to sleep.
once we figured out what her sleep cues were and when she was telling us she was tired, she ended up sleeping more, it developed into more of a schedule and by the end of her first year she was on a schedule of regular bedtime, nap time, etc. some kids aren't great sleepers though; ours dropped the second daytime nap around 11 months and many kids do a morning then afternoon nap until almost 18 months.
I think the most important thing is to pay attention to your child's cues and what he needs.

I just posted a request for help too! My 4 month old has been waking every hour at night and takes 30-40 min naps during the day. I am breastfeeding, but going to start weaning him and begin feeding formula. I share your pain, but have no idea how to help!

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