My 5 Week Old Son Stays Awake for 5 Hours at Night

Updated on January 02, 2010
J.L. asks from Globe, AZ
11 answers

My 5 week old son will stay awake from 1am to 6am. He doesnt cry just fusses and cant seem to relax. I am a first time mom running on 3 hours of sleep a night. Is this normal for a child this young? Any advise would be very helpful. I feed him breastmilk in a bottle and change him but he stays wide awake and will not go back to sleep until the morning.

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answers from Phoenix on

Ok, here is my response, but it's going to include some information on other's comments, so bear with me!

#1- ITA, he has nights and days confused. It's actually a pretty easy fix. During the day, keep things bright and noisy. Make sure he naps good during the day, but don't let him nap longer than 3 hours or so and make sure to have lots of wake and play time in the sun. At night, keep it very dark and very quiet. When you are feeding him, changing him, etc...., try to keep it short and try not to play with him.

#2- Co sleeping is wonderful and does NOT raise the SIDS rate. Far more babies actually die in cribs. BUT you have to be careful about it. Don't put them on a pillow, keep big blankets away from them, use a guard rail so they can't fall off the bed, never drink, never do drugs, never smoke, etc.... Many, many other countries co-sleep, and not because they are "poor" and can't afford a room. Here are some links showing all of the benefits of co-sleeping, how to do it safely, and what the research says about it.:

#3- Please avoid a feeding schedule. That goes along with Babywise and the Ezzos, who wrote a book based on very, very limited research. Formula fed babies are easier to put on a schedule because formula takes much longer to pass through their system as the proteins in the milk are harder for them to break down. Babywise has been linked with failure to thrive, dehydration, etc... Here are some links on demand feeding and the Babywise book...

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Jenn, I am a Newborn Care Specialist and this is a common problem but it is not a necessay one. It is very important that your baby be on a 3 hour feeding/awake schedule during the day. When you feed him, keep him up for as long as he will stay awake but not over 45 min. (at 5 weeks) Watch his sleepy signs and put him down awake but sleepy. At night you will follow a routine. Make it the same routine every night. ie: bath, swaddle, feed say I love you good night and put him down. A baby's biological clock is much earlier than an adults and they must be in bed for the night by no later than 7:30 most babies are anywhere from 6PM - 7:30. That is the last time you will wake them to feed them (at the 3 hour mark) At night you use NO stimulation. Feed in the dark, change in the dark (only if poopy)No talking, kissing, singing. You want to make the night no fun for them to be up.
Between the hours of 5 and 7 PM keep the baby up as much as possible. This will be the crucial time.
If you have any other questions please mail me. This is my job and I love what I do.
By 5 weeks a baby should be sleeping 5 hours straight at night and by 12 weeks - 12 hours. We do this by very gentle stretching methods, not crying it out.
Baby should be fun not exhausting.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

When your pregnant with him, it's common for the baby to sleep inside you while you are moving about during the day. At night while you're sleeping, child wakes up and kicks up a storm. After they are born, it's common for them to have their days and nights switched. Grab some sleep when ever he naps during the day or night. Eventually he'll switch over, but it can take awhile.


answers from Tucson on

I had the same problem with my first daughter. She had her day and night mixed up for the first 2 months. Try keeping him awake more durring the day. See if that helps. Thats what we did and eventually she figured it out. She still woke up a lot at night, which is normal anyways. Just feed him, change him if he needs it and put him back to bed. Also you could ask your pediatrician for advice. Good Luck.



answers from Tucson on

You certainly have my sympathy! My son was the same way around your little boy's age. He developed "colic" (this is just a word doctors use to ease the worries of first time moms!) which really just meant he fussed at night, and most days too. It WILL get better. There's nothing wrong with your son. Just stay strong, hang in there, get support wherever you can and wait for this phase to pass.



answers from Phoenix on

Great advice already....
Please read or watch The Baby Whisperer. A fantastic book which discusses and teaches new mommies about this exact issue. It's your job to retrain the baby from the moment they are born. During the pregnancy when you are awake and active, the baby sleeps to the gentle rhythm and massage of your movements. During the night when you rest, the baby can then move freely and be quite active. Totally opposite of what we need. Just follow the advice below about keeping the daytime busy, active, noisy, vacuuming, music, etc. He'll switch before you know it.
Best of luck and happy switching!



answers from Phoenix on

He has his days and nights mixed up - keep him awake longer during the day. When he seems like he is going to doze off, stimulate him with a toy or change his position. Taking him down on the floor and getting down there may help. Of course he will need some sleep, but try to make his awake times a little longer each time. Also - you sleep when he sleeps - every time - at least try to sleep. Close your eyes and rest if you cannot sleep. God bless you and your family.


answers from Phoenix on

hi, im 9mths praggers and i feel almost all movement at night, when i asked my doctor about it she advised me to be very patient cause more than likly she will be wide awake at night and its now my duty to put her on a normal schedule before i go insane, i think its normal from what my doctor advised me....sometimes it happens, i would try to keep baby up most the day, but i know for you it would be hard since you must be exausted...i would avoid the co-sleeping if possible i was told by my first sons doctor that risk of SIDS goes up... well i do wish you the best of luck..and will keep u in my prayers, i hope you get good sleep tonight!


answers from Phoenix on

Have you considered co-sleeping? That way he can nurse when he wants to (much easier than getting up to nurse or bottle-feed) and you can doze. I discovered co-sleeping when our doctor recommended it, and have never looked back - it's lovely to get SLEEP!

It will take a while for him to get his days and nights straight - when they are in the womb, they basically have them reversed, so it takes a while.


answers from Modesto on

With my son I turned on a light blue light when it was night time and stayed in the same room with him no matter what during the night. Also during the day we made it really exciting to be awake at that time by letting in the sunlight and music and toys etc. Also a night time routine is good to get them started on so they know that there is a difference and between night and day. good luck hope that helps



answers from Phoenix on

Although my first guy was on a relatively normal schedule since birth, I think it helped that we tried to keep him awake and stimulated during daylight hours. He did tummy time since birth, and that really seemed to keep him alert and awake during the day. I also allowed him to nurse super long right before bed, which definitely allowed him to sleep much longer (6 hours straight since 2 weeks). As for co-sleeping, I LOVED it while nursing. It makes things a million times easier, but just make sure the baby is in a safe location (we had the moses basket on the bed). There are tons of products out there for little ones to keep them safe in bed with you. Good luck!!!

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