28 answers

New Sleeping Pattern for 4 Month Old

My husband and I have a beautiful 4 month old baby girl who has been sleeping in her crib and through the night since she was 2 months old - until this week that is. Also, during this past week she seems to be napping quite a bit during the day (usually a 2-3 hour nap in the morning and evening, plus 45-60 mins between every feeding - she eats every three hours). She usually goes to bed around 8:30 or 9:00 and was sleeping until 6:30 or 7:00am. For the past three nights she has been waking up at 3am. The first night I fed her and she went right back to sleep, but when she did it again I realized we need to break her of this pattern and not give into it. Last night I just gave her the pacifier at 3, 4, 5 and then my husband got up with her at 6. She seemed to be falling right back asleep, but I'm not sure if that is the right thing to do. Should I feed her when she wakes up in the middle of the night? Should I make her play more during the day so she is tired at night or is she going through a growth spurt and needs the rest? HELP!!!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

From amazon.com order Gina Ford's book "The New Contented Baby Book." Gina Ford is a top British nanny who provides sleeping and eating schedules for the first few years of life. It is very popular in England/

Has she been sick? I know when mine are either teething, have an ear infection, or just plain sick, they get exactly like that! Hopefully it will pass! Hang in there!

Most children go through a sleep regression at 4 months. Many babies who once were sleeping through the night "take a break." Their brains are reorganizing their sleep patterns and it causes some temporary disruptions. If the pacifier soothes her back to sleep, my guess is she isn't starving or that wouldn't soothe her. Someone else mentioned Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Dr. Weissbluth. Amazing book. I cannot recommend it enough. But, anyway, stick with it...she'll probably go back to her old ways soon. And she might need an earlier bedtime, too.

More Answers

Hi S.,
I went through this with my son and we hired a sleep trainer. Here is what she taught us so you can benefit. She got my son to sleep through the night in less than a week! He has been sleeping through the night since he was 5 months old!

Here is the recommended sleep schedule for a baby of 4 months old:

7am - wake

8:30am or 9am - first nap for 2 hours

12:30 or 1pm - second nap for 2 hours

4:30pm - 3rd nap for 45 minutes

7pm BEDTIME (a later bedtime will disrupt night sleep AND day sleep)

When she wakes in the middle of the night, go in the room and pat her and shhh her and give her pacifier, but no eye contact and don't take out of crib. leave after 3 minutes. wait 5 mintues before you return. do again. wait 10 minutes before next re-entry. do again. wait 15 minutes before next re-entry. the idea is to do MINIMAL intervention to get her to fall back asleep so she learns to soothe herself back to sleep. by waiting an additional 5 minutes each time, she gets in the habit of working it out herself. do the same when you put her down for SCHEDULED naps. i think the problems your baby is having is due to being overtired. too late of a bedtime, not consistent naps. I hope this helps!! Write me at ____@____.com if you want to chat more!
M. (a happy, well rested Mom of a 14 month old boy!)

p.s. at 4 months, your baby should not need a feeding in the middle of the night anymore unless they are underweight and pediatrician recommends...

1 mom found this helpful

my daughter is also 4 months old and started doing this about a month ago i just started giving her baby cereal before she went to bed and it has stopped since.

1 mom found this helpful

Sleeping patterns change throughout the first year of life. Some babies sleep a lot at first and then suddenly are awake at times that you don't expect. It sounds like to me she is needing more food in the middle of the night where once she did not. Growth spurts occur at 4 months. I would get up and feed her. You aren't spoiling her as you can't spoil an infant when they don't know why they are crying. She is asking for something so give it to her. She will feel more trusted and will settle back into a routine. If she is spitting out the pacifier, she is wanting something more. I DO NOT reccomend doing solids in a bottle. Feeding solids is okay at 4 months, but should only be given with a spoon. Babies are learning what food is and by putting it into a bottle, it can confuse the brain. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

your daughter is still very little. If she wakes during the night then by all means feed her. She isn't trying to manipulate you and she cannot be spoiled. She is likely hungry due to a growth spurt.

Check out the book Healthy Sleep Patterns,Happy Baby by Weissbluth. This should give you some tips and some understanding on how sleep patterns change during the first year.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there! My daughter has always been a good sleeper so when she started waking up, and it was around that age, i always fed her and she knocked back out. She never made it a habit though, but she was also teething around that time. Before bed when she was teething real bad, i would give her some baby tylenol. I also had her up more during the day. By the time she was 7 months or so she was napping two times a day. My neighbor had her kids up after 4pm. They were i think 6 weeks when she had them take their naps before and ONLY before 4pm. She kept them up after that and they were sleeping through the night since.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

The answer is simple, it's a growth spurt. Which means that she might be transitioning to a 4-hour schedule pretty soon if not overnight. Feed her as much as she tells you she needs - whenever. And she should be going back to sleeping through the night within a week or so..if not within days. This is temporary.

I wouldn't create any new habits that may affect her schedule.

My son is a week shy of 4 months and is in the middle of a growth spurt. He just transitioned to a 4-hour schedule today, and started sleeping 12 hours last night. He was sleeping 8-10 hours before that. Try to maintain a schedule as best as you can, but during a growth spurt, the schedule will go a little topsy turvy, however, it always gets back on track.

btw, early phases of growth spurts are around, 2, 3, 6 weeks and around the 3rd or 4th month and at 6 months..

1 mom found this helpful

Check out this website for sleep info:

My three month old, breastfed, can sleep from 8pm-2am, without needing a feeding which is awesome if you think about in the regards of going 6 hours. But he hasn't started solids and just barely doubled his weight so until he starts solids I wouldn't expect him to sleep much more than 6-8 without needing a feeding. I'm sure your daughter's doctor would tell you the same, not to expect a four month old who hasn't started solids to sleep much longer than a 6-8 hour block :)
I would definitely feed her after 6-8 hours. Sorry, but someday we'll get our sleep back.

Is she rolling over?? My daughter had this happen to her when she discovered this new trick. I handled it badly and fed her. I should have let her "work it out" herself, but she never slept well again. She is three now and she wakes up about 2 hours after she goes to sleep. Good luck

My son started sleeping the 9-7 deal about 1 month. So when at four months he woke at 3 or 4am I was shocked in the third night and wondered if my past fortune was about to end. Each time I fed him when he woke once in bed keeping him there because we both passed out. Then the other two times putting him back in the crib immediately. He's gone back to his good ol' ways since and is almost six months old. Just stick it out she otta go back. They are growing or getting teeth or temperature changes in the house.

I was reading your description and it sounds exactly like my daughter who is 4.5 months. She slept through the night at 7 weeks, breastfed every 3 hours, and has the identical nap schedule. She did what you described for almost 3 weeks, until about 2 weeks ago. I thought, what happened to my scheduled baby?!? All her training went out the window! What seemed to work for us was adding a supplemental feeding at night halfway in between her last two feedings. This feeding I or my husband gives her in a bottle. It's either expressed milk or formula (I gave in), and anywhere from 2-5 ounces. We then do a night time routine, bath, massage, feed and she sleeps through the night again. I was pulling my (already falling out) hair out trying to figure out what to do to get back on track. Hope this works for you!

Hi S.,
I haven't read the book yet but a girlfriend of mine loves the book Healthy Sleep habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. She said it worked wonders for her daughter who sleeps twelve hours a night! Good luck whatever you decide:)

My little son is almost 6 months old and he has had different sleep patterns also. I think it's normal!

She probably is going thru a growth spurt and probably should let her sleep. I found that with a small baby, just go with what they're doing. When she wakes up at night, breastfeed her and let her go back to sleep, don't play with her. Babies need a lot of sleep.

When my baby woke up at night after sleeping through the night at times, I would just feed him and put him back to sleep in his crib. The idea being that it's time to sleep now. After a while, he just went back to sleeping through the night.

Hope this helps you!

G. T.

she may be teething too- that always disrupts patterns. There isn't a right or wrong thing to do. Do what works for you. I nurse when my 4 month old wakes up because it is easier. I'll force the whole sleeping through the night thing at 6 months. That's when I'll introduce solids too so I feel he's more likely to be full. Obviously nursing to sleep again has to stop sometime but for me 4 months is still young.

I would say don't do the nightime feedings as a general rule. It sounds like she is getting enough sleep during the day. Maybe try to solidify it into 3 naptimes (for example: 9-12-3) or 2 longer naptimes (for example: 9-12 and 1:30/2-4/5) and then do an early bedtime 6:30/7 with a wake-up time and feeding around 7. She could be growing or she could be getting in teeth, but I would probably still refrain from feeding at night.
I am a sleep consultant. Please check me out and subscribe to my blog at kidstosleep.blogspot.com.

Sounds normal :-) I agree with the growth spurt and teething analysis. My baby is 5 months and around 4 months and again at 5 he did the same thing for a couple nights. Depending on the cry determines if we feed him or not and if we do it is only 2 oz or a watered down bottle (so he doesn't get in the habit of thinking a good meal is worth getting up for - we track his eating so we know how much he is getting and if this happens sometimes it was b/c he was shorted during the day). I've done the pacifier thing too every hour or so to get us through the night. It usually passes after 2-3 days and then life is normal again. I jokingly tell my son in the morning that there will be no more waking up and next time he can cry and ironically it doesn't happen again. Good Luck!

A sleep trainer for babies- now I've heard everything! I feel so sorry for our kids these days. Babies being trained to not do what they were designed to do - insanity! You should absolutely feed your daughter when she wakes up at night. You have been lucky for the last two months, and it spoiled you. :0) Do not think of night feedings as "giving in" to her, or as something she needs to be broken of. Absolutely not! Just the opposite, they are something YOU need to get used to. Babies were designed to need several night feedings, so you are, indeed, spoiled. Certainly there are parents who feel a good night's sleep is more important than giving their baby what babies were designed to need, but you don't want to be one of those parents. You want a healthy, happy, secure baby who can rest assured that her needs will not be "trained" out of her.

Here is the bottom line. There is one constant in motherhood - CHANGE! Children - and especially babies - are CONSTANTLY growing, changing, developing. And mommy needs to, as well. Roll with it. Just because she did or did not do something last month is no indication that it will be that way forever after. She could be teething. She could be having a growth spurt. It could be any number of things. It could be several reasons combined. Once she starts standing and walking you will have years and years ahead of you in which to train her and guide her and set the boundaries. Until then, tune in to her needs, read her signals, and follow her lead.

Hi S.,

My daughter wakes up every night around 3 for a bottle and has since she was 3 months old and started sleeping through most of the night. She always goes right back to sleep.

It sounds like she needs to be a bit more active during the day. Chloe has play time in the morning and then her nap then we play until midafternoon. She takes a short nap to recharge herself and then we play until 5 and then she takes her last nap of the day. Then we do quiet playing and reading until her bedtime at 8:30. Playtime for Chloe includes pool time (she loves kicking her feet in the water) or me holding her while she tries to walk. It can be anything that makes her active.

Good luck!

It could very well be a growth spurt. But it could also turn into a habit after the spurt in done. If you don't go to bed until a couple of hours after your daughter does, you could try waking her for a feeding before you go to bed. I did this with my babies until they were about 5 months old. I would put them to bed around 7pm, then wake for a feeding before I went to bed around 10 or 11pm, then they would sleep through the night until morning (about 7 am). This might solve the 3 am feeding issue. On this feeding routine, I never really noticed my babies' growth spurts (their nightime sleep was never affected by it, anyway). Until I got into this routine with my first baby, he would randomly wake for a 3 am feeding, but giving him a feeding before I went to bed put a stop to that!:) So with baby #2, I did this from the beginning, and he no longer woke for a 3 am feeding after he was 3 weeks old (now THAT I never expected, but I was grateful!).

Hope this helps!

From amazon.com order Gina Ford's book "The New Contented Baby Book." Gina Ford is a top British nanny who provides sleeping and eating schedules for the first few years of life. It is very popular in England/

A 4-mo-old that eats every 3hrs...I'm guessing your baby is breast-fed...is that correct? If so then that is about the time 3 of my 4 children began needing supplement bottles before bedtime. It's best not to introduce solid foods until at least 6-mo-old, but 1 of my children was introduced to cereal around at the age of your baby (he was a 8 1/2 pound baby at birth). Perhaps a little bit of cereal in the baby's bottle at night will satisfy her appetite enough to sleep thoough the night??? I strongly think that is the problem with her waking up all of a sudden even though she slept through the night until a week ago. I always breast-fed my babies on demand but if your little girl was sleeping through the night until a week ago, I think she is beginning to wake up because she's hungry. The pacifier helps with sucking needs only, but with you saying you gave her the pacifier every hours x3 hrs??? I think your little girl needs more calories or food intake in order to satisfy her for an extended period of time now.

My son also started waking up in the middle of the night around this age. I think it was due in large part to hunger but I also read that it is a normal part of their development. Around this time they are becoming increasingly alert and aware of their surroundings so when they wake up, sometimes they want to check things out. You have to teach them that night is for sleeping and how to go back to sleep on their own. If you haven't read it already, there is a great book on babies and sleep called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I highly recommend it. It is great for helping develop a sleep schedule that encourages optimal sleep for your child.

If she seems hungry then yes feed her. She might be needing more calories through out the day. Have you tried giving her bigger bottles in the day or maybe squeezing in another feeding? Also...have you tried any solids? We started giving our boys sweet potatoes at bedtime around 4 months and ever since have not woken up because of hunger. She could be going through a growth spurt either physically or mentally and that might wake her up. If you dont think she is hungry keep on with the pacifier she will learn to go back to sleep.

Most children go through a sleep regression at 4 months. Many babies who once were sleeping through the night "take a break." Their brains are reorganizing their sleep patterns and it causes some temporary disruptions. If the pacifier soothes her back to sleep, my guess is she isn't starving or that wouldn't soothe her. Someone else mentioned Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Dr. Weissbluth. Amazing book. I cannot recommend it enough. But, anyway, stick with it...she'll probably go back to her old ways soon. And she might need an earlier bedtime, too.

If she's not crying when she wakes up, just leave her alone and she'll fall back to sleep. Maybe she's getting a tooth or something else is bothering her. Just keep an eye on her and go with your instincts. Good luck. :)

When my 5 year old was 6 months old, I experienced the same thing. I got the best advice from the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weiss (I may be mistaken about the author but not the title of the book). We referred to it as the "yellow sleep book" in my MOMS Club and many of us found it very, very helpful. The book describes going to sleep like surfing a wave - you have to catch it at the right moment. Babies who are too tired do not sleep well.

So these are the 2 things that changed my life. First, I put my daughter down for her first morning nap 1 hour after she woke up. It sounded so crazy and I thought there was no way she'd sleep since she'd just woken up, but sure enough she did. And that set the tone for the whole rest of the day. The other thing was moving her bedtime up an hour from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Again, completely counterintuative to me, but strangely it worked. I realized that the problem in my house was that I didn't have my baby on a schedule b/c I was so busy running around with my 2 year old at the time. Once I established the first morning nap, I became more attuned to my daughter's sleep cues and followed them to set her nap schedule, and then I stuck to it. The more she slept in the day the more she slept through the night. Let's face it, a baby's life is one big growth spurt!

The book also recommends that you let the baby cry it out in the middle of the night, but thankfully I only had to do that once.

Get the book. It addresses sleep issues at different stages of growth and is invaluable.

Has she been sick? I know when mine are either teething, have an ear infection, or just plain sick, they get exactly like that! Hopefully it will pass! Hang in there!

It's the 4 month growth spurt. The next one is at 6 months. Your action depends on your method of feeding??

Wow, do we share the same child? You've just about explained word for word what my past week has been like.
I'm suspecting it's one of a few things. Either she's teething and it's making her restless at night and she's losing enough sleep to be more tired during the day, or she's going through a growth spurt and needs more sleep or she's just trying to react to the new things and experiences that she's taking in through the day and is having a hard time settling at night.
My little one is 5 months and I'm just waiting for those little teeth to poke through. She also found her feet recently and now can't seem to settle her legs at night.

I personally decided to not give additional feedings because I don't want it to become her new routine. If she does indeed require more food then it should be offered during the day by feeding more often or a larger amount at feedings. She'll adjust easier that way.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.