12 answers

Sleep Training 4 Month Old

My son is 4 months old and I am looking for advice/suggestions to sleep train him. I have read Weissbluth's book as well as the Baby Whisperer. I am thinking of doing controlled crying as I've spoken to parents that say that crying it out really works. He used to wake up once each night, then 2 weeks ago he got sick and now is up 3 or 4 times each night and has developed this habit. I assume if I can get him to fall asleep on his own, he will be able to put himself back to sleep when he wakes up during the night for no reason. I do feed him once over night, but won't feed him more than that. If I do, he doesn't drink more than an ounce. Right now I put him to bed between 7:30 and 8:00, feed him again at 10:30 (5 oz with cereal) and he's still up every 2 hours thereafter.

My older son is 3 1/2 and is still waking up multiple times each night (we laid with him to fall asleep for WAY too long) and I don't want the baby to develop the same bad habits. He can't fall asleep himself, so we're working on sleep training him right now too.

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the advice!!! We no longer lay with the 3 year old to go to bed (we sit on the floor and gradually move out of the room) and reward him in the morning for not coming to get daddy. It's only been 4 days, but we're on the right track!

I am gradually switching the baby's formula to Enfamil A.R. which is a formula for spitting up. He's been spitting up A LOT and I'm thinking that is why he's waking, because either he's very hungry because he spit everything up, or he's uncomfortable. He has starting to drool and suck furiously on his hands, so I'm sure some teeth will pop through soon.

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I'm guessing he's teething. That was always the issue with my daughter. If his gums are pink and swollen that is definitely the case. Try infant ibuprofen, the homeopathic teething pills seemed to help a little. I would avoid tylenol, it doesn't work as well, and there has been a link to asthma and repeated tylenol use.

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I recommend the book On Becoming Babywise. It is short, don't worry. It focuses on a good, full sleep schedule. Making sure there is a schedule during the day with plenty of rest time and plenty of nap time allows baby to sleep through the night-I know it sounds off, but a too tired baby has a hard time going to sleep. He says to get daytime down first, night will naturally follow. Do you have a good daytime schedule down?

I saw this with two of my children (one needed a little push and one I had before I read the books). Two of them were sleeping through the night by 7 weeks.

I have not ready Weissbluth's book (it was on hold forever) and it's been years since I read Baby Whisperer (scanned it last year).

My four children 8, 4 and 1 year old twins sleep through the night most of the time, it's my sanity.

BTW there are toddler sleep habit books out there-I would look for that if you want to work on your 3 year old (do the baby first). I wish I could remember the title, but I read it with newborn twins.

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

I think Mom MR's advice is excellent. Start sleep training your baby, as it will be much easier than training your 3 year old. The nice thing about Dr. Weissbluth's book is it discusses sleep issues for children at every age -- all the way through adolescence. I'm sure you will find help and advice for getting your 3 year old to sleep through the night.

If your baby is 4 months old from his original gestational due date (40 weeks), then he is not too young to sleep train! Cry-it-out can be tough for many Moms, but it is the fastest method. Controlled crying is considered a much more gentle approach, but it will take the baby longer to learn. Either way, you will be on the right path! You need to be comfortable too!

Best of luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

I read Weissbluth's book cover to cover and implemented the techniques to the letter with my child. He is nearly 3.

My only regret is that I waited until he was 6 months old - I wish I would have started at 4 months instead. We had a completely different child once we helped him become more well-rested. The crankiness nearly disappeared! It was unbelievably easy to teach him to be able to take two solid naps and then sleep from 6:30 PM until 7:00 AM every night. It literally took 3 days for him to take to the concept. To this day, he still takes a nice nap daily and sleeps about 11-12 hours a night, with no fussing at bedtime.

If I were in your shoes, I'd get the 4 month old going first. He's younger and will likely be more receptive to 'change'. Your 3 year old has had, well, over 3 years of one routine and now you're going to up and change things on him. He might not be so receptive and it will likely be tougher to work on than with the 4 month old. Do the easier task first and then work on your older child. Whatever you do, be painstakingly consistent. You want your children to receive the same message day in and day out, because the minute you try one technique but then switch it up, they realize that you're going to cave in and making the transition will be that much harder (this is more for the 3 year old...he will think he can wear you down and try to get you to go back to the 'old way' with more resistance).

Good luck to you and here's to happy sleeping!

1 mom found this helpful

I'm guessing he's teething. That was always the issue with my daughter. If his gums are pink and swollen that is definitely the case. Try infant ibuprofen, the homeopathic teething pills seemed to help a little. I would avoid tylenol, it doesn't work as well, and there has been a link to asthma and repeated tylenol use.

4 months really is too young. 5 1/2 - 6 months is about the earliest you want to try according to "The Sleep Easy Solution" which we used to successfully train our now 2 year old. She's a great sleeper and I really attribute that to the training and a good routine. Good luck!

Cry it out (Weissbluth) does not work for every child!!!! We were guided by our ped to start at 4 months and it didn't work then nor at 5 months when we tried again for almost a month. So I wish people would stop saying it works for all kids cause it doesn't no matter how to the tee you follow his methods it does not fit every child.

All kids are different so don't be disappointed if this method does not work.

Good luck!

your child is way too young for that! please do more research before you do that to your child! Soon teething starts and they are in pain, and you are just going to let the baby sit there and cry to sleep? Have you done any research on this? they say NEVER to do this before 6 months at the EARLIEST! I recommend going to Dr.sears.com and looking at what he has to say about sleep.

Please don't let him cry it out. At this age, he is too young for it. Letting him cry now, when he is not yet capable of manipulative crying, only serves to teach him that when he needs Mom and Dad, they won't come. Teething might be the cause of the more frequent waking, and there's not much you can do about that.

The Sleep Book by Dr. William Sears has been our go-to book for sleep issues. It really fit with our parenting philosophy.

Hang in there! It will get better.

I started doing cry it out at around 4 months for my daughter falling asleep at night (at around 7pm). But I still got up to feed her at night until she was 9 months. Between six and nine months, every month or so I'd let her cry a little while at night to see if she'd fall back asleep when she woke up. Until 9 months, she kept crying and did need to get up and eat. At around 9 months, when I let her cry she'd fall back asleep, and after a few nights of that it broke the habit of night waking. I personally feel that any time under a year, if they need to wake up to eat, then they need to do that. Just don't allow any play time - eat and sleep, that's it. Four months is far too young in my opinion to expect the child to sleep through the night. If they do it on their own, great. But most do not, and that's ok and normal. I also started to establish a little bit of a nap schedule around 4 months.

Hi R.,

If you'd like to try controlled crying, I would recommend waiting until your baby is at least 5 or 6 months old. Also, you should know that it doesn't work for all babies. Some babies are very receptive to it. Others cry for over an hour and it doesn't help them go to sleep on their own. Also, just because a baby can fall asleep on his own (i.e. by crying it out) doesn't necessarily mean he'll go back to sleep on his own. And I would recommend letting him cry to go to sleep and then waiting awhile (until he's only crying for a few minutes or less) to let him cry when he wakes up during the night.

Eventually he'll sleep through the night on his own. So just hang in there!

Best of luck,
R.

4 months is waaaaaaaay to early to "cry it out". They should be 10 months or 20lbs, which ever comes first. I waited until mine was 1 year old before we did this. She was waking up every 2-3 hours since birth, so the first year was brutal. She now sleeps like a champ. Even though it was hard, I'm glad we waited to do the "cry it out" method until she was 12 months.

His sleep patterns sound much like my babies did at 4 month. He would wake up every two hours and could not get himself back to sleep so I would nurse him and that was the only thing that would work. 4 months is too young to let them cry it out very much, as they really might be hungry or simply need you. Around 5 months, we let him cry for about 15 minutes and he did figure out how to fall asleep. If it is much longer than than, we went in to soothe him or feed him (depending on how long it had been since he ate last). He is now 6 1/2 and sleeps from 8-5 most nights, sometimes will wake up around 12 and I will feed him. At 5, he goes back to sleep until 7-8. I would just be patient, I felt like we were creating bad habits too, but the cry it out method was too harsh for me. If he is crying, he likely needs his mommy (or thinks he does) One more thing, people told me that he would probably teething since he was waking so often... still no teeth! Good luck!

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