12 Week Old Wakes up Every 2 Hours at Night

Updated on December 12, 2010
G.J. asks from Jersey City, NJ
8 answers

my 12 week old happy and cuddly son is not a good sleeper! i feel like we have tried all of the tricks and are following all of the healthy sleep promoting routines....yet he still won't sleep longer than 3 hours (maybe 4 once or twice) at the beginning of the night. during the day we have him on the eat, awake an hour, then nap 1 1/2 hours schedule and that works out fine...except for that he still will only sleep in the ergo baby. at bedtime, i do the bath, sleepy time lotion, swaddle, nurse, rock and then put him down while awake yet sleepy. i even do an extra feed a couple hourse before he goes down, so that his belly is full. he does well with this routine and goes to sleep quite consistently between 8-11 pm. but this is when the "fun" begins. after his first night time feeding it is nearly impossible to put him back down...and if he does go down, then he is almost sure to wake up by 2 am or earlier. i have to admit that many times if i bring him into our bed to nurse, then i fall asleep with him until around 2, so this might be the problem? in any case, by 3 am he is restless and will seemingly not sleep in my bed or in his crib. if i bring him in with me to nurse him, then he is very restless, only sleeping an hour max and nursing the other times. as a result i'm pretty much awake between 3 am and 7 am...or at least that's what it feels like.
i am aware that it is not unusual for a baby this young to not sleep the night through, but i have been back at work for the past few weeks and i'm exhausted. i feel like he should at least be able to sleep for 4 hours at a time, but at this point i'm out of ideas. maybe i just need to commiserate (all the other new moms at my work seem to have babies who slept through the night by 11 weeks!) any new tips would be welcome, however!

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So What Happened?

thanks for all of your advice!! the other night he slept 7 hours!!! i couldn't believe my eyes when i looked at the clock. it has only happened once so far, but i'm hoping this is a glimpse of what is to come...soon! the main thing that i changed about our bedtime routine, is that i put him to bed an hour earlier than i have before! i'm keeping with this new schedule with hopes that the 7 hour stint happens again.

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answers from Dothan on

Its normal, there isnt much you can do. Have you used swaddling? my kids loved that till they were 6 months old. Sorry hunny, I went through the same if not worse schedules with my 2. Just going to have to ride it out.

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answers from Gainesville on

Babies sleep thru the night when they are physically able to and breastfed babies don't always do this well till they are weaned.

Just part of the deal with being a parent. Parenting doesn't stop at night, doesn't stop because we are tired, doesn't stop because we are sick, went back to work, and on and on.

Both of my kids were exclusively breastfed and both slept thru the night at very different times. Once I taught my son to sleep he would pull 10-13 hours straight. My daughter never did that well till she was almost a year old. And she still wakes in the night even now more than my son ever did.

I highly recommend reading Dr. Sears Baby Sleep Book, The Baby Whisperer and The No-Cry Sleep Solution. These were literally life-savers with my first when I was running on empty from caring for him as a preemie with high needs. I used all 3 books to come up with a great sleep plan.

But at 12 weeks you can't really expect baby to follow a sleep routine/teaching fully. He is still getting his days/nights squared away. There are no days or nights in the womb.

Also, google 4th trimester. He is right on the tail end but there is great info that is very helpful.

I would try when he wakes for the first time around 11, change him, swaddle him then nurse him back to sleep. Try using a sleep wedge (designed to fit tightly under the sheet, found at Babies R Us) just in case he has a little reflux that might be making it hard for him to lay back down after nursing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My son is now 7 months but that sounds like my schedule for the last 6 months. He just started sleeping longer. It was down at 8 up at 1am. Eat every hour till 7am. Blerg. He is sleeping till 5 now. I feel for you. Every baby is different and it sounds like you are doing everything right. I like the idea of pumping and letting your spouse do a feeding. Then you can both get some sleep. I sadly couldn't do this because my baby wont take breast milk from a bottle and my DH is sweet but hopeless with settling the baby down to sleep. I would just let him fuss in that time between 3 and 7 when you say he just cant make up his mind what he wants. He is tired!

Added... Sleep begets sleep! I know not everyone will agree but what my kids go to bed earlier the sleep longer.
Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Buffalo on

Put him on his belly...He will sleep like a baby!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Eating about every 3 hours is normal - so if you are putting him down 2 hours after a feeding, he will likely be hungry pretty soon. Have you considered pumping so that you can split the night time feeding duties. That way each of you should (theoretically) be able get 6 hours. It will get better but it may not be until 16-18 weeks of age that he sleeps through the night.
Good luck



answers from Albany on

Hi There,
I disagree with the the notion that breastfed babies often don't sleep through the night until they are older. Both my kids were exclusively breastfed and one slept through the night (10 hours straight) at 3 mos. and the other did this at 6 weeks. Both were sleeping 4-6 hour stretches by one month. I know I was lucky and this is not the norm, and we did have our kinks in the road at different stages, but it is possible. That being said, it seems like your baby is taking frequent naps during the day, and that sleep- wake- eat pattern is continuing through the night. Maybe try to spread the naps a little further out during the day gradually at this point. By 4 mos. my kids were generally taking 2 longer naps and maybe a 3rd catnap in the early evening. Also, I tried to feed my kids before naps so they wouldn't wake up starving, then sleep, wake up/play, eat, then nap (though once they reached a few months old I would try not to let them fall asleep eating... so they would learn to fall asleep on their own). Also, try swaddling if you don't already. And, when your baby wakes up, let him fuss for a little while, you may be suprised to see that he will fall back to sleep on his own or with a pacifier... if he gets really upset after a while, he is probably hungry.... but you may be suprised that you can probably space out his night time feedings at this point. He could be waking out of habit/or a pattern he has gotten into. Good Luck!



answers from New York on

Maybe you could put him down a little later and wake him up for a feeding right before you go to bed. I ended up feeding a half asleep baby around 11 or 12 and then could get at least a 3-4 hour stretch myself.


answers from Pocatello on

well sorry to tell you this but your baby sounds pretty normal for a 12 week old. Yes some people get lucky and have babies that sleep a good few hours straight through the night at this age but they are the minority. My first daughter did like your son. Did a good stretch at first but by 4 was up and didn't want to go back to sleep for a few hours. But that only lasted a few weeks and then it changes. She still woke up a ton but went back to sleep right after eating. My second baby woke up every 2 to 3 hours all night until I weaned her at 13 months. Yes you heard me I didn't have a full night sleep for 1 year straight. So try not to get too upset and get a nap in during the day when your baby takes a nap. He will go through different sleeping patterns this first year of his life. This is probably just the first one.

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