3 Month Old Not Sleeping Well at Night Anymore

Updated on August 14, 2009
K.V. asks from Dundee, IL
6 answers

Of course another sleep help question. Our 3 month old was sleeping really well at night until the last few weeks. Our little one was only waking 1 time at night (usually around 3:00am) to eat and then would go back to sleep right away, even if he eyes were wide open we would lay him down and he would fall back to sleep. Recently that has changed. He is now waking sometimes 2 times at night, and only maybe eating 1 ounce if anything, but during these wakings we have to replace the pacifier in his mouth about 2-3 times every 10-20 minutes (we haven't been picking him up recently when he wakes, just replacing the pacifier. Sometimes when you just pick him up he falls back to sleep and sometimes he is crying with his eyes closed and never opens them. We have tried swaddling and he is not a fan (my first one loved it). We have tried the inclined to sleep. He is taking great naps during the day. One from 9-10, one from 12-1 or 12-2, and one from 3-4pm. He goes to bed at 7:30pm. Any suggestions on how to get him back to sleeping well. He also had multiple days where he slept through the night before all of this started happening.

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your thoughts. I have a 3 year old but apparently forgot that they go through this sleep change around 3-4 months. I appreciate everyone saying that this occurs. I just didn't want to do something that would come back to bite me later, like him getting used to us giving him the paci everytime he wakes up. If it's a normal phase than I feel more comfortable with what we are doing and that it won't be habit forming. My first little one was/is such a great sleeper that I don't remember this phase. Thank you for the words of encouragement!

More Answers


answers from Chicago on

Sounds like a growth spurt, to me. My DS (now 13 mos)would have a temporary change in his sleeping pattern every time he hit one. It'd last for a week or so - where he'd wake 2x night, and then he'd go back to normal. We saw this for every milestone - at first just growth spurts, then rolling over, crawling, standing, walking, etc....

My first reaction is to say just wait it out. I would continue with the 1x night feeding that you'd been doing. Just do the paci for the other waking. I'm betting that it'll return to normal once he "accomplishes" what he's going through.



answers from Chicago on

I'm going through the same thing! My 3 month old was sleeping from 10-6 for almost a month now, but now he's been waking up. I'll replace the pacifier and he'll go right back to sleep. Well, last night, he woke up every hour. The pacifier didn't work last night. Then I noticed that his diaper was really full. Once I changed it he went back to sleep right away and slept the rest of the night. He's close to the next size diaper, so maybe I'll try the next size at night to help hold more at night. (He's at 12.5 lbs. and the size 1 Swaddlers go up to 14 lbs.) Not sure if this would help, but just a thought.



answers from Chicago on

one thing you will learn is that as soon as you think you have them figured out, the baby will change it up on you.

they go through a major sleep change at around 3 months. formal sleep training is not recommended by experts until at least 4 months, and I think they say a baby shouldn't really be sleeping through the night (our night) until they weigh at least 15 pounds.

it probably isn't a growth spurt if he is only eating an ounce when he does wake up. I would say wait it out and be patient. if giving him the pacifier doesn't help, it's okay to rock him, just don't offer him any food (unless you think he's truly hungry).

Getting the bottle every time he wakes up will be habit forming and then he will keep waking up, even if only for 1 ounce - it's a comfort thing. If he seems really hungry it could be a growth spurt, then feed him. Otherwise, rock him but don't feed him and in a couple weeks he will probably start sleeping better.

my plan of attack would be to keep trying the pacifier first or rubbing his back (that's what I do now, even with my 15 month old). try to get him to go to sleep without picking him up, rock him if you have to and feed him only if you NEED to. My son has never been a great sleeper so I've been through all of the trial and error and have read a LOT of books about sleep issues.

My son still wakes up sometimes at night, but goes back down very easily when he does wake. they go through all kinds of phases so just be patient and get ready for the next change, just go with the flow. It's a constant adjustment as they grow and develop.

Best of Luck!



answers from Chicago on

Babies go through a major sleep transition sometime between 3-4 months. This is absolutely normal! He will probably never sleep the same way again.

If you haven't already, this is the best time to begin a "formal" bedtime routine. Stick to the exact routine, doing the same things, in the same order, every single night. Your son will learn what to expect and will adjust to his bedtime routine.

This is also an excellent time to start considering sleep training methods. If you are interested in reading wonderful information about babies and sleep (with great tips and methods for sleep issues through all of the child's life), pick up "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child," by Marc Weissbluth, MD. He outlines the sleep patterns (timing and # of naps, etc.) for children of every age.



answers from Chicago on

Hi there. I just posted a question very similar to yours and wondered if your little one has started sleeping well again..? What did you do, if anything that seemed to work. Ours is doing exactly what you described.. and when you do pick him up he will fall back asleep. Would love any advice that worked for you! THanks.



answers from Chicago on

Hi Kim,
Our little one just turned 4 months and she is going through something similar. She has been sleeping for 12 hours since she was about 12 weeks. The last few nights she has been waking up happy as can be around 4:00/5:00 am. She is babbling, talking, cooing, etc. She will do this on and off for about an hour and then fall soundly back asleep. She has learned to fall asleep on her own without us having to give her the paci in the middle of the night. I know this is just a phase and eventually she will go back to sleeping all the way through.

When this first started happening she was fussy and crying, but we wanted her to learn to go back to sleep on her own... and she usually did within 5-10 minutes. I would let her cry for 5 minutes before going in and giving her the paci...then 10...then 15. Eventually she figured it out...Now we don't even go in her room when this happens b/c she doesn't cry...she's just up and playing by herself.

If your little one is only eating 1 ounce my guess is he really isn't hungry anyway. Good luck and enjoy your little ones!

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