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4 month old - strange sleeping habits developing

(12 Posts)
cvchap Fri 04-Mar-11 09:01:02

Hi my son is four months and 2 weeks old. He's exclusively breastfed. He hasn't been weaned yet. Over the last two weeks he's been waking up through the night every 2 hours. Previously he was going pretty well doing 5 - even 6 hour stretches. I've been feeding him and this has been comforting him and he's been nodding off again. I've started to notice that when he wakes up through the night he tosses his head from side to side almost rubbing the back of his head on the sheets. He's also bringing his hands up to his eye/forehead area and rubbing quite vigorously. Anyone have any idea what is going on? I've read about 4 month sleep regression and a lot of it rings true. Everyone is telling me that he's hungry. My mother's instinct says that he isn't hungry and that it's something else. Could it be teething? I feel like I'm doing the wrong thing feeding him every time he wakes. During the day he naps every 2 hours for 30 mins max, unless I'm naughty and put him in bed with me and he'll sleep for ages. Help! Any tips? Any idea what the strange rubbing of the face/head thing is? Should I let him moan/cry it out overnight? Feels so mean. Thank you x

Flisspaps Fri 04-Mar-11 09:05:30

I'd feed him, if he takes the milk then he's hungry. I wonder if the movement is either down to him having some sort of dream, or if it's to do with his brain making connections re movement? Don't know about the rubbing, but it might just be a natural reaction to being sleepy - rubbing your eyes when tired is a normal thing to do, he might not have the hang of doing it gently yet. OR perhaps something is irritating him during his sleep?

Don't worry about weaning, it won't guarantee help with sleeping anyway. And putting him in bed with you isn't naughty, it's perfectly acceptable.

If you don't want to let him cry then don't, but when he's moaning, make sure that he's actually awake before you get him out - if he's just moaning in his sleep at the end of a sleep cycle then you might wake him up more by getting him out of his cot.

PatsyPlusOne Fri 04-Mar-11 09:17:59

Hi cvchap. Can't offer any useful advice, but can certainly sympathise as my 4 1/2 month old is doing exactly the same. Now sleeping for max 2 hrs at a time and then waking quite unsettled. He does the rubbing the eyes thing when he's tired at any time of day and it quite often looks as if he will poke his eyes out. Watching with interest for any advice.

lunakick Fri 04-Mar-11 09:26:05

I had this when my girl turned 4 months. She slept in the bed with us and I breastfed through the night. Babies go through a big growth spurt at 4 months, so this is probably what's going on.

Be sure not to turn on the light at night or play with him, as he might start to see night as wakey time.

I agree with Flisspaps that moaning might be okay, but if he'll take a breast, then he's hungry. Also, I agree that weaning early does not make for better sleeping. Our DD has had trouble sleeping off and on, even when she moved into her own bed at 2years. It's just growth or brain maturation (consolidating all they've learnt!).

Hang in there!

IMissSleep Fri 04-Mar-11 10:12:12

He could be teething, my DS got his first tooth at 4 months, second one followed a week later. He would be very unsettled at night, rubbing his face, pulling his ears, abit grumpy...

Could be 4 month sleep regression too. It will pass!

matana Fri 04-Mar-11 10:25:42

Sounds like the dreaded 4 month growth spurt/ sleep regression which is a phase that will pass. Check it's not teething though - the face rubbing sounds like it could be.

Pidgin Fri 04-Mar-11 15:25:24

My DS does head rubbing and moving like you describe when he's tired, also sometimes during a nap/ waking up. If he does it while sleeping on me, I pop my nipple in his mouth, he sucks for two seconds then goes back to sleep.

Mine is nearly four months and a rubbish sleeper, but he always has been... so no advice to offer, just solidarity!

Cosmosis Fri 04-Mar-11 15:50:53

My ds also does the head from side to side thing, and as a result has a nice 80's wedge hair do grin

AliKatt Fri 04-Mar-11 19:43:58

My DS has done the head from side to side thing since he was tiny. I'm pretty sure it's his way of settling himself to sleep! (he also sometimes lies on his side and arches his back, which is another common self-settling trick, according to the baby whisperer). Sometimes the head movement is quite violent like he's shaking his head, but I just let him get on with it because he falls asleep much more quickly when he does it than when he doesn't!

Sounds to me as if your DS is trying to self-settle when he wakes so it might be worth trying to leave him to it to see what happens...

vmcd28 Mon 07-Mar-11 20:05:05

Sorry, nothing to offer, but just wanted to say I completely disagree with the "if he takes the breast then he's hungry" theory. My 15wo would be attached to me 24/7 if he had the chance, honestly. He just feels so comfy like that. And he is not hungry 24/7! When he's full, he still kind of chews on me (ow) then has another suck. This can continue for ages if I allow it, then I sit him up to wind him and he sicks half of it up cos he's overfed.

OP, I'm not saying your wee one isn't hungry, he probably is, just disagreeing with a couple of the comments

cvchap Fri 11-Mar-11 17:32:11

thank you all for your input! Things are getting silghtly better. He's going down between 7 and 8pm. Sleeping for 4-5 hours then waking for a feed. Two hours later he's up again, but I'm trying to let him settle himself to sleep rather than picking him up or feeding him. When he finally goes off he wakes 2 hours later again. Last night I fed him at about 2am because my boob was about to explode smile and he totally drained it. I can't imagine how many ounces that was! LOTS! I think we might be getting there... I'm going to slowly wean him off the night feeds. That's the plan anyway. We will see! I think the head rubbing and eye rubbing is some sort of self soothing too. I'm not as worried about it as I was. Still knackered, but feeling a little more positive. thank you all!!!

Ab31 Thu 04-Aug-11 04:39:53

I just wondered what happened Cvchap as I have a 4 month old who was doing well at night and is suddenly waking every two hours. I feed him back to sleep but feel like that's not the right thing to do. Can't get him cry though as I don't want to wake his sister! Not sure what to do and wonder if it will resolve itself.

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