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4 month old disturbed sleep

(7 Posts)
AAW1 Mon 10-Oct-11 12:47:22

My little girl is just 16 weeks and until recently had been sleeping well from her last dream feed at 11pm till 6 am. I am breastfeeding during the day and give two bottle feeds - one after her bath at 7pm and one at 11pm. She has recently been drooling and permanently has her hand in her mouth so was wondering if this could be teething ? Or could this be hunger ? I feed on demand in the day and it varies from every 1 1.2 hours to every 3 hours. When she wakes up at night she may settle with a dummy but by 4am I nurse her to sleep and she sleeps after 10 mins. |Any ideas ? I am not sure what I should be doing when she wakes up - she doesnt cry loudly just whimpering and she has recently started to roll over so she often seems to be enjoying doing this at night !

Secondtimelucky Mon 10-Oct-11 13:16:32

I'm just a bit confused by your post. Do you mean she used to sleep through and now needs a feed by 4am?

That, I am afraid, is totally normal. As they get bigger, many babies feed more frequently. Studies have shown weaning makes no difference, as first foods you can physically give at this age (and early weaning is 17 weeks, with 26 weeks recommended as standard) are only things like carrot or baby rice, which are much lower in calories than breastmilk or formula. Watching you eat, chewing on fingers and drooling are developmental stages, not hunger signs.

There's also a thing called the four month sleep regression. Lots of babies who have slept well until that point go backwards. And some delightful ones who are tough get worse!

I would feed her when she first wakes if it's not too early - which in my book would be from a couple of hours after her last feed. I'd try to resettle without if it was much less than that unless I'm feeling lazy or too tired. You may then find she goes much longer before the next wake.

Just for comparison, my four month old was up for a feed at 10:30, 12:50, 2:51, 4:50 and then came into bed with us and snacked until around 6am then slept until 7 (am not normally this anal about the times, just slightly freaked by the perfect regularity of the waking atm). That is totally normal. She's got probably another 2-4 months where I'll accept that pattern before I start gently trying to stretch the feeding periods at night to closer to 3 hours if she hasn't done so on her own.

AAW1 Mon 10-Oct-11 15:57:01

Thans so much for this ! Yes she wakes at 1am but settles with the dummy and wakes again maybe 3-4am which is when I start to nurse her. My HV says this may be a growth spurt which may last 2-4 weeks

Secondtimelucky Mon 10-Oct-11 17:35:17

It might be a growth spurt, in which case it might be over fairly quickly. fingers crossed for you. But I'm sorry to say it might last quite a while longer.

Babies do like to keep you on your toes!

dinksdoes Tue 11-Oct-11 20:17:50

Thanks for this thread, My 4 month old is doing very similar so its reasuring that your going through the same thing. Shes waking every two hours from 7.30pm onwards. She comes in to bed with me at about 3.30, by this piont im so tired! I was wonderng if I need to "train" her out of this habit - as Im sure it is as she sucks for just a few minutes and is back to sleep again. The other morning she was in bed with me and we both fell asleep, she just held my nipple in her mouth for 2 hours, every time I pulled away she would wake and snuffle around searching for it. But secondtimelucky you think that it could be an actual "stage" so maybe I should just go with it and ride the wave of sleep deprivation!

Secondtimelucky Tue 11-Oct-11 20:41:58

I'm not a big fan of 'training' babies, though others will differ. Also, it's only a problem if it's a problem to you. Babies don't 'have' to be doing anything. If feeding back to sleep each time works, then by all means stick with it. you sound like it's not working for you though.

If you think she's just having a tiny suck, rather than an actual feed, you could try alternative ways of settling her. So, say, trying to settle her without a feed at 9:30 as a first step. If that works, maybe giving her a feed at the next waking and then trying to settle her again the one after that. I'd do this gently - cuddling, stroking, whatever works.

If she's genuinely hungry, I think all you can do is offer her feeds as often as possible in the day (even if she's not asking) and ride it out. That's what I'm in the midst of. I also intentionally co-sleep from part way through the night - so that when she's most unsettled DD does have me close. That way it doesn't feel like 'four wakings' or whatever, we're just cuddled up and stirring from time to time.

That's all I can offer I'm afraid. My DD1's 'four month regression' lasted until 11 months, so what do I know grin.

dinksdoes Thu 13-Oct-11 11:14:55

Thanks for the advice secondtimelucky and aaw1 I hope this may help you too.
Im in two minds about whats right, part of me says yeah just get her into bed and feed her if that works, shes quickly soothed, but its just all the waking , so the other part of me wants her to be able to sooth herself back to sleep. Ive got gina ford/tracey hogg on one shoulder and dr sears on the other so just feel in a general muddle!

But yes something that did work was dp going up at 9.30/10 when she wakes and giving her a little cuddle, she now falls back to sleep without a feed then, but is the 3am onwards thats such hard work and dp has to get up at 6am and do a days work so cant ask him to sooth her at this time.
ah well i guess its all worth it and as so many times ive read on hear IT DOESNT LAST FOREVER!!! one day i shall sleep again!

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