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Baby crying before she wakes

(8 Posts)
fittedwardrobe Sat 22-Apr-17 09:25:17

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas....

My baby (8months) has really disturbed sleep. She starts to grunt, wail, moan while she is still asleep, eventually crying fully although still asleep and then waking fully. This is now happening about once every 1.5 hours and has been going on for about 6 weeks now.

If I just leave her, she tends to fully wake and be quite distressed. If I try to soothe her before she wakes up, it tends to just prolong the inevitable.

Do you have any idea what might be causing this? Or is it just what babies do before they wake in the night? She used to sleep for long stretches and had been sleeping through for months so I don't really have any experience of night waking.

She's on medication for silent reflux and has recently started solids. She has no teeth yet. I did try ibruprofen before bed in case it was tooth pain but it didn't make any impact.

Would love to hear any thoughts. Thanks.

FATEdestiny Sat 22-Apr-17 10:17:15

Baby will be light sleeping in this phase. Light sleeping is not restorative sleep.

Just before waking, baby is likely to enter a light sleeping phase. But also throughout the night baby will sleep in cycles of deep sleep and light sleep. Baby shouldn't be waking at every light sleeping phase.

She could do with getting her back into a deep sleep as quickly as possible when in this light sleeping phase. Either by resettling or if she has a need (like a feed for example), give quickly as possible.

What hapiens to get her from awake to asleep to bedtime and naptime?

fittedwardrobe Sat 22-Apr-17 13:24:57

Thanks Fate. It's really helpful to think of it being a need waking her up every light sleep phase. Although, I can't figure out what the need is. I'm guessing either hunger, inability to settle herself, or discomfort. Do you think the grunting/moaning/wailing before she wakes gives any clue or is that just what they all do?

Morning nap she tends to fall asleep while feeding.
Afternoon nap we're always out and she falls asleep in pushchair
2nd nap: tends to fall asleep whilst feeding then wakes up again when finished feeding.
Bedtime - falls asleep while feeding again and sleeps usually about 2 or 3 hours before waking for the first time.

I know all this feeding to sleep is probably a problem. For some reason, despite often falling asleep while feeding, up until recently she could re-settle herself and fall asleep on her own at other times.

I struggle to break that feed-sleep association because she tends to zonk out as soon as she starts feeding - she properly feeds whilst also sleeping, and unlatches herself after a full feed (20mins) whilst still sleeping. If I wake her then (with the aim of teaching her to fall back to sleep off the boob) she's usually full of beans after the 20 min snooze and won't fall back to sleep.

I'm also wondering if I need to try and get more nutritious solids into her as maybe her puréed meals (mostly fruit and veg) aren't enough to keep her going yet so prevent her taking enough breastmilk in the day.

Vebrithien Sat 22-Apr-17 13:31:06

We're going through the same​ thing with 8 month DD. It's been going on on/off for the last month. Some nights she sleeps for 4 to 5 hours in a stretch, other nights it's every 1.5 hours, crying in her sleep and then waking up distressed if not attended. She has 6 teeth, but sometimes a bit of teething gel helps. Calpol makes no difference. A natural sleep cycle is 1.5 hours, so that may explain the timings, but I don't know about the crying. The worst nights are when she has a massive poo the next morning, so could be digestive? Sometimes, rubbing her tummy helps sooth her, sometimes only a feed helps.

Vebrithien Sat 22-Apr-17 13:35:37

Just seen your update. DD also feeds to sleep (only at night). Fruit purée with baby rice as a pudding for dinner can help fill her up and she sleeps better, but she has been ill with scarlet fever, recently, and with a sore mouth, her appetite for solids has dropped, so her sleep is poorer.

Moonandstarsandback Sat 22-Apr-17 14:05:09

If it's literally every 1.5hrs - I would give 'wake to sleep' a go. You rouse them enough for them to move/turn over and it disturbs the fully waking up and can break the cycle of waking every 1.5hrs all night. Google it and good luck x

FATEdestiny Sat 22-Apr-17 17:30:28

There are two issues fittedwardrobe. One is feeding to sleep, the other is her being a light sleeper, rather than a deep sleeper.

Feeding to sleep me and every time she wakes, she is likely to need feeding back to sleep. This is only a problem if it's a problem for you. If you don't want to always need to feed to get her back to sleep during night wakes, then separating feeding and sleeping will be the answer to achieving this.

But feeding to sleep does not automatically lead to light sleeping. You can have a fed to sleep baby who's a really deep sleeper and doesn't wake at all though the night. You can also have a light sleeping baby who is woken really easily, then because feeding to sleep is their settling method, it is a burden that falls to mum constantly.

IME light sleeping is most often caused by
- not enough calories over 24/48 hours
- not enough sleep over 24/48 hours
- pain

Pain is a reasonable assumption, it might be teething pain causing her light sleeping.

Over tiredness can cause light sleeping at night. An over tired baby (not getting enough daytime sleep) is likely to be much more unsettled and restless in their sleep. A well rested baby is likely to find it easier to go into a deeper sleep.

You don't mention daytime sleep, but I wonder if this needs adjusting to allow baby to get more rest.

Calorific need is really tricky to manage in early weaning. Baby needs the calories in milk, but also needs the variety and increasing quantities of proper food. It's notoriously difficult to get the milk/food balance right in the 6-9 month phase. So your night wakes could be basic hunger.

EphraimWaite Sat 22-Apr-17 18:12:15

Holy crap! I've had 3 weeks of exactly this with my 7 month old - whinging herself awake. Was hoping she was going to revert to previous sleeping through which she's been doing for ages. Sounds like maybe not!

Like you, I feed to sleep at night and it's not a problem for us - provided it's once off to sleep. The feeding isn't causing the waking, but does make it a bigger problem as she can't get back off without me. We're also in the early phase of weaning, and although we haven't dropped any feeds she's started rolling - and does so constantly so may be using a lot of calories. I think (though haven't diligently tracked) there is a correlation between rubbish nap days and worse nights, so Fate's suggestion rings true.

Onething I've tried with some success is cuddling in cot while she's crying but not yet awake. It stops her thrashing about and she'll often (not always) drift off. Takes two minutes rather than the twenty feeding does!

I'm going to keep an eye on naps and feeds, but will also be watching this thread for further developments!!

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