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3 month old suddenly waking lots at night!

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#1 richsaralexjosh

Posted 31 July 2009 - 08:13 AM


Ive got a 3 1/2 month old who used to sleep really well during the night (was only waking once at night around 3am) but wouldnt sleep much (other than small catnaps) during the day and would basically scream at me all afternoon (very draining as you all know!)

I started last week by enforcing an afternoon sleep at 2pm which is when he seemed to drop off to sleep naturally (however he tended to wake up immediately upon being put in his bed).  This actually worked and he started having an afternoon sleep around this time but stopped wanting to go to bed at night - I usually try to put him down before 7pm.

He is now having a morning sleep (around 2 hours - thank god!) and an afternoon sleep which hes started taking at around midday but this doesnt last too long - were still working on forming the pattern on this one.  And he is now going down to bed at 6 or 7pm much easier.  (I should mention here that I do tend to feed him to sleep and cant even remember how I implemented self-settling with my older child!!)

HOWEVER now my 3 1/2 month old is now waking up to three times a night - at least every 2 or 3 hours from midnight - so i'm not getting any deep sleep and am slowly loosing my cool with it! lol

Any suggestions or ideas on the matter would be wonderful and much appreciated!

Thank you!

#2 babyboydec05

Posted 31 July 2009 - 08:35 AM

Three things spring to mind...

The first is that there is a big growth spurt at around 3 months so it is possible that he is waking hungry. Are you offering a feed when he wakes or trying to resettle?

The second thought is that because you are feeding him to sleep he is waking and doesn't know how to self soothe himself back to sleep so is looking for you to feed him back to sleep.

The last thought is that sleep feeds sleep, and he doesn't seem like he is having much sleep during the day and if his last nap is at midday and he isn't going to bed until 7pm that is a long time to be awake for a 3 month old. My bub is almost 6 months and although she isn't a great day sleeper she still goes down for 3 sleeps and is still in bed at 7pm. Might be worth trying for a late afternoon nap as well.

Just some thoughts, hang in there, whatever it is will pass.

#3 richsaralexjosh

Posted 31 July 2009 - 10:28 AM

Thanks, thats great advice.  I did have a hunch it was either a growth spurt or teething (hes drooling rather a lot)  Although I am wondering if it has something to do with the colic he had for the first three months - perhaps hes developed reflux now as hes started doing chunky vomits a few times a day and they smell very acid.  Ive got the Brauers remedy for this but I dont know if it really does anything for him.

He does feed back to sleep at night (and day) - I may need to research self-settling techniques for him.  I already wrap him to tell him when its time to sleep (which helps), but not sure of other techniques.

He used to do one or two morning naps (early and late morning) but our routine has been upset recently by a death in the family & having to be away from home (thats when the extra night-time wake-ups really started - which was about 2 1/2 months old).  He also started doing a two or three hour sleep at 3pm but then suddenly changed it to 12pm when he picked up the 2 hour sleep at 10am (though in saying that he woke up in the middle of that 10am feed today and I had difficulty re-settling him back to sleep)

My only problem is when he has the late afternoon sleep he generally refuses to go back down at bed-time.  Say, if he sleeps from 3pm to 5pm, I generally have to put him to bed at 7 or 7:30 with him still wide awake and yelling at me! I have tried waking him earlier (around 4pm) but then he screams at me non-stop until he finally falls asleep at 6 or 7pm (and ive usually got to force that bed time as by that stage ive really had enough of the screaming).  Perhaps he is majorly sleep deprived...

Although in saying that, its almost like he is fighting any kind of routine... which is weird.

#4 LovetheSun

Posted 31 July 2009 - 10:41 AM

He's only a baby. Just follow his lead for now. There's plenty of time for routines when he's older. My DD is the same age and I just do what she needs. Some days she's asleep at 7pm, others at 9pm. Feeding to sleep is lovely. Think of all those lovely cuddles and snuggles you'll get to look back on. Just enjoy him I say, forget the "rules", go with what works.

#5 Diamond~Sky~Lucy

Posted 31 July 2009 - 12:59 PM

Probably a growth spurt.  I also read somewhere that often babies become a little unsettled just prior to meeting a new milestone - like rolling over, crawling etc.  In any case, something I learnt with DD1 is that all sleep related issues are phases - what happens one week will change again the next week.  Just continue to feed your baby as he requires, and I bet he will settle again in the next week or two.

#6 BeezMum

Posted 31 July 2009 - 01:01 PM

Hi OP I'm thinking a growth spurt too. My DS did the same from 3.5 months (prev 7pm-3am-7am) and this lasted for 4 long weeks. At the worst point he was waking every 2 hours to feed. He was also teething at the same time (which I had no idea was happening because I wasn't expecting it for another couple of months). For a week or two I expressed in the mornings and gave DS the expressed milk at night as a top up at midnight in the hope that he would do a bit longer than 2 hours, giving me a few hours sleep.

The other thing is, 3.5 months is very young to be only having 2 day naps? I found my son was harder to settle at night if he was overtired. At this age they can generally only last about 1.5 hours awake before they need a nap? Do you have a bedtime routine e.g. bath, feed, bed?

#7 richsaralexjosh

Posted 31 July 2009 - 01:47 PM

Well if 1.5 hours is all he can be awake for then hes definitely over-tired!  He just wont sleep during the day unless we force it, or unless he falls asleep whilst feeding.  

dorpaigeof - I would generally agree with you however he screams and screams so much when hes awake that it doesnt seem normal.  Its a matter of finding some sort of action to take because clearly there is something wrong.

Im currently (today) working out a routine for bedtime - was just swaddling, feeding and putting him down previously but may incorporate a song or book before bed and wont let him fall asleep on the breast.
I should add that he is absolutely enormous for a 3 month old - at a recent check-up (about 3 weeks ago) he was 7.6kg, and im not sure if this would make a difference to what would 'normally' happen for a baby his age.

After reading all of this I am definitely going to implement more day-sleeps - i thought two sleeps was great simply because he had not been sleeping during the day AT ALL prior to these!! (although was pretty much sleeping through the night).  

#8 LovetheSun

Posted 31 July 2009 - 02:37 PM

But if feeding to sleep works, why not stick to it?
I found a trick to getting my DD to sleep is to bf her to sleep or really sleepy, then on her tummy in the pram that I then wheel around with me so I can keep an eye on her and rock her when I see her stirring after that first 30 - 45 mins. Works a treat

#9 Yummymummy17

Posted 31 July 2009 - 02:55 PM


Yes it does sound like you DS could be over tired. Maybe try the Feed play sleep routine, it can be flexible aswell (feed play feed sleep) or whatever works for you. I would say 1.5-2 hrs awake time is plenty, my DD is over 5 months and she can only handle 2.5 r tops awake time, she has 4 short naps a day 45mins-1 hr. Your bub may resist the sleeps to start off with, but you need to guide him and help him to sleep, it can be tricky for a week or 2 then he should get the hang of it, and you may notice your bub alot happier, as screaming for hours must be awful for you and DS.  I use to worry putting my bub down @ her 16:30 sleep, that she wouldn't go to bed @ 19:30, but she still does, they really need that sleep!
Settling techniques can include wrapping,dummy, rocking bub till calm and nearly asleep then putting down, put your hand on him and rock him in cot, gently touch his face with fingers, white noise ect ect. Try to pick your settling technique and stick to that, so not to confuse bubs...
Also, could he be hungry???

Good luck and I'm sure it will pass for you........

#10 Yummymummy17

Posted 31 July 2009 - 02:58 PM

double post

Edited by rubysmum17, 01 August 2009 - 07:35 AM.

#11 richsaralexjosh

Posted 31 July 2009 - 07:33 PM

Thank you Rubysmum - your advice is great! Ive been trying to find out other people's routines just to give myself an idea of what I should be aiming for.  My first child was never this difficult to get into a routine! I figure once I know what i'm aiming for then it'll be no problem to implement it.  It was the not knowing whats normal that was making it stressful.  Good to have a couple people say that 1.5 or 2 hours awake is generally enough at this age - i really needed the guidelines.
Re. the hunger question - I am continuing to feed him at every wake-up and I think i'll continue with that.  He generally feeds when he wakes up and feeds before he goes back down to sleep (and sometimes in-between!) I'm pretty sure he has been getting enough to eat as he is gaining weight/growing at such a rapid pace!! :-)  Hubby wants to try giving him water but I wonder if this is a growth spurt and I dont want to deny him the opportunity to increase my milk supply if thats what he needs.

dorpaigeof - feeding to sleep was working for a while but i guess its just not now - wish it was! Ultimately I like the idea of getting him used to settling himself as that's basically what I did with my first bub, so it'd be good to implement something similar with my second.  I do appreciate your advice & ideas though - thank you :-)

#12 samshine

Posted 31 July 2009 - 07:51 PM

We had the same thing happen to us at the exact same time.  DS started sleeping well around 6 weeks, then suddenly it changed at 3 months.  Unfortunately for us - hopefully not for you - it hasn't yet got back to being very good.

I didn't cope with it well for a while, also because he was a daytime catnapper (40mins), was awake up to every 1.5-2 hours all night and DD was also waking so I went to our local parenting centre.  One of the interesting things the CHN said was that 'they' think that there are 2 major times in infant development where brain development has a big surge, and that is 3 and 6/7 months, and that this is associated with sudden sleep pattern changes - usually temporary.  We were told the same as the PP's said, that at 3months 1.5 hours awake time is around the most they should have.  

Anyway I know I didn't help very much but I know hearing that comforted me - knowing that it might not necessarily be something I wasn't doing right and that it wasn't uncommon - so thought I'd share it with you too!

Good luck with it.

#13 bmacc

Posted 01 August 2009 - 02:23 PM

Just so you know our routine at nearly 5 months - we stick to pretty much the same thing each day, which means things follow a pretty identical pattern at night as well.

up at 7.30am
1/2 hour nap at 9.30am
2-2.5hour nap at 12pm
15mins-1/2hour nap at 4.30pm (no later or it mucks up the bedtime hour)
bed at 7pm
Dreamfeed at 11pm
Sleeps through till 7.30am but usually wakes up briefly at about 5.30am due to coming out of her wrap!

#14 richsaralexjosh

Posted 11 August 2009 - 07:42 AM

Ok, an update on my bubba... (now almost 4 months old)

He occasionally sleeps through to about 4 or 5am (I put him down with no problems at 6pm) but some (ALOT of) nights he tries to wake at 9/10pm, midnight, 3am AND 5am...  Ive started sending hubby in with water at the midnight feed just to give myself a break, and suprisingly this seems to work sometimes and he sometimes settles for the rest of the night (til 4 or 5am... sometimes! lol)

He has started doing naps during the day more often, but they have gone from longish naps to naps of only about 40 minutes or 1 hour long.  He is going down for a nap every 1.5-2 hours during the day, which is okay, but should I be worried that hes not having a long sleep during the day?  (some people talk about a 2 or 2.5 hour sleep and I remember DS1 having huge sleeps during the day!)
He also starts getting super cranky at about 4pm but generally doesnt go to sleep (feeds lots) but i'd be worried about him going to sleep at 4pm as at that time in the past hes wanted to have a mega-sleep and he hasn't wanted to go back down to sleep, even by 7:30pm!

The other thing ive started is solids, which sometimes seems to help him sleep through, but he just doesn't seem to respond to any kind of routine at all... doesn't seem to want to form one.  My only idea is to trying and instill in him the ability to self-settle (which is still in the works)

#15 Yummymummy17

Posted 12 August 2009 - 07:22 AM


Thats good that he has started to sleep better.. My DD had a rough patch of sleeping from about 3.5-4.5 months. Anyway, with the napping of 40min-1hr my DD has done this since birth (now nearly 6 months and still does it) and I tried so many times re settling, when clearly she was wide awake, and I just gave up. I was like you, because all other babies have 2 hour sleeps, but seriously just go with it, and eventually you may get longer sleeps, my DD maybe has 1.5-2hr sleep a few times a week if I'm lucky. But I actually prefer the 1 hour sleeps as it means I can be more flexible in my day when going out and about- it does mean though she has 4 naps, rather than 2-3 long ones..

Also, when I started solids, my DD was still having a bit of a rough patch with sleeping (I started solids @ 4 months) I was told by my MHN to only give her 1-2 tbs per sitting.. Anywyay after another sleepless night I grabbed the nearest "baby sleep routine" book and gave it a read and it told me to keep feeding her until she turns her head away, which ended up being 4-5 tbs per sitting- that night I didn't hear peep from her, it may be worth a try for you.

Also with the late arvo sleep, don't be scared!!! Maybe wake him up after an hour, if you think he may sleep for to long, then maybe you can push his bedtime until 19:00/1930?? You may find he sleeps better at night with that extra sleep?

This is my DD routine she is 6 months and been on it for about a month or so, basically she never really stays up longer than 2hours, 2.5 tops if we are out..

6:30 wake up and bottle
7:30 solids
8:00 sleep
9:00 wake up and play
10:00ish bottle
11:00 sleep
12:00 Solids
13:45 bottle
14:00 sleep
16:15/16:30 sleep
17:30 solids (I never let her sleep longer than 17:30 unless it's been a very eventful day and she has had no sleep)
19:00ish bottle
19:30 bed (Bed use to be 19:00 when she was younger, your bub may still want to)

Give an take half hour here and there, depending on what time she got up, or if she's hungrier earlier, or just on the day??? But she has always only had 40min-1hour sleeps so please don't stress, and don't worry or try to compare your bub to other bubs...

HTH, I know our bub's are different in ages but I have had the same kinda routine for a while now and not much has changed, she has pretty much been doing this since 4.5 months...

#16 Mrs Dinosaurus

Posted 30 August 2009 - 04:46 PM


I am here becauze exactly the same thing has happened to me in the past week! My 3-month old previously waking once at night in a 12-hour sleep has started waking every 2 hours i the second 6 hours (ie he still sleeps from around 7pm-1am most nights).

I spoke to a sleep specialist who insisted it was probably reflux (it isn't) so thinking I was a terrible mother as he was in pain I took him off to the Dr who said (basically) "he's  baby - there are no routines. He's probaly just growing or going through a change"

I was so happy to learn that other people have had the same experience, I am going to persist for the time being and not worry he has something wrong with him that the Dr didn't see. He is still his normal happy self most of the time, just sleeps a bit more during the day and when he wakes at night seems anxious to eat and go back to sleep as quickly as possible!

All the best with you, here's hoping it doesn't last long for any of us!


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