How do you respond to frequent night waking at 4 months?


My son is 4 months old (19 weeks) and goes to bed around 6:30. His naps are all over the place and I never know if he’s napping too little or too long or what to do. Two weeks ago we stopped swaddling because he was starting to show signs he was going to roll over during the day (and now he is). His sleep has gotten worse since then. We tried the merlin but he was very upset in it. He sucks to sleep (either nurse, bottle or paci) and wakes up 45 mins after we put him down and then stirs/cries for his paci on and off till 10/11. Some night he stays awake after that initial 45 min wake up crying uncontrollably and has been awake for up to 3 hours at times. The rest of the night wake ups are about every 2 hrs on average. We are exhausted. I thought it was gas and his dr suggested gas drops but that doesn’t seem to help. I should mention the week we stopped swaddling I wanted to try Ferber and we attempted but my husband and I disagreed on it and we ended up giving up (for now!) per advice from his pediatrician. Just so you know…naps during the day look like 1 hr to 1.5 hr after he wakes up he takes a 2 hour nap, then another short one (most days) around 12:45 and then a longer one around 3:30/4. The last one I never know if I should wake him up? I usually don’t let it go more than 1.5 hrs. I actually got a lot of suggestions from N’s post but I would love some input. Perhaps I can set up a sleep consult. How much do those cost? Thanks so much in advance!

Hi! 4 month olds are notorious for “regressions” and frequent night wake ups – especially in the last third of the night. I’m not so concerned about naps at his age – a regular pattern can/should pop up closer to age 6 months – but I do want him rested during the day so just keep offering him naps and work towards a more predictable three nap a day pattern by 6 months with nap spacing 2-3 hours apart. For now, irregularity is normal – don’t be afraid to soothe and again, keep him rested!. Create a great daytime sleep environment (cool, dark, quiet, use white noise), pre sleep cues, try to avoid extreme overtiredness. If his sleep cycle length is 45 mins, anticipate it and see if you can go in to soothe/replace paci a few minutes before he wakes (at say the 42 min mark!) to connect two sleep cycles together and extend the length of the nap. Daytime sleep may improve simply for no other reason than time/maturity in a few more weeks. Nights are a tiny bit different. I would expect at this age a regular bedtime and a predictable stretch of sleep through the first third of the night at least with up to 2 other feeding later in the night. You certainly can start “Ferber” around the 4 month mark at bedtime and in the first few hours, but there are many other more interactive options as well if that felt too intense for you. yes, a sleep consult would probably be best for that! If you’d like some more help, you can learn more about our consultation process on our website.

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