Baby's change of behavior, please advise.


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Hi fellow moms, would appreciate advice and help on this. As you probably know, we came back from Vancouver about 1.5 weeks ago, and our little girl (4.5 months) has not been sleeping well in the night. She caught a cold in Canada, and thank goodness, she has now recovered after a week. But now she wakes up crying/screaming every 2 - 3 hours at night, and patting/holding typically doesn't soothe her, but she will take nibbles of milk (half ounce to 1 ounce) and fall back to sleep. This has been very taxing on us as both my husband and i have to work the next day. She also used to sleep on her own in her room, but now as we have to wake up so often, she sleeps with us on our bed.

I am concerned on several fronts:
(1) waking up crying regularly at night
(2) will she develop a habit of 'nibbling' if we give her milk to soothe her back to sleep
(3) will she develop a habit of wanting to always sleep with us

This is what her routine has been like from 7 weeks to Xmas/Vancouver:
- last feed at about 10pm
- falls sleep by about 11pm - 12am
- peaceful sleep on her own in her room for a stretch and wakes up at about 7.30 - 8.30am the next morning
- when she wakes up, she will play on her own in her cot and wait for us to come to her

Post Xmas/Vancouver (after she recovered from cold):
- starts nodding off and falls asleep at about 8.30 - 9pm, after her evening feed at 7pm
- wakes up about 1 - 2 hours later and will take about 2 ounces before falling asleep again
- likes to be held and will typically wake up if we put her down to sleep, will repeat several times before sleeping on the bed
- wakes up every 2 - 3 hours crying/screaming and will fall back to sleep after half ounce of milk

Eg (last night):
- fell asleep at 9pm after a full feed of 5 ounces
- woke up at 10pm when i put her down to sleep, fed another 2 ounces
- woke up crying at 1.45, fed half an ounce
- woke up crying at 4.45, fed half an ounce
- woke up crying at 5.45, fed half an ounce

Sorry for long post ... am tired.
Sorry to hear you have problems with sleeping. I'm travelling soon and already dreading the jet lag:)

Maybe 11pm is a bit too late to put the baby to sleep? I put mine 5 month old at 7pm then wake her up for a feed at 10.30/11pm and give 180 ml - which I think is 6oz and she sleeps till 7-8 am. I think at this age they are to little to go for the whole night with just 2oz of milk so maybe your baby is just hungry at night?
With the holding thing we just put the baby to bed and if she cries we go to pat her on the shoulder and let her know we are there but never pick her up. It took us about a week to teach her to self soothe.

Hope this helps and you get a good night sleep soon:)
My son is almost 10 months old now and at about 6 months or so, he also changed his sleeping behaviour. From 3-6 months, he was a great sleeper. We would give him his last feed at 9:30pm and then put him to bed afterwards (around 10). He would roll around in his crib and then fall asleep by himself by 10:30 at the latest. Then he was out until at first 6 or 7 when he was younger and then as he got older until 7:30 or 8. However, at 6 months, all of a sudden he did not like being put down in his crib and would go crazy crying. Unfortunately, we didn't have the resolve to do CIO so we changed his routine a bit and now after his 9:30 feed, we put him in his sleeping bag and put him in our bed and he falls asleep within 5 minutes on our bed. After he falls asleep, we move him back to his bed. However, in the past two or so months, he has started to wake up in the middle of the night and cry - in the past we would just pick him up and pat him a few times and put him back in his bed. But then things changed again and he would have none of that and would not settle until he got into our bed at which time he would promptly fall back asleep. So again, as we have no resolve to do CIO and as my husband and I both work, we gave up and will just leave him in our bed if he wants to be there. I also worry about him getting into the habit of always wanting to sleep with us, but what can we do?

So I guess anecdotally, I can say that babies behaviours do change and sometimes, as with my case, with no particular reason why it would change all of a sudden.

As for yours - maybe your baby is still a bit jet lagged? How is her sleep during the day? It takes an adult sometimes up to a week to recover from jetlag so maybe it takes longer for a baby? Also, since she doesn't drink that much milk when you feed it to her in the middle of the night, it doesn't appear as if she is hungry. Perhaps you could give her water instead? We got that suggestion from some other mums and so now if our son really can't fall back asleep quickly at night, we give him some water. Or perhaps she just wants to suck something - do you want to introduce a dummy? We don't use a dummy but maybe that would work?

Anyways, hope that things get better soon! I know how tough it is to have a bad night with a baby and then have to wake yourself up and haul yourself to work! Good luck!
It's funny how as soon as we get into a comfort zone the decide to surprise us with a new pattern:) My Lo started to wake up at 5 am and talk to herself for 20 minutes and then just falls asleep. I did worry tho that she would keep us awake:)
Yeah, not sure if she is still jeg-lagged. Don't know how to tell if it's so :)

Wanted to feed her more at 10pm, but she fell asleep and couldn't be woken up. We have introduced dummy ONLY as a last resort when we are out. Haven't tried that when we are at home.

I guess we'll just have to try different things. Tonight I'm going to put her to bed after her 7pm feed, and wake her up for another feed at 10pm (hopefully she is awake enough to take more). If that doesn't work, this weekend, I'm going to try keeping her up during the day, so hopefully she will be exhausted by night time. Failing which, I am thinking of introducing some solids next week.

These crying/screaming at night? What's the cause? Night mare?
It sounds like she's still jet-lagged, and the fact that she's been sick did not help.
My son was the same when we came back from our holidays. It only took him about 2 weeks to go back to his normal routine though.
I put my son back into his routine (Gina Ford). It's very strict but I think it helped. Are you on it already ? if not, maybe you should try before introducing solids ?

I'm not sure also if keeping her up during the day would be good as your daughter would be overtired, cranky and fussy for eating/going to bed, etc. Keep her naps but perhaps just reduce the nap time.

About the screaming, my son use to scream a bit too at the same age. We thought these were nightmares as he really sounded scared --he was screaming from fear or something, not crying- and from what I read it could have been from over stimulation during the day, but I'm still not sure to this date.
i would second the idea of NOT keeping her up during the day. the baby will be overtired and less likely to sleep.

there are a couple of things about your post:
1) if you are going to train her, it will take more than a day or two. you need resolve to do it. i know it's difficult when you have to work (i had exactly the same problem).

2) i don't think solids is the answer. starting solids should be done when the baby is showing signs while eating, not sleeping (i think)

3)both of my kids stopped sleeping through the night when they were learning how to crawl. the waking lasted until they were 3 years old!

4) my son HATED a dummy, but my daughter LOVED it. we would have gotten no sleep at all without one. it sounds to me like your little one is sucking for the comfort. if that is the case, try the dummy, it might work, it might not.

5) remember your little one has gone through A LOT in his VERY short lifetime. he's been overseas, met new people, been on two LONG aeroplane rides, suffered jet-lag twice, gotten sick.... that's a lot for an adult to do in 4 months... that is your child's ENTIRE lifetime! a little bit of stress on the child is to be expected.

6) maybe ask hubby to alternate with you? either one night him, one night you... or one waking him, one waking you. that way one person isn't dealing with everything all at once including work.

good luck!
Thank you all!! Will wait on the solid :)

Let me try the dummy tonight and see if that works. She hasn't been very fond of it, and doesn't have a good grasp of the nipple. Understand what you mean about the stress, Cara, that's why we have been extra indulgent by letting her sleep with us etc. My husband has been very good, he takes care of her at night, but I get woken up in the process anyway :)

I really really hope that it's jet lag. Do your little ones display these behavior when they are jet lag?
jet lag is hard on adults and we know what is going on. i often think that things like jet-lag & getting a cold we adults kind of take for granted. we KNOW it will get better. we KNOW what is wrong with us. we KNOW roughly when we will "see the light".... a poor baby has no clue about any of these things...

for all we know the baby could think it's dying the first time it gets a plugged nose!?
Sounds to me like your daughter is simply overtired, possibly because of the jetlag, the trip and her sickness. When a child is overtired, it will have more and more problems falling and staying asleep. You have to make sure your child will be better rested in order to sleep better, going to bed at 11 pm and waking up at 7.30 - 8.30 am in the morning is not enough night sleep for a 4.5 month old. I would seriously considering moving the bed time drastically forward, put her down for regular nap times, usually at this age, a morning, an afternoon and possibly a short late afternoon one, and then in bed by 8-9 pm at the very latest. All my children were going to bed at 6-7 pm at that age, and even with jet lag, after 3-4 days everything is back to normal (give it a week with the amount of jetlag in your case), but I think your child is overtired, not jet lagged.
she typically sleeps about 14 hours a day (naps + 8 - 9 hrs of sleep at night) .... not sure if she is able to sleep through from 7.30 - 7.30 yet though. She hasnt done that yet. The longest stretch was 11pm - 9.30am.
Mom2Sofie&Twins - do your kids (at 4.5 months) sleep from 7pm all through to the next morning without another feed, or do they wake up in between to eat?
remember that "sleeping through the night" doesn't actually mean "sleeping through without ever waking up"... it means being able to sleep a 5-hour stretch at a time (according to the books).

both of my kids were excellent sleepers until they started sitting up on their own... then all hell broke loose.
haha, everyone says it gets better ... but they never warned that as it gets better ... WHAM!! ... one day it reverts to square one ... and we start all over again :)

thanks Cara, when I mentioned slept through the night i meant sleeping through without waking up, thanks for clarification.
Mom2Sofie&Twins - do your kids (at 4.5 months) sleep from 7pm all through to the next morning without another feed, or do they wake up in between to eat?

Sleep begets sleep, I think she needs to catch up, whether or not she needs to feed in the middle of the night or not. You can still put your child to bed at 7.30 pm knowing she would wake up.

To answer your question, my oldest slept 7 to 7 at age 3 months, 6 to 7 at 4 months (she still is my best sleeper, she was over 9lbs at birth, very mellow kid). The twins, at 4-5 months, my daughter would sleep from 6 pm until 4 am, then feed. My son would occassionally wake up at midnight at that age, but stopped doing that very soon after. Then they both fed at 5 am for quite some time for a strange reason. Whether they went to bed at 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 pm, or even midnight ... (special occassions only). At one day it all of a sudden stopped, and we separated them soon after.
I thought I was lucky to have my girl sleep through the night at 7 weeks, Mom2Sofie&Twins, you are even luckier!!!! Truly blessed :) Thanks for your advice.
Is it gas issues? I'm totally not sure about these things because my baby is 4.5 months old and has never slept for longer than 5 hours at a time. He wakes up a lot in the night and my doctor says he probably has gas.
What on earth is the secret to getting them to sleep through the night??? You guys are pros!!! I am clueless!!! He is wide awake between 6pm till 12pm and no matter how hard I try to put him to bed he will be awake again within 5 minutes. He finally screams for a little while then sleeps at about 1am and wakes again at 4.30am or 5 and feeds a little then falls asleep for another 2 hours. Then again for another 2 hours after feeding and nappy change. After that, it's all over for the sleep! He may get another 30 minutes here and there or maybe an hour before finally going to sleep at 1am again.