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My son was doing really well up through 3months with sleeping. We would put him down at 8 and he would not wake up until 3am for his first feeding, then 6am for second and then be up for the day around 8am. Each feeding he'd go right back to bed. When our pediatrician told us at our 3month visit to start training him to self soothe and fall asleep on his own, things have changed and I want to know if it's normal or not.

Here are my questions:

  1. Is it normal that at 4.5 months, his naps are still only 30 minutes long? Sometimes he wakes up happy, other times crying. We wait 10 minutes when he wakes but he won't fall back asleep. His wake time is only 1.5 hours between naps. He still takes 4-5 naps a day and I'm concerned that these short naps are what's causing the frequent nightwakings (see question 2). are these short naps normal and will they naturally consolidate and become longer?

  2. He knows how to self soothe back to sleep because he does it on his own for naps and bedtime. Even when he stirs in the middle of the night after a short period of time, he's usually able to go back on his own. The question is, he now wakes up every 2 hours and since we have the baby monitor near us, we also wake up every 2 hours and lay there listening to him fuss! We moved his bedtime up to 730 in hopes that it would solve the issue but even then he's still waking every two hours! Is this normal? We do not have to go in to get him to sleep usually (except every now and again in rare instances) so I think we've successfully trained him to self soothe but is it normal that he wakes up so often?

Please tell me that this will end? Is it the 4 month sleep regression and if so when does it end? Thank you!

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1 Answer 1

Four to five naps a day is a LOT of cat naps. If you can keep him awake through a nap or two and shrink that down to 2 daytime naps that should help him sleep longer at night AND during his daytime naps. We went from 3 to 2 naps at 2 months, and from 2 to 1 around one with both kids. And as with all children, YMMV.

The book The 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program talks about using the 90-minute basic human rest and activity cycle to help regulate your child's nap patterns. Wake him after he's been asleep 90 minutes, or a multiple thereof, and he should wake easier and transition to play/eat/whatever easier, and get naturally sleepy about 90 minutes after waking. Keep him up about 5-10 minutes after he gets sleepy and he should shrug it off and be ready for another 90 minutes of eat/play/tummy time. We used it to great effect when our eldest was young. (I still tell people she didn't sleep for two years; she was definitely not a champ at snoozing! But having this info and applying it salvaged at least a remnant of our sanity.)

The waking frequently through the night usually happens as part of the period sleep regressions as well as any time he's on the verge of a breakthrough (teething! crawling! pulling up!) or a growth spurt. I do think your instinct that fewer day naps will lead to more sleeping at night is a sound one to start with.

Ahhh, the four-month sleep regression! Best friend to contraception ever.

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