My baby will be turning 5 months next week and has suddenly had difficulty napping and sleeping at night (waking up at odd times at night).

Some background: He has been soothing himself to sleep since he was about 3 months old. All I need to do is swaddle his lower body, sing him a lullaby, and leave the room. Usually he'd fall asleep within 10-15 minutes.

If he woke up from his sleep, he was able to soothe himself back to sleep. On few occasions when he couldn't, all I did was give him a pacifier, sing to him, pat him, and leave. He also usually sleeps about 10 1/2 to 11 hrs at night (7:30pm - 6:30amish).

The past few nights he has been waking up in the middle of the night. Last night was the worst, he woke up at 1:30am, I went in placed the pacifier in his mouth, patted him, and left. I listened to him from our monitor - he was cooing, playing, whining, for almost an hour... I went in every 5-10 minutes to repeat the paci/pat/leave... finally I went in and rocked him until he looked drowsy, then put him down. He fell asleep after this. BUT he woke up again at 4:30am, being so tired, I didn't want to wait another hour for him to fall asleep, so I just held him and rocked him to sleep.

Then today... he has a schedule that he follows for his naps, and when it's broken he is able to "make up" the sleep by extending his next nap. However, he refused to sleep even when he was rubbing his eyes, they were red, and he was whining. I'd put him in bed, but he'd just fuss... He's napped about 2-3 hours less than his normal nap time. His last nap, I couldn't stand watching him with his swollen, red eyes, I just rocked him to sleep.

What do you think might be causing his sudden change?
My thoughts... but correct me if you think differently... * I don't think it's because he's hungry - he usually cries bloody murder when he's hungry and I don't feed him (experience from his previous growth spurts)... * I thought the sleep pattern changing might be a growth spurt without the extra feedings... is that possible? * teething possibly? but he usually stops whining if I hold him... (should I try some tylenol?... I don't want to give him medications if he doesn't need it though...)

asked 19 May '10, 22:07

ekim's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I don't think you should rule out teething. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the first tooth usually appears between 4 to 7 months. While my baby teethed later than 5 months, it sounds similar to the experience you're having. He'd usually wake up sometime after 1 or 2am and wake up every hour thereafter. Holding him while he slept sort of worked. That is, he slept but it was a restless sleep where he'd still jerk awake every hour or so before falling back asleep.

When I thought my baby was teething, I would give him pain medication at night but not during the day. When using Tylenol, it usually seemed to wear off in the middle of the night so I would give him another dose and hold him until he went back to sleep. For my baby, daytime seemed filled with enough distractions that he rarely needed pain medication. (As a side note, you aren't suppose to give ibuprofen before 6 months but once we were able, it worked much better than Tylenol.)


answered 20 May '10, 12:59

Kiesa's gravatar image

Kiesa ♦
accept rate: 26%

edited 20 May '10, 19:20


+1 we had the exact same experiences. Our daughter started teething early (around 4 months?) but just beware there can be bouts of teething that don't result in teeth, we had this on several occasions and the first tooth didn't erupt until 7 months.

(20 May '10, 19:19) Tammy ♦♦

That sounds like what we went through with teething as well.

(21 May '10, 02:56) dave0

I'll have to keep this in mind. He did start sleeping well again once I put him down earlier than usual... not sure if it was because I was missing his sleepy-cues or if he was teething. His naps are still very inconsistent to his normal schedule. Hopefully, he'll be back on soon. Thanks!

(21 May '10, 19:02) ekim

...so he was teething (it just took me a while to put all the puzzle pieces together =( ). Thanks, Kiesa!

(24 May '10, 03:03) ekim

I'm not sure why your little one is having a difficult time falling asleep. But reading over your story, I noticed that you were able to help your baby fall asleep by rocking him to sleep. If this works, why not just rock him to sleep for now? My 12 month old has gone through different phases where I could lay him down to sleep and where he needed to be rocked and where he wanted me to lay down with him. Sometimes it's obvious why he needs the extra cuddles (like teething or right before a new milestone), but sometimes I have no idea. I just know that he needs extra cuddle time.


answered 20 May '10, 00:48

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

I wish I could rock him to sleep each time =(, but my biggest problems are my chronic back pain and with his growing weight my wrists and hands are in too much pain. That's the reason we had to have him soothe himself to sleep... I miss the extra cuddle time too - I think I need it, but my body says no.

(21 May '10, 19:00) ekim

The teething might be keeping him up and making him overtired. When my kids are overtired none of the same bedtime routines work.

Goodluck!! I hope he gets his first tooth soon!!

motrin works better than tylenol with teething


answered 25 May '10, 02:15

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Mommy trial and error
accept rate: 4%

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Asked: 19 May '10, 22:07

Seen: 3,650 times

Last updated: 25 May '10, 02:15