Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Growth Spurts

image source

It happens, and it happens a lot. Growth spurts.

How do I know if it is a growth spurt or a napping problem?
It is hard to say for sure, but there are a few signs. One, if your baby has previously been sleeping fine and is suddenly waking early, chances are it is a growth spurt and not a sleeping issue. Two is if your baby is around the age of a growth spurt. Most babies will have a growth spurt at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 or 4 months, 6 months...but don't rely on those ages as hard and fast rules for a growth spurt. Third, I have noticed that Kaitlyn poops a lot less when she is in a growth spurt. It makes sense because less of the food would be waste--she would be using it to grow.
If your baby is waking early from naps, it is best to treat it as a hunger problem first, as BW suggests. Feed the baby and see what happens. After a couple of weeks, if the baby still isn't sleeping well, you can move on to try other solutions.
What do I do when my child has a growth spurt?
Feed the baby! BW is parent directed. That means you decide what happens. If your child is hungry, feed him. If you try to fight it, your baby will continue to wake early from naps and will become irritable out of hunger and fatigue, and if you are BF, you risk compromising your supply. Feed your baby. Once the spurt is over, your baby will go back to the 3 hour (or whatever) schedule.

How long with a growth spurt last?
I don't know. I asked my doctor that once and he said you couldn't give a timeline to it. I have found that after a day or two, the milk supply catches up and the baby settles down. If you are bottle feeding and the baby can take more in the tummy, you can increase that and the baby may settle down. But maybe baby can't take more in at a time and needs to eat more often. Do it. Baby will eventually go back to sleeping well. My daughter's six week growth spurt seemed to last forever.

Tips
Something I did at the 2 week growth spurt was to let my daughter eat twice as long when she nursed, and she still made it the 3 hours that way. I wanted to do that because I wanted to stay on schedule with my not-quite two year old. He was still getting used to her being around. It seemed to work fine and my lactation consultant friend said that would work because your nipples are getting more stimulation. I would wonder how well that would work at an older age, though, because they tend to pull off when the milk is too slow.

Remember that babies have growth spurts throughout their first year, then toddlers do after that, etc. until they are done growing. Once you start solids and have them down, it will be more difficult to spot a growth spurt, but they will happen. Remain aware of them and offer your child more food if you suspect a growth spurt. Mine wouldn't nurse longer--they nursed the minimal amount of time to get the milk they wanted, then they were ready to play.

See also: Baby Whisperer: Growth Spurts : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/08/baby-whisperer-growth-spurts.html

Reader Questions:
  • David said...
    Hi, I think my 6 week old is in a growth spurt. We just moved from a pretty regular 2.5 hour schedule to a 3 hour schedule, but had barely started getting used to the new schedule, when now she suddenly is sometimes wanting to eat only 1.5 hours after her last feeding. And she has gone from napping constantly to waking early from her nap, or wanting to eat before her next nap. So, my question is, how do you handle it as far as the schedule goes. For instance, she ate at 10am, but then was hungry again at 11:30 but not due to eat again until 1. I fed her (and she took a full feeding, so it was obviously a hunger thing), and then she went down for a nap soon after. So, now do I try to feed her again at 1 to keep to the original schedule, or just wait and see when she wants to eat again and try to go as long as possible between feedings?Thanks!
    January 12, 2008 11:11 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    When my babies have growth spurts, I just feed them when they are hungry and let the normal routine fly out the window. I still feed, play, sleep, but I let baby decide when to eat. The catch is to keep them eating at least as often, so in your case every 2.5-5 hours. She might keep herself on the 1.5 eating and eat at one anyway! I wouldn't wake her if she is sleeping until 2 or 2:30. Good luck with the growth spurt! It can be tiring. By the way, good job feeding your baby when she was hungry :)
    January 12, 2008 11:19 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    I meant 2.5-3 hours, not 2.5-5.
    January 12, 2008 11:19 AM
    David said...
    Hi, thanks for the response. She did end up waking up to eat again at 1 that day and kept to the schedule, and the rest of the day was more or less on schedule. We are doing great on the 3 hour schedule now, except for some colicky evenings--sometimes the schedule and napping go completely out the window those nights, but I'm hoping to get past all of that in another month or so!
    January 22, 2008 1:26 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    I am glad things have calmed down for you! I find those first three months to be the most challenging part of baby's life. I have heard it referred to as the 4th trimester--it is just hard. Something magical happens around three months and baby just gets a lot easier.
    January 22, 2008 2:12 PM
  • Meredith said...
    My child is doing this now and today I picked him up and fed him and he took a full feeding. What do I do after this re: the schedule? For example, he eats at 7:00, then ate again at 9:00, but it is usually 10:00. He didn't go back down after the nine feeding b/c it took him 30 minutes to eat and then he was a wake. What do I do at 10:00? feed him again and continue with the regular schedule? I don't know if he will eat.If they won't go back to sleep after a 45 minute intruder feeding, then do you just adjust the schedule until it can be ironed out again? What are your thoughts on this?
    January 30, 2008 9:31 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Good question. If I experience the 45 minute intruder and baby is hungry, I just continue on the day more on a "pattern" than a "schedule." So baby ate at 9. I would then shoot for the next feeding to be 2.5-3 hours from 9, but perhaps sooner. If this is a growth spurt, then it will be sooner. Feeding baby as often as necessary for a few days will get him with the extra food he needs and he will then go back to normal schedule. So I would feed at 9, do the normal waketime, then put down for a nap. If it turns out he was just hungry for that one feeding, he might sleep a little longer for the next nap and get back on schedule at some point in the afternoon. If not, don't worry. Tomorrow is a new day :)
    January 30, 2008 9:45 AM
  • Tanya said...
    How can you tell that a baby is getting a full feeding in? Mine nurses for about 10 minutes on one side and then might take the other side for a few sucks but won't take it for longer - usually pulls off and just won't go back on when I offer it. Also, this afternoon, he was waking up and wanting to eat every two hours. We ran errands tonight so he was in the car seat and is still sleeping after the 2 hour mark. When he wakes up after 2 hours, he eats for 10 minutes and then has wake time and then sleeps for about an hour. He's very awake when he gets up and is acting hungry?? He's 6 weeks old this weekend, by the way.
    February 21, 2008 7:02 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    6 weeks is a growth spurt time. Also it is a time prolactin levels drop in the woman, which means the body needs to figure out some other way to make the milk. At least that is the way I understood it. The prolactin drop is significant in some way. So you definitely want to feed him as often as he wants it.As far as know if he got a full feeding...it is hard to know when you are breastfeeding. You sound like you are doing it correctly. You always want to let him finish one side completely before switching to the other so he gets the hind-milk. Then you offer the second side for as much as he wants. As time goes one, you will get to know it better. It will become more natural for you. Just watch the diaper output. If they are on track, then you know he is eating well!
    February 21, 2008 9:15 PM
  • Meghan said...
    I was so glad to find this post!! My daughter (7 weeks today) has been on a 3 1/2 hour schedule for about 2-3 weeks and doing great. I had to go back to work this week so she was with a sitter. To make a long story short, this week, she began wanting to eat sooner and fussing until she was fed. We had to move her to a 3 hour schedule. Before, she was only waking about 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. for her MON feeding but now she is waking at 12:30 or 1:00 and then again at 3:00 or 4:00. It has been tiring especially it being my first week back. Do you suggest that I just add another feeding for now? Last night I did not feed her when she awoke at midnight but then she woke at 1:20 a.m. and I fed her then. Also, I probably should have fed her when she woke at 4:00 too?? At 4:00 she just got really restless but never extremely fussy. She actually dozed off to sleep several times and made it to her regular feeding time of 6:30. Thanks for any input you can give!!
    March 28, 2008 6:30 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Yes, I would cut back down to a 3 hour schedule. BW recommends not extending your schedule until night feedings are dropping. As I understand it, Baby needs X number of calories in a day and need so many feedings to get those calories in. As they grow, they can take in more at a time and have fewer feedings. You want that dropped feeding to come at night, not in the day.Whether you do that or not, adding a feeding during a growth spurt is always a good idea. :)
    March 28, 2008 10:27 PM
  • Catherine said...
    I have been feeding him every time he wakes up- he's just having a big issue with one feeding per night- the last 3 nights he has been eating voraciously one feeding for about 45-50 minutes, afterward he is so worked up he just can't seem to get himself back to sleep. I even tried feeding him longer 2 nights ago but that just made it worse. It takes him 1-2 hrs. crying off and on even in his swing to fall back asleep. (Meaning I hear him crying every few minutes off and on) So I feed him as often as he wakes up, but he's having such a tough time when he wakes up so much from that feeding, poor guy. The other feedings he goes right back to sleep if he's in his swing. I feel like 3 issues are coming up at once! The growth spurt, him not being able to self soothe if he is woken up after almost falling asleep, and his days being in transition! Ahhh!
    March 6, 2008 12:32 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Hang in there! It will get better. Have you looked into any medical issues or milk supply yet?
    March 6, 2008 3:50 PM
  • Catherine said...
    Thanks- I am hanging in and just trying to get some sleep in the process. :) I did look extensively into both- gas, colic, etc, and my milk supply. I have more than enough milk. I pumped for a while and let my husband feed him the bottles. I also read a whole lot on gas, colic, reflux, etc... and even though he does fit the symptoms of it starting after eating, he doesn't fit the symptoms of fussiness with crying constantly, arching his back, seeming like he's in pain, etc... I have tried shortening his naps the last two days. He has taken 3 2.5 hour naps very happily and easily yesterday and today. His 4th nap yesterday was almost 2 hours. We were not having this issue at night until I stopped feeding him whenever he seemed that he had woken up when I put him in the crib. Meaning if I put him down, and he started jostling and waking up, I would pick him up and feed him again until he was really calm and would fall asleep easily when I put him in the crib. As soon as I stopped doing that, he has been up crying. I feel like I was soothing him back to sleep. Also for him to eat like he has been with that super long voracious feeding in the middle of the night is very out of character for him, only has happened the last 3 nights. He has also been eating consistently longer at each feeding the last few days.
    March 6, 2008 6:51 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    It sounds like he is improving! Remember that improvements come slowly, and the progress isn't in a straight line. They get better, then go back, then better, then back, etc. It is all a normal part of the process. The voracious eating is likely due to the growth spurt. Keep working on it--he is definitely making progress!
    March 7, 2008 10:38 AM
  • swanny said...
    My DD (14 weeks) had been consistantly sleeping through the night (7:30 bedtime, 10pm dream feed to 6:30 wake time)since 8wks old. Starting about 1 week ago she hit a growth spurt- but instead of waking up from her day time naps, she adopted the habbit of eating at night. I know that she needed the night feedings because she was eating very well for them (abt 12-15 /side and during the day she usually does 10 and 10). I tried yesterday and the day before to put her on a 2.5 hr schedule in the evenings (3:30, 6, 8:30, 11 pm dreamfeed) instead of the 3hr she has been on since birth (only one 2.5 hr feeding if she wakes early), in hope that she would not wake for a MON feed. She wasnt eating well for those feedings, and then was cranky because I woke her up early and she was not feed well. So I decided that was not the way to go. This morning she did not eat well. Do you think that it is time to start to wean her from her MON feeding that she just recently adopted? (I can't do CIO in the MON b/c I live w/ my inlaws and my husband is away at school). I dont want to under feed her if she is still going through a growth spurt. I am at a loss of what to try next.
    April 4, 2008 9:49 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Swanny, Sorry, I didn't get a notification about your post! I don't know if you are still having that issue by this point, but yes, I would start to wean from that MON feeding. Let me know if you are still having difficulty, and if so, what questions you have.
    April 14, 2008 10:56 AM
  • Elise'smum said...
    Hi, my LO is 11 weeks old and we are just now starting CIO. We have suscribed to BW pattern since her birth tho. We started CIO because she went from falling asleep by herself to falling asleep being rocked and she kept waking herself up after busting out of her swaddle. SO, I guess we're starting less swaddle (one arm out)and CIO. Plus she is now over some major reflux/colic issues. ANYWAY, day 2 naps are going OK she cries anywhere from 10-30min and then falls asleep with an arm out! Horray. But nights are tough she has never gone more than 6 hours without nursing. YUCK. I thought she was in a pattern recently so I tried CIO last night for the first time but I feel terrible because I went to check on her after 1 hour of fuss (at a patterned time) quiet fuss quiet CRY and she was hungry (when offered) that was on this evening schedule (eat 5PM)(nap 6PM) (nurse730PM&to bed)(1030PM nightfeed)*130AM CIO to 230AM nurse 630AM nurse. AKKKK. I'm sure she's eating enough during the day 2.5-3 hour schedule plus I have MORE than enough milk I always offer the second side too. SO, the question is...is she in a growth spurt or just eating because I offer at 4 hours since last nursing? Or just still needs a middle of the night nursing (but it seems to be in a pattern!) Does this make sense? Thanks!Elise's mom
    May 13, 2008 10:26 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    It is a hard call. I would be inclined to think as you do that she should need at most 1 night feeding. If she usually goes 6 hours, that isn't too bad. It isn't ideal for you, but 15% of BW babies don't sleep 7-8 consistent hours until 12 weeks. For that reason, I personally always wait until 12 weeks before considering CIO at night. BUT I do have friends that have done it at 9 weeks with success. You have to be the one to evaluate her need for food in the night and then go from there. 3 months is a growth spurt time, so I would also wait until you have seen that come and go before CIO at night. See this post on other ideas for dropping night feedings:Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/early-morning-feedings-before-waketime.html
    May 14, 2008 11:22 AM
  • LEM said...
    Is there such as thing as an opposite of a growth spurt? My 10-week old doesn't seem to be very interested in any of his feedings lately. In fact today he has flat out refused 2 in a row! He's seems normal otherwise. At his last appt about a week ago he was at the 50th percentile for both weight and height but it concerns me when he doesn't want to eat. My mother (not knowledgeable in BW) says I should feed him every 4 hours but I told her I needed to get rid of the dreamfeed first. Is it normal for them to not be hungry like this?
    July 26, 2008 6:35 PM
    wrknprogres said...
    My baby eats noticeably less during his growth spurts. I was concerned at first, too, but have discovered that as the cause...
    July 27, 2008 10:34 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    LEM, Since he refused 2 in a row, I would say it is not a need for a four hour schedule. I would guess it is a sickness issue. Teething, ear infection...Also, they are often really tired right after a growth spurt and might eat less.
    July 28, 2008 2:08 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    wrknprogres, thanks for your thoughts!
    July 28, 2008 2:08 PM
  • bradysmom said...
    I wonder if my LO is going through a growth spurt. He hasn't been pooping as much - every 2 days; and I can't get him to take a full 2 hour nap to save my life. He has consistently (for the past 5 days) been waking after 1.5 to 1 hr 45 minutes for naps (he's on a 4 hour schedule). He isn't crying when he wakes, so I just figured he was done eating.I did try to increase his solid intake, but he's not really interested in taking all of it. Maybe I should increase the bottle amount (he's bottle fed now). Also, I give him his bottle, then his solids. I tried it the other way around when we first started solids, but then he wouldn't finish all his bottle. Now he doesn't finish all his solids, unless it's somethign he loves!i just wonder if it's a growth spurt and that's why he's waking a little early, not pooping as much.
    August 19, 2008 6:34 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    It is possible :)
    August 19, 2008 9:24 PM

45 comments:

Michelle said...

I have a 17 month old son who has been sleeping through the night from 9 weeks old. He has gone through short periods of waking up once a night to nurse when sick or teething. For the past week he has been waking up 3 to 4 times within an hour usually between midnight and 1am. He seems VERY hungry the first time, then he'll wake up again in about 20 min or so and is usually hungry again. I think he may be getting his two year old molars, and I have started weaning him from the breast. I'm basically offering a cup of milk unless he asks for the breast. I feel very unsure about the exact reasons for him waking, and I really don't know what to do. Any suggestions?

Plowmanators said...

Michelle, I haven't actually heard of this at this age. I think teething could be it. Rest assured there will be a reason and a good reason. It is something that can be addressed. Once you figure it out and address it, you should be able to solve the sleeping problem. Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

i wanted to add, check out the nighttime sleep issues post for ideas.

KJackson213 said...

My baby hasn't been eating more that Ive noticed, but Ive been a LOT fuller in the mornings lately (so maybe shes just eating FASTER and Ive had enough milk?!). She's been really cranky (shes almost 4 months btw), REALLY cranky. Shes never been a fussy baby, only when she was around 6 weeks, of course! :) Sleeping seems to calm her, and she does go to sleep if I put her down about 15 min before the normal time, but she will just get happy all of a sudden and play if I put her in her crib before that. (btw I just dropped her fourth nap a week and a half ago). But then sometimes at night she will start talking to herself around 5 in the morning, and we get up at 6 so when we get up she will have been up for an hour already. Her next nap isnt until 8. Do u think her behavior is due to a dropped nap, or a growth spurt? Do they start sleeping MORE in relation to a dropped nap? I would appreciate your opinion.

Plowmanators said...

She should be nursing faster than she has in the past.

She might be teething. That is often a cranky-inducer.

Cranky behavior before a nap is probably because she has been awake too long already. Usually with a growth spurt they will wake early, not get cranky before a nap.

They sleep more after the growth spurt is over.

They often need a little earlier of a bedtime after dropping a nap, which might explain the early waking in the morning.

See also:

4 month Sleep Problems : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/05/4-month-sleep-problems.html

KJackson213 said...

Thanks for your help! Just got this one :).

I have a question- I think my daughter's going through a growth spurt now. Shes been waking up from naps again early (which were fixed), and eating everything available. Shes been getting very cranky after about an hour of being awake, and then goes to sleep but wakes up after 45 min so we're doing feedings every 1 hr 45 min. When they go through a growth spurt, is feeding THIS often normal? We had been doing 3.5 schedule, then it went down to 3 when I realized she needed an extra feeding, and now shes waking at night once AND feeding every 1.5-2 hours during the day. Does this sound normal to you bc is seems like a lot to me.

Anyway thanks!

Plowmanators said...

It sounds like a lot to me also. If you are breastfeeding, I would check your milk supply to make sure it is where it needs to be. My kids didn't eat more often with growth spurts after 4 months (but we started solids at 4 months), they just ate more food at each feeding.

I can't remember, does she have reflux? If so, she might need her meds increased.

Jane said...

Question...many people say their baby sleeps from the dreamfeed until 6-7am. My 10 week old has yet to STTN and it seems that it is always because of the swaddling! He starts off the night well b/c of the swaddle, but always breaks free from it and cries because of that. As soon as we reswaddle him, he falls back asleep, so I know it's not a hunger cry. I feel like he hasn't been able to STTN b/c of that. Does everyone NOT swaddle their babies? Should I try letting him be free?
Also, I feel like I'm always waking him up to feed him these days. We're on a 3-3.5 hour schedule right now and waketimes are about 1-1.5 hours. At 10 weeks, what is the ideal bedtime (before the dreamfeed?)
Thank you!!

LEM said...

Jane-

I just wanted to comment on the swaddling. My son loved to be swaddled. He was swaddled up until 4 months then we slowly started weaning. We ended up buying the Miracle Blanket (online) and he was unable to break free from that. I think some babies need the swaddle and some don't. The Miracle Blanket worked great for us!

Plowmanators said...

Jane, 10 weeks is still in the range that he might not be STTN only 7-8 hours.

Many people swaddle, and there are even some who swaddle past 6 months old. In our case, Brayden hated it and was never swaddled once we left the hospital. Kaitlyn did well with the swaddle, but around 3 months old it became a disruption to her sleep and we stopped swaddling her. It doesn't hurt to try letting him be free and see what happens.

It is possible he needs to be swaddled and is waking because he is out of it. If that is the case, you might want to try a different blanket/swaddler that is more capable of holding him in the swaddle now that he is older.

Bedtime is dependent on waketime and also feeding times. Most bedtimes are around 7-8ish, but some are earlier, others are later. See the blog lable "bedtime" for more on that topic.

Thanks LEM for your thoughts :)

Ashley said...

hi,
i have a question about a possible growth spurt. my 11 month old son has been sleeping thru the night and eating on a four hour schedule (3 solid meals a day & 4 (6-8 oz bottles). this last week he has been acting like he isn't satisfied and always hungry. a couple of days he has had 6 - 8 oz. bottles during the day in addition to solids & waking from 1-3 AM and drinking a full 8 oz. bottle. i called the pediatrician and the nurse said he should not be taking that many bottles, only about 16 oz. of formula a day, the rest water, and to let him snack more throughout the day and eat more "food". everything i've read seems to be the total opposite of that and i know he needs more than 16 oz. a day. i don't want to get in the habit of feeding him "snacks" all day. he eats lots of solids, finger foods, etc during his "meals", and i don't think i can get any more of that in him. i'm just wondering what your opinion is. do i continue feeding him in the night? or stop that and just let him drink more during the day? i just don't want him to starve. thanks for any suggestions. :)

Plowmanators said...

Ashley,

I don't bottlefeed, but 16 ounces sounds like a very low number. I do 24 ounces at a year when I wean from breastfeeding.

I would try to get more ounces in him during the day so he doesn't need to eat in the night. He is old enough that even a growth spurt really shouldn't cause for need to eat in the night, and you might end up creating a hard habit to break. Also, offer him more solids in the day if he will take them.

Lisa said...

Hi. My son is almost 5 mos old. We started him on rice cereal a week ago. He's been nursing 5 times a day, but we are trying to stretch that to 4. He's an excellent sleeper and will go about 11 hrs at night and still take 2-3 good naps during the day. The past few days he has been waking up between 5 and 6am (he normally sleeps until 7:30). He babbles for a few minutes but starts crying and the only thing that will quiet him is feeding him. I think he might have hit a growth spurt, as he's thinner than he has been - I think he grew long. He doesn't feel lighter to me. I'd be fine letting him CIO but my daughter is right next door and is still in school for 3 weeks - I can't let him be too loud & wake her. Thoughts on why this is happening all of a sudden or what I can do?? Thanks!

LindsayJay said...

Hello! I am a first time mom and my little one just celebrated her one month old bday today...I'm a huge follower (or hope to be) of babywise, studied it profusely during pregnancy, but am having a hard time implementing it. As I started this week, my little one is experiencing what I can only describe as a growth spurt. Feeding just about 1 1/2 after the end of her last feeding, very cranky and inconsolable. The doctor and I did realize she has reflux and is on some very light medicine for this, which is definately helping. However, her naptimes are becoming a bit difficult. She was awake for 6 hours yesterday, including feedings, and nothing I could do to put her down. Needless to say, she slept for 5 hours and then another 3 after a feeding last night. This morning we started fresh with lots of sleep, fed at 8:15 for 45 minutes, had about 30 minutes of wake time, and then down for a nap that only lasted 45 minutes. She was wide awake for a bit until the next feeding, then she ate, only 20 minutes of wake time is what I allowed, rocked her a bit, put her down sleepy but awake, and now she is crying in her crib. It kills me to let her cry, but I don't know if I should go to her, or let her cry. Clean diaper, full belly, was content and basically asleep for about 5 minutes and now awake. I really want this all to work, and I know it takes time, but I get so frustrated!

Plowmanators said...

Lisa,

There are a lot of possibilities. See this post:

5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/05/6-month-sleep-disruptions.html

Plowmanators said...

LidseyJay,

4 weeks is a very common time for a growth spurt.

It sounds like your waketime is too long for a 4 week old. At 4 weeks, it is usually 30-50 minutes, including feeding time. Since your little one takes 45 minutes to eat, you will likely want to try for 45-60 minutes. When McKenna was that age, she took 30 minutes to eat and then stayed up for at most another 15 minutes.

Also, try to not stress out about soothing your young baby. I think it is good to try to get them to sleep on their own, but sleeping is better than not. So have your goals in mind. First would be to have her fall asleep on her own. If she isn't ready for that, then soothe her to sleep but have the goal of her sleeping in her bed.

Be sure to read the CIO posts for more help with that.

Naomi Jones said...

How do I know when my baby is finished having a growth spurt?

Plowmanators said...

Naomi, it is hard to tell for sure. Most likely, your baby will still wake up early but then not eat well. It will just be because of being used to waking early. In that case, I just help the baby fall back asleep and she bounces back fast. Some babies (especially older ones) will just start sleeping as usualy.

Joanna said...

Hi, I have a question regarding number of feedings at night and diaper changes. My baby is 4 weeks. He is now eating roughly at 10pm, 1:45, and 5am. We like to start his day at 7 (so anytime between 6:30 - 7:30). I think he could possibly go longer between feedings, except that he wakes up multiple times during the night with wet & dirty diapers. Often he will wake up after 3 hours (or less) needing a diaper change, and not show signs of hunger. Sometimes we will just change him & put him back to bed, but he'll wake up again within an hour with another diaper. Is this normal - I'm afraid he'll never get closer to sleeping through the night at this rate! Sometimes we'll just go ahead & feed him so that it eliminates another time that we'll need to get up. How many feedings per night should there be at this point? I think he could go much longer between feedings, if he didn't wake up so often for diaper changes. No one else that I talk to seems to have had a baby so sensitive! Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

Joanna, by now, he should be at about 7 weeks, and thus should have at most one night feeding. That would be one feeding between 10 PM-7 AM. He might have none. But he could have one still.

I always put baby in a larger diaper at night if baby is close to the top of the diaper size range. So when McKenna wore size one in the day, she wore two at night. Many moms also go for huggies overnighters and love them. I would recommend trying one of those things out.

Summer said...

val- what a great post!
it seems to me that many babies are fussy when hungry, have you ever suspected a growth spurt without crying/ fussing? my 16 wk DD is having sudden nap trouble. according to my logs, for the past month she has slept from 4-6 hrs a day in naps (usually closer to the 4 hr end total). but the past couple days she has had most naps of just 30 min each, 3-4 X a day. i was doing CIO when she woke early from the nap, but once i stopped that, she is perfectly content to be out and about at home. this has never been the case! i do CIO to begin all naps and bedtime and that's improved today (less CIO time) since i moved up her feedings to every 2.5 hrs (which i have NEVER done before). she's just awake, awake, awake!
as far as breastfeeding goes, she's always been a great breastfeeder IMO and today offering feedings sooner seem welcomed by her (not sure as much is coming out as usual, i cant hear her swallowing as often). but she's nursing for 20-30 min, which is longer than normal for her, which is the ONLY reason (other than the severe drop in nap time) that i am suspecting a growth spurt. i am just going to go with it, but i wonder if you've ever had a child be this way or if it sounds more like something else (like a baby that doesnt need sleep! LOL). BTW, we were on a 3 hr schedule and she does sleep 11.5-12 hrs every night with no DF.
thank you, Summer

Plowmanators said...

Summer,

Some babies are easily distracted when hungry. So if they are out and about with you, then they can remain happy even though they are hungry. So she could be waking from hunger, but content to wake.

I would say if she is happier on a 2.5 schedule, do that.

I don't think it is a baby that doesn't need sleep :) All babies need sleep :)

ryan said...

Hi, I used babywise since 6 weeks with my now 11 month old with great success. From about 8 weeks up til about 9 months she used to have 2 good naps during the day (45 mins each) and sleep 12-14 hours at night uninterrupted. We now are really struggling and I dont understand why. She has not had good daytime naps for about 2 months -if she sleeps at all during the day it is rare. I know she is tired but she will just either play in her cot or cry until I come get her. The last month or so she has also started waking most nights at least once - sometimes really upset, sometimes just awake and singing to herself. I usually go in initially if she is crying and offer juice and then leave her to cry and she usually stops within the hour. She is now developing a new habit of not going to sleep for until about 9pm (she used to go down at 6pm and be asleep within minutes). She will play for a bit then really start crying. I then go in and try to rock her asleep and it tends to work -but I just wonder what Im doing wrong? My wonderful little sleeper now does not sleep! I know she is tired -my mum keeps insisting that she probably needs less sleep but I can tell she is tired. Please help!

lpeitsch said...

Hi there,

Great blog, thanks for it! My 3 month old seems to be in a growth spurt. He is having troubles napping, especially his first morning nap after his first feeding of the day. He is often unsettled (not crying, more whimpering, but not sleeping nonetheless!), for the first 30-45 minutes of his nap and then gets only 30 minutes of sleep at the most. I have tried cutting back his waketime by 5 minute increments, but it still seems to be happening. Any suggestions? Is it possible that he needs more waketime? Or another feeding only an hour and a half later? He naps anywhere from 1 hour - 2 hours for his other daytime naps...with his 4th nap (from around 5 pm to his last feeding of the day) being one that I always have to wake him up for to feed or else he would most likely keep on sleeping! I thought that most babies have their 4th nap be the shortest of them all? His is the longest. Almost like his body is tricked into thinking that it's bedtime. This nap has been this way for quite some time, before the growth spurt kicked in. Is that okay? Also, I was wondering is it okay to not have waketime after a bedtime feed? I have been feeding him at around 7:30 pm and he seems tired so I just change his diaper, sing to him and then put him down for the night. He makes it through to around 6:30 am - 7:00 am. I guess if he is doing well with that, stick to it? No need for a dreamfeed if he is already doing around 11 hours of nighttime sleep on his own right? Thanks so much for your thoughts!

Plowmanators said...

He might need a longer waketime for the morning nap. Since you have tried shorter waketime, go ahead and try longer to see if it helps.

Yes, it is okay to have no waketime right before bed if needed. There is at least some while feeding and changing his diaper, so that is totally fine.

Caitlin said...

Hi Valerie,

My son is now 16 weeks old, and he just went through a growth spurt- chronic 45-minute intruders, eating full feedings even 10x/day once! But I think we might be on the tail end of it- he's getting past his sleep transition more frequently now- he wakes up but is now able to go back to sleep most of the time and we're back to a three-hour schedule. We're now back working on CIO again, because during his growth spurt he was very fussy and I had to do a lot of soothing to get him to sleep. He's currently in bed, kind of gurgling to himself, and has been awake for almost two hours now. He woke up at 7:45, and I put him to bed at 9:00, and now he's just sitting in there. I'm watching on the video monitor and he's rocking his head and rubbing his eyes, so I know sleep is getting close, but normally his morning nap is the easiest of the day- I feel like I already know that this might be a one-time weird nap, but I'm trying to find the cause of it. Last night I put him to bed at 6:30 as usual, df at 9:30 and then fed him at 5:00 when he woke up this morning, and then again at 8 after he woke up at 7:45 after changing, etc. His bed time is generally very consistent, as is his df time and early morning feeding. My question is, if he's staying awake this long for the morning nap after 75 min of waketime, should I go longer or shorter with it? His normal waketime is 80 min. He used to be asleep by 90, but now it's like an hour and forty minutes before he falls asleep. Is that an indication that I should move his waketime to 90 minutes?

Friends of mine have been saying that their four-month-olds’ napping problems resolved a lot by themselves when they added solid foods to their diet- what do you think about that? I have a good milk supply-currently too much, after just coming off a growth spurt- so how could he possibly be not getting enough food? I let him feed as long as he wants, (usually ten minutes, and then he's done) and as often as 2.5 hours apart if he randomly wakes up early. Just trying to rule things out.

Is it common to have to re-establish nap schedules again after a growth spurt? Because I feel like we were doing great before it- he stayed asleep until the three hour mark for almost all his naps, and now it’s tricky. Is some of that to do with his development, more than the growth spurt? Sorry for rambling- thanks!!

Martha said...

Hi Val, my LO is 3.5 weeks old and we're still working on establishing her schedule. I'm still trying to get to know her! I've got lots of questions. First of all, she's been pretty much on a schedule since birth because she was a very sleepy baby. She's always giving off hunger cues so instead of feeding her all the time, I've just stuck to the schedule. She never pulls off the breast, she'll fall asleep but not stay away and show me that she's had enough. I've tried pulling her off when her suck sequence isn't "suck suck swallow" but then she still seems hungry. I give her a pacifier and she seems content. One thing I worry about though is not knowing if she actually is hungry, for example if she's going through a growth spurt. Could her hunger cues really be hunger cues or is she just always rooting so that she can suck on something? How can I know that I've fed her enough if she always still seems hungry? Right now I feed her for 30 minutes and assume she's full. I don't think I have issues with my milk supply because she's usually gulping for about 20 minutes and she slows down for the last 10 (almost falls asleep). I'd appreciate any advice on her eating habits. Thank you.

Plowmanators said...

Martha, I would say most babies that young do not pull from the breast and refuse to eat when they have had enough, especially if the like to sleep at the breast.

The best way to know if she is eating enough is to watch her growth and her diaper output. Good luck!

masons mommy said...

I need help. I have been doing babywise for months now. I have a 8.5 month old. He wakes up a lot during the night and still eats at 4:30 am. He goes to bed at 9:00 and sleeps generally until 7:30 but latley has been waking up at 6:00 am for the day. We have done CIO and it seemed to help at first. Now if he wakes and we do not go in he whines and cries for a long time, sometimes an hour. We gernerally do not go in unless after 4 am and at that time I feed him. I would love to drop the feeding and get him to just stay asleep. If you have any suggestions please let me know. Thank you

tracy white said...

hi, i have a question...our son has been on a 3.5 to four hour feeding sched. during the day and sleeping through the night. He was just three months old five days ago. Since then he has been waking up every 1 to two hours at night to eat, but sticking to his daytime schedule. I'm pretty sure this is a growth spurt. it's not been five nights, any thoughts/suggestions? I feel like he's got his day and night feedings mixed up. I'have tried shortening time between daytime feedings but he's not really hungry (he eats five times during teh day becaseu we do a little cluster before he sleeps at night). Thanks for any advice you have.

tracy white said...

Forgot to add: He is over 15 pounds and I breast feed.
Thanks,

Plowmanators said...

Masons Mommy,

Weissbluth suggests an early bedtime to help with night wakings. If you want him to wake up at 7 AM, I would move bedtime up to around 7 PM.

Plowmanators said...

Tracy, I would suggest you look at my nighttime sleep issues post to see if there might be another reason for his waking in the night. If it is a growth spurt, I would think he would be willing to eat more often in the day.

If, however, you are sure it is a growth spurt, I would try to soothe him back to sleep in the night without at least one feeding then try adding those feedings back to the day instead. Good luck!

tracy white said...

THANK YOU so much for responding! I now think it is not a growth spurt but for whatever reason he is not getting the calories during the day...i now feed every three hours with both breasts but still not changing. I'll check your sleep issue posts.Again, thank you for responding I really APPRECIATE it.

tracy white said...

umm..t.racy here again, where is the post? I was looking on your site, but didn't see it. would you mind linking to it?

Plowmanators said...

Here it is :)

Nightime Sleep Issues--Revised and Updated: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2010/01/nightime-sleep-issues-revised-and.html

Rach1330 said...

Hi, I'm not sure if this is where I do this or not... but here goes. My 8.5 month old has slept through the night since 12 weeks,totally followed BW and am a huge believer... we have not needed to CIO- but have had to occasionally re-insert the nuk- and he's back to sleep. the past 3 weeks have been horrible, I cant fingure out if it's 1.) teething which he is working on the front two (for a total of 5 now)2.)he just got tubes due to several ear infetions and is now battling a bad cold or
3.) his Dad had been out of town for the past month & half gone M-F and home on the weekends- could that be messing with him? 4.) He is on solids & does not appear hungry eats very well durign the day actually...So here we are trying to decide if we need to CIO!!?? We tried (not thinking) picking him up and putting him back down. SUPER big mistake, he only screams louder & longer if he sees you go in his room much less pick him up. I'm not sure what to do? If we pick him up because of wanting to comfort only beacuse of sick or teething what do we do? We can NOT put him back in his crib? He cries the second he hits the matress? We are stuck!

Aunt LoLo said...

I just want to say THANK YOU for this blog. My mind is like a sieve, and I had gone too long without checking myself against BW. We hit teething, a growth spurt, and underfeeding all at the same time, and there were two nights that were just torture - she woke up every two hours from 10pm-5am.

I realized, after reading your blog (and I'm BLUSHING WRITING THIS) that in stretching out her daytime feedings, I was FORCING her to wake up at night to eat. Over and over. We are going back on a 3-3.5 daytime schedule (instead of 4-5) and I think my baby will be much happier! She is 5 months, 20 pounds...and growing. YIKES. haha "Underfeeding" was obviously not my first train of thought when I was looking at why she was waking up so much at night, especially since she would go back to sleep after just a few minutes of nursing. She was a combination of exhausted and starving.

Renée Schmidt said...

I have an 8.5 week old that was in the hospital post birth for a high fever. We started babywise when we came home from the hospital. He would go down and sleep well and then even in the hospital kept it up.
In the last couple of weeks with the heat he has been napping very poorly. Only 45 min to an hour. I've tried cry it out but he just cries til next feed. I've also done a day of feeding early in case it's a growth spurt. Can growth spurts last this lon

Andrea Humble said...

My 6 mo old has gone haywire. Yesterday morning he woke 1.5 hrs early. He's done this before. I rock him and he goes back to sleep. This did not happen yesterday. He became hysterical. It was clear he wanted to eat, so I nursed him and he went back to sleep until his normal wake time. He nursed like usual upon waking up. And he became hysterical again when I went to put him down for his first nap, so I nursed him again. So I'm thinking...he's 6 mos...growth spurt, obviously. Well, the pattern that has developed since then is he will barely eat when he wakes up from his naps and he'll nearly tear my shirt off when I go to put him down for naps. He has never been one to nurse to sleep. He's not a comfort nurser. He's been in a 3 hr-ish eat-play-sleep pattern since 2 mos. So I expect w/ a growth spurt for frequency to increase and it has, a little. I find moreso that he's almost switched to eat-sleep-play. I give him the option to nurse when he wakes each time, but he's barely eating where he would usually take full feeds. I really don't want to fall in this pattern with him as he has reflux and this is not good for him to lay down after eating. Should I quit worrying? Is this just a growth spurt and do you think he'll settle back into his eat-play-sleep routine?

Danny and Danet` said...

Hi, I'm a new mom with an almost 6 week old who has been on a fairly consistent 3 hour routine the last fee weeks and from birth has woken typically once in the middle of the night. Last sunday is when we started implementing a dream feed and he's done well, waking at 330/4, eating and going back to sleep till near 7. Sometimes wakes at 5 and if not resttled, I feed him then and again at 730 at the latest. This weekend I thought maybe he got off a bit because of his evening being thrown off 2 nights in a row, but though sun seemed normal, he woke up at 230 & 530 needing to eat mon morn. I did some research and realized he was likely having a growth spurt, manifest by his waking an hour/ half hour early from his normally 1.5-2 hour naps all day sunday and again mon. mon I focused on feedin him when he woke early, about every 2 hpurs, sometimes 1.5, and he always took a full feeding. I breastfeed btw. we did his dream feed at 1045 last night, which wasn't as long or productive as i'd have liked. He just woke up again 20 min sho at 230 exactly. I went in, gave him his pacifier, and am waiting to see if he wakes up again. If he does, I plan to feed him, but am having a hard time deviding if that means he still didn't eat enough during the day (possible milk supply issue?), if I may have another day of growth catch up to do with him? Or if he is just waking out of habit. Any tips would help! This blog has been so incredible this last week!

Danny and Danet` said...

Hi, I'm a new mom with an almost 6 week old who has been on a fairly consistent 3 hour routine the last fee weeks and from birth has woken typically once in the middle of the night. Last sunday is when we started implementing a dream feed and he's done well, waking at 330/4, eating and going back to sleep till near 7. Sometimes wakes at 5 and if not resttled, I feed him then and again at 730 at the latest. This weekend I thought maybe he got off a bit because of his evening being thrown off 2 nights in a row, but though sun seemed normal, he woke up at 230 & 530 needing to eat mon morn. I did some research and realized he was likely having a growth spurt, manifest by his waking an hour/ half hour early from his normally 1.5-2 hour naps all day sunday and again mon. mon I focused on feedin him when he woke early, about every 2 hpurs, sometimes 1.5, and he always took a full feeding. I breastfeed btw. we did his dream feed at 1045 last night, which wasn't as long or productive as i'd have liked. He just woke up again 20 min sho at 230 exactly. I went in, gave him his pacifier, and am waiting to see if he wakes up again. If he does, I plan to feed him, but am having a hard time deviding if that means he still didn't eat enough during the day (possible milk supply issue?), if I may have another day of growth catch up to do with him? Or if he is just waking out of habit. Any tips would help! This blog has been so incredible this last week!

Danny and Danet` said...

So far its been 30 min and he's still out btw.

Danny and Danet` said...

He just woke up again around 330, but that's normal time and i'm feeding him now. . Any odeas bead on what i've said?

Valerie Plowman said...

Danny and Danet,

It sounds like a growth spurt. It is also the time when your prolactin levels lower, so your body won't make as much milk naturally (from what I understand). So it might be growth spurt or it might be your baby knowing he needs to eat more often to make sure the supply stays up. Once your body catches up, he will be fine and go back to normal eating.

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