ask an expert

Trouble with 4 month old sleeping

My baby is almost 4 months old. I am having trouble getting her to stay asleep and wondering what I might do?

She goes down to sleep in her crib at about 7pm. She falls asleep while in there without much fussing. She will then sleep until 1 or 2am and then wake every hour or 2.

When she wakes, sometimes I feed her and other times I give her a pacifier. Neither seem to make any difference in sleep. I have also tried feeding while she is still sleepy at about 10pm at night when I go to bed. That doesn't seem to make any difference - with her still waking up every 1 to 2 hours.

At this age, should I still be feeding her in the night so often - or how can I get her to sleep through the night?

During nap time she will sleep in her crib. I give her a bottle when she wakes up and she will fall asleep while taking the bottle. At this point should we let her sleep in our arms or wake her and play with her and then put her back in the crib after some play time to set a more consistent nap time schedule? Will this affect the night time sleep?

Katrena Lacey | Pediatrician

Katrena Lacey

First - thank you for your question and concern. Helping an infant adjust to feeding and sleeping is an important, but sometimes difficult, job!

Currently it seems that you are mainly reacting to your baby's sleep and feeding queues. I would encourage you to be proactive in setting a feeding and sleep schedule for your daughter.

I would suggest trying to establish a schedule for feeding your baby and when the baby naps. Combine a schedule with the flexibility to respond to your baby's needs. Always watch for cues that your baby is hungry - hunger trumps the clock! The consistent schedule may help your baby settle into a routine for sleep and feeding.

There is a concept called Parent-Directed Feeding that may be helpful to you. It is outlined in books such as Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep.

I believe by directing your baby's sleep and feeding more consistently and confidently you will encourage improved sleep patterns in your daughter.

Read more answers by Dr. Lacey