View Full Version : Help! Is my 12 week old's sleep normal?

02-10-2005, 10:11 AM
I am a first-time mom in need of some help!

My son is 12 weeks old, about 14 lbs, and is breastfed. From the time he was born, I have been told my nurses, family, etc. that he is a very alert baby. Of course, I have nothing to compare to...

Anyway, I feel like he doesn't sleep much and I wonder if his sleep is normal? He sleeps approximately 7-8 hours at night, usually divided into two 3.5-4.5 blocks. A typical night is going to bed at 10:30pm after nursing, waking at 2:30am to nurse, going back to bed at 3:00am, and waking up at 7:00am. A few weeks ago, for about 4 or 5 days, he slept 5-7 hours for the first block, but has since shortened. He sleeps on his back in his crib at night. One positive thing is that he puts himself to sleep at night with no crying. I don't have to rock him. I just lay him in his crib (even fully awake) and he seems to know what to do.

During the day, our very loose routine is to eat every 2.5-3.5 hours, then play, then nap when he seems tired. He will nap for only 30-60 minutes at a time in his crib and will wake up crying. He is clearly still tired, but he will often stay awake fussing and crying for 15-30 minutes before going back to sleep. The exception is if I put him in his swing - he will sleep up to several hours consectutively there!

I guess I thought he would be sleeping longer at night by this age. I also worry that sleeping in the swing during the day will make him dependent on the motion and that maybe being in the swing during the day makes it hard for him to sleep in his crib at night? But he seems so happy and content there...

I would love to hear from some moms who have been through this age. Please let me know your thoughts and any advice! I would also like to know when do babies start sleeping all through the night? Does being breastfed vs formula fed make a difference? Thanks!

02-15-2005, 05:57 PM
I recommend you read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg. It addresses all of your concerns. It is a great book and transformed my 3 month old into a great napper (moved her from the swing to the crib) and she now sleeps through the night!!

02-15-2005, 06:53 PM
I also used techniques from "The Baby Whisperer". I have a 11 week old and have alot of the exact same issues that you are experiencing. My DS does sleep alot overall, but during the day he will wake up EXACTLY 45 minutes into each nap. If I put him into the swing, he will sleep straight for hours also. In the book "On becoming Babywise", they mention the "45 minute intruder". They are still doing research as to why babies wake 45 min. into each nap but they think it has something to do with the mother's milk supply. I challenged that theory by giving him a bottle of formula before one nap and it still happened! I wish I could be of more help but I am having the same problems. I too fear that he will be dependent on the swing, but since he sleeps fine in the crib at night, I figure that this phase will pass. Good luck!

02-16-2005, 08:38 PM
I am a big fan of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." Based on that and my personal experience with my daughter, my belief is that if a child is crying a lot (and is not hungry or dirty) the child is tired.

I think a 10:30 bedtime at 12 weeks is much too late. I would try moving the bedtime up to 7 or 8, either gradually or all at once.

Once you put the child down for the night, treat any wake up as a "feeding only" time. That is, if the child wakes up and cries, change the baby and do a feeding, but keep the lights dimmed and no playing.

I highly recommend the book. It is filled with research on sleep, including why we need it and what happens if kids don't get enough, and has a lot of useful tips. The most interesting things in the book for me were (1) the idea that "sleep begets sleep"; a well-rested child will sleep better and more consistently than an over-tired child; and (2) sleep deprivation is cumulative; consistently losing out on 20 minutes of sleep a day will eventually catch up with the child and make them cranky.

Some people disagree with the author's preference for "cry it out," but he gives other options if you can't do it. Look at the book as "tool box" filled with different tools for helping your child sleep well. Use the tools you need, don't use the other ones.

I hope this is helpful.

02-16-2005, 11:09 PM
Thanks to all for your responses!

I have not read the Baby Whisperer book and plan to take a look at it.

That is very interesting about the 45 minute nap thing, because a girlfriend of mine had the same experience with her child! Her son was exclusively formula fed though. I have watched my son in the swing and noticed he still often wakes up after 45 minutes, but will quickly go back to sleep.

I have read Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child and thought it was very helpful. I think I will give the earlier bedtime a try. My son does nap in the swing in the evening hours, so this really wouldn't be that much of a change. Maybe an earlier bedtime would help him consolidate and get more consecutive hours.

Thanks again for your suggestions!

By the way, I just ordered a new book out by the Sleep Lady called Good Night, Sleep Tight. I am anxious to read it.

02-24-2005, 07:07 PM
I'm surprised that no one else has recommended the Ferber book: How to Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. Ferber has a very in depth, scientific reason why 45 minute naps happen. It's all to do with sleep cycles and how the child was put to sleep. I highly suggest that you pick up a copy at the library or buy the book.

02-25-2005, 11:43 AM
Oh my! I could have written most of your post!

My son is also 12-weeks old, should be about 14-15 pounds (was 13 pounds at his 2-month appointment) and is breast-fed during the day, from 6 AM to 6 PM (5 feedings) and formula fed at night (2-3 feedings) from 7 PM to 5 AM.

He sleeps from 8:30 to to 6 or 6:30, waking up twice per night, usually sleeps about 4.5 - 5 hours in his first stretch and then 3.5 in his second stretch, and then a little more. He was sleeping 6 even 6.5 hours in his first stretch until about 2 weeks ago.

During the day, he naps for only 30-45 minute stretches in his crib. I try to follow the EASY (eat-activity-sleep) cycle suggested in Baby Whisperer. I also try to maintain his periods of wakefulness to two hours or less (Weissbluth), which means that he winds up taking a lot of catnaps. However, he will sleep for hours when he is in motion. We don't have a swing, but when I take him in his stroller, he will sleep for a long time. He normally sleeps for about 12 hours for each 24 hour period, when he should be sleeping about 16.

I've read Baby Whisperer, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy CHild (Weissbluth), and the No Cry Sleep Solution, without success in stretching the nap times and the sleep at night.

Is this a phase or is there something else I should try to do?

02-25-2005, 11:47 AM
COuld you please summarize the part about "how the child was put to sleep?"