Childhood Diseases

Posted by: E. | 2010/02/23


4 month old sleeping habits

Hi dr
My daughter will be 4 months at the end of this month. She weighed 5.7 kg at 14 weeks (birth weight 2.8 kg) and is exclusively breastfed (expressed milk in a bottle). She is also on Losec Mups for reflux. She is otherwise healthy.
Her sleeping habits is currently a big problem. She used to sleep anything from 7 –  11 hours at night, but for the last week or so, have been waking every 3 –  4 hours at night. She also sleeps very little during the day. It’ s a constant struggle to put her back to sleep. I don’ t think she can be hungry as she has gone for such long periods without a feed before and for example this morning, we eventually had to get up with her, but didn’ t offer a bottle and she was quite happy. She doesn’ t self-sooth &  doesn’ t take a dummy. When she wakes, we try various methods to put her back to sleep e.g. rocking. After a long struggle, the only way to put her back to sleep is with a bottle. If we leave her in her cot, she won’ t fall back to sleep by herself. She yawns a lot when she’ s awake, so she must be tired. During the day she doesn’ t go down without a fight, it’ s either the bottle again, or if you rock her, she would fight / struggle / scream for about 15 mins before eventually ‘ losing the battle’ . And then she would only sleep for half an hour max. Sometimes she gets less than 10 hours sleep in a 24 hour period. Surely this is unhealthy and detrimental to her growth?
I have 2 questions, how do we teach her to self-sooth and fall back to sleep unaided? If we leave her, she will start crying and we can forget about any more sleep for the rest of the night. She battles with winds and occasionally she has a lot of gas. Could this mean she has discomfort in her tummy? Can I give her Buscopan on a regular basis and if so, how much / how often? Otherwise, any advice would be great as we are currently severely sleep deprived. Ideally I wanted to breastfeed her until she’ s 5 months and didn’ t want to start solids before then. Please advise?
Kind regards

Expert's Reply



Your daughter's weight at 14 weeks was just slightly below the average for baby girls of her age. Her present struggling to sleep and the symptoms you so excellently describe are highly suggestive of ongoing reflux. Losec Mups is usually an excellent treatment to reduce stomach acid, but your little baby's symptoms suggest she is not benefiting from this treatment. Please take her back to your paediatrician. She needs careful testing to demonstrate the severity of her ongoing reflux problems. She will probably require additional treatment to deal with her refluxing.

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