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Do babies wake up in the middle of the night because they are hungry or just because?

I'm thinking about starting my 5 month old on cereal at night to help him sleep longer but is hunger the only reason babies usually wake up at night?

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Asked by Anonymous at 4:55 PM on Nov. 23, 2008 in Babies (0-12 months)

Answers (7)
  • I don't think it's the only reason. My five month old has started some solids and I try to give her some before bedtime to help her sleep longer, but she still wakes up just the same.

    Answer by sophiafarris at 5:01 PM on Nov. 23, 2008

  • **Warning*** Using cereal for sleep purposes is an Old Wives Tale!!!

    Babies can wake up for a myriad of reasons, just like adults. With infants the main reason is hunger (and yes at 5 months baby still NEEDS food in the middle of the night). Soon the times will lengthen out and then one day baby won't wake in the night, hang in there! It will happen but very rarely on the timetable you wish.


    Answer by Anonymous at 5:06 PM on Nov. 23, 2008

  • Babies can and do wake up for being hungry, but once they reach 12 lbs they "should" be able to sleep the entire night ( key word there being should). Babies do not know how to get themselves back to sleep once they wake up. They have to learn this behavior. Some babies that suck their thumbs or pacis have an easier time doing this. All my kids co slept with me until around 5-8 months old (with exception of my first born who was 5 when we moved him out). You have to find your own method of getting them to go back to sleep. Whether that be deal with getting up, letting them cry it out, and so on. My advice to you would be do whatever make sense and works for your family.

    Answer by fbic72 at 5:20 PM on Nov. 23, 2008

  • one of the really big reasons babies dont sleep through the night is because the connections in the neurological system and brain have not been made yet. That is why a preemie will wake up MUCH more than a term baby regardless of whether they are hungry or not. Babies also wake up for diaper changes, fear (think they are alone) and some babies wake up because of night terrors. I have a heard a lot of people including pediatricians saying you should NOT give cereal in a bottle. I was just in my local WIC office the other day and this display about the proper way to give your baby cereal and the biggest dont was putting it in a bottle. So I guess me personally I would avoid that if possible. You can try increasing formula intake at bedtime and during the night if your baby wants more but before 12 months of a age a babys primary source of nutrition comes from formula and or breastmilk. Ride it out momma. It'll get better soon

    Answer by humaniterian87 at 6:23 PM on Nov. 23, 2008

  • Trust me cereal doesnt work. My daughter started eating cereal at 4 months and she is 10 months now and she still wakes up at night. Her doctor said babies wake up just like we do. Sometimes they are hungry, sometimes they are thirsty and sometimes they just wake up. The difference between us and them is that we have learned to put ourselves back to sleep and they havent.

    Answer by lilmsnay83 at 8:09 PM on Nov. 23, 2008

  • Hi, my son was sleeping through the night when he was 2 months old, and then, around 6 months he started waking up every 3 hour, like a clockwork... for 4 or 5 weeks!
    Turned out he was getting teeth and had growth spurt! Now he is (thankfully) back to only one waking around 11, what is perfectly ok with me, since he will go to sleep after without problems.
    So, that's very likely phase that will pass - don't give cereal or solid food yet, wait for 6 months mark, their digestive system will work much better later in life if you postpone solid food.
    Also, we started to turn on nightlight now - and he goes to sleep so much easier! It was opposite way before.
    Good luck!

    Answer by Branka2008 at 9:59 PM on Nov. 23, 2008

  • I think it is as much habit as anything. My son is 5 months and wakes up every night for a bottle. People have told me many ways to try and break him of it. I think I am going to start trying to let him fuss it out for a little while. I figure I will give him 20 minutes and if he is still fussing then apparently he is hungry, so I'll make a bottle. But my best friend said both of her kids were sleeping through the night at 6 weeks(9pm-6am) I think at 5 months we can start trying too:O) Let me know if you figure something out, because a full nights rest (for the first time in 5 months) would really be nice;)

    Answer by cjo1366 at 10:23 PM on Nov. 23, 2008

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