Getting REALLY desperate: baby hijacks our evenings

(133 Posts)
TrixieLox Fri 20-Sep-13 08:03:14

I really thought this would resolve itself by 3 months but it seems to be getting worse: my 15 week old baby girl simply will not settle from the time she has her bath etc to about 9pm or 10pm. My hubby and I have to take it in turns to have dinner and just can't relax. The last straw came last night when I went to cinema and came home to find my hubby hadn't eaten dinner cos our daughter had played up all evening.

By playing up, I mean she either cries or yelps in excitement, trying to get our attention and refusing to sleep.

We've tried everything: putting her in her crib upstairs (she screams hysterically so we have her downstairs in her vibrating chair or sitting on us), starting her bedtime routine earlier / later (yes, she has a routine: naked kickaround, story, bath), low lights and sounds, ignoring her, 'tricking' her by pretending to sleep upstairs, etc etc. Sometimes, some of these work and we think we've cracked it. Then she's at it again. She's perfect in every other way and sleeps through from 9pm or 10pm to 7am.

The advice we're getting divides into two camps: a) You're too soft, time to start controlled crying, or b) This is just what babies do, it'll sort itself out soon.

I feel 3 months is too early to start CC but am actually on the verge of trying it now. I also feel that no, it won't sort itself out and no, babies shouldn't be like this at this age. She's got into a habit and unless we stop it, it'll be the story of our lives for the next few years. I know people who's kids don't have their bedtime until 9pm or 10pm and evenings are havoc, I DO NOT want to be in that situation.

Please help before I start controlled crying (or maybe you recommend I do?!).

This IS what babies do. Frankly I'm amazed she sleeps through after that time. Keep up with your routine and then cuddle her or have her in a bouncy chair under a baby gym for a couple of hours till she's ready to go down. You don't get evenings with young babies and 3 months is very young. It took her three times that long to be big enough to be born! A three month old baby doesn't have 'habits'. Gradually her bedtime will move back. As long as you keep getting her ready for bed at the appropriate time then you won't have any longterm issues.

Personally I would go for bath and then lots of cuddles till she seems very still and sleepy but is still awake - around her usual time for dropping off. Then go for a transfer in to cot and see if she will chill out. She might cry for a minute or two but if you can tell that's lessening then give her a minute or two more. If she all out yells then pick her up and cuddle her till she drops off. She will learn to self settle eventually but this age is too young to learn it if she won't do it naturally if you see what I mean.

BigW Fri 20-Sep-13 08:25:30

I don't think that CC is appropriate as she is far too young. She is having an excellent block of sleep for a baby of her age. If you want to move it to earlier to get your evening back, you hsve to then be prepared to deal with it at the other end IYSWIM.

I put DS down at 7pm from an early age, but he didn't really do good stints of sleep until he wad about 6 months. I enjoyed getting our evening back, but he was often done sleeping by about 4am.

If you still want to do it, I would start moving bedtime earlier by about 15mins every few days and cut down her naps accordingly. Depending on her napping routine, don't let her sleep for a couple of hours before bedtime so she is tired. Don't let ger have massive three hour naps in the daytime or if she needs that, make sure it's not in the afternoon. HTH

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 20-Sep-13 08:25:41

Oh - and DS moved his own bedtime back to 7pm. We didnt need to do anything. It will sort itself out.

I don't want to enter a bun fight on controlled crying but I really do not think that is appropriate at that age

apachepony Fri 20-Sep-13 08:26:41

I'm not the right person to give advice on sleeping issues - I have been v laid back with mine, his sleeping isn't great but I'm not too bothered at the minute (will have to go hardcore). However I have been spending a lot of time with other new mothers, and I don't know any with babies sleeping 7 to 7. The only people I've met who seem to expect this are the childless or those who had their babies 30 years ago (my mother). Now a lot of those new mothers are breastfeeding which to be honest I really do think affects night time sleep (if you're bf and your dd sleeps that long I'm really impressed!) but I don't think those who bottle fed slept the whole 12 hours either.I know one friend gave me her gina ford book but admitted that whilst her first baby followed the routines to the letter, the second was having none of it. I found it really useful when those with older babies told me to relax and the babies would fall into their own routine - it's true.
If I were you I would just continue with the bedtime routine, carry on trying to put her down but if it doesn't work RELAX and enjoy your baby, it will all change again in a month or too. Tell your dh it's normal baby behaviour and appreciate the sleeping 10 - 7!
Btw a lot of those smug parents will be less smug in a month or two cos sleeping can go backwards - this happened to one of my friends who feels repentant over her smugness now....

curlew Fri 20-Sep-13 08:27:27

This is one of those threads where I want to say "it's a baby! what did you expect!"

TrixieLox Fri 20-Sep-13 08:28:18

Girls, you're amazing, thank you so so much. I feel better about things now and will look into the things some of you recommended.

Those of you who said it's more mine and hubby's attitude are right.

I do love cuddling her to me, she's so precious - took us 5 years and 3 rounds of IVF to conceive her so our beautiful little miracle: maybe that's half our 'problem'? All our friends and fam have had babies a few years back and remember it with rose-tinted glasses and forgot the evening witching hours?! So give us strange advice, I don't know. I just feel a bit of a failure sometimes but actually, she's doing so well by sleeping through and is always so smiley and happy (apart from when she cries hysterically, ha ha!). I need to count my blessings.

TinyTear Fri 20-Sep-13 08:31:10

wow i wish i had 10-7 stints any time before 14 months!!! the evening is the witching hour... babies want comfort, they will cluster feed, they will want company, they will want a cuddle...

people who have babies and think their life won't change are deluded slightly... you CHOSE to have a baby, please don't abandon them to controlled crying and stuff like that... 15 weeks is SO young...

BeansAndCheese Fri 20-Sep-13 08:31:15

There is no such thing as a perfect baby. They've not read the books and they don't know they are supposed to sleep for 18 hours a day. Mine certainly bloody didn't! I went through months of cluster feeds that went on anything up to 1am. The main problem is when you are only 3 months in, you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. It will come, eventually...

MintyDiamonds Fri 20-Sep-13 08:31:35

Well I looked into sleep training in the failed attempt to get my baby to sleep and from what I read controlled crying is leaving them to cry for a certain amount of time and then coming back in, but no picking up and then leaving again for a longer period, which if I tried that with my baby would ensure an hysterical baby, but the website I got the info off could have been incorrect.

Tash28 Fri 20-Sep-13 08:33:41

I have an 18 week old son. He was in a routine of 9-8 and then we went away, he hated the travel cot and all hell broke loose on his sleep pattern back to 2-3 times waking per night. I have to say on this one I think count your blessings. You have a baby that sleeps through , from my baby group this is still an seldom thing for them to do and they're all a few weeks older.

I would love to eat together but unfortunately bubs has other ideas and if we want to then one of us is one handed or it's shifts. I don't like it but I wouldn't be concerned. You've got your sleep, I'd contemplate sacrificing my dh in the cult sense of the word for 9-8 back!

Why don't you get a sling. Then you can have your hands free to eat together. smile

MrsHoratioNelson Fri 20-Sep-13 08:34:04

People at baby groups don't always tell the truth....

This. Be very careful about what people tell you about their babies that you haven't actually witnessed for yourself. You'll go mad otherwise.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 20-Sep-13 08:34:28

I would kill for 10 til 7...DD is 7 next month ..the taking time to settle in evening will pass smile

Leviticus Fri 20-Sep-13 08:36:01

I also think your expectations are high but I absolutely understand your need for baby free time in the evenings. I remember really needing to know there would be a point in the day when I would be able to fully relax.

With both of mine I've done the following from about 9 weeks old to get them into a bedtime routine:

Bath at 7 then feed to sleep (against all the books advice but works for us).

Baby in cot in sleeping bag in total darkness.

If baby cries sit quietly and cuddle in the dark until resettled and then back into the cot.

Repeat as necessary until they properly fall asleep. At first this may be many, many times up and down the stairs for you and it can take a couple of weeks before they learn to settle themselves but it's worth persevering. I can't bear the thought of leaving babies to cry on their own and I think it only teaches them that nobody is there for them when they are upset - sorry any CC fans. The very idea that you can be too soft with a small baby doesn't make sense to me.

The result for me has been a sleeping baby from 7.30 until 11ish when I do another feed. I'd also expect to be woken at least once more during the night for a feed but I think that's normal at that age and I'm happy with it.

MintyDiamonds Fri 20-Sep-13 08:36:09

Awww it sounds like your not actually too bothered and it's other people making you feel like you're doing something wrong. I get this all the time, I actually don't mind my whole life revolving round the baby at the moment and I'm not too bothered about my evenings, I love the cuddles and they don't stay babies for long.

stargirl1701 Fri 20-Sep-13 08:38:36

It's what babies do I'm afraid. Aim for the routine being established by 6 months, not 3.

ChunkyPickle Fri 20-Sep-13 08:39:51

Sounds normal to me - DS didn't really settle into an early to bed (well... 8-8:30)/sleep through routine until he was 18 months old.

Certainly at that age there was a lot of carrying a grizzling baby from window to window around the house to calm him down - I suppose that was better by 6 months or so (albeit with coming to bed at the same time as us)

TBH once the evening upset stopped we just carried on as we would have otherwise - took him out to dinner, evening shopping or whatever and just got used to him being around.

mamij Fri 20-Sep-13 08:40:06

Camp B - it's what babies do!

At 3 months - sleeping from 9/10pm until 7am IS sleeping through the night!

DD1 was waking up every couple of hours at that age. DD2 was a bit better waking every few hours.

Every baby is different. And although it is difficult, try not to listen to what other people say about their "perfect" baby.

cazzilla Fri 20-Sep-13 08:42:30

babies have needs, she's not doing it on purpose to "play up", the way she is being is the only way she knows how to communicate, what did you expect having a baby to be like? you're lucky you've been able to go out to the cinema after 3 months, my dd is 9 months and I haven't been away from her for more than 5 minutes, which is what I've chosen to do as i'm still breastfeeding, mainly co-sleeping and meeting the needs of my baby. please don't do controlled crying, she is way too young, wont understand what is going on and you could do some psychological damage.

BumbleChum Fri 20-Sep-13 08:43:27

Oh, your baby sounds lovely. Just enjoy her. Stressing her out by trying to force her to go to sleep in her cot earlier than she is ready for might have the unwanted effect of disrupting her amazing night-time sleep.

Ignore your friends. They're only suggesting it's a problem because you think it is. There's a very good book by Elizabeth Pantley called something like the 'No cry sleep solution' you could look at, which has some good tips. Though I don't think you need them, just relax and appreciate the good job you're doing.

picklesrule Fri 20-Sep-13 08:45:28

Lots of people lie about babies sleep for some unknown reason! Really wouldn't compare. She sounds exactly like both of mine at that age. Gradually we brought bedtime earlier until they suddenly really needed to be going to sleep at 7 around when they were reliably having 3 naps I think..
The fact your baby sleeps from 10-7 is amazing mine still doesn't do that and he is 18months grin
In the nicest possibly way you are being a bit unrealistic in your expectations..relax, enjoy your baby, eventually you will get that adult time back!!
And enjoy the 10-7 stretch while you can, teeth will e along soon to bugger that up grin

Tailtwister Fri 20-Sep-13 08:46:10

I think it's quite common for young babies not to settle until later in the evening. Both mine would cluster feed from around 6-10, but would also be awake every couple of hours through the night to feed too. Your baby sounds very settled for a 15 week old and tbh I wouldn't rock the boat.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 08:47:51

Your baby sounds lovely, sleeping all night like that is great.

I think your expectations [or your husbands] are unrealistic tbh.

Count your blessings.

ColinFirthsGirth Fri 20-Sep-13 08:50:20

I have to say you are being rather unrealistic! This is what babies do. She sleeps very well for a baby of that age. My son used to wake up every half an hour of the night to breastfeed and didn't sleep in the day at this age. I think she is far to young to be doing controlled crying. I would say just try to go with the flow abit more - it won't last long in the general scheme of things!

upanddown83 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:01:01

I was very jealous reading your op my 16 week old ds still gets up at least once in the night for a feed last night he was up 3 times and he is downstairs with us until we all go up to bed between 9-10 so we can get some sleep before he wakes!
As pp have said your dd will settle just when she is ready and you and your dp just have to find ways to eat around her being unsettled in the evening.
We often have fork dinners ie chicken curry, stews, or stir fry things that we only need one hand to eat and we often have our dinner when my mum or sister visit o they can play with my ds and we can eat in peace.

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