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?!).

quickchat Tue 01-Oct-13 22:36:47

Sorry but I haven't got time to read over a hundred answers. Im sure what I have to say will have been said.

She is 15 weeks on earth. She will settle in time. Stick to the routine and she will slot into it.

I have 3. They all took 3-6 before we had any part of an evening. The first slept 12 hours with just one feed around 10.30pm at 3 months then soundly 12 hours at 6 months. The second led us a merry dance then just suddenly slept 12 hours at 6.5 months then number 3 decided to fool us a bit at first by only waking once or twice for a feed then at 4 months had us up many times until 9 months old when he had finished trying to kill us with exhaustion. All were breast fed and all were bathed and fed at the same time in the evenings etc.

You are new parents and are expecting way too much. I know this because I was a new parent once and remember it well smile.

It is a shock becoming a parent but you do get used to it and it does get easier and easier.

I now have no memory of my lovely easy old life which helps in the madness that has become my new and improved life!

MoominsYonisAreScary Tue 01-Oct-13 08:31:15

These threads always make me laugh, the idea that you can teach a very young baby to sleep. You cant, they sleep when they are ready. If you have one that sleeps from 7-8 weeks you are very lucky. Ive had one out of 4 that has slept through at 8 weeks. Suddenly at 8 months hes started waking up. Now I havent all of a sudden trained him to start waking up, its just something young babies do!

sebsmummy1 Tue 01-Oct-13 07:53:34

At three months my son was still cluster feeding so he would be awake all evening intermittently feeding, then we would hit the sack at 10pm and he would feed from me about three times in the night.

I think your expectations are too high.

valiumredhead Mon 30-Sep-13 19:39:59

Well, I was a nanny for years, very experienced and I thought like you too before I actually had a non sleeper. Ds didn't do a full night until he was 3. I was on the brink of going to a sleep clinic I was that desperate. I was a fab nanny, I was head hunted and had a waiting list, do you think if there was anything I could have done I wouldn't have done it.

If you have a 'sleeper' you are fortunate, it has little to do with what you do, it's luck of the draw.

Oceansurf Mon 30-Sep-13 14:10:08

valium This is true! Not everything they did was right!!

I guess to me it's about accepting what you accept though? If that makes sense. You see, to me, not getting sleep for 10 months would have been hell. DD slept through from 7 weeks. No get ups in the night.

If you're ok with getting up in the night (once, twice, however many) then of course, that's absolutely fine. IMO though I've only heard of (real life I mean!) Mums who rush to every whim and still don't get a full night's sleep when their kids are 2+. Indeed, one mum I know hasn't had a decent night's sleep since her DS1 was born. He's 5!

I do find it annoying that a lot of new mums on here are told that it's impossible to get a baby to sleep through unless you're torturing it with CC (or in other ways being a bad, neglectful parent) In other words, totally 'normal' for babies to keep you up and awake for months.

I don't think there is anything as a 'normal' baby btw. But I do believe you can help your baby to self settle early on. There is no reason why any mum should have to contend with zero sleep for months on ends. In my place, it just couldn't happen - I had to go back to work, and for work, I needed my sleep. I like my sleep. My baby likes her sleep. We all sleep. Happy days!

rallytog1 Mon 30-Sep-13 08:12:56

YY to what sunnysummer said. Memories fade remarkably quickly. My DD is five months and has recently started sleeping through. Already I've forgotten what it's like to be up two or three times in the night. I can totally see that by the time she's 20 I'll be swearing blind that she always slept through.

Also people were a lot more cavalier about drugging babies back in the day. My mum's doctor told her to give my non-sleeping baby brother whiskey in his bedtime bottle, and she did! Stuff like gripe water also had much more potent ingredients in as well. So a lot of the good sleeping was chemically enhanced.

Sunnysummer Mon 30-Sep-13 07:49:23

Ocean, of course most babies born to our grandmas didn't naturally sleep through - there are baby books with tips through the generations about how on earth to get babies to sleep, or lullabies all over the world based on 'go the f#%^ to sleep' smile. Time has helped our grandmothers to forget what it was like, plus we also don't have recourse to all the pharmaceuticals that some of the previous generations did - my great aunt said she used to give here babies phenergan in their milk several times a week!

Older children are often a different story, there are plenty of mums now choosing less of a strict routine and whatever people's opinions, that does tend to lead to more night awakenings in many toddlers... But babies have always been tricky!

SoonToBeSix Mon 30-Sep-13 01:45:13

Babies under six month need to sleep in the same room as you, that includes naps and evening sleeping before you go to bed.

valiumredhead Mon 30-Sep-13 01:45:08

Ocean-our grandmothers used to lace bottles with brandy!

ExBrightonBell Mon 30-Sep-13 01:25:39

Oceansurf, I was at the beck and call of my baby (of course I was - he was a tiny baby!!) from the moment we got home from hospital. I didn't ever leave him to cry for longer than a couple of seconds. You would think that I was doomed? No. My ds has slept through from about 10 months consistently despite episodes of being poorly or teething. Before sleeping through (from 7-7 btw) he was only waking for one night feed for a couple of months.

I don't think you can be over attentive to a young baby. I think that responding to their needs when they are small helps them to feel secure. If they feel secure then they are able to move at their own pace towards sleeping through without any need for any kind of sleep training or "controlled" crying.

You can't pronounce that all people who respond immediately to their babies crying are going to have non-sleeping 11 month olds. It's not provable or backed up by any kind of evidence. And clearly not true in my case.

Oceansurf Sun 29-Sep-13 14:48:24

Hmm. People say it's luck! I don't think it's luck that most babies born to our Grandma's slept through and now a lot of mums say they are sleep deprived!

I also didn't my baby to cry - for any longer than 6 mins. She is happy, secure and contented and most importantly, is able to self settle.

I thank my old fashioned HV, my old school mum and my old school grandma for this fact!!! Not luck!

fairy1303 Sun 29-Sep-13 14:26:47

oceansurf I do not leave my baby to cry. He sleeps pretty much through now (for the moment!) at 14 weeks.

This is nothing but luck.

OP, your baby is too young for CC. Please, please don't do it.

Remember, this phase is short, and you have a baby that sleeps through the night. You will have your evenings back soon!

Oceansurf Sun 29-Sep-13 11:57:11

I wouldn't imagine all the people in her baby group are lying!

OP - what time is your baby's last nap? (before proper put down I mean?) We made sure it was no later than 4pm, so by 7pm she was shattered and fell asleep. Wind down started at 6pm, including bath, bottle etc and we do the same thing every night.

At 15 weeks, we were still waking her (or she was waking us!!) for a dream feed at 11pm, but we dropped this by 17/18 weeks. However, she was in her room 7pm onwards.

It is perfectly possibly for babies to sleep through.

OP - sounds like your little girl is doing pretty well. I wouldn't call it CC - awful description. But running to every little cry is pretty much being at the beck and call of your baby. Invest in a camera monitor so you can see and hear. Obviously go in if you hear an 'urgent' cry (you know when it's different) but otherwise go in and sooth every 6 mins or so. She will soon learn that it's ok, you are there, she's not alone etc etc and she will quickly self settle. Sorry. I am of the opinion it's much harder for the mum in this instance than the baby. BUT those who rush in every 2 mins will have babies who are still not sleeping through at 11 months. Shudder to the thought! Be tough for a few nights and you will reap the rewards! Happy baby and happy parents!

From the OPs most recent post it sounds like she has discovered for herself one of the most important sanity-keeping lessons for parents. That you can't change your baby/child, but you can change your own behaviour. If you react in a new way, you may find the problem feels a whole lot less overwhelming.
wine

Berniebennett Sun 29-Sep-13 11:40:40

We had the same issue in what we called the witching/twilight hours between 7pm - 9/10pm and agree with other posters they are still so young, you can't expect to much from them, I had a similar situation with DH who wanted evenings back and he had a bit of a talking down from his MIL about expectations and what he was like as a baby ;-) in the end he went in his own room at 4 months in his cot but still the same problem between those hours but when he settled into his room at about 5 months we started to put into practise upstairs a little more but we stayed with him so were up there from about 7.30 -9? If he cried we held him but it was all in his room so he was used to the environment! Me and hubby rarely saw each other but now at 9 months his good as gold and will babble him self to sleep! He of course had times when all he wants to do is be held and we do it as I know my son and he's crying for a reason!

Another thing that helped was if you have any honest close friend do confined in them as when I did she had more horror stories & her hubby spoke about them with mine which really helped!

So I appreciate that's not overly helpful but I think what I'm trying to say is be patient it will happen but unfortunately you are now on baby time not and its when it suits them not you guys and appreciate the cuddles now as they soon won't want them anymore :-(

AmandaCooper Sat 28-Sep-13 11:13:26

If you can afford it get a Bloom highchair for your baby to sit in at the table. It's a terrible highchair but the baby setting was a godsend.

PollyIndia Sat 28-Sep-13 08:59:41

My baby did go to bed from 7 from 6 weeks old but I am single so being able to cook and eat dinner was a big motivator. He then woke up every 3 hours until 6 months (and every hour at 4 months - ouch!). I have never left him to cry, just settled him and comforted him and breastfed him until he slept in the early days then put him down awake but drowsy once he was ready for that. First 6 weeks we co slept as he didn't want to sleep anywhere but on me, and I used the sling for his nap times as that was he only way he would sleep. Once he was happy to go into his crib, I moved him there and ditto into the pram for naps. Your baby is a much better sleeper than mine was and is obviously doing brilliantly. There is nothing wrong with wanting your evenings back and leaving them to cry is not the only way to achieve that. DS has slept through 7-630 since about 8 months, coincidently when I stopped breastfeeding. I think you do need to go with what they need but you can also shape that to a certain extent. Though obviously all babies are different!

Daisybell1 Sat 28-Sep-13 07:58:21

I'm sorry I haven't read the whole thread but what worked for us a mealtimes was one of those electric swings. You often get them second-hand as they're only useful for a few months but we used to refer to it as the mealtimes hands free kit.

Teapot13 Sat 28-Sep-13 02:52:44

I don't think you have anything to complain about, frankly, unless she is crying and won't settle for long periods. Also CC is (1) for older babies and (2) for babies that can't settle on their own -- she obviously can if she can sleep 9 hours at a stretch.

It doesn't sound right to me to say a baby is "hijacking" or even "playing up" -- she isn't bothering you on purpose.

At that age, my younger DD needed to start sleeping at about 7 but she wouldn't go into her bed until nine. I needed to feed/hold her for those 2 hours. Once I felt her relax into her nighttime sleep I could swaddle her and lay her in her Moses basket downstairs and take her up with me when I went to bed.

It was easy once I figured this out -- I could plan to do things I could do while holding her (like eat dinner or read) and do things like housework afterwards. When they are tinier, it is a lot easier to just go with what they need.

oscarwilde Fri 27-Sep-13 17:56:23

Fairylea's advice is good but I would have said that from 16 weeks on if you are VERY lucky you could expect an earlier bedtime.
If your baby is napping late in the day, you are sabotaging an 7-8 bedtime

If your baby is not getting enough stimulation during the day, they won't be tired enough for the early bedtime.

You might not be lucky. 10-7 is good going though. Clap your DD1 on the back and thank your lucky stars grin

magicturnip Fri 27-Sep-13 17:28:20

Should add we don't get evenings together as I need to go to bed when ds does as he wakes so often and has reflux so I need to hold him up after feeds,so I need to maximise my sleep. I am usually in bed between 7 and 8. You really need to accept babies change lives and thank your lucky stars for the blessing of an easybaby

magicturnip Fri 27-Sep-13 17:18:30

By god, my baby is 6 months and we still don't get evenings together and he's a crap sleeper. Can't even imagine going to cinema! Eeeee, some people don't know they're born ( if you will excuse the pun).

fairy1303 Fri 27-Sep-13 17:12:43

People in your baby groups are lying.

You have an excellent sleeper. My baby has only recently stopped waking every 2 hours at 13 weeks.

Sit her in her bouncy chair whilst you eat.

I'm sorry if I sound grouchy. But this is such a temporary phase, is so normal and you are genuinely very very lucky.

MoominsYonisAreScary Fri 27-Sep-13 12:34:47

And if she does start settling earlier like mine has you may just find your having to get up in the night instead. I much preferred the late settling to the waking in the night, even if I did feel like I never had any alone or me time

AintNobodyGotTimeFurThat Fri 27-Sep-13 11:41:48

FWIW I have read your other posts and understand it's more your husband than you. But you really both need to see that you're pretty lucky. Chances are, in a month or so she'll be a bit more wakeful during the night as a lot of babies go through sleep regression (I know mine did).

I am with my parents at the moment and so is my partner. So it tends to be one of us holds my daughter half the time when it's dinner time. Or eats dinner later, when someone else has finished. It's not that she gets upset, but she'll rock and rock and nearly fall over, so we really need to supervise closely.

I second what a PP has said, too. Some people find baths wake them up. Or sometimes you just can't settle straight after a bath. Why not try moving the bath an hour earlier? At very least, she might settle at say 8 or 9, instead of 10 or 11.

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