Please help me PLEASE - 7 month old

(25 Posts)
mrsspagbol Wed 19-Feb-14 08:16:00

Hi

Apologies in advance for the garbled nature of this post; consider it a reflection of my state of mind.

Please please please help me. My DD (pfb) is 6 mths and 3 weeks old and her sleep has gone to pot. I literally feel like I am losing my mind. I have no clue what I am doing. I have about 8 sleep books on the go and nothing seems to help. I can't figure out why she wakes up so much at night. I am so tired. I can't think, I cannot cope anymore. I have no family support (family overseas) and it's getting to the point that now I can't even catch an hour of sleep in between all the night wakings, I am just so stressed about when she will next wake up. I can't tell if this is teething, frustration with trying to crawl or the intro of solids.

In the daytime she goes down for naps in a textbook fashion. This is our daytime routine:

7 am wake up (she usually gets up between 6 and half 6 but is happy usually to babble in her cot for a bit) - BF

8 - 8.30 - porridge with fruit

9.30 - b feed then down for nap till 10.15

12 - lunch - pureed fruit/veg

12.30 to 2.30/2.45 - nap

4 - breast feed

5.15 - dinner - pureed veg

6-6.15 - start bath time

6.45 ish - breast feed. She is usually sleepy by this point, I read then feed, she falls asleep and I put her in her cot.

THEN the madness starts.

She sleeps from 7pm but only till about 8pm or maybe half 8 - so basically like a nap. We have NEVER made it to 10/11pm - as a result I have no evening, we have not eaten together (DH and I) for 7 months bar ONCE when she was ill. She cries, we go pick her up. My options are to stay upstairs in the dark with her wide awake for 2 hours till half 9 or to bring her down, eat with her watching us and then go back upstairs at the first sign of sleepiness (rubbing eyes). She cannot seem to sleep any longer at 7pm.

She usually wakes again (after going down at say half 9 pm) at midnight, then recently maybe at 2, 4 and then 6 but the last 3 nights have been much more erratic so 11pm, 1am, 3am, 4am then 6am and so on. Sometimes she feeds, but just for a few mins - it is like she just wants to be with me. We keep lights off, no talking, no eye contact, no nappy changing - but she will not go to sleep. Room temp is the same as it has always been and we have a thermometer to check it.

Please help me. What should I do? cut down daytime sleep? Although she is happy and smiley the day, hardly grumpy - and as I say goes down like clockwork at the above times. It's just the nights that are a horror.

My DH can't help me with night feeds etc (stressful job) but I am not sure how much longer I can go on with this erratic sleep pattern. I genuinely feel ill, unsafe to drive etc.

Where am I going wrong?

ItStillLooksLikeRainDear Wed 19-Feb-14 08:23:46

My dd was a very good sleeper until about the same age as yours. The only way we both got any decent night time sleep was through co sleeping. Have you tried it?

Do you feed to sleep or does she go off on her own. This was a big thing for us, getting her to know how to sleep herself.

Also look at what she is eating. Any chance to up her daytime food intake might help nights. I think weaning can be a bit disruptive for them as they adjust to new tummy feelings and bigger meals not lots of little feeds.

It is a phase and you are nearly there. Dd was like this to 11 months. But since then has been a dream sleeper. So far.

mrsspagbol Wed 19-Feb-14 08:43:27

Hi - thanks for replying. Really appreciate it.

If she wakes after midnight I bring her into bed and feed lying down. I don't know how to say this without sounding horrible but I really don't want to co sleep. I can't really sleep if that make sense? Our bed is not very big. And to be blunt, I really need some space to myself by that point. I can't even bear cuddling my DH at that point in the day blush I just feel completely overwhelmed by the thought of another human touching me anymore.

I guess I do feed to sleep. I honestly don't know what I am doing anymore. After bath for example, I cuddle, read a short story then she has a little feed. She does not entertain the idea of going into her cot wide awake and just being left. In the afternoon she is better at going down sleepy but awake, but I give her her monkey to cuddle when I put her in the cot.

I don't know how else to get her to go off to sleep that is not feeding or rocking, and at her size feeding is preferable.

Perhaps my weaning portions are too small? I am a bit scared of constipation hence giving little-ish amounts. So you think she is hungry?

I am so confused.

I really don't think I can make it to 11 months sad - I really feel unwell, not trying to be dramatic but I just can't do this anymore.

notsureofmyself Wed 19-Feb-14 08:55:14

How about a three sided cot? DS wakes every hour till I go to bed, then he sleeps through the night. I understand what you mean about needing your own space but if you had a proper night's sleep maybe you wouldn't feel so strung out and better able to cope with I get what you mean about that feeling of not wanting people to touch you, you are monumentally stressed, but it's a bit chicken and egg, if you had more sleep it's pissible might not bs an issue?

I also wouldn't sit for 2 hours in the dark. Loads of people do it but it's a monumental and stressful waste if time IMO. Not all babies go to bed at 7pm, mine never

Can DH take the baby so you can get a proper nap, say every day for a week at least, so you can start to catch up and feel yourself again. You must be feeling awful.

notsureofmyself Wed 19-Feb-14 08:57:49

I've always fed mine to sleep, nothing wrong with that, in fact it's what nature intends IMO, please don't feel you have to change that if that bit is actually working for you.

JRmumma Wed 19-Feb-14 09:00:09

I think you need to put the books down and just go with the flow for a while. I also think that DH needs to take some of the night time stuff on to allow you to get some rest. Could he do the first wakeup? Or maybe anything after 4am so that you at least get one decent block of sleep/rest. Could he take on 1 night per week (on his days off)?

Lots of stuff going on at this age so plenty of reasons for disrupted sleep without there really being anything wrong, such as all the things you list in your OP.

JRmumma Wed 19-Feb-14 09:21:11

Just been thinking and wanted to just clarify my last post in case you thought i was being an unhelpful know-all.

I think the truth is, that while people can give you advice (based on their own experiences), no one can tell you how to cope in your individual situation. The worst piece of advice ive ever been given is to sleep when baby sleeps. My DS is the same age as your baby and ive have the grand total of 1 daytime nap as i just cannot sleep in the daytime, no matter how tired i am.

What works for me is to work the rest of our lives around making sure we all get as much sleep as we can. I do all of my household chores including shopping and dinner whilst baby is napping or in the few minutes i get when he is happy to play alone. My house is a bit of a tip and we eat mainly pre -prepared meals (either home made or convenience) so that i don't have to worry about cooking each day. Our clothes are cleaned but rarely ironed or put away. I'm doing what we need to function only. Once DS is in bed i do nothing, so if i need to i go straight to bed too.

I suppose im lucky that DH is able to help out with nights and so if we have a bad night, the next night i know the pressure is off me and i can catch up on rest.

What im trying to say is you might not be able to control or alter your baby's sleeping patterns just now, but you might be able to make things easier for yourself by altering the things you can control?

mrsspagbol Wed 19-Feb-14 10:41:07

Thank you for all your replies, I really appreciate it. Like I really appreciate it.

Sometimes trying to talk to DH seems like talking to the enemy and the timing is never good as I am shattered by the time he gets home and apprehensive about what the night will hold.

I think, upon reflection this morning, I have got myself into a vortex over routine.

All the books speak of 7pm bed and 10pm dream feed, but don't really specify what happens in between. I think I need to accept that while she may go down at 7pm it doesn't mean she will stay down for 6 hours.
I have also been fixating on the phrases "no night feeds needed after 6 months" which from all your posts is not necessarily the case.

For some reason I thought it might be harmful to bring her down when she wakes at 8pm (ie overstimulate, affect development inducing sleep etc).

I think I need to be a little more flexible and a little bit more - relaxed.

It's hard because I feel like I cant find the line between being a good mum and establishing good habits (because she knows no better) and being a responsive mum and reacting to her needs as and when she makes them known.

sigh

Have also sent an email to DH advising not so gently that he NEEDS to give me a day off on the weekends. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for all your responses.

8monthson Wed 19-Feb-14 10:49:27

I have an 8mo DD, my first. She's not the best sleeper, but not as bad as your DD, I really feel for you. Your DH HAS to help you out, you cannot be expected to cope alone. Do you have a trusted friend who has had children who would be able to help out? Don't let pride get in the way, you need support and then things won't seem quite as bad.
I know they are all different but doesn't seem like she is getting enough feeds during the day, milk or food. My DD ate little and often when I first started weaning and she was on 4 to 5 milk feeds per day (only during the day, no night feeds she is bottle fed) until 6.5 months at least. I know there are no hard and fast rules and I am not saying what you are already doing isn't right for your LO but may be worth looking at.
My DH didn't help much until DD was 3months, but once they get into it even the smallest things they do make a big diff. Stressful job not an excuse in my book!! I have a stressful job AND look after DD.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Wed 19-Feb-14 10:51:14

It's horrid, isn't it. You poor thing. I'd say that it's just a classic case of her not knowing how to resettle in between sleep cycles without you being there. Totally normal in many cases but not necessarily do-able for months on end without a break.

I am of the camp that would gently sleep train although I know that view is unpopular with many MNers. You can achieve this without leaving your baby to cry on her own. The baby whisperer techniques are said to be very good although not everyone gets on with them, obviously. I used pick up put down successfully although when you're already shattered it is tempting to give in!

I would definitely have a proper discussion with DH about all this as you need his support. I think PUPD can work better if the father does it, particularly if you're bf and she is used to you feeding her when you go in at night.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Wed 19-Feb-14 10:52:24

Just to add that ruling out hunger should be done before you start any form of sleep training. Is she taking big feeds at night?

IComeFromALandDownUnder Wed 19-Feb-14 10:58:13

I feel your pain op. It does sound like she can't self settle. My baby was the same at that age. One of the books suggested white noise so I bought a Prince Lionheart Slumber bear. She now wakes only once a night - 4am - for a feed.

notsureofmyself Wed 19-Feb-14 11:11:47

The books that advise no night feeds are going against advise from the world health organisation which advises breastfeeding your baby until a minimum of 2 years, to support health of mother and baby. Cutting out night feeds is a form of weaning and works against this medical advice.

I'm not saying you should feed till 2, that's up to you, and not the issue at hand. But just to put it in to context a bit, we are a very anti-breastfeeding culture, and those books should be seen within that context. The advice to out your baby to sleep at 7pm is cultural rather than based on science. Yes, babies generally need lots of sleep, but it is neither here or there whether they go down at 7pm or 9pm. What matters is what works for you as a family.

findingherfeet Wed 19-Feb-14 11:13:32

Gosh this brings back memories, I felt exactly the same about co-sleeping! Even if it were only an hour or two of peace in my own bed and i was up and down like a yo yo, I 'slept' better. I also remember telling hubs to sell my car because it wasn't safe for me to be driving hmm

Could you keep her up later so her longest stretch of sleep coincides with when you go to bed? Go to bed as soon as she does? Chuck partner out on to sofa/spare room if co-sleeping is a must? Perhaps up food and milk in take in day to see if this helps?

Argh, sleep deprivation is the worst but it does get better (I'm six days away from my due date with baby number 2 and dreading this phase!)

Pink01 Wed 19-Feb-14 11:13:57

My children are older now but one of them was similar to this and what worked with him was breaking the routine ie the bit that YOU the adult have control over, so I would keep her up til maybe 7.30/8pm if you can? This could help but putting her out of her routine and then it may 'trick' her system into sleeping differently.

I hope this makes sense! We did it with my son and it did work, the really hard bit was keeping him awake past 7 but I was almost ill myself with how disrupted his sleep was. Feel for you so much!

notsureofmyself Wed 19-Feb-14 11:14:34

Babies do not need to self settle. Some do, some don't (mine never did as babies). The biggest issue here is making sure everyone gets enough sleep. If she doesn't self settle easily, it may be a red herring and a lot if wasted time and energy to try to get her to self settle if she's just not that kind of baby.

claudeekishi Wed 19-Feb-14 11:17:44

Your DH absolutely absolutely needs to do more. End of story. My dd was breastfed too and DH worked full time but had the sense to know he had to get up in the night with her occasionally. Non-negotiable IMO. You cannot go on with no sleep and feeling so on edge, it's simply not fair. Remember that he has by far the easier job because he gets to leave the house all day!

It sounds like she is napping for you really well in the day - definitely hold onto that, babies need looaads of sleep and if she's going down easily for naps you're doing brilliantly! Here are some things I would try based on my own experience:

-- Try giving her another one or even two breastfeeds during the day - maybe in the evening
-- Give her a little 'dessert' of porridge before bed, bumped with a little banana and milk (normal milk should be fine or add a bit of breast or formula if you prefer)
-- Put her to bed a later than 7pm - maybe 8pm or 8.30. Then, for her first waking an hour and a half later or whatever, don't feed her. (Make DH do this one, maybe.) Cuddle or rock her back to sleep for that one.
--Aim to get your night feeds down to 2 per night. For me it wasn't realistic to stop feeding overnight and it wasn't realistic to feed every time. 2 night feeds for a breastfed 7 month old is a decent target, honestly (no book will tell you this though...).
--For each of those night feeds, give BOTH boobs. Even more if she'll take it.
Buy a white noise machine we have the Fisher Price Precious Planet -- and every time you have to go in to her, play white noise as you're cuddling or feeding. In fact, if it seems to be working, play white noise all bloody night long! We did, for a few months!

Although I'm a big fan of (safe) co-sleeping with small babies, I do understand that feeling of being touched out and co-sleeping wasn't for me after about 6 months either. I much preferred going down the hall, giving DD a massive feed, and then coming back to bed. Honestly, once we were down to 2ish night feeds (at around 2am and 5/5.30am), I found that so much more manageable because I knew I could count on a solid block of sleep in between. DD used to wake around 5.30 and I found that if I fed her then she would often sleep in for another 2 hours which was great.

claudeekishi Wed 19-Feb-14 11:18:24

Sorry, I didn't mean for 'Buy a white noise machine' to be crossed out!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 19-Feb-14 11:54:42

Agree with those saying about hunger. I have a big 14 month old DS. He is off the centiles for height. Luckily he is a good sleeper but became a bit unsettled at weaning due to being hungry.

My understanding is that, at that age, milk is still the main nutrition. I don't think she's getting enough milk during the day and is topping up at night. I'd feed before and after her meals plus a bottle of expressed milk at 10. 200 mls worth. If expressing isn't possible or will blow you up further, I'd consider a bottle of formula for that feed.

Once you know she's not hungry, you can look at the self-settling.

Another thing, is she teething? Pain is worse at night so I'd try a dose of calpol before you out her down for a few nights

Flibbedyjibbet Wed 19-Feb-14 12:00:57

I have terrible sleepers so am the last person to give advice however looking at your nap schedule could you get her to take the 2nd nap a bit later so she's not awake for so long before bed? You say she's sleepy at that point could she be too tired to get a really good feed.

For naps at that age I tried to do around 10am and 2pm but mine napped for longer than yours so it might not be an option.

Flibbedyjibbet Wed 19-Feb-14 12:07:56

Sorry just to clarify my 2 DD had longer morning naps, usually in the pram/pushchair after I pounded the streets.

Laquila Wed 19-Feb-14 12:20:15

I've never heard "no night feeds after 6months" but then my nearly-6-month-old feeds at 7pm, 11pm, 1am, 4am and 6am! It's not ideal but it's just what he does. Sometimes he misses the 11pm feed - more often now he's in his own room and doesn't get woken when we go to bed.

I completely know what you mean about having reached the end of your tether with co-sleeping - don't feel guilty. I do agree with others who've said that maybe your baby isn't getting enough bf during the day. For months my boy would only ever have one boob per feed, but now I find if I offer it, he'll often have both - I'm just so used to him only having one side that I forget to offer both...

I wouldn't up her solids at this stage - just offer the boob as often as you think she'll take it.

The only other thing I can say is chin up - you're doing brilliantly, and even though it doesn't feel like it now, chances are this is just a phase, and it may not be something that you're doing/not doing that's causing the sleep issues - it may simply be one of those things she grows out of. (I know this is both slightly cheering and deeply frustrating, though, and rock-all comfort when you haven't had two hours unbroken sleep in 6 months!)

mrsspagbol Wed 19-Feb-14 20:57:31

Thank you so so so much for all your replies!! flowers

She is asleep so i am off - update tmw. Bless you all for your suggestions and help.

NutellaStraightFromTheJar Wed 19-Feb-14 21:21:47

She sounds like my ds at that age. He slept fine until 4 months and then started waking all the time, sometimes up to every 40 minutes. I honestly felt like I was going insane. It reached the point where he didn't want to feed, he was as definitely not hungry, he just could not/would not go to sleep by himself, so was waking after every sleep cycle. This went on until maybe 9 months.

What worked for us was not an instant fix. First I had to teach him to go to sleep by himself, without feeding to sleep. This involved a sort of gradual retreat method. I began by laying next to him and cuddling him to sleep. Then sitting next to him, then holding his hands, then with just a hand in his cot, then just sitting by the cot. Then finally putting him down awake and leaving him to fall asleep alone. I worked on this for his nap times initially, and it took probably a month. When naps were sorted, we did the same for bedtime. Then, and only then, we did a form of controlled crying (which I had always been massively anti, but it was honestly better than staying stressed and miserable). We went in to check on him at increasing intervals when he cried at his first wake up. He fell asleep again after about 40 minutes that first night, with us checking every 2, then 5. He wasn't crying the whole time, mostly off and on grizzling with the odd wail. He then slept for his first 4 hour stretch in months. On his next wake up I fed him as normal and he slept until 7am. The next night he cried for maybe 15 minutes, then slept until around 3am. In less than a week he was sleeping through. He now only cries if he is ill or distressed. We hear him wake every now and again and then turn over and go back to sleep. I would never advocate cc with a baby that might be hungry or didn't know how to go to sleep by themselves, for us what really made it work was the groundwork we did first. He was like a different baby after he started sleeping, so much happier.

I don't know if any of that helps, but I fully appreciate how impossibly hard it feels right now. Oh and I'd second the advice to up her daytime BFs, because it can't do any harm. I hope you both get a better night soon.

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