3 month old baby sleep problems- PLEASE HELP

(38 Posts)
Proudmummy2014 Thu 07-Aug-14 21:40:28

Hi there,

I'm new to MN and really hoping that you lovely ladies will be able to help with any advice that you have.

My baby girl is 3 months old and is an absolutely awful napper in the day- her total nap time amounts to a mere 1.5 hours!! I wouldn't be so worried if she was then happy after her naps, however during her wake time she appears tired and is whinging. Also for her night time sleep she cries so much before she falls asleep (even though I have winded her). I really am on the verge of depression as I really can't bear it that my little girl looks so unhappy and I get no break because she doesn't sleep that well.

Can you please advice me on:

1) Is there any form of sleep training that I can use which will allow her to self settle? I already have a consistent bedtime routine of bath, massage, feed. Please don't judge me but I have been using CC the last week (leaving a max time of 3 minutes) and I've only seen little improvement- from my undertaking this should have worked within a week? Please do not judge me for trying this, as I really am using this as a last resort and I only implement this after I know she's been fed and has a clean nappy.

2) How do you sleep train a windy baby? I think she cries before bedtime because she's windy (she brings her legs up). I do spend time winding her, however after putting her in the Moses she starts crying after 5 minutes. If using CC, will it not confuse her if I keep picking her up to wind her more?

3) What can I do to increase her nap times?

Really hoping that I'll get some responses on this. Thank you in advance!

One tired Mummy :-(

Cavort Fri 08-Aug-14 01:06:21

Sounds like she's going through a developmental leap. Have a look at The Wonder Weeks (phone app or the book) if you haven't already. It won't give you a 'cure' but it will explain why it's happening and that it's just a phase that will pass.

CultureSucksDownWords Fri 08-Aug-14 02:04:18

Will she nap in a pram during the day? It sounds like she could be over tired due to lack of sleep in the day, so it might be worth trying to get her to nap anywhere in the day where she will sleep. Can you let her sleep on you? Also, some people swear by using a sling during the day - some babies love to sleep in them and you can still move around and do things. My DS hated the Moses basket and would never sleep in it - could you try a different cot for daytime naps?

Now I will say that I am not a fan of controlled crying. If you feel you need to do it, it's worth knowing that it isn't recommended for babies under 6 months and some proponents of it would even say 12 months.

Have you tried other methods such as pick up put down, shush pat and so on? There are lots of sleep training methods that you could try before using CC.

Have a look at the ISIS sleep project for lots of information of what is normal sleep for babies of different ages.

Proudmummy2014 Fri 08-Aug-14 09:47:52

Thanks for your reply- she will sleep on me if I rock her to sleep but what I'm really hoping it to teach her to self settle so that she can have a better quality of sleep and learn to put herself back to sleep after each sleep cycle. She won't fall asleep in her pram either- I went for a half hour walk and she was wide eyed- however I could tell she was tired as she was yawning!

With the sssh/pat and pick up put down- how do these work? Would you go straight to the baby and do these and then stop when baby has stopped crying? I did try the sssh/pat in this way and it seemed to upset her more. Unless I'm just not doing it right.

Last night was a little better as she slept from 7.30-5.30am however took ages to settle her back to sleep after she woke up. Should I be giving her a full feed at that time, or just a little to her her to sleep and then full feed at 7 (which is what I'm working towards as a wake up time)? I've really in some forums to not feed them at all and help them to go back to sleep. So confused with it all.

CultureSucksDownWords Fri 08-Aug-14 10:07:32

If she slept from 7.30pm to 5.30am then that is an amazing amount of sleep for a 3 month old. I would have literally killed for that much sleep at 3 months. A baby "sleeping through" is defined as a 5 hour block e.g from 12am till 5am, so you can definitely say that she is sleeping through already.

In my opinion (not an expert or a health care professional), you can't teach a baby to self settle (except for via the "extinction" methods such as CC and CIO which I wouldn't want to do) - they will do it in their own time. In the meantime, you just have to do whatever to survive the sleep deprivation.

Half an hour in the pram is not a long time really. It would take at least that for my DS to drop off. I used to go on 1 to 2 hr walks around town until my DS was asleep. He would usually stay asleep in pram when I got home, so I could either nap or do things.

Wrt feeding, at 3 months I would just feed her on demand. If she woke at 5.30am I would just feed her whatever she wants rather than try and artificially stretch out or delay a proper feed. Especially if she has had a long sleep, as she is bound to be hungry. It can be as simple as "if your baby is hungry, feed them". I personally wouldn't try to push a baby into a routine, just see what pattern develops over time.

Some babies don't like shush pat, and some don't like pick up put down. I never let my DS cry for longer than a few seconds when he was under 6 months, and would go to him straight away. I was breastfeeding, so I would mostly just offer a feed, but if I was certain that it wasn't hunger, nappy, pain etc then I would pick him up and comfort him until calm. Then try putting him down again and seeing if he was sleepy. Shush pat means not picking them up and trying to settle them in their cot by shushing and rhythmically patting. My DS didn't ever really like that and would get more unsettled, hence me usually picking him up.

Misty9 Fri 08-Aug-14 11:25:40

I'm afraid I agree with the above poster: 7.30-5.30 is amazing! As for getting back to sleep after that, I'd expect it to be 60-90min after that she'd need more sleep, first nap of the day. My 16 week old generally goes down between 9-10 in the evenings and has recently slept through until 5-6ish, which I'm thrilled with! In your case I'd probably try to go to bed earlier, say 9.30, so the early start isn't so hard going.

As for daytime naps, mine is similarly resistant and will only sleep in the sling most of the time. They're not a magic cure though; my first hated being carried. At her age I'd think she needs 2-3 hours daytime sleep with an 8 hour stretch at night. Is anything else making you feel down?

Misty9 Fri 08-Aug-14 11:30:34

Also, re wind, have you tried all the usual techniques: keeping upright for a while after feeds, infacol, propped up bed? Could be mild reflux?

ThreeYorkshires Fri 08-Aug-14 11:39:01

Is this a wind up?

If you are serious, then a) your baby sounds perfectly normal, and you have wildly unrealistic expectations around sleep patterns for small children and b) CC is NEVER recommended for babies under six months, so I will judge you using it. Hth smile

ThreeYorkshires Fri 08-Aug-14 11:57:51

MN sleep guide This says that some babies of 3 months sleep for as long as 6 hours a night, between feeds! So I'm sure you can see that 7.30-5.30 is well in excess of that. As for taking a long time to resettle the baby at 5.30-I'm not surprised, she had just slept for ten hours and was ready to get up for the day!

What exactly is the issue you need help with? Babies are very small helpless creatures. You are lucky enough to have one who sleep for ten hours at night. They do want company, and to be cuddled. There is no method of CC that is safe or advised (even by the CC people) before 6 months. Self settling is something that babies need to learn, and some learn it faster than others.

If your baby is upset when you are putting her to bed, then lie down on your bed with her and let her go to sleep with you. As she is under 6 months, I assume her cot is still in your room, so it isn't that much of a change to just cuddle her to sleep in your bed. Three months is really really tiny, and your post has really bothered and upset me-your baby isn't doing anything wrong, and you want to sleep train her and leave her to cry? Not ok.

Proudmummy2014 Fri 08-Aug-14 12:00:25

Haha I know I'm probably being hard on myself but in all honesty I think my expectations stem from hearing about my friends children and reading other articles where they say a 3 month old should have 5 hours of day time naps, so when I compare it to my DD I feel like she's not sleeping enough. Also the night time stretch itself I'm really happy with, but what concerns me more is the extreme crying and unsettled behaviour before she goes to sleep

Proudmummy2014 Fri 08-Aug-14 12:04:25

I'm sorry not here to upset anyone. I think my main concern is her daytime naps ony amount to 1.5 hours and then she is unhappy all day and appears tired. The other concern was her being very unsettled before nodding off at bedtime. I guess I compare my baby to the sleep guidelines that I read online and for her daytime naps I feel that she's not sleeping enough

CultureSucksDownWords Fri 08-Aug-14 12:18:18

I would strongly recommend the ISIS link that I gave for a description of how much sleep a baby needs. Don't worry about what your friends with children say about their sleep - they aren't you and they don't have your baby. Every baby is different.

How do you feel about trying a sling in the daytime, or longer walks in the pram?

ThreeYorkshires Fri 08-Aug-14 12:29:51

Hi OP, sorry if I sounded harsh blush

Ignore anything your friends say-they don't have your baby.

As for the wind, how are your winding her? Bicycling legs always helped DS, or laying him right across my knees to help the wind out. It will always be much harder for her to get to sleep if she has trapped wind, so you might want to try infacol or different winding techniques to get that sorted before you address the sleep.

What sort of pattern (if any!) do you have for daytime naps, and what do you think you should have? Do you generally put her in her cot in the day, or a buggy?

I think DS generally had two naps at 3 months, morning nap from around 8.30-10.00 then another after lunch. He would only nap on the move, so I got to know his sleep cues pretty well and would put him in the pram and walk till he dropped off. This could take up to 40 minutes sometimes, even if he was tired.

You're already doing brilliantly, as you seem to have night time sleeping cracked!

Proudmummy2014 Fri 08-Aug-14 21:09:05

The Isis link is brilliant a real reassurance- thanks very much for that :-)

My current night time routine is bath, massage & milk. However for day time naps I put her in her sleeping bag and then put her in the Moses. She then only sleeps for 30 mins max at 9am, 12pm and 4pm. Wow your little one has a great nap! I really wouldn't consider it a problem if she was happy all day but after her naps she's really whingey and is really tired as if she hasn't even slept at all.

Quodlibet Fri 08-Aug-14 21:20:57

Are you actually putting your baby down for naps when she is tired (sleepy cues) or at predetermined times that you think she should nap? If she's been awake from 5.30-9am (3.5 hrs) that's probably too long at 3m so she might be overtired.

CultureSucksDownWords Fri 08-Aug-14 21:31:48

I was just about to ask the same question as Quodlibet. It does sound like she's either already over tired or not sleepy enough for naps.

I would stick her in the pram about 2 to 2.5 hours after she wakes, and walk until she is asleep, and then take her home and let her sleep in the pram. There's no rule that says she has to sleep in the Moses basket. smile

lauriebear Fri 08-Aug-14 21:39:42

Really consider "wearing her out" get a wrap, sling, or hip friendly baby carrier like a mei tei/boba/ergo, and wear her till she nods off the upright position will help the wind, it will also help to keep her close as it will remind her of the womb, smelling you and hearing your heartbeat will do wonders for that calming her and you'll find she settles a lot faster. Also on a selfish note you have your hands free to do stuff.
As other posters suggested it sounds like a growth spurt or wonder week, make sure you feed on demand and don't sweat feeding to sleep. I read a lot of Dr Sears, Evolutionary Parenting, the no cry sleep solution and they helped me keep things in perspective. I fed to sleep and wore my son for 2 years and he now sleeps no fuss all on his own, my best advice is do what feels right and don't worry about being judged for it, they sleep longer when they're ready and she's still so tiny - you're not to blame for not sleeping through at that age! flowers

lauriebear Fri 08-Aug-14 21:48:10

if you have a min these were the things I found helped me alternative suggestions for settling www.parenting.com/article/ask-dr-sears-alternatives-to-baby-swaddling
what is normal for sleep by age (based on studies not anecdotes) evolutionaryparenting.com/normal-infant-sleep-part-i/
the no cry book if you want to read alternate sleep training to cc www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/no-cry-sleep-training/

Proudmummy2014 Fri 08-Aug-14 21:59:29

Sorry I should have mentioned- after 5.30am she does eventually fall back asleep after feeding and then wakes up at 7am-ish. I have realised from keeping a diary that she gets really tired 2/3 hours after waking up last.

Thanks for those links- ill definitly check them out :-)

I don't mind trying anything like having her close to me but just worried if she will then find it hard to sleep without being near me. She settled today for a nap in her pram so I think I will definitly start going for longer walks now in the day for atleast one of the naps :-)

CultureSucksDownWords Fri 08-Aug-14 22:06:57

Proudmummy, I did everything that people say you're not supposed to do - I fed my ds to sleep, he had all his naps on me or in the pram till 8 or 9 months, etc etc. At just over 2, he is now a fantastic sleeper, self settles to sleep and has slept though from about 11 months without any regression and so on.

In my (non expert) opinion, the more you can hold them and keep them close when they are little, the more secure they are when they are older.

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Fri 08-Aug-14 22:12:06

Your baby is tiny. But for the fact that she wouldn't fit out the exit, there is an argument evolution would have decided to keep her inside until roughly this point!

Babies change massively as they get older. And get this, they do it on their own. DD1 would not nap for longer than 30 minutes in her cot, ever, ever, when she was tiny. She slept for hours in the sling. She only slept in the buggy if is was moving. At around 10 months, she suddenly started to want to sleep in her cot, and only her cot, for one massive nap each day (with a couple of more flexible cat naps).

Your baby is an amazing sleeper. Compare my three month old:

- Has had about four or five short naps today.
- Refused to go to bed at bedtime. Stayed up until 9pm and did three massive poos!
- Last night, was up at 11pm, 3.30am (this was good! 4.5 hours at a stretch. I was thrilled!), 4.30am, was restless until about 5.30 and then conked out until 7.30.

fionnthedog Fri 08-Aug-14 22:18:18

Have you considered a dream feed at around 10:30pm (or whenever you go to bed)? This is basically a feed whilst the LO is still asleep (or half asleep!)

My ds goes to bed after bath, massage etc at 7pm then I dream feed him at 10:30pm and he'll then usually sleep until 7am. Sometimes he wakes earlier (6:30 or so) but is happy to gurgle to himself until 7am. I am planning on continuing to dream feed until he either refuses to eat or cuts down on his 7am feed. Better a feed when I am still awake than one when I most definitely want to still be asleep!! But each to their own... :-)

RabbitSaysWoof Fri 08-Aug-14 22:24:22

mygoodparenting.com/2011/06/09/understanding-the-mantra-cry/
I found this really useful, there is a big difference between CC and allowing baby to self sooth without disturbance.

Proudmummy2014 Fri 08-Aug-14 22:25:11

Thanks so much ladies! Really really appreciate your time in replying to my post and feel sooooooo much better now at hearing this is all normal and your LO's are similar. I think there's just a massive importance put on "sleeping through, self settling and wrong sleep associations" and it really was stressing me out. However, I really do feel better knowing my DD sleeping is normal. For daytime naps though I'll start walking more and try a sling too :-) Thank youuuuu

Proudmummy2014 Fri 08-Aug-14 22:31:59

Fionnthedog- I did try the dreamfeed but it disrupted her sleep pattern as she was then waking up more often. I dropped it to test and she ended up only then waking the once. I've heard its brilliant though as I know it's worked wonders for my friends babies :-)

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