Going insane with lack of sleep

(41 Posts)
VaselineOnToast Thu 26-Feb-15 13:15:07

DS is 5 months old and since about 2 months has been up every 1-2hrs at night (usually to bf) and napping for 30-45min about 3-4 times a day. I rock him to sleep in my arms (then put him in the cot swaddled) or sling for naps & sometimes i spend longer trying to get him to sleep than he actually sleeps and he's usually still tired and grumpy after waking up but he won't be resettled. This also means that I have no opportunity to catch up on sleep myself.

I feel like I do nothing apart from try to get him to sleep since he can only manage to stay awake & happy for about an hour. I am starting to resent him and I'm becoming increasingly irritated & irrational. I don't want to be like this. Please help!

scottygirl5 Thu 26-Feb-15 14:20:28

Hate to say it but this is all normal, and it will change. DD2 is very similar to this though she only rarely manages 2 hours at night. I do a mix of feeding, slinging, buggy and car for naps. It drives me potty but I just keep clinging to the fact that once they get a little older they only needs 2 naps (was about 7 months for DD1) and at that age they often naturally begin to sleep longer. We never got cot naps but by a year could take the buggy round the block to get her off then parked her in the garden for 1.5-2 hours. Its so hard at this stage so have plenty of coffee and cake, do whatever makes napping easiest,and keep thinking it will pass! Also join us on the misery loves company thread for a good moan!

FATEdestiny Thu 26-Feb-15 14:20:32

30-45min naps about 3-4 times a day really isn't enough sleep through the daytime. This could be causing over-tiredness at night and a tired baby is less settled in his sleep.

I'm afraid to say you have a number of rods for your own back there. Rocking to sleep. Breastfeeding to sleep. Sling (so carrying) to sleep. None of these allow for independent sleeping. That's why your baby cannot get to sleep or stay asleep on his own.

So before you go any further forward from here, you face the decision (best made not when you are exhausted) how important these things are to you?

You sound very much like an attachment parent and it is inevitable that attachment parenting needs a parent to help baby go to sleep, because of the attachment.

That is why I ask my question. If you want to be an attachment parent then this may be more about helping you to cope without changing too much. But if you have decided that actually attachment parenting isn't for you and you would like your baby to be able to sleep independently of you, then this might require some harsh changes.

FATEdestiny Thu 26-Feb-15 14:26:56

Hate to say it but this is all normal

I would not describe it as normal. It may be normal for an attachment parent, I don't know about this. But not for everyone.

My DD has just turned 5 months. She has just transitioned from six 45 minute naps to two 90 minute sleeps and two 45 minutes sleep. This is as a direct consequence of quite suddenly choosing to move from a 2 hourly EASY schedule straight to a four hourly schedule. I think because she decided to feed less frequently through the daytime.

Aside from 4 nights around 4 months old, she has at least slept 11pm-8am, can do 8pm-8am sometimes.

She sleeps independently, with a dummy. She is also now formula fed.

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Thu 26-Feb-15 14:28:05

I have been there OP exactly as you describe. It wasn't "attachment parenting" it was "whatever gets baby to sleep" in my case.
I found that once I started weaning on to solid food baby was more settled at nap times and started sleeping for longer. Also it would be easier to get him in the pram, so I could leave him asleep in the garden or the porch.
Also I mix-fed so DH c
It was hell though, and there was no real solution. It was just a case of enduring and trying to keep hold of the truth - "This too shall pass".

FATEdestiny Thu 26-Feb-15 14:35:21

Well yes, it could equally be "whatever gets baby to sleep". These happen to all be attachment parenting ways too. I didn't want to assume that these things were not important to the OP. Some mothers hold a lot of value and importance in breastfeeding to sleep and sling carrying baby.

LowlLowl Thu 26-Feb-15 14:42:54

Oh oh oh if I'd found Mumsnet by the time DS was 5 months old it could have been me writing the post (other than the bf but since DS gave up on that at 3 mo sad )

DS is now 10 mo and has settled himself into a regular napping pattern during the day, and thankfully there turned out to be a benefit in ff because at least we got decent chunks of sleep at night (and DH could do night feeds). But I well remember it and feel your pain, Vaseline.

Fatedestiny makes some good points but don't beat yourself up too much about parenting styles and bad habits. Plenty of time to work on all those things! Also in my limited experience all babies are different in terms of the amount of daytime sleep required (no I'm not a Gina Ford fan....!)

To fix an immediate problem of no sleep, could you express and let your OH do a night of feeds for you (or even half a night)? It is amazing how much difference just one night would make to you.

What worked for me (which doesn't mean it will work for you of course but you might like to consider it as an option) is keeping a note of when in the day the short naps happen. Is there a pattern or is it random? Then if there is a pattern, try to work a schedule in (e.g. nap mid morning & nap mid afternoon). Have a clear nap routine so LO gets used to a rhythm of actions which signal sleep (we do nappy, sleeping bag, close curtains, milk, lullaby, cot) and stick to it (might take weeks but it was worth it for us!) Originally we let DS fall asleep on us before putting him into the cot, and once that was working we started on putting him down before he was asleep. As I type I'm listening to him chuntering himself to sleep in his cot. It's still a work in progress....

But the main thing is, sleep WHEREVER AND WHENEVER YOU CAN! Sod the housework, live off takeaways if you have to, but look after your sanity. Even if you get 3x30 min in the day that would help.

And it won't last forever. Or if it does the Daily Mail will pay handsomely for your story when LO hits 18 and so it's a win in the long run... grin

LowlLowl Thu 26-Feb-15 14:47:35

PS 'insane and irrational' is probably a superb description of my parenting style on bad days grin (and probably the same holds for most parents - I'm trying to learn not to breast myself up about it though - think how boring it would be if we were all sane and rational all the time)

LowlLowl Thu 26-Feb-15 14:48:03

Beat. Not breast....shock

Daisy17 Thu 26-Feb-15 14:50:00

OP, every sympathy. Some babies fight sleep no matter what you do and it is hellish but they will eventually learn how in their own terms. It's developmental. They will probably be children who do everything on their own terms and at their own pace. Just thought I'd put that out there to counteract the "rod for your own back" tosh that is often trotted out on these threads by smug complacent mothers whose children never had a problem with sleeping but assume that that was because they did the magic nap dance every day or whatever ........

TwiggyHeart Thu 26-Feb-15 14:53:35

OP my DD2 is exactly as you describe, it's quite frankly driving me mad, DD1 slept through the night and had 3 predictable 1.5 hour naps a day, this time I'm lucky to get 15 minutes out of her. I have no advice apart from that it is only a phase and it will pass.....

Goldmandra Thu 26-Feb-15 14:56:09

The rod for your own back theory is rubbish.

Some babies settle easily and sleep well. Others don't. I've had one of each and, believe me, it was nothing to do with my parenting. In fact, the one who had to be held 24/7 for the first month of her life to stop he going blue is the one who settled and slept best.

I'm sorry but I don't think there is a magic wand for this. You just need to rest whenever the baby sleeps and forget housework, etc.

Do you have someone who could take him for you for a few hours to give you a break and a decent chunk of sleep?

mrshope Thu 26-Feb-15 15:02:22

Vaseline -I really feel for you. This was me a few months/weeks ago.
It's hellish. I actually feel a bit teary thinking back to it.
It's not your fault - please don't think that. My DS was exactly the same. I was totally exhausted and ended up being diagnosed with PND - mainly through lack of sleep. I resented my DS and spent my life getting him to sleep. I tried everything and I mean everything. Some babies don't just fall asleep!

Here are some changes we made in case they help you.
1. I slowly gave up bfeeding. So my DHcould feed in the night and I got some rest.
2. Started gradual retreat so DS was self settling. This was long and hard but he got there
3. I got some counselling
4. We had a night nanny who helped sleep train for 3 nights

I still had short naps - I was doing 4 x 30min naps for ages. But lovely mn reassured me it wouldn't last forever and he has started to do longer naps.

So you are not alone. It isn't something you did wrong. I genuinely believe it's developmental - but you will have to make changes to help your DC fall asleep alone - that I think is key. Unless as FAte asked you are ok to continue as you are.
To me it sounds like you are not.

Do make sure you aren't suffering from PND - sleep deprivation really increases your chance of developing it.

Believe me when I say it will get better and you are doing a great job

OurDayWillCome Thu 26-Feb-15 15:07:18

Don't listen to the 'rod' brigade. Some babies don't sleep and you have to do whatever you can the get the buggers to sleep at all. I have no magical advice, because 2 years ago I was asking exactly the same questions and felt like throwing myself under a bus through lack of sleep. I tried just about everything before 'giving in' and just going with it. He finally slept 'through the night' at 18 months and from 2 years old has slept 12 hours a night with a 2 hour afternoon nap. I tortured myself reading books, scouring forums etc. I know you are looking for practical advice and I'm giving you none, but the night wakings will end and you are doing nothing wrong. Whatever your instinct tells you is best, just do it. At times DS was sleeping with us, at times I had to walk round the garden in the middle of the night jigging him up and down in the sling like a loony, at times I had to sleep on his floor holding his hand through the cot, at times I gave up and just sat downstairs watching Postman Pat until the sun came up. I know this doesn't help in the short term, but one day your baby will sleep, I promise.

VaselineOnToast Thu 26-Feb-15 17:53:27

Thanks everyone for your sage replies!

FATEdestiny, I wouldn't describe myself as an "attachment" parent, rather a parent who is trying to treat the baby the way he was designed to be treated. I am starting to realise that this does not always mesh well with modern life (especially parenting alone for most of the day). However, I also believe that babies need to be dependent before they can become independent. I don't mind rocking him to sleep etc, but five times a day is a bit excessive. I suppose I'd rather do this than some form of controlled crying.

scottygirl5, HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs, LowlLowl, TwiggyHeart, mrshope, OurDayWillCome Thank you for empathising! It's very reassuring to know that things changed for you all eventually. I know they will for me too, but you know, when you're in the midst of it it's unbearable. I have actually considered expressing a crapload of milk then going to spend the night at my parents' so that DH can feed through the night and I can sleep... we live in a small flat and if I stayed here, I'd be awoken by DS's cries/whimpers no matter where I slept. I'd still have to wake at least once to express milk during the night, but it'd be a helluva lot better than every 1.5 hours.

Daisy17, Goldmandra Yes, I keep reminding myself that as he develops neurologically, this will all be a distant (disturbing) memory!! Unfortunately, DS is not happy with anyone but me or DH at the moment, so no chance of babysitting just now. I might ask DH if he'll take him out in the pram for a while this weekend. It'll be nice for me not to constantly feel "needed"...

Sometimes I wonder about PND as well. Some days I'm fine (providing I get to sleep in at least 2-hour chunks) but others just leave me feeling hungover, irritated and very resentful (of DS, DH, everything...). Knowing that other people have been there really helps though. My two close mum friends both FF and have never experienced this issue.

I suppose I just came on here to vent and for empathy... if there were a one-size-fits-all solution, this forum would not exist and I we'd all be splendidly well rested!

FATEdestiny Thu 26-Feb-15 18:44:33

I suppose I'd rather do this than some form of controlled crying

There is middle ground.

For example have you thought about Shush Pat? You feed baby then place hysterical baby into cot. Then you stay with him constantly as he screams blue murder. Shushing noises and gentle patting for reassurance, but not picking him or disturbing him. Just waiting until he goes to sleep.

This is absolutely not like leaving baby to cry like CC. It allows you to reassure baby whilst also allowing him to learn.

icklekid Thu 26-Feb-15 18:54:04

At 5 months ds was similar lots of walking in pushchair to get him to sleep as sling had stopped working - started getting him to nap on our bed lying next to him. I then either slept if I needed it or slowly rolled away with monitor next to him. From 6 months I started to try putting him in his cot with a nap time routine. Put into a lightweight gro bag, close blinds, read story, put white noise on and lie ds down. I then did pick up put down and now by 7 months he goes down for naps well. Worth a try. I do know how horrendous sleep depravation is though. Ds is currently teething really badly but has learnt to self sooth finally!

addictedtosugar Thu 26-Feb-15 20:21:07

Another one here saying none sleeping baby lead to PND, but it does get better.

If your worried about PND, have you filled out an edinburgh test?

DS1 was the king of 40 min naps. I got to be the queen of 39 min naps. When your at the stage your currently at, every second counts.

Also, does DS go for a longer patch when you first put him down? Would you get one longer chunk of sleep if you went to bed 30 mins after DS? I know it sounds awful, but I had 8pm bedtimes a couple of times a week for about a year.

The biggest change we made was post weaning (expressing didn't happen - but we were lucky that DS1 really took to food) - one day at the weekend, I'd get up when DS1 woke, feed him, have some breakfast, and then feed again. Then DH and DS would go out for the morning - with solids and water in case of hunger, and I went back to bed. If you can find a block (4 hours was the magic figure for me), you will be amazed at the difference it makes.

thanks and cake

He WILL sleep at some point -I'm waiting for teenagdom to hit, and then I'll be hoovering at 5am smile

sunabroad Thu 26-Feb-15 20:26:28

Im so sorry, sleep deprivation to that extreme is terrible and so difficult.

I don't think it's normal at all to wake up every hour or so. Do you think there might be an underlying reason like reflux, allergies/intolerances or hunger?

sunabroad Thu 26-Feb-15 20:28:19

If I were you I would give a formula feed before bedtime and see if that helps. Honestly there is no point being a martyr. At least give it a shot. Your sanity comes first, plus you have already done 5 months of exclusive breastfeeding.

Piratesloveunderpants Thu 26-Feb-15 20:40:01

flowers

Wasn't going to reply but I was pissed off by some comments that seemed unsupportive.

You are doing a brilliant job. You are doing what is best for your little baby boy. It's tough and I sympathise. My ds was fed to sleep, rocked to sleep, pushed in a pram and driven. He never "self settled". So I had every rod for my own back!! BUT - He is now 13 months old and has been sleeping through the night since 11 months after one month of gradual retreat sleep training. He still needs rocked to sleep for naps (I'm trying to stop this!) but my point is that there is a time and a place for sleep associations. And when he is old enough or you need to change habits you can. It's hard work to change habits but there's some good advice on here and other threads.

You sound like a very committed mummy. Don't underestimate how lack of sleep can affect your mental health, it's awful and what you described is totally normal. But if you are worried re PND then speak to GP or HV.

Good luck OP. Even if it doesn't improve, know you are not alone.

Heatherbell1978 Thu 26-Feb-15 20:52:22

Another one here who absolutely sympathises. DS1 is 6 months, only naps for 30 mins at a time during the day and has been waking every 2 hrs or so since he was 4 mths. However, he settles well, I can literally put him in his cot, walk away, and he's asleep. So your babies sleep issues aren't necessarily linked to his inability to settle, some babies just can't sleep through the cycles, my understanding is that that takes longer for some babies than others. The last 2 nights I've had 4/5 blocks from him though and I've just ramped up his food to 3 meals a day so maybe they're linked. I'm giving it a week though and then controlled crying will be happening...hang in there!

VaselineOnToast Fri 27-Feb-15 12:14:50

addictedtosugar The HV got me to take that test when DS was about 2 months old. At that point things were going ok. I took it again just there and scored in the 'depression' range... I've also tried napping when DS does but I find it extremely difficult to fall asleep. Apparently be unable to sleep even when you have the opportunity to do so can be one indicator of PND sad I may just make an appointment with my GP.

sunabroad Lately, DS has been waking up every 2 hours to feed and in between those times he'll either rouse slightly (and noisily, waking me up each time) and get himself back to sleep, or end up waking himself up fully accidentally and needing our help to get back to sleep. Fortunately, DH is on rock-back-to-sleep-in-the-middle-of-the-night duty, but occassionally DS just needs his dummy and his hands held so he doesn't keep pulling it out, so I do that. We tried giving him formula before bed the other night but most of it ended up dribbled down his front as he tries to drink from a bottle as if it were a breast. Unfortunately, it didn't make any difference.

Piratesloveunderpants Thank you for your sweet comment. I am going to talk to DH about PND then maybe see my GP. DH is working from home today (he's not usually permitted to do so) because I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday and thought I might harm baby out of frustration. I had to put him in his cot and leave the room.

Heatherbell1978 THanks for the reassurance. I'm hoping things will improve in (a very short) time and I'm curious to see what difference weaning might make, although we're hoping to try Baby-Led Weaning so it's not like he'll be eating much to start out with.

VaselineOnToast Fri 27-Feb-15 12:18:54

icklekid Just when you think you've found something that works, the baby becomes resistant somehow - annoying, isn't it? smile I have a simple nap routine which just involves closing the blinds, turning on white noise and putting DS in a swaddle (he only uses this during naps as it is impossible to put him down without waking him unless he's going down for night sleep). Until he starts sleeping longer, I don't want to do anything more elaborate.

I'll have to look into these CC alternatives that everyone is mentioning.

icklekid Fri 27-Feb-15 13:05:50

You just do what works and means that you get some rest. Plenty of coffee is consumed regularly here! Do see gp/hv if your unsure about spd can give you support if nothing else. I still see my hv every 6 weeks just to offload on shes amazing and I know I would be depressed without her support x

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