to admit I can't cope with this level of sleep deprivation, please help(77 Posts)
How do you cope?
Baby is 5months.
Used to sleep 6-7 hours in a stretch. Now wakes frequently and screams until I breastfeed him back to sleep. On typical night he goes to bed at 8pm and wakes to feed at 10pm, 1am, 3am, 4am, 5am and is up for day around 6-7am By the time I've got back to sleep each time he's waking up again!
I feel like I'm going mad. I keep shouting at him at 5am
He has 3x30min naps during day.
Should I start sleep-training? What if he's hungry? Has anyone tried CC? Or is this just a regression/growth spurt that I need to ride out?
Also his wee has a strong smell since his sleep went haywire, he's also drooling all day, could he be teething/thirsty?
Any tips for coping with sleep deprivation?
Sounds like 4 mo sleep regression plus teething!
DD turned a corner when we started food as it turned out she was actually hungry.
Other stuff I wish I'd tried sooner -
Adding in formula ( I think she did find bf too little from that age, on its own)
Leaving her for a bit before running in. I don't mean sleep training, but just seeing if she was only having a grump or did need an intervention.
But it does pass, honest.
Be kind to yourself. Admit that you're going to be tired and tetchy and sneak naps when you can.
Is there anyone who can give you a bit of relief? Mum/partner etc.
Can you speak to your HV? They do go through growth spurts that throw you complexly off track and they do pass. Is he maybe ready for weaning?
Lots of people will come in and give more sensible advice re baby, but I just wanted you to know that you aren't alone. I had an amazing non-sleeping baby and some days I felt like I was going mad, but it got better.
One thing that helped us was getting him out into daylight first thing in the morning (like 7am in our dressing gowns) Helps to set their body clocks. (Admittedly I was in another country at the time, where they had daylight )
First thing is you will get through this!
I agree that it could be hunger. My DS settled down when I switched to formula. I just couldn't produce enough to keep up with demand.
Have you thought about a homeopathic teething powder such as Ashton and Parsons? Very good for soothing and means you can leave calpol in reserve for when you really need it.
Is the room too hot too cold? Does he find what he's wearing too tight too loose? Is there noise or no noise? I found it a process of elimination and trying different things.
It's tough but like everything it's a phase and will pass.
It's not for everyone but would co-sleeping be possible? My baby was sleeping 7-5 (with a dream feed) until five months and then started waking up in the night and not wanting to go to bed.
I now take him in with me after he wakes up for the first time (usually around 9/10) and he sleeps in my arms all night, breastfeeding on and off. I wake up between six and seven most days while he is still asleep. I feel like I've had more or less enough sleep, and so much more normal and awake than I did when I was running into his room every few hours.
He's ten months and has two naps in the day, both about an hour to an hour and a half. I would like him to sleep through the night in his own bed at some point but co-sleeping is working for us at the moment.
Oh god, I remember this with DD (who is now 2 and sleeps like a dream compared to when she was 5 months). It is so, so hard and you have my sympathy.
Will he drink from a bottle? If so, can someone do a few feeds for you one night so that you can sometimes get a decent chunk of sleep?
If there are no solutions, then you have to ride it out one day at a time. With as much rest as possible. E.g. During at least 2 out of 3 of his naps, do nothing. If you can't sleep then just sit with a glass of water and a banana. Anything that can wait, should.
Another thing I find is that people in real life are not necessarily the best to talk to about this. Especially if they have only older children. Somehow they seem to lack a sympathy gene and either say you're doing it wrong because theirs always slept through from age 2 minutes, or they laugh and say you've got a long way to go because theirs didn't sleep through until age 18. Both of which are bollocks and unhelpful. Now that DD is a bit older, I can kind of see this from the other side, and am starting to see friends that I KNOW struggled with their babies' sleep telling new parents that it's really not that hard etc. Ignore them!
I had this and it turned out that my baby was hungry and ready for food. I had been weighing her regularly and her weight gain around 4/5 months started to slow and she was dropping down the percentiles. As soon as she started eating (which she loved!) her weight started to go up again. I know the advice is 6 months for weaning but I think that is too late for some babies. I went on to breastfeed until 21 months so my thought would be that you might prefer to offer food rather than go to formula.
I was a zombie and broken for months actually as I really need my sleep.
Poor you it's really tough. I agree sounds like a sleep regression and teething. He probably doesn't need to feed all those times (as long as he's feeding plenty during the day) but likes the comfort.
I have a 5 month old rubbish sleeper too. I cope by sleeping in at weekends when DH gets up with the kids. Sometimes I pass the baby over at 5am so I can get a couple of hours before he goes to work (I sleep in baby's room with her so DH isn't disturbed all night). I also cope better than with my first baby as I know it WILL pass.
My second baby slept and napped like a dream from 6 weeks and I have done all the same things with all three. Just goes to show it is the baby who determines what kind of sleeper they are and isn't anything we are doing wrong. Hugs.
It does sound like teething too though! It will get better....
When I had my first 2 DC the age for introducing solids was 4 months.
The age changed to six months after they had passed that stage.
When I had DC3, I said to the HV that I wasn't sure he was going to be able to last till 6 months on milk only (exclusively BF by the way). She said "most of them don't, dear."
How many feeds is he getting in the day?
I would move to literally feeding him every 90mins-2hrs during the day. Then after 10pm only feed him every 3-4hrs. If he wakes at 3am feed, but again at 4am don't feed, settle without a feed. You can be reassured he isnt hungry 1 hr later due to high amount of feeds during the day
A few other tips:
1) don't feed to sleep in the day or evening. At 8pm give his last feed in your living room with lights on etc like it's daytime. Then get him ready for bed and read him a short story in dimmed lights. Settle him to sleep without feeding but using gentle patting, soothing, lullaby etc.
After a few days this will make it easier to settle him the same way during the night
2) get your partner to also settle him to bed every other night. If you feed in living room then the bedtime routine is no feeding so partner can do. Again it means that during the night you can take turns resettling him as they wont all be feeds.
3) try and lengthen daytime naps. Easiest way is to have nap in pram and when they stir after 25mins gently rock the pram to put them back to sleep. Do this before they wake properly. Once they are sleeping longer like 45-60mins at a time you can reduce the rocking when they stir
Oh dear OP, so much conflicting advice
There's a growth spurt around this time. It's a killer for sure but it won't last forever. Co-sleeping saved my sanity. And keep feeding, even though it feels relentless, your body just needs a chance to catch up and increase milk production. Eating lots of oats (porridge, flapjack) will help.
Incidentally, my elder daughter turned her nose up at solids until I went back to work when she was 12 months old. My younger daughter was even more determined and thrived on nothing but breast milk until she was 18 months. So weaning isn't necessarily the answer. Just sayin'
I second everything Artandco said and when I paid the Millpond sleep people that's pretty much what they said.
Sorry, but only breast milk until 18 months?
Surely that can't be ok, babies need to learn to chew etc before 18 months, dont they?
I don't think there is a magic fix tbh. We just muddled through, me snatching sleep and naps and rest when I could, including co-sleeping (following the guidelines). Hopefully you have a partner or family member who can help out - I found occasionally having a nap in the early evening say from 6-8 while DH held the baby left me feeling better able to cope. And know that this too shall pass
I wasn't refusing her food, of course she could still chew, and bite. I wanted her to eat! She just wasn't interested. Solid food was a curiosity but she preferred breastmilk. I went back to work when she was 18 months old and she finally started eating solids properly, because she had to.
She's always had plenty of energy, was walking at 8 months, hit all her milestones, is now a bright sparky 5-year-old who never stops.
What time are the naps? It's all quite a blur to me now, but one thing I remember v clearly is that my DC sorted their sleep out when they only had two naps in the day - one at 9:30 and one at 1:30, each nap for around a hour, maybe a bit more. And never let them nap after 4pm. Hope that helps. It feels like hell, but it won't last.
I'm 7m pregnant and toddler is teething and waking at night. Its reminding me of her newborn days and making me anxious about the nights. I hated 5-7.5m for this reason. I was on my knees.
We started putting a former routine in place around this time which helped a bit. Did the above approach of separating sleepy time and feeds and gradually night weaned around 6m. Started settling her only in the cot. At 7.5m I did cc (going in every 2m,3m,5m). It went really easily I think because of all the gentle prep.
I plan to do the same again next time and knowing there's an end date for the exhaustion is giving me courage. Good luck. This bit is seriously the pits but with a bit of a plan in place you can get through it. In the meantime early nights and naps whenever someone is around to have the baby. Oh and !!
I weaned all of mine earlier than 6m because they needed more food and it certainly helped with sleep. but I did do the controlled crying.
it will only work if you are completely consistent so you will need support to do it. feeding a child to sleep is a bit of a recipe for hard work ime.
you did mention the wee smell which no one else has picked up on. this was a sure sign mine were teething as normally didn't notice wee but certainly did then. would suggest you try giving some boiled water as some children are thirsty and it will also help with the transition away from breast only.
have a look at some of the cc advice online but only give it a go if you are willing to stick to it 100% otherwise it doesn't work. co-sleeping was never an option for me and again, its just another habit to break in order to get them to self settle in their own beds. don't be hard on yourself. we have all been there and come out the other side.
God, remember this horror myself. I shouted too. Felt like I was losing my mind, which I actually was on that little sleep. I was paranoid, jumpy, tearful, aggressive, as well as totally zombified. I was like an angry robot.
Two things that helped me were a dummy (DS used to spit them out, but finally took one at six months) and loud white noise played in his bedroom.
And remember that you are experiencing a normal reaction. There's nothing wrong with you.
I can only say what worked for us (my baby is the same age as yours and still not great at night but so much better than he was).
Similar to other posters I found that breastfeeding wasn't satisfying him and he was just unhappy all the time (day and night). I know other posters will disagree but we each know our own babies. I gradually switched to formula and this has helped. He now takes about 35oz per 24 hours but all in the daytime. He does not have a night feed.
I've also focused on getting longer and more routine daytime naps because I also think he was overtired. After some advice on here I now put him down for a nap after he's been awake for between an hour and a half and two hours and leave him to self settle as much as possible. At lunchtime I always try to do this in his cot. In total he probably naps for 3-4 hours in the day.
This has helped and he now goes to bed at 7 and sleeps through solidly until 2ish most nights. He does wake up from time to time therafter but we leave him a bit instead of rushing in and he usually settles although we sometimes pop the dummy in which also helps.
We still have bad nights bit not as many!
Give him a bottle of formula at bedtime, it will make all the difference, good luck
5months is really tough I remember it well!
I don't agree with cc BUT did so gentle sleep training (with great success!) with ds1 at 12 months. Ds2 was an even worse sleeper so we did it at 9m. In retrospect I think we could have done it earlier - The Sleep Lady (who is ace) recommends from 6m onwards, once you feel ready. Ds2 at 9m took to it even more easily than ds1 did at 12m.
The key thing once they are old enough is to get them to settle in the cot on their own. So no bf, no rocking, no shushing or patting. I would lie down next to baby's cot and say encouraging and calm things 'sleepy time, lie down, you can do it!' You have to start at bedtime - no feeding to sleep, nice bath, milk, story, then into cot. Then repeat if they wake (note: if unusually unsettled, ill, teething etc then you can take them out for cuddles, calpol etc.) but at 9m the self-settling at bedtime was enough to make ds2 pretty much sleep through.
What the Sleep Lady says is that if you can crack night times then the daytime naps will sort themselves and I've found this to be true (baby needs more than 30mins nap, and mummy needs time to make coffee/check emails/go to the loo/maybe even have a nap herself!). Once your baby can settle him or herself they will sleep for more than one sleep cycle, so naptime could be 2hrs ish (yay!).
I never found that giving solids made a difference, other than: once they are eating proper food in the day, you feel it's okay to say no to breast feeds in the night, which really helps (I think by bfeeding my two in the night I was probably incentivising them to wake! - disclaimer, I am talking about 6m plus babies, not newborns; when they're tiny I advocate plenty of lansinoh and a box set and feed on demand!).
None of this is easy OP and I totally feel your pain; prior to sleep training my two were both wake-on-the-hour-through-the-night, what-are-daytime-naps? types, but they quickly changed to sleeping 7-7 and taking a three hour nap every afternoon afterwards (another disclaimer, it all went to shit after 3yrs old with my eldest and we've just got his sleep sorted out for a second time now he's 4!). I'm not saying this as a boast but to try and say, it really can get better.
Not long to go till your baby is a bit older and you can address the issue, until then good luck, be kind to yourself and trust that better sleep is around the corner!
Sympathies op, it is so awful.
This is a useful thread for you here - some great advice on there.
There is a whole Sleep topic on Mumsnet (under the Parenting section) and a few long-running threads where the sleep deprived gather for tea and sympathy.
Forget housework, nap when you can. Have you got anyone, anyone at all, who can take baby out for an hour in the pram so you can snooze?
At least you haven't got a toddler to care for as well! <looks on bright side>
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