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To have no idea what to do about non-sleeping baby...

(27 Posts)
LittleSausageFingers Sat 03-Sep-16 06:30:19

My DD is almost 7mo and is a generally ready happy and content little thing. She was waking up only once in the night until around 4 months when she added in an extra feed... then another one... then another one... now she's up 5 or 6+ times in the night sad I'm breastfeeding and have always fed her back to sleep at each wake up. I've probably made one of these rods for my own back I've been hearing so much about. Currently trying to wean, but doing BLW as she won't accept a spoon, and progress is incredibly slow, she's eating barely anything. She won't accept a bottle either. Haven't tried dummy. She's been in her own room for a couple of weeks, seems really happy in her cot, and had the same waking behaviours when she was in a side car crib with us.

I've been largely on autopilot during the nights, just getting on with it. I'm actually pretty good on very little sleep, whereas my DH is not. He works a ~1hr motorway drive away in a fairly full-on job and leaves the house around 7:15am. So I've had no problem being the nighttime person until now.

In the last week or so DD has been waking more and settling less, even with feeding. It's really starting to get me down, not really due to my own tiredness, more because DD gets so upset with it, and I can't seem to settle her any other way than feeding and I'm worried it'll be like this forever. I've had to send my DH in to rock/settle her a couple of times this week. If we try to settle her without feeding she goes ballistic, and even if I give in and feed her it'll take around 20min of my husband rocking her to get her back to sleep (if I try to do it she'll never settle). DH says he's ok and not tired with it at the moment, but that'll change if it goes on much longer. The last few nights, for example, he's had to get up and rock her once each night for around 20min.

AIBU for needing my husband to help out with settling during the night when he has to work? She's up fussing at the moment, has been since 5am, and the sound of her crying is like a chainsaw in my head, I can't bare it. I've already fed her, nappy isn't dirty, room isn't too hot, etc etc. I'm usually really relaxed about this kind of stuff but I feel like I'm losing it. My DH, while obviously not enjoying getting up in the night, doesn't mind getting involved, but his default is 'she must be hungry'... She can't possibly be!

I have less sleep now than I did when she was a newborn, so any tips or advice phase send them my way! I don't want to co-sleep and I won't let her cry. Thank you!

MangoBiscuit Sat 03-Sep-16 06:38:39

I have very little experience of bfing, so I can't offer advice there, but DD2 also totally refused a spoon. She did reasonably well with blw, but during growth spurts she could never get enough in, and ended up reverting to 2 hourly feeds at night. I found pouches helped a lot. She could hold them herself, and suck the puree out. Didn't totally cut out the night feeds, but it helped cut them down.

As for, AUBU getting your DH to help out, hell no. She'd his baby too!

Scarydinosaurs Sat 03-Sep-16 06:43:57

Have you considered trying a bottle of formula milk at night?

bittapitta Sat 03-Sep-16 06:44:20

Definitely not U for him to help! You need to take shifts as necessary. Have you tried him offering sippy cup of water for one or two night feeds? Baby might be thirsty. He could get up at 5am with baby so you could catch up on sleep in the morning. It won't be forever though I remember it feels like it at the time. Hang in there.

fruitpastille Sat 03-Sep-16 06:55:17

Could it be teething? You could see if a dose of calpol helps. And try to have a good nap routine in the day as this can help with night time sleep. I stopped breastfeeding around that age and offered watered down formula at night until eventually it was just water and they weren't interested in that.

My DH has a 45 min commute on busy roads and a demanding job. He definitely helps at night when it's difficult. And when I'm at work too we alternate nights when needed.

I don't like co sleeping but sometimes that's the only way to get some sleep!

OutsSelf Sat 03-Sep-16 06:59:03

Sorry you are feeling shit and congratulations for meeting this far.

How about a policy where you decide one bf (or none!) at night and at every other wake provide a bottle of watered down bm/ milk?

I did this with my then 2.6 yr old, who reacted to getting a sister by waking up about 15 times in the night. I also did a count down thing ('Im counting for ten the we stop, ten, nine, eight....) with his sister and night feeding ended but again she was older (about 2). The thing is to make it pointless and unsatisying, but without a battle. And allowing her to build hunger in the day.

Sunshine51 Sat 03-Sep-16 07:16:10

I bfed till ds was one. I was very lucky he slept through from 8 weeks.
My only advice would be maybe a bit of sleep training?
I used to go in rock him back to sleep or cuddle him till he stopped crying then put him back and walk out. I would then leave him a few mins and go back in and repeat. We also had a musical star we put on everytime so he knew it was bed time.
He will be 3 soon and sleeps 13/14 hours at night so it worked well for us. Good luck.

motherducker Sat 03-Sep-16 07:18:48

The OP says she won't take a bottle.
Does she drink water from a sippy cup?

blueturtle6 Sat 03-Sep-16 07:26:58

Hi, re the night wakening's I've got this with 11mo ATM it is her teeth, calpol helps a bit, but mostly just needs a cuddle.
Re the spoon, have you tried different spoons, I got some teeny tiny long handled ones from the chemist. That were great, or try a fork? But at 7mo they done at very little, its more expirimenting
Wrt bottes have you tried different types? My ebf lo at 7 months was like you feeding lots in night so used the avent bottles which she was ok with, but when I bought little tikes ones from Asda she loved them as could hold bottle herself when she wanted too.

JustMarriedBecca Sat 03-Sep-16 07:35:14

You are me. I could have written this even down to the four month point at which it went badly. We also exclusively bf and did BLW because the little monkey wouldn't take a spoon. The good news first of all is that I have a bright, independent, SLEEPING almost two year old. It IS just a phase and it will pass but, to be honest, we did have to help it along.

Firstly, as someone else has said, check it's not teething. If it is, try Nurofen as it works quicker at night and is better for teeth as it contains an antiinflammatory whereas Calpol doesn't.

I doubt, given the time constraints that it is teeth to be honest. If this has been going on since 4 months it's likely she had a sleep bump/regression at four months like we had (it's common, google it) and now she wants comfort from feeding. I found day naps had NO bearing on her night sleep AT ALL so separate them out in your head.

We ended up sleep training. Nothing hardcore, gently but it worked and she's slept through pretty much every night since. My tips would be:
(1) she associates you with food. Night weaning is different from weaning in the day. Set aside two or three nights where your husband is going to do everything. Your job is to stay out the way (probably cry into a pillow) and keep an eye on the clock. She doesn't need milk at night after 6 months so you aren't depriving her of anything. You might find she eats better during the day as a result too.
(2) Get your husband to put her down. Leave the room. If she doesn't settle, go in after 5 minutes. Lay her down, repeat its night time, you love her but time to go to sleep. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. If she wakes for a feed, repeat repeat repeat. We did five minutes then because she was standing at the side of the cot, decreased it to 3 minutes on repeat. This MUST be your husband. You must stay unseen as you are food.

The first night took 30 minutes of her standing. Second night took 12. Third night she started sleeping through.

I'm not going to lie, it's epically emotionally hard and it's not for everyone. You will cry. What I will say is that my friends who did a combination of sleep training and a softer approach e.g. lying on the floor in the bedroom and holding hands through the cot or whatever, took much longer. Whatever you do, whether that's co-sleeping or sleep training, BE CONSISTENT.

Good luck. Any questions, shout

LittleSausageFingers Sat 03-Sep-16 07:39:14

Thanks very much for the replies. She won't take a bottle (she used to, but we got lax with practicing and now she has decided it's boob or nothing confused). We could start trying with it again, but we found it quite stressful trying to get her to have one in the first place (took weeks of perseverance then practice every day, only tried so hard because I had to go to a hen do without her). She will take a sippy cup at meal times, but only really a tiny sip and a lot ends up dribbling down her chin!

I do think she might be teething, and have given calpol when she's been particularly bad with it. Didn't make a difference to sleeping unfortunately. I wonder if she's waking for comfort or hunger (or both). She takes on so little solid food that she must be hungry on milk only. I'm not keen to sleep train until she's better established on solids, but who knows when that will be! I will try different spoons blue, thanks.

I hate the thought of my DH on the motorway being tired, but at this point need all the help I can get!

Gardenbirds123 Sat 03-Sep-16 07:39:14

Also got a 7mo she recently started doing same first it was a development leap (crawling) now it's her teeth
First one gave some extra solids
Have you tried different spoon designs? Also maybe just let her hold and bang a spoon while feedig get her used to it she will soon start sticking it jn her mouth anyway!😋
Second one calpol! Saviour!
And no YANBU. Your husband will/ should tell you if it's too muxh for him in the meantime appreciate the extra help, it's tough.
Good luck!

ConvincingLiar Sat 03-Sep-16 07:46:37

Can he arrange to take a couple of days off work while you crack this?

Dinosaursgoboo Sat 03-Sep-16 07:47:33

We've gone from sleeping through the night in his cot at 3.5 months to what feels like constant night feeding now at 5 months. I have 2 older children so have the advantage of a bit of perspective on babies' phases. My plan is to cosleep for now, which means he wakes less often and I get more sleep. If we're still having serious problems at a year old then I'll probably night wean using Dr Jay Gordon's method (google it). Good luck!

MoonriseKingdom Sat 03-Sep-16 07:58:29

Sleep regression at 4 months is very common. My DD went from waking once to waking every 1.5-2 hours. Different things work for different babies. Options could include:
1. Co-sleeping. Not for everyone (my DD slept better when moved to her own room) but works well for some and you don't have far to go when she wakes.
2. Gentle approaches to sleep training. I found 'the no cry sleep solution' book helpful and reassuring. I think there is an author Sarah Ockwell Smith that people recommend.
3. DH to offer water in a sippy cup. My DD was a complete bottle refuser but would take a cup. When I went back to work I had to do some night shifts and so given the option of my DH and a sippy cup she chose sleep.
4. Controlled crying. Again not for everyone.
5. You said you hadn't tried a dummy - is this worth a go?

If you look in the list of forums is a sleep forum on mumsnet where you might find more useful threads and some experts!

ladylanky Sat 03-Sep-16 08:39:12

Neither of mine slept. They were both up in the night multiple times until they were about 20 months. I breastfed them both and they weren't settled by my husband easily. My youngest woukd take a bottle quite happily (he was combi-fed from birth) but a bottle before bed made no difference and he flatly refused to take one over night.
I tried all sorts, even crying- Based sleep training and nothing worked. So we just worked out how I could survive the sleeplessness. I always made sure They started the night in their own beds and that my husband delt with all wake ups between bed time and about midnight. After midnight I brought them into bed with me, then they settled better and slept longer periods. I could also feed them lying down! When they were ready (at just over 1 I think) we switched to my husband putting them to bed, so they could go to sleep without breastfeeding.
It's really really hard having a baby that doesn't sleep, and you get all sorts of well intentioned and not so well intentioned advice but it is very normal for a baby, even a baby over 1, to wake up. After trying to fight it I, personally, found it easier to just go with it. I had my babies in bed with me and breastfed them over night whenever they woke until they learnt to sleep in their own cots all night. Now they're 22 months and nearly 4 and they sleep all night in their own bed.
Good luck. Just make it as easy on you all as you can and remember it really isn't for ever.

MarcelineTheVampire Sat 03-Sep-16 08:52:34

Mine is nearly 9 months and I had the same issue as you- from 4 months her sleep was AWFUL.

The non sleeping and waking peaked at 7 months and I was up every hour on the hour from when she went to bed, throughout the night until she got up.

It will pass, but sorry to say I have tried every trick in the book but the only way to get some sleep is co-sleep, getting your DH to settle (they are like blood hounds and can smell your milk a mile off) etc and continue feeding to sleep.

I have BF and I still am- she was going through a growth spurt and was teething so she needed comfort rather than milk as they are hungry.

Some great advice above but remember if it doesn't work, please don't despair, everything is a phase and it will pass.

HalfStar Sat 03-Sep-16 09:04:30

The first and least stressful thing to try is to persevere with the spoon. A bit of porridge before bed could help you a lot. Or if she really refuses (both of mine refused the spoon for a while but i persevered and they got used to it) you know those baby Rice cakes? You can smear them with food like porridge or sweet potato or whatever and get the baby to feed herself that way. Or load up the spoon.

Both of mine had particularly crappy phases around this age though. I agree it's normal especially for breastfed babies. Mine did still need milk at night at that age. They ate well by day but were small hungry babies. Try getting more food into her by day and maybe that will reduce the night wakings to a more manageable level...as she starts to move more she may get more tired out too. Hang in there, it's so hard!

LuchiMangsho Sat 03-Sep-16 09:05:04

I would first make sure she was getting enough milk in the day. Milk is the main source of calories at this stage so the solids don't count. I would make sure she was having enough milk in the day so you can cut out the night feeds without feeling guilty. And maybe keep a food diary.

Then when you are confident about that try to detach from the boob before she falls asleep? And when she wakes have a fixed time before which you won't feed her so say 5 am. And you shush/pat/Rock/offer water. She will cry (especially if you are there and she can smell the milk). You are not abandoning her but just breaking a habit. There will be three days of hell (so a long weekend is a good time to start) and then there will be some improvement. What I can say is that having v v gently sleep trained (first I taught him to fall asleep sans boob, then broke co-sleeping, then falling asleep on his own etc- across a few months), I do not believe that 3 days is enough. In fact day 4/5 can often be the hardest. I always think keeping a sleep diary is helpful because then you can see progress over time. By day 10-12 you might be in a place where she wakes up, but a quick pat or even your saying shhh from the other room sends her back to sleep. And then finally you can cut that out too. There is going to be SOME crying involved in whatever form and it's a case of whether you want to deal with that or not.

HeCantBeSerious Sat 03-Sep-16 10:07:57

How about a policy where you decide one bf (or none!) at night and at every other wake provide a bottle of watered down bm/ milk?

I did this with my then 2.6 yr old

How is what you did with a 2.6year old the same as what should be done with a 7month old?!

OP - food is for fun until 1, so don't stress about how much she is or isn't eating. Don't start watering milk down - your baby needs the calories.

Get some anbesol for her gums if teething is likely - teething gels are crap.

And yes, there's a development leap around now for crawling/pulling up so that will be her brain awake processing that.

Is she in your room? That might help too. Otherwise remember "this too shall pass".

LittleSausageFingers Sat 03-Sep-16 18:14:57

Thank you all very much for the advice and tips, some really useful stuff here, I really appreciate it. Happily, today we have had some slight progress with the spoon and she's had a pretty decent amount of puree as well as finger food. Not expecting it to suddenly make a difference, but it gives me hope for the future! I've also bought some dummies to try, so may try to slowly introduce that.

She's in her own room now, had previously done pretty well in it (two wake-ups a night, which was bliss) then went back to 5-6+. I'd prefer not to co-sleep for various reasons (mattress quite soft, high bed/rolling baby) but I will consider it for the future if things don't improve.

ConvincingLiar, DH is out of annual leave fit the rest of the year so not really an option unfortunately sad

Going to form a plan with DH for how we will deal with this phase. I'm not after her suddenly sleeping through, i know that's unlikely as she's still little. But a stretch of more than 2 hours would be bliss! Ultimately I just want her to be happy at night. Still knackered, but beginning to feel more positive after knowing this isn't uncommon.

T0ddlerSlave Sat 03-Sep-16 20:15:58

If you breastfeed to sleep you could try the pantley pull off technique, to slowly teach her how to fall asleep without the boob. Might ease night time settling too.

RunningLulu Sat 03-Sep-16 20:51:44

I think a bottle of formula should sort it. Or early weaning.

HeCantBeSerious Sat 03-Sep-16 21:02:46

You don't have to cosleep. Will whatever she's sleeping in fit in your room?

HeCantBeSerious Sat 03-Sep-16 21:03:26

I think a bottle of formula should sort it. Or early weaning.

Neither will do anything for teething or developmental leaps. hmm

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