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20 week old baby rarely sleeps for more than two consecutive hours - help!

(12 Posts)
violetbubbles Sun 14-Nov-10 19:54:54

One night, at 15.5 weeks my DD decided to stop sleeping through the night. Previous to that she was sleeping for 7-10 hour stretches during the night, from 12 weeks. I was breastfeeding on demand but feeding her EBM for the last feed of the night.

I thought the night waking was down to a growth spurt so persevered thinking it would be over in a couple of weeks. But that was over 5 weeks ago and I'm absolutely shattered! I've had to stop breastfeeding as I was so knackered that my milk pretty much dried up. For the past week and a bit I have been formula feeding her but it's making little difference to her sleep/nap times. This is a typical day for us:

6am Wake up. Takes between 180-210mls of formula.
8am Nap (30 mins-80 mins)
9.30am - Awake
10am - Feed (between 120-180mls)
12pm - Catnap (10-15 mins)
2pm - Feed (between 120-180mls)
3pm - Nap (30-45 mins)
3.45pm - Awake
5.30pm - Feed (between 180-210mls)
6pm - Bath and massage
7pm - Bed
8.15pm - Wakes up for 10 mins
10pm - Wakes up for 5 mins. Have tried to dream feed just before she wakes up to see if it helps her to sleep through. It doesn't.
11pm - Wakes up, pop the dummy in.
1pm - Wakes up, pop the dummy in.
2.30ish - Wakes up. Usually attempt to feed her at this point. Takes 30mls on a good night.
4am - Wakes up. Cries. Pop the dummy in, she spits it out. After 20 mins I'll bring her in to bed. She'll sleep next to me for 45 mins max. I persevere and she'll nod off for 10 mins at a time until 6am.

I am EXHAUSTED! Can anyone offer any advice/support? What can I do to change things for the better? Will my lovely DD ever sleep for longer than 2 hours at a time????


stinkypants Sun 14-Nov-10 21:05:48

i am not surprised you are exhausted - what a gruelling routine for you. and i hope you dont feel too upset abou the breastfeeding having had to stop, especially as the ff is not really seeming to have helped the routine - i know people always say ff babies sleep through better, but not always the case as you have found. i am sure you know what you want to do, but i would just say if you are upset about stopping the bf'ing, i believe there are techniques to re-start and improve your supply - so dont rule it out hey, i know i would feel upset if had to stop.
with reference to the other issues, i think she has just developed habits of waking frequently and the key will be for her to learn to re-settle herslef without help. eventually then she will not wake, or when she goes from one sleep cycle (every 45 mins) to another she will re-settle herself. there are various techniques to this but most involve some leaving to cry. if you are interested i will go into more detail.
i started off with a dummy but found it such a pain (falling out and he'd wake) that we got rid of it and have honestly not looked back.
if you are interested i'll keep a look out for reply.
but good luck whatever you decide (:

violetbubbles Sun 14-Nov-10 21:29:07

Hi stinkypants - thanks for replying I have tried to re-start BF by expressing 8-10 times a day but I'm getting nothing! I've also spoken to a breastfeeding counselor (several times) and still attend my weekly breastfeeding support group. I'm gutted that I had to stop but I think I need to get some proper rest before my milk supply will return.

I'd really appreciate some advice to help me to teach her how to re-settle herself. x

violetbubbles Sun 14-Nov-10 21:41:01

I should also mention that DD dropped down a percentile at her 18 week weigh-in.

MerryMarigold Sun 14-Nov-10 21:50:09

That sounds awful! I am trying to remember my babies routines, and I think they had a longer nap at say 10am and another shorter nap at around 3pm. Maybe you could try keeping her awake for longer. I am no good at the settling thing, but when my kids have been waking a lot, I have slept with them and they generally sleep a lot better, just more relaxed if they are next to me. You could give this a go, sleep with her from the start and hope she goes into a deeper, more relaxed sleep. It'll help you both recover a bit before you go for another strategy, if that's what you would prefer. As you're both very tired I'd say learning how to self settle etc. is going to be very hard for you and her to do right now...but I am not v experienced at that, always caved into sleeping together.

stinkypants Mon 15-Nov-10 09:35:13

Hi again,
i'm glad you've got support from bf'ing counsellor, they really helped us too. i'm sure you'll get there, but like you say, getting some rest would really help!
As the above lady says, the self-settling is quite hard so it depends if you want to try or, i agree, co-sleeping might be the right choice for you if it helps.
But this is what we did:
go to the bedroom and close curtains, put him in grobag, maybe put a gentle CD on, maybe sing a song, wait til he is definitely (saying he as ours is, know yours is a girl!)tired and beginning to be drowsy, e.g. by rocking in arms , then gently transfer to the cot, keeping arms around him so it feels the same. before he's actually sleeping, move arms out from under but place on his chest and stay still for a minute or so. gradually retreat but keep singing or talking quietly. leave and pull the door to. if he absolutely screams, leave a few seconds to see if abates. if just whingy crying leave longer. if screaming coninutes, goi back in, repeat the above and leave again. keep doing until calms / sleeps. if really not calming, take him downstaqirs and distract for 10 mins, then repeat. if only the whingy crying, leave a good 10-15 minutes before you return as more often than not (certainly once they've been doing it a few days) he'll settle. he may then re-start crying after 10 mins or even longer, just leave again unless full on screaming.
to be continued

stinkypants Mon 15-Nov-10 09:40:26

eventually they get fed up of this game and give in to sleep!!! it IS hard hearing them cry, but i reconcile it being worth it becuase it is helping them to be much happier in the long run.
very similar to the above but the routine could include a bath and feed.
if wakes during the night for anything other than being hungry (e.g. you disturbed him flushing the loo), DON'T feed, as this gives a message that food is not just for hunger. when DS wakes for food i can hear him rooting / slurping before he cries. when he wakes for food, dont turn lights on (just a night light) and dont talk, just feed until he is sleepy (about 8 mins for us), then gently put him back down AWAKE. he is so drowsy that he whinges for a maximum of 1 minute. TBC

stinkypants Mon 15-Nov-10 09:43:30

i dont do a dream feed - i think it disrupts the natural pattern. we put ds to bed pretty early - around 7 or 8, then he sleeps til 1 or 2, then til 4 ish, then til 7 or 8. he is 10 weeks old. his big brother did similar altho we started it later with him. he resisted more as older.

Bobby99 Mon 15-Nov-10 10:48:23

Hi violetbubbles - it's hard isn't it. Sounds like my DD was at that age. But you are only 6 weeks away from 6 months old - which is when it is recommended to start solids. IMO solids DO help babies to sleep for longer, although I know it's not very PC to think that... Have you talked to your HV about starting off with some baby rice/porridge? I did baby led weaning, and didn't start solids until DD was about 24 weeks. We started off with finger foods for her to explore, but by 7 months I started with baby porridge and I really do think it helped. Also she cut her first tooth at 7 months and maybe that helped too. Are you aware of the 4 month sleep regression? It happened to my DD and it sounds like yours is the same. I'd recommend reading this article to understand what's going on in your babies head... e_sle.html

DD was a dreadful sleeper up until 7 months, but then it got dramatically better and now she sleeps through every night from about 7pm til at least 5.30am. So there is hope!

itsababslife Mon 15-Nov-10 11:19:31

Hi violet
It sounds like you are having an unbelievably gruelling time, and have all my sympathy. DD now 21 months went through occasional patches of disrupted sleep pattern, and when it happens and you don't get decent sleep yourself it does start to feel like you're trapped in a pit that you can't escape from.

We tried the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley which was quite useful, but the best thing I found to bump start a long sleep and hence a better pattern (and I hope you don't think this is too facile to mention) was lots and lots of fresh air. In desperation sometimes I would bundle DD into a blanket, plonk her into the pram and haul myself out of the house, sometimes for hours at a time. She would sleep the whole time and gradually we would establish a better routine.

I hope things get better for you soon.

geomac Fri 26-Nov-10 20:17:49

hi there, do you think the night waking might be due to baby being hungry? i am going through a simular thing, going from one night feed back to three!!! I think i may have combated this by giving her some baby rice after the 4pm milk feed (hopefully im not speaking too soon). This seemed to put my little girl back on track and she is back to one feed, around 4am (she is breast feed so im not expecting her to go 7 - 7 until she is fully weaned). Perhaps you can talk to your HV, i know the guidlines say to wean at 6 months but they are just guidelines, and it wasn't that long ago that 4 months was the recommended weaning age. I hope you get some rest soon, good luck.

Feliena Fri 26-Nov-10 20:38:35

i suggest buying a vetch projector. there about £25 ive put mine on a box outside the cot (it does come with straps to strap it to the cot but i dont like that idea just incase it falls on him) - u put it on when they first go in and it plays lullabys and projects sheep and stuff onto the celing. gteat thing about it is its got a sensor and if baby screams in night it automaticly plays the lullaby again - hence me not having to get outa bed every time to soothe him! hurray!

i have also been doing a nightime routine similar to stinkypants routine however i never take him out of the cot unless its for a feed or change - instead i leave him in cot and stroke his head (if lullaby machine dont work)
if all else fails and he wakes up screaming when NOT hungry (for example woke an hour after being fed) and wont calm down i gave him a drink or water on HV advice - worked!

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