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Baby suddenly not sleeping - Reflux? Please help!

(10 Posts)
No1MummytoOtto Sat 15-Dec-12 06:34:22

Hi Ladies,

I'm a first time mummy to a beautiful 12 week baby boy who, until four weeks ago was sleeping like a dream. Since then he has been waking - most nights - every hour or so, but he'll do the rare night when they'll be one block of 3 hours sleep. Most nights I'm functioning on 4 hours of broken sleep. I'm going crazy - just so utterly exhausted and I feel I'm trying everything and nothing works! I'm not expecting him to sleep 10 hours solid at this age, but I can't understand why he was doing so well before 8 weeks and now it feels like having a newborn all over again. I would be so grateful for any advice at all! smile

Just to give all the facts - ds has been diagnosed with silent reflux as of 4/5 weeks and is on Ranitidine: feedings were a total nightmare before he was started on the meds, and even with their help feedings have been/ still are difficult and always culminate in him getting upset. His dosage of Ranitidine has been increased according to his weight gain and there is always a noticeable improvement with every increase, but now he is apparently on the maximum dosage he can have. We have tried switching to omeprazole with poor results (ds would cry himself to sleep and wake up almost screaming, which was just awful!) so we stopped and went back on Ranitidine. His reflux has never seemed to affect his sleeping before though.

From 3/4 weeks he was falling into a rhythm of waking every 3 hours at night to feed (he would wake, feed - he is EBF - fall asleep in my arms and then I would put him back down in his Moses basket and he would be out for the count), by 5/6 weeks his first block of sleep would take him from bedtime at 6:30/7pm to 3/4am and then he would feed and then sleep another 2/3 hours. This all changed the night after his 8 week jabs. He had a slight cold on the day he had them (a Thursday) and by the weekend he had developed bronchiolitis (not very severe but he was very congested and not a happy bunny), so I accepted that it would affect his sleep, but thought he would return to his previous sleep pattern within a week or two. I don't know if any other mummies found sleep patterns upset in the wake of jabs? I have heard they can worsen reflux - ds was particularly upset in the week/ten days following them - has anyone else with a reflux little one experienced this?

Napping during the day has never been great for him - if I've been able to put him down for a nap in his Moses basket he will wake in 10-30 mins, won't resettle and then gets overtired. So he either naps in his pram (I try to time our little outings to coincide with his naps - and that way he can sleep for two hours. Or I cuddle him when he naps, which keeps him upright and helps reflux. But am I creating bad habits? Am so worried I am by not insisting he always sleeps in his Moses basket, even during the day, but the alternative is having a very overtired, unhappy baby - and, up to 8 weeks, our little routine seemed to be working so well.

He is now waking every hour at night and when he wakes is wide awake. He doesn't seem to be in pain but gets agitated if he isn't picked up or I try to change his nappy before feeding him. I don't now feed him every time he wakes unless he wants it - sometimes he falls asleep in my arms but the wakes as I try to put him down so it just becomes a seemingly endless cycle of me soothing him to sleep, him waking again as I put him down and having to start all over again. He sleeps like a dream in my arms so by 5 am I just give up on my being able to sleep any longer and just hold him in my arms (he'll then sleep until 7/8 am) just so we start the day with one of us being well rested. I don't think this s growth spurt btw - it has been going on too long and he seems to be uncomfortable and in need of comfort/cuddles.

I have tried; holding him in my arms upright for 30 mins after a feed and before I put him down, elevating the head end of his Moses basket, increasing room temperature slightly as I though he might be cold (room is between 19 and 20 degrees) not letting him sleep past 4:30/5 in the afternoon, waiting a while when he wakes to see if he can self-soothe, not putting his dummy back in in case this disturbs him even more, cutting out dairy (where possible), drinking camomile tea, giving him gripe water in case it's gas too, massage and bicycle legs - nothing is helping!

I'm so sorry for the huge essay! Think I also really needed to unload. Please if anyone can help or offer any advice, it would mean so much - am at my wits end and just so tired, and I keep thinking I'm doing something wrong but I'm just not sure what it is!

Thank you


wannabedomesticgoddess Sat 15-Dec-12 07:08:44

If he settles in your arms/beside you can you try co sleeping for a while? Atleast then you might get atleast some sleep! Is there a specific reason why you try to get him to go in the moses basket?

I dont co sleep every night (DD2 is only 4 weeks) but if shes unsettled I will bring her in with me. She also has reflux, though not bad enough to need meds, its very on and off. But I have sympathy, you must be completely exhausted!

I have also heard mention on here of sleep regression. It could be that. The cycle of holding him to sleep and then him waking when you put him down certainly ties in as sleep regression is linked to sleep cycles and changes in them. Try googling sleep regression for info.

I hope you get some sleep soon. smile

No1MummytoOtto Sat 15-Dec-12 07:19:55

Thank you for your message! I have thought about co-sleeping - I just don't think I could totally relax, was completely overloaded with SIDS warnings by my HV, which left me a little paranoid, especially for the first few weeks.

With regards him sleeping in his Moses basket - simply because he has been happy there up till now, I think I would feel it would be a bit of a step back. Thank you - will google sleep regression - just need some light at the end of the tunnel smile

No1MummytoOtto Sat 15-Dec-12 20:01:42

Has anyone else experienced this? smile

freelancegirl Sat 15-Dec-12 20:12:09

My DS slept pretty well up untl about 12 weeks when he suddenly started to wake up three then four and then several times a night, sometimes every hour. I put it down to the 12 week growth spurt but that was followed by the four month sleep regression and at five months I can no longer think of a 'term' for it! Occasionally we will have a 3 hour stretch but previously he was doing up to 6/7 hours. The only thing that has helped me is co sleeping. It hasn't made any difference to his sleep but it has meant I do a quick feed and we both go back to sleep. It's not ideal but at least I get more sleep. I might be wrong but I think I've read that there's no real risk of suffocation as long as they are term babies and are over three months as long as you follow safe co sleeping guidelines. Sorry of that hasn't helped with getting the baby any more sleep! I'm still working on that myself.

hophophippidtyhop Sun 16-Dec-12 07:39:24

My dd had reflux, was ebf, but no meds. It turned out that she has milk protein intolerence too, which looking back, was more what her symptons were than the reflux. It would be worth looking into as it often goes hand in hand with reflux. Please don't worry about 'going a step back' I think with reflux you just have to go with what works to get you both a good amount of sleep. For my dd, that meant co sleeping, holding her and using a sling. She now sleeps happily in her own bed, no repercussions from almost constant holding for the first year.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sun 16-Dec-12 12:26:26

I could have written your post word for word op. I think his sleep pattern so far is pretty typical. One thing I have learnt about babies is they are not linear. They are changing all the time & their sleep often reflects this.

So firstly, have you heard of the wonder weeks? they have an app that shows their fussy periods, saved my sanity. DS went from doing 7-8 hr stretches at 6-7 weeks to barely sleeping at all until 20 weeks which is not uncommon. They do so much developmental stuff in the first few months & you get a very different baby by 5 months ish smile

Secondly, what dose of ranitadine is he on? Is he under the GP or a paediatrician? DS is on ranitadine but also has a cows milk protein intolerance. CMPI accounts for 50% of reflux cases. I am dairy & soy free as BFing too. You have to be really strict with eliminating it. I was sceptical at first & still ate food with soy lecithins. When I cut these out completely his sleep improved massively. Now if I eat dairy or soy by mistake he goes from waking once to up every two hours. If you do try cutting it out, it takes 4 weeks to see a difference. Two weeks for the proteins to leave your body & two for theirs.

I raised one end of the cot to a 25 degree angle with books, which helped too. I also kept him upright for 30mins after each feed, day & night. I loosely followed the EASY routine (eat, activity, sleep) as it fitting in with keeping him upright. It also meant he wasn't always fed to sleep which helped him slowly learn to self settle, which helped with his sleep.

Reflux babies are hard work & it sounds like you are doing brilliantly. I would keep on top of the reflux as much as you can as it does disrupt them .

I know everyone says it but try to sleep when he sleeps as much as possible. 3-5 months is a really hard age IMO. Does he nap ok? Do you have much help?

TimeyWimeyStuff Sun 16-Dec-12 12:39:48

just anothet nap tip for a reflux baby. do you have a bouncer seat? mine was a saving grace with DDs reflux at naptime, keeping her more upright. i didn't see any connection between reflux and night wakinv though, just the usual blips every so often. hope it all settles for you.

No1MummytoOtto Sun 16-Dec-12 17:34:34

Thank you so much for your replies and advice!

I have been trying to cut out milk proteins, but I think I need to be much stricter with myself. Will also look into wonder weeks.

Seriouslysleepdeprived: such a relief to know it's not just my little one, and that other babies' sleep patterns shift around too. He's on 1ml of Ranitidine three times a day (it has slowly increased from us starting on 0.7), but I'm taking him back to the GP tomorrow morning - will get him weighed - and so hopefully, with his gaining weight, we can increase the dosage. In terms on naps during the day; he can sleep happily in the pram when we're out (as long as I keep it moving, as soon as the motion stops for a while, he tends to wake). If we're at home, he'll nap in my arms (usually for 2/2.5 hrs at a time), but if I try to put him down in his Moses basket to nap, he'll wake up within 10-30 mins of being put down, is then wide awake and won't be resettled, but goes on to get completely overtired and very grumpy. His sleeping on me during the day concerns me because I'm afraid that perhaps he is losing the ability to self soothe (even though he was clearly capable of doing it before) because he used to sleeping with me. In terms of help - DH works a lot and although he tries to be supportive, because he doesn't witness DS getting so distressed during feeds, I don't think he truly appreciates quite how relentless it is. Due to his work, he sleeps in the spare room - has done since DS's birth (big bone of contention) so nights are very much me and baby.

How old is your DS now? Do you feel his SR is getting better? I've been reading that with SR two to four months is the worst stage, but I'm not sure how true that is? Would be great to know there is light at the end of the tunnel...

Thank you all


Seriouslysleepdeprived Mon 17-Dec-12 09:47:53

Our lives sound pretty similar! DH also works lots & is away a fair bit but tries to help as much as possible. He sleeps in the spare room too during the week. Although I advocated this in the beginning, there comes a point where is no longer viable. If you don't have a sleeper, it's a becomes two man job IMO.

DS is 8 months & his reflux is so much better. It improved massively once he could sit up & i cut soy out completely. It was so much better from 5-7 months I thought it had gone! He slept brilliantly, waking once for a feed. So it does get better.

Now he's having solids, certain foods (citrus, garlic, etc) make it worse & it gets bad again when he's teething. So its ups & downs. But tbh once they are upright it's a completely different ball game & so much easier to manage.

I would say 3-5 months was the hardest. Try & get as much rest as you can, its a tough without much support. I use DH as my night nurse at the weekends when I'm about to crack. I sleep in the spare room with ear plugs & he brings him in for nice!

Naps all sound perfectly normal. DS woke in the buggy if I stopped walking until he was around 6 months. I wouldn't worry too much about creating bad habits at this age. There is nothing worse than an over tired baby, sleep is more important!

With DS I did the first nap in the cot/bouncer & he slowly learnt to self settle. I relaxed knowing he could fall asleep not on me & built on this at 6 months. He settles fine for naps now.

Really hope it gets better for you smile

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