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3 month old sleep - clueless and getting it wrong

(26 Posts)
Elvisrules Sat 30-Mar-13 08:04:38

hi everyone
just wondering if anyone with more experience than me could tell me what to do, am stressing out that am really not doing things right.
my dd was such a good sleeper for the first two and a half months - she was really fine and seemed to be getting plenty of sleep even though she didnt go to bed until we did. then she started taking ages to settle - up to 2 hours - and we realised we might be making her overtired, so started a bedtime routine.
we now do the whole shebang and try and put her down at 7.30. she then just screams for a couple of hours, no matter what we do, sometimes even when we cuddle her. eventually she will sleep of course, but when she falls asleep she will then wake up maybe half an hour later, screaming again. she sounds so upset. and that then repeats.
when we cuddle her to sleep (not sure we're meant to but you just feel for her), she will wake up again as soon as we try and put her down, and again go back to the hysterics.
after a feed around 4.30 thats pretty much it then. we have to just call it a night and get up. cant see that she's getting more than three hours night time sleep.
if this is normal thats fine - didnt expect normal sleep - but I'm scared that I'm not getting it right for her.
some friends have said maybe she's sleeping too much during the day, some say not enough. dont know whether should be cuddling her. not sure whether should feed to sleep - but if I do she wakes up when being winded so dont see the point...?
really confused and really upset - feel like a total failure

brettgirl2 Sat 30-Mar-13 08:26:25

I think that firstly you aren't a failure. Having a new born is bloody hard and people forget what it is like. I am having to rack my brains and my youngest is 14 months, your mother in laws experience was 30 years ago!

So basically whatever time you put her down she screams for 2 hours. That's tricky. It sounds to me like 'colic' tbh, not a helpful diagnosis though as there isn't much you can do other than wait for it to pass.

FWIW I could never feed or rock either of mine to sleep, they only slept by self settling. I honestly can't remember much about my older one, but dd2 screamed for up to 45 minutes at that age. I discovered that the best approach with her was alternating cuddling her with leaving her to scream and eventually it became less and less.

I think sometimes spending all the time looking for solutions makes you feel like it is something you are doing wrong. Sometimes it's better to accept its bloody tough but that it is a phase that will pass.

brettgirl2 Sat 30-Mar-13 08:29:01

btw other people do cuddle/ feed to sleep, the best way is the one that works. Don't take any notice of 'rod for your own back' - type comments!

Elvisrules Sat 30-Mar-13 08:30:51

thank you for the response and reassurance
you do drive yourself mad looking for the right thing to do - everybody has conflicting advice - like totally conflicting - all the books, friends, family etc
would you consider ditching the bedtime routine altogether? kills me to say it because you feel like you would be wasting the work you've put in and you keep thinking surely it will come right soon - but things were so much better before
although actually they were getting not to be
dont think thats the answer
dont know what is but will try the alternating cuddle / leave
worry about my dh though - terrified that the lack of sleep is dangerous when he cycles to work
i also have tonsilitis right now which doesnt help
just feel low
good that you think it will pass
thank you - appreciate you taking the time

PurplePidjin Sat 30-Mar-13 08:33:07

Babies this age (mine is 4 months) need to feel secure, and that means cuddles! Check the obvious - food, nappy, temperature, pain - and just go with it. They change so fast that a battle won today will be irrelevant in a week or two. Look up the safe cosleeping guidelines and, if it's still a problem after weaning, start trying some sleep training.

Until then, do what you need to. This too shall pass thanks

brettgirl2 Sat 30-Mar-13 08:36:03

If you think the bedtime routine is making things worse then ditch it, yes. Try it in a month or so again when things have settled.

PurplePidjin Sat 30-Mar-13 08:48:01

My bedtime "routine" is bath - massage - night nappy (using cloth, so different to day nappies) pyjamas and sleeping bag on - feed in bed while i watch Hollyoaks - down in crib. Ds drops off between 7:30-8, but that's his preference. All babies are different and none of them read the hand book grin

StrawberriesTasteLikeLipsDo Sat 30-Mar-13 08:55:55

DS2 is 13 weeks, we had same as you, screaming on the evenings hard to settle etc, up until 8 weeks. We did as you have and did routine, but it had to be around ds1 (3) who goes to bed 6-6.30. I tried doing DS2 after DS1, so getting him down by 7-7.30 with same result, screamy upset baby. Then in desperation I tried doing DS2 first.. I had to sit in room with him first two nights but since then I've been able to just leave him sleepy. Could it be that the routine isnt working as DC is already over tired? Whats day sleep like? DS2 is more of a catnapper

noblegiraffe Sat 30-Mar-13 09:03:13

Is she screaming because she's hungry in the evening? My 10 week old feeds and feeds and feeds all evening till about 11. If I put her down before that she'd definitely scream.

Also, some babies don't do a 7:30 bedtime till much later. My DS's natural bedtime started at around 11 and got earlier by himself until it was 7:30 at 24 weeks. Before then any sleep was seen by him as a nap and would be followed by awake time as it was in the day.

Don't cut daytime sleep, that leads to overtiredness and gives you a screamy baby.

beckslovestimmy Sat 30-Mar-13 09:53:49

My little girl is 11.5 weeks old and we've been doing a bedtime routine for about a month. She's fed at about 6pm we then have our tea, bath at 7pm which she loves, dressed in baby grow and then given lots of cuddles ( otherwise she'll scream!) She was going to bed at about 10 but over the last week she's brought her bed time forward slowly til between 8-8.30. She then has a bottle in her bedroom and then into her cot. We do use a dummy, could you try that? Or could you not wind her? My little girl doesn't bring up much wind but still sleeps soundly? She now wakes between 1.30-3.30am for a feed and then gets up between 07.30-08.00. It's only started to come together over the last week. She's also started to feed more frequently in the day so she's full at bedtime. I think your doing fine, when there so little they do there own thing and you've just got to go with it. Could you try feeding more offer before bed? Is she crying because she's hungry? Hope it all settles down soon smile

Elvisrules Sat 30-Mar-13 10:47:53

Thanks ladies, so nice that you all take the time to reply. I don't think she's hungry, when she is screaming and I feed her quite often she will go for a couple of minutes and then lose interest. I think it's possible she's overtired though, as she never really naps for more than half an hour during the day, although she does that a lot. I sometimes manage to get her on her crib for a morning nap but that often results in unhappiness too! So I guess I just don't know what to do tonight (at my parents house, poor them) start same time, earlier, or later...

noblegiraffe Sat 30-Mar-13 10:51:12

Is she bfed? Does she stop crying if you feed her, even for a bit? Being awake all evening and fussy and snacking regularly throughout the evening is very common.

noblegiraffe Sat 30-Mar-13 10:55:13

Here's some info on fussy evenings

Elvisrules Sat 30-Mar-13 11:02:08

Thank you! Yeah exclusively breastfeeding. Yeah she will feed for a minute or two quietly then lose interest. On occasion she will not scream after but wake right up, as alert as anything (screaming starts again if try to put down though naturally) but that's not evening, that's early hours and that's when am terrified will fall asleep with her and there will be an accident. Am not allowed to co sleep as on anti anxiety medication( that have been on for years that makes me drowsy)

Runningblue Sat 30-Mar-13 20:18:01

Hi elvis, just wanted to second the posters who said your little girl might not be ready for a 'normal' bedtime. Our daughter is now 17 weeks and was quite happy being awake/feeding/dozing until very late evening ie 10.30pm at earliest, usually later.
All of a sudden about a month ago, she suddenly started getting very ratty at around 8pm, when literally the day before at the same time she'd been happy as larry.
So i tried putting down in her crib, and bang, in a few minutes, asleep. I was gobsmacked.
So, if you're happy her being with you awake until a time you go to bed, or she shows you she's ready for sleep, You could just try going with the flow to see what she does next?!
Ps we tried just what you're doing with our first baby, i though he ought to have a bedtime cos all my baby pals were doing it. In reality, i wishi'd have just gone with the flow, as those 7pm screamathon bedtimes with him were bloody awful!!

Bumpsadaisie Sat 30-Mar-13 20:50:59

It sounds to me like she is still at the stage of fussing in the evenings, you know, where they feed a bit, but can't settle, and get more tired, then you try and feed them more, they get more overwrought etc etc.

My two were roundabout 3 months when this died down and they started going to bed at about 8 following bath and feed. Before that they were just downstairs with us till we went to bed because they were fussing and wanted cuddles. Your little one may not quite be ready yet for a bedtime.

Have you tried a dummy? Ours had dummies and they helped tremendously in the fussy evening times. Helps them calm themselves without feeding, which at that time of the evening seemed to make my two more thrashy and unsettled (whereas during the day a feed would be calm and lovely!)

It will pass, soon. You are certainly not a failure - this is what all babies do!

Cuddle, feed, give dummies, whatever works to get her calm and settled. No worries about bad habits at this age.

Chuck all the books out. Your DD hasn't read them. If you do form a "bad" habit, you can always break it later once you are a little less strung out.

[She says, resolving that after the Easter holidays, we really WILL make the effort to wean 17 month old DS off bottles each time he wakes in the night ... grin ]

Bumpsadaisie Sat 30-Mar-13 20:53:16

Yes, I think RunningBlue is right. With both mine, it was initially easier to keep them close to us in the evenings, they would settle better with us near them etc.

At around 3 months though I started to notice that they were no longer dozing happily in their moses basket but rather were awake the whole time and disturbed/grumpy. It was at that point we realised they needed to start going to bed, and doing the full bedtime routine.

Hotcupofteaplease Sat 30-Mar-13 21:13:20

I agree with nobel & running; my DC were not ready for a routine at that age. DS took a long time to get into a routine and DD brought her bedtime forward herself at around 4 months of age. She used to have a feed around 10pm and then went to bed with us; then she began sleeping from 8pm and stopped waking for the 10pm feed.
I also used to feed or cuddle to sleep, I found putting them down easier if their bed was warm (not putting them on a cold surface) and with a blanket (or something similar) that smelled like me.
Everyone is different, but I found going with the flow to be less stressful all round. Good luck wink

Runningblue Sat 30-Mar-13 22:09:08

Agree with bumps, we've found a dummy very useful for the bedtime routine, especially when they're a bit overtired and not knowing what they want, a little comfort suck can be very helpful.
And, we've introduced as part of the evening settle, a comforter toy- two actually, as she likes nuzzling them! - she really seems to 'get' that these comforters are a cue to sleep, and this has also helped us settle her for daytime naps too.
Re the daytime naps, every baby is different, and again, i personally think that although a young baby might show a bit of a pattern, its too early at this age to have a definitive routine. So i follow a rule of thumb that if she's been awake for 2 hours she is overdue for a nap. At that point, i go out for a walk, bung her in the sling, settle her in her crib, and try out to see if shes sleepy.
Before 2 hours she might be tired, and shows me that by yawning, turning away, being slightly crotchety. If she actually gets upset and teary, she is overtired and it becomes much harder to settle her....

Damash12 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:48:22

Hi my baby is 12 weeks and I am using the Baby Whisperer book. I used it with my first and it is fantastic for getting into a structured routine. It's also helped me understand his cries and also tells you what a bloody good job your doing!

NAR4 Mon 01-Apr-13 19:05:02

I never had a routine with any of mine, until they started to settle into one naturally by themselves. Don't listen to people telling you not to cuddle them or feed them to sleep. If this is what you want to do, then do it. Its your baby. I don't think it makes them worse sleepers. What works for one parent and baby doesn't work for others, so try not to compare.

It sounds pretty normal to me, with the fussing on and off the breast and not settling by themselves. It does sound like it could be colic as well though. Talk to your health visitor or GP for advise about this, but to be honest not a lot helps, they just have to grow out of it.

Babies will sleep if they are tired (as long as a dirty nappy, tiredness or pain etc isn't keeping them awake) and not if they're not. Trying to keep a tired baby awake during the day is nearly impossible, as is trying to make a baby who isn't tired go to sleep.

I'm sure you are a great mum and things will settle as your baby gets older.

Elvisrules Mon 01-Apr-13 22:26:25

Thank you all so much for the reassurance and lovely words, as well as the ideas.
Really thinking about the possibility of returning to evenings altogether, maybe she isn't ready! She is only tiny after all, think maybe have been swayed by all thr books, friends, colleagues etc. Maybe it would be good to have family time in the evenings as we used to. Does that mean we can't sit and have the telly on though? Just sit quietly with the radio? Sometimes you just need a bit of masterchef but guessing she doesn't...!

noblegiraffe Mon 01-Apr-13 22:36:57

I've just cuddled my nearly 10 week old through Jonathan Creek. She didn't mind and fell asleep near the end!

PrimalChic Mon 01-Apr-13 23:14:30

I'm so reassured by you all experiencing the same! I've been close to snapping! DS is 16w and has been doing this on and off for the past 2-3 weeks. It's exhausting.

It seems he's better when he's had 3+ hours of naps in the day and we push his bedtime back to 8pm. I'm now feeding every 2 hours rather than every 45 minutes. Hoping he'll get back to 2 wakings a night before he starts school :-/

ktef Tue 02-Apr-13 07:17:46

Hi, just wanted you to know (in case you didn't) there is a whole sleep section in the body and soul section. Just thought I'd let you as for ages I didn't realise so thought I was the only person having sleep problems where as actually there are loads of us!

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