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help! 20 wks old baby sleeps less and less during the night!

(22 Posts)
vic5 Thu 30-Oct-08 10:34:05

my DS is getting worse by the day (or I should say night!) with his sleeping patterns. he now won't sleep for longer than 2 hours - I nurse him (he is mainly breastfed, with some formula at nursery and started recently a bit of solid food) and he usually (but not always) falls asleep but as soon as we put him back to his cot (my husband does that as he is generally better at it than me!) he wakes up (if not straight away within half a hour)...and it's then a night of rocking, singing, nursing, few 30 mins then and there in the cot if we are lucky and then by 3.30 he is in our bed (but still always half awake). we finally give up by 5.30! any suggestions? he basically can't go back to sleep by himself and doesn't seem to like his cot anymore (he used to). I should add that we recently stopped swaddling because he is now so stronog that he unwrap himself....anyone there is going/went through similar nights? thanks!!

Wade Thu 30-Oct-08 11:05:09

How much is he sleeping at nursery? Could it be too much?

vic5 Thu 30-Oct-08 11:11:07

don't think so: if anything he sleeps too little there because he is too distracted by noises - he is only at nursery for 5 hours (10-3) as between me and my husband we manage to keep the day at the nursery short. he probably sleeps there for about 20 mins - if they are lucky 1 hr! all in all he naps for 2-3 hrs during the day...is it too much? thanks!

Wade Thu 30-Oct-08 11:21:38

IME too much or too little sleep in the day can stop them sleeping well at night. But 3 hours could be about right for him. If the problem is that he can't get back to sleep on his own in the cot I (personally) would read 'the baby whisperer' (my bible). And teach him to settle himself - without leaving him to cry. In a nutshell don't put him in his cot asleep, let him fall asleep on his own in the cot. Each time he cries, pick up, cuddle then as soon as he is ok, put him back down. And repeat. May have to stay in the room with him at first and gradually creep out. This is what worked for us. Good Luck!

vic5 Thu 30-Oct-08 11:45:52

Thanks! i had heard about this book and was indeed planning to get it but was wondering whether it had worked for somebody...will give it a go! thanks.

Wade Thu 30-Oct-08 11:47:05

It changed my life and I didn't have to resort to controlled crying!!

lauraloola Thu 30-Oct-08 11:48:38

My 20 week old sleeps 13 hours a night (sorry)

I have stopped her napping so much in the day - She has 2/3 20 minutes naps and I dont let her nap after 3pm. She goes to bed at 6.30 and doesnt wake until 7.30. If she naps for too long I will wake her.

If she does wake I have her in bed with me - Have you tried co sleeping?

It did take us a long time to get here. She has 6oz every 3 hours in the day and a 7oz bottle before bed.

vic5 Thu 30-Oct-08 12:15:32

wow! lucky you!!

we have tried not letting him nap after 3 but it's difficult cause he doesnt nap much at nursery and when at 3.30 he gets home he is exhausted. co-sleeping not really working..he is very agitated and only seems happy to sleep on us when we stand and not lie! is yours on formula? mine drinks from bottle at nursery but is nursed at night...maybe that is the problem!!

lauraloola Thu 30-Oct-08 14:48:44

Dd is on formula. I give her an extra bit in her last feed and that sees her through the night.

She only started sleeping for 13 hours since the clocks changed and it just seems to have sorted her out.

Have you asked the nursery staff to make sure he naps? Dd is exhausted by 5pm but I keep her awake (not nastily, she is still happy) and hope that in a week or so she will get herself into a routine that works.

She is asleep now and that will be her last nap!

vic5 Thu 30-Oct-08 15:53:33

yes, the nursery staff does indeed try to get him to have a nap - it sometimes works but often only for 20 minutes. He is also exhausted by 5 but I must admit that we allow him to nap in the afternoon often past four! I guess we need to sort his day sleeping habits as well. Thanks.

starkadder Thu 30-Oct-08 20:38:33

I know that it is a controversial subject, but we used "controlled crying". I actually think that's not a great name for it as our baby cries less now than before, and we didn't really control his crying - we allowed him to teach himself how to go to sleep on his own.

We waited till he was 6.5 mths old and we tried everything else first - he was on solids, had his own room (was with us for first 6 months), long naps and short naps in day, etc etc - but his sleeping was just getting worse and worse.

He was waking up every 2 or 3 hours and crying till I went in and shushed or fed him. I felt terrible for him as well as, obviously, for me, as I was completely knackered.

Controlled crying - it took 25 mins the first night. I went in after 1 min, then 3, then 5, then was going to wait 8 but he was asleep before the 8 mins were up (I stayed him his room for a few minutes each time, not picking him up, just patting him, telling him he was OK, we loved him, etc). He then slept till 7,30am that night and ever since has slept all through - just a couple of times he's cried again and we've done the same thing. So, less crying overall and I am happy that my baby can sleep by himself - he is happy about going to bed now, and actually when I'm kissing him goodnight in my arms, he wriggles these days because he wants to get in his cot.

Again, I know it isn't or everyone, and I actually was convinced I would never do this - plus had to psych myself up massively - plus every minute was physical agony - but I'm posting this because I think it was worh it for us, and I don't think you'll get that many other Mumsnetters saying so, because, for whatever reason (and I love t his site, so this isn't knocking it) MN seems to be a more continuum, BLW type place.

Thankyouandgoodnight Thu 30-Oct-08 21:25:27

Get the swaddle thing going again - my DS is the same. What shape swaddle have you been using?

vic5 Fri 31-Oct-08 15:02:09

starkadder: thanks for your post - it's good to hear about different methods no matter how controversial the subject is. i think at my son's age (less than 5 months) I am not yet prepared for this but who knows at 6.5 months!

thankyouandgoodnight: how old is your DS? mine gets unwrapped and I heard that by the 6th month one should stop swaddling anyway..we were just swaddling with a light blanket (one with small holes)...

starkadder Fri 31-Oct-08 15:35:42

Thanks Vic5 Glad you didn't think I was trying to ram some scary strict parenting thing down your throat! Agree less than 5mths would be too young. Our baby's sleep started getting worse gradually from about 4 mths old till we did this but I am still glad I waited till 6.5 mths - so I could be sure all other options were tried, and he knew I still existed even if not in same room, etc. And when I was waking up every 2 hrs at night when he was only 5mths I could at least say to myself "I'll give it till he's 7 mths old" - so there was an end in sight!! (although I did not make it to 7 mths, obv)

mayx3 Fri 31-Oct-08 16:20:00

Hi, glad other people are going through the same thing. My wholly breastfed 5month 1 week baby wakes at least 3 times in the night (between 11pm and 7am). Very rarely goes more than 3hrs without a feed. I would happily try controlled crying or a similar system but I have two questions/problems:

1. How an earth do you stop a breastfed baby falling asleep during the feed? I know he can go to sleep without feeding, but it doesn't happen often and I'm sure he's often just comfort feeding to get back to sleep.

and 2. the main reason I can't leave him to cry and find it difficult to soothe him back to sleep without picking him up is that he rolls over and gets stuck on his front. 90% of the time when he wakes up it's because he's rolled onto his front. We've changed his cot recently which is a small improvement as he can't roll over quite so easily. Obviously one day he'll learn to roll back or fall asleep on his front but til then... Short of tying him down wink I don't see how I can solve this problem - but if anyone has any ideas....

Most of the time I don't mind feeding him so often in the night as quick and easy, but occassionally at 3am I feel very differently. Like Starkadder I think I might set a 7 month deadline (or rather once he can roll back easily)

mayx3 Fri 31-Oct-08 16:26:02

Should read posts properly before posts. Vic5 yours sounds a lot worse than mine! Though we have the odd night a bit like that. Going on friend's experience breastfed babies definitely sleep less than formula fed ones. Have you tried giving a bottle of formula last thing? I wanted to try this, but mine won't take the bottle now and I didn't push it too hard trying... Sometimes he'll lie under his mobile for a bit until he goes to sleep and I'm thinking of getting a lullaby cd, but otherwise don't have any good ideas. Good luck!

starkadder Fri 31-Oct-08 19:21:39

hi Mayx3. I think you can't stop him going to sleep during the feed, the thing is to make sure he is awake when you put him in his cot. So, you could feed him but then when you put him in his cot, talk to him a little bit first and don't try and lay him down still asleep. If you see what I mean. I mean, don't massively try to wake him up, just so he is awake enough to know he's being put in his cot. Otherwise I think they wake later and feel disorientated.
The rolling over thing - ours did the exact same thing and we rolled him back to start with as well. Also, he didn't seem happy on his front when he woke up so I kept trying to put him to sleep on his back. But now he goes to sleep on his front and prefers it that way. I think the deal is that it's fine as long as they can lift their heads up and move around a bit - so they won't suffocate.
For me, the 7 month deadline just meant I wasn't too pissed off or resentful, because I could see an end in sight. I really didn't want to do CC but what decided me in the end was speaking to 2 colleagues, one of whom has a 3 yr old child who STILL wakes up several times and the other of whom had just successfully done this with his 8 mth old baby, who had previously been a really difficult sleeper - waking all the time and taking at least an hour to get back to sleep. It seemed to me that in the grand scheme of things, the child is happier if he/she can sleep by themselves. Plus, obviously, I wanted my sleep back myself!!

mayx3 Fri 31-Oct-08 19:32:22

Thanks for the tips Starkadder. Typically he didn't fall asleep after his evening feed tonight, so we did a sort of controlled crying thing. Which also involved a lot of stroking his belly as a way to stop him rolling over. Took a while, but he did finally fall asleep without a second feed.

Thankyouandgoodnight Fri 31-Oct-08 19:59:18

Our DS is 14 weeks and a complete escapologist! He absolutely cannot do any sensible amount of sleeping unless he's swaddled though. So - depending on what he's wearing, we have different shaped swaddles which seems to make a difference in staying power.

If he's in a grobag, we use the usual sausage shaped swaddle as the wings are long enough to really pull around him and back under his bottom. If he's in something less bulky, I use a rectangular stretchy t-shirt material blanket which wraps him up much more securely but ours isn't long enough to cope with the extra bulk of the grobag and so it comes off much more easily.

Ideally - I'd have a larger rectangular stretchy thing as it swaddles shoulders, arms, hips and knees and everything! One thing I have noticed is that if I pin his arms to his side and then just gently resist him trying to escape, he will give up pretty quickly and drop off and then he's fine until he wakes out of hunger and then he does escape but doesn't seem to if he's just stirring at the end of sleep cycles.

That's no help at all is it??

Thankyouandgoodnight Fri 31-Oct-08 20:05:17

Mayx3 - I usually feed as far as I can before he drops off and pull his arm gently and put a finger in his ear etc and then I either change his nappy or put him straight on to boob 2 without winding him inbetween as he finds the winding process so soothing that he's completely out!
Have you tried putting rolled up hand towels wedged up against his sides (armpits down to toes) so that he can't roll or a thin blanket or sheet over him tucked in really firmly down the sides of the cot and sort of pinning him down (in the nicest possible way)?

MurderousMarla Fri 31-Oct-08 20:10:01

20 weeks is still very young and I think far too little to leave to cry (controlled crying). It's also quite young for solids.

It might not be music to your ears, but I had a pretty rotten time with my DS from about 18-22 weeks. But it did get better.

I would drop the solid food for a few weeks as he may not be ready for it, increase the milk, and co-sleep. This will pass!

blackrock Fri 31-Oct-08 20:13:49

We swaddled, and when he got too wriggly we got a baby sleeping bag.

I BF DS loads in the late afternoon and early evening, and I drank loads of water and ate fennel to improve (supposedly) milk flow.

A dear friend of mine also BF, and then gave a formula feed at 10pm, which helped him as he was a hungry baby.

In the day when DS was awake, we went swimming once a week from 8weeks, and I walked a lot...DS in a sling, I think going out tires them.. just looking around a lot.

I remember a phase when DS used me as a dummy to drop to sleep. i had an inkling this was beginning to happen and tried to discourage it by removing him from the breast after the usual length of feed or when his sucking pattern changed towards the end of the feed. This was difficult to start with, but not for long really and i am retrospectively very glad i did it .

Just some ideas, hope they help.

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