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4 week old-normal or actually something wrong?

(21 Posts)
Gilby Wed 08-Jul-09 10:10:24

Help. My 4 week old DD went from being permanently asleep in her first week to, from day 10 onwards, to grumbling, straining and eventually crying from about 7pm to 10 am- all the way through the night. It's impossible to sleep through this and I've been so tired as a result that I'm now doing split night shifts with my poor mum- we take DD for a few hours each. I'm not sure what to do at night- do I comfort her (so far been sleeping with one hand on her chest) or leave her? She cries properly when she's hungry about twice a night but the rest is grizzling and grumbling which makes me think it can't be 'colic'; but then if she's happy then why do it at all? Poor DH has had to decamp to another room as he's got to work. Bowels are opening every day or every 2 days and poo seems soft. She's also feeding almost hourly in the daytime as she only takes about 5 minutes at a time before either falling asleep or giving up. However she's putting on weight so it's just my exhaustion I have to deal with.
Are the night-time shenanigans normal? Do I need to do anything else? I'm worried she'll get so used to sleeping with my hand on her that she won't be able to sleep any other way.

blondissimo Wed 08-Jul-09 10:22:45

Hi there

Have you spoken to your health visitor? Are you BF? I had almost the same thing with my ds at this age and I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown as my dp was also working and all my family are 400 miles away! Turns out my ds has a suspected cow's milk intolerance and also reflux, which I am convinced was the reason for the "snacking" and also the constant crying and back arching.

The other thing that really helped was cranial osteopathy. See if you can find somewhere that offers this. But I really would contact your health visitor or even the gp. Don't suffer in silence.

Niecie Wed 08-Jul-09 10:32:09

Hi Gilby - congratulations on your new DD.

I am afraid that the night time is totally normal. She is still very new and babies just want to be close to you at that age.

I would say that for both your sakes you have to comfort her. Pick her up, take her into bed with you if needs be. You both need your rest so do whatever you need to do. My DS1 was like this and was a constant feeder, day and night. The only thing to do is go with it and give them what they need.

I am no expert but she may well have colic which is awful but you will both get through it. Hopefully somebody will come a long who has dealt with or you could have a word with your health visitor who might have some strategies.

The other thing I have heard mention since joining MN, sadly too late to be of use to me, is that some babies like to be swaddled. Maybe you could give it a go.

Just remember the mantra - it is all a phase. smile

blondissimo Wed 08-Jul-09 10:38:57

When you say she cries from 7pm to 10am, is this actual crying or just snuffly moaning etc? I would say that there should be some of that time where she is quiet and restfully asleep. Have you tried propping up the crib in case she is a bit congested?

Aranea Wed 08-Jul-09 10:43:08

I think Niecie's idea about swaddling is a good one. It made a huge difference to dd2. personally I would recommend getting a special swaddling wrap (mothercare do good ones) as I think it's really tricky to swaddle well using a normal blanket.

I also think it's always a good idea to have an osteopath take a look - it can't do any harm and sometimes it can make a dramatic difference.

and don't worry about setting up bad habits. She is very tiny and everything will change. She will learn to sleep, you won't be sitting with your hand on her all night in a month's time.

Dalrymps Wed 08-Jul-09 10:47:52

They do tend to 'wake up to the world' a bit more after 10 days-2 weeks. There could be an issue for eg: reflux, colic but best to just do whatever it takes to comfort her and sleep.

Were you in hospital for a few days after having her? I only ask as sometimes they miss all the noise and lights etc. Maybe put a radio on in the background even just 'off channel' and maybe have a lamp on or night light to see if it makes any difference.

Sorry can't be of more help, tbh you know your daughter best and all babies are totally unique. Best to follow your instincts, go see the doc if you're concerned but chances are it's just how she is, hard to know really...

Gilby Wed 08-Jul-09 10:52:50

hello- will need to speak to another HV as mentioned this to the one that visited and she didn't offer help- just wrote 'unsettled at night' in the red book and said it may be colic which would settle at 12 weeks! blondissimo, how did you find out about the cow's milk intolerance? also, did you use gaviscon infant? DD does not arch back but has the most ridiculous amount of wind- she brings this up in little squeaks of air, not burps. we've been using infacol and due to start gripe water today. but she also hates lying flat- not sure if because this makes gas worse or whether she has reflux
niecie, we've been trying to swaddle her but she hates her arms being pinned and struggles against the swaddle.

annoyingdevil Wed 08-Jul-09 12:12:55

Hi there - sympathy as my DD was exactly the same. However, I manged to 'engineer' things so that she screamed all day, rather than at night.

I went for a strict routine (not my kind of thing, but I was desperate!) So she had plenty of awake time and only a couple of naps during the day.

I followed the Baby Whisperer. Be warned it's not too popular on here, but I guess most people haven't suffered the agonies of 12 hour colic plus when you're on the verge of a breakdown, you'll try anything.

We had tried everything else from me giving up dairy, to gaviscon and hypoallergenic formula. I'd also gone down the baby wearing route, but IME this only works if you're on your feet and active (not an option when you're tearing your hair out with sleep deprivation)

The only positive thing was that she was sleeping through the night at 4 months (down to the routine I believe) Her colic also totally disappeared at the same time.

Gilby Wed 08-Jul-09 13:54:51

annoyingdevil- we started (and i know many people on here think it's the devil's work!) gina ford's routine at day 4 as so many of our friends have 'gina' babies who really are very contented but in the daytime she sleeps to make up for the disturbed nights- and i now have tried pretty much every trick in the book and more besides to wake her and keep her awake in the daytime. it sometimes worked but she'd still be completely unsettled at night. might purchase the baby whisperer.
am off dairy as of now, am going to keep going with infacol and start gripe water and gaviscon.
oh yes- today she won't let me put her down- she just cries++. thank god for my mum- but she's having to go back home for a couple of weeks.
dalrymps- was only in overnight. thpought she was not keen on the dark but left lamp on last night and n difference.

blondissimo Wed 08-Jul-09 13:59:49

Hi Gilby
First of all I agree with annoyingdevil re the routine - I know it's early days, but I do believe that my ds was also overtired as he was screaming so much of the time. I only turned a corner when I started to roughly follow, dare I say it, dare I.....(whispers) The Contented Little Baby by The One We Do Not Speak Of. It was when ds was 5 weeks old and I had had enough with the breastfeeding as he would only be quiet when latched on and I could not put him down. I reluctantly started fully bottle feeding on Aptimil (we had given him a bottle at night up to this point), and I was able to put him down to sleep without him waking up!

However the contentedness didn't last long as he was soon back to his screaming all night and I ended up at the out of hours doctor at 11pm, who prescribed Gaviscon Infant. It seemed to do the trick, however at my 6 week check with the doctor (at 8 weeks bizarrely), I broke down and told her about his constant crying and she suggested cow's milk protein intolerance and put him on Nutramigen 1. It was like an instant improvement and within days he was sleeping better in the day for about 2.5 hours after lunch which was just bliss. Also was better at night as we could put him down and then come downstairs for dinner, rather than having a relay of one of us eating while the other held the crying baby. He still suffered the reflux quite badly, but the Gaviscon did help until he got a bit older when it stopped working for keeping the milk down. However the vomiting was no longer causing problems for him by this stage (just me with a stained carpet!) He still has the reflux now, but it is minimal and I am told they grow out of it around age 1 which he is next week.

I also bought a rather expensive baby swing with a mobile and soothing music, but it was a lifesaver as it rocked him to sleep in the day, and was a reclined seat, rather than flat, so great for the reflux.

And I was lucky to have a lovely health visitor give me a home visit assessment, as I think I was verging on going into deep post natal depression.

Looking back now, I think that my ds had reflux and possibly colic to start off with, and that was excacerbated(sp) by us giving him a night time bottle, and then further when I went on to full bottle feeding. In addition to this, I believe he was also completely shattered from the crying and lack of sleep.

I do realise that newborns cry, and are unsettled at times, but I honestly thought that this normal and was just how babies are, and it is only now, after speaking to many people with babies and children, that I realise that my ds was very unsettled, and for a good reason. That's why I say don't suffer in silence.

I also tried cranial osteopathy and baby massage classes, both of which were very good.

blondissimo Wed 08-Jul-09 14:05:29

Also, we found out by accident that our ds went to sleep with the noise of the hairdryer! Very weird and probably a fortune in electricity, but if I turned it on he would go straight to sleep. Only problem was that if I turned it off he would wake up. Must have liked the white noise.

barnsleybelle Wed 08-Jul-09 14:25:10

My dd went through the same. Screamed whenever she was laid flat.
Turned out she had reflux and was in agony.
She was started on ranitidine, i raised the cot with blocks, swaddled her and she eventually became more settled.
I'm not saying that this is the case for your dc, just sharing my experience

blondissimo Wed 08-Jul-09 14:37:40

Also, Gilby, have you tried Colief? It is much better than Infacol for the wind. It's about £10 for a tiny bottle, but health visitor recommended it. I seem to remember having to express some milk and add to that, then feed as normal.

beesonmummyshead Wed 08-Jul-09 17:15:35

my dd was exactly the same as yours and i did everything that blondissimo describes - including the dairy allergy advice!! (thank you blondissimo for not making me type it out myself)

However, the grumbling didn't fully go even with the nutramigen, but it could be that I was a light sleeper so heard it more than other people did? By month 2 I used to sleep with one earplug in hmm. I could still hear dd very well, but it muffled out all of the "snuffling" noises.

by the way it does get better. dd is now 22 months and although occasionally wakes me up, it is not for long and not often. I feel much more rested these days!


Dotty38 Fri 10-Jul-09 13:31:28

Hi, try full swaddling or half swaddling depending on what she likes. And lift the top of the bed incase she's a bit bunged up.

My DD suffered with colic, I tried gripe water and infacol - both useless for us but am now using Colief and it's brill. If we ever run out or I forget then I can tell the difference. You can also get it on prescription so ask your GP as it cost a bomb and only lasts a week.

Or have you tried the radio or white noise to settle her. Some of my friends have also used those slumber bears which play womb sounds to???

Gilby Fri 10-Jul-09 13:58:50

Hmmm- DH brought a cake with lots of cream on it home last night to celebrate DD turning 4 weeks (and my surviving it- I honestly thought I'd never be the type to enter any form of depression as usually very chilled out and happy but really, the last few weeks have been ugly). Anyway, avoiding the dairy didn't work yesterday but will do from now! Also had a really good day yesterday- she went down for her naps without too much trouble and was cheery in the daytime with few tears. However terrible night last night and she's really unsettled again now- have just rocked her for 2 hours and finally asleep but for how long? We were prescribed Gaviscon infant a while ago but as it hasn't been completely obvious that she has reflux I've only given it a few times- will try regularly- did you give it after every feed if breastfeeding? I'm going to try to keep BF but have been expressing milk to give her at night and may try ditching that after blondissimo's advice.
Have persevered with the swaddling and she's getting a bit more used to it now but have to do it when she's sleepy as still struggles.
Will try to keep going until 6 week check and see if any improvement. If not, then will ask GP re Nutramigen. Also for prescription of Colief.
Right now, it's one day at a time. We've got 2 weddings next 2 weekends- fingers crossed...

nellie12 Fri 10-Jul-09 14:06:23

you need to give the recommended dose of gaviscon with every feed to see the results. Ds3 has reflux - it was a while before it was noticed- so I was a bit dubious about it at first so dont think he was getting the full dose. Now he's on it every feed and its like feeding a different baby.

I agree about the routine. Some babies are prone to getting overtired and then they find it really hard to settle or feed. (I hadnt read the unmentionable one so that was nellies method!)

blondissimo Fri 10-Jul-09 16:56:24

Yes definitely gaviscon at every feed. She may have silent reflux, which is where they don't actually vomit, but they have a lot of acid flowing up their food pipe. Obviously this is very difficult to diagnose. There are stronger treatments than Gaviscon, but they are only offered when they are pretty sure they have reflux and if they are not gaining weight.
Does she take a full feed with the breastfeeding and then not have one for a few hours? The reason that I gave up breastfeeding was that he would have a full feed and then cry and so I would feed him again as I thought he was still hungry. My breasts never felt full and he was rapidly gaining weight so looking back I think he was overfeeding. But I don't think he was hungry, just comfort sucking, and possibly to try and soothe his reflux. But it's a vicious circle because overfeeding can be one of the biggest causes of colic and reflux.
Perhaps get some help from a breastfeeding support group if you want to persevere. I was gutted when I stopped but had to for my sanity!

Montifer Fri 10-Jul-09 19:42:28

DS was a very colicky baby. The thing that helped the most for us was Tiger in the Tree
Think he spent most of the 1st few months upside down!
Since the first time he rolled over he has slept on his front too, obviously likes to be on his tummy.

barnsleybelle Fri 10-Jul-09 23:10:17

My dd had reflux and ended up on ranitidine as the gaviscon eventually stopped working.
From what i remember there is a maximum dose for gaviscon over 24 hrs and i certainly was not able to give it at every feed. I remember she fed a lot at this early stage so i made sure i saved the gaviscon to give with feeds prior to sleeping. Please do check the maximum dose on the leaflet before you give it at every feed as if you are breastfeeding a 4 week old baby you are likely feeding a lot wink.

blondissimo Sat 11-Jul-09 12:43:02

Good point barnsleybelle - I was bottle feeding by the time I started the Gaviscon, so was feeding a lot less often.

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