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No sleep for 2 1/2 months. Everything is falling apart.(21 Posts)
I hate to be dramatic, but things have become really serious in our household and we don't know what to do. Our DS is just 6 months old and is waking up screaming every hour, maybe two hours if we're lucky. It is near impossible to get him to settle unless he is put on the breast. This has been going on consistently for 2 1/2 months. Every night consists of lights down and quiet time, bottle feed and I'll put him down to sleep. I have to lay with him for about 10-15 minutes and he usually falls asleep for about three hours. Like clock work he wakes up and starts screaming and crying unconsolably until my wife puts him on the breast. He's very obviously not feeding put just pacifying himself until he falls asleep, we put him back down and start the process over and over again until the sun comes up. We have no idea what to do and it has begun to have serious effects on our relationship as we spend most of our time together either yelling, crying or slamming doors.
We have gone to the GP who was pretty useless and insulting and suggested that the baby was completely fine and that my wife needed counselling. We have an appointment to see a paediatrician to rule out anything serious and to hopefully get some informed advice? I guess? Our coping abilities have gone completely out the window and we are beginning to crack.
Just to note that at all other times DS is an incredibly smily happy baby, you would never suspect anything was up with him. He must be exhausted as well which couldn't be good for him.
We have tried controlled crying, pick up put down, extinction etc, etc. But honestly I'm not sure we have been consistent enough with these. It's so so difficult hear him in such distress, we find it hard to let it go on for too long. We are willing to try again, but we need help, desperately. We are grasping at straws here.
What is his day time routine like? Is he feeding enough during the day (every 2-3 hours)... Have you begun solids yet? I'd explore the possibility that he is hungry and using the night time to top up. I'd introduce more milk during the day time and possibly use a dummy at night time if he is restless after first offering a feed.
What are day time naps like?
Day time naps? On a bad day i.e. won't settle even in the pram, 2-2 1/2 hours. On a good day between 3-4 hours usually in the pram. He recently been accepting nursing to sleep or walked around in the sling in the day as well. On the rare occasions that we can get him to sleep in bed during the day it's usually only 30-45 minutes and on rare occasions 60 mins. He sleeps more consistently in the pram. So basically he has to keep moving, which translates to no sleep for either of us.
Re: breast feeding he's feeding roughly every 2-3 hours. He's not quite eating solids yet. We've just started tiny bits here and there, which he mostly rejects, as expected.
He wakes up consistently at around 3:30-4:30am and sometimes push this to 5am. Sometimes we can get him back to sleep in the sling until 6:30am. The rest of the day consists of long walks around london, punctuated by playgroups. She's trying to put in place the EASY routine, but extremely early wake ups throw everything off.
Okay ... I have no idea if any of this will help but this is what I did with both of mine who slept through from a very early age.
During the day don't let him sleep longer than 2.5 hours. Wake him up, offer a feed. Try to make day times bright and loud and cheerful. From a very early age I would make sure they associated day with being awake and feeding and for night I would keep quiet and make everything dark etc, using blackout blinds.
You say he naps in the pram. For now I would keep trips out to a maximum of 2.5 hours at a time so he isn't falling asleep for longer than that and seeing the pram as "bed". I'd try and do one short trip in the morning and then back home. Try to encourage him to nap in the cot for one large ish nap during the day (2 hours). Do the whole blackout blind thing and feed and put down. If he cries pick up and rock and when he's quiet again put down and keep going. (I never left mine to cry but I did do "pick up and put down" to encourage them to sleep in their own bed.
Whatever happens don't let the last nap go on past 3 pm. Always try to keep them awake from there until bedtime which can be as easily as 5 pm if they seem tired.
From 5 pm onwards if they are tired make this bedtime. Bath and quiet time and give a feed and then pop a dummy in and try to pick up and put down to get into cot as before. You can try and push this bedtime back but if they start getting upset I would assume they are tired and try to put them to sleep. 5.30 / 6.30 is the bedtime I have always used.
You're not going to like the next bit.... your baby sounds like an early riser as mine was. 5am onwards is quite normal for wake up time for a young baby. Instead of trying to get them to sleep till 6.30 onwards I would get up with them, make it morning, take them downstairs and feed etc. Gradually you can push this back but for now I would use that as an opportunity to get them up and awake and tire them out for the day so you can gradually push bedtime back when it's well established. Both of my dc woke at 5.30 until about 18 months. My youngest is now 2.7 and wakes at 6.45. They do get later as they get older. (My eldest is 12, big age gap but I did the same with both re sleep).
With solids I would try little bits regularly but obviously keep offering milk as the main source of food. (Which is what you're doing).
Not sure if any of that helps... !
I also meant to add as hard as it is when you're shattered consistency is key. So that means whatever happens keep putting back into the cot. No sling if you want him to learn to sleep in the cot. So if he cries you feed and try to resettle in the cot. If he cries pick up and put down a again (rock for few mins until calm and then try again and keep going). Otherwise he is just going to associate waking up with a chance to get back in the sling.
Some people here would say co sleep if that's what he wants to do..For me I would never have been able to sleep like that but I know lots do.
Have you some plans in place for catching up on sleep? Like going to bed at 8pm, having naps at the weekend?
Would you be better sleeping on the sofa sometimes but then taking the early shift? Are you taking it in turns to get up in the morning?
With two of you there should be potential to get enough sleep. You may need to drop other commitments for a little while.
We have dropped all commitments. Our entire life is about taking care of this baby. We go to bed between 7 and 8 pm every night. It's hard to take naps when DS won't sleep without moving during the day. We get moments when we can catch an hour here or there which helps. The problem is that the sleep deprivation is non-stop he is the same every day. I'm a first time parent but I'm 45 years old, I'm not exactly missing all the partying I could be doing. I have a beautiful baby to to raise, that is my main priority. However me and my wife need some serious sleep in order to have the coping abilities to soldier on. We're not going to give up or anything, but everything in our lives is suffering e.g. work and relationship. We knew it would be hard work, but this is bit more challenging that we were expecting.
One thing you might want to try if you have the room is a pram rocker from Amazon. I think its about £40 and basically you take your DS for a walk and then when asleep you wheel the pram onto it and switch it on and it just moves backwards and forwards. Worked really well with my DD. Helped a bit with my DS but we have had silent reflux problems with him and so feel your pain with the lack of sleep!
I would really explore the symptoms around silent reflux. The fact that he needs/likes to be up and moving around, the crying in distress but not feeding, and the reluctance to try solids stand out to me.
It is tough - but your GP is right to say normal, IME. At 4 months their sleep patterns change permanently and for some babies this really fucks with their sleep.
It will get better and there may be things you can do to help. Search on here for a thread called "what worked for us" which talks about the gradual retreat method. It isn't as "brutal" as controlled crying so you/your wife might find it easier to see it through. Your ds will probably need at least one night feed still though if not eating a lot of solids.
The other thing is to split the night into two shifts. One of you does the start of the night. If baby takes a bottle it is easiest is if your wife sleeps first. If she goes to bed when baby does. You give a bottle of expressed milk when baby first wakes. Then she can take over in the early hours when only bf will do.
You are at the hardest part when it comes to tiredness as all the adrenaline has worn off from the birth and it is relentless. Be kind to each other.
Sounds like silent reflux to me too. Ranitidine helped with our DS. If your DS has a lot of wind and burps like he's going to throw up then they're also signs
Just to add that Fairylea's advice upthread is really good. Lots of daytime feeds too. Offer every two hours if need be.
Also, EASY doesn't work with all babies so if it isn't working drop it.
Does he prefer his front to sleep on.....
Once DS2 could roll - he slept much better. he hated his back, tolerated the pram whilst moving....but wouldn't do a long nap there as it was on his back...
Would settle in the night, then bash his head about trying to get back to sleep.
he wanted to be on his front....
Once I turned him over...it was much better...
I also echo fairylea thougth - great advice! I spent years walking DS1 in the pram for naps (DS2 went in his cot for a nap regardless of crying etc)
It will get better...DS2 wakes at 5.30/ 6am now! (4.5y) DS1 (10) gets up at 6am!!
Sounds absolutely horrendous, I really feel for you. Could you afford/would you like to try a sleep consultant?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Both of mine slept like this for a few months from 4months. Pretty sure they didn't have any health problems as slept pretty well until 4 months like the OPs and no other symptoms. Surely if it was silent reflux it would have prevented sleep from birth? Sounds like the four month sleep regression to me.
My ds had awful silent reflux so it could definitely be a possibility however it normally gets slowly better from the 4 month mark as the muscles in the throat tend to firm up around then making it less likely (ds was on the medicine mentioned upthread from the gp and was truly awful at sleeping at first but around the 4 month mark he did dramatically improve).
If it is silent reflux you can make things a lot better by raising the end of the cot slightly by putting two similar books under the feet at one end (we did this for a long time) and also ensuring when he is feeding he is as upright as possible to ensure air can rise and escape rather than becoming trapped which seems to help in a lot of silent reflux cases.
I feel for you. Having such little sleep is torture.
Wow, Thank you all for so much input. Our DS was diagnosed with reflux at three months and has been on 6 then 8ml Ranitidine (however you spell it) ever since. It helped enormously and changed his sleeping for the better for a good month. Around 4 months his sleeping started to deteriorate little by little and now here we are with a baby that starts screaming every 1 1/2 - 2 hours every night.
We have thought about the sleep consultant ave, but it would be a last ditch option as we aren't loaded and are trying to keep spending to a minimum as my wife is still on maternity leave as a locum and her contribution is dwindling quickly.
I know this will eventually pass. But while your in it, it feels like it will never end. My wife and I make sure that no matter what is said in frustration in the night time, that we always check in with each other to say that we love each other and we are in this together. But while your in the thick of it, it really seems like it's all going down the drain sometimes. Our DS was planned, He's the most wanted baby on the planet, we did this on purpose! He's gorgeous and we love him, I just wish he would f'ing sleep at least 4 hours consecutively!
Thank you TarkaTheOtter We'll definitely check out gradual retreat method, sounds interesting. And also to Fairylea, I think increasing feeding during the day might be a good plan.
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You can try a sling which will keep your LO near you at all times but you still will have free hands to do whatever you need to do.
My LO loves the Pittari sling ) I'm always taking her with me everywhere and that's my solution to things like these. You have your hands free, and the baby isn't screaming all the time.
I just can't stand screaming for hours and hours. It's just ridiculous. and completely messes up with my nerves.
Sympathies to you and your wife ! Ds was like your ds but he didn't have reflux he just wanted me, constantly. He slept in the pram moving or on me, I was like a zombie.
I tried to switch daytime naps to the cot and no more sleeping in the pram, I also did controlled crying at 4.30 in the morning, as this was his wake up time ! I was desperate and a single mum. Totally exhausted. It took at week to get him to sleep to 6.30 am and it was bliss, bearing in mind he was 6 months at this point and was also sometimes co sleeping and had sling time during the day. He was a great baby just very needy, I promise it will end but you will have to try and get him to sleep in his own bed during the day and explore the reflux more. It's not easy but it will end.
My ds is 7 now and I have to wake him up for school, I can't tell you how much I enjoy this
I am also expecting dc3 so I expect I will be in the zombie zone in the next few weeks too !
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