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6 week old sleep problems - help!

(26 Posts)
JW37 Tue 23-Oct-12 22:24:23

Ds2 is 6 weeks old and will not go to sleep unless he's lying on me or dh. I'm seriously beginning to despair that I'll ever get him to go to sleep on his own. Each evening he has a bath, then a cuddle and i swaddle him then once his eyes start to droop I put him down. Cue two hours of shhh pat hell with max 10 mins of peace if he actually falls asleep. He soon wakes and the crying starts again. If I pick him up, he immediately shuts up and his eyes close only to fly open as soon as I gently put him back down. I'm trying a dummy, fingers, swaddling, not swaddling, on his side etc but nothing seems to work. Typically he sleeps lovely on his stomach but I just couldn't do that at night - I'd never sleep myself thru worrying about cot death. Btw he won't sleep in the car or in pram either. Any advice gratefully received at this point as I can't cope with too many more nights like it. X

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 23-Oct-12 22:31:14

Does he just need more milk?

QTPie Tue 23-Oct-12 22:43:15

Has he aways been like this or just recently?

Sorry, two suggestions:
- consider "co-sleeping". Personally I was never comfortable with this (mainly because I was worried about squishing DS and couldn't sleep well because of worry), but many people find it works for them.
- secondly, "stick with what you are doing". It will work eventually. He will get used to it. Sounds like yu are dong all the right things. Although would pick a technique and stick with it. Share the load with your partner - make sure that you both get sleep. Although it doesn't feel like it now, it will settle down...

Is he feeding well? As the previous poster says?

Marmiteisyummy Tue 23-Oct-12 22:46:13

I'm afraid some babies are just like this, mine was. What worked for me was cosleeping.
Have you tried prewarming the Moses basket with a hot water bottle and putting in something that smells of you?
DS wouldn't sleep in the car or buggy. In the end I just let him stay with me, sling in the day, co sleep at night. He is now 2.5 and not in the least clingy. He has slept through in his own cot since 8 months. Co sleeping meant survival for me and in the end I was quite sorry to stop (at about 4 months).
Good luck, sleep deprivation is a killer. I keep telling myself at least it can't be any worse this time!!

JW37 Tue 23-Oct-12 22:49:26

I'm breast feeding and have tried offering the breast again. He sucks for less than 5 mins then falls asleep so I had pretty much ruled out hunger as the cause. He always falls asleep much easier on me and in the middle of the night when I'm shattered if I fall asleep while he's feeding, and he falls asleep too I can usually put him down fast asleep and he stays asleep.

Marmiteisyummy Tue 23-Oct-12 22:49:37

Oh and sorry if you've already figured this out, but it took me a long time.... Babies sleep cycles are so rapid at first that you have to catch the right moment to move them. Just check his arm is really floppy when you lift it before you try to settle into Moses basket.
Sorry if obvious.

Flisspaps Tue 23-Oct-12 22:52:17

Sounds like my 6 month old wink I'm not worried about him not sleeping on his own. At some point I'll get my bed back.

In all honesty, this might seem like a problem but it's absolutely normal. Your baby's instinct is to be with you - he doesn't understand that you can be somewhere else and everything be OK - if you're not right there with him, then he's got no food, no comfort, nothing. He has no concept of anything other than you and him.

You could try white noise (if you haven't already) - it's the only thing that gets DS into his pram for naps and his evening sleep, but I didn't try it until he was about 3 months old, until then he was just held for naps whilst I got achy arms!

AbigailAdams Tue 23-Oct-12 22:54:17

Also second co-sleeping. You could always get one of those baby movement alarms for his bed if you do put him on his front. I had this issue with DS2 and he ended up sleeping on his front/co-sleeping. In fact he sounds exactly like your DS.

AbigailAdams Tue 23-Oct-12 22:56:14

Agree with Flisspaps too. This is perfectly appropriate and normal for a baby of this age (as is not wanting to sleep on their back - something they omit in ante-natal classes!)

JW37 Tue 23-Oct-12 22:58:28

Thanks qtpie I have tried co sleeping and for first 3 or 4 weeks he slept with me but I found I couldn't turn the little lamp off as too scared of what might happen so never slept very well. Stupid really as have super king size bed so likelihood of me squishing him is pretty much zero. Dh gave up very quickly after he went back to work and has slept in spare room for nearly a month. Good job really as he's much more likely to roll on him in his sleep without waking.

JW37 Tue 23-Oct-12 23:15:14

I think because I didn't have this issue with ds1 I never expected it with ds2 so have been completely unprepared. Flisspaps, have tried white noise when crying in the day but only thru hair dryer. Might get one of those CDs to see if helps. Thanks.

I am aware of their short sleep cycles but didn't know about the floppy arm test. Have tried hot water bottle but not something smelling of me. Thanks marmiteisyummy.

I think because dh and ds1 both hate the constant crying I'm trying to change it maybe too early. That's the baby whisperers fault! And my fear that sleep deprivation will continue for much longer than last time.

QTPie Tue 23-Oct-12 23:19:30

JW37, I understand completely - didn't work for me either (although didn't seriously try). DS was easier than yours, but still required some persistence (us hanging over the edge of the bed, hand in the crib, patting, shushing, dummies (often spat out), did some rocking etc). It DOES get better... It just takes them time to feel secure and sleep in longer cycles and learn to relax and stay asleep.

Does your DH help out?

Well done with the bfing - that is a great achievement. I BFd too and you are right: you do know when they are not hungry and just tired.

Sorry, that really isn't a lot of help: stick with it, it will happen, but you need to catch sleep when you can and take advantage of DH and anyone else who will help and allow you to get sme sleep.

QTPie Tue 23-Oct-12 23:23:14

Off the wall suggestion, but thought if trying Cranial Osteopathy? Can help with various issues. I had it for DS just as a "belt and braces" thing, but many have had it for feeding/sleeping issues... Where up in the UK are you? I know a couple of very good cranial osteopaths.

QTPie Tue 23-Oct-12 23:23:38

(I am a "try anything" type of person...)

AnitaBlake Tue 23-Oct-12 23:24:50

Is he a sicky baby? My DD wouldn't sleep on her back at all, some babies aren't suited to it. If he's sick a lot, it may be worth getting him checked for reflux?

JW37 Tue 23-Oct-12 23:30:16

Qtpie, ur ds sounds like my ds1 but I got him sleeping well really quickly. No, dh rarely helps out. He has no patience and is useless at the newborn stage. He just disappears into the kitchen and does the dishes. As if a tidy kitchen gives me any relief when I'm sleep deprived! He has done two night shifts but the first was nearly the last after he let ds2 sleep in our bed under a blanket AND with the duvet up to his chin! Anyway ds2 is now fast asleep on me after a feed so I'm now going to try to try to put him down and go to bed!

JW37 Tue 23-Oct-12 23:34:01

Btw qtpie, a friend suggested cranial osteopathy and we have a very good one here apparently (herts). I had dismissed it as had a very quick and easy home water birth so didn't think it would have affected him like that but might give it a go. Cheers.

Hyperballad Tue 23-Oct-12 23:35:52

I try up to 3 times to get him in his moses basket, each time he crys I pick him up, give him a cuddle/boob then put him back when I think he is totally asleep, if I get to the third attempt and he crys I leave him in the Moses, rest my hand on his front and wiggle it left to right rocking him from side to side. I also hold his hands down as he rubs like mad when he is over tired. Doesn't usually take too long of this wiggling to settle him.
(I'm wiggling him, not the basket! But then the basket wiggles in turn) anyway I also have tried most what people have suggested at different times but this is what works at the minute.

Good luck!

QTPie Wed 24-Oct-12 00:25:59

Get DH to help out with everything else humanly possible then (so you can concentrate on DS2 and sleep).

Cranial Osteopathy can't hurt and may help. I used Simone Ross (of Kane and Ross) in London. Very good, but very pricey.

DS2 will get the hang of it - it is just eying to keep sane (and get as much sleep as poss in the process). Get DH to take him out for walks at the weekend (not necessarily to sleep, but to give you a break).

Impatientwino Wed 24-Oct-12 04:51:21

My DS is now 13 weeks old and when we brought him home he would not go in his Moses at night - we were so tired

Someone recommended the nct bednest co sleeper crib and I was a bit reluctant because of the £290 price tag as i only paid £20 for my second hand moses but I was so sleep deprived and desperate I bought it when he was two weeks old

It was worth every single penny and then some - its fantastic and he goes down in it no problem at all. The first couple of nights were a bit unsettled while he got used to the new space/smell but after that zero problem!

Cannot recommend it highly enough if you can afford it and the second hands ones on eBay seem to go for good money so you'll get a fair bit back.

Looking back actually I was so tired I would have paid anything to get some sleep

Moses basket is now full of washing grin

stargirl1701 Wed 24-Oct-12 05:35:00

My 6 week old LO was just like yours. We spent nights with her lying on me or DH. My Dad really helped here. He spent a day putting her down into her pram and basket after feeding. He was so calm and she must've picked up on it - and DH/my anxiousness. From that day on she has gone down for us.

agnes2404 Wed 24-Oct-12 08:39:00

OP, oof! I feel your pain! My DD was exactly the same. And the anxiety of the new mother, oh lordie. I spent weeks in terror she was going to stop breathing, I was constantly scared. I was a nutcase.

Anyway, after (ahem) 7 months she started sleeping 10 hours straight. She is now 14 months, a very secure and confident (and hilarious) toddler. Her sleeping is disturbed again, and we have reverted to what worked before. I'm not saying its easy, but I believe we are teaching her that we are there for her, she'll eventually store this marvellous information and once more be able to get herself back to sleep at night, happy and content knowing if she needed us we'll be there.

This is what we did:
- got co-sleeper cot (I slept holding her hand, these are some of my most precious memories ever)
- got a Kari-me stretchy wrap sling. A bugger to learn but s

agnes2404 Wed 24-Oct-12 09:02:40

Oops sent half a message, silly thumb
Where was I? Oh yes stretchy wrap slings - you soon become a sling ninja and baby is very warm and safe and in DDs case, serene. She had this regal little look as she peeped out then...zzzzzz she cried a lot at first - popped her in the sling and took her out in fresh air - worked every time (err as long as I remembered to feed her first)
- breastfed but gave her bottle of formula before her bedtime (which was our bedtime as she needed to be with us). My mum talked me into this when DD was 2 weeks as I'd lost the plot with sleep deprivation. Was amazing - not only helped her sleep a longer stretch, allowed DH or mum to do that feed so I could rest. Brings me onto my next point...
- DH and I slept with her in shifts, for months we slept apart! I did week nights and he did Friday and Saturdays (10pm-4,5, or 6am depending on how happy she was to have formula in the night)
- DH and my parents fed me in the day, or I ate out as I couldn't make food for myself as constantly holding DD (I spent my maternity allowance in local cafe! And made wonderful friends)
- I had to learn the hard way that I'm not the only person who could keep my baby alive (I know! I told you I was bonkers) and let DH and my mum/dad/MIL take her out in the sling, feed her, hold her at night

In a nutshell - I got lots of help - I was so lucky. And I didn't try to change her behaviour, just organised life around it.

I suppose I'm saying yes it's hard. SO hard, but it's healthy for baba to want your warmth and safety. And you too need love and care, it's such a vulnerable time. You are entitled to be looked after too! It sounds like you're a lovely mum who is no more anxious than any new mum. It will pass! It will get better. I promise! Lots of love and good luck x

JW37 Wed 24-Oct-12 09:04:05

Thanks for all the advice and wisdom. It really helps to be reminded I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last mum to go through baby not sleeping hell. X

agnes2404 Wed 24-Oct-12 09:09:40

Ps
Looking back - I needed to hold newborn DD as much as she needed to be held. Perhaps result of traumatic birth and emergency c section. I wonder how different we'd have been if the birth was less scary.

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