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8 week old baby and no sleep

(15 Posts)
Sophie4 Tue 02-Apr-13 10:27:12

Hi, I'm new to this so you will have to bare with me.

I've got a nearly 8 week old son and we are really struggling to get him to sleep at night. During the day he will have about a 3 hour nap between half 1 and 4ish. When he's tired he will sleep and there is no waking him up, during the day. At night is another thing, he just will not settle until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. He won't take a bottle, I try winding him, changing his nappy, he doesn't have a temp, just can't work out what is wrong with him. It is so draining and starting to put a huge strain on mine and partners relationship because we are so tired! He works long hours and I feel as if he looks forward to going to work to get away from the constant crying (although he says he doesn't). I've tried starting him with a routine of bath about 8 and then last bottle about half 9 in the low light. Feel like I'm wasting my time to be honest. I'm doing my best to be the best mum I can to my little boy but feel like its not enough and that I'm failing both him and his Dad.

If anybody has any suggestions they would be REALLY appreciated!! Thankyou.

funchum8am Tue 02-Apr-13 11:27:47

We had similar, dd is now 6 months and would sleep all afternoon but be up from around midnight onwards no matter what. In our case we didn't try for a proper routine til 3 months as lots of friends (plus mumsnetters) said it would be unlikely to work before then. I just resigned myself to staying up feeding and holding her so she was quiet so DH could sleep. I was exhausted for a few days but soon you find you can actually function on very little sleep as long as you get the odd nap. DH took her from 5am to 7am so I always got that stretch...not sure if that is workable for you? Unfortunately it might well just be a matter of time sad. huge hugs!

halestone Tue 02-Apr-13 11:42:48

I'm currently having the same problem with my 16 week old. I posted on chat 2 weeks ago, as i'm getting desperate. Someone suggested not letting my DD go more than 90 minutes in the day without a nap no matter how small the nap is. So now when we're approaching the 90 minute mark i swaddle her get on my birthing ball and bounce and sing till she naps. Most of the time the longest she'll go is 5 minutes and the whole routine starts again 90 minutes but its making a very slow difference. It could be that your DS is overtired, so this will help. Look out for sleep cues my DD gets abit of a vacant look and looks like shes sleeping with her eyes closed for a minute or so, she also stares at the lights if i see her doing that i try the nap time sooner.

Also have you read about the 4th trimester? Its a theory that for the 1st 12 weeks after birth the baby likes to be by mum so they can still hear your heartbeat. They also like the same motions the had in the womb. Thats why i still use my birthing ball as i used it alot during pregnancy. Maybe try going back to doing what you were doing in pregnancy. If you walk up and down the stairs as well this will replicate the rocking motion of being in your womb and may calm down your DS.

Also if you feel your getting stressed holding him fold your bedcover into 4 and lie him on top he can play (or cry) safely. While you walk away for a minute and calm down (i've done this alot) babies pick up on your stress levels.

Good luck i know how much hard work it is since i've had my baby i've had 3-4 occasions wheres shes done a 4 hour stretch.

rootypig Tue 02-Apr-13 11:55:27

Our DD wasn't sleeping until 2 or 3 am at this age. At 8 weeks they still have no a routine and bedtime came forward without me doing much more. It's not much help, in terms of doing something, but wanted to say I think you're on the right track and babies change all the time so hang tight.

Oh and don't worry about the long nap, IME the more a baby naps in the day the better they sleep at night. Overtiredness is to be avoided at all costs, so take any sleep he can get!

Sophie4 Tue 02-Apr-13 12:10:21

He used to be a good sleeper, having a feed every 4 hours in the night. That is now a distant memory!! It's just frustrating not knowing why he is crying at night, he won't even settle in my arms. I've noticed since we've been awake this morning that he's been dribbling an awful lot, which is unusual for him, surely he can't be teething at this age?
Funchum8am - DH leave the house at 5 for work, which is actually when DD is sleeping. Sadly it's not an option for me to get sleep then.

Halestone - thanks for the tip about the 4th trimester, I will give that ago!

Rootypig - I was thinking tonight of trying to put him down earlier, he's usually awake from tea 4 ish until we go to bed between 9-10 when I give him his last bottle then put him in his cot. Maybe he's overtired by then?

Thankyou very much for all the replies!! I now know I'm not the only one which makes me feel better!

rootypig Tue 02-Apr-13 15:52:29

oh yes defo try to put him down earlier, being awake from 4 til 9 is too long (it took me a while to realise this too) - but what I would do is squeeze in an extra nap. I don't think there's a lot you can do to get a baby to sleep at what you want to be their bedtime if they're not ready, and you'll just get super frazzled feeling like you're losing a battle. But you can sort out their daytime sleep more easily, by roughly following the 90 min rule that others have talked about. that way you are more likely to get to bedtime with a rested baby, which makes for an easier transition for them. fwiw, following this pattern, DD might end up having a nap at 6pm for 45 minutes and will still go to sleep at half 7 or 8. I will literally get her up for her bedtime! but it works confused so don't follow adult logic. and as I say, 8 weeks is still very little, so things will change quite soon anyway (I've read that at 3 months their sleep cycles become significantly different).

HTH, good luck.

rootypig Tue 02-Apr-13 15:56:08

just caught sight of my original post and it's well mangled! sorry - think I deleted a chunk by accident blush

what I meant to say was, at 8 weeks they have no understanding of day and night. But I did what you did - a gentle bedtime routine, plus really worked on getting her to nap regularly, and her bedtime came forward quite naturally - frankly, I don't think it was down to anything much I did. I've heard other people on here say the bedtime adjusted after 10 weeks without them doing anything.

attheendoftheday Tue 02-Apr-13 19:53:29

Sounds like a normal 8 week old. You might not be able to make the baby sleep, so change what you do to help you cope. I would suggest you are 'on duty' for the stretch that baby will not sleep, somewhere away from your dp so they get some sleep. When baby settles get as much sleep as you can, even if it's only a few hours. Then you sleep the second the baby goes to sleep in the afternoon, and as soon as your dp gets home from work he takes over until 11 or 12 and you get to sleep then too. At the weekends to take turns getting extra sleep.

It's hard work but it's doable, and the newborn stage will pass, and life will get easier.

funchum8am Tue 02-Apr-13 22:24:57

Sorry to hear dp has such an early start, that must make life hard! totally agree with what other posters have said especially attheendoftheday. You are just dealing with normal 8 week behaviour. Also the idea of monitoring the gap between naps to check it is 90 to 120 minutes might help. best of luck!

syl1985 Wed 03-Apr-13 02:58:36

He's 8 weeks old. Are you giving him breast milk or bottles?

Sometimes young baby's can loose their day/night routine.
It's hard for them to find it back.

He'll need you help with this.

Take pen and paper and write down the moments you'd like to feed him and when you'll put him back in his bed.

If you give him breast milk see if you can buy or hire a scale to weigh him before and after you've fed him. Don't change his nappy in between. This way you can see how much milk he has been drinking. If he didn't had enough then you can give him extra milk with a bottle.
Use a breast pomp after you've fed him to stimulate the breasts into making more milk.

Let him be with you. Then let him play. Or for how much he can play at this age. When he's still awake put him in his bed.
This might be difficult for him as he might not be used to be put back in his bed while he's still awake.

But the problem might be that he's too sleepy when he goes to bed. That might be the reason why when he's asleep you hardly can wake him up.

If he finds it hard to sleep on his own you can use one or more of these tips:
* Sing for him or read him a story
* Record your voice. You can sing a lullaby or read a long story. If it's a song then repeat it over and over again until he has fallen in sleep.
* There are also special cd's for sale with on them sounds from the womb. That will sound familiar to him and might make it easier for him to fall asleep.
* Use a swaddle blanket. It helps baby's to go to sleep and stay asleep.

At day time don't wait for him to wake up. You are the one who's going to decide when it's time to eat and when not.
Afcourse you'll look at his needs. Maybe he needs now a 3 hours sleep in between meals and over a couple of weeks 4 hours. Or in the morning 3 hours and then 4 hours and later again 3 hours of sleep.

You'll be continually looking for that balance. But it won't be as hard as it's on you now.

At night time he can decide when he'd like to wake up and when not. But in the morning you're in control again and you'll decide when he's going to eat and when not.

If he wakes up in between meals you can leave him for about 15 min. Sometimes baby's cry a couple of minutes before they fall back in sleep.
After 15 minutes you can check his nappy, hold him, give him a dummy or if it looks like he wants something to eat. You can give him some water or something else.

In the beginning you'll need to teach him that things are a bit different and he'll need a couple of days to get used to it. Also you probably will be changing the dinner and sleeping times to let it work best for you and your son.

This is what I did with my children and will do with me next child.
It always worked well for me.
I hope that you might find some or all of the above helpful.


comeonbishbosh Wed 03-Apr-13 15:40:27

Hi Sophie,

8 weeks is a really hard point. All babies are different of course but my 10 week old is just getting slightly better than the hell that was 8 weeks. Stick on in there, I agree with attheendoftheday that caring for yourself as far as poss is maybe the main thing to try to do.

Now it's a little bit lighter, even less sub-arctic, walking around with him in the pram in the evenings may help your sanity if you can summon the initial energy to get out the house. A bonus miay be that the baby falls asleep, but at least crying doesn't seem so bad outdoors.

Good luck.

comeonbishbosh Wed 03-Apr-13 21:55:21

Just came back on to say that hope the 'going for an evening' walking didn't sound like over-achieving advice, as I can hardly motivate myself to do anything except watch tv with the subtitles on in evenings at the mo!

Also depends where you live and if you like being outdoors yourself. It wasnt meant as a hardcore mum challenge. I just thought of it as one of the better evenings I've had was when I bundled DD2 into the pram and walked round to my friends, had a cup of tea (DD crying!) and walked home. Made a change and DD2 did actually fall asleep on wAy back.

Droflove Wed 03-Apr-13 22:24:05

I had the same problem and now at 10 weeks, things are getting a lot better every day. The fix? Sorry to say but Gina Ford. She really seems to understand my baby and he slid into her routine amazingly. I apply it loosely but it has really improved our house. The fundamentals are...

- Baby night time is 7pm to 7am
- baby sleeps no more than 3 hr15 during daytime
- baby takes all daily allowance calories during the day + 1 dream feed at 10 pm

Within a couple of days of starting the routine he goes down at 7pm to 10 pm perfectly every night. Then sleeps till 2.30am which is not as good as GF expects but is a huge improvement for us. Then he sleeps again till 6ish which I hope will stretch to 7 soon. But it's liveable and the adult time from 7pm s wonderful. I cook full dinners again! Was really missing being able to cook.

mummy2benji Wed 03-Apr-13 22:33:40

I agree that 4-9pm is too long to go without a nap - can you try to settle him in cot / bouncy chair / in your arms earlier than that for a little sleep? My dd2 has a nap around 7pm for 30 mins or so and then goes to bed and sleep proper around 9.30-10pm (she is now 5 months - at 8 weeks she went to bed sometime before midnight after finishing her last feed). I hesitate to suggest this as I know it is a controversial subject for some, but have you tried a dummy? Using a dummy to help settle at night does not mean you then have a baby dependent on it - dd2 only occasionally uses one during the day, doesn't have it to go to sleep at night, and just likes it if she wakes in the night and grizzles a bit without being hungry and demanding a feed. Up to you but I mention it just because you might find it a Godsend.

Stepmooster Sat 06-Apr-13 08:22:11

I have a 9 month old now. My little girl was the baby all the other new mums wished theirs slept like. She would fall asleep anywhere and still does when she is tired. She is my first but my DH 2nd and right from day one he was adamant she was to sleep In her crib. If you rock her to sleep every night that is what she will expect. For first 2 weeks we would try to settle her in her crib, when she cried pick her up, quick cuddle, check the wind,feed, nappy mantra and then lay her back down. God it was tiring, I would put my hand in next to her so she knew I was there.

Over time she would cry to be put down and left alone. I also read that never leave a little one to go for more than 2 hours for a nap, and definitely bed by 7pm. Due to a health issue and her losing weight, I had to feed her day and night at every 3 hours until doctor advised solids at 4 months. In the end we co-slept, and I could breastfeed her whilst lying down. I started to nap when she did as sleep deprivation was torture.

We also made sure she learnt to sleep around low level noise, I learnt her sleep cue, I knew if I waited for her to start crying she was already over-tired, so by about 90mins of being awake she would do the 'ee-ee' sound and I would reduce stimulus and allow her to wind down in her crib.

My friend at babygroup has a 9 month old who will only sleep for 3 hours at a time and only if he's asleep on her. She freely admits that she thought it very cute in the early days to have him sleep on her but now she is so knackered she is attempting to change his habits now. Which by the sounds of it are a lot harder than when they are little. a

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