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4 week old who won't settle and 'making a rod for my own back'?!

(37 Posts)
CAnn88 Fri 14-Feb-14 15:45:42

LO is 4.5 weeks old and sleeps between 12.00-6/7.00 am most nights which I'm pretty happy with. The problem is getting her to fall asleep in the first place. She is reluctant to nap in the day, and is incredibly difficult to settle at night.

It takes about 3 hours of bouncing, cluster feeding rocking, bathing, singing etc to soothe her. She normally eventually crashes out at the boob, but it's such a fight to get to that point, and we never manage before midnight. Sometimes she's crying and unsettled, other times she is just alert and unwilling to go to sleep. Should I just go with this or is there anyway I can get her down easier?

She won't take proper naps in the daytime either, which my HV, mother, midwife etc say is because we don't have a routine. At the moment I feed and cuddle her until she goes back to sleep (usually for between 10-40 mins)or until she is content and repeat throughout the day. She doesn't like being put down so I do spend most of my day holding her.

I feel like I'm getting everything wrong. I keep getting told I'm spoiling her, or making a rod, but I can't force her to sleep! Should I be structuring our days better? And what can I possibly do to help her drift off? There is no way I'm leaving her to cry!

gamerchick Fri 14-Feb-14 15:47:39

she's 4 weeks hmm

You can't spoil a new baby.. you get them to sleep any which was you can and take it day by day.

They're a law unto themselves and it's all new to them as well. Would you like to be put down after being carried for 9 months? wink

bonzo77 Fri 14-Feb-14 15:54:18

Ignore them. I am the queen of routine. Obsessed. But even I made no attempt at it till about 6 weeks with both of mine, and it still took a couple of weeks to establish it, and many, many more till they "self settled". Sounds to me that your baby asks for what she needs, and you provide it. Good work!

yourlittlesecret Fri 14-Feb-14 15:59:13

I keep getting told I'm spoiling her, or making a rod, but I can't force her to sleep!
Oh god it's hard enough without all that.
Just get her to sleep whatever way you can and sleep yourself when you can.
Anyone with a routine and a 4 week old baby is just lucky.

gamerchick Fri 14-Feb-14 16:00:24

and tbh some people would kill with a stretch like that overnight grin

trilbydoll Fri 14-Feb-14 16:02:04

My DD has never been a fan of going to sleep. At one point when she was tiny, DH had to bounce her for hours to Last Night of the Proms! We ended up eventually rocking her to sleep fairly successfully and have literally this week started training her to self settle - she is 9 months now.

The only thing I would say is we somehow ended up having to rock her standing up, she wouldn't tolerate me sitting in the rocking chair. That was a bit of a nightmare, try and stay sitting at all times, they get heavy!

She has taken to the sleep training better than I ever imagined, and I genuinely think it is because she is old enough, I don't think it would have worked any earlier. So there is hope, even if you have to rock the baby for every nap and bedtime for the next few months!

givemeaclue Fri 14-Feb-14 16:02:40

12-6?! That is great. You are expecting too much from a 4 week old.

puntasticusername Fri 14-Feb-14 16:08:17

I'm so sorry that everyone around you appears to be talking complete bollocks sad

Like PPs said - at four weeks old, the vast majority of babies are not in any kind of routine. Some parents apparently do achieve it, but they are the exceptions and if baby doesn't want to Co operate with it, it won't!

Your baby's night time sleep sounds entirely age appropriate - at that age, they are doing well simply to be having a longer sleep period (ie 4-6 hours) and to be doing that at night. The reason you can't settle her earlier in the evening is because that's not what she is biologically programmed to do right now. It'd be like asking you to settle down for the night at 10.30am. Just not natural.

The most important thing right now is for you to try and help your baby sleep when she needs to sleep - that means looking at her to try and read when SHE needs to sleep, not by consulting the clock. In time, things will settle down and get more regular. But that simply can't be expected at four weeks old.

Get hold of a copy of my bible, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr Marc Weissbluth. Dude's a legend. I've never known him to be wrong yet. And when others try and tell you different - just nod, smile and then do whatever the hell you want.

ditsygal Fri 14-Feb-14 16:09:36

I agree with above, do what you need to. I am inclined to agree with trilbydoll though. I always rocked my LO sat down, until he was 6 weeks and my FIL walked him around the room to sleep. It took me until 8 months to get him to allow me to sit down and rock again instead of walking around - by that time he was nearing 20lbs and it wasn't fun!
So what ever goes, but try not to have to be stood up.
I also held my LO for naps until he was 5 months when he started being able to be put down. Do what works for you, they will grow out of each stage in their own time.

LurkingNineToFive Fri 14-Feb-14 16:11:23

What's the alternative people in RL suggesting? Not soothing her?
She 4 weeks what kind of routine are you going to have? And by the 'making a rod' argument would you been turning her in to a baby who needs a rigid routine.
People will always give you unsolicited advice about baby's, everyone's an expert. just ignore them.

TerrariaMum Fri 14-Feb-14 16:11:29

She is 4 weeks old and she sleeps from 12-6 am? That's pretty good for a 4 week old.

Also, absolutely nothing wrong with holdibg her all day. If she is good at lifting her head and you want your hands free, you could try a sling. Fwiw, both of mine conked out in a sling during the day.

And lastly, in some books, the first three months of a baby's life are known as the fourth trimester. And you are only just finishing month 1.

MigGril Fri 14-Feb-14 16:20:57

Your doing fantastic, and exactly the right thing at this age. she's not even aware she's a seperate person fromyou, its so used to your heart beat as well that it'll help charm her. Get a good sling if you feel three need to do something else during the day. strestretchy wraps are great for tiny babies.

The only thing I will say is chill about the evenings. Keep her downstairs and feed feed feed, as it sounds like she is cluster feeding. which is great and probably why you are getting a

thatstoast Fri 14-Feb-14 16:21:08

I have a 3 week old who sounds very similar. 8pm - 12am he tends to be wide awake but when he does go to sleep he usually stays asleep for about 4 or 5 hours which I'm happy with (I'm sure it could be a lot worse).

The idea of getting him into a routine at this age seems crazy. Shall I write up a timetable for him to follow? He's healthy and gaining weight. That's all that matters at this stage, surely?

I would just ignore anyone who says you're spoiling her, that's just a ridiculous thing to say.

Happyasasandboy Fri 14-Feb-14 16:39:30

As others have said, the sleep situation sounds entirely normal.

The only sensible response to "you're making a rod for your back" is "no, I'm make a securely attached, confident baby".

Seriously, say it right back to them once each, and they'll stop with the "rod for your back" rubbish because they know you're right.

Congratulations, and good luck!

CAnn88 Fri 14-Feb-14 16:42:27

Thanks all. I'm not sure what the alternative to soothing her is supposed to be, but my mother keeps saying that I have to put her down so I can get the house work done (had a csection, infected incision is infected and can barely walk properly still due to a nasty pregnancy, so lol at that). The health visitor told me to stop feeding her to sleep as she'll get used to it, and to not hold her when she naps, but I love doing both of those things!

puntasticusername Fri 14-Feb-14 16:53:31

You do NOT need to get the housework done. FFS. Right now you have just two jobs: looking after yourself, and looking after your baby. If your mum is that bothered about the state of the house, point her at the hoover and tell her to get cracking...

Feeding to sleep and holding while sleeping certainly can create sleeping problems in older babies, but at four weeks old that's not an issue. Do both, all you want, and enjoy it. You won't have a tiny baby for long, make the most of it!

mustardtomango Fri 14-Feb-14 16:59:43

Good lord... Forget the housework, you've got far more meaningful stuff to do- like snuggling with your delicious newborn! Get on the Pj's, set up a box set, take the phone off the hook (or give to Dh, worked a treat for me) and enjoy these special times x

slugseatlettuce Fri 14-Feb-14 17:06:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PumpkinPie2013 Fri 14-Feb-14 17:53:38

You're doing great! Honestly you can't spoil a tiny baby! And sod the housework!

My ds is 11 weeks old now and I had absolutely nothing that even remotely resembled a routine at 4 weeks.

Gradually we have introduced a loose bedtime routine of a bath, milk then cuddles and bed.

DS has sort of established his own pattern now which looks a bit like this;

6.30am/7am wakes - we chat to him while we get dressed etc.

8am bottle

9am - 45min nap

11.30am bottle

1pm - 1 hour to 1.5 hours nap

3pm bottle

4.30pm - 30min nap

5.30pm bath

6.15pm bottle

6.45pm cuddles then in bed for 7pm.

He only wakes once for a feed and goes back to sleep after.

I cuddled to sleep/let him sleep on me etc for the first 8 weeks and now he happily self settles.

Do whatever gets you through these early weeks - it does get easier!

mummyto2boysandagirl3 Fri 14-Feb-14 20:51:21

I like my rod it hold me up grin

Get urself a stretchy sling lo will likely settle in it v quickly.

Sod the housework uv just been through the mill it can wait. And don't worry about a routine u will know when ur lo wants one they will put themselves in to it. Iv had no routine with any of mine iv also fed and cuddled them all to sleep. U can't spoil a baby or a child for that matter by cuddling them when they need u!!!

U sound like ur doing a fab job smile and nod at the ppl giving u unwanted advice and follow how u feel smile

RebeccaJames Sat 15-Feb-14 07:05:32

pumpkinpie, my LO is the the same age as yours and I am thrown into a spin of frustration reading your routine and night sleep. Read it just when I was thinking from other threads that what we have is normal. shock

How did you get to where you are? If we put ours down at 7pm (and he doesn't self-settle yet - I thought we were weeks/months away from that) we get 5-6 wake-ups a night. If we keep him downstairs and mostly awake until 11pm, we get 2-3 and consider that a good night.

Please tell me what your journey was to where you are?!

toomuchtooold Sat 15-Feb-14 07:24:01

That's such bullshit about a routine at 4 weeks. I had twins and was desperate to get them into the same routine but up till 4 months they couldn't stay awake long enough to put them down for naps together al the time and by the end of the day I would sometimes be putting one down for a nap as the other woke up! How long they can go between naps depends on how long they slept at the last nap, how long they slept at night, the weather, god knows what else...

4 week olds are generally awful and having her sleep on you is absolutely fine, the main thing is making sure she gets all the sleep she needs. Have you thought about using a baby carrier or sling? That would probably suit you both great.

Also can I recommend a book - Teaching Your Child to Sleep by the Millpond Clinic? (I should get royalties, I've recommended this book so often). It's written by UK health visitors and gives a variety of sleep training/sleep improvement methods (some very gentle) and sort of represents the middle ground in baby sleep philosophy. (When I had mine, someone gave me a Gina Ford book that still slightly panics me when I look at it even though my girls are now older than the book and sleep just fine!)

ipswichwitch Sat 15-Feb-14 07:38:10

So your mum thinks you should be doing housework 4 weeks after csection with added complications of infection and other ongoing issues? Is she mad? If she's that bothered about the state of your house maybe she should come and do it !
Seriously, the 12-6 sleep is pretty amazing. Sounds like she is cluster feeding up until then which is pretty normal. DS is 9 weeks and will cluster feed from about 8-12/1 then we get a 4/5 hour sleep. Ignore the rod for your own back brigade, sounds like you're doing just fine, and I think expecting to have a routine at this age is pretty unrealistic.

LongTailedTit Sat 15-Feb-14 08:11:38

Agree with everyone else, no such thing as a rod. Tbh I think that phrase is just a PA way to criticise, as it's generally said by people who just don't agree with following your baby's needs and think you need to impose rules. That may have worked well for them, doesn't mean you have to do the same.

DS was 'high needs' with silent reflux and was a very unhappy baby, if we hadn't carried him and done what he needed it wouldn't have 'fixed' him, it'd just have made us all more miserable. He was a proper Velcro baby, and gets happier with each new developmental stage (his toddler stage is a million times easier than the newborn one, the opposite of what most people seem to find!).
He finally settled into a routine of his own making at 10mo (finally! Regular naps!), and until then we just had to wing it depending on how that week was panning out with his sleep/feeding.

DC2 is due in a few months and will have to fit around DS's 3yo routine of meals/preschool/bedtimes etc, so we will have one by default, but we'll still wing it if that's what's needed.

Like ^^ said, your only job is to look after yourself and your DD, things will find a pattern eventually.
Enjoy the carrying and feeding to sleep, they're lovely. smile

cory Sat 15-Feb-14 09:27:26

This whole idea of making a rod is based on the assumption that whatever you do now you will have to carry on doing throughout your child's childhood. If you think about it, that's obvious bullshit.

Children change and develop all the time, you will have to change and develop your approach all the time. Things that you go "aw, isn't it cute" about when she is 2 you will have to tell her off for when she is 10 and may need to ground her for when she is a teen.

There is no way any sleep pattern you get her into now will last beyond the next 8 months: bigger babies have vastly different sleep needs.

Ime people with grown-up children tend to look at the results and forget the journey there. My mother (now in her 80's) often says things like "of course your father and I were absolutely consistent about such and such" and I keep thinking to myself "so how come I remember your agonised discussions about it (that I probably wasn't supposed to overhear)?"

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