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4 week old baby - sleeping help needed PLEASE!

(49 Posts)
daisyhun Thu 15-Feb-07 09:37:48

I have a 4 week old baby (first born DD) and she is wonderful during the day - goes down for naps no bother.

However, we have a terrible time with her in the evenings - she goes down for bed at about 6.30pm after her last feed fine but always wakes 30 minutes later and from then on fights sleep until her next feed and then so on til about 2am. This happens even when she has not slept much during the day.

We are doing everything by the book - same routine, calm winding down time before bedtime, Different sleeping place at night so she knows the difference between night and day, not talking to her much at night and not stimulating her at all.

She doesn't scream much but is just wide awake, calm for the most part but cries when we put her in her moses basket and gets herself so worked up there is no way she would go back to sleep herself.

This all coincides with DH getting back from work so he is not enjoying being a new Dad at all. I feel dreadful all the time as the sleep deprivation and stress is really getting to me - any suggestions gratefully received!!

kittypants Thu 15-Feb-07 09:43:37

my only advice is that shes only 4 weeks old ,her bellys only tiny.youre doing good using a routine from start but shes only little,she wont be sleeping through yet.

Mycupoverrunswithlove Thu 15-Feb-07 09:48:06

I had this problem with all three, I think it was a bit colicly related. All mine slept through from quite early, with no controlled crying.
I think losing your evenings is a real nightmare and very stressful. We would be desperate to go to bed and they would still be up. I do sympathise.
I think in the end we got some benefit from it, as they all had so many breastfeeds in the eveing that, thats why they slept so well throught the night. They were full to the brim.
We tried dancing around to Abba, and anything else cheesy. With ds1, we just took it in turns to eat, and do stuff, with dts it was one on each lap. We often didn't end up eating till 10pm
Its hard, but can you relax a bit, and just let your dd sleep on your knee while you watch a bit of tv, and maybe dh can make dinner, or vice versa?

daisyhun Thu 15-Feb-07 09:56:39

Thanks for the advice - we could do that but are paranoid about overstimulating her - we have been using the Baby Whisperer EASY routine and it has really been working during the day but goes out the window in the evenings.

Every evening we come up with this excellent plan about how we are going to keep her calm and saty in the nursery, but as you say, it means we are never together as one is eating whilst the other is with her, and we don't eat until late by which time we are so tired we just want to sleep!

I do get te impression its a but coliky related but not sure what to do about that other than ride it out.

adath Thu 15-Feb-07 10:50:44

It is so common for babies to do this in the evening. Both of mine have done this and at the time it feels like it will never end but it does pass I promise. She is only 4 weeks old so still tiny really and still not got a fantastic clock yet. I would just go with it rather thn keep her in the nursery just keep her with you and asleep n your knee or take the moses basket into the sitting room and pop her in when she is asleep. It does pass all by itself so i would just ride it out.
Keep up the routine the way you do it but raher than putting her in a room by herself keep the basket with you and go to her when she wakes put her dwon when she sleeps if you are not keen to keep a hold of her.
Neither of mine have ever gone to a room on their own to sleep so small and I found that they sometimes slept better because when they came into light sleep they could still hear dp and I talking knew we were there and slept better.
Good luck and remember they are tiny for so long once it has passed you will realise how quickly.

funnypeculiar Thu 15-Feb-07 10:59:57

aww, daisyhun! Both of mine did this - I remember feeling awful that ds always came home to a screaming baby when I'd had a lovely good one all day!!
We found a compromise situation, which invovled dimming the front room lights and putting tv on low/with subtitles, and having them in there with us, with the moses basket in the corner if they dropped off. I did a lot of gently dancing round the room watching Dr Who with dd especially! Meant we weren't stuck up in their rooms, but kept things quiet and bed-time-y.

Both of mine also wanted to 'cluster feed' at this time - ie fed every hour or so, rather than every 3 hours or so in the day - that tended to help them calm down and doze a bit too.

It sounds like your lo is doing really well with she's settling well in the daytime, so I'm sure she'll settle down soon

Blu Thu 15-Feb-07 11:09:12

She's still so tiny! DS did this - tbh, I would throw out the book, and cuddle, carry in a sling and feed on demand until she settles into more of a routine when she is a bit older. 4-week-olds are still not 'settled babies'. Hard work, but it does pass. Let DH carry her round in a sling when he gets home.

juuule Thu 15-Feb-07 11:13:20

This doesn't sound unusual to me for a 4-week old. Agree with Blu - throw the book away and cuddle.

Ali5 Thu 15-Feb-07 11:25:25

Brings back memories. Ditto on book in bin and cuddles. We just kept ds with us in the lounge - we took it in turns to eat, if he slept it was on me or in his carrycot on the floor next to the sofa. You're both suffering from lack of sleep so don't forget to look after each other too - cuddles when you can!! It does get better, I never believed anyone who told me that but it really does.

shonaspurtle Thu 15-Feb-07 11:28:41

DS hasn't taken more than a 45 minute nap in the evening so far and he's 3 months.

On the plus side, he sleeps from midnight till around 7 and then is happy to sleep another couple of hours most mornings after being fed.

As I'm not really a morning person (huuuge understatement there) this suits me pretty well but it makes evenings rather fraught and means that dh & I haven't really had any time to ourselves since he was born.

When he was your son's age he was the same in the evening but also waking up every 2-3 hours so I feel your pain! It will change but I think at this age you've got to let them set their own routine and not worry that it's going to be like this forever because they're not following the "rules"!

I'm going to try our lo with half an hour earlier to bed over time to see if we can get him sleeping a bit more in the evening but part of me is a bit loathe to mess with a pattern that I know we're very lucky to have really!

shonaspurtle Thu 15-Feb-07 11:29:30

waking up every 2-3 hours at night that is

shonaspurtle Thu 15-Feb-07 11:31:00

sorry - your dd, not son

dejags Thu 15-Feb-07 11:42:45

I haven't read the rest of the replies but in my opinion, four weeks old is a little too young to be instilling a "proper" routine. Perhaps if you tried again in 4/6 weeks time things might have settled down a bit. If you are knackered by being up till 2am, then make sure you sleep in the day when she sleeps.

My DS2 was like this - we found that as long as he was being cuddled he was fine. We made the most of it and I would say he was either in mine or DH's arms from 6-10pm most nights. We then went off to bed (him in with us).

It didn't set any long term precedent and by 9/10 weeks he was in the same bedtime routine as his older brother. I felt quite bereft when he started "going to bed".

oh, one last thing - it seems to a universal truth that sleep breeds sleep when it comes to tiny babies. My DS's always slept really well if they'd had loads of sleep in the day.

daisyhun Thu 15-Feb-07 12:50:42

Thanks so much for all the advice. I also have the health visitor coming this afternoon so will discuss with her too.

I am definitely going to try to relax about the routine/bad habits thing and just go with what DD wants in the evening. She does seem to want to feed a bit more often in the evening too. We are just changing over from breast to bottle feeding which makes things a little more complicated but will go with it.

I am so glad you all say that this stage doesn't last for long - I don't want to wish time away but it is very hard at the moment!

Celery Thu 15-Feb-07 13:02:37

Bedtime routines will happen easily in a couple of months time, if you want them to. If she's calm when you're holding her in the evenings, then just sit on the sofa and hold her - or get a sling if you need to get things done. I still haven't got around to sorting out a bedtime routine for my nearly one year old ( third baby ). I keep meaning to, but I just can't really be bothered, and it's no hardship for me to have him snoozing on my lap in the evening. Some babies won't do this though - my first two were in bed by seven from much earlier, because they wouldn't just chill on my lap in the evening - DS1 from four months, and DD from 7 months. Chuck the book away and go with the flow. You are not making a rod for your back, honestly you're not. Babies, even older babies are usually easy enough to change habits with, if and when you need to. Enjoy the cuddly immobile baby stage, it doesn't last long!

liquidclocks Thu 15-Feb-07 13:10:17

I wouldn't necessarily chuck the book away, but do pop it in a draw or back on the shelf for another month or so. I'm incredbly pro routine but even given that, at 4 weeks their tummies are so tiny and can't go as long as many of the books would have you believe.

Where does she sleep during the day as you say she's sleeping well then?

With DS2, completely unlike DS1, we found he actually doesn't like the dark and managed to sleep much better in half light. We discovered this after accidnetally leaving the landing light on one evening. Just pointing out really that not every detail in the books is accurate and you really need to get to know your own baby.

Also, when you say she has her last feed at 6.30 and then carried on until 2am ish - are you feeding her before 2am and are you getting up in the night to feed her as well?

yomellamoHelly Thu 15-Feb-07 13:38:42

I have a 9 week old ds. He went through this too between 4 and 6 weeks. I stuck to the routine, since had none with ds1 when he was tiny and suffered the error of my ways, and I also have seen how reassuring it is to ds1 to know exactly what's happening and what's coming next. I got through it by giving ds a dummy and, following some advice I read on here, threading a muslin square and tucking the square round him so that it stayed put. He doesn't need the dummy anymore. (Still complains, but it's often short-lived and settles himself.)

lorie Thu 15-Feb-07 14:39:36

Sorry didn't have time to read all messages but my son does this now (he is 8wks now). At first we tried to 'put him to bed' around 7/8 pm and we we back and forth like a yoyo! He just wants to FEED from 6pm he now stays downstairs with us where we feed him and he naps (on us) inbetween feeds. It is not ideal as we don't have any evening for us but it is less stressful. He now goes to bed 9-10 where he will sleep well (usually!) for a 4-7 hrs.

We got so hung up on what the books were telling us that we basically put then away and then started to enjoy our little baby, we have now developed our own little routine and for now seems to work.

I'm thinking when he's older we can introduce a earlier bedtime,

Good Luck

daisyhun Thu 15-Feb-07 14:50:41

Lorie - your message makes a lot of sense.

We had a dummy for her ut it made things worse as every time it fell out (about every 2 minutes) she cried and we had to go and hold it in. In the end I was spending the whole night with my arm draped over the side of the moses basket holding the dummy in her mouth! We've now got rid of the dummy which is much easier.

I am totally confused now as my health visitor said that we need to do controlled crying - something I don't like the thought of at all but I am so scared of making a rod for my own back...

I need to have a serious think and work out what we are going to do - I need some sleep! I quite like the idea of keeping her downstairs until 9-10pm - will see what DH wants to try also...

funnypeculiar Thu 15-Feb-07 14:57:48

I think many on here would advise taking h/v opinions with a pinch of salt...for your ref, even Richard Feber (who wrote the 'original' book on controlled crying, apparently now doesn't suggest it until a year.... Think about it from your lo's point of view - he's only ever had to sleep inside you before - he's got to learn how to eat, sleep, cope with all the noise and confusion of life... his natural instinct is to want to be protected by you & your hubby - for all he knows sabre-tooth tigers are going to come and get him any minute now!!
(I'm pro-routine too, in a slightly lacksidasical way ... but I don't think that a 4 week old can really understand a routine...)
If you can persuade hubby to have him downstairs til 9/10, then you ALL go to bed and get some sleep as quick as you can, hopefully things will feel a bit calmer.
Chanting 'this WILL pass, this WILL pass' helped me too...

colditz Thu 15-Feb-07 15:10:47

1 - Your HV's advice is downright fucking dangerous on a 4 week old baby. Ignore.

2 - You cannot spoil a 4 week old baby, ever ever ever. Do what your baby wants, and she will cry less.

3 - I wouldn't be worrying about routines until your baby is at least, say 10 weeks old, which is a whole world away from what she is like now.

4 - In my opinion, and the opinion of the SIDS people, it is much safer to keep your dd downstarir until you go to bed. Obviously your husband has a say in this - but I think you baby should get more of a 'say' than he does, because her needs are greater. All she needs is you. If she cannot hear, see or smell you, to her, you are gone forever. That's why she fusses so much, maybe?

5 - You are evidently a fabulous and caring mummy.

adath Thu 15-Feb-07 15:14:42

Please do not take the HV suggestion of controlled crying 4 weeks is just too tiny for that.
Funnypeculiar is right she has only slept inside you before and you were alwasy moving about lulling her to sleep now she is confused at being put in a wide open moses basket away from the noises of your body and the warmth and smell of you. She is a tiny baby who has no idea that she is not actually inside you anymore and that when she can't see you that you are coming back. As far as she is concerned you are out of sight gone forever.
I have always kept mine close in the early days and tried to follow a reasonably consistent routine of bath milk sleeping bag etc from day one and I have always cudled them to sleep and both by 6 months have always settled into falling asleep about 6.30 on their own I have never forced them just gone with them. It is stil very early days for your baby and you will not be making a rod for your own back honestly, people are always too hung up on the "ih baby is 5 minutes old it must sleep all night" it is not like that. They have been thrust from the only thing they have known for 9 months out into a bright cold world and it takes time for them to adjust. Just enjoy the evenings snuggled up with your baby because honestly in 9 months time when you are looking at this bruiser of a wel fed baby rolling on the floor playing with touys you will wonder where the time went and this sleep deprived time will seem like a distant memory.

gingernutlover Thu 15-Feb-07 15:16:13

dd now 18m was exaclty like this, our HV said to just bear with it for a bit longer and at about 8 weeks showed us how to get her into a bedtime routine - she has gone to bed at 7pm eversince and it only took 2 nights to get her going down happily, but I think 8 weeks was the earliest she would have done it to be honest.

I know it seems like it will never end but It will.

we used to take her up around 6/6.30 and lay her on her mat nude playing music and cuddling etc, bathe her (every night to egin with, although now she doesnt mind if we dont), give her a bottle, put her down and give her a teddy.

Then we made sure that from "bedtime" to "getting up in the morning time" we did everything in her room/our room, absolutley everythihg! DH was hirrified and said he couldnt to begin with cos he wanted to watch TV with her in evenings but honestly after 2 nights, she was asleep at 7, woke for acouple of feeds and slept til 6/7am - it was SO WORTH it and I thank my HV no end for that

tribpot Thu 15-Feb-07 15:16:35

Your health visitor is talking arse. Go with your instincts. If it's colic, leaving her lying flat and crying will make it worse (as well as being cruel). My ds slept on his dad's shoulder every evening for weeks.

gingernutlover Thu 15-Feb-07 15:18:23

meant to say until that time, we just had her with us all the time, with her moses basket in the living room and dummy's saved my sanity for the first 8 weeks - funnilty enough after then she would not tolerate one

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