Sleep regression or bad sleep associations? Help!(16 Posts)
Looking for advice please!!
I have a DS who is 15 weeks tomorrow but was born at 38+3 (does this week early business really make any difference?!) and I am having a nightmare. She has always been alert and from what I can gather, is a "spirited" baby. This may clue you in on why I feel like I am going crazy, I have simply read too many books and sites on how to get her to sleep and I don't know whether I am the cause of sleep problems!
DS went through a phase of getting really overtired and overstimulated in the evenings and would only go to sleep if I breastfed her to that stage. This has worked until recently and she slept through the night,but in the past 2 days, this doesn't work in the day and only when she is knackered at night. Also, DS only wanted to go to bed at 10 or 11pm before but she does seem to be getting more tired earlier but won't nap properly during the day. I was conscious that this was a late bedtime so I don't know whether I have been trying to force the issue by making her sleep earlier?
Last night she woke up at 4am and then didn't go back to sleep until 6am, nighttime was the one time where I could guarantee on getting her to sleep after night feeds and now this isn't even working.
I realise that nursing her to sleep hasn't been a great idea but I would literally try anything after screaming for hours! I have read that I should wake her up just before placing DS in the crib but does this really work?
I am even at the stage of perhaps using the Ferber method as a last resort because I am so worried that these sleep habits are going to carry on as she gets older. I have no time for myself and only I can really get her to sleep which means I can't go out for more than an hour or so on my own, its really getting me down just spending hours in a darkened room trying to get her to sleep :-((
Please help and sorry if the above is garbled, no sleep! I used to have a brain!
She has hit the month sleep regression.
I used to be very ridged about getting DD to go down to sleep by herself and it worked when she was younger. Now she is 6 months and had to held to sleep or every sleep.
Your baby is still very young so I don't think you need to worry about forming sleep associations. You can reduce the feeding to sleep etc from 6 months but do whatever works (feeding, rocking etc) until then. Not sure if this will help you but I love this website www.preciouslittlesleep.com/baby-sleep-what-is-normal/. Basically, when your baby wakes in the morning you need to make a note of the time. Look at the baby sleep chart and work out how long your baby should stay awake between naps (approx 2 hours) and use this as your guideline. Put your baby down for a nap after 2 hours. My third child was always overstimulated but would nap if in his buggy, facing a blank wall (literally nothing interesting to keep him awake). He couldn't bear being rocked in his pram. I also fed him to sleep for his naps up until the age of 6 months. All babies are different though and some will sleep in the buggy if you go on a walk but others prefer their cot. young babies are hard work. It will get easier. If you find your baby won't sleep in their cot, go on a walk for your own sanity.
In the nicest possible way, you need to chill out.
Seriously, put the books away and just focus on responding to your baby's needs. They are still so tiny and as quickly as you have a handle on this phase, another one will start that will probably need an entirely new approach.
Nursing to sleep is not something you should be feeling bad for. Do you have a good sling you could use to help? Have you tried any white noise apps?
You perhaps need to slightly adjust your expectations of a 15 week old baby and be a bit flexible about what constitutes 'time to yourself. I have never left any of mine, at all let alone for an hour, until they were over a year old.
Whilst I agree with Medic that you need to try to relax about it, I don't agree that 'me time' isn't important even at a young age. There should be no reason a baby can't be left with another loving parent or relative for an hour if you've something you want to do ( or just to relax). Even if you need to time it well, just after a feed etc.
Apologies, didn't mean to imply time to yourself was unachievable, just that perhaps more flexibility was needed. It's a big old shock to the system - and I found craving what was possible pre-children was counterproductive. I needed to readjust and focus on maximising what was possible around my children's needs.
Oh it's a different ball game that's for sure Medic
Perhaps easier for me cause DH works fairly normal hrs and DS is formula fed. Although DS and DD together still a handful!
If you would like to stop the feeding to sleep association, you could try shush pat as a means to settle to sleep. www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/01/shhpat.html
It also helps to move to an eat/waketime/sleep cycle rather than a waketime/eat/sleep cycle.
To avoid overtiredness, try to nap regularly throughout the day. I found this table useful as a guide to awake time length by age. www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/02/wake-time.html
Basically, once they have been awake for 90 minutes start putting them back to sleep again. They may not look tired as babies only look tired when they are overtired - they're very sneaky like that.
Thanks so much for the advice, really appreciated. I must be more sleep deprived than I thought as DD is actually 16 weeks, doh!
Della1, I love that site too! My DD is the same, she will fixate on anything and defy sleep! Especially any sort of light or pattern. Blank walls are my friend! :-) She even hates this light mobile thing and I wonder if it stimulates her when already tired. I have started making sure we go out for a long walk every day which seems to be helping!
MedicMama, many thanks. Just to let you know that I when I said time on my own, I literally meant to have a bath or catch up on sleep etc, while my husband watches her. I don't expect to swan off and have a manicure or something?! At the moment I exclusively BF and I am the only person that can make her settle or sleep, I think you can imagine that gets a bit wearing 24 hours a day with no respite especially when she will only nap for 20 mins at a time. I actually think I have good expectations of what a child needs and I can assure you my sole focus is on her, however I also think it is healthier for me to have time away occasionally just to regroup or have a breather. I am starting to show first signs of PND and so I think I also need to manage my needs too. Healthy mum, healthy baby and all that.
Many thanks again to everyone!
Is there anyone who can help you out/give you a break by taking her on a walk at nap time, even if every now and then? The first six months with a baby are a hard slog but I promise it gets better and you will get more time to yourself. Pls see your doctor if you are starting to feel he beginnings of pnd.
could you feed your baby and then hand her over to your husband so that he can take her out on a walk/drive in the car?
That is exactly what I have been doing! i have also been making sure we go for a walk everyday which has improved my mood no end and I think helps her sleep. I don't think my husband realised I was at such a low ebb and so he has also been helping out alot more so hopefully onwards and upwards. Thanks so much for your advice, it has been so hard and I am trying not to wish the time away especially as it was such an achievement to have her!!
Glad to hear things are a bit better. keep going out as much as possible and do little things each day for yourself. Don't feel guilty about wishing the time away.- I think everyone does this sometimes. Things will get easier as your baby becomes a "person" and starts to develop a personality/ do more things!
Oh and this sleep deprivation won't last, it really won't. This is not how your life is going to be forever (I felt like this when I had my twins 4 years ago!). Things change. Your baby will eventually sleep. It will get better.
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