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Is it possible for a 9-week-old baby to be an insomniac?

(15 Posts)
CountBapula Mon 29-Nov-10 18:28:41

My DS (9 weeks) finds it unbelievably difficult and traumatic to fall asleep. He's had ups and downs with it but over the last couple of days it's got significantly worse.

He's never been able to fall asleep on his own and has always needed to be rocked and put down asleep (or very nearly asleep). Trouble is, all our tricks are losing their effectiveness. He struggles, kicks, scratches and head-butts when I rock him, or, if he's calm, just stares around with eyes like saucers. White noise used to work a treat, but that's wearing off now. He cries in the sling, pram and car. He won't take a dummy or suck my finger. Even bfing him to sleep - which I've tried to avoid - only works sporadically.

I managed to feed him to sleep this morning and he slept on me for an hour and a half (refused to be put down). He was then up for six hours, with several bouts of awful screaming, before I finally bfed him to sleep again.

I know he is overtired and watch for yawns etc but it doesn't make any difference as nothing I do will make him sleep. When he does go to sleep he manages decent stretches - 3-4hrs at night, 1-1.5hrs during the day. But it's such a battle to get him to sleep he ends up not getting enough. He's only slept 9 hours in the last 24.

I know he's too little for sleep training - did have some success with shh/pat but again that no longer works and I could only do it if he was extremely dopey anyway - I can't get him to a sleepy enough state.

It's starting to ruin my enjoyment of him and I'm worried about getting depressed. Does he actually have some sort of genuine sleep disorder? This can't be normal, can it? He is not ill or in pain because when he's not tired he smiles and laughs and gurgles so cutely. He's just super-alert and wakeful, has been since he was 10 days old.

Should I get him checked out or do I just have to wait it out and see if he gets better?

Igglybuff Tue 30-Nov-10 13:43:05

How long is he awake before you nap?

I remember DS going through such a phase at a similar age. He was (still is) very nosy so I think he found it hard to switch off. He so had reflux which didn't help.

In the end I had to get strict as going with the flow didn't help - he just couldn't nap without help. I had to get him to nap after being awake for 45 mins (yep really!) - his tired signs were glazed eyes, looking away then grizzling then wide eyed mania. If I caught him in time he'd nap. Best way was to pop him in the sling and go for a walk or feed him. Things like White noise or loud dance music worked but were for when he'd passed the point of no return!

CountBapula Tue 30-Nov-10 19:25:53

Thanks Iggly. That's a good point about the looking away thing. I've always kept looking out for the yawn but someone else mentioned the eye contact today as an earlier sign. I find that once the yawn comes (around 1.5 hrs after waking) it's almost too late, so I should try and get to him earlier.

Did that mean he was taking 4 or 5 naps a day then? Did you put him down awake or asleep? I get so worried about the whole rocking/feeding to sleep/rod for your own back thing but sometimes he'll only stay asleep if we wait until he's pretty much comatose. Did your DS ever learn to self-settle? Sorry for all the questions!

I know what you mean about nosiness. My DS seems terrified of sleeping in case he misses something!

girliefriend Tue 30-Nov-10 19:41:02

Hello def don't beat yourself up about comforting to sleep, he is still very little and there is a lot of time for him to learn to self soothe. If I were you I would try and start implementing a routine during the day, so after a coule of hours of being up in the morning start thinking about putting him down for a nap. I would do this by taking him back to where he sleeps at night, checking his nappy is fine, make sure he is not hungry, make it as dark as poss, and if you have the little baby sleeping bags pop him in. Give lots of cuddles and then lay him down. I always played some soothing music as well, like motzart for babies at bedtime. If he crys pick him up and reassure, pop him down again. You may find that he needs 5mins of tears before he will settle. Roughly IMO babies under 3 months need a nap every 3-4 hrs, so say he gets up at 7am ish, 1st nap at 9am, then midday then again 3pm and then he should be ok to go through to 7pm bedtime. I think you have to be consistant and whatever order you do things in pre nap always try and do it the same way so that he knows what is coming and what to expect. If he is still screaming a lot it might be worth having a chat with your health visitor or gp to rule out reflux or any other issues. Hope that helps!

CountBapula Tue 30-Nov-10 20:18:01

Thanks girlie - I do stress so much about the self-soothing thing so it's reassuring to hear there's still time for that!

Igglybuff Tue 30-Nov-10 20:50:39

Yes he took 4-5 short naps a day. Easier doing it with him in a sling or nap on me when we were home.

He started to self settle around 5/6 months but sporadically. Now he's 13 months and he do it more regularly.

I took the view (after months of stressing) that I'll give him a chance to self settle but if he won't, then so be it. He self settles brilliantly at bedtime - less so for naps. So don't worry about naps so much - it's more important he gets them. At bedtime it's more important he self settles (unless ill etc).

To let him self settle at night I'd put him down after a feed and pat or rub. That gradually became putting him down. But it doesn't always work. Also when he started to sleep on his feint it became a lot easier!

Igglybuff Tue 30-Nov-10 20:51:34

front not feint (iPhone auto correct!)

CountBapula Tue 30-Nov-10 21:24:32

Thanks Iggly. I actually managed to get him down at 7pm tonight and he fell asleep in the basket with the old shh/pat. He only lasted an hour (think the kids next door were being a bit noisy) and awoke with an almighty howl, but it's progress at least and certainly beat tramping round the house with him all evening. Good point re self settling at night - he will fall asleep in moses if in the right mood but won't do it for naps - will try not to worry about that too much now.

verytiredmama Thu 02-Dec-10 18:03:52

Hey CountBapula

I have one of these babies too -he's seven weeks and from the very beginning he's had issues falling asleep. Even in the ward after he was born he was staring out of his basket instead of going to sleep! I don't know what his story is but he really resists sleeping to the point that he gets waaaaay over tired and then super cranky.

So far I have found the following to be helping. First I watch him closely for any tired signs e.g. looking away, yawning, seven mile stare etc. As soon as he shows ANY of them I swaddle him and bring him into a darkened room and put him in his basket. I might then have to rock the crib while saying shush shush or give him the dummy for 10 mins or so before he falls asleep. Also I notice that he sleeps much better when there is no TV or anything on near him. If it is totally quiet in the room and he wakes he sometimes gets back to sleep himself. If there is noise, no chance. I take the dummy off him as soon as he falls asleep cos otherwise he wakes looking for it after 15-20 mins (trying to get rid of the dummy but it really seems to be one of the only things that helps him to drop off..)

Hope you have some joy with trying one or more of these!

CountBapula Thu 02-Dec-10 21:48:58

Thanks verytired. Yes, have had some success with abducting him after sleepy signs and swaddling, though I do feel mean about the swaddling because he does squirm and yell so much. But it does seem to contain his fury. I would love to give him a dummy but so far he won't take one - which one do you use? He spits out the tommee tippee and avent ones.

V reassurong to know there are others with babies like mine!

thaiboxingqueen Fri 03-Dec-10 12:30:11

Hi countBapula,

I just wanted to start off by saying I know exactly what your going through. I also have a 9 week old dd and she has never been a good sleeper. The worst point was when she was 4 weeks old and averaging 5 hours sleep in 24 hours.
I have tried just about everything with some random success, I will list what I have done in the hope some of it might be of use.

Infacol - Thought it would reduce wind which was keeping her up - tried for a week didn't work

Changing formula - started of with SMA which gave her constipation, then Aptimil which gave her really painful wind. Finally tried Hipp Organic which luckily has been great. I think this is mainly due to the fact she was BF and this seems to be just as gentle on her tummy.

Gripe Water - this is a god send. DD has always had trouble bringing up wind and often causes crying and waking during naps. The Gripe water has stopped it.

Swaddling definity helped DD sleep longer at night although now on sleep bag as she wriggles out.

Crainial Oesteopath - not sure about this yet as have only had one appointment.

Finally the one thing that has made a big difference is the below routine from the Baby Whisperer:-

7.30am MILK
8.00am Nappy change and quick play and start method to get baby to sleep
8.30-10.30am NAP

10.30aam MILK
11.00am Nappy change and quick play and start method to get baby to sleep
11.45-1.30pm NAP

1.30pm MILK
2.00pm Nappy change and quick play and start method to get baby to sleep
2.30-4pm NAP

4.00pm MILK
4.30pm Nappy change and quick play and start method to get baby to sleep
5-6pm NAP

6.00pm MILK (only 2 hours from last feed to keep baby topped up ready for bed)
6.30pm BATH
7.00pm BED (sometimes give rest of 6pm bottle if DD didn't take much before bed)


3.30am MILK and nappy change.(no eye contact and minimal interaction).

Should sleep through till 7am ish
We always follow this with variations within an hour or so. Since starting this 3 weeks ago I have gone from a baby who woudn't sleep to a baby that will now go from 8pm-1am straight sleep then feeds, then sleeps until 5am. This has meant we have been able to drop the 10pm feed and alter the 3.30 slightly to 5ish.
The main points is to keep feeding during the morning and early afternon to three hourly slots and make sure the baby is not awake for any longer then 1hr-1 1/2hr to ensure they don't get overtired.

I think the routine helps me to know when to try and get her to sleep as often she doesn't show any signs until it's to late.

Sorry for the long post but Ihope it helps.

CountBapula Fri 03-Dec-10 15:06:22

Very helpful, thanks thaiboxingqueen. We also had success with gripe water - DS loves the taste of it and it's very entertaining watching him slurp it off the spoon! And he had three cranial osteopathy sessions which I think helped.

Out of interest, what is your method for getting her to go to sleep? One reason we haven't really been able to get into a routine is that DS is such a bugger to settle. May have cracked that now (tight swaddle + white noise seems to work well) but would be interested to hear how you tackle it.

thaiboxingqueen Fri 03-Dec-10 16:07:33

Well like you, DD is also hard work to settle. Usually we just have to rock her or walk around but it does take a long time, and she will only fall asleep while bbeing held so I stll have issues to sort out. Do you use a cd for the white noise? maybe that might help with mine.

thaiboxingqueen Fri 03-Dec-10 16:15:33

oh and forgot to mention, i have to stand in a dark room while rocking her as lights and the tv keep her awake, once she is asleep i can move into a differnt room. It's so annoying.

CountBapula Fri 03-Dec-10 16:45:39

I downloaded a 60-min wave sounds track which is lovely and did work quite well, but now we use a detuned radio! Horrid sound but for some reason it really sends him off! Wrapping him tightly in a cot blanket so he can't thrash about has really reduced the amount of time it takes to rock him to sleep.

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