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Newborn Sleep Nightmares!

(9 Posts)
Clueless79 Sat 04-Jun-11 12:03:21

My little boy is 5 weeks old and really doesn't like sleeping - during the day or in the night. He'll fall asleep on me or in his car seat (in motion) and sometimes in his swinging chair. To be honest I'm totally confused about how many naps he should be having and how to get him to actually go to sleep. In the night he'll eventually go to sleep after being fed (bf) for long periods of time and quite a lot of fussing. I don't mind going along with that except having serious concerns about my stamina to continue through many more nights like these.

I was really hoping people who are more in the know about this baby business could share their experiences and advice?

wigglemama Sat 04-Jun-11 20:27:39

At this stage, I wouldn't worry about how many naps he is having. For the first 5-6 weeks my ds wouldn't sleep anywhere but in his bouncer, so that's just where we let him sleep, even at night. (I had checked with health visitor and she said just to go with it!). I found that getting into a good bedtime routine and ssticking with it really helped. So we started bathing him, massage with johnsons sleepy lotion, bottle/bf and bed. I always swaddled him and put a rolled up blanket with some expressed breast milk on it beside him so he could still 'smell' me. It all seemed to work and becuase we stuck to it, it worked (eventually and most of the time!). It is such an exhausting time. You do get used to the lack of sleep, as difficult as it is. Just do what works for you and your baby. Let me know how you get on.

ThatllDoPig Sat 04-Jun-11 20:31:22

It's really hard ,but does get better. How many hours will he go in one 'lump' during the night?

PukeyRag Sun 05-Jun-11 08:59:45

I know (as i'm sure most of us do) exactly what you're going through.
At the moment all your baby wants is to be warm, full, and safe in your arms. Babies need to bond with their caregiver and you should definitely put any expectations of your tiny DS on the backburner for now, as he will do what he wants until he's a few months older.
The sleep is the biggest problem for every new parent, especially a BF mother!
My DD and I only got any sleep when we co-slept, her snuggled into my arm. Have you tried co-sleeping? Babies sleep so much better this way and it's perfectly natural! You should really consider it, you'll be surprised how much better he sleeps cuddled up with you smile
Around 2 months my DD started sorting out her night time sleep, got herself a little routine going, I didn't do anything, I just let her get on with it. Remember though babies change what they do constantly in the first year or so and it IS tough.
Would you also consider expressing milk in to bottles and handing him over to someone for a few hours? (also if you introduce this now he's more likely to take the bottle) I did this with my DD and it was a huge relief to get some decent sleep.
Anyway I won't go on but if you feel you'd like any more advice you can always inbox me.

Congrats on your new baby and good luck smile

childrenchildreneverywhere Sun 05-Jun-11 09:24:21

to be honest what you've described does sound completely normal for a newborn, he doesn't know day from night yet so doesn't know he's meant to sleep a lot more once it's dark. Mine slept in their swing a few times when I was really desperate.

Do you have a BabyCalm class near you? they run a 3hr workshop to help with this sort of thing www.babycalm.co.uk

Clueless79 Sun 05-Jun-11 11:06:59

Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful responses. Last night we were treated to an unprecedented 5 hour block of sleep! I feel so much better for it but can't claim that anything we did led to it happening other than maybe doing some especially effective burping (him not us!) before putting him down. He seems to struggle quite a bit with trapped wind.

I think people are right in saying that he's still so small to be able to fit into any sort of pattern - when is the right time to start a routine and regular 'bed time' and nap times for that matter?

Pukeyrag - tbh the idea of co sleeping, as nice and snuggly as it sounds, terrifies me as I go so deeply to sleep when the chance arises. I'm planning on expressing, though, once I feel baby is more established with latching on. We're still having to really concentrate on getting it right everytime.

PukeyRag Sun 05-Jun-11 12:36:11

I think you can try and start a routine whenever you like, obviously not a strict one but you could definitely start attempting the same pattern every night, ie bath-feed-turning lights and sound down when it's dark outside. Everyone finds something different that works for them and the best thing to do is to just trust/follow your instinct.
That's all i've ever done and DD now goes down between 8 and 9 every night without fail, sleeps 3-5 hours, wakes for a feed, sleeps for 3-4 hours, wakes again, has a long morning nap around 9, then short naps throughout the day, then a long nap around 4-5. I then bath her and feed her around 6-7.
Then again I can never fully trust this pattern but I know roughly that this is what she'll do.

The co-sleeping thing I can understand, before I had DD I was worried about the same thing but it's amazing how your body reacts when you've got your baby in bed with you, and instinctively you wake up when they move/make noise. Obviously you will know what's best for you and DC but for me it was a really good solution.
(However I now have the side of the cot taken off and pushed right up against the bed so that she's close but in her own space for the first part of the night) Also have a sling for the day as better daytime sleep generally means better night time sleep.

As for the latching on, that's perfectly understandable. Just remember, it may seem like a life-time right now but everything will be so different in a matter of weeks and it does gradually get better smile

LoobyLou33 Sun 05-Jun-11 14:38:12

hi Clueless, thanks for this thread, I was about to start a similar one as my DS is the same age and also sleeps very little. I really sympathise with your lack of sleep - how are we supposed to "sleep when baby sleeps" if he either doesn't much, and when he does, it has to be on mum?

My son does usually have one 3-4 hour stint at night (11-3ish) but that is the only time he'll sleep in his moses basket, otherwise he insists on sleeping on me and when i move him he wakes up and cries. In the day/evening he has one 2-hour sleep and a couple of half-hours, but that's it. Also he only ever falls asleep on the breast...DH has been bottle feeding him emb once a day and tho that contents him, he won't fall asleep. When he was tiny in hospital he slept much more, in his cot, and not just after a feed, so I know he can do it! He seems to have got progressively worse in the last 3 weeks. He feeds for long times often running into the next feed, and I'm sure a lot of that is comfort sucking not feeding.

I wondered if anyone has any advice!? I've tried the "smells of you" cloth, swadding, gro-bag, dummy to shush him...nothing seems to make much difference. I bought a sling but not sure I'm using it properly, he seems a bit bunched up in it!

Clueless, Re: co-sleeping, I don't do it at night but often do for a nap in the daytime, perhaps you could try that when you're on your own? Even if you're too nervous to drop off properly (I usually am), at least you get to shut-eye and rest. I know that's not as good as proper sleep but better than nothing! you could put a bolster by your knees so you can't fall onto him?

PukeyRag Sun 05-Jun-11 19:08:09

LoobyLou - I had the same problem with my DD, she would feed constantly and just wouldn't sleep anywhere other than on me, always fell asleep on the boob etc... It turned out that she wasn't feeding properly (not latching properly), therefore not getting enough milk and wearing herself out whilst feeding from the effort and was always hungry because of it. Is your DS putting on weight properly? You may want to chat to your HV/get him weighed. As soon as I started feeding DD EBM she started sleeping a lot better as she was actually getting full up quicker instead of little bits over a long period of time.

In fact Clueless79, you could possibly have this problem too. Check your DS is putting on enough weight smile Better to be safe than sorry IMO.

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