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SUPPORT THREAD Specifically for New Mums with "clingy" babies.

(193 Posts)
PukeyRag Mon 06-Jun-11 11:36:56

(Sorry to use the word clingy, only one I could think of!)

So, there are so many threads on a daily basis with the same question -
"How do I get my DC to sleep on his/her own?"
New mums everywhere find that their DC will only sleep on them, and if they put them down, they'll only stay down for 10-15 mins or so, which is a nightmare, especially for those with babies who do the same at night, and makes you feel like punching the people who say "oh well, you should sleep when baby sleeps!"

This thread is to offer advice and support, techniques that have worked for others, and also for people to have a bit of a moan! grin

I hope more experienced mums will post the things that helped them, to help others.

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The Reason - ALL babies feel the need to be close to their caregiver, especially in the first few months of their life. It's not natural for them to sleep alone, as they don't yet realise that they're safe.
Their tiny bodies are experiencing so many new and strange things - sounds, sensations, feelings - they need you to be there every step of the way, and they don't care if you're tired to the point of seeing double, all they care about is being full and feeling your warmth and heart beat, which allows them to be calm and sleep soundly.
Bottom line is, we may be used to the modern world, but babies are not!

The Solution - In all brutal honesty, the only solution to this is time, but how do you get past this point of sleep deprivation/not getting things done?

Please read next post for my advice.

PukeyRag Mon 06-Jun-11 11:37:15

Health - Make sure you DC is well, putting on weight properly and has no health problems.

Expectations - Remember, you cannot expect your baby to know that night time is meant for sleeping and day time naps are important.
Do not expect anything like this from your DC in the first few months. Just go with what he does and don't beat yourself up about your 5 week old not sleeping through the night yet.

YumYumInMyTum - A baby so young will only sleep a little at a time, especially if he is BF.
This is because breast milk digests a lot quicker, therefore baby gets hungry sooner. It could be a good idea to see someone about your baby latching on properly. If baby isn't latching he will only be getting a little bit at a time, which means he will constantly be hungry. Which also means you will both be exhausted from the effort of feeding 24/7!
If your baby is feeding constantly, irritable and always dropping off while feeding, there's a chance he isn't doing it right.

Have you thought about expressing your milk so that other people can feed your DC? This could be key to getting some much needed kip!

If your DC is FF, you may want to check that they are not lactose intolerant, as this can contribute to them not sleeping properly due to an upset tummy. Some babies just don't get on with formula and a lactose free option could help for a few months.
sometimes it's as simple as changing the milk to help you DC sleep better.

Co-Sleeping - Do you co-sleep? If not, what are your reasons and would you reconsider? IMO it is the best way to get any decent sleep at night. It's perfectly natural and safe if you follow the safety guidelines for co-sleeping, even with a tiny baby.
If you and baby are getting a reasonable amount of sleep at night, it will be so much easier to tackle the day.

Sling It! - Oh what a wonderful invention the sling is! Wrap slings are brilliant for you and your baby, who can get some decent naps in the day (which helps for better night time sleep) and you can get some hoovering done! It's also great for bonding, wether it's with you, dad, granny etc.
The Moby Wrap is my best friend!

Swing It! - Baby swings and bouncers do keep a lot of babies content and sometimes they are the only things that work, so look in to it. Another contraption is the DreamRocker - a platform that you can place the pushchair/carseat/moses basket etc on and it rocks back and forth.
There is also the MamaRoo Swing for those willing to spend a lot of money for 5 minutes of peace! I must admit though I would quite like one of these.
Remember as baby gets older it's a lot easier to plonk them in a bouncer/on a mat for 20mins to give you a bit of time to do other things.

One thing I found that keeps my DD happy for ages is a toy by a company called Lamaze. It's a little fairy doll and we take it everywhere! Definitely worth the money as it puts a smile on my DD's face every time without fail smile I think this is because it has big black and white eyes and black and white patterns on the wings. There's a whole collection of them, too.

OotAndAboot - If you feel like you have the engery (ha ha) and want to face the world, pop baba in the pram because, as we all know, this helps them sleep. It also helps you get some exercise to shift the baby weight.

The car is also a miracle worker, but some of us don't have cars and some of us are too sleep deprived to be thinking about driving!

Help - One of the most important things is to get people involved, wether it's daddy (who should be running around after you anyway!) granny, other family members or friends. Do not take this on by yourself.
"It takes a village to raise a child"

The dreaded C-Word - If you think your baby has colic then I suspect you have tried most or all of the above.
One thing that has helped me is Infacol and believe it or not, the trampoline in the garden.
There's also Gripe Water, Massage, and the knowledge that most babies grow out of it around 3 months or soon after.

Mmmm...Vomit - If your baby has reflux you'll know it, and I believe that propping them up to sleep can help, or just generally keeping them upright. Your baby could also have silent reflux. If you think this is the case go and bug your doctor until he gives you something that might help. It's always worth a shot.

The single most important thing IMO is to always trust your instinct. We as mothers should pay attention to our childrens needs and as time passes, we learn more and more about our babies and how to comfort them properly. In return, our babies learn to trust us.
Remember in a few months the fun will really start and this will all be in the past! For now though, you get some much needed advice from this thread and remember, it is advice and suggestions, personal opinions and not orders, solutions or guarantees.

The things i've suggested have come from personal experience but I hope some of these things work for you!

owainsmum Mon 06-Jun-11 13:12:04

Great thread! My ds is definitely clingy although some days he is better than others. He's 18 weeks and loves being with me or being held all the time, so I can hardly ever get anything done during the day. I haven't really got around to trying to get him in the cot for daytime naps yet, although have put him down already asleep a couple of times, but he just wakes instantly. He can't self settle yet but I sometimes put him in the cot at bedtime when he's not quite asleep to see if he'll do it (I bf him to sleep then put him down usually). Occasionally he does, but usually he doesn't. I did have a bit of success last night though, I fed him to sleep, put him down, then he woke after about 10 minutes, so I picked him up and cuddled him, singing softly until he was dropping off, then put him down almost asleep, and he went to sleep on his own. Unfortunately he woke again after a few minutes and wouldn't be cuddled to sleep, so I fed him to sleep then put down. 5 minutes later he woke again, but I managed to cuddle, sing and put down awake-ish and he fell asleep. Awake again after 1 sleep cycle and had to be fed to sleep, after a couple of times doing this in the space of half an hour I gave up and took him to bed with me. That was a bit extreme with the number of times to settle him, but usually I would give in and take him into bed sooner. I'm trying to get him in the cot for at least the start of the night though, and hopefully he'll get used to it again so I might have some success with naps in there.

Anyway, didn't intend to write an essay, sorry grin
So basically, he's hard to settle at bedtime (about 7-8pm), ends up co-sleeping, has naps on me or in the pram, and doesn't like being left alone during the day (will manage about 10 minutes in his gym though)

Any suggestions gratefully received smile

PukeyRag Mon 06-Jun-11 14:03:04

Thank you and welcome owainsmum smile
Have you tried a sling with him?
I know what it's like, believe me! It sounds to me though that you're getting there with teeny tiny steps. I think if you keep putting him down when he's very nearly asleep he will eventually get used to it.

My DD woke up the other night and I usually rock her until she falls asleep and lie down with her/put her in cot (which has the side removed and is pushed right up against our bed to help her learn to sleep there - it works as she'll sleep between 3-5 hours on her own but finds it comforting that i'm right there next to her) but this time she was really moaning at me and I thought she was hungry so I put her down on the bed, got up and put my dressing gown and slippers on and she fell asleep! I was amazed at this!

I have also found that a bouncer in the doorway with a musical keyboard under her feet keeps her amused for a good half hour, and a lot of other things that play music helps keep her happy for longer. They generally enjoy a lot of background noise in the day too!

loopy11 Mon 06-Jun-11 16:17:35

Thanks for starting this thread. I have a six week old who sleeps for hours when held or co-sleeping but max. 1hour in his moses basket (if he lets me put him down in the first place!) I agree with all your suggestions, especially about co-sleeping in the first instance to ensure you and baby get enough sleep. When I feel rested I have more energy to help DS to settle in his basket during the day than when I'm totally sleep deprived. I'm hoping that when he gets used to sleeping there during the day it will eventually transfer to night-time sleeping too.
Another idea I've found works is to use music when settling DS in his basket. I play the same music every time (Kate Rusby if anyone's interested!) and find that this helps to calm him while he falls asleep.
Any other ideas would be gratefully recieved!

PukeyRag Mon 06-Jun-11 18:17:21

Hi loopy smile No problem.
I'm glad you agree with the co-sleeping, it makes a whole world of difference when you've actually slept.
Yes I do find that music is a great help, especially if it's loud grin

I'm hoping more mummies will come forth and share their ideas soon smile

PukeyRag Mon 06-Jun-11 18:23:50

Oh dear, DP just reminded me of the very expensive, hand-made wicker moses basket that my dad bought for us and hasn't had any proper use yet! (It's quite large so hoping she'll sleep in it at some point, or i'll feel amazing guilt)

Just goes to show, babies will do what they want! grin

fififrog Mon 06-Jun-11 18:28:08

I started a thread for advice on how to get now clingy 11-wk old back to sleeping in her own bed. I think major barrier for me is that she usually cries a lot when falling asleep so I don't think self-settling is an option. No matter how hard I try to catch her before overtired.... Does anyone else have a baby that takes 15 minutes of jiggling and shushing through tears to settle to sleep? Can anyone tell me if she will ever stop crying to sleep? I can't imagine shush/pat will ever work either.

My daytimes are similar to Owainsmum but I'm moderately happy with them - if only she could fall asleep without backbreaking rocking/jiggling or proper walking in the pram...

PukeyRag Mon 06-Jun-11 19:59:23

fififrog - I think 11 weeks may be a bit young for self settling, and I also think (correct me if i'm wrong) that they have a sleep regression around 12 weeks, so this could be what's happening. I think they have a growth spurt around the same time, too.

She will stop crying to sleep, does she still feed to sleep at all?
And have you tried a sling? I do hope it gets better for you.

fififrog Mon 06-Jun-11 20:33:20

thanks pukeyrag (love the name!). yes sling is a saviour. I am ok with the day clinginess but want us all to sleep better at night.

I don't think I ever really fed her to sleep (funny how long 11 weeks seems) unless sometimes at night she has fallen asleep then i wouldn't wake her up, obviously. Normally I end up feeding her when she wakes from naps.

I agree 11 weeks tiny, but find it hard to watch other babies drop off and get seduced by books telling me x or y should work to settle them... Also of course most importantly, heartbreaking that she has to cry to sleep sad

Still, some people have it so much worse! Really feel for the folks with non-sleeping babies! At least I can get her off!!

fififrog Mon 06-Jun-11 20:40:37

PS I have a close carrier which I find easier than my wraparound - if I want to sit down again and she's still asleep I can slip her out much more easily by loosening the rings. Really recommend but buy second hand from ebay as fearsomely expensive new!

PukeyRag Tue 07-Jun-11 07:13:52

Thanks, it's my name for burping cloths grin

Of course, we'd all love a better nights' sleep smile would you consider co-sleeping or having her cot up against your bed? (this is what i've done with DD's cot and she sleeps there for the first half of the night and does quite well with that)
I also find that holding her up on my shoulder and rocking her back and forth helps send her to sleep.
I'm surprised you've never fed her to sleep, maybe you could try doing that as sometimes they need that extra bit of comfort.

And yes, I was going to get the close carrier, it was one of the first ones I looked at smile But I got the moby wrap instead as it seemed more comfortable and you can do loads of different holds with it. Ebay is a wonderful place smile

fraktious Tue 07-Jun-11 07:29:19

Sling!!!! Either ring or wrap. Stretchy is fab because you can pop them in and out easily.

Baby Bjorn babysitter - so easy to bounce, if they jiggle in their sleep the movement bounces the bouncer and it soothes them back to sleep and it flatpacks to take anywhere

Co-sleeping, definitely

If you still have a birthing ball then bouncing gently on that can help bring up wind. A little bit of massage works wonders too.

A 90minute CD of wave sounds, now known in our house as 'bloody ocean noise'.

Patience.... It's in short supply but DS's reflux means we have to keep him upright after feeds by which time he's often well away and can be put down. Too early is a recipe for disaster.

PukeyRag Tue 07-Jun-11 08:18:01

Thanks fraktious! Much appreciated smile

PacificDogwood Tue 07-Jun-11 08:28:15

Just adding my support as I have nothing much to add to the sling/co-sleeping/getting out of the house etc.
Maybe also chanting 'This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass..' like a loon or was that just me who found that helpful winkblush?

I am posting to say, there is light at the end of the tunnel. They all settled down - eventually. I thought DS1 was a high-needs baby, this idea was confirmed by laid-back DS2 and 'average' DS3.
DS4 is now almost 15 months and has only just (in the last 3 weeks) mastered sleeping and I feel I am coming out of loooooong dark tunnel into the light <<huge sigh of relief>>.

Along the lines of 'this too shall pass', I did genuinely find it helpful not to think too far ahead. If I tried v hard to simply life in the Here and Now, the thought of the next disrupted night or how difficult it is to make dinner with a toddler baby on your arm (Ergo is you best friend there!) did not stress me out so much. I was at my most distressed when I had ended up thinking 'I cannot do this, this is horrible, why me, why my baby? I want one of those angelically-sleeping/entertaining themselves babies.').

Also apparently there is research to support that well-attached (read 'clingy') babies are likely to turn into confident children.

fififrog Tue 07-Jun-11 08:33:13

We pretty much do cosleep now but I hate it! Can't sleep well at all as I wriggle a lot. The cot we have is not drop sided but I guess we could look at a new one. Gonna try the opposite first - see if the problem is we're disturbing each other. Just 2 weeks ago I could pop her in the basket after night time feed and she'd go back to sleep...

PukeyRag Tue 07-Jun-11 08:39:03

Thanks Pacific.
I completely agree with the 'this too shall pass' mantra, as it's true and it helps to put things in to perspective. Taking it one day at a time helps keep your sanity and I also find in most cases that not taking yourself/things too seriously helps.

It's good that you've begun to see the light, and when the kids are all grown up you can force them to come and look after you, ha ha grin

Definitely believe that the stronger the bond, the more confident the child smile

PukeyRag Tue 07-Jun-11 08:41:42

fifi, that's the problem, babies change what they do so often in the first year or so sad
You could possibly be disturbing eachother - i'd definitely look in to getting a co-sleeping cot as my DD loves being right next to me but it also gives us both space smile

PukeyRag Tue 07-Jun-11 10:40:11

I must admit the baby bjorn babysitter does look good - think i'll be ordering one of those!

PacificDogwood Tue 07-Jun-11 21:53:38

Oh, poo, I just lost a long post.

The gist of it was:
I found Dr Sears The Fussy Baby Book really helpful. It made me look at DS1 more as 'high need' rather than difficult, and also normalised his behaviour for me as a book had been written about kids like him, so he can't have been the first screamer in the History of Mankind wink.

Baby Bjorn Babysitter: looks good, but I was too tight for it, after an Amby hammock did not work for DS4 - but then nothing worked for DS4... except letting time pass.

JetLi Tue 07-Jun-11 22:33:37

I'm in.
DD2 is 16 weeks today. Co-sleeping at night & that is working fine. She is a little sod for teeny tiny cat naps during the day so we start the day cheery & then after hours & hours of being awake with these piddling little naps, by the time we reach teatime she is a frantic ball of screaming fury. Today I resorted to the babysitter (tis fab as I can get a good rythmic bounce with minor footwork) & the bloody hairdryer of all things. She slept for 15 mins before DD1 sat on her beanbag 4 feet away & it woke the baby up...

Good resale on ebay for the babysitter btw.

PukeyRag Wed 08-Jun-11 02:45:06

Pacific - Have always referred to DD as 'high maintenance', as I don't like 'blaming' her for he way she is at all by calling her difficult etc, might give that book a go as most books are all, 'when your baby has her midday feed and goes down for her nap..blahblah' Yeah, right grin

Yes, that magical time thing... The only thing that works really well with DD is her door bouncer and musical keyboard under her feet.

JetLi - Welcome smile

I have strong sympathy for you, yesterday DD had about an hour and a half alltogether, I did sling it for a bit but something's up with my back and i'm trying not to make it any worse sad

Do you use a sling at all?
DD can sleep for hours in the ol' moby wrap smile

owainsmum Wed 08-Jun-11 10:44:57

Hi again,
I have tried using a baby carrier around the house to get things done but can only really do a few things like that, although ds does like it in there. He used to fall asleep in it really quickly but stays awake now. I still can't get him to settle at bedtime though, last night was terrible, the two nights before that I repeatedly put him down and he would wake after 10 minutes. Yesterday though I had been out all afternoon with him, so he only managed 30 minutes for his late afternoon nap, and had a very short lunch time nap too. I decided to put him to bed earlier than usual, at 6.30 because he was tired, and initially he was really good. I fed him to sleep but he woke up when I put him in the cot, but stayed quiet (he usually cries straight away) so I rubbed his chest and whispered to him and he fell asleep smile He woke up again 5 minutes later, but I still feel that we made some progress towards self settling. Anyway after that I couldn't even feed him to sleep, he was just not going to sleep or staying asleep. Eventually I just got into bed with him so he could suck all night and I could get some sleep, although he was wide awake for ages at 4am so I'm still really tired now. Please someone tell me he will start staying asleep at bedtime again so I can get my evenings back. I'm hoping it's 4 month regression, he's 19 weeks now. I'm also hoping that when he starts on solid food it will be the miracle sleep cure grin

JetLi Wed 08-Jun-11 11:12:05

About the sling, I'm with owainsmum - DD is over 7Kg so hefty smile. She came out a bruiser so I haven't had a steady rise in weight to get used to her in the ergo. I can't really do the bending over stuff with her in the sling either. It will be easier when I can put her on my back I think, but the head support isn't there yet. I leave the housework as much as possible (2nd baby so I know its important just to give in to the mayhem, for your own sanity) but I'm asthmatic so eventually I have to do something or it starts to make me ill.
So not a great start to the day, and she has had a 10 minute nap this morning hmm
With DD1 I didn't have my evenings until she was around 10 months old - but I did get a couple of hours here & there during the day whilst she napped.
I know there is a trick in there somewhere but its taking some bloody finding... I might try the dummy again today - that has it's own difficulties, but she has to sleep. She has that look to her now, where you can almost see her brain exploding behind her eyes because she is so tired.

fraktious Wed 08-Jun-11 11:17:31

Have you tried a wrap? DS loves it - I think he feels all safe and cuddled.

I was asking on another thread if anyone worried when they slept too much. Then I realised he was sleeping what most people would call a normal amount.

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