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Newborn (4 weeks) will not sleep flat on back - exhausted

(21 Posts)
MamaLaMoo Mon 05-Sep-11 18:03:36

New baby won't sleep lying down, she won't tolerate it for long (a few minutes tops) while awake either before screaming her head off. Nappy changing is not fun :-(. She is still quite curled up and foetal looking and was a long, large baby at birth (>95th %tile) so may have been especially squashed up.

Conversations with MW, HV and previous experience with DD1 have meant she is sleeping on my front tummy down while I lie propped up on pillows or sleeping propped up on a firm pillow/breast feeding v-shaped pillow. During the day she sleeps in a sling or in arms. She definitely prefers sleeping upright on a person or in a sling. She doesn't really like cradle hold.

Is it possible she has something out of alignment in her back/hips causing her to find lying flat uncomfortable?

She gets very windy if she cries before a feed and gulps air down while feeding, we are trying hard to prevent this through BF positions, infacol, getting her on the boob before crying commences etc. Could this just be due to wind? I suspect more to it as she doesn't ever want to lie flat.

I just desperately want to put her down and get a couple of hours sleep comfortably not upright.

MumtoF Mon 05-Sep-11 18:47:06

Could it be reflux? I used a sleep positioner and propped the cot with books

hillyhilly Mon 05-Sep-11 18:49:02

Do you have a baby osteopath? Think it might be only cranial osteopathy but have heard v good things about it.

LynetteScavo Mon 05-Sep-11 18:50:18

I would take her to a cranial osteopath.

Was it a difficult birth?

Flisspaps Mon 05-Sep-11 18:53:39

If she prefers being held or being in a sling, I would put it down to her still being new and wanting to be with you. Lying down on a mat, or in her moses basket might make her feel worried - she doesn't know that you're still around if she's not in physical contact with you, IYSWIM.

Also, I would imagine that in the same way that anyone else has a preferred sleeping position, DD does too. I hate sleeping on my back, it might be that she just doesn't like it, for no particular reason at all.

girliefriend Mon 05-Sep-11 18:53:48

Can you swaddle and put down on her side? Then gently move onto back if she does settle.

MamaLaMoo Mon 05-Sep-11 19:57:26

Thanks for your replies.

MumtoF apart from obvious discomfort after gulping in air during a feed she has no other signs of reflux, no sicking up at all.

hillyhilly and LynetteScavo I have considered an osteopath, there were no complications to the birth, second stage was very rapid (3 mins) but she did come out squashed, one eye remained shut for several hours. Her head shape is normal. I was induced at 38 weeks and had a stretch and sweep to get it started at 37 weeks which resulted in 7 days of pre-labour contractions before waters were broken on the induction day. Have wondered if this led to her being a bit compressed.

Flisspaps I think you may be right that she is very young and needs contact and to feel curled up, I am happy to co-sleep, wear sling etc but she won't even sleep lying flat right next to me on the bed. I have a 2yo as well and really need sleep to survive the day with them both! She may have to unlearn her favourite sleep position.

girliefriend I have tried swaddling, it makes it better but she can still wake up within minutes of being laid down even wrapped up cosy, next to me and after going fully floppy asleep.

I am considering an Amby hammock, and reconciling that it may take several weeks of this before she sorts out being out of the womb grin

dycey Tue 06-Sep-11 00:10:21

Wow / could have written post myself as have same..... 4 week old who loves lying on me' upright curled up.... Marking place! Will be back later when time (hoping time will just help!)

dycey Tue 06-Sep-11 00:13:35

And have the 2 year old too - it's tough isn't it?

Also rapid labour and I have seen an osteopath who says she's more curled up than usual for this age but to get her checked again before 8 weeks.......

diyqueen Tue 06-Sep-11 10:57:02

This is not advice as the official line is back sleeping, but my dd slept on her side from the start and still does now most of the time. She was breech and her legs were tucked up for a few weeks as she'd been stuck in a 'v' shape for so long - if we laid her on her back, her little legs stuck up straight in the air and she'd topple to the side, so that's what we went with. With her arms sticking out in front of her there was no way she'd roll onto her front. Now at5.5 months, if we put her on her back she still often rolls to the side and snuggles, and seems cosier that way.

Magnumwhite Tue 06-Sep-11 11:04:01

ds was also the same.
we swaddled him and put him on his side for sleep in his pram when we were awake and could monitor him and then he went into an amby hammock with maximum tilt on his back overnight.
He had a bit of silent reflux - no sicking up but would have patches of the day where he would want to feed alot but then be in pain when he came off the boob and do the back arching thing and scream.

MamaLaMoo Tue 06-Sep-11 12:20:09

I am really confused now - just read that Amby hammocks were recalled after two babies were smothered after tilting the cot and getting the mattress on top of them.

I am sick of all safety guidelines, there is not a damn thing regarding sleeping that you can do that doesn't lead to some terrible outcome. Even flat on back feet to foot separate sleep surface etc etc still leads to deaths. And what I mean WHAT do you do if your baby will not sleep flat on its back? There appears to be nothing I can safely prop her up on, not U shaped pillows (has caused suffocation), a normal pillow (ditto), baby positioners (banned in US), baby hammocks (banned in US), baby bean bags (not to be left unattended), in a pram or buggy (can tip over! really?) not cosleeping (although I do not buy the it causes more SIDS line, that is only true if you unintentionally doze off on a sofa, safe planned co sleeping is not the same thing at all).

What exactly do these health and safety advisors suggest I do? What is the risk of death to a baby if their parent is so exhausted they make mistakes while driving/don't notice a car when crossing the road/drop the baby/shake it out of frustration?

It was a bad night in case the somewhat despairing tone of this post didn't make that obvious.

iarebaboon Tue 06-Sep-11 12:28:35

<whispers> I put my DD on her tummy to sleep during the day

It's either 10 minute naps waking screaming on her back or 3 Hr sleeps on her tummy waking up cooing and rested

It scares me silly and I check her every few minutes. At night she's either on my chest or I pop her in a hammock (natures sway, although I read that those two cases in the states were due to the hammock not being used correctly). She'll do 1.5 - 2 hrs in the hammock.

For what it's worth DS was the same, just would not sleep on his back. He's 2 now and I don't think I've ever seen him asleep on his back

iarebaboon Tue 06-Sep-11 12:29:28

^ sorry no help but you're not alone!

Dd slept on her side from the day she was born, would not entertain sleeping on her back for a second.

ljny Tue 06-Sep-11 13:08:28

My grandson slept in his car seat for the first 4 months.

Byeckerslike Tue 06-Sep-11 13:20:13

My twins slept on their tummies from week 3, honestly they had not slept before that more than 1/2 an hour at a time, they were born prem and neo natal put them on their tummies, spent 3 weeks sleeping like you did but was exhausted beyond belief.
First night of tummy sleeping, 4 hours of uninterupted sleep.
I may get flamed for that but The guidelines were tummy sleeping a few years ago and i know guidelines have changed and the risk of sids but noone really knows the cause of that and i had a sister who died of sids so its close to my heart.
Do what is right for you and your baby smile

Sariska Tue 06-Sep-11 13:36:53

Sounds like my DC1. He was diagnosed with silent reflux at 7 weeks after the worst few weeks of my life. Worth checking for your LO, I would think. Screaming when flat on back, it can often be fairly symptomless. My DS was put onto 3 different drugs after a late night trip to A&E (a specialist paediatric one). It was life-changing.

Cranial osteopathy also helped (in fact it was the osteopath who suspected it was silent reflux) as did an Amby hammock. I bought my Amby before the safety fears raised by the American cases but I used it again last year for my DD after concluding that those sad deaths in the US and Canada were caused by improper use/erection of the hammock.

Speaking of my DD, she was a good example of a baby who also didn't much like lying flat on her back - unless she was cuddled up to me (so we co-slept). She didn't scream herself into hysteria in the same way as her brother had done (no silent reflux) but nonetheless made it plain that she didn't like it. So, in my experience, there's a world of difference between a colicky, refluxy (DS was both) back-to-sleep refusinik and a don't-want-to-be-without-Mummy baby.

If you don't think it is reflux or you get it medically confirmed that it isn't, a cranial osteopath might still be worth a go - as well as my own experience, I have heard lots of good things. Also, if you were to try the front sleeping route (am not advocating it, mind, just laying it out as an option), you know you can get monitors that monitor your baby's breathing (Angel Care, I think they might be called)?

Anyway, good luck. The horror and near-delirium of those months of sleepless nights and days still returns in flashbacks every now and then.

Sariska Tue 06-Sep-11 13:38:29

Apart from screaming when flat on back, it can often be fairly symptomless....

Sorry - should have previewed.

WinterLover Wed 07-Sep-11 19:52:39

SShhhhhh ill probably get flammed but my DS (6 weeks old now, born at 36 weeks) slept on his side in the hospital, we was there for a week. If you put him on his back he threw himself over to his side so it was better to swaddle him and lay him down half on his side. From getting home at 1 week old DS has slept on his tummy. I know guidelines say 'feet to foot and back to sleep' but he will not settle that way, even on his side he wont settle no matter how many times we try. I worry about him but worry less than I did when he went on his back as he'd kick covers over his head, stress out and make himself sick etc

RottenRow Thu 08-Sep-11 14:25:06

I had this for 2 weeks with dd2, went to see cranial sacropath and she slept in her Moses basket that night for the first time. Hope you get some sleep

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