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Totally exhasted with 4 month old baby not sleeping at night and needing to be walked for day time naps - urgent help required!

(36 Posts)
dinksdoes Mon 17-Oct-11 14:38:26

I started a thread on this a couple of weeks ago, nothings improved and for a night last week it was dreadful - waking every hour!
My 4 month old dd wakes every two hours at night, the quickest and easiest thing to do is to feed her, but i know that im causinmg more problems by doing this, im just too tired to try another method.
ive tride feeding her up in the day but hasnt made any difference. she also wont nap unless she is walked arond in the sling or pram. just now i put her down in her cott, she got so upset with half an hour of trying i had to take her out and walk her around the room to get her to sleep. it seems that she doesnt like her cott, she cant settle herself and has got into a habit of need boob every two hours at night. im so exhausted im really at the end of my tether and need some help.

LittleWaveyLines Mon 17-Oct-11 14:56:37

Do you have my DD? grin

No advice, in the same boat if that's any help.....

LittleMilla Mon 17-Oct-11 19:03:57

Is there someone else that can help re-settle at night? My DS is 5.5 months and through sheer grit, he seems to have got lots better. But I found that sending DH in for a cuddle really helped break the cycleof ALWAYS wanting boob.

Focus on trying to get her to take one nap a day in the cot if possible - I always found that his first nap was the easiest one to crack.

Have a look at the no cry sleep solution and I also did (and still do) lots of shhh patting - a la baby whisperer.

Do you have a bedtime and naptime routine? I go through the same procedure with DS for every sleep and now he seems to 'get' when it's sleepy. Don't get wrong, he's far for perfect...but a gets better week by week.

Good luck, it's fooking tough when you're shattered! xxx

Weissbier Mon 17-Oct-11 19:06:16

Do you have a partner who can help you in the night? If so, you could express a feed and your partner could either stay up late while you go to bed early, or get up early so you get a chunk of sleep from 5AM or so. Either way, it needs t involve at least one bottle so you can get a long enough sleep.

DD was like this and just gradually got better of her own accord. I think it's normal behaviour at 4 months so if you can get some help that is probably easier than trying to change anything with the baby at this age.

dinksdoes Mon 17-Oct-11 21:08:08

Thanks everyone, Yes I have a partner but he has quite a demanding job and leaves early and returns late so cant get him to do any of the calming at night. He has got a week off next month so maybe we will try then. Im just so tired, I tride to put her in her cott for a nap just after lunch but she screamed and got so upset i got her out after half an hour, I was doing the pick up put down, she would fall asleep on my shoulder but as soon as i lay her in her cott she would cry again. it took over an hour for her to drop off - on me. I then wished I had just gone out for our usual walk, saved all the upset.
But Im getting to the point where i dont want to be pounding the streets any more or rocking back and forth like a mad woman.
She wont take a bottle, this makes her upset too, she certainly knows what she wants.
Im just in two minds, when shes in our bed she sleeps for slightly longer stints, about 3 hours at a time, but then i dont want her to really be in our bed, Can any one recomend a good book or technique to try, I guess i just have to stick with it and she will cry. Will I be damaging her though, i dont want her to have attachment issues if i leave her to cry in her cott.
I wish i had read a parenting book before becoming a parent so that i hadnt fed/rocked her to sleep, if only i had helped her self settle in those eraly days i wouldnt be in this state now!

FlappyBaps Mon 17-Oct-11 22:08:38

Hi there

I'm afraid I don't have a silver bullet to offer you - just sympathy having been there myself! The only thing I can say is that you kind of need to ignore what you should/ shouldn't be doing and do what needs to be done or you feel is right otherwise you will go bonkers. I know your husband has a demanding job and I know how you feel like you need to do it yourself to protect him, but he will have to help: maybe you can take shifts (it's what some friends of ours do) so one does wake ups before say 2 am and the other from 2am onwards. Or take it in turns (which is what we ended up doing even though most of the time she was hungry so muggins did the lions share...but it did help). At least that way you get a break and you both get some chunks of sleep. Or maybe he could do one night a week (even if you have to get up he will be the one on stand by).

I walked the earth with ours for naps - and still do as I am the only person she will not go down in her cot for. But on the plus side, I only walk until she drops then come home and leave her sleeping in her buggy. Ours also refused bottles, but remember it's not long before you can start weaning and that in itself will help you feel less like you are constantly on call.

I remember sobbing on my health visitor at 4 months, and I would cheerfully have throttled the next person who said "have you tried controlled crying?". So although it's not much help, you are not alone, but you do need to get your husband on board because you cannot do this on your own all the time. Ours started sleeping through when she started walking - she's recently become a bugger again but I am sure (ha ha) it's just a phase and we'll get through it....

Sorry - alot of "I"s in that...

Weissbier Tue 18-Oct-11 10:24:30

Wise words from Flappybaps. Your DH will have to start doing something OP, it doesn't have to be many hours at all to get you feeling a bit tired but human instead of on the point of collapse. If his time at home is too short for shifts then maybe one night on, one night off - if she won't take a bottle he can bring her to you for feeds and then resettle her, which will still help you.

If he's unconvinced you can put it to him that the alternative will be her sleeping in your bed because you are so tired. This is what my sister had to do because her DH, a lawyer, also did nothing at night and while there's nothing wrong with co-sleeping if you are OK with it, it sounds like you aren't really. There are three of you in the family and if you and your DH would prefer to have your bed to yourselves, then it would be better if that is how it is.

Don't beat yourself up about rods for own back and books - books only work if you happen to have a baby that fits with that particular book. That is why people swear by a particular book but it is coincidence. Some babies are just like this at this age, DD was. She needed to be rocked to sleep and one day she didn't any more - I used to keep trying to put her down in her cot, not big-battle style, but maybe once every few days and one day she just went to sleep in it because she was ready.

This is the easy way but it requires help from your DH.

If he won't help, then I would put her in bed with you or do some kind of sleep training, whichever you prefer. You won't damage her if you do something age-appropriate (maybe shh-pat? Controlled crying is for 6 months plus isn't it?).

I'm with Dr Sears on this - if you can, roll with them while they're so little but equally "if you resent it, change it". If you can't get more help and are too tired you'll have to change it, and your DD will adjust. Babies are a lot more flexible than we give them credit for. But try and get your DH to help first 'cos it's easier and you'll feel better.

laughalot Tue 18-Oct-11 10:29:43

Have you tried to swaddle her ? My dd was the same and as soon as we swaddled her it changed very quickly.

RitaMorgan Tue 18-Oct-11 10:29:56

I didn't try getting ds to nap in his cot til he was a bit bigger than this as it just upset him - he didn't self-settle til much later either.

Will she sleep with you in bed? I used to take ds to bed with me for some naps in the day and he'd sleep for an hour or two cuddled up with a nipple near by! I could often slip the nipple out and swap it for a dummy once he was asleep.

4 months is a tough age for sleep, and mine was exactly the same at night - co-sleeping was a godsend. I started trying to get him to sleep without feeding (by DP rocking him with a dummy) at about 5 months.

RitaMorgan Tue 18-Oct-11 10:31:25

Try reading the No Cry Sleep Solution book - it's not really a method, but has lots of tips for you to try, so you can pick and choose the ones that suit your baby/family.

pleasethanks Tue 18-Oct-11 11:06:20

Oh I remember this well and I am sure it contributed to me getting PND as I was so fucking exhausted and she was constantly overtired. I had to walk miles and miles every day and her eyes would ping open as soon as the pram stopped moving, so it was hard work.

I started going out at set times for a walk so she would get used to sleeping at those times. I did that for a week or so, then I tried getting her to sleep in her basket at those times. Yes, there were tears, from us both, but I stayed with her, comforted her, hugged her etc. I did get into a bit of a habit of giving her a bottle before each nap so I knew she wasn't complaining about being hungry. That became a good wind down for her too.

It will get better, it can be hard to get there, but within 2 or 3 weeks my DD did start napping in her bed pretty well. She was about 4 months at that time.

lesstalkmoreaction Tue 18-Oct-11 11:10:56

Have you tried cranial osteopathy, i've heard amazing stories about soothing and relaxing babies, never used it myself but definately would try if I had a non-sleeper.

thinNigella Tue 18-Oct-11 11:16:25

Ooof; It's soo tough. I've been there too and it's evil.

One thing I found was getting baby to sleep using bottle helped; I gave milk at bedtime (6 ish) then if/when baby woke between 6 and 10 I gave water, then it meant a full feed went in at 10pm.

V difficult if exclusive BF I know. I did both BF and FF, partly because I was so exhausted, like you. Feels like you are underwater doesn't it!

Hope it helps - it does pass honestly. Hang in there!

thinNigella Tue 18-Oct-11 11:19:27

And no, leaving them to cry does not damage them.

It damages them more when their exhausted frustrated parents shake them or something because they are so tired they lose all control. (We've all been there, too)

MNPwhooooooooooooooo Tue 18-Oct-11 11:20:56

DinksDoes a suggestion is to wrap her so that once she has fallen asleep on your shoulder you lie her down in the same warmth she had rather than going from a 37'C body to a ambient (20'C) bed and blankets, similarly at night she may need an extra cover if she sleeps alone as the longer sleep with you in bed maybe due to it being a warmer enviroment.

In her pram is she lying flat ir in a car seat or at an angle?

8rubberduckies Tue 18-Oct-11 11:25:40

Watching with interest, my baby is 4 months old in 3 days and I am often to be found sobbing on the end of the bed by the crib at 5am at the moment as she is waking up every 2-3 hours for a feed. In between then my toddler is usually waking me up as he is going through a phase of having nightmares, and to top it off my partner is either snoring or pestering me with a breast / bum squeeze once they are both asleep hmm.

I have tried FF in the evenings but she won't take a bottle, I am co-sleeping for the sake of my sanity but would love to get her into her crib more so I can have a bit of space. Luckily she sleeps in the day, but as I have a 3-year-old I can't join her.

My health visitor was against the idea of a dummy at night when I asked her if this might help - she said it may do in the short-term but I would then be waking up in the night to replace her dummy as she will probably cry when she drops it, and that it is a shame to get to 4 months without one and then do a u-turn. Any thoughts / experience on using a dummy at night?

DC1 was an angel-baby so I am new to this lack of sleep business!

Shakey1500 Tue 18-Oct-11 11:30:23

Poor you sad

Another one here that used to pound the streets in order for ds to take a nap. Not easy in the bloody winter either. Sadly I ended up just having to accept that he wouldn't nap in the cot and was consquently an early to bed/early to rise individual, and still is (he's 4 now).

The only comfort I can offer is that it DOES get better. I know you've probably heard it a million times and want to throw your cuppa at me through the computer, but it does, it really does. hang in there.

bonkers20 Tue 18-Oct-11 11:34:20

Do you really not want her in your bed or want to nurse her to sleep?
It doesn't have to be the rod for your back if you don't view it that way.

With DS1 we ended up co-sleeping because we were so tired, then I read up about it and felt it fitted what we wanted to do. With DS2 I co-slept from day 1 and I can honestly say I never went through that zombie phase.

You can't spoil a little baby.

paddypoopants Tue 18-Oct-11 11:58:13

I read your post feeling sick at the remembrance of things past- my ds was exactly the same. It got a little better when we started giving formula at night so that dh could at least do 1 night feed (at 6 months) as I was literally on my knees. (I could never express enough)
Ds didn't stop needing walked to get to sleep for his daily 20 minute power nap but I made sure he was really really tired before I started. I started with a dummy to get to him to sleep at about 4 months when he started teething and actually it was fine with us- as soon as he'd dropped off the dummy fell out and he never woke looking for it.
It will get better but you need your dh to help - which is hard if your bfing.

May09Bump Tue 18-Oct-11 12:02:05

My LO was like this - turned out he had reflux (stomach acid coming back up mainly after feed). This caused him to not like lying flat and also very hungry - every two hrs (really hard and my OH worked long hrs too x). Just check LO isn't pulling legs up to chest when put down to sleep - rule this out before trying any controlled crying, etc.

If it is reflux - sleeping on a wedge or in a rocker can help and GP can also prescribe meds. If not reflux - sleep when she's asleep (wish i had done this!). Try and get out of the house - a gentle walk as will hopefully relax both of you.

If OH can't help - then have you considered asking family to help or even get a night nanny for a few weeks to help you into a routine.

Also, make things as easy as possible for yourself. Buy in easy to prepare meals / snacks - so your not cooking for ages - M&S is quite good for healthy prepared stuff. Take offers of help from family/ freinds if you get them!

Speak to your GP / Midwife - there may be sleep advice / groups you can get.

It does improve over time - take care of yourself too!

FlappyBaps Tue 18-Oct-11 12:22:08

Right little rant coming up - what p!sses me off reading threads like this is that there seems to be some conspiracy of silence when it comes to sleep "problems". My NCT group all had little angels that were going through for 12 hours more or less from 12 weeks, with lovely long naps, yada yada yada. So in addition to feeling absolutely shattered I felt like I was failing and that I HAD TO FIND A SOLUTION. The only solution I ended up finding was ignoring every person who had a miracle sleeping baby and accepting that things would take as long as they took and we'd just have to roll with the punches along the way. Reaching that point in itself lifted a weight from my shoulders. So another thumbs up for Dr Sears, I guess.

A quick search on the internet reveals that the "norm" seems to be to have sleep ishoos until children are four or five. Things may improve for a good long while but problems will crop up again...and again...and again. That's not to give us all a shove off the cliff at the thought of it, more to reassure everyone that you are not a failure, your child is not the spawn of the devil, and there may be no "solution" if they don't sleep well. But you do not need to go through it on your own. Hubbies take note!

Emsmaman Tue 18-Oct-11 17:24:18

I don't want to suggest you do something dangerous, just to tell you that I went for 5 months thinking that DD only wanted to sleep on me/DH. Lots of naptimes were spent that way with me too paranoid to fall asleep whilst DD was on me. Once I started sleep training and putting DD in bed drowsy but awake, she was turning onto her stomach. Now I put her to nap on her stomach and get 3 x 45 min naps from her or one 1.5 hour and one 45 min. Nights are still sh*t though. Good luck

InmaculadaConcepcion Tue 18-Oct-11 18:58:34

WRT naps, my DD still naps in her buggy, but that's fine. In fact, it's great because it means I'm not tied to the house when she needs a kip in the day, although I spent some months wishing she would nod off in her cot for longer than 20mins at a time (if at all).

She also woke up if the buggy stopped moving, so to allow me a chance to rest, I got a Baby Dream Machine pram rocker. Bloody brilliant! It gave me five months of being able to actually put my feet up when she needed a nap, instead of traipsing through the streets in all weathers. Highly recommended.
Also, eventually it got to the point when she didn't need the rocker any more and now she climbs into her buggy, settles down, I read her a couple of stories and then she sleeps for up to two hours (she's now almost 21 months). I park the buggy on a blanket (carpet protection) in her room most of the time.

So basically, don't fret about naps in the cot, think about investing in a rocker (I think the one we bought cost us about 35 quid) and hopefully, if that works, you'll have a chance to catch up a bit on your sleep during the day.

4-6 months is a crap time for sleep and loads of babies go through a really tricky time of it. My DD was no exception, I remember - waking up every 1.5 - 2 hours or less in the night. Do what you can to maximise sleep and remember, This Too Shall Pass...

HandMini Tue 18-Oct-11 20:10:09

I too have a 4 month old DD and have experienced a lot of the things mentioned in this thread - more frequent night wakings and barely any napping in the day....horribly fractious overtired little thing by the evening.

The routine that I have found really helped for bedtime was big breast feed before bed time, into cot, and then, if AT ALL possible, do not pick up baby. I sit by the cot, shushing, patting, putting my face next to hers with eyes closed, hand holding etc, but trying really really hard not to pick her up (unless I feel her crying is getting too much). We've only been going a week but I think it's helping as she is getting the idea that once in the cot, she is not getting picked up.

I do then just feed her to sleep each time she wakes in the night, so I'm afraid I'm not any help for that part of things.

I'm hopeless at getting her to nap, but I have found a warm blanket wrapped tightly and dummy is a helpful combo.

I would try a dummy ... we did and it's been helpful ... whatever it takes to get you through.

Good luck all and fingers crossed for some sleep tonight!

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 18-Oct-11 20:17:10

I think life will get a bit easier if you just go with the flow and follow the baby's needs.

What is the point of trying to get the baby to nap in the day time if she doesn't want to? Just do what you normally do, and if the baby gets tired enough they will fall asleep.

Go to bed at 8pm and get up at 7am (or some other 11 hour combination), sleep with your baby and know that somewhere in all that you will get at least 8 hours sleep. It will only be for a while and you are just trying to survive after all.

Also, read this: www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/4mo-sleep.html

Stop trying to control your baby's sleeping and eating habbits and it will be less stressful for you both.

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