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Need ideas to keep baby awake in the evening for a few hours so he sleeps between feeds at night

(27 Posts)
aamia Sat 06-Oct-12 10:04:50

LO is 3 weeks old. He has a lovely habit of sleeping 6pm to about 2pm, then being wide awake, bored and creating if not played with until about 4.30/5am. Then he'll sleep until 9ish. Whilst in an ideal world I'd just go with it, DH has to get up at 5am for work so needs his sleep, and I'm getting so tired I have to just put him back in his cot and let him create or I'll fall asleep with him on the sofa by about 3.30am. Not good.

We have found though, that if we're busy in the evening (shopping, round a friend's house...) between say 7.30 and 9.30 or even a little later, he sleeps beautifully with just the usual wakings for feeds and nappy changes. Everyone wins that way - he's happy in his cot, we're happily asleep, and he settles straight back down after feed and nappy. Problem is, running out of ideas to keep him awake for those vital few hours. You can only visit friends so many times!!

aamia Sat 06-Oct-12 10:06:14

Just to add, he feeds every 2 hours or so - not worried about that, just the hours of staying awake at a time in the middle of the night!

KatAndKit Sat 06-Oct-12 11:00:34

I'm afraid you may just have to go with it for a while - a 3 week old hasn't learnt the difference between day and night yet. You can help by keeping nights dark and quiet even if you do have to get up with him for an hour or two, but there is very little you can . really do about his sleeping pattern at this stage. It doesn't last forever! To help with your tiredness, you need to get to bed early especially if your baby is down for the night at 6. Are you putting him upstairs at that point? Perhaps if you keep him downstairs you might get a situation where he just has a nap at 6, then is up for another hour or two in the evening and then goes to bed a bit later at about 9.

Flisspaps Sat 06-Oct-12 11:08:38

3 week olds don't "create". They cry to tell you they need something.

I don't think you should try to keep him up - 6pm-2am is brilliant for such a little baby. Honestly, I think DH should sleep on the sofa if you're determined he shouldn't be woken. It's not safe for you to fall asleep on the sofa with the baby. Sadly, crap sleep is part and parcel of having a baby - it will get easier. If you're FF then make sure DH does some of the night wakings anyway. He might be at work, but you also need to be able to safely look after the baby. If you're BF, cosleeping might be worth a shot.

SirBoobAlot Sat 06-Oct-12 11:10:00

He's three weeks old. You're being totally unrealistic.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sat 06-Oct-12 11:47:04

Congrats on the LO!

It is so tiring having a newborn. The sleep deprivation lasts a surprisingly long time as i discovered! I would max out the long stretch you're getting & go to bed early if possible to catch up a bit.

DS did these long stretches until 8 weeks then didn't do them again til 6 months! They go through almost constant developmental changes from 6 weeks so seriously, max it out while you can!

poppy283 Sat 06-Oct-12 11:52:38

What's 'creating'? confused

blackteaplease Sat 06-Oct-12 11:52:52

I have a 3 week old, his longest stretch of sleep is 4 hours and some feeds he is awake for an hours at a time in the night, it is very tiring. There's not much you can do really until they get a bit older and forcing them to stay awake will result in an overtired and cranky baby.

I am coping with the night wakings by having a daytime nap when I can manage it. Not possible on the days when dd is at home unfortunately. Those are long.

blackteaplease Sat 06-Oct-12 11:53:15

creating = causing a fuss.

aamia Sat 06-Oct-12 12:12:43

So is it morally wrong then to entertain a baby for two hours in the evening so that his dad doesn't get so overtired he injures himself at work? Because that's the reality of it for us. And baby seems quite content (awake but watching) when we do something like go round a friend's so I can't see how it's wrong???

Dad's job is dangerous if he's tired and there's nowhere in our flat to go where he can't hear baby at all. He often doesn't get home till 8pm then needs to eat and at least have a shower etc so earliest he can go to bed is about 9.30/10pm. Waking up at 2am then is not enough sleep at all. He fell asleep the other night as soon as he sat down he's that tired and I'm well aware that LO is tiny so won't get the hang of when night is for quite some time yet. I'm desperately worried that DH will get hurt and the reality is that he could be hurt badly at work, let alone on the way there on his motorbike.

So again - why is it so morally wrong to do something for a couple of hours in an evening that entertains the baby? That's all - was hoping for fun things to do with him so ideas of things baby would like doing. We have his playmat which he likes, but obviously isn't on long, and he likes watching me play tunes on the glockenspiel but again not a long activity! It's a bit cold to go for a walk but we could do that if I wrap him up warmly. And that's about as far as my ideas go. Shame everyone's too busy judging others' situations to help.

aamia Sat 06-Oct-12 12:17:35

And to me, 'creating' means being insistent on something, usually loudly. LO cries because he's bored and Mummy isn't playing with him. Fair enough, he's a baby, he's awake, it's dark and there's nothing to look at/hear. It's not much fun for him though when he's bored at 2am, Mummy is tired, and there's not much to do because we can't do anything noisy 'cause Daddy's asleep. It's much more fun to be awake at 8pm when there's Daddy to play with too, and things to do/see, noises to hear.

BobbysBeardOfWonder Sat 06-Oct-12 12:23:21

But he doesn't understand the difference between 2am & 8pm yet. Wait a few weeks, things will improve. Until then I suggest your DH sleeps elsewhere & uses earplugs.

TalTangerine Sat 06-Oct-12 12:34:56

You basically want more activities to do with him? How about doing a rhymetime session? There's lots of singing and movement games that babies enjoy. You can learn some of these often at baby groups or library rhymetimes, but there are some online too:

Choufleur Sat 06-Oct-12 12:43:14

Go to bed earlier so that you get a good stretch of sleep - if you and dh went to bed at 8pm you would get 6 hours kip in one go. He's very tiny and doing well to sleep that long in one go

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sat 06-Oct-12 12:43:54

I guess the danger is they become overstimulated, then overtired & won't sleep at all. Has happened here on many an occasion until I understood how they worked a bit more blush

Would second the earplugs & an eyemask & the sofa for DH if necessary. I use them during the day when I'm on nights & they really do help.

steben Sat 06-Oct-12 12:44:24

I will potentially be shot down in flames for saying this but have you thought about starting to implement some kind of a routine (I started I've with dd about 3 weeks which I know us early but am a strong believer in each to their own). If it is really important your other half sleeps then long term is it feasible to entertain a baby when he/she should be getting used to quit night times. Just my thoughts.

Choufleur Sat 06-Oct-12 12:45:22

Try a light/music thing that projects on the ceiling for the middle of the night

Mitsouko Sat 06-Oct-12 15:16:36

Sympathies op. Sorry, can't help much in terms of sleep, your newborns pattern is better than my 6 month old! But it is hard, and a shock to the system when you're used to uninterrupted nights. But night wakings are totally normal through the first year and sometimes longer. Even if your Lo becomes a good sleeper you will likely have regressions at times from teething, illness and growth spurts. Get DH some earplugs so he can kip on the couch when needed. Have you considered co sleeping? Not for everyone but its saved my sanity. Good luck!

poppy283 Sat 06-Oct-12 16:19:32

Thanks blacktea, never heard that term before.

Newborns love to stare at black + white patterns, you can get books of them. Thatcould be a good middle of the night one.

However ime once they nod off for The Big Sleep there's not much you can do.

poppy283 Sat 06-Oct-12 16:21:59

and op, I don't think anyone's saying you're morally wrong, just that newborns can't really be trained, and that it will get better, hopefully soon.

Flisspaps Sat 06-Oct-12 20:23:41

For me, creating means kicking up a fuss, causing a nuisance. I think that perhaps you and me understand it differently.

As for everything else, it's not about morals or what's morally wrong about trying to entertain a baby - it's just the reality with a tiny baby is that they're generally crap at sleeping, noisy and they have no respect for their parents safety or sanity. It's hard, but if he wants to sleep at 6pm and you try to keep him awake then you run the risk of overstimulation and then battling to get him to sleep later on anyway sad You feel like you can't win!

Fairylea Sat 06-Oct-12 20:30:06

Why doesn't your dh get some earplugs or sleep somewhere else ? Get a blow up bed for the lounge if you have no spare room.

I think at 3 weeks you just have to go with the flow. My ds is 15 weeks now and is only just getting to know day from night.

SirBoobAlot Sat 06-Oct-12 20:31:33

He's too young to "play" right now. When he wakes up in the night, change him, feed him, cuddle him. He will drop back off and he will eventually get used to sleeping in the night. But as much as you might be concerned for your DH - and I do understand being do exhausted you place yourself at risk, I have ME / CFS - you can't expect a three week old to be.

Do all of what you've already suggested yourself to keep him up that bit later if it makes you feel better, but don't get frustrated if he is then waking up in the night.

I didn't say you were morally wrong. I said you were being unrealistic.

Chocchip88 Sat 06-Oct-12 21:04:44

DS2 is 10 weeks old so we're a little ahead of you! He had day and night mixed up for quite a while, just go with it as much as you can and he'll eventually 'get it'.

Things we did to encourage this:

Keep daytime feeds and awake times bright and noisy. We also do this for naps in the day, the radio is always on and with a 2 year old big brother there is very little quiet time in the day! Nighttime feeds are always in the dark and quiet.

Take him outside for a walk or just a sit in the garden in the middle of the day. Plenty of fresh air and natural light. I read somewhere (can't remember where!) that this helps them work out when daytime is.

Hope this helps a bit.

KatAndKit Sat 06-Oct-12 21:19:19

I agree, you aren't in the wrong for wanting everyone to have a good nights sleep - we all want that but you will just frustrate yourself trying to get your baby to do something that he isn't going to do yet. Unfortunately tiredness is part of the newborn territory. It is bloody hard work but in a month or two it will be much better - not sleeping through the night better, but at least having an idea of when day and night are and going back to sleep after night feeds. I understand that your husband needs to sleep but the earplugs and early night option is the only way. It sounds like he is doing very long days - is there any way he can take a few hours off a few days for a week or two?

You can try and entertain the baby but with a newborn if they need to sleep then they need to sleep and if you try to keep them awake you'll just have a crying baby instead of a happy sleeping one.

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