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Desperate - 8 week old sleep issues

(13 Posts)
MockTudor Wed 10-Oct-12 02:35:49

My daughter is almost eight weeks old and we are having real problems with sleeping. She is our first child and I am breastfeeding her. I (hopefully) don't have any unrealistic expectations that she will sleep through the night or even that it would be easy, but the current sleep situation is exhausting me and I often spend the night in tears of frustration.

We haven't tried to really get into any kind of routine with dd, except for a bedtime routine of bath, change, baby massage and story, feed and then bed. The timing of this is variable, but we normally end up heading up to bed between 9 and 10pm. She sleeps in a crib next to our bed. I feed her to sleep and then wait about 20 minutes to put her down, as previous experience shows that any earlier than this and she will wake herself up again and she is unable to self settle. She sleeps in a Gro bag.

Sometimes, if we are lucky, she will sleep for about three hours at this point - she even did 5.5 one night! This is great - when it happens. The problem comes after this sleep. She will wake up and I'll feed her, she'll fall asleep and after 20 minutes, I'll put her down. She'll appear to be deeply asleep but will wake after between 10 and 40 minutes. She'll lie there awake for up to about 20 minutes, chatting to herself and wriggling around, before she will get upset and want picking up.

As a result of this, I'm only getting about two hours sleep during the night. My husband has to drive an hour each way to work so am keen to make sure he gets a good night's sleep - he can't feed her anyway, so it seems silly us both being awake.

During the day, we do activities and then she will feed and fall asleep on me. Sometimes I'm able to put her down without her waking and she'll nap for 20-40 mins, but she will sleep on me for hours. I'm aware that sometimes she just gets really over tired, but she's a really active and aware baby and doesn't seem to want to sleep. When I can see she is getting overtired, I let her sleep on me rather than trying to put her down, because I'd rather she got some sleep.

We've tried white noise, swaddling, expressing milk to top her feed up before sleep, warming her crib, putting a top of mine in there, and probably other thing I can't think of right now!

She doesn't seem to suffer much with wind - although she does fart quite a bit, she doesn't seem to be in any pain or discomfort with it when she wakes at night. I have tried winding her after feeds, but it makes no difference. She's generally a very contented happy little girl, but this sleep issue has been going on for a month now and I'm at my wit's end. When do I get to sleep? I don't know how much longer I can go on like this sad

I should add that from about 6/7pm, she seems to go into a deeper sleep when she is downstairs with us and will sleep deeply on us until we take her upstairs. I wondered if this might be her natural bedtime, but I can't go to bed at that time with her - the earliest I could do would be about 8pm. But that would then probably mean being awake from about midnight for the rest of the night. We've not tried anything such as keeping her awake until a certain time or anything as I feel that as a small baby, if she is asleep, it's because she needs it. But I could be wrong in this and perhaps this is the problem?

I've had so much mixed advice from parents (put her down and let her cry - no thanks) and friends with regards to routine etc, that I just don't know what to do. I wonder if we can even do anything. I keep hoping it will pass, but a sleep-deprived month later and I'm beginning to really despair.

Any and all suggestions and help gratefully received. Sorry this is so long - I wanted to share as much info as possible in the hope someone can help!

H. If she seems tired earlier then try putting her down earlier. DS, now 8 months, went through a phase where he wanted to be put down at about 6.30pm and he slept for about 5 hours from then. He would wake and need another feed, but babies can't sleep if they get too tired, so it might be that she's unable to settle again because she's too tired...?

Do you do the keeping the house noisy at day, quiet at night thing so she can get her body clock set?

How come you can't go to bed until 8pm?

MockTudor Wed 10-Oct-12 03:02:57

Thanks for taking the time to read and reply. smile

We do try to make a distinction between night and day. I guess I could go to bed before 8pm but we don't normally have dinner until about 7pm and I think I feel that I would like some of the evening with my husband before heading to bed. However, perhaps I need to put that aside for now if that is when she is tired. I had wondered about putting her up in the crib with the baby monitor while we are downstairs so she can sleep when tired, but all the guidelines say not to have them sleeping alone at this age.

Perhaps I just need to accept a much earlier bed time and loss of evening - worth it if I get some sleep I guess! She definitely seems to like doing her sleeping before 2am!

Thanks again - you're helping my sanity!

That's OK. I'm up at this ridiculous hour with back pain even though my baby is actually sleeping, so it's nice to think about something else.

The recommendation about sleeping alone mostly refer to the entire night. A couple of hours, especially with the monitor on, are probably not going to be a major problem. If concerned you could put a noisily ticking clock in there with her, which I've heard as a suggestion to replicate the sound of a parents' breathing.

Mostly, although i totally understand about the wanting adult time with your husband, I really do, sleep is more important just at the moment. I'm sure he understands and, honestly, this phase doesn't last an enormously long time. Go to bed when she does, try and get that big chunk of sleep in one go and you never know, you might find she settles easier when she's less tired.

MockTudor Wed 10-Oct-12 03:21:42

Thank you again. You're right that sleep is more important. Tomorrow night - early bed time! I feel better just having a suggestion of something to try. It also gives me hope that it will pass.

Currently sat here with dd on my lap, fast asleep, unless I dare to put her down. Ah well. Lovely husband gets up at 4.30 so I can have an hour's sleep before he goes to work.

Sorry to hear that back pain is keeping you up. Hoping that's not a long term thing for you sad

Brand new. Tip for the future. when your baby is 8mo old do not put her down on the other side of the playpen whilst bending from the waist.

Good luck with getting more sleep. I still nap with my baby. It's lovely.

MockTudor Wed 10-Oct-12 03:51:53

Ouch! I'll bear that in mind. I hope you manage to get some sleep too.

mercibucket Wed 10-Oct-12 04:37:21

Going to be at 8 sounds wonderful! But you don't need to sleep with her the entire time, that's not really what the guidelines mean
Otherwise, have you tried co-sleeping, so she is next to you in bed, then dreamfeeding, so she can latch on while you are both lying down. This is the natural thing for babies. Don't do it if you smoke though.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 10-Oct-12 09:16:08

I've well and truly given up hope of an evening with my husband (haven't really had one anyway since DS was born almost 5 months ago!) in favour of an earlier bed time and it has been absolutely brilliant - well worth it. I make a herculean effort to get dinner ready for 6pm when DH gets home, then we all tootle upstairs for 6:30pm bath then bedtime. DS is asleep by 7 and DH and I read and chat in whispers in bed. I'm usually out like a light by 8:30 which means I've had a really good stretch of sleep by the time DS is awake again just after midnight.

For daytime naps, try putting her straight from boob to pram, without the 20mins of holding - if she starts to rouse during the transfer, you can rock the pram gently once she's in it to see if this lulls her back to sleep. Two other things you could do - wrap her in a blanket during the feed and transfer her - blanket and all into the pram, which should take her warmth and your smell with her. You could also try turning on some white noise while you're feeding her then transferring this into the pram with her also. I'd put my phone next to DS's head while I was feeding him, then put DS, blanket and phone into the pram.

The main way I used to get daytime sleep, though, was by doing a bit of co-sleeping as mentioned above - I was too nervous doing it at night with DH in the bed, but during the day, I'd get under the duvet and wrap DS is his own blanket then feed him. Once asleep, I'd slide him down onto the bed next to me on top of the duvet still wrapped in his own blanket, pull any pillows or bunched up quilt well away from him, then I'd lie down myself and get some kip next to him. I'd never sleep heavily like this, but it was definitely better than nothing.

On the weekends, get DH to take her out for a long walk in the mornings so you can get a bit of a lie in? I know it seems a bit harsh to deny him of a lie in when he's been at work all week, but he's still had way more sleep than you!

Hope something works for you - I know your pain!

MockTudor Wed 10-Oct-12 11:25:19

Thank you Merci and Elphaba. I'll certainly give those suggestions a try. I think the early bedtime is a good plan! I won't co-sleep at night because of my OH as well, but something to try during the day time.

My husband is really good at the weekends, he'll get up around 7am and take her downstairs so I can sleep. Got a whole four hours the other weekend which was amazing. Never thought there'd be a day when four hours is a great sleep!

I'm sure something(s) will work and I appreciate all the suggestions. It's also good just to know I'm not alone!

How are things now, OP?

PickledLily Fri 12-Oct-12 20:40:58

My DD was the same. You could try using a Sleepyhead, it worked for us. We just popped her on the kitchen table next to us while we cooked and ate although she always woke, without fail, just as the plates hit the table
You can buy them from John Lewis (I can't link using my phone, sorry!).

MockTudor Fri 12-Oct-12 23:35:02

Hi,

Well, we managed three hours of sleep last night, after going up at 7.45pm and taking it from there. The three hours came around 11pm but at least we got some! It still seems to be hit and miss, but aiming to try one or two things at a time for a few nights to try to figure out what works.

Had a good nap today in the car seat after a trip out, and just left her to sleep in it. Trying to make sure I catch her for naps when she is showing signs of being sleepy. I think I also need to try to be patient in terms of trying things. I'm generally not a patient person so will need to remember things won't work instantly!

Will look into the sleepyhead as well - just had a quick look and they look great. smile

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