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20 week old DS- I think I'm messing this up

(22 Posts)
Vinnyinny Sun 18-Nov-12 13:40:53

I need some help with my 20 wk old DS. His sleep is not great. We have always rocked/fed to sleep and he sleeps with us in bed. Really it's the evenings that are a problem. He is knackered by 6.30pm and I try to put him down for sleep at that point (with mixed results). He's then awake 40 mins later and is downstairs with us until 9.30 when I go to bed.

By then, he is absolutely beyond tired but really agitated and won't settle. It can take me an hour or so to get him to sleep, sometimes longer. He sucks his thumb frantically, bobs on and off he boob, and just will not settle. White noise sometimes helps.

My relationship is suffering. I'm tired, sick of wearing him in the sling all evening until I give up because he won't settle again, and in desperate need of some time on my own with my DH.

I'm also conflicted though, because I don't want to leave him alone if he's not ready, and I don't want to do any sort of sleep training on him. It's just not my style.

I'm at the end of my tether though. DS1 is a very active toddler and DS2 won't be put down. I need some space to breathe. Does anyone have any advice?

PrimeSuspect Sun 18-Nov-12 15:04:13

I just wanted to say that I'm sure you're doing a great job. It does sound like you are very tired and being pulled in too many directions. I can't give advice because I used light sleep training so I have no idea what would help you if you don't but I'm sure lots of co sleepers will pop up with some helpful tips. Please be gentle on yourself in the meantime though smile

Vinnyinny Sun 18-Nov-12 18:36:48

Thanks. Why type of gentle sleep training did you do, and at what age? I'm leaning towards just being firm and not bringing DS2 down again after bedtime, even of that does mean I'm stuck upstairs all night. Can't say I'm looking forward to it!

belindarose Sun 18-Nov-12 18:42:59

My DS is 20 weeks too and our evenings have just got better (ha ha, hope I'm not speaking too soon). He's started sleeping longer once I've put him down and for a few nights now we've had the whole evening. I can't suggest anything, just that it might improve of its own accord.

We're starting to get into a bit of a routine at bedtime, in that I feed him and change him, then sort DD out while he kicks around in his cot. Then he listens to her stories and has another BF while she goes to bed. After that one, I can get him to sleep and transfer to cot at 7pm ish.

That's what's happening this week, anyway!

ElphabaTheGreen Sun 18-Nov-12 18:53:16

If it's any consolation, I haven't had time alone in the evening with my DH since DS (26 weeks) was born. For the last 8 weeks I've been going to bed at 6:30pm when he does because I know I'm going to be up another 6-8 times in the night!

He also does the waking 40 minutes after putting him to bed thing, but I just leave the light off and get him back to sleep which he does really quickly. Maybe you could do that and then go back downstairs by yourself rather than taking him back downstairs with you?

Vinnyinny Sun 18-Nov-12 19:02:05

Thanks. I'm in bed with him now rocking furiously in the hope that I can transfer him to his bedside cot (that he has never slept in). He's wide awake. angry

I'm just going to have to persist I know. I'm just so bloody exhausted!

Wanttostayinbedallday Sun 18-Nov-12 19:10:51

My son never went to sleep properly when he was that age. He stayed up till I went to bed at 10 or 11. It took him a really long time to learn to fall asleep on his own and to resettle and go back to sleep on his own if he woke too soon. I'd try just getting him into a proper bed time routine and then putting him to bed in a darkish room so he learns that it's bedtime and hopefully after some chatting/crying he will gradually (after prob about 3 days) he will learn to self soothe... It's tough while you're doing it but so worth it in the long run!

Fairylea Sun 18-Nov-12 19:18:47

Well my ds is the same age and we have followed his own routine which means when he starts getting sleepy from 4.30 onwards we put him to bed and he usually sleeps through till 5.

The main things that have helped us are putting him in his own room to sleep, completely dark room, blackout curtains, chair by the cot. We feed him his last feedIn the chair by the cot in his grobag and then he's quite sleepy so we put him down.

I did this with dd now aged 9 years too and she's always been a very good sleeper.

Ideally I'd love him to go to bed and wake up a bit later but I believe with babies this age they get stressed and overtired very easily so I follow his lead and rather than encourage him to nap later in the day I put him to bed earlier.

If I try to keep him up or just let him nap he wakes up really grumpy and won't settle!!

Don't know if it's worth considering but just thought I'd share my routine.

Fairylea Sun 18-Nov-12 19:22:04

I'd also be consistent with not bringing him downstairs when he wakes. Feed and resettle and rock if necessary but keep lights off and stay in the same room. Otherwise he will think it's time to party!

What kind of naps does he have as well? My ds has one short twenty min nap in the morning, one hour or so midday and that's about it. I just let him sleep when he likes but I've noticed if he sleeps more than that he won't sleep as long at night.

Vinnyinny Sun 18-Nov-12 19:35:19

He tends to be pretty tired throughout the day. He has a nap (40 mins) after about 2 hours of being awake. He will sleep for longer in the sling. DH is up there with him now because I need a break from the crying and moaning. He is tired, but also possibly teething. I have given him a bit of nurofen and he is being cuddled.

I remember all this with DS1 now. Funny how my brain had managed to forget how hard it was up until now! DS1 didn't sleep through until he was 2. My friend tells me I just don't breed sleepers!

Fairylea Sun 18-Nov-12 19:37:48

Is he actually crying or just moaning? Sometimes with ds if he is overtired me holding him or rocking him actually makes him worse... if I put him down witha dummy (is that something you've tried?).. then he will go off to sleep fairly quickly.

I do think a lot of it is individual babies and luck though !!

LaCiccolina Sun 18-Nov-12 19:54:47

You won't like this but I'm afraid that at 20wks he's still very very young. My dd was up with us most nights til 10pm at that point.

That said it slowly begins to improve from about here so hang in there. It's not one of those things that magically alter but a slow gradual change. You can try things but it will be luck as to what improves the situation.

Remind dh to give it space as 20wks is still at the start! Life will take a bit longer to calm down yet.

Your doing well. Your not a mess. X

LaCiccolina Sun 18-Nov-12 19:56:05

We had dd being rocked like a wot sit in the carseat so if he's in a bed well done!!

PrimeSuspect Mon 19-Nov-12 02:46:47

The gentle sleep training was me leaving dd for 5 mins when I put her down (in her cot from birth but cot literally slap bang next to my side of the bed)...I used to go in and sing and stroke her after that and then try again, I only picked her up again if I could tell that she was properly upset as opposed to crying out of tiredness. I have to admit that she was always and still is a baby who likes to sleep so maybe I was lucky too. This worked for us but I understand that it is not for everyone but as you asked I wanted to let you know...I hope it gets easier for you.

Vinnyinny Mon 19-Nov-12 09:20:18

Thank you for your kind words, and thanks for telling me what sleep training you did PrimeSuspect.

last night was awful. DS1 has a cold and was running a temp all night, bless him. DS2 was awake every hour or so, and had a big crying session at 3am. I wonder if he is coming down with a cold too. I'm a zombie this morning. I'm going to continue to send the bedtime routine message to DS2 at around 7, but if it fails, like it did last night (he cried and cried) I think I am just going to have to accept that he isn't ready.

Routine is really important to me, and to the kids I think. I appreciate it is a slow process with such a young baby.

He is practising his rolling over this morning, so he's definitely in the middle of a developmental leap!

teacher123 Mon 19-Nov-12 09:31:16

The only way that I could get DS to get into the habit of bedtime was to be a routine fiend. It took a good few weeks to bed in and we've had ups and downs but the general principle is that once he's had his bath and gone to bed we don't turn the lights on or bring him back downstairs again until morning. We just settle him back in his room in the dark whenever he wakes, and it can completely ruin a whole evening as you spend it sitting in a darkened room, but the payoff is generally worth it. It's all gone a bit to shit with teething this week and I think he's having a growth spurt, but normally I do get to eat my dinner and watch eastenders. And with a 6 month old baby I figure that's pretty good going. Really hope it gets better soon.

blushingmare Mon 19-Nov-12 18:25:36

Firstly, you're not messing anything up! All babies are different and will be ready for things at different times and everyone's lifestyles are different and they feel differently about what to do with a baby. That said, although I have virtually no routine to speak of with dd, our early to bed routine is something that I can get quite evangelical about, because it really saved my sanity to get my evenings back.

I started at 9 weeks with giving her a bath at 5 and then a long drawn out period of feeding and cuddling to sleep. For about two weeks this would take til about 8:30 to get her down and in her crib - god, they were long and tedious evenings! But very gradually she started to get it and I'd say by about 16 weeks I was starting bath at 5 and she'd be down by 7. Now, at 23 weeks, I start the bath at 5:30 and she's usually down by 6:30, so the time is getting shorter, it just took a long time because I'm a real wuss and don't like her to cry! Now there are times when I can't feed her to sleep or she wakes up after being put down and she does cry, but I've learnt not to pick her up, but to comfort her in the crib with stroking and rocking and she does settle - it takes about 5 mins for the frantic crying to stop and another 10 for her to drop off (I have to time it as it feels like forever when she's crying!). She's still some way off putting her down and dropping off on her own, but she's gradually getting there.

I really think having her asleep in her own bed in the evening was the best thing for us and her. It took a lot of work to get her there, but so worth it!

Good luck!

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Nov-12 18:27:50

Feed feed feed in the evening, until you go to bed, and go to bed early and feed some more.

Ds is my third 20 weeker btw!

Vinnyinny Tue 20-Nov-12 11:57:46

I started DS2's 'routine' last night at 6. He had a bath, massage, story and then feed. He cried in my arms for 30 mins and then fell asleep. He woke after 20 mins and screamed with his dad for quite a while until DH gave up and bought him downstairs.

He sat happily on my knee until 9.30pm when I went to bed and he slept contentedly, only waking briefly to feed every 2 hours. He got up at 8.50am for the day, which was surprising. DS1 and I kept popping upstairs to make sure he was ok!

So not a complete disaster, but why all the early evening screaming? He got himself so worked up. sad

Toast123 Tue 20-Nov-12 15:13:15

It sounds like you're doing really well.
My youngest is 6 months and with all 3 think I had rubbish milk by the evening. Have you tried having a day where you try and rest as much as you can? Eat a big cooked lunch and drink loads of water/squash. Also try googling foods good for milk production. Then in the evening just feed from one side until you want to go to bed then for the ( hopefully?!) last feed let him feed from the other side. It might work.....
Good luck, I hope you get some sleep soon.

blushingmare Tue 20-Nov-12 18:10:48

Have you tried having him doing the crying in his cot instead of holding him? I don't mean cio or cc, but putting him down in his cot, he cries and you sit with him stroking him and ssshing him etc til he settles. It feels wrong at first not to be picking them up, but after a certain age I found dd just didn't settle we'll in my arms, or if she did she'd just wake up and start crying again as soon as I put her down. When I started doing it I was surprised at how quickly she settled - although it feels like forever, she rarely cries for more than 5 mins and is usually asleep within 15, although I think it must have taken longer than that to start with. That's also how I settle her if she wakes up before 3 hours too. It must be so much harder with another child to look after too, and you sound like you're doing a great job!

Fairylea Tue 20-Nov-12 18:18:24

I agree with blushingmare. I think it mightbe worth a try stroking his head while he's laying down in the cot... if he's anything like my ds he knows when he wants his bed and gets more and more angry if we rock him or hold him. If we put him down he might groan for a few mins and then just goes to sleep. If he's still unsettled we go in stroke his head and go out again. Obviously he's not full out crying though when we do this, he's just a bit grump.... !

It's hard catching them at the right time when they're tired but not over tired !!

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