Constant battle to sleep(9 Posts)
Looking for guidance really- DS is exclusively bf and is 15 1/2 weeks. Sleep has been a battle since day 1. He has never been one for long naps - I can count on one hand the number of times he has slept napped longer than an hour and getting him to nap is and always has been a massive fight. We've got to the point of rocking him to sleep at night and for naps but this is through constant shouts and flailing arms.
He used to go to sleep ok at 7.30 and then wake at midnight/1 and 3/4 for feeds before waking up and not going back down at 6. I was ok with this as he would go back down ok after each feed. Although the last 2 weeks he has woken every hour after 7.30 until about 10.30 and then every hour from his second feed. We used to swaddle but stopped at christmas as he rolled from his back to front and I I was nervous about swaddling him after this.
He is very alert when awake and people are always commenting on how lively he is, he doesn't stop moving and doesn't sem to calm down.
From everything I've read he is getting over tired and I need to get him to nap more in the day. I've tried doing this following his sleep signs, and cuddling him then putting him in his cot at the firt yawn, although this seemed to early as he played for a bit moving around his cot, and then got irate. I've also tried on set times (ie every 1.5 hours) which still results in screams and I don't know whether it is too early or too late... He only naps for 45 mins and sometimes wakes up crying so I know he needs to sleep more but I can't get him back to sleep.
The HV says to get better night sleep he needs to self settle- we've tried shush pat and pupd and both seem to wind him up more. I also know we need better daytime sleep to get better night time sleep.
It's really getting to me that I'm doing his sleep all wrong and probably have from day 1 and its my fault that I'm letting him get overtired meaning naps and night sleep are terrible but I can't seem a way to make it better. I'm finding it hard each day knowing I've got to get him to take naps and I dread each night. I'm even thinking about going back to work early as i just feel I can't really look after him properly if I can't get naps right and maybe a nursery would be better for him.
Sorry for the essay- any reassurance or guidance welcomed.
Have you tried other places to nap? Buggy, swing, sling just to see if they work and whether better daytime naps make a difference? Don't despair and please don't withdraw because you think you're failing! Have a look at the 'no cry sleep solution' by Elizabeth Pantley. She does a really good job at explaining sleep cycles, which could help you pinpoint when to put him down for a nap.
I don't have an answer but just wanted to say that I know what you are going through. We had similar challenges with DD1. She just hated naps. Sleeping in the sling (on me!!) helped was she was little - not an easy solution and it does not give you a sense of having things under control. Things got a bit better for us when DD1 started rolling onto her front, as it became obvious that she much preferred sleeping on her front (which of course we were avoiding). So, holding your hand. Remember: this is just a phase (as long as it might seem!) and kids grow up fast.
Don't be too hard on yourself, some babies don't sleep very well... If you've tried everything, read lots, analysed it all, drawn up a spreadsheet (really, I did this with dd1, in retrospect I can see I had to much time on my hands back then!) then perhaps it is something that will change more gradually? My dd3 didn't sleep at all, then hit three months and started napping in the day and sleeping through but it was short-lived hence I awake at 1.30 am feeding her. Try not to worry, it honestly will get better, just. Sorry I can't tell you when!
Thanks all for the support. the sleep deprivation is a killer and i just keep thinking that I must be doing something wrong as he just fights sleep all the time. To make it worse last night I couldn't sleep at all, even when ds was asleep.
Saw the health visitor today in desperation (and tears). She advised weaning him, or putting him in his own room, or controlled crying. The first 2 are definite nos from me and whilst I'm not sure about cc I know he needs to learn to go to slep by himself and I maybe don't always give him the chance as I hate to hear him cry-will get the Pantley book.
He will nap in the pram so took him for a long lunchtime walk today, tiring for me but hoping it helps him.
I was you 5 months ago! Seriously, exactly the same. Some babies are not natural nappers, but he will get there. I actually found that around 4 months was when things initially got lots worse (google 4-month sleep regression - it's not something you're doing wrong!) BUT then they quickly got lots better.
My advice would be: go with what works; try to get some naps into him by any means necessary, then, when he is not overtired, start trying to get him to go to sleep in the cot. He may need help at first - for what it's worth, DD also hated shh-pat, but liked gentle head stroking and soft talking or singing (bless her - at least someone likes my voice!). It worked for us, but took a looooong time. I found, though, as long as there seemed to be some progress, however gradual, and as long as I had a plan, I was fine with the slower, gentler approach.
I am going through almost exactly the same with my 15 week old! Here's my experience over the last couple of weeks....
He physically fights falling asleep in the day if he gets overtired - the only thing that will 'force' him to switch off is swaddle, rock, loud shhing and patting (switches on a calming reflex apparently). (Currently shhing as I type as he's just fallen asleep!). If I can catch him at the right time, I can lie with him and gently shh and pat and he falls asleep without protest - I managed this three times yesterday! Once he had a 1hr 50min sleeps just 30 mins after waking from a 45 min sleep - so I'm trying not to clock-watch any more and just look for tired signs. Thought I had cracked it but downhill again today. I was advised by someone else on here to try and get him to catch up with his sleep, as over tiredness accumulates, which sounded like good advise, so what with all this snow I've been staying home and working on sleep.
I'm also making an effort to extend his naps...if he wakes try and get him back to sleep before he wakes fully. Sometimes works...sometimes he'll spend 20 mins in light sleep before going back to deep sleep.
He also slept better the night before last as my DH was in charge of the night shift (I was poorly and in the spare room) and DH doesn't wake to his every snuffle/stir like I do - so we might move him into his own room soon. And i think our movements (and DH snoring!) might disturb him too. Last night however was back to the usual... he also had a 4am crying meltdown and ended up cosleeping. It seems he likes being as close as possible to me without being held, which is sometimes tricky!
Anyway - I totally feel your pain and its horrid not knowing how to help them and those tired little eyes! It's such a big part of my day, worrying about his sleep...each time he wakes from a snooze I'm worrying about the next one - and when we go out I'm worrying about timings/pressure to get him to sleep at the right time! It feels like I spend my whole time trying to get him to sleep.
Good luck and I'll be reading the advice you are given
DS is the same age and we're battling the naps too. He is still swaddled and actually needs it due to his startle reflex still being strong. What has just started working with him at the moment (disclaimer: this week at least) is vertical rocking/swaying where his head is against my chest so he can't see anything. When he gets heavy head/eyes I place him in his crib and immediately tuck his arms into a giant muslin while making shhing sounds and gently rubbing his chest. He fights the sleep by rocking his head. It is at this point that I need to have my hands over his arms. Not restraining him, but just providing a little weight on his arms or just hovering above them to catch them as they'll flail about 4-5 times before he properly nods off. This has really helped him. He only naps 45-60 mins but I guess it's a good start.
i think your hv is being a bit random i think its too early for weaning or cc, my ds is now 18m old but we had some big sleep challenges when he was younger. i would agree with poster above and wish i had read no cry sleep solution earlier. it really helped us, and ds would only nap for 30mins!
please don't worry that you are getting it all wrong. you are doing a great job, don't compare too much with other mums as i find it just makes me worry more.
i would suggest you
1. order no cry sleep solution
2. look at Elizabeth pantley website download sleep logs and start completing them whilst you wait for book to arrive.
3. get out for some fresh air every day (that it isn't actually snowing )
4. enlist help of your mum or friend to help with Simple things like cooking and cleaning, even just changing your bedsheets and taking a load of washing is really kind.
5. make a sleep plan as per book.
hope that helps .
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