it's not getting any easier...(15 Posts)
Any help gratefully received for what, today at least, seem like insurmountable problems with my DS, 11 weeks old.
He is completely crap at sleeping in the day, but needs to as screams inconsolably by early afternoon if he doesn't. The only place he will reliably sleep is in a sling but he is getting heavy (over 15lb now) and I can feel that this won't be viable in a few weeks time. He may nap in the car or buggy, but usually just screams and if he does nap it's just for 30 minutes or so. I have tried putting him into cot after he's fallen asleep on me but he just wakes up.
I think a big part of the problem is that he needs to suckle to settle himself but he refuses a dummy (is ebf) and can't yet thumb suck. He sucks on my inverted little finger, and only mine. He won't take DH's. I bf to sleep in the night, but he often wakes when I put him in his cot afterwards and then wants my finger. This is fine if it's just 10 minutes or so, but is often much longer and I end up feeling desperate as I know it then won't be long before he's awake again. Which is the other issue. He sleeps ok in the first half of the night (8-12 or occasionally 1am) but after feeding at 3ish is a nightmare to settle back to sleep. Yesterday he was awake from 4:30 & still fighting sleep at 8am. I check nappy, offer boob, play Ewan the sheep, rock but he just resists all attempts. He writhes and thrashes around and cries (properly) if I do try to let him self settle. Last night, DH was up at 5 to get an early train so I put him in bed with me, but I don't want to co-sleep as DH is a very deep sleeper, rolls over a lot and likes his beer!
I have to go back to work when he's 6 months old and just feel at the moment that will be impossible. Several people have already commented that he's a 'difficult' baby and 'how will you ever be able to leave him with a childminder?'. I want to enjoy him but it's so hard. He won't be held by DH for longer than about 10 minutes and we have no family here. I just feel I don't get a break as I spend so much time in the day trying to get him to sleep. Having him in sling/walking is physically tiring too when you've only had 4-5 hours sleep. I feel so guilty for feeling like this😢 as he is healthy and gorgeous.
Can anyone help with nap/substitute finger sucking/early morning settling suggestions please? Thank you
Can't offer any miracle solutions but thought I'd share what works for us. Dd2 also ebf and only naps for 30-40 mins. I'm useless at spotting tired cues so what works for us is not letting her be awake for more than 1.5-2 hours between naps. She is 16 weeks o may be nearer 1.5 hours for your little one. If she is really tired still when she wakes, sometimes she'll feed straight back to sleep for a bit.
She naps in the pram. When home, I have it in het room and rock back & forth till she nods off. I also use White noise o help her settle. The vacuum cleaner sound played loud is particularly useful if she's overtired.
Can't really help with night times as my DD is similar o yours & very unsettled after first feed. Also refuses a dummy. I am trying to get o habit of putting her down with a muslin as a comforter. She has however started to find her thumb over the past couple pf weeks.
If he's your first & you can be flexible, I'd do whatever it takes to get him napping in the day. Out for a walk, or even take a drive, just tp break the cycle of pver-tiredness. I used t do wthis woth dd1 who was also a terrible napper. I'd take a book, park up & read while she slpet!
Good daytime sleep generally helps with night time.
Is he windy? DD was like this at a similar age and was very windy - I think the wind disturbed her night sleep (especially latter half of th night as you describe, all babies sleep more lightly in the second half of the night apparently) and this meant she was overtired in the day hence terrible napping.
if it is wind, it should improve a lot with age as their bodies become more able to deal with it. careful winding, especially at night feeds, helps too. it's hard if you feed to sleep but try winding 3/4 of the way through the feed.
Thanks very much. He could be windy so I will definitely try winding during feed instead of at the end when invariably nothing comes up. Thanks again
Yes he is my first-and last at this rate! His sleep cues are hard to spot or I'm bad at reading them so that's a good tip-thank you very much. Let's hope they both find their thumbs soon eh
White noise? Always worked a treat for DD. I used the hairdrier but you can download apps. DD got much better at sleeping in the daytime once she could reliably get her thumb in her mouth and suck to settle herself. That was about 12 weeks or so, I think (she was a BF dummy refuser too)
I am first time mother to a 6mo so don't have much accumulated wisdom, but will share what I have! (almost entirely gleaned on here)
- ditto what lazzaroo says, focus on the daytime naps more than the nights. first nap of the day 90 minutes after waking, religiously. overtiredness is the enemy and once we started this, DD's later naps got longer, better and more regular and oddly her sleep cues seemed much clearer (I appreciate this might sound like nonsense when you're trying to get him back to sleep after a 4am waking, but on the days it does apply-!);
- look up high needs babies? (Dr Sears good on this)....there is a high needs baby support thread knocking around somewhere...
- you can cosleep, the DC shouldn't be between the two adults anyway (risk of overheating) so shunt OH into the far corner of the bed, then you, then LO ie you're in between them. I am not prepared to cosleep routinely but have for short difficult periods and it's saved a shred of sanity;
- they settle (or more accurately, change) significantly at 3mo so hang tight (look up the fourth trimester if you haven't already heard it mentioned);
- they change again quite soon after that! (check out developmental leaps and sleep regressions);
- get an evening routine going now, something gentle - bath, feed, same story, lights down, same song, into cot - this is more for your sanity than anything!
- wind, wind and wind again!
Thank you that's really helpful. I guess I have been focusing on the nights, but trying to get daytime naps sorted makes sense. We do have a bedtime routine-do you think it needs tweaking?
5:50 get room ready, blinds down, lullaby music on
6:00 bath, into sleepsuit and Grobag
6:30 start feeding-this is the bit that takes the time but I think this is normal at this age. He's usually asleep by 7:45.
We don't do a story yet but I could start. I have tried to get him asleep earlier by earlier bath but didn't work and he just stretched his feeding out and still fell asleep at same time. It was like he knew what I was trying to do!
Thanks I will try white noise. we do use the lullaby setting on Ewan the sheep and I'm not sure if it helps or not but Ewan does have a white noise option too. The lullaby setting certainly makes me very drowsy!
Just want to say hang in there: ds1 is now 21 weeks old bit he is a 'difficult' baby too so I feel your pain. It's true what the others have said: things do get easier at around 3 months (it was more like 3.5 for us)...I think as they get older they gradually get more and more settled in the later parts of the night.
For the time being can you go to bed at 8pm as well, so that you at least get a good bank of a couple of hours sleep before your DC wakes for first feed? I definitely did this for a few weeks in the early days and it really helped. It won't be forever: yor DC will sleep in longer blocks in the wee small hours eventually and you will start going to bed at a normal ish time again.
Also agree it sound like wind issues in the a early hours. DS was terrible for this. But think you may just have to ride it out a bit, their guts get more mature week by week and better able to digest their milk. Just keep winding during feeds and hang in there.
Thank you. Just been reading the Dr Sears website & wow-everything on there about high needs babies is so true! That's him in a nutshell. Have you looked at it at all? Just helps to know that it's not anything I'm doing wrong and also that it can be channelled into positive traits for the future
The Dr Sears high needs website is sooo helpful-thank you. It describes him precisely
so glad the Dr Sears in helpful! there are lots of resources out there I think, but you have to know the name of what you're looking for. I have also got a book called BabyCalm out of the library at the mo and while some of it is waffley pseudo science, it's the best book I've flicked through so far just because it encourages you to be gentle with your baby and gentle with yourself. It has a 'toolbox' of baby calming techniques that are useful, so I'd recommend looking at a copy for that.
re routine - am definitely not experienced enough to comment! and I think it has to be whatever works for your day and timings of LO's feeds and so on. all I would say is, be religious about a couple of sleep cues - song, story, light, whatever, something very recognisable (and portable, so you can use it when you're away!) do it every night, and that familiarity will really soothe them (and helps you feel like you're doing something, which is not to be underestimated!). when my DD was tricky at about 3mo I opted to have a period of being religious about her napping and going to sleep in her cot for a couple of weeks, and that worked for us. we also use the cot only for sleep (again for the cues / associations reasons).
really hope things settle down for your soon OP. please also don't discount the cumulative effect of 3 months of tiredness and repetition, lots of parents hit a wall so now might be the time to extricate yourself for a morning away if possible, a proper break.
Routine looks ok, at 11 weeks they can't really stay awake for longer than about 1.5 to 2 hours so you are really aiming for 3 naps. Try and get one at about 4 - 5 pm in what ever way works. This should stop him being over tired-a killer for bedtimes.
Definitely use white noise, worked brilliantly with both my girls. Also swaddling.
Personally I try and put into place a few things that signal sleep, and use them consistently for all sleeps including naps.
Story is pointless until they are a few months at least. You want as little simulation as possible until the bedtime is firmly established.
When e wakes in the night say at 12 how do you deal with him? Any waking before say 6 should be treated as a night waking. Low lights, little talk or messing w ith him.
Try persevering with the dummy?
It should improve as he grows if you are consistent. You are nearly at the magic 12 weeks which is when thins are supposed to start to get easier!
Good luck. I'll be thinking of you at 4 am!
Poor you, I've been there. I would try the pram - DD took all her naps in her pram at first even though I worried endlessly about it. By 8 months she was napping brilliantly in her cot so don't ever worry that anything you do will be permanent or harmful.
Definitely work on the daytime naps - better sleep in the day (although not excessive amounts as you don't want days and nights mixed up) will improve nighttime sleep. It's also easier for you to think rationally in the day.
You could try swaddling although he may not like this having got to 11 weeks without it. Also, my DS doesn't respond well to being shushed, rocked, cuddled etc when he's tired, it really winds him up. I do have to let him lie in his cot and yell for 30 seconds and then he goes to sleep.
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