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3.5 wo barely sleeps

(26 Posts)
chameleon3241 Tue 02-Jul-13 07:00:36

Our 3.5 wo son barely sleeps. He never has done much - fights it like hell - but it's getting worse. He has never fallen asleep by himself - has to be held or in the sling in the day and bf to sleep at night. He will sleep for 2-4 hours on one of us but wakes almost immediately if you try and put him down. At night he had been getting perhaps two blocks of 2.5 hours in the Moses from midnight but the past few days this had got worse until the most he goes is 1.5 and then fusses the rest of the night, perhaps having the odd half an hour if I pat and shush for ages. He'll fall asleep after feeding and then I wait until he seems deeply asleep before transferring him but so quickly he wakes. he had been getting 8-10 hours of sleep per 24 hours but that's gone down further. Invariably somewhere between 5 and 6am I give in and put him in my chest whilst propped up in bed. He'll sleep for about three hours like this which is really the only sleep I'm getting. However, I've read that I shouldn't be doing this so I'm panicking now as that's the only saviour. In the day he often sleeps once from 3pm ish on me whilst I watch TV or read. He hates the pram and screams until I get him out to carry him so that doesn't help.

How can I teach him to stay asleep in the Moses at night before I lose it? In the day he will go 2.5-3 hours between feeds.

Oh and he's a generally grumpy thing with episodes of colicky crying so hard work when not asleep and why we tend to allow whatever sleep he will do.


forevergreek Tue 02-Jul-13 07:08:43

I would try and sort his day sleep first. At 3.5 weeks he should be sleeping far more than one nap. Roughly every 90 mins awake I would attempt to get him to sleep ( in sling/ pram/ Moses basket/ wherever).

Waking every 90 mins at night is unfortunatly still normal at this age. Hopefully more naps in day, try feeding every 2 hours instead of 3 so he isn't so hungry at night.

forevergreek Tue 02-Jul-13 07:15:18

Maybe try the EASY method ( eat, activity, sleep, yourself time). So baby wakes, it's fed, then changed, has a little kick around, then back to sleep.

At this young activity include things like baths/ changing/ massage etc.. As they should get tired very quickly

Average is 18-20 hours a day so anything to improve the amount would be great. Does he sleep on walks? In sling?

Forgetfulmog Tue 02-Jul-13 07:19:48

There's nothing wrong with having your newborn sleep on your chest as long as you are propped up & can't roll over & he can't roll off. I had my dd sleep like that for about 4 months.

At 3.5 wo he is tiny & wants his mum. At this stage just do whatever it takes to get him to sleep. Don't worry about things for the time being, just go with the flow if you can.

I know it's tough, believe me I know, but just try to go with if for now

YokoUhOh Tue 02-Jul-13 07:21:15

Congrats on your new baby!

Before DS arrived I had this idea that I'd be 'strict' about putting him down to sleep. The reality is that he's 7mo and still BFs to sleep and I co-sleep with him for most of the night.

Get a sling so that baby can nap in it in the daytime; read up on safe co-sleeping (3 in a bed by Deborah Jackson) so that, if your baby ends up in your bed, you're doing it properly. Feeding-wise, you might find he feeds throughout a lot during the evenings in preparation for night times.

Such a tiny baby can't learn bad sleeping habits, he just wants to be near his mummy smile enjoy tiny baby cuddles!

chameleon3241 Tue 02-Jul-13 07:27:57

Thanks. I have read the theory and believe me, have tried very hard to get regular sleeping going in the day but it's nigh on impossible. He does get tired but despite all my encouragement will not even fall asleep in arms. Then he gets over-tired and difficult until he finally flakes out for hours late afternoon.

At night he's awake more than every 1.5 hours - would be OK if he did 1.5 sleeps for a period but we're just getting the odd half an hour then fussing, etc.

Screams in pram until taken out and carried. Naps in sling but only my husband can wear it and he's back at work. I've ordered a wrap sling for me to use though so hope that might help day sleeping...

When I feed at night he also doesn't take as much as in the day - often only 10-15 mins and only one side whilst day feeds almost always both sides for about 45 mins. I feed him as often as he wants in the day and can't see how I could do more than that?

Forgetfulmog Tue 02-Jul-13 07:31:50

You're doing fine OP with the feeding - demand feeding is perfect. He might not be feeding as much at night because he's sleepy - you could try this trick, feed him on one side, then change him & try him on the other side - changing will wake him up a little so he should feed for a bit longer.

My dd was & is still the same re sleeping - will only nap in pram whilst moving or in sling. I'm just trying not to worry about it & eat cake grin

sarahbanshee Tue 02-Jul-13 07:33:47

He sounds just like my son who had reflux and couldn't bear to be laid down on his back - he would sleep ok on my chest, in arms, in a sling and in the car but for months wouldn't sleep in his cot for long. Is your baby sick a lot? Even if not there is something called silent reflux which you may want to look up.

Definitely get a sling - a wrap sling like a moby or hugabub is better I think for tinies than something like a baby Bjorn which is not so cosy (nor so good for your back). We had my son in the sling literally all the time, day naps and at night my husband would wear him for a few hours while I slept, then I'd take over and have him on my chest in bed.

It is very hard but my son got much better when we got his reflux under control, and was sleeping mainly in his cot by about 15 weeks and entirely in his cot by about 20 weeks. That probably feels a lifetime away to you now but it will pass and meanwhile do whatever it takes to get you all through and please don't worry about " bad habits".

chameleon3241 Tue 02-Jul-13 07:35:14

Thanks Forgetfulmog. If it's OK for him to sleep on my chest then I'll be much happier. Three hours of that is enough for me and gives me enough energy to try and get him to sleep more in the day.

YokoUhOh, thanks. I really don't want to end up co-sleeping as our bed isn't big enough and I just don't think I'd be happy with it. When might he start being happy in the Moses do you think?

forevergreek Tue 02-Jul-13 07:36:19

I think that wrap on order is a good idea?

Have you ever read about the ' fourth trimester'? It's based on the fact than ideally we could do with a 12 month gestation but due to human head size it's now only 9. Trying to mimic a 'womb like' environment can sooth and help many tiny babies. Ie skin to skin in sling/ wrap, basically with you most of the day. Or in pram/ basket wrapped snuggly so they don't jolt themselves awake.
Try swaddling baby before placing in pram. Do you have any baby sheepskin? Adding this to pram can add cosiness. You can always try rolling a blanket into a nest shape and placing baby in the middle so they feel more secure also.

Congratulations btw

wintersdawn Tue 02-Jul-13 07:39:07

he's spent the last nine months of his life in constant contact with you and your heart beat, 3.5 weeks isn't long to adjust. do whatever works is my advice, he's far to young for sleep training and although the average baby has 16 hours sleep a day that means there are lots that don't. my dd was a 16-20 hour a day sleeper, she's now 27 months and sleeps more than my 10 wo sad already he only has one nap a day - hard work!

chameleon3241 Tue 02-Jul-13 07:42:23

Thank you Sarahbanshee. He is hardly ever sick but does seem to have quite a gurgly tummy (past week or so only pooed once or twice a day, often in evening and often after tummy massage) and he certainly seems happier on his front which we thought might be linked. I've been making an extra effort to burp him well.I hope the wrap sling arrives soon.

Forgetful - tried the change mid-feed for first time last night/this morning and did get a bit more into but didn't result in more sleep. Will keep trying that though.

stargirl1701 Tue 02-Jul-13 07:43:39

He sounds like my DD who has silent reflux.

Rubysmommy Tue 02-Jul-13 07:45:29

A friend of mine had a similar problem in that her DD woke as soon as they put her down. They were advised to put a hot water bottle in the Moses basket for a few minutes to warm the sheets and then take it out just before you put baby back in. I suppose it would be a shock to them, getting put into a cold bed after being held by warm mommy/daddy. Just remember to take the hot water bottle out before baby goes in - dont leave it in there in case they overheat.

chameleon3241 Tue 02-Jul-13 07:51:51

We have always done the hot water bottle thing and it is a really good idea but it still doesn't help. It is almost like once the heat from that has gone he realises he's not on a body and wakes.

I'll look up silent reflux, thanks.

BotBotticelli Tue 02-Jul-13 09:32:30

My heart really goes out to you OP - those first few weeks are bloody shockingly awful hard work in my opinion. The sleep deprivation of looking after a newborn, especially an unsettled one, is just hideous. Take a deep breath: you are doing everything you can.

It might be silent reflux, which is like heartburn, and is bad when baby lies on it's back. Talk to your HV or GP if this is your instinct after reading about it: they can prescribe baby gavisconor somehting similar which can help.

I have to say though, my DS did not have reflux, but he was terribly unsettled in the night for the first few weeks of his life. He was basically nocturnal and would spend the whole night snuffling/crying/feeding and generally being a nightmare. DH and I used to tag team each other in and out of looking after him (ie he would do 8pm-midnight, I would do mignight till 4am, and then he would do 4am onwards. Even when he was at work, bless him. I was FF though after an epic breastfeeding FAIL so at least he could help out with the night feeds. Although tbh, DS was only feeding 2-3 times in a night, but was just awake, upset and unsettled the rest of the time.

We did not want to co-sleep so we battled on with the moses basket, basically none of us getting much sleep for the first few weeks, until he started to 'get it' and then became more settled.

The good news is: it passed. Just by him getting older, bigger more settled. I didn't really have to do anything apart form find ways to ride it out. I used to ask my MIL to come round for a couple of hours in the afternoon twice a week and I used to leave her with a bottle and just go to bed for a couple of hours. Could you express some milk and do similar with a friend or relative?

A wise friend told me it gets a bit easier at 6 weeks and then much easier at 12 weeks. I didn;t believe it was true (and thought I would have gone insane by 6 weeks anyway), but she was right. By 12 weeks he was sleeping for 3 hour stretches at a time in the night, and we were all feeling much better.

Hang in there, it wont be like this forever xxx

ShinyBabyOfficialNosePicker Tue 02-Jul-13 10:04:01

have you tried raising his mattress up so he is sleeping on a slope? this helped my dd be less fussy at night and we have only just gone back to a flat mattress at 14 weeks.

chameleon3241 Tue 02-Jul-13 12:43:56

Thanks both. Raising the mattress head is certainly worth a go. My friend also told me the 6 and 12 week thing so it's good to hear that echoed although even another 2.5 weeks from now seems an age away. I think what's hard is that for the first week or so he had a reasonable night sleep session and he's just totally deteriorated.

Looks like letting him sleep on me day and night for the next few weeks at least is all I can do. Hope the sling helps too so I could get some stuff done in the house, or more importantly leave it as I'm really quite trapped at home right now and that doesn't help my state of mind.

BotBotticelli Tue 02-Jul-13 12:50:52

Hey OP another quick thing: although it's the last thing you feel like doing, try to take LO outside in the daylight/sunshine at least once a day - even if just for a walk round the block. Apparently this helps them learn about daytime/nighttime and to get their clocks 'set' to know that daytime is for lights, action noise etc and nighttime is for sleeping. Not sure how true this is but it has to be worth a try, right? ESP if DS will sleep in the pram. It is also probably good for your style of mind to get out the house ice a day.

This too will pass, this too will pass etc etc etc

chameleon3241 Tue 02-Jul-13 13:36:27

Thanks. I have been trying to take him out at least once a day but he hates the pram and just howls so it's pretty stressful and ends up me carrying him with one hand and pushing the pram with the other.

I feel like we give him day/night cues - open curtains by 10am, try to get downstairs by 11/12, go outside, be louder/have TV on then dark, quiet and dull from 9/10pm. I hope that with time he will tune into this.

Forgetfulmog Tue 02-Jul-13 14:27:01

My dd had reflux too & I found cutting dairy completely out of my diet helped. I don't advise you do the same! But putting baby down to sleep on his left side also helps if he does have reflux - I would check with a HCP that they're happy for you to do that - they were with me

Forgetfulmog Tue 02-Jul-13 14:28:33

I would point out though that 3.5 weeks is vv young & probably a bit early to start diagnosing him with reflux!

CityDweller Tue 09-Jul-13 23:04:42

Just to reiterate that it will get better! My 12 wk old would only sleep on us at the beginning. We tag-teamed at night - doing 3 hr stretches each holding her in bed at night, trying to time those around her feeding times. That way I got at least some short stretches of sleep and time without her on me! We then rented a bednest co-sleeper crib from NCT (£100 for 6 months) and that's worked out well for us. She sleeps fine in that at night (had to do the hot water bottle thing for a while).

During the day she'll still mostly only sleep well on one of us, either cradled in arms or in a sling. I've just gone with it, presuming (hoping?) that she'll grow out of this the way she grew out of needing to sleep on us at night. And, I rather enjoy these daytime snuggles anyway!

So, hang in there because this too shall pass! I do remember this magical moment at exactly 5.5 wks when suddenly the fog lifted and it all seemed more manageable.

chameleon3241 Thu 11-Jul-13 00:37:04

Hi Citydweller, thanks for this. How did you use the bednest, as in what about it helped do you think? Are you still using it now? Saw HV yesterday who told me to try more putting down with a hand on him. She said he didn't yet know that crying = picking up but he would soon.

Fairy130389 Wed 17-Jul-13 14:51:00

I also have a 3.5 wo who hates his Moses! I have tried hot water bottle and also put a muslin that had been rubbed on me into the Moses basket... That worked briefly. Now I trick him - he will let himself be out down on his side with stirring so I do that, wait a few mins and then tip him into back once he is in. Generally though he needs to be fast asleep to go in so feel your pain! X

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