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8 wk old, nap refuser, broken night sleep, no sign of routine or pattern. Rant.

(45 Posts)
MrsHY1 Sun 02-Feb-14 11:19:46

My much longed for IVF dd is 9 weeks on Wednesday. I love her dearly but she fights sleep with every bone in her little body- from about 2 weeks she simply lost the ability to drop off herself, with the result that she becomes massively overtired unless we coerce her into sleep with the buggy, sling, or 30-40 mins of ssh patting. I watch the clock these days and put her down 60-90 mins after waking, then fight to keep her there. If I didn't she simply wouldn't sleep! I'm very envious of mums who notice tired cues and their babies simply drift off if they respond. Oh, FYI I have intervened at the first yawn, second yawn and every variant thereafter in line with baby whisperer bollocks. Naps have no real pattern in terms of length or timing. At night we 'force' her down somewhere between 9 and 10. On a good night she'll then go for 3-4.5 hrs but last night only managed 2.5. She then wakes for feeds (some of which are definitely for comfort only) every 1.5-3 hrs thereafter. She's more likely to fall asleep after feeds at night but not necessarily, so we have to ssh pat all over again. I'm co-sleeping to get through it but am trying to get her to take her first sleep stint in the basket. The books and the bloody NHS website indicate she should be more amenable to a routine now and should also be sleeping in 4-5 hr blocks at night. I'm a control freak and massive routine enthusiast so am finding this quite hard to take. Doesn't help that a good friend of mine keeps wittering on about how her baby responded perfectly to the Gina ford routine at this age and was sleeping through the night shortly thereafter, and that by co-sleeping I'm basically consigning myself and my child to a lifetime of dependency and sleepless nights.
Sorry, that's all sort of poured out! Think I just needed to get it out and know that it'll be read smile. X

Wisteria36 Sun 02-Feb-14 11:30:41

Poor you - I feel your pain as currently sitting with my 7 week old who has taken all morning to drop off and was also wide awake at 330 am. The trouble is they haven't read the books! No advice but didn't want to leave your post unanswered. It does get better eventually....

RebeccaJames Sun 02-Feb-14 12:56:43

MrsHY... I am EXACTLY where you are. DS2 is 8 weeks and we are not making progress. Like you, we get 2-4 hours (usually closer to 2) at the start of the night but then it's a patchy mess of feeding and very short sleeps. He does go to sleep a little easier than 2 weeks ago but he cannot stay there past 20 mins or so. OH researched it yesterday and the problem seems to be that he cannot manage sleep transition, as well as being hard to get to drop off. So I work hard to get him down and then 20 mins later he's awake. OH sat with him during a nap yesterday and held his arms and shushed him at each transition, with about 10 mins I'm between each one. That way we extracted a nap of an hour from him, but not very practical!

I totally feel your pain. I think, though, that after trying lots of things (white noise, bouncing him, chiropractor, infant Gaviscon) we just have to wait for him to develop a bit and learn to manage falling asleep and sleep transitions better. I know it's not much comfort but for me it's better than frantic searching for "the answer" all the time.

You've got your little one to 8 weeks... You're doing great and the worst is likely over. She's a lot closer to managing her sleep better than she was even one week ago. We need to hang in there but I absolutely understand how hard it is. I feel like I am not enjoying it as much as I should because of exhaustion and I fret about the days ticking away that I "should" be enjoying more.

But I just wanted you to know you are not alone with a precious little bundle who is not fitting with typical development and with the books that say they should be doing this or that by now.

Hang in there hmm...

Onlyconnect Sun 02-Feb-14 12:59:13

I would not expect a routine at 8 weeks. It is really tough. Maybe removing expectation that there should be a routine at this early stage might help a bit.

RebeccaJames Sun 02-Feb-14 13:00:54

Btw I too am struggling with the formlessness and lack of pattern... I can't bear the freefall! But I did Gina Ford with DS1 and it was great but I know not to try that yet, until things get a little more predictable and mouldable. It will drive me mad and I think I would get angry with the baby for preventing me getting the patterns that I desperately need. I think by the sounds of your post that the same would go for you!

RebeccaJames Sun 02-Feb-14 13:09:35

We're co-sleeping too. He does his first stint of sleep in his hammock but in the mess that ensues thereafter I cannot get him back in it and end up breast feeding lying down because I have not got the energy to sit up and keep trying with the hammock. At least that way I am prone, even if not asleep! Gonna work towards more hammock sleep when things improve. So please don't worry or listen to all that rod-for-your-own-back stuff. It just makes you despair.

There really is plenty of time to teach sleep habits in a month or so.

Littlebagoflaughter Sun 02-Feb-14 13:11:24

If you are a control freak you won't want to hear this but you may need to just abandon ideas of routine for now. Ds is 9 months and the only fixed thing we have is bedtime, he always goes down at the same time as he is always ready for sleep at 6pm but otherwise it's pretty much a free for all. Focusing on a routine just stresses me out when it doesn't work. Your baby is still titchy and just may not be ready, all the books assume every baby is the same but they're not and life is much nicer when you just follow your baby's lead. Your baby's age seems to be particularly bad for fighting sleep. I remember a few friends finding naps a nightmare but most seemed to grow out of it. Ignore all the 'shoulds', that way madness lies, just do whatever it takes to get through it because it will pass. We went through the 4month sleep regression and I thought it would never end but now most nights he does about 12hrs with one wake up. I hope things get easier very soon.

PotteringAlong Sun 02-Feb-14 13:12:29

My 2 year old only sleeps in 4 hour blocks. She's very very tiny and I think you're being completely unrealistic about what to expect from her.

If she sleeps in the sling and the buggy then just put her in a sling! It's not called the 4th trimester for nothing!

Also, she's not read any of the books. Step away from them smile

ClaimedByMe Sun 02-Feb-14 13:20:55

You need to relax, she will be picking up on your stress. I just let mine sleep where they dropped off and they do eventually, in the pram, car seat, bouncy chair, activity mat, in my arms.

Are you sure shes not in pain with reflux? Neither of my children had it but I seen it mentioned a lot on here.

MrsHY1 Sun 02-Feb-14 18:33:47

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply.
Wisteria sorry you are also feeling the pain! Do you have any other babies? I've also been told things improve so fingers crossed...
Rebecca I think our babies are in cahoots! It's not uncommon for DD to take 20 min naps, and I sometimes see the transition happen I think. Sometimes she nods back off/ powers through it, sometimes not. If she doesn't and wakes, then within a few minutes she's yawning again and half an hour later it becomes clear that she's overtired. I too hope that it's just a question of maturity and that things will come together. I'm also feeding lying down! It has been a boon. Was DS1 the same? I take it not, given you Gina Forded him? Or did that kick in later too?
Only and Little I know, you're probably right. It goes against my every instinct but there you go! Thanks for sharing your experiences little. I hope 12 hrs with one wake up is just around the corner as that would be lovely...
Pottering I know, I should use the sling more. I'm trying to get her to sleep more on her own so she doesn't rely on me as a sleep prop but I know shes tiny and the most important thing is that she does sleep.
Claimed I agree that I need to relax, but disagree that without helping her to nod off she just would. I tried that, and she stayed awake all day from 7am to 7pm before screaming herself into a tired frenzy. It broke my heart. I don't think it's reflux as she's not in pain, she's just awake and alert ALL THE DAMN TIME. smile

PotteringAlong Sun 02-Feb-14 22:03:44

Don't worry about sleep props at the moment - for all that I said about my 2 year old (he's an extreme example smile ), even he is getting better and will sleep reasonably well most of the time. Just go with the flow (as hard as that sounds for you£ and remember the mantra "this too shall pass"

Alexandra6 Mon 03-Feb-14 06:10:30

Things are pretty similar with my DD1 at 8 weeks, in fact really similar! Have to say I'm quite pleased with how things are going now after spending the first 6 weeks with major crying sessions (colic/wind/reflux I think) and now I am just so grateful to get through a day without major crying, it made me totally lower my expectations I think! Hope that doesn't sound annoying, saying it could be much worse, but it really could!

We also had a couple of 6/7 hour runs of sleep at night so got my hopes up, but we're back to the same night pattern you have now. I also find mine will only nap well on me during the day, or her pram if we're out, so I just let her sleep on me lots while I sit on the sofa! Keep thinking I should try and get her napping elsewhere rather than on me during the day, but it's hard as she usually wakes up!

For now I'm just going with it but feel like we're coming up to a point where we should be trying to bring in a bit of routine or at least laying groundwork so please keep me posted on how it goes for you. I'm thinking maybe start with a bedtime routine of bath, feed, bed at an earlier time but I'm not sure as surely I would then get a worse night if she does her 'good run' of sleep earlier?!

Also, mine needs to be fed to sleep usually, especially at night, or with a dummy - worries me I'm not moving towards self settling! Also wind/winding then wakes her so that drags things out.

Sorry epic post smile Good luck, mine just slept for 5 hours instead of 2.5-4 hours, I'm grateful for that good run!

RebeccaJames Mon 03-Feb-14 22:08:28

Alexandra, welcome to our club! I'm exactly where you are: thinking of starting some kind of routine, but scared as that inevitably involved putting DS2 (8 weeks old) to bed earlier. At the moment he does to bed with me at 10 and does, exactly like yours, 1.4-4 hours, followed by carnage all the way through to dawn! So if I put him down earlier, will I be
p£@sing away the only block of sleep I can get?! Scary concept when you're sleep-desperate, isn't it!

I have been reading this site: and it is reassuring in that they say just after two months is a good time to start (I.e. I haven't missed any chances to get started earlier) and also it seems to simplify what I am supposed to do. And I have read a lot of stuff in the long, lonely small hours and had confused myself completely about the way forward. That's my aim now, starting with getting him to do more naps/night sleeps in his own hammock as the preliminary step.

I too have been panicking about feeding to sleep and lack of self-settling but that site put my mind at ease on that score too. And today a fellow mum was extolling the virtues and simplicity of CIO and she had her two sleeping through the night at 10 weeks old. I am desperate enough to have considered it. For five minutes. I couldn't do it so we are doing the right thing, aren't we?!

Good luck with your LO... Keep us posted!

Mondayschild78 Tue 04-Feb-14 03:43:56

10 week old DS2 is doing a stretch from about 7.30/8 - 11.30/12 then waking EVERY hour the rest of the night. There seems to be little reason for it other than he's young and developing. I'm trying to just go with the flow and remember that it gets better (it really does!)

No real advice but wanted you to know there's lots of us sleep deprived mummies with young babies out there.

Alexandra6 Tue 04-Feb-14 05:07:48

Tonight I tried to move Sophia's bedtime earlier with a little routine so did bath, feed, put down in her basket in the lounge at 7.30pm. She was in it for around 15 mins before waking again and wouldn't settle so I let her sleep on me and feed more. Then we managed to put her down in her basket when we went to bed at 10.30 and we all slept but she woke up 2 hours later. And then a long feeding/winding session and she's awake 2 hours later again. Yawn.

It's only the first time, but I feel like if we move her good run of 3-5 hours earlier in the evening, we don't get to enjoy that run. So it might be better for her to go down for the night when we do and graze/nap/play during the evening until then. Problem is, then we're not getting her to bed earlier and into a routine. Not sure what to do?!

RebeccaJames Tue 04-Feb-14 07:48:37

Alexandra, just try again in a week or two and you might find she.'a ready for an earlier bedtime not to mean you miss the longer sleep. I think that's all you can do. Although, are you rotting up her day sleep? According to GF it should not exceed 4.5 hours in order to lengthen the night sleep, so you could start trying to count her sleep and restricting it. We're not ready for that as DS's sleeps are hard to count as he still catnaps on the boob and it's not clear yet. Also making sure she gets most if her feeds during the day.

Last night DS slept 11-2 and then it was awful. Spent 1.5 hours feeding him and getting him back to sleep, then held him an additional 15 mins it get him in deep sleep, then transferred to hammock. He slept 20 mins then woke up again :-(. I was so tired and frustrated that I actually nearly dashed my own head on the wall. I kid you not :-(. Since then he's just catnapped so I've been awake since 2am.

RebeccaJames Tue 04-Feb-14 07:49:25

Totting, not rotting!

CuteLittleToes Tue 04-Feb-14 12:05:20

I'm no expert as first time mum with DS 11 weeks today, but the most valuable thing I've learned so far is that the only right thing to do is to go with what works for you and your baby and ignore those who say you should do something differently if it doesn't agree with you.

My DS at 8 weeks could sleep 2 hours max and only on my chest at night and would not nap on his own unless in a pram when we were out for a walk. Now at 11 weeks he sleeps in his crib for 3h then with some rocking the crib without picking him up he can do another 1,5-2h and then starts waking up every flipping hour. He also naps well in the pram (inside).

So it's a major improvement for us, although quite far from ideal, but they are growing and their ability to sleep will mature as well.

So there is some light at the end of the tunnel out there, even if the tunnel seems a bit long at the moment smile

curlew Tue 04-Feb-14 12:11:31

Honestly- just cuddle and feed and sleep together. Some babies do routine, some don't. It's entirely the luck of the draw. Please don't sour your lovely new baby time with all this stress and worry. Ignore all this stuff about sleep props and things- thy are just little baby animals. Pretend you are a non human animal too and respond the way a non human animal mother would, by feeding and cuddling.

Havinganose Tue 04-Feb-14 12:23:48

I let ds sleep on his stomach for naps during the day where I could see him. He slept at least twice as long !

MrsHY1 Tue 04-Feb-14 16:22:53

Havinganose DD prefers sleeping on her side, definitely. So on the rare occasions I can get her in her basket, that's how she naps...
Curlew I love that advice, really I do. It's just that mother animal (me) is flipping exhausted most of the time.
Cute that's really reassuring to hear, that things can get better just with time and maturity. And I guess all babies mature at their own rates...
Rebecca sorry to hear about your shit night. I can properly sympathise with wanting to knock your own brains out. It's utterly, gut wrenchingly awful. But tonight could be completely different - I'm just trying to take 24 hours at a time...
Alex I'm really pleased your little one isn't upset all day any more, you are right, it could have been a lot worse. I too have had exactly the same debate re bedtimes. I really miss having an evening with DH but on the flip side if she did go down at 7/7.30 I'd be clock watching thinking that my hours of uninterrupted sleep were ticking away...on the time front, I am getting advice from a sleep consultant who has also covered two nights for me just so I could get some rest and sleep for more than 3 hours in a row. She said that before 12 weeks, most babies (read most, not all!) are capable of 9 hours of 'night sleep' so advised a bedtime of 9 or 10 if I wanted her to go through until 7ish. That's uninterrupted though, so obviously if she went 9-12 then was awake until 2 you dock those two hours off if you see what I mean? Thing is, what do you count as night sleep - DD has napped sometimes for a good couple of hours between 5 and 7 and 15 mins later is yawning, so I think in some ways by keeping her up I'm interrupting her cycle but the prospect of her waking up at 3/4am bright eyed and bushy tailed is too much to bear...and when the night nanny has covered for me, little miss has slept in her own basket for two 3.5 hr chunks and then got back down for another couple of hours after 7am when I'd think to be getting up with her.. it's all bloody guesswork!
Monday poor you, and welcome to our rather tired little club.. xx

MrsHY1 Tue 04-Feb-14 16:27:54

Rebecca that article is lovely but there is one obvious flaw as far as DD is concerned - she doesn't 'fall asleep' or 'get drowsy' at night - she has to be fed/ rocked/ patted into submission from wide awake/overtired (her default position) - she doesn't seem to have an inbetween drowsy state!!

curlew Tue 04-Feb-14 17:13:24

MrsHY1- do you cuddle up with her in bed? Try it- I am willing to bet she'll sleep then- and so will you. Everything looks better when you've had some sleep. Do whatever is necessary to get the most sleep for the most people.

curlew Tue 04-Feb-14 17:17:52

"She said that before 12 weeks, most babies (read most, not all!) are capable of 9 hours of 'night sleep'"

This is really bad advice and is setting you up to feel like a failure Very few tiny babies can go that long without food. Lots are still feeding-and needing to feed- every two hours. They have tiny stomachs. Honestly- try being completely guided by her for a while and see what happens. Go with her flow. It will change all by itself soon, I promise.

MrsHY1 Tue 04-Feb-14 17:39:23

Hiya curlew, I do cuddle up already grin. And I think you have misunderstood her advice- she meant 9 hrs in total but chunked down into however many blocks their feeds dictate- eg 3/feed/3/feed/3 feed or 4/feed/ 3/feed/ 2 etc... X

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