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Another 9 week old fighting naps...any advice?

(6 Posts)
Germanwife Thu 06-Feb-14 14:43:36

Hello everyone

I have a 9 week old DS who has been fighting naps and daytime sleep since he was 5-6 weeks old.

I've read all the baby sleep books and message boards to know that this is a common problem and that there is no magic solution. However; I've spent most of my waking hours for the last 3 weeks trying to get DS to sleep and I'm going bonkers.

I've tried all the usual stuff: watching for sleepy cues, timing how long DS takes to go from awake to cranky (1 hour) and winding him down 20 mins before that; I've tried pre-nap routines like baby massage (which we do before bedtime); swaddling, rocking, white noise, black out curtains, the sling and what not. We have tried putting him down for naps "drowsy but awake" (a complete failure) and the shush Patting. We tried all these in combo or alone over several days/weeks but DS does not respond to anything. I've even completely cut out caffeine in case that was bothering him.

We can't really stick with any routine or pattern as a typical day goes like this: DS wakes, I feed him (bf), we do a low key playtime while I change him, swaddle and try to settle him. He sometimes responds to rocking so I would rock him (in front of a blank wall, as I realised he is very easily distracted); his eyes close but as soon as they do, he springs them open, this can go on for 40 min. If he falls asleep, input him in his Moses basket and he will wake up 15 min later. Then we try again. Then it's time to feed him. And on it goes. Before I know it, it's 3pm, DS hadn't slep a wink and then has a huge meltdown - screaming, crying etc. sometimes he is so exhausted by his screaming fits that he conks out and sleeps an hour or two but this clearly isn't a solution.

He also won't sleep on me/in my arms anymore; he sometimes falls asleep in the sling (exception rather than the rule) and if we take him for a walk, he never sleeps in the pram. He no longer sleeps in cars, just looks around wide eyed. He no longer falls asleep on the boob in the daytime and won't take a pacifier. I feed on demand - at the moment every 2 or 2.5 hours. I know he is not going hungry as he's already doubled his birth weight and frequently refuses the boob or latches on for a few min then spits up.

Everyone says ''do what works" but nothing is working! DS has a fussy period every hour (then proceeds to full blown afternoon meltdown). I can't leave the house very much as he is either tired/fussy from tiredness /approaching meltdown.

At night, his bedtime is around 7pm (we came to this conclusion by watching his sleeping patterns and he somehow settled himself into this, so his longest stretch of sleep is what he does at 7). We do a wind down routine (bath, massage), I will feed him, and once asleep we put him in the Moses basket. He still wakes every two hours at night but easily does 7pm to 8am sleep (in 2 hour chunks). This 2 hour sleep is also driving me nuts as i don't k ow what else to do. Most of the time that he wakes, he isn't really hungry. We know he wakes from gas pains sometimes, also a nap time problem, but this isn't the cause of all his wakings. Most wakings, he is drowsy rather than completely awake and goes back to the basket easily after five min on the boob (I know I shouldn't do that especially if he is not hungry but I am too exhausted to rock him for 20 min). He has started having one random waking at 3-4am where he is super alert and chatty, and takes over an hour to go back to sleep. This makes me wonder I'd his bedtime is too early but there is no way we can keep him up later given that he sleeps so little in the daytime.

I know that better daytime sleep promotes better nightime sleep, but I have no idea how else to go about this. I'm told he will grow out of it but in the meantime I'm sure it's not healthy for him to be awake most of the day, especially as he's clearly not happy about it, judging from his crankyness. On occasions that he manages a nap, he is a complete different baby when awake - cooing and talking to us, so I know he needs sleep!

Apologies for this huge essay but if anyone has any advice, please share! Above all, what am I doing wrong?

Needless to say, I'm surrounded by mums whose bf babies sleep 8 hour stretches and go down easily for naps. I am envious of all the friends who just pick up their babies and go out - I can't even do that as my permanently overtired DS always goes into meltdown after 20 mins outside (in sling or pram). I really want to enjoy this time with DS but its so frustrating!

nibbysmum Thu 06-Feb-14 15:06:30

Does he sleep in the car or pram if you go for a walk. My son was...and still is a poor napper (4 months) so you have my sympathies. I go to baby massage and some baby's are conked out on floor before the sessions over! I, on the other hand regularly have to take my son out in car, in pram or push the pram up and down the kitchen facing away from me when he yawns. I haven't ever got him down in cot for more than 40 minutes since he was 4 weeks old. But he will sleep upto 2hrs in pram and hv said this was fine. He is in the middle of the dreaded 4:month sleep regression now so it's a daily battle again. It did improve though and I learned to accept I'd just have to push him in pram or run errands on car with him. I'm sorry if this doesn't help. Wasn't sure from your post whether you've tried pram or car

nibbysmum Thu 06-Feb-14 15:08:33

Ignore me...I've just read back and you have answered that. How long has it been this bad?

Germanwife Thu 06-Feb-14 15:21:11

Nobbysmum - thanks for your reply! My post was hugely long and rambling so no worries. Re: all other babies conking out - this is my experience too!

I wish DS slept in the car or pram as at least we could leave the house! It's been like this since he was around 5/6 weeks with no improvement. The gp said it was normal, and DS had his two month check up which revealed all is fine and there are no medical reasons for his sleeplessness!

WhateverLove Thu 06-Feb-14 22:29:45

I could have written this myself a few weeks ago! It's like all the tricks you get used to using to get them to sleep (sling, rocking, feeding etc) no longer work!

I decided to just focus on the first nap of the day and hoping that if he had one in the morning then he'd have more! So if do absolutely anything I could to get him to sleep (for me it was hoovering with him in the sling then walking round the house with him in the sling covering his eyes til he went with a bit of protest).

I then gave up caffeine and refined sugar and either it was a complete coincidence or it worked as things got better.

Then of course things get bad again with 4 month sleep regression, teething, growth spurt!

Anyway, from what you say there doesn't seem to be much that works getting him to nap but if you find something and can focus on the first nap of the day then the others are easier iyswim.

I also bit the bullet and now co sleep so he can pretty much help himself during the night and I'm much much less tired. Not sure if that's an option for you?

Also not sure if any of this helps but as I read so many times "this too shall pass".

Hope it passes quickly for you!

Germanwife Fri 07-Feb-14 05:06:28

Concentrating on the morning nap sounds like a good idea! I will try that tomorrow and fret less about the others.

I thought about co-sleeping but it's isn't really a feasible /practical option for us for various reasons.

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