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Nearly 12 weeks - have I made a complete mess so far?

(10 Posts)
Binglesplodge Fri 02-Jan-15 12:42:50

My DS is nearly 12 weeks old and almost always needs to be fed to sleep though sometimes my DH can rock/bounce/sing him to sleep (this can take up to an hour!). We have no routine, and during the day he will wake if I try to put him down so any daytime naps are in my arms after a breastfeed.

As I feed him when he wakes from a nap, it means not much of a gap between feeds if I then feed him back off to sleep for his nap an hour or so later. Other mums I know have their similar aged babies feeding 3 or 4 hours apart but this wouldn't work for me as without feeding him he'd be awake and crying until it was time for the next feed!

He also feeds every 3 hours or so overnight (sometimes more after 3 or 4am) and at night I can usually put him down in his crib once he's fast asleep but again most of my new mum friends are reporting 5,6,7, even 8 hour stretches of sleep and I've never got close to that!

When he's awake my DS is quite hard to keep happy - he does have smiling play periods but cries after a short time and certainly won't be left alone, which means I can't really eat or go to the loo during the day when my husband is at work...

I know people say the first few months are the hardest and I bloody hope they're right but at nearly 12 weeks I'd hoped to see some sort of improvement on the horizon! What should I be doing differently? How can I help him go to sleep more easily? How can I get him going longer between day feeds? How can I help him sleep longer at night? Is he too young to start helping him go down awake and learn to sleep? Is this in fact normal and I just need to suck it up? I feel like he's a ticking time bomb who is always just about to cry and even when he's asleep on my I'm scared he'll wake before he's had a good sleep as I have no way of helping him go back to sleep.

I've had mixed success with a sling - he will usually cry for at least the first 10 minutes. After this, he'll sometimes fall asleep, and sometimes just continue and escalate the crying until I take him out again. In the first couple of weeks, the pram would help him sleep but that quickly stopped working and now he often cries in that, too, no matter how long I walk him in it. We have a bouncy chair but I've never seen any success at all.

I go to baby groups to keep me sane and I see babies of the same age happily lying around on the mats, sometimes even falling asleep! I have nct friends who can take their babies to the shops without them crying their heads off. What can I do differently so that I can enjoy some of our time together? At the moment I'm finding it all relentless and not at all the lovely peaceful time people describe. If I could wave a magic wand and have him be 5 years old already, I would!

LAB123 Fri 02-Jan-15 15:57:51

Don't worry, you're doing brilliantly. My DD is 6 months old now but at 12 weeks I felt like you. All my NCT friends had babies who were sleeping through and seemed so chilled compared to mine. Suddenly overnight she slept all the way through though. It's really hard but try not to compare to others as they're all different. When it's hard just remember that it always passes (the good and the bad!). Have you tried a dummy? I was really against them but tried it just to keep me sane and that was the only way I got mine to go 3 hours between feeds in the daytime. She'll happily wait now but for 2 weeks the dummy was my trusted weapon to avoid hourly feeds. Good luck and be kind to yourself.

katandkits Fri 02-Jan-15 16:04:23

He sounds totally normal. I breastfed both babies and neither went longer than 3 hours in the day until they ate a decent amount of solids. The four hourly feeding babies are probably formula fed. Same with nights, some bf babies do a longer stretch at night but two or three night feeds are very common at that age, even for a lot of bottle fed babies. It will get better! And some babies are just more chilled than others. Neither of mine just fell asleep on a mat ever. I spent hours driving DS around in the car to make him nap.

eepie Fri 02-Jan-15 16:22:46

I could have written this post 3 months ago !! don't worry it does pass ! My DD was exactly like this...I too wondered why I saw other babies lolling on mats and in baby chairs at baby groups...and why I couldn't just take my baby out in the pram or car to get her to sleep...why she was soooo particular, sensitive, delicate ! Such a light sleeper and wanting to nurse to often, whys he never seemed very pleased with anything for long and would go from 0-60 crying with not much warning etc... It's just the way she is/was ! Things definitely started to change around 12 weeks though....No particular advice but just wanted to say that you're doing brilliantly and you just have a 'sparkler' baby....she will reward you later with her brilliant personality and a curious and intelligent mind ! Some babies are just way more intense and high needs than others. I found feeding whenever she wanted to create trust and bond helped...cranial osteopathy helped...sitting her upright more in the pram helped...letting her sleep on her front helped....and just patience and time ! She started being able to self settle with a teeny bit of crying/shouting around 4 months old....She was doing 7 hours in the night then too...But now she is 6 months she wants feeding to sleep again and has gone down to waking every 3.5 hours in the night as she is having a developmental/growth spurt and teething I think ! Things change all the time aarrrrrg !
I felt exactly like you do and still do sometimes. I think it's easier to cope if you let go of what you think or hope they 'should' be doing or comparing them to other babies. Just try to get to know her and love her for who she is. I'm sure if she just lay still for 2 hours on a mat suddenly you'd probably wonder what was wrong with her ! haha. It does get easier, promise ! They start being able to stay awake longer, engage with their surroundings etc. Getting out of the house definitely helps too for them and for you. Good luck and keep doing what you're doing ! xx

Binglesplodge Sat 03-Jan-15 08:29:21

Thanks, all - he's definitely higher needs than the other babies in our group, that's for sure! Last night, he refused to be fed to sleep and cried and fed on and off, rocked in between by DH until he finally gave in and went to sleep around 3am! Hope he starts to settle soon: we're worn out and DH is back to work on Monday so I'll have no help during the day and less at night as he needs to sleep properly to do a full week's work!

ampersandand Sat 03-Jan-15 10:16:35

This sounds a lot like my ds. He would only be fed to sleep or my partner would bounce him to sleep on the birthing ball. We implemented a routine around that age, bath every night then feed in the dark in our bedroom then into his cot. When he woke up 5/10 minutes later I would feed again or he would go on the ball with dp. It could last for a few hours but he would settle eventually. Waking at 2/3 then 5/6 for the day.

In the day we use an app sometimes to calm him down. It has white noise, running water, dishwasher sounds and loads of other sounds that really help calm him.

For the last few nights he would not sleep after his last feed, so I decided to try the app whilst he was in his cot. It took about half an hour of sitting by him just being there with the sound of running water on but he eventually fell asleep.

Maybe it's something that may help your ds? I wish I'd tried that at bed times sooner
rather than feeding him every time he woke.

Queazy Sat 03-Jan-15 16:35:19

Just wanted to say this sounds just like my dd. She was and still is very high needs, but such a happy little soul now. At 12 weeks we had no routine whatsoever, aside from the Eat Sleep Play from Hogg's Baby Whisperer which was not by design - she just fed every 3hrs day and night, and slept afterward. Not long after 12 weeks she started sleeping 9pm to 2am in her cot, and we too had to rock her to sleep. You're doing great. Every baby is different so please don't think your lo should be sleeping on play mats and peacefully sitting on shopping trips - I used to be so envious of those mums too, but most babies aren't like that. Really hope you find things falling into place soon. I never read it but apparently the Baby Whisperer book is fab if you want to try a routine at all xxx

Binglesplodge Sat 03-Jan-15 20:36:30

Thanks, everyone - I'm wondering if he might be hitting the 12 week growth spurt a few days early as he's just particularly hard to handle the last few days... Is that possible? I've also given up dairy in the last 2 days but to be honest that's clutching at straws as he doesn't really have any other symptoms except being windy and that's hardly unusual in a baby who cries!

I've read the baby whisperer but I'm so scared of giving up feeding to sleep as that's more or less the only thing that works for me. I have a feeling that he'd gladly cry through hours of shh-pat as he often does when being bounced/rocked. Is it possible for shh-pat to work even on a demanding baby or am I setting myself up for weeks of crying? The book made me feel terrible, to be honest, because she was so critical of people who left it late to start the routine. I would really really like to teach him to help himself sleep in the day and in the night, and to be put down for sleeping, but I'm so terrified of having a day of total meltdown if I don't feed him to sleep and he loess his marbles from over-tiredness...

ARGH. Before I had him, I was a totally competent person. Now I spend all day on tenterhooks in case he cries, and wondering what I'm not doing right to get a calm, happy baby who can be tucked up warm in his bed and have a nice sleep. Is that really asking a lot?!

Binglesplodge Wed 07-Jan-15 17:17:54

Just a wee bump for any more advice, especially about whether I should try to stop feeding to sleep any try getting onto an EASY rather than EAESY routine... Bouncing and rocking to sleep involves a fair amount of crying so I'm nervous about making it a regular part of our day. Feeding to sleep is my way of avoiding the wailing but isn't teaching him anything about sleeping!

Addictedtocustardcreams Thu 08-Jan-15 08:02:13

My personal advice would be put away the baby whisperer book & forget about it! That book made me feel more inadequate and stressed than anything else I read. Plus when my DD stopped feeding to sleep in the day there was a bit where she stopped sleeping which was horrible!
Mine was a won't be put down for naps all night feed monster who never fell asleep randomly anywhere ever- she just sort of sorted herself out a bit over time, (although is back to not sleeping again aged 2!). I am about to have dc2 & my main aim this time is to just worry about it all a lot less! It sounds like you are doing fine, if you want to try stuff great but if it doesn't work out definitely don't beat yourself up about it.

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