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HELP. My 8 week old just does not sleep...at all.

(16 Posts)
emzii206 Tue 23-Jun-15 11:02:07

Please, I am literally begging for help now. My 8 week old DD literally does not sleep at all. 20 mins at a time at best. I've tried all the usual tips and here's how I got on:
- swaddling = she screamed and screamed until I took the swaddle blanket away
- sling = dozes for a few minutes at a time then goes back to refusing to sleep
- Putting her down in a dark room, with white noise, a dummy, shushing to sleep = wakes herself up after 20 minutes and is then inconsolable
- Letting her sleep on me =dozes for a few minutes at a time then goes back to refusing to sleep
There's nothing medically wrong with her, I've already taken her to the doctor to see if there was something stopping her sleeping, and she is apparently healthy as a horse. I've tried both the comfort-to-sleep, and cry-it-out methods...nothing works. I know that she shows all the signs of a chronically over-tired baby. But I've tried putting her down and getting her settles before she shows signs of tiredness, and she still ends up completely inconsolable, screaming her little lungs out. She doesn't have colic, as her crying isn't continuous throughout the day for hours at a time, and she only does this when it comes to it being sleep time. For the past week, I have spent most of the day crying along with her...partly due to me being completely sleep deprived as well, and partly because I'm just totally defeated now. I need to find a solution, as I'm starting to lose my mind. This morning, after another long night, I even contemplated dropping her at DH's work and just running away to my mum's. I feel like I'm failing. I can't do this anymore. I'm running on empty, and I'm stuck in a vicious, never ending circle. To top it off, DH is working away for 2 days as of tomorrow, and I am terrified of being left alone with DD for 2 whole days.
Someone, please help me, before I completely lose the plot sad

FATEdestiny Tue 23-Jun-15 11:08:52

Have you tried a dummy?

Do you own a bouncy chair?

AnythingNotEverything Tue 23-Jun-15 11:11:29

Has she been like this since birth? Does she sleep on you? In the car? In the pram? How are you feeding her? Could she be hungry? (I know that last one sounds like a stupid question but growth spurts can sneak up on you)

emzii206 Tue 23-Jun-15 11:25:33

She has a dummy, but it doesn't make much difference whether it's in or out of her mouth. She hates the bouncy chair...won't even sit in it when she's wide awake and happy. She's never been a good sleeper since she was born, but it's got progressively worse as she has got older. When she was first born she would do the usually newborn thing...sleep between feeds, so she would have a bottle, take about half an hour to get to sleep, then maybe 1 1/2 sleep, then feed time again. But now, she has a bottle (she usually has between 4 and 5oz, and its hungry baby milk - doctor recommeded she have hungry baby all the time as the whey protein in normal milk doesn't sit on her tummy very well, but she's fine with this milk), when she thinks shes finished, I usually change her nappy, then offer the bottle back to make sure she is done, and 9 times out of 10 she's not interested...so definitely not hungry when I put her down. When she was tiny, she would sleep in the car, but now, even if it's just a 10 minute drive to tescos, she screams the whole way...so you can imagine the fun we have when we drive to my mum's an hour a way sad. Same with the pram, she used to sleep in it when she was tiny, but now isn't having any of it. She won't sleep on me either. She just lifts her head up and looks around the room. You can see that she is literally forcing her eyes wide open to avoid going to sleep and I don't understand why. It's as if she thinks that sleep is the end of the world, and she must avoid it at all costs! During the morning and around lunchtime, she's quite happy if she hasn't had a sleep. She will lay on her playmat and have a chat with her toys...but anytime after about 12:30, she gets progressively grumpier, and just cries and cries, until she is inconsolable. She even tries to cry through her feeds! I can't see what else I can do to help her sleep

FATEdestiny Tue 23-Jun-15 11:27:02

I have just searched a few of your posts for some context and I can see you have been struggling for a while. I read your threads where you worried about PND and feeding. I wonder if getting some structure and predictability into your day will help you cope? It may also help your DD.

I like the EASY routine for allowing for flexibility with predictability and structure.

It is a way to structure your day with baby into small blocks of time and ensuring baby gets one feed and one sleep in each of those blocks of time. But t is flexible in that you can make these small blocks of time as long or short as works for your baby.

At 8 weeks old I would recommend a 90-120 minute EASY Routine. In a nutshell the structure is as follows:

E - Eat - Start with a full feed. This marks the start of the EASY cycle.

A - Awake/Activity. This might just be a cuddle on your knee after a feed at this age. Aim for no more than 60 minutes awake at this age, more like 30 or 45 minutes.

S - Sleep - Dummy in, into bouncy chair (minus play arch) and you sit on the sofa and bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce that bouncer with your foot. Keep putting the dummy back into baby's mouth as needed and keep going until baby is asleep. Any time baby stirs re-insert dummy and re-start the gentle bouncing. Aim for keeping baby asleep for 45 minutes, at which point stop bouncing and wait for baby to wake up naturally.

Y - You time - Have a nap or a cup of tea or whatever while baby sleeps.

Re-start the next EASY cycle when baby wakes by feeding again and starting the whole routine again. This gives you structure and routine into the day. It ensures baby is has plenty of regular feeds and naps throughout the daytime. It also gives you some structure to your day.

By breaking the day into 2 hour blocks of time, it makes everything a little easier to cope with rather than facing a whole day of nap battles ahead of you.

You are doing great flowers

ScrabbleScrabble Tue 23-Jun-15 11:28:26

Poor you. Did the doctor rule out reflux - look up silent reflux if she's not vomiting?

FATEdestiny Tue 23-Jun-15 11:37:13

emzii206 - You say she hates the bouncy chair. But if she is screaming all/most of the time then it is going to be very difficult to know what she does and doesn't like.

Her distress will be because she is tired. It is not unusual that a baby will fight all efforts to get her to sleep/relax (bouncy chair, swaddling, cuddles, anything) once baby enters the over-tired phase. You just need to push through this. Sleep anyhow, anyway.

I would not be dismissing anything as she hates this or that at the moment. She hates everything because she is very sleep deprived. Once she's not so tired, you may find she actually loves some of these things.

Is she sleep deprived though?

Short naps, like 20-40 minutes, are not unusual at this age. Quite normal to have short naps rather than long naps (which start from around 5-6 months old). As long as naps are frequent, it doesn't matter if they are short.

lexyloub Tue 23-Jun-15 11:50:13

I'd opt for the pram whilst the weather is nice. Also I'd change nappy before a fees they tend to get sleepy during a feed so if your disturbing her by changing her it could be she's ready for sleep but getting stimulated again is making her overtired and not being able to catch her sleep.
So fresh nappy feed maybe longer than usual winding to make sure it's all up then get out in the pram with the dummy in and keep on walking and walking and walking hopefully the motion of the pram and the fresh air should help knock her out. I think she's over tired so hopefully a few good sleeps should help settle her down and cry less and be more content.

emzii206 Tue 23-Jun-15 12:44:03

DH rang me on his lunch break, and I broke down in tears. He came home, told me off because I keep trying to comfort her when she cries. He is a fan of letting her cry for 1 minute, then back in the room, dummy in, soothe, leave the room again. When she cries again, leave her for 2 minutes before going in etc. She has gone off to sleep...I just find it so hard to leaver her sounding so upset!! I think this has just proven that half of the problem is that I am weak.

AnythingNotEverything Tue 23-Jun-15 12:55:45

I don't often say this but ignore your husband. She's way too young for that sort of sleep training. Controlled crying is not appropriate at this age IMHO.

You say she's happy in the morning without a sleep - I wonder if by lunchtime without snap she's exhausted. The EASY routine that FATE recommended could help. Babies needs lots of regular sleeps.

I can't search through your previous posts, but do you have a good HV you could talk to?

Also, I know it's the MN cure all, but have you tried a sling? You can hire them cheaply from your local sling library.

emzii206 Tue 23-Jun-15 13:08:46

AnythingNotEverything I'm not one for leaving her to cry....but it has worked, she is sound asleep.... so now I don't know where I stand on it! DH lefy her for 1 minute, then went in and soothed her. Next time she woke up (10 mins later) he left her for 2 mins before going in and soothing. The next time he left her for 3 minutes....he only got up to 4 minutes and she's been asleep since. I just don't know if I will be able to persevere with it now he's gone back to work!!
I'm going to give the EASY routine a go I think.
I've already got a sling. She will doze in there but not properly sleep. When we go out, I've given up with the pram and just put her straight in the sling because she seems calmed by the motion, but it doesn't help to get her off to sleep.

FATEdestiny Tue 23-Jun-15 13:32:10

Your baby is far, far too young for sleep training like controlled crying. She's just a newborn. She cries because she needs you to meet her needs.

CC is not recommended until baby is 12 months old because it means ignoring a childs needs. There are some who will use it maybe from 6 months. You will be hard pushed to find anyone who leaves a newborn under 12 weeks old to cry like this.

Most sleep issues this age are solved by feeding.

How much milk is baby having, how often, over 24 hours?

FATEdestiny Tue 23-Jun-15 13:42:10

This article by Sarah Ockwell-Smith and various other pages on her website might help you to set your expectations a bit more realistically.

I should add the caveat that I dislike Sarah OS's sensationalist writing but the science is decent. Bear in mind when reading that she is trying to sell a book, her evidence could also be used to justify using a dummy from birth to school age to allow for self settling (but that wouldn't sell many books).

What I do like about Sarah OS though is that she doesn't try to pretend babies sleep easily without help - they don't. In fact they physically can't. Her science shows they do not have the brain development to self-sooth to sleep.

Sycamore76 Tue 23-Jun-15 13:43:50

Are you sure if isn't silent reflux ? My dd was like this . It's very hard to diagnose when no vomiting . Does she have any other symtoms ? Bubbling at mouth , choking , constant cough ?

CloudyWithAChanceOfInsanity Tue 23-Jun-15 13:44:05

(had to change my username to avoid "outing" myself on a different thread)

She has between 4 and 5oz every 3 hours during the day, 5 and half, sometimes 6oz every 4/5 hours during the night. We usually know when she is hungry because she makes this little "oinking" noise like a little piglet! While she is feeding, she clasps her hands together on her chest, and then her arms usually flop down to her sides when she is satisfied! Her feeding is no longer an issue now we have solved the teat dilemma smile She is still sound asleep after being left alone for those few minute intervals....so I can't really agree that she's too young for it because it has worked confused I would never leave her to cry for more than a couple of minutes, I agree she is way too young for that. But if the timed intervals work, then I will probably continue with it. I will do anything it this point to get her to sleep, and avoid the overtiredness again. I am no use to her when I'm a teary, tired, emotional mess sad

CloudyWithAChanceOfInsanity Tue 23-Jun-15 13:47:36

Sycamore76 we thought she had silent reflux when she was about 5 weeks old...doctor couldn't make a definitive diagnosis as she doesn't throw up. But prescribed gaviscon anyway to see if it made a differenct...which it didn't. It just made her really constipated. Then he suggested it might be the whey protein in normal formula that might not be sitting well on her tummy, so try hungry baby formula, as the cassien protein is slightly heavier and might agree with her tummy more. I did that, and she is feeding much better, and seems happier after a feed. So I'm pretty sure it's not reflux, silent or otherwise smile

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