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4 month old frequent waking - where to start?

(8 Posts)
ghall54 Wed 13-Jan-16 11:41:29

Am at my wits end, feel like a complete failure and don't know where to start. DD is 19 weeks, we had a good start with her - at one point she was doing a 5 hour stretch, then a feed and then another three hours (all in her cot). However since about 11 weeks she's had a number of colds plus two lots of jabs, and her sleeping has gone to pot. As an example last night she co-slept from 7.30pm to 6.00am, with feeds at 8.30, 9.30, 12.30, 2.20, 3.20, 4.50 and 6.00. The amount of milk she will have varies from 40-90ml in one go.

Having a 3yo DS who has always been a poor sleeper, I was determined that it would be different this time, so I feel like a complete failure as a mum that we have got to this situation - we have no routine during the day or at bedtime, and Dd just naps when she falls asleep (on the bottle). Dh is self employed and looks after dh in the night, si not in a position to help with dd. I am so exhausted that I just can't see a way forward and I hate myself for being short tempered with DS. I'm clinging on to the co-sleeping as it makes me feel wanted but I know its not a long term answer.

I'm not expecting her to sleep through the night, I just want to do the right thing for DD and give her the best start in life, with a few more hours sleep making a huge difference to all of us. Please someone help me!

lorisparkle Wed 13-Jan-16 12:14:09

You are definitely not a failure. My DS1 was a nightmare sleeper and I had to put a huge amount of work into getting him to sleep. They are still so tiny and changing so much at 4mnths that just when you think you are getting somewhere it all changes again.

The problem as well as when you are sleep deprived it is a real struggle to have the energy to solve the sleep issues.

My health visitor came to see me when I was at my wits end with DS1 and she recommended a fantastic book (Teach your child to sleep by the Millpond Clinic). It gives practical guidance on sleep with out any preaching on the 'right method'. You then pick the right sleep program for you, your DD and your family and follow the steps. It also recommends a routine for the day.

I have learnt my copy to a friend but I would look to stretching the gaps between the feeds - not to stop night feeding but to stop the frequency. You don't have to leave her to cry on her own just hold and rock until the right time. I started with about 90mins gap between feeds and added 15minutes to the gap every couple of days. I would also look at have some kind of routine into the day and thinking about how she falls asleep at naps/bedtime. DS1 always fell asleep feeding so I had to change that and gradually taught him to go to sleep by himself. I did this really gradually as I am so soft! I rocked and cuddled him in the beginning then gradually moved to sitting with him then to sitting outside the room. It did take quite a while but I knew I could take a step back and give him more support to go to sleep if he needed it. You don't have to feel like you are abandoning her just teaching her a really important skill.

Please remember that life is not perfect - I use to try so hard to get a 'perfect day' and then feel a failure when it wasn't. It just has to be 'good enough'. They also use sleep deprivation as a part of torture so you are doing well to cope with a baby and toddler!

ghall54 Wed 13-Jan-16 17:20:07

That's really helpful, thank you! There's a new addition of the book out next week, it must be a sign!

DangerMouth Thu 14-Jan-16 13:26:01

having an almost 4 month old dd2 I started looking into the 4 month sleep regression with fear as I remember it oh so clearly with Dd1!

I found this site helpful. Dd2 is a very different baby to dd1 and really fell into a good 7-7 sleep routine herself which we then started with additional cues (bath, fed in dark room and then in cot) to help hopefully for any sleep regressions that all baby's go through.

One thing I would say, and this is just my personal opinion, is that baby's need a routine. If you can try to start one for both your dc that might help?

ghall54 Thu 14-Jan-16 14:57:50

Nearly fell off my chair reading that article! It's all ringing true. Time to roll up my sleeves and get a proper routine sorted....

DangerMouth Thu 14-Jan-16 16:14:29

Good luck OP smile If you're not naturally a routine person it can be a bit mind numbing, but it can make life so much easier that dh and l think it's worth it. And it's not forever!

ghall54 Fri 15-Jan-16 13:29:02

Thanks to everyone for your replies. Started in earnest last night with 'no feeding to sleep ' plus a vague bedtime routine and stretching out the time between feeds. Very pleased to have had some progress and managed to cut three night feeds out. Feeling more positive about what we need to do!

lorisparkle Fri 15-Jan-16 18:46:18

Well done ghall54!!!

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