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I don't understand my baby

(27 Posts)
Effiethemonster Wed 27-Jan-16 19:24:42

I'm so tired and upset, I don't understand why she sometimes will go in the cot and straight off to sleep on her own and other times it takes hours. I know it's probably timing but she's 12 weeks now surely I should get it by now?! I'm so impatient when I'm tired and get so frustrated when nothing seems to work.

I feel like she's always tired and I'm a shit mum for letting her be so red eyed and grumpy all the time.

fluffikins Wed 27-Jan-16 19:40:34

Be patient. 12 weeks is tiny! Sometimes she'll just want mum and won't want to go in her cot. Her sleep will also change dramatically over the next few months, there won't probably be a time when she is predictable for a while. Try to do a bedtime routine to give her cues but apart from that go with the flow. She's probably going through a growth spurt right now and maybe wanting a bit more food too.

Mslad Wed 27-Jan-16 19:41:15

Hi Effie, hope you're feeling ok? I have an 8 month old, and as you say, sometime she sleeps no problem and other times it's a real battle. Until she was 4 months she never slept in the day! Everyone kept saying 'oh she's tired!' Er yeah I know! And so am I!

I can't really offer an advice. Her sleeping has become gradually better, but I just had to learn to go with her and not fight it or get upset. To me that was the biggest challenge & lesson of motherhood so far. It's not easy when you're knackered, but maybe adopt a mantra, along the lines of 'this too will pass' repeat it to yourself when you're feeling frustrated, I found that helped.

Purplehonesty Wed 27-Jan-16 19:43:19

Have a look at the baby whisperer routines. I loved them.

I think it goes EASY

Eat - have bottle/breast
Activity - change nappy, baby goes in swing/gym, rolls around (time for his gets longer as baby gets older
Sleep - put them down when they show the first tired signs. Might be pulling ears, yawning etc. Let them settle.
You time - chill out/sleep yourself.

I think the key is not letting them get overtired, I used to take ds up as soon as I spotted his first tired cue after about half an hour of 'activity' and he would be off to sleep within minutes.

fluffikins Wed 27-Jan-16 19:44:42

The wake times from baby whisperer are useful but I've found its more EAES rather than EASY!

winchester1 Wed 27-Jan-16 19:51:08

That sounds tough. Has she always been like this - could it be trapped wind that stops her settling - maybe try having her head slightly raised and rocking her when she wont settle in her cot (pram maybe).

If its new could she be teething - is she red faced and very dribbly? Or she is about the right age for noticing things and being too distracted too sleep so may need a far quite room without you to be able to settle. Even 1 min could be long enough for her to settle without you if its looking at you keeping her awake.

If she is getting really overtired will she at least nap on you preferably while you also sleep a little.

Hope you.find something that works

Effiethemonster Wed 27-Jan-16 20:51:25

Thanks mslad, sometimes it's nice just to hear "I understand" rather than advice tbh, it's reassuring and it made me smile so thank you.

Effiethemonster Wed 27-Jan-16 20:52:02

Thanks all, I feel better for having unloaded on here! Just had a bit of an overtired meltdown I think, similar to the ones dd has tbh!
I used to be able to bf her to sleep every night easy peasy but over the last few weeks this has stopped working and it's completely thrown me to be honest. We used to cosleep nap when I fed her to sleep aswell but now she'll only nap in the sling so I can't sleep at the same time. If she naps elsewhere she'll only nap for 45 mins which I know is normal but sometimes I spend so long trying to settle her for those I think oh god sod it I'll put her in the sling instead. However twice in the past two days I've put her down when she's got whingy and she's gone straight off on her own! But most of the time doesn't work at all and she just gets more and more irate. That's what frustrated me this evening I think, I thought I'd put her down at exactly the same state of tiredness but she wasn't having any of it it and I'm just so confused as to whether it's her being unpredictable or if I'm missing the window.

Effiethemonster Wed 27-Jan-16 20:54:00

She's not teething I don't think, once she does go off for the night she's up every 3 hours which is normal I think, it's just the settling process which is hard and I'm bad at getting impatient when tired, my DH has stepped in and settled her this evening but now I feel guilty for getting so stressed and having to have time out!! AGH

nicg85 Wed 27-Jan-16 20:54:08

If my LO gets overtired then she is a nightmare to get to sleep.
She's 13 weeks old. I only allow her 60-80 mins awake time between naps. The more naps she has through day the better she sleeps at night.

nicg85 Wed 27-Jan-16 21:02:07

My LO would bf to sleep and then at about 10 weeks she would feed but still be awake so I then had to find other ways to get her to sleep.
It does throw you doesn't it. You feel like you are getting into a routine and then something changes!
I have to keep telling myself that a routine will not happen for a long time.

Effiethemonster Wed 27-Jan-16 21:07:48

Yeah I think I need to accept the unpredictability and just roll with it don't I. grin

Purpleboa Wed 27-Jan-16 23:01:09

Much sympathy. My DD is 7 months and is a terrible sleeper. I have no idea what works for her or doesn't. I hear of other babies doing long stretches of sleep and I cannot understand why my baby can't do more than 3 at the very most. I feel like I'm failing her. It's massively frustrating and I can only pray that it will improve with time. You are not alone flowers

SkiptonLass2 Thu 28-Jan-16 07:48:43

Oh I sympathise!

Ds has hit the four month sleep thing and his sleep has completely gone to pot. Last night he woke at 8, 9, 10:15, 11, and then was on off awake all night, insisting on being plugged into a breast and howling if removed. I feel like a zombie...

I'm trying to make him sleep in the day more by going out with the pram as much as it takes - he seems to like the fresh air do yesterday he got parked in the snow when we got home to nap!

It's really hard, isn't it? flowers

Effiethemonster Thu 28-Jan-16 11:37:18

Thanks all, just spent ages trying to help her nap which resulted in more and more crying, I feel like I'm putting her down too early or too late, I can't work out what the window is. I'm just gonna take her out in a minute. I feel like she wakes up from every nap tired it's horrible. Even the long ones in the sling! It's never enough!

Skipton I hope things get better soon, I'm so not looking forward to the 4 month thing! Even if she doesn't sleep during the day at least she normally goes every 3 hours at night, if that goes to shit God knows what I'll do.

SkiptonLass2 Thu 28-Jan-16 11:58:14

I'm trialling this:

Two hours after he wakes I take him upstairs, lie down in bed, and feed him with a womb sounds app playing. I let him sleep for as long as he can. If he wakes I try to shush him back to sleep (I usually fail) my goal is to get him used to regular nap times.

I now need to work on getting him to not scream when i transfer him from bed to cot! He has suddenly decided he hates that after weeks of being ok with being put down sleepy but awake.

They're hard work aren't they? flowers

FATEdestiny Thu 28-Jan-16 13:54:31

Effiethemonster, what does a typical day look like in term of naps?

Have you tried a dummy?

Do you have a bouncy chair that you can bounce with your foot?

ACatCalledFang Thu 28-Jan-16 13:59:07

Huge sympathy here, DS is five months and he went through a very similar phase at 12 weeks, where feeding to sleep didn't work for him consistently but he didn't have a plan B.

Firstly, you're probably not "missing a window" - I have days where I track DS's tiredness cues perfectly and others where I do exactly the same thing and it results in hours of wailing...

I'm probably not the best person to advise as DS's sleep went to pot at 12 weeks after sleeping 7 hours at night for the first time, which wasn't frustrating or anything. My understanding is that sleep patterns change a lot around this age as babies develop sleep cycles and learn to fight sleep. I've found posts by FATEdestiny on this board about the inaccurately named "4 month sleep regression" really helpful in understanding what's going on.

I'm keeping a diary and have noticed that we have better nights as a rule when DS has at least 3 hours worth of daytime naps; he generally gets ratty anything from an hour to two hours after waking.

DS will now usually feed to sleep again so, for us, that was a phase. For daytime naps, I try whatever I think will work and try to time it for 90 minutes to two hours after he's woken - this morning was a feed and snooze on the bed as we had a very similar night to SkiptonLass2, yesterday's afternoon nap was a pushchair stroll. I must admit, I find it easier when we're out for much of the day and try to plan outings around naps where possible.

It's so frustrating, isn't it?! Other tricks in our arsenal include dummy, rocking and sling. None work consistently but all have been known to work...I definitely find its best to just roll with it, but it's easier said than done on days where I'm so tired I feel sick. I find brew and cake help immensely, though.

FATEdestiny Thu 28-Jan-16 15:21:24

I've found posts by FATEdestiny on this board about the inaccurately named "4 month sleep regression" really helpful in understanding what's going on


I was going to go onto exactly that. It depends on the priority for the OP.

If OPs baby is chronically over-tired then my advise would be "sleep, any how, any where, just get that baby to sleep any way you can as much as you can".

If sleep quantity isn't too bad I was going to go on to explain why these changes in getting to sleep are happening and about setting up good sleep habits.

Too many parents of tiny babies worry too much about sleep habits that they fail to establish sleep quality and quantity in the early months. Just being asleep a lot (however that happens) is the first step in developing good sleep habits.

Effiethemonster Thu 28-Jan-16 19:07:42

Hi Fate
Yes she has a dummy. In terms of naps they're a bit random as you can imagine, she can nap 2-3 hours in the sling so I try and use that once a day at least, I do try and attempt to see if she'll sleep in her cot when we're at home, just to try (and pray it works so I can have a quick nap!), in the last 3 days THREE TIMES (once on each day) she's settled within a couple of minutes and slept for 30-45 mins but these are freak occurrences and if I try and repeat it it never works. Should I just forget cot naps for now? Even though I know she can sleep in there for naps? She does wake up tired after the short naps.

She seems to want something to cover her eyes when she's tired, she often buries her head into her toy rabbit, but she just keeps doing it and pulling away and doing it until she gets really frustrated.

Rocking has worked sometimes but lots of the time she'll cry and keep spitting her dummy out while we're rocking her.

I tried the bouncy chair today but she again got more and more whingy until she wouldn't keep her dummy in for crying.

Effiethemonster Thu 28-Jan-16 19:12:57

Thanks acatcalledfang, I really really hope she'll feed to sleep again, she doesn't even seem drowsy after a feed half the time now.

It IS frustrating and I do admit to being an impatient person and I need to work on that as it's not really compatible with being a mum is it??grin But the constant tiredness doesn't help.

Thank you and I hope things improve for you too! thanks

FATEdestiny Thu 28-Jan-16 20:47:44

If she can and does nap in the cot then that would be ideal. I find the bouncy chair great for up to 6 months because baby is sleeping independently (not being held, used to being separate when going to sleep) but can still have the calming, soothing bouncing for effective getting to sleep. Sling naps are great, can be effective but can make cot transition difficult.

(just an aside note about SIDS recommendation to stay in the same room as baby when sleeping up to 6 months old - up to you how you deal with that recommendation though)

30-45 mins are normal naps at this age. The key is to watch awake time, not time asleep. At 12 weeks old you want 60-80 minutes awake between one nap and the next. If baby is waking up tired, it is not that she has not slept long enough, it is that she was awake for too long before the nap, so shorten the time she will be awake.

If it can take you, say, 20 minutes to get baby to sleep then that may mean only 40 minutes from waking you are starting to get baby back to sleep again.

Someone upthread mentioned EASY - my favoured daytime structure. It involves a repeated structure to your day:

E - Eat - Start with a full feed
A - Awake for max 80 minutes, or until tired signs. Bear in mind that tired signs actually mean "over tired baby". You want to try to anticipate these tired signs and get baby to sleep before they start showing.
S - Sleep - 30-45 minutes are most usual at this age, but could be anything from 20-60 minutes.
Y - You time (while baby sleeps).

This ensures very regular feed and sleeps throughout the day.

FATEdestiny Thu 28-Jan-16 20:56:47

The frustration you mention with the toy rabbit, whingey, spitting out dummy, crying - these are all over-tired signs. Baby wanted to be asleep at least half an hour before. You can start to learn to anticipate these.

An over-tired baby is really, really hard to get to sleep. Relatively a just-tired baby will be much easier to get to sleep. Good sleep promotes even better sleep.

With EASY - because baby has full feed as soon as waking, then you know that the first bit of whinging when awake and playing is because of tiredness. No confusion is baby tried or hungry. I would therefore not tolerate anything less than awake/happy - crying when awake means sleep time.

Baby wakes and cries - is fed. Baby well fed and well rested - happy/awake. First grumble and baby is put into bouncy chair with dummy until asleep. And so the cycle continues throughout the day. Makes life much more predictable.

Effiethemonster Fri 29-Jan-16 08:50:27

Right I just put her in her cot at the first SLIGHT whingy sound and with a few re-insertions of her dummy she's off!!

Effiethemonster Fri 29-Jan-16 08:51:23

Thank you!! I know it doesn't mean everything is solved but I do now know I was probably leaving it too long before putting her down.

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