Me and my wife at the end of our tether!(63 Posts)
I'm new on here but have been browsing the site for a while now looking for help. This certainly isn't the only post of its type but having read a lot of posts and trying various things we're still having real trouble with our daughter and are worried we are starting to resent her.
Our daughter is 19 weeks and during the day an absolute bundle of joy but when the night comes she turns into a monster. Sleep deprivation is making us monsters too.
Basically she just wont sleep for any significant duration during the night or day. I've read a baby her age should be sleeping approx 11-12 hours but this simply isn't happening.
We have a bedtime routine which starts with a calming bath at 6:30pm followed by a story in bed, then a feed and then we put her down. She recently was in a moses basket but is now in a cot by the side of our bed.
She wakes the second she hits the mattress. We've been trying to get her to self sooth but at the moment we're finding it hard enough to just get her to sleep by any means. We tried a bottle yesterday evening in order to basically knock her out. She slept for 3 hours, woke and then we spent the rest of the night/morning trying to get her to back sleep.
She will sleep in our arms but for obvious reasons we don't want to continue doing this.
I could go on and on but I don't want to make this a novel. Basically im really concerned about how this is affecting my lovely wife who is trying as hard as she can. I also feel that we're both resenting our daughter for denying us sleep and this makes me sad beyond belief.
If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them, we feel totally alone.
Jesus Christ she's only 19 weeks! Are you feeding her on the night? She's probably hungry. And some babies do need cuddling to sleep. Have you tried co sleeping?
She's tiny! They do that sort of thing. And yes, it's knackering.
Did she sleep better in the Moses basket? If she still fits, I'd put her back in that.
Other thoughts: is she going from a warm lap to a cold mattress? I used to cuddle the child and bedding at the same time (easier with a Moses basket mattress but you could have her on an under blanket which then goes warm into the cot).
Gosh Umbongo harsh much? Let's not forget we've got a new parent who is very sleep deprived here.
Just rereading your post. Was the 12 hours a suggested length of night time sleep rather than total for the day? If so mine never read that bit of the instructions, sorry! Sounds wildly optimistic.
In other words, I think you might need to accept that this is pretty normal for her age and just cling on in there. Be nice to yourselves and each other.
It's just fucking ridiculous that they expect a 5 month old baby to sleep for 12 hours! That poor baby.
OP I've found with both of mine that sleep begets sleep. So I'd focus entirely on sorting the daytime naps. At that age I'd be giving the baby no more than 90mins awake time before settling them for a nap. Bum change, milk and, if needs, snuggle them in for a sleep. As soon as they wake, note the time and in 90 mins repeat. If they are yawning or eye rubbing before that it's too late so cut down the gaps slightly.
An overtired baby will have poor night sleep.
They aren't expecting that.
Their baby is sleeping for one 3 hour chunk. Then not at all the rest of the night. Nowhere in the OP Does it suggest he is expecting 12 hours uninterrupted.
Please calm your tits.
So you know the 11 - 12 hours is in total, not in one stretch?
What's the longest stretch she sleeps?
Have you thought about co-sleeping? It's not for everyone and I swore I wouldn't do it, but it got to the point where prioritising sleep was the absolute number 1 thing in our house.
If DW isn't breastfeeding you can take it in turns to sleep elsewhere, so you do two nights with the baby, two nights on the couch or spare room. (Two nights gives you more of a chance to catch up on sleep). Obvs not really fair to do that if DW is breast feeding though.
I really sympathise, my son was a terrible sleeper and it's hell.
Google '4 month sleep regression.' It's a thing.
But I'm slightly concerned.....are you still feeding her when she wakes up? She still needs milk at night.
Cheers for the sympathy Umbongo. This stuff might be blindingly obvious to some people but I'm a naive first time parent and really appreciate constructive help.
No Lancelottie, she started to get too big for her moses basket and hasn't been sleeping well in there for a few weeks now. We've tried a hot water bottle on her mattress before we put her down but in the past this hasn't helped. Worth a go again though I guess. Thanks for reminding me.
Ahh I feel for you. DD was exactly the same for me - would only sleep while being cuddled and eyes popped open the second she hit the mattress. The warm bedding trick seemed to help a bit but I'm afraid all babies are different and just because the books say she should sleep doesn't mean she will! We also got a sling for during the day to pop her in as I got on with things and she used to nod off for a couple of hours in that (she liked the movement/being close to mummy).
Also, during this time I perfected my ninja skills putting her down without her realising - one hand on the stomach and taking off one...finger...at....a....time.
Good luck OP I promise it doesn't last forever, just make sure she isn't hungry/cold obvious things when she is waking...
How many feeds is she having in the night?
*We feel totally alone
^ you are definitely not. Hang in there
I fully feel your pain & you have my sympathy.
I think the 12 hours is over a period of the day. Please don't expect your 19week old to suddenly start going 12hours at night. LOTS of people will tell you their baby slept 12hours from a week old. Most "don't count" the couple of times they get up in the night I've always found this utterly bizarre.
As a pp said, are you putting her down onto a cold mattress? Maybe a hot water bottle to warm the cot a little & take it out before you put her down?
I noticed you said you gave her a bottle but the way it's written implies she's normally bf? If so <this is where I struggle to practice what I preach> you dw should try not to let dd fall asleep at the breast but put her down sleepy but awake.
Growth spurts/learning new things/being more aware are all things that can knock sleep.
I know it feels like it will be but it's not forever! It does get better.
I'm currently attempting sleep training with my 9mnth old but this is not recommended under 6months as the baby will not be able to understand the pattern/be emotionally ready (something like this) before this age.
Thanks oddsockerfairy. Yes, when we put her down its a careful balancing trick of holding her chest in a way that makes her feel like we're still holding her and then gradually moving away. She wakes very easily so can seemingly go to sleep onto to wake 1 minute later.
It varies Umbongo. Last night she had one with formula just before she went to bed which made her go out like a light. Then she had 4 breast feeds throughout the night. Each time she nodded off briefly only to wake again shortly after.
Is she only doing one 3h stretch? I feel your pain, my DS was like that. The only thing that helped is cosleeping. Could you try that for a few nights? She might start sleeping better once she gets a few nights of more sleep. She must be tired as you are.
You didn't mention how she sleeps during the day.
Hang in there, it does get better.
Op that sounds exactly like my DD at that age! Little darlings xx
Ok. Sorry you made it sound in your OP like you were putting her down at half 6 then just leaving her till the morning. Tbh the easiest way is just to feed on demand. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with cuddling your baby to sleep. She's still tiny. You and your wife are her whole world still. Don't worry about people saying you're making a rod for your own back. I co slept till 16 months, never left her to cry and fed her through the night. Now she's 20 months, goes to bed at 7pm by herself every day and sleeps with no problems I till half 8 in the morning. Don't worry about what you SHOULD be doing and do what makes life easier for you and your wife. And throw out the baby books they're the cause of so many issues.
All 3 of mine were like this. I decided very early on not to fight it. I co-slept and BF on demand in the night. Until they were about 9 months - 1 year (it got later with each child), I didn't put them to bed in the evening, but let them fall asleep on my chest while I watched TV (and DH had to do all the getting up to settle any older DC who got up.)
I was still tired, but it was manageable. Each of mine has become an excellent sleeper, but only after the age of 3 - I found I had to just make it work and muddle through in a way that we could manage. I think a lot of babies just do not naturally settle alone, or stay asleep for long stretches. If you think about it, evolution didn't favour those babies - the ones who demanded constant parental presence were more likely to survive.
Really sorry to hear you're struggling with the sleep deprivation - I completely understand and can relate. There's a reason it's used as a form of torture by the military.
First piece of advice, make a pact with your wife to try and be as kind and gentle with each other as possible and also, to forgive each other for snapping over minor things. It's really important that neither of you waste valuable energy feeling guilty about how you are with each other right now.
Secondly, the best way to get a baby to go to sleep is to ensure that he/she is tired in the first place. How you structure the daytime - and how much of that your baby spends awake/sleeping - will determine to a large extent how he/she spends the night.
Structuring the daytime (yes, the dreaded routine word!) revolutionised things for us. I suggest reading Gina Ford (The Contented Little Baby) - not to take every word as gospel and follow it devoutly - but to understand the theory that keeping babies awake for longer stretches during the day helps them to nap & sleep better.
Our little girl was falling asleep almost immediately after every feed, sleeping for short periods, then waking up restless and cross. Doing different activities with her, whether giving her a little top and tail followed by time on her playmat, or popping her in the bouncing chair for 10-15 mins to prolong her awake time really improved the length and quality of her sleep meaning she woke up hungrier, fed better and generally was more comfortable and happy in herself.
I know every baby is different and this advice doesn't work for everyone, but it's definitely worth looking into. As I say, you can cherry pick the bits you want from the books and do what works for you, but understanding the theory and applying some of it really helped us.
My DD is 6 months and she used to be the same.
The 4 month sleep regression everyone talks about really is real, have a Google and read up, a lot of it rang very true for my DD.
What helped us a lot as pp have mentioned is sorting her daytime naps so she has a separate routine in the day and the evening. I read on here about '234' sleep method which is very basic but has helped us tonnes. It doesn't always work when we're out and about but at home it works very well. And we've noticed a definite improvement in her sleep as a result.
Basically your day would go-
2 hours after waking, put baby down for a nap.
3 hours after waking from that nap, put baby down for another nap.
4 hours after waking from that nap, baby should (and I say should loosely as my DD varies in this timing every day) be ready for bed.
Obviously smaller babies may need more than 2 naps and DD does fall asleep at random times too, but generally we do tend to follow this pattern. Now I'm not saying live by this routine but it definitely worked for us.
Also, 19 weeks is early for weaning I know and I'll probably get flamed but we began DD at 20 weeks as I thought she was ready, and this has also dramatically improved her sleep as a result.
OP, it's so hard to figure out what's best.
CarrotPuff - yes, She has done more in the past but the last few weeks this has been the trend.
I'm finding it very hard to convince my wife to co-sleep with our daughter but I think she is very wary of the dangers involved. Id like to put her in her own room but again my wife isn't convinced. I think there is so much information out there which sometimes is a blessing and other times confusing.
She doesn't sleep during the day really. She slept for 40 minutes yesterday during the day and that was it.
Have you tried a sling for day time naps?
Have you tried putting her on her front? Both of mine slept much better on their fronts. They were both BF and in the same room as me (usually the same bed) so I was happy with the balance of risks.
To be honest, there's only so much you can do. Have you tried a dummy/comforter? DD has only started reliably going through the night now at just gone 3 years old, DS was happily doing 10-11 hours at a stretch from about 6months or so. Just different children. But it does suck.
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