7 week old sleep nightmare(47 Posts)
Long story, bear with me...
LG born 7 week ago, attempted to BF but was unsuccessful, lack of supply and LG had major latch issues, now FF. Since we got her home we have had serious problems getting her to sleep, day or night. We have tried all methods to get her to nap and are rarely successful. She doesn't feed well and spends lots of time crying for apparently no reason. The only way I can get her to nap in the day is by pushing her in the pram and at night it usually involves her passing out from exhaustion. She sleeps for a decent stretch at night (5-6hours) but I am struggling to see light at the end of the tunnel. I know when she is tired but she just refuses to sleep and has been this way for the majority of her life.
I need help!!
Sorry you are having a hard time - I've been in the exact position as you and it does get better I promise! I thought 7 week old babies just slept continually of their own accord all the time - how wrong I was!!
Best advice I was given is that sleep promotes sleep - your baby is probably chronically over tired and they get a bit too wired to sleep which created a vicious tiredness circle.
What you need to do is focus on getting your baby to nap in the day after being awake no longer than an hour. You mentioned being pushed in the pram - a lot of babies like the feeling of motion so carry on with this if it works even if it means you're going round the block with the pram 6 times a day. Those naps are very important!
Have you ever tried a sling? At 7 weeks a stretchy wrap like a moby or a caboo would be perfect. You could also try using a dummy and bouncy chair to get them off to sleep in the day.
You'll probably find night sleeps easier to deal with once you have a more rested baby in the day.
Thank you. I'm finding it so tough, especially when I know other people have babies that just nap easily.
How old is your LO now? When did things start to improve?
We have a wrap but she is such a fighter that she hates being in it unless I've already got her settled. She's also a very hot baby and gets overheated in it.
I feel like this will be forever!
He's two now and I'm 37 weeks with my second so I'll be back in this boat before you know it!
I'm not going to lie - I didn't really get into a groove until he was more like 12 weeks old when his evening cluster feeding stopped and his bedtime regulated. That seemed to be the catalyst for everything falling into more of a loose routine. I know another 5 weeks of what you're going through sounds horrific! I promise you the early weeks are by FAR the hardest though.
Right now my 2 year old is asleep on the sofa next to me having laid himself down voluntarily after his lunch and fallen asleep by himself. He also sleeps a solid 11 or 12 hours a night too so there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Newborns are SO SO hard though. Hang on in there
The thing with a sling is they need less layers then they would normally. You'll probably be amazed at how little you need to plot on them. They can be figity to start with but bouncy them around go for a walk and they should fall asleep at some point.
Sleeping for 5-6 hours at night is actually really good at this age.
You say she doesn't feed well? What do you mean by that crying a lot all the time can be overtired but coupled with feeding problems could be reflux (silent reflux if she's not being sick) or an indication of a milk intolerance.
One other piece of advice is NEVER compare your baby to others! They all do things at different rates and all you'll do is stress yourself out by comparing.
My DS would only ever nap in my arms for 45 minutes at a time when my friends would put theirs down for hours at a time - I was so envious!
But eventually he started napping for 1-2 hours in his cot and I got my arms back!
Thank you so much for your responses.
I will attempt the sling again, maybe with her just in a vest.
5 weeks doesn't sound that long at all, I'm just dreading spending my whole maternity leave in this battle.
We have wondered about silent reflux, we are currently trailing I milk for milk intolerance on prescription but we're only on day 2. We have no way of knowing when she's hungry as she cries so much and she only takes a few ounces at a time. She isn't gaining weight well so it's all a worry.
What babies do at 7 weeks is completely different to how they are at 12 weeks, 6 months, 9 months etc...
Hello! I have been there and survived (now aged 3&2). It will get better.
My son never slept, the first 4-6 months of his life were torture.
The first thing I would say is throw out any parenting books and don't compare your baby to other people's.
Some babies are just like this. You aren't doing anything wrong. The first thing to do is to feed her little and often. If she only wants a few ounces at a time then so be it but make sure tha overall it's enough. Babies this age often cry from hunger so make sure you are feeding her often, even if just small amounts. I know this means endless bottles but it will get better. If you can afford it, use ready made formula to ease the burden on you.
Secondly, it's normal for babies to only sleep in the pushchair or in your arms for the first months (6 months in my case!). Just go with it rather than fighting it.
Let her nap in your arms, go for walks now the weather is better. Just keep pushing that pram! Or use a sling.
It sounds like she does a good stretch at night which is fab. But don't rule out safe co-sleeping or a co-sleeping crib.
Just go with whatever you need to do. I promise it will pass!!!
Keep going with the milk as it can take weeks for cows milk protein to clear their system properly.
Other op Are right some babies just don't sleep lying down well to start with. I got so much fitter after DD having to pound the pavements with her in the pushchair or sling she would wake up of I spotted to.
It's still fresh in my mind now even though she's a great sleeper now at 8 and it didn't put me off having DS. She did start sleeping in her cot for naps around six months to.
Have you seen those swing things? They're like bouncy chairs but they gently swing or rock the baby by themselves. We have a dreadful sleeper and in retrospect that's is something I'd have bought as movement soothes him (and I can't use a sling.)
Babymoov and mamaroo are the brands they sell here but I bet you can find cheaper ones.
Our lo is similar - he fights and fights until he's shattered. The advice that sleep breeds sleep is excellent- get her to sleep however you can and things will change soon. They go through so many changes
I was going to suggest a swing, I had a fisher price one, it was the best money I've ever spent.
Do you keep her upright after a feed? If she is colicky or has reflux laying her down will make it worse.
Oh yes, we had a fisher price swung and it was great!!
Thanks for all of your replies. She has no problem sleeping on her back, it's just getting her to sleep in the first place! My sis in law has a swing and I tried it but after a couple of minutes she screamed (which is the same as for most other interventions!). I've only managed to get 16oz down her today and she should be having about 25oz, I keep offering it when she's shoving her fists in her mouth but she won't take it! So frustrating when her weight gain is poor.
Does she have a dummy? I know a lot of people hate them, but they are a great comforter.
Try a dummy and a bouncy chair.
If you are never sure if she's hungry or not you could start feeding to a routine - the idea being that you feed before baby is hungry and you get baby to sleep before showing tired signs.
A baby led routine I like for this age is called EASY. You start on a really short repeating routine but you learn from your baby what their best time awake is and time asleep.
E for Eat - start with a full feed
A for Awake - I'd say no more than an hour at this age. Initially try for getting baby back to sleep after 30 minutes last waking.
S for Sleep - bouncy chair in front of sofa, dummy in, foot bounce that baby into sleep oblivion replacing dummy as needed. 20-40 minute naps are normal at this age.
(Whenever baby stirs, reinsert dummy and try to gently bounce baby back to sleep, may not always work but establishing the habit of extending naps as always a good thing
Y for You time when baby is asleep. Be sure to have a hot cup of tea and the tv remote ready when you settle to start foot bouncing the bouncy chair.
Then when baby wakes start again with E for Eat and repeat the whole pattern over and over and over again all day, every day
Which milk are you trialing? Some of the non dairy ones arent very appetising. When we were trying to get DD to take neocate the health visitor and dietician both recommended adding a few drops of vanilla, and also giving it too her quite warm (still at a safe temperature of course, but she much prefers it warmer.
Yes the special milks are awful so worth trying vanilla.
I tried my son on an Easy routine and nothing worked. Don't let anyone make you think this is your fault. Some babies are just really hard. My daughter was completely different!
If you are worried about her weight and she's not taking all the formula (my son didn't either!) just keep in very regular touch with the health visitors (though I had a feather offered stupid advice too).
I can guarantee this will pass OP. I now have a strapping three year old who eats a ton and sleeps through the night. But I know I went through hell...he almost pushed me to the brink!
Hang in there xxx
I love the idea of this but it just isn't viable, it can sometimes take me HOURS to get her to sleep, regardless of what I try. She has a dummy, it stops the crying but doesn't make her sleep. I have read about EASY but it makes me feel completely inadequate that I can't implement it 😟
Aww don't feel inadequate.
If it is taking hours to get her to sleep, I assume after at least some time happy/awake - then it really does sound like the over-arching problem is too much awake time between naps. Good sleep promotes better sleep and sadly poor sleep just leads to even worse sleep get into a horrible spiral of over-tiredness leading to poor quality sleep leading to more over tired more poor quality sleep and so on.
The great news is though that babes often get into this downward spiral and that is solvable, you can and will get through this. It wont be like this forever
For now, focus on "Project Baby Sleep". Clear your diary of any must-dos this week. Accept that little/no housework will be done. That you might eat crap rather than spending time preparing meals and that you may spend the vast majority of the week sat on the sofa or lying in bed and make peace with doing that.
Your entire focus wants to be on getting this baby to sleep often. Don't clock watch how long she sleeps for, clock watch how long she is awake for. If it takes ages to get baby to sleep then you might have baby waking, being fed and then immediately working on getting her back to sleep. So that hopefully after an hour of trying she eventually does drop to sleep.
Do everything and anything that works. If pushchair walks work, push chair walk a lot. Have you tried swaddling her in the pram? Co-sleeping and swaddle on your bed for naps?
No sleep method is necessarily mean you put a sleepy baby down and they quietly go to sleep. If only! That's the stuff of naïve rose-tinted expectations when pregnant, not a reality.
So if you use a bouncy chair example, you may need to keep on bounce, bounce, bounce, bouncing. Putting dummy in. Bouncing more, dummy back in, bounce, bounce, bounce and so on and so on. Eventually. Eventually you get there. Then you sit back and breath a massive sigh... and then baby wakes up and it starts all over again!
Same with pushchair rocking. Same with a baby sling or whatever you use to jiggle baby to sleep. You just have to keep on going.
Good luck. It'll be fine [tea]
Penny, pls don't worry about routines and books etc, I also felt like a complete failure because nothing worked. I now look back and think that that's just how my son was.
Do whatever you can to get some rest yourself. Me and DH used to take it in turns sometimes to stay up all night!
And just do whatever you need to to get her to sleep. I'd walk for hours and my son would sleep, only to wake up the second I stopped! Sometimes that's just how it is.
Don't beat yourself up, seek the support of friends, drink tea and eat chocolate and just keep going... The first three months are the hardest and things really DO change around six months. You're a third of the way there!
Thank you so much for your support. She used to like being swaddled but she likes to sleep with her arms above her head so just wants to wriggle free! I've been thinking that I shouldn't let her sleep in the pram/car seat so much as I'm worried she will then only sleep in that and not her own bed but I guess it's better than no sleep at all.
She will often be really sleepy in my arms and be nodding off and then all of a sudden her eyes ping open and she seems wide awake again, it's so frustrating!
Penny don't worry about creating habits or rods for your back at only 7 weeks - that's the sort of thing you might consider at 7 months!
At this stage all you're doing is getting baby to sleep however you possibly can, for as long as you possibly can.
It's a total full time job!
Which prescription formula are you using? There are a couple of types, so if she doesn't get on with the one you're using you could try another perhaps. My DS had Aptamil Pepti 1.
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