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I need sleep too!

(20 Posts)
Mamatallica Sat 20-Aug-16 08:34:23

Ok, my baby is only 6 days old but he's developed a very worrying pattern already. People keep telling me to "sleep when the baby sleeps" which is fine and I agree but no one told DS this and he thinks when he sleeps, I should hold him, constantly. During the day he's fine to chill in his Moses basket for a while but at night he cluster feeds from 10pm to 8am on average and in between he screams his head off if I dare to put him down and attempt to close my eyes. I love him but it's pure torture getting no sleep at all at night, it's making me ill and I'm scared I'll either fall asleep holding him and hurt him or get really sick and not be able to care for him. (I have a lower immune system as it is). Any advice would be appreciated but please be nice as I'm new to all this and very hormonal and sleep deprived.

MadrigalElectromotive Sat 20-Aug-16 10:22:31

You're in the crazy stages at the moment and it will get easier. Everything changes so often I think you should try not to think in terms of your baby having a pattern or routine at this stage - he's only 6 days old! He doesn't have any concept of night and day, and wants to be close to you because you are the only thing he knows. Cluster feeding at night is also normal at this stage but will improve over time.

Do you have a partner or a friend who can take the baby for a while, perhaps in the early evening, so you could get some sleep then?

Hang in there - this stage will pass! flowers

PotteringAlong Sat 20-Aug-16 10:25:37

It's not a very worrying pattern, it's completely normal. He's spend the last 9 months warm and close and cuddled inside you. He has no concept of night and day. It's not realistic to expect him to be happy away from the heat of your body and hearing your heart at the moment. It will get better as you will adjust to how much sleep you need but at the minute you just need to roll with it.

Packergator Sat 20-Aug-16 10:33:16

'Sleep when the baby sleeps' is the biggest turd of advice I was given with a newborn. It assumes that you have a baby who actually sleeps. Our son didn't start napping properly until he was 6 months; now he'll do 90mins-2 hours at a time. Before then was an erratic 20 mins at best. Impossible to nap. But IT DOES DEFINITELY PASS! My boy now sleeps 7-7 every night and has two decent naps during the day. Perpetually aware that this could go to pot at any time, but it always gets back to normal eventually!

melonribena Sat 20-Aug-16 10:37:01

Totally agree with above posters, it's totally normal but so so hard.
This stage will pass before you know it.
My ds was completely like this too. By 4am I remember being so exhausted.
Take it in turns with your partner to sleep and if there's anyone who can keep watch while u sleep in the day, do this.
It's not forever and your dc will start sleeping a bit more.
You're doing brilliantly! The cluster feeding will pass too!

flumpybear Sat 20-Aug-16 10:39:50

I agree with others it's transient. I was known to put both mine in the car seat to sleep when they were little to get them off. Also the pram - walking then round the streets then sneaking in the house for my sleep too whilst they slept in the carrycot on the pram ( we live in a bungalow so it's easy for us but round have gladly slept on the lounge sofa or floor!

At 12 weeks DD went from four hours sleep a night to12 st the least ... Thankfully!! It will pass

MoreGilmoreGirls Sat 20-Aug-16 10:51:04

Agree totally normal. I have a 4 week old and we are co sleeping as its the only way I get any sleep at the moment. There are guidelines for how do it safely but understand if it's not something you feel comfortable with. It will pass. Good luck

Savannah13nbump Sat 20-Aug-16 10:59:15

I'm in same boat at the moment also have dd1 who is 2.9 so catching up on sleep in the day is impossible, would love to hear stories from parents on the other side to stay focused this will not last forever

ElspethFlashman Sat 20-Aug-16 11:09:13

"Sleep When He Sleeps" = the biggest crock of shit ever fed to mothers.

I believed it too, and thought something was wrong cos he wasn't placidly lying in his Moses basket.

You even see it trotted out on threads here, which astounds me.

The only thing you can do at this early stage is learn how to BF lying down with him tucked under your armpit. Lots of demos online. If you don't learn that, you won't sleep. Oh and even then you often have to start sitting up and slump down on your side whilst he's distracted on the boob. Yes you will fall asleep but as long as there's no covers around yoy, he'll be fine. People generally wear a fleece to bed instead so as not to freeze.

MadeForThis Sat 20-Aug-16 11:38:51

My DD was the same. I survived by sleeping early in the night. If you know that the cluster feeding will start around 10 then try to sleep from 7-10. Give the baby to your DH to hold. Those few hours helped me to make it through the night.

Also try to teach the baby the difference between night and day. All day have curtains open, lots of light and play with baby and normal noise even during naps. At night have low level light and no interaction with baby. It helped my DD to learn and by 2 weeks maybe earlier she would wake up, feed and drop back off again. Always had to hold her 20 mins or so before I could put her down.

Also try popping a hot water bottle in the Moses basket for a couple of mins before you set her down as she won't notice the temperature change so much and less likely to wake.

It's hard but so worth it. Enjoy the baby cuddles smile

Mamatallica Sat 20-Aug-16 15:34:24

Thank you so much for the support and advice, I keep trying to tell myself it's s phase but so far it's the only one he's ever been in and it's every night. My DH is being great helping when he can but he's disabled and due back at work in a few days so I worry about him getting over-tired too. My parents have kindly driven over today though so we can both have a kip and I can hopefully even manage a bath and relive my swollen boob. I knew having a newborn would be hard but so many people do it, I never thought it would be this hard, hats off to those of you with more than one child!!

FATEdestiny Sat 20-Aug-16 16:38:22

Have you tried swaddling?
Have you tried a dummy?
Is baby getting enough daytime sleep?

For a newborn, recreating womb-like comfort conditions helps. The womb is a cramped, tight space where baby is quite tightly held with restricted movement. This is why babies like to be held. It is also why many value and love swaddling (especially around the arms and shoulders, less tightly around the legs because of leaving free hip movement) - it recreates womb-like conditions

Your 10 hours of cluster feeding sounds less like feeding and more like a baby who sucks for comfort. Again completely normal, the sucking reflex is relaxing, soothing and comforting for a baby. Giving a dummy to suck instead of your nipple frees you up somewhat. Especially when teamed with a swaddle so that you can put baby down.

More sleep leads to better sleep. It is not unusual that a baby this tiny could sleep for 16-20 hours in 24. It might be that baby's only awake time is for a feed and nappy check, then straight back to sleep. It really might be only 20 minutes awake time between one nap and the next:

Feed, Wind
Nappy Check
Feed again to make sure tummy is full
10 minute winding cuddle and back to...
Sleep (and so the cycle begins again)

Over-tiredness can cause quite significant problems because an over-tired baby will struggle to get to sleep, will be a lighter sleeper and so will wake more easily. Therefore ensuring baby has limited awake time (probably around half an hour at this age) between one nap and the next can make a massive difference to the quality of their sleep.

PotteringAlong Sat 20-Aug-16 17:51:39

Ah, by the time you have your next child you will be used not to sleeping grin

Mamatallica Sat 20-Aug-16 21:37:08

Lol Pottering, sadly this will be our only one but he's very special.
Thanks Fatedestiny, I have been swaddling and trying womb sounds with Ewan the dream sheep, doesn't seem to make any difference though. I don't want to use a dummy as I'm really working on the breastfeeding but I agree he is sucking for comfort. He spends most of the day asleep which drives me mad as I can foresee another bad night but short of poking him all the time, I can't force him to stay awake. Some great tips from people, really appreciated. I'm going to see what I can do and hope it improves naturally too. Need to try to sleep now before the night shift starts...

Gillian1980 Sat 20-Aug-16 22:23:21

It is such a difficult time, they seem to have day and night back to front and want to be held constantly.

I spent a lot of the first few weeks in tears, not because I was depressed but just through sheer exhaustion. I thought I was going insane and couldn't imagine how I could keep going.

But it does get better so keep reassuring yourself that you can get through this stage.

Sleep while the baby sleeps was the worst advice I was given, I wanted to scream "are you fucking kidding me?" To anyone who said it. She didn't sleep and when she did it was on me!

My daughter cluster fed and suckled all night for weeks. My big turning point was deciding I would accept it for what it was rather than try to change it. So I had lots of to saved and settled down for tv and cuddles. Then I'd try to co-sleep where possible during the day when she slept or if DH was home he'd cuddle her so I could sleep.

Hardest few weeks of my life but DD sussed it out, got day and night sorted and got into a regular feeding and sleeping routine.

Mamatallica Sat 20-Aug-16 23:40:37

Thanks Gillian, that's exactly how I'm feeling, it's good to hear from people who've felt the same and come out the other side. Cheers for your support. Currently feeling confident after my nap and DS is feeding well so fingers crossed I survive tonight without an exhausted meltdown smile

user1471732171 Sat 20-Aug-16 23:43:31

Congratulations mum, hey, don't panic, everything will be fine, just enjoy, mines 16 months doesn't sleep, but I want him awake when he does 😖 x

Gem14716ArchieB Sun 21-Aug-16 10:40:56

I'm so glad other people have found the 'sleep when baby sleeps' an impossible ideal at times.

My little boy is now just over 5 weeks old and we've been exactly where you are many times. I remember the sense of dread when he woke up for his 7/8pm feed because I knew that was it he'd be up until 4am feeding and screaming at any attempt I made to put him down. I can also completely sympathise with the fear of falling asleep with him on you or him being hurt because you are simply exhausted!

Not sure what guidance you've been given by your midwife etc regarding a bath (we were told not to bath him for the first two weeks) which the HV thought was a bit odd when she saw me at 2 weeks and suggested setting up a bedtime routine to help him settle at night.

Now I know newborns are too young to be put in a routine (especially when EBF as we are) and I'm not for one minute suggesting a feeding 'routine' as on demand feeding is definitely the way to go.

However my little boy would comfort suck for hours too and get himself overtired and introducing a bedtime routine has worked wonders for us. We run him a warm bath (no soaps at first) at 8pm then he'd go into our room to be dressed for bed and fed to sleep with the lights dimmed. We have a heat pack in his Moses basket ready to warm his sheet ever so slightly. He will either fall asleep while feeding or winding. I'll wait for him to go suitably floppy then swaddle him. This will usually wake him slightly so we go back to cuddling/back patting to get him off again. We switch on Ewan and like a game of operation gently place him in his Moses basket.

It may or may not work for you but I thought you might find it useful to know we managed to regain a small piece of sanity and broke the cycle.

You may still get the odd growth spurt day where this simply isn't possible but by feeding on demand baby will let you know when these are.

Hope this helps and sorry for the essay! Xx

ElspethFlashman Sun 21-Aug-16 11:45:01

If it's any consolation Ewan didn't work much for us that early either. I think he was just too young for his brain to take it in much. I was so disillusioned! Everyone told me this thing was amazing!

It did slowly start working at about 3 months though. And it definitely works when they get older.

But at a week old the only thing that works is closeness and sucking (so maybe a dummy).

sambababy Mon 22-Aug-16 16:11:28

The first few weeks are tough, especially with the cluster feeding, but it will get better, you just need to ride it out and take whatever help you can get. Sleep when baby sleeps is all very well if the baby will be put in a cot for any length of time and you don't have any other children. It's so annoying when people say that!


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