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3mo not getting enough sleep

(20 Posts)
ThePants999 Mon 26-Dec-16 22:11:15

Hi folks. Our 15wk DS is only sleeping for an average of about 9 hours a day, typically 11-8 with some night feeds and 2 or 3 20-min daytime naps. Three questions:

1. How worried should we be? Should we be trying to fix this? It isn't a huge problem for us, and he seems fine, but I'm conscious that he's supposed to be getting more like 14 hours a day. Are we likely storing up problems by letting this go unchecked?

2. DP and I sleep in separate bedrooms, and we alternate taking DS for the night. So one night he's in one crib in my room, the next he's in a different crib in DH's room. Is this regular change in environment likely to be a big contributing factor?

3. If we wanted to try to get him to go to sleep at a more sensible time, e.g. 7, should we be making gradual adjustments or trying to switch at once to the new time (accepting, of course, that it'll be a challenge)?

TIA!

FATEdestiny Mon 26-Dec-16 23:22:13

Does he go to sleep easily when he needs to? Is he going to sleep in his crib? If he can go to sleep without much hassle when he needs to and can sleep deeply when asleep, then I'd happy when awake - it must mean he's getting enough sleep.

(1)

I found what I called "baby seemed fine" changes as I learnt more about my children. I assumed with my first that if I could stop DC1 crying when she was awake then she was happy. So I'd spend time holding, fussing, bouncing her to keep her happy.

By DC4 I learned to equate any grumble = tired = sleep time. So I didn't cajole through. Baby had floor time and as soon as she made a grumble of any type, activity ended and it was sleep time. So awake time was only ever happy, independant and smiley - anything else = tired.

Limiting awake time (to about an hour at this age) is the way to go. Even if naps are short.

(2)

Shouldn't matter. In fact baby being used to different places and ways to get to sleep is healthier long term. It will make baby more flexible with getting to sleep.

(3)

It would be daytime naps is be working on in your situation, rather than bedtime just yet.

Baby having an early evening bedtime usually comes when the evening nap merges into the night time nap. If your baby isn't having an evening nap, that can't happen.

ThePants999 Mon 26-Dec-16 23:52:12

Thanks, that's great advice - we're doing exactly what you described with DC1, so hadn't even realised the mistake we were making! Getting him to nap is a nightmare, he fights sleep with a vengeance, but I realise now he must be ludicrously overtired by the time we've been putting him down. Hopefully (much) shorter awake time will help fix that! We'll work on that first then.

FATEdestiny Tue 27-Dec-16 00:20:03

Getting him to nap is a nightmare, he fights sleep with a vengeance

Yes, sounds like a chronic over tiredness cycle.

First - feed feed feed. Most sleep issues this age can be solved with lots more frequent feeds and bigger feeds.

Second - make sleep frequent. I reasonable approximation would be regular cycles throughout the day (ie 7am-11pm) of

- Wake - note the time
- Feed
- Activity - awake happy time ends as soon as first grumble or after an hour of not grumpy at all. Awake time of 40-60 mins is a good average.
- Sleep - short naps of 20-40 mins are normal.

Wake up and start the cycle again. Repeat repeat repeat. This is a baby lead way to ensure frequent feeds and naps throughout the day.

Third - make sleep as easy as possible. Don't make it hard for baby to get to sleep (for fear of rods for your own back and whatnot). Make it easy. That usually involve movement, something to suck and parental comfort/reassurance.

I favour an independant sleeping ethos to a cosleeping ethos. Therefore my favour would be dummy to suck, bouncy chair/pushchair/car ride for movement and eye contact and patting for comfort and reassurance.

The cosleeping parenting ethos would embrace breast feeding to sleep, sling or rocking in arms for movement and holding/cuddling for reassurance and comfort.

It doesn't matter which route you favour. Just fully embrace it to do everything baby needs to get to sleep and stay asleep for as long as possible.

Pissedoffinsomniac Tue 27-Dec-16 00:29:42

Placemarking with interest. My DD is 11 weeks old and will only nap on me/DH or in a sling. If we put her down she will wake within a minute. 2-3day time naps of around 30 mins each. I also bedshare with her between 11pm and 7/8am, with 1-2 wake ups for a feed. Again she will waken almost immediately if we place her into her cot/Sleepyhead and will cry until we pick her up.
Is it worth attempting to implement some kind of routine now or await the dreaded 4 month sleep regression and tackle it then?

FATEdestiny Tue 27-Dec-16 00:54:09

Pissedoffinsomniac - cosleeping is absolutely fine. You just need to stop fighting it (ie trying to transfer to cot) and embrace it fully to get the benefit.

It is also fine to decide you don't want to cosleep and want to make a make a conscious decision to encourage independant sleeping. But, you can't just expect baby to sleep in the cot, just like that. It won't happen, baby needs help to get to sleep and lots of it.

So independant sleeping means a baby that goes to sleep in the cot. A dummy goes a long way to helping that happen. Swaddling helps. A sidecar cot (full sized cot bed with one side removed) allows you to cuddle right in to baby and the critically extract yourself afterwards.

Whatever you choose - make feeds (and sleeps) very frequent during the daytime. More sleep and more calories will usually mean better sleep.

ThePants999 Wed 28-Dec-16 10:32:57

First attempt: 8am wake, feed, playtime, detect grumpiness at 8:50, commence 50 minutes of attempting to get him to sleep, finally succeeding at 9:40 and getting a 30 minute nap. Fingers crossed that improves once he gets used to it...!

FATEdestiny Wed 28-Dec-16 15:11:43

That's a long time to get to sleep and really 'getting to sleep' time is counted as awake time, not sleep time. So with an 8am wake, that's 100 mins awake time. Not totally unreasonable at 15 weeks but aiming for 60m at most is ideal. It will hopefully get better.

What are you doing to get him to sleep?

For daytime naps is highly recommend dummy and bouncy chair. Sit on sofa with your feet on the bouncer, just keep on bouncing and reinseting dummy constantly and relentlessly until asleep.

Cakescakescakes Wed 28-Dec-16 15:17:19

Are you breastfeeding or bottle feeding? I fed both my Dc to sleep for every nap and at nighttime until they were 1. No probs at all. So I heartily recommend that if you are bf smile A 15wk baby is likely feeding every 2 hrs if bf so with an 8am feed then not getting to sleep til 9.40 then it's maybe hunger waking him/her after a short nap?

Obviously ignore all that if you are on bottles!

ThePants999 Wed 28-Dec-16 17:27:48

BF. I've no doubt hunger woke him from the nap! If only he'd gone to sleep in 10 minutes instead of 50, he'd have had a proper nap before he got hungry again, so that's what I want to fix :-D

I am a bit surprised, though, that the popular method involves feeding after waking - feeding seems to be our most powerful tool for getting him to sleep, so it seems odd to waste it by feeding him just after he wakes up.

What I tried earlier was - first 20 minutes in the crib with dummy (he fought it), light rocking, eye contact + patting. He was just getting more and more antsy at that, so for the next 30 minutes I rocked him back and forth in the pram with simulated car noise (since he always sleeps in the car) - eventually worked, but yeah, far too long.

He's had three more naps today - one was in the car so was trivial, one was another long slog where rocking in my arms with a dummy eventually worked (but he slept for an hour), and one he was fed to sleep as he didn't want to feed after waking up so fed after play instead of before it. So although it's proving rather tough so far, he's already had much more sleep than he usually gets in daytime... we'll keep slogging away at it, thanks both :-)

Cakescakescakes Wed 28-Dec-16 18:40:44

Why don't you jUst feed him to sleep then? Ignore what baby whisperer or whoever tells you should be the order things happen in. My Dc were not good sleepers. Feeding to sleep worked a treat. So I did it for a year with each of them. They just grew out of it themselves and settled fine for other people especially once well onto solids etc. Honestly ignore the EASY thing. It didn't work for my babies and you are just torturing yourself trying to stick to something that doesn't seem to be working for your baby either.

Cakescakescakes Wed 28-Dec-16 18:42:23

Should add that I frequently fed to sleep and fed again on waking if they wanted to feed. Did this right up until they were 8-9months old and were getting a by less interested in bf and more interested in solids. The magical sleep inducing powers of breastfeeding are there for a reason so why not use them????

JohnLapsleyParlabane Wed 28-Dec-16 18:47:57

My daughter is almost 14 months. I fed her to sleep for every sleep at home though she sleeps in the buggy or sling when out quite happily. In my experience sleep associations for night sleep are different to those for day sleep. Our policy has always been that it is the sleep that is important, not the method. Now, at over a year, she has separated milk from sleep almost completely with very little encouragement from me. Please do what works for you as a family and don't worry about others opinions. However, if you do want to go down the independent sleep from this early route I second FATEs advice.

FATEdestiny Wed 28-Dec-16 19:02:22

You could "WAFT" sleep

Wake
Activity
Feed..
To Sleep

(I just made that acronym up, by the way grin)

If you are the attachment parent type and are happy to feed baby to sleep for as long as baby wants/needs to feed to sleep, it's absolutely fine to do so.

I'm just not that kind of parent, i prefer baby sleeping off me, so I can do stuff watch tv and mumsnet , you know, important SAHM stuff like napping myself. smile

Cakescakescakes Wed 28-Dec-16 19:41:11

By about 3-4 months I fed my Dc till they were asleep then put them in their cot where they kept on napping. Win win!

Pissedoffinsomniac Sun 15-Jan-17 23:40:14

All dry useful info, thanks. Sorry to hijack your thread OP!

Kariana Mon 16-Jan-17 08:51:12

I think with feeding just after he wakes you can be sure he's getting enough and not dropping off half way through, which then means he's waking with hunger after a very short time. I do nap, feed, activity, small feed, nap... etc with my ds which gives the advantages of both. At three months though he goes 90-120 mins between naps, I'd never get him to sleep after 60 and he is happy for all that time. On a good napping day he has an hour morning and afternoon, two around midday and night time sleep is 7-7 with one dream feed. I work on getting him back to sleep if he wakes up early from his naps though, short naps equals massively grumpy baby here! If you're only managing shorter naps then the awake time does have to be shorter.

Kariana Mon 16-Jan-17 08:53:31

Also I noticed you mentioned you did eye contact when trying to get him to sleep. Eye contact is extremely stimulating for young babies. It might seem quite counter intuitive but it's actually better to look away from him when trying to put him to sleep.

Wait4nothing Mon 16-Jan-17 09:18:27

I would definitely recommend feeding to sleep at that age. We quickly changed from feeding to sleep to teaching self settling in a few weeks with a 7 month old - but she was able to understand more of what was going on.
Feed to sleep and sleep in any way that works - but I've definitely found a better napper and better night sleeper we have!

ThePants999 Wed 22-Feb-17 08:53:33

Thanks again everyone for all the advice! Thought I'd update y'all on how it went. Around 4.5 months things clicked - can't say exactly what was the key, but
- we got him a cot instead of his little crib, and he moved into his own room, and we tried to do all the sleeps in there so he associated it with sleep
- we got him to nap after ~2 hours of awake time (I know folks have said 1 or 1.5, but babies differ and our chap seems to genuinely want 2)
- I discovered a rocking motion that consistently gets him drowsy, at which point I transfer him to the cot to fall asleep
- formed a few other positive sleep associations - lullaby and white noise
- we switched to exclusively bottle feeding - still mostly expressed BM - and it significantly increased his intake, guess he wasn't BFing as well as I thought he was - he's gone up from about the 5th centile to about the 40th, and needs very little at night now he guzzles so much down during the day

Net of all that, for the last month he's been sleeping 11ish hours at night and 3ish hours during the day. We're fairly consistently down to waking once a night to feed, and he's even slept right through the night once. Glorious.

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