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Newborn won't settle HELP (sorry long)

(26 Posts)
Addi13 Sat 14-Jan-17 06:51:56


My DD is just over 4 weeks old, she was born 5 weeks early and was in hospital 3 weeks because of having jaundice, and being too sleepy/weak to feed (we had to do a mix of tube feeding, breast feeding and expressing and topping up with formula whilst she learnt to latch/got the energy to wake up for feeds)

Fast forward to today, and her feeding is brilliant and she's gaining weight fine. However, she will not settle at night! Please don't judge me, but the last 3 nights I've slept propped up in bed with her on my chest, because it's the ONLY way I've managed for us to sleep.

My health visitor has said this is too dangerous (my partner smokes, never around the baby but still) and has said we need to break this habit now.

She advised getting into a routine, dimming the lights etc so last night we:
•gave DD a warm bath
•changed her and dressed her
•put her in a baby sleeping bag (first time)
•fed her on the boob til she was full/fell asleep
•winded her
•placed her in her Moses basket and turned off the lights so the room was very dimly lit and quiet
•gave her a dummy (she's only ever sucked one a few times but thought it might help)

We did this at 7 and she would not settle. Every few minutes she'd whinge or start crying.

We ignored the whinge/fuss noises but when she started crying we'd place a hand on her tummy, soothe her and give her her dummy.

She didn't settle all night! We tried numerous different things, we swaddled instead of sleeping bag, we paced, patted her bum, fed her til she was asleep on the boob, tilted her Moses basket in case of reflux, and every time as soon as she's placed down, she stirs. At 4.30am, we were so tired I tucked DD in bed with me and my partner went and slept on the sofa. She slept fine beside me (I read about safe co sleeping and followed everything) she woke up at 6am for a feed and is now fast asleep in her Moses basket!

I am suffering from post natal depression quite badly and every time I think about it getting to night time, I feel sick to my stomach and burst into tears. I'm close to breaking point and I'm so, so stressed.

Has anybody please got any advice (and please be kind/gentle with me, I really am trying my best)

My healthy visitor strongly suggested the fading/receding chair but I looked into this and it's not recommended until 3 months.

Thank you

CocoLoco87 Sat 14-Jan-17 06:59:19

Relax! Your baby technically isn't full term yet and you're expecting a lot from her. Give yourself a break. It's great that you got her down in her Moses basket! A small victory smile

It's early days and you and your baby are both having to learn a lot. Keep going and IT WILL get easier. You're right to not have your partner in the bed if he smokes.

Chin up and keep being consistent with putting her in her own bed.

feesh Sat 14-Jan-17 07:00:15

I imagine she was probably hungry. I had twins born at 37 weeks and was queen of the routine, but even so we didn't even start to bring one in until 10 weeks.

One of my twins was breastfed and he would spend the entire evening from 5pm to 11pm breastfeeding (the formula fed one on the other hand just got fed every 3 hours on the dot). It's natural for them to cluster feed in the evenings.

If that's not been happening she's probably just hungry all night.

Are you still trying to keep to the NICU feeding schedule? Most twin mums (who usually end up with one or both in NICU) never managed to keep that up back home - especially if breast feeding.

Spottyladybird Sat 14-Jan-17 07:03:19

I would ignore the HV. Your baby is tiny (mine is 7weeks DC2). She feels like she should still be in the womb, sleep experts call it the fourth trimester.

Look at the ISIS sleep website and find out how to co sleep safely, a routine will come when she's ready but most newborns cluster feed in the evening so won't settle at 7.?

My DS did his first two lots of 4 hours in the crib last night, up until now I've been co sleeping at least part of the night.

Don't worry about bad habits, at the moment her needs are primal. You are doing a super job being so responsive to her needs. Do what you need to all get rest.

Namejustfornappies Sat 14-Jan-17 07:04:40

The HV is having a laugh grin none of my 3 ever slept in the Moses basket grin
Your baby is still probably still confused about day and night anyway.
I always bedshar d safely with mine - there are rules to follow to make it safe though.

Namejustfornappies Sat 14-Jan-17 07:08:54

Oh and dd1 only slept in 45 min stretches until about 9 months old, dd2 2 hours stretches, DS 1-2 stretches. And that's with bedsharing. Not bedsharing meant absolutely no sleep ever and I would fall asleep sat up holding them which is so dangerous. Bedsharing safely was much safer.
Most babies sleep better than mine however, but if I had one more person suggesting what your HV said I would have slapped them! (As if I hadn't tried that...)

seastargirl Sat 14-Jan-17 07:13:28

We hated the basket with a hot water bottle before placing her in it and also had a CD of plinky poorly lullabies playing on repeat, they're so used to the noise nicu that a quiet room seemed unsettling for her. We also have used a blue led might which seemed to emulate the Billy blanket and settle her x

kippersandcurtains Sat 14-Jan-17 07:13:35

I write this with a 6 week old sleeping next to me in her sleepyhead. You're onto a losing battle if you try to get a baby do young into a basket to sleep at 7. The bath etc routine sounds lovely and worth repeating so baby gets used to it but I really wouldn't bother putting them down afterwards - as pp say, cluster feeding in evening is usual and important for supply plus getting them to sleep a long ish stretch.
Sleepyhead is worth looking at - my dd prefers it to basket as she is snuggled up next to me. I'll keep this going till 12 weeks at least. Google 4th trimester.
My advice would be to let baby dictate for now - go with their cues and try to relax and believe it is the right thing for now. Sorry to hear you are so low and anxious. I do think you've been given poor advice by your hv which must fuel your anxiety.
Be gentle with yourself and enjoy cuddling your brand new baby.

puglife Sat 14-Jan-17 07:14:48

I could have written this 9 months ago. My Baby was born at 36 weeks. We brought her home from hospital and I remember the first 2 weeks were awful in terms of sleep. We did what you do and took it in turns to have her on our chest. After a few weeks we realised that she will happily settle on her tummy, so that's what we did. We'd put her down in the crib next to our bed and she'd settle nicely. I'm not recommending that, as I know it goes against SIDS advice. But I couldn't have carried on how we were.
Don't be hard on yourself, you're giving your baby everything they need and it does get better (I hated when people said that to me. But it does!)

Addi13 Sat 14-Jan-17 07:18:08

Thank you for all of the replies!

We were never in NICU, just on the maternity ward and then HDU in the children's ward but when we came out I stuck to feeding every 3 hours because she needed to gain weight, and still now don't let her go any longer than 3 hours during the day without a feed, she's breastfed on demand so whenever she looks hungry, she's offered it! My HV did say I don't have to wake her every 3 hours at night for a feed as she's gaining well but I don't want her going too long without a feed! And every time she woke (more than just fussing/stirring) I offered her the boob and she would only do a couple of sucks then fell asleep again.. until she was put back in her Moses basket!

Co sleeping is something I've never considered/wanted to do, but I will definitely have to look into it as it might be my only option!

I did say to my HV that DD was too young for "sleep training" and she agreed that controlled crying was not advisable but 4 weeks seems very young for a routine!

Lucky DS who is 5 has slept through it all!

Thank you for your replies

savagehk Sat 14-Jan-17 07:56:16

Co sleeping worked wonders for us but you'll need to think carefully in your case as partner smokes. Any space for a single bed for him in another room for a short time?

LePetitPont Sat 14-Jan-17 07:58:42

It does sound like your hv is setting you up to fail! We had a really draconian baby book (won't be using it again with number 2!) and even they didn't suggest a bedtime routine and down by 7 or so til 12 weeks. We just used to let our LO doze on us then all head up to bed about 9 ish. When he was really tiny we also used to let him sleep on my chest - there is something about a "friction fit" in la leche league's sleep sweet sleep book that is reassuring.

Second the pp who recommended a sleepyhead, made a big difference for us too. We also co-slept a lot which got the best amount of sleep for everyone but unfortunately LO had reflux so had to go in his bed nest at a ridiculous angle after a particularly awful vomiting incident over our bed...

Hope you get a bit more sleep and feel better soon.

munchkinmable Sat 14-Jan-17 08:36:36

Your partner needs to quit smoking. After all you've done to build a baby in you it's the least he could do.

MrsGB2015 Sat 14-Jan-17 08:43:02

As people have said a sleepyhead will help. Also could you put a t shirt on the base of the cot that you wore in the day for the smell? Or have a cuddly toy you shove down your too for a bit? Also a white noise machine worked for us.
When you co sleep is your LO flat on their back or propped up on you? Just ruling out silent reflux (where it's quite painful for a baby to lay flat)

icclemunchy Sat 14-Jan-17 08:45:38

Personally I'd go for cosleeping and partner sleeping elsewhere. If he wants to join you he can quit smoking.

The first few weeks/months establishing bf are hard work, being about to co sleep will maximise the amount of sleep you get which will help immensely with your mental health. I'd also ditch the routine. The bath/massage/story/whatever bit is fine but no point putting her down at 7 and upsetting yourself when it does work. As a pp said she's likely to want to nurse all evening anyway

OohNoDooEy Sat 14-Jan-17 08:53:56

I think you'd have more success putting her down later. IME babies don't want an early bedtime much before 3 months and when they do it's relatively painless.

Your dH will be able to settle her without feeding more easily as she can just smell the milk on you. Get him to stand up and rock her whilst tapping her bum and shhing to replicate the sound of a heartbeat. Use a dummy if you can. Swaddle. Once she is asleep, hold for 20 minutes until in a deep sleep then put down into a pre warmed basket.

PastysPrincess Sat 14-Jan-17 08:56:30

I never intended to co sleep either but to be honest it's the thing that saved me. As my husband snores we had double beds in both our bedrooms anyway so when the LO came along I slept in the nursery so that LO wasn't alone in the first few months. I EBF too so having the double bed in there worked wonders once I mastered feeding lying down. It got so easy he could latch on whenever he wanted to without me having to get up to him.

If you are going to co sleep you beed to follow the guidelines so smoking hubby is a no no even if he hasn't smoked in while.

Good luck xx

Addi13 Sat 14-Jan-17 09:31:49

When she co slept next to me, she was on her back and then rolled slightly on to her side (I slept in a C shape around her almost, if you get what I mean?)

No space for another bed but there's the sofa which we took turns sleeping on last night (and were so tired it felt like a king size bed!)

When the HV suggested setting her down at 7 I thought it seemed ridiculously early but cos I've not had a baby for 5 years I thought maybe I was out of touch!

Just googled sleepyheads as they've been a popular suggestion. Are they really worth the money? As money is tight here but if it'd help I'd gladly pay!

kippersandcurtains Sat 14-Jan-17 09:43:25

I use a tight swaddle, then feed, wind and put her down in sleepyhead which is next to me in double bed (not under duvet). Cellular blanket tucked in over pod, then we both sleep. When she wakes I just sit up in bed and feed and repeat. Worth every penny after first three weeks trying to settle in basket and failing... also resale value if you have s local FB selling site.

savagehk Sat 14-Jan-17 09:43:49

Bedtime here was normally 9.30! Having said that all babies are different. Your c-shape around her is exactly what I did.

Addi13 Sat 14-Jan-17 09:46:24

Am I right in thinking the sleepyhead could be used in my bed or in the Moses basket and cot?

Alorsmum Sat 14-Jan-17 09:47:34

I'd stop discussing with your health visitor and follow your instincts and do what you need to do.

Crispmonster1 Sat 14-Jan-17 09:56:13

My DS is 2 weeks born full term and I am having the exact same issues with settling. I had bad PND last time which was made worse by lack of sleep etc. It's hard to comprehend but it does get better. I find it really hard having to hold them ALL the time but I know that it's only a relatively short phase. Don't beat yourself up. This is a really hard phase for the mother. Maybe google "4th trimester" and it may help you get your head around it? Good luck. Xx

kippersandcurtains Sat 14-Jan-17 09:56:27

Sleepyhead can be used in your bed (double) or a cot. It won't fit in a Moses basket.

Youhaveupdates1 Sun 15-Jan-17 08:15:00

We only started a routine when ds2 was over 12 weeks old and he took to it well but at 4 weeks we just went with the flow! One thing that helped my son when he wouldn't settle was I rolled up blankets (thin ones) and placed them under his bed sheet to create an oval shape for him to lie in as he found this soothing. I guess he felt enclosed and snugly, maybe worth a shot? I did it in his Moses and then his cot until I felt it wasn't really helping anymore.

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