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Help! Going backwards at 10 weeks

(32 Posts)
helpitsallgonewrong Sat 25-Feb-17 16:26:26

Hello - I have posted this in feeding too as not sure where it should be really.

After being blessed with a great sleeper and feeder everything has gone horribly wrong and was hoping someone could give me some sage advice on how to get back on track.

DS is 10 weeks old and ebf. He was 8lb at birth (arrived 2 weeks early) and has gained consistently - his last weigh in at 9w he was 12lb5oz.

The first 8 weeks he was an excellent feeder and sleeper. He starts his day at 7am (no idea why! - a natural Gina baby.) I would feed him every 3-3.5ish hours during the day, then clusterfeed between 6-10pmish. He would then wake once in the night between 3-5am, usually around 4-430am. At about 6w we managed to replace the clusterfeed with bedtime at 730pm, with a wake up feed at 1030/11 (I'd offer him breast then top up with EBM if he still seemed hungry).

Then at 8w he got a vicious cold. Was struggling to breathe and had one day where he fed very little at all. I decided to demand feed him by offering him the breast every 90mins or so (assuming he didn't ask for it earlier) on the basis he was feeding a lot less as (I presume) he couldn't breathe well. We did this for 4-5 days whilst he recovered and it seemed to be working ok - his night sleep seemed largely unaffected (some nights he woke at 330am snuffling but the rhythm was still there).

Then last week he suddenly turned into a fussy screaming baby who didn't want to sleep during the day. When he feeds after about 5 minutes he screams and pulls off the boob and stretches his legs right out so they are rigid as if he is in pain. He started waking up every 90mins to 2 hours during the night screaming - usually he wanted a feed although not always. 2 days later I got a stomach virus and projectile vomited for 16 hours straight. This clearly has knocked my supply for 6 as I was so dehydrated - I've tried expressing since and whereas I used to be able to get 100ml off one side consistently and easily I am now struggling to get 50ml.

So - 5 days on from the bug, DS is demand feeding little and often during the day, fighting sleep the whole way. He then quasi clusterfeeds from 530-730ish before falling asleep exhausted. I wake him for a feed at 1130 which is usually short and he falls asleep on the breast. He then wakes up at 230am, 5am, 6am and then starts his day at 7am - he barely has time to get back to sleep after the later feeds!

How do I get back to some semblance of normality? And have I permanently damaged my supply? How do I stop him continuously falling asleep on the breast after 5mins? What does the screaming & stretching out legs mean? Am really worried I can no longer give him enough to satisfy him overnight. I keep hearing "he's such a big baby he should be sleeping 6+ hours overnight" - but he's going backwards!

RedBugMug Sat 25-Feb-17 16:29:21

sorry, this sounds normal. around 3 months old babies change poo & sleep patterns.
it's a phase and it will get better sometime.

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Feb-17 16:59:27

How do I get back to some semblance of normality?

Normality will change and change again many times over the coming month.

Nothing is perminant at this age. Slerp development is not linear. It is not true that as time passes (and weight is gained) slerp gets better. It will get better. It will get worse. It will get better again and then all go pear shaped again. Slerp development is not linear.

Sleep physiology changes somewhere around 3-4 months. The newborn "fourth trimester" very different to normal baby sleep, so it is quite usual for sleep to be "easy" in these weeks. It can lull you into a false sense of security if you are not expecting it.

In the first 3 months, sleep is as it was in the womb - the passive state for baby is asleep. If all needs are met, baby will sleep. When a need is not met (hunger, uncomfortable nappy) baby will wake until that need is met then go back to the passive state of sleeping.

Once 3-4 months old, sleep matures and develops into cycles like adult sleep. It is also no longer passive. You have to actively work at getting baby to go to sleep and stay asleep between sleep cycles.

Now is a good time to inteoduce a dummy for sleep, if you haven't already. Also try movement for daytime sleep- bouncy chair for example.

helpitsallgonewrong Sat 25-Feb-17 17:33:16

He stayed awake for 10 hours straight on Thursday confused I tried everything - bouncy chair, sling, dark rooms, swaddles, baths - you name it I tried it. He has bags under his eyes and dark circles so he's clearly not happy with this state of affairs either - so what do I actually do about it?!

And he's waking up screaming and kicking his legs like he's trying to fart during the night. This does not seem normal at all.

Meanwhile my friend who had a baby daughter at the same time as my son (admittedly she is FF) has her going from 8 hrs straight at night to now sleeping 10pm-8am and is berating me for my lack of routine hmm. I don't know what to do!

helpitsallgonewrong Sat 25-Feb-17 17:34:14

Am also really worried he is not eating enough with the disruption to my supply. Do you think I should introduce some formula just until I'm back on track?

RedBugMug Sat 25-Feb-17 17:42:56

I wouldn't start formula.

as to your friend - either she's lying or her baby is not there yet...

helpitsallgonewrong Sat 25-Feb-17 18:25:08

I don't see why she'd lie? It'd be a weird response to someone telling you their baby's sleep had gone to hell?!

How can I help him not turn into a zombie baby? Or do I just have to wait it out?!

totallyrandom Sat 25-Feb-17 18:44:16

My first DD did something similar. I think she was teething and so pulled away in agony. I gave her a dummy temporarily and it seemed to help. She would then go longer between feeds again and get through the pain. Often I just gave her a little break whilst breastfeeding too.
I have an 8 week old baby and she goes to sleep at 6.30pm, I wake her for a feed at 10pm and she sleeps until 4.30am to 6.30am depending on the day and goes back to sleep after that. I don't think it is that unusual to get one longer stretch from 6 weeks onwards. But what others said babies do change their pattern a lot. From 4 months all of mine got very distracted by any noise whilst breastfeeding in the day and that caused issues as had to go and lie in a darkroom upstairs which isn't easy if you have toddlers too.

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Feb-17 19:03:50

Meanwhile my friend who had a baby daughter at the same time as my son (admittedly she is FF) has her going from 8 hrs straight at night

Ive no doubt she is telling the truth. But firstly, you cannot compare the development of one baby with the development of another. Secondly, and probably more significant, you can't compare the sleep of a newborn entirely formula fed and a breastfed newborn - they will sleep and feed in very different ways.

Do you think I should introduce some formula just until I'm back on track?

If you are not precious about breastfeeding, you can if you want to.

You'll notice no difference to sleep if you introduce the odd one or two bottles of formula. If sleep is significantly affected by hunger, it is more affected by low level hunger (ie total calories consumed over 24/48 hours) rather than immediate hunger of a single feed here and there.

So if you are dropping your exclusive breast feeding for mix feeding on the basis of sleep, I wouldn't bother. It will make little difference.

Changing to exclusive formula does make routines feeds and sleeps easier, but no guarantes. Would you not be better keeping breastfeeding and just adjusting your expectations?

How can I help him not turn into a zombie baby?

Some suggestions:

- Dummy

- limit awake time in the daytime. No more than an hour between waking and going back to sleep. Awake time might be as short as 30 minutes if naps are brief if baby exhausted.

- Swaddle (when in the cot)

- co sleeper cot (which you can do by removing one side off a normal cotbed and wedding it up to your bed)

- daytime sleeps in something with rhythmic movement - bouncer, pram, sling

- Feed feed feed feed and feed some more. If in doubt, breastfeed.

If everything goes cheap for the day, take yourself and baby to your bed, take your top off and lie on a towel. Just let baby feed, cuddle and sleep all day on the bed, with you. With no plans or exoectation s to move from your bed, pretty much at all.

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Feb-17 19:06:33

Wedding = wedging
Cheap = crap

helpitsallgonewrong Sat 25-Feb-17 19:26:41

Thanks fate. That is very reassuring. I wouldn't be moving from ebf to formula so scrap that idea.

It just seems v unfair that we were going so well until we got ill.

Limiting awake time is my issue. I KNOW when he's going to get tired and am actually v good at anticipating it. I just cannot get the little bugger to actually sleep! Right now is a good example. I'm sitting here in a dark room into my third hour straight of clusterfeeding I think he's actually just comfort sucking. He will close his eyes lying on me - but if I put him in his basket (which previously he loved) he screams. Why?!

Totaslyrandom teethibg is an interesting idea.

(Fwiw my friend also claims that another girl she's friends with who has a baby the same age is also doing 10+ hours overnight and that baby is ebf. Apparently I am feeding too often and I need to stretch out time between feeds so he learns to eat more. I just don't know how to do that!)

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Feb-17 20:21:19

I'm sitting here in a dark room into my third hour straight of clusterfeeding...

Why on earth are you not sitting watching telly on the sofa?

The safest, recommended and 'right' (in every sense of the word) place for baby to sleep is in the room you are. At all times for the first 6 months, that includes in the evening.

Do you want to be sat in a dark room?

Or would you rather be sitting watching Let It Shine and Casulty on BBC1?

You seem to be stressing and fretting over what your unrealistic, rose-tinted expectations are telling you parenting "should" look like.

I can tell you you are not alone in thinking like this. The vast majority of first time mums have similar expectations. They are not - AT ALL - what real parenting looks like for most families though.

Sit yourself on the sofa with baby in your arms and DH providing tea on demand. Let baby feed and nap on and off until either baby falls into a deep sleep or you go to bed.

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Feb-17 20:32:33

Fwiw my friend also claims...

FWIW my exclusively formula fed DC3 was sleeping 8h without waking from literally Day 1. And 12h without waking from 7 weeks.

That's not helpful for you though. Not my firstborn and not breastfed.

FWIW my exclusively breastfed (long term) DC2 was sleeping two six hour blocks from about 12 weeks old. Then 12h from 6 months.

That is also not helpful for you. Not my firstborn (with whom i had all the unrealistic expectations which led to lots of mistakes). Plus comparing isn't going to help you.

FWIW DC1 (EBF) was not going more than 3 hours between feeds in the whole of the first year of her life. She did not manage an 8h stretch without distressing sleep training at 13 months and did not manage 12h until she was about 2y6m.

Is that helpful? Or does that make you feel like shot at the prospect? I don't think even sympathetic comparisons help first time mums.

And finally...

FWIW DC4 (now 2y5m) was EBF then mix fed from 5 months. She never, ever cried to go to sleep. But it took until she was 12 months old for her to be able to be put down (with dummy) and left to go to sleep on he own. Sleeping 12h inconisitantly from 9m, consistantly from 12m.

Again - I really don't hink anecdotal "my babies does this..." is helpful. At all. Your baby is your baby.

The best possible thing you can do is adjust your expectations.

Breadwidow Sat 25-Feb-17 20:54:37

I'm sorry but other posters are right. The situation is normal. Babies do not progress neatly towards normal sleep, there are many knock backs along the way caused by both illness and also development. You are not far from the classic 4 month sleep regression time where sleep for many goes a bit haywire (in fact you could already be in it since it doesn't hit all babies at 16 weeks). The best thing you can do is relax as much as possible and stop trying to fight it.

helpitsallgonewrong Sat 25-Feb-17 21:32:43

FATE - I'm sat in a dark room because if he hears the TV he gets progressively more wound up and starts screaming. It is just more peaceful to snuggle up with him in bed rather than having him go nuts in the living room.

And point taken on comparisons. I really only brought it up as she is telling me that it's my lack of routine (I'm not <that> unstructured, but she literally doesn't take her baby out of the house ever - not even for a walk - so she can feed & sleep to a rigid schedule; she's had to hire a nanny to help her so she can leave herself) that's causing the problem.

I shall accept my fate and order some more under eye concealer online. And thank my lucky stars that at least DS is insanely cute and bright as a button!

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Feb-17 21:43:14

If you are happy to go to bed at 4.30pm, then it's not a problem.

You don't have to though. Babies your DS's age sleep for 16-20 hours in 24. They all need to happen in a room with you. You don't have to spend 16-20 hours in 24 in a darkened room.

I'm sitting here in a dark room into my third hour straight... He will close his eyes lying on me - but if I put him in his basket (which previously he loved) he screams. Why?!

Rhetorical or did you want an answer?

It is because you are putting him down. Babies don't like being moved once asleep. If you can't get him to go from drowsy to asleep in the cot (dummy, swaddle and cosleeper would help with this), then in order to get him sleeping you have to find a way of letting him go to sleep where he falls asleep. Could you feed lying down and leave him there? There are ways to safely cosleep.

helpitsallgonewrong Sat 25-Feb-17 21:52:17

I think the problem is that he doesn't seem to have a drowsy setting anymore! He has alert or overtired and he has asleep. He literally falls asleep mid coo or mid smile or mid scream - it's bizarre.

My compromise has been to replace my bedside light with a low wattage red light that he seems to find soothing so i can at least read by the light of that whilst he does his thing.

I do co sleep with him sometimes although it's quite tight with 3 of us in the bed. I love having him in with me but find it quite hard going physically (I have extremely hypermobile hips and I haven't found a comfortable co sleep position yet) so I don't think I could do it all the time.

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Feb-17 22:04:59

he doesn't seem to have a drowsy setting anymore... He literally falls asleep mid coo or mid smile or mid scream

As soon as that happens, he is dowsey. If you unlatch and 'put him down' then - that is the drowsey-but-awake stage. He would wake up, either unlatching or when being moved, so he is not asleep. He is drowsy though because he is ready to go to sleep. You know that because he just that moment started going to sleep.

If you want to go the independant sleeping route (ie baby going to sleep in the cot), you'll need tools for replacing the comfort he gets from you.

° Instead of comfort breastfeeding, give a dummy
° Instead of cuddling to give a tight, secure feeling, try a swaddle or sleepyhead.
° Instead of holding baby close, be physically close with lots of physical contact, eye contact and attention in the cot. A cosleeper helps with this.

mainlywingingit Sat 25-Feb-17 22:05:41

I wouldn't introduce Formula as you will get into the top up trap and supply will drop and you will need more
Formula etc etc

Sleep sounds normal. Mine is 116 weeks and we still have good weeks and bad weeks ! You would be lucky at 10 weeks to get it sorted. Just relax a bit and go with it, I know that sounds like crap advice but all your planning and organising for sleep could be futile. As long as there is a routine of sorts I generally think the baby finds its groove with sleep when thus are ready.

mainlywingingit Sat 25-Feb-17 22:06:45

Some babies are just great sleepers, some are up and down and some are dreadful.

I think it's mainly in the baby not the amazing parenting/routine!

Breadwidow Sat 25-Feb-17 22:11:15

If I was you I'd sort your sleeping arrangements to find a comfortable co sleeping situ. I Fought this for ages with my first but once I gave in, omg, THE SLEEP. I would do one of:
1. Get a king(or even better a super king) bed to fit all 3 of you in
2. Sleep separately from your DH for a bit - you and baby in double bed
3. Get rid of your bed & put mattress on floor (possibly with extra single mattress next to it)
4. Set up co sleeper cot that lasts longer than first few weeks, my solution was to put cot bed next to our bed with one side removed, worked really well

teaandbiscuitsforme Sun 26-Feb-17 06:52:53

You need to tell your friend to back off. She clearly doesn't understand breastfeeding and BF babies. Spacing out feeds will make sleep worse and could affect your supply. You need to feed on demand (frequency of feeds and length of feeds doesn't particularly matter) and your baby will start to fall into their own pattern for feeding. But this will keep changing - no week or month will look the same because your baby is growing or developing.

You sound very confused about the direction you're going in. Most people find out that they are either more parent led (e.g. GF type routine) or baby led (follow their babies cues to build them into a routine). Which way suits you best?

If you are more of a baby led person, you will have a routine but it is unlikely to be strict about timings. More a pattern of things that happen around certain events during the day. If this is your kind of thing, then it is easier to take feeding out of your routine (feed on demand) and focus on how long your baby is awake for. Awake for an hour? Then it's time to try the naptime 'routine' (feed to sleep, walk in pram, journey somewhere in the car, dummy and swaddle, etc). If you prefer a timed parent led routine, you'll need to go back to GF or something like that.

teaandbiscuitsforme Sun 26-Feb-17 07:03:29

Also, about your friend never leaving the house, I'd be bloody miserable. To me, that's not real life and certainly not possible with more than 1 child.

To me, you have to live your life and build naps into it. So on Monday, nap 1 might be back in bed, nap 2 might be in a sling whilst you prepare dinner, nap 3 out for a walk with friends, etc. Tuesday: nap 1 might be in the car going to a playgroup, nap 2 in bed, nap 3 out for a walk, etc.

But you can build little routines around these. E.g. Nap in the sling - change nappy, feed, put in sling and bounce until asleep. Nap in the pram - change nappy, feed, coat on and into pram. Etc

yikesanotherbooboo Sun 26-Feb-17 07:44:16

It's not your fault and it will sort itself out... look after yourself too

helpitsallgonewrong Mon 27-Feb-17 10:35:52

Thanks guys. I feel a bit better.

teaandbiscuits I think you've hit the nail on the head with this:

You sound very confused about the direction you're going in. Most people find out that they are either more parent led (e.g. GF type routine) or baby led (follow their babies cues to build them into a routine). Which way suits you best?

I think my problem is that I don't really know! I have read Gina and whilst I like some of her ideas the routines seem completely unworkable - both in terms of me having any semblance of a life, and also in terms of actually getting DS to follow the routine! But at the same time I know that he can't possibly know what's best for him all the time (see eg the fact he never wants to go to sleep and then gets tired). So I end up starting the day thinking "alright I'll try to get him to nap at roughly these times" and then it just goes wrong. Plus he is a total boob monster and would never say no so I end up with a weird hybrid feeding on demand but I'm never sure whether he's actually hungry.

This morning is a good example - he woke at 730. I fed him and we played a little bit. At 830 he started yawning. I gave him a comfort duck on the boob, rocked and shushed and he quasi fell asleep in my arms - I put him down in a swaddle with some white noise and he nodded off. For 10 mins. He starts screaming. I come up, try to resettle him in his basket, diesnt work, so pick him up and rock him. Seems to calm him so put him down again. The second he hits the mattress he's wide awake, laughing and smiling. So what do I do? Does the 10mins count as a nap? Am so confused!

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