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3 month old - sleep regression or growth spurt?!

(17 Posts)
user1479905737 Tue 28-Feb-17 06:34:02

Hi all,

I would love some advice I'm at my wits end and need my sleep!!

Our baby is 3 months old /13 weeks today. Until 10 days ago she was sleeping from around 8.30pm-5.30/6am each night. We have the bath/bottle/bed routine although unfortunately I made the mistake of rocking her to bed each night and for naps. She also uses very loud white noise most of the time to fall asleep, but at night she doesn't (...didn't...) need that.

The past 10 days have been horrendous. She naps in her pram downstairs for occasionally an hour but most of the time it's 30 minutes and she wakes still tired, crying and yawning. Sometimes I get her back to sleep but it's a real fight. Unless I keep the white noise on during her nap she wakes easily.

At night she has started waking at 2.30am, then around 4.30am, both times she is awake for almost an hour and in between these two wake times she is really only doing 1 x 45 minute sleep cycle. Then is fully awake around 6am, so again it's really only one sleep cycle after her second night time waking. She used to go back down easily but now it's a real struggle. The bizarre thing is when she is waking she is exhausted and yawning and doesn't drink much milk - she doesn't want to wake up and I'm not sure it's really hunger when she wakes the second time.

Essentially we are barely sleeping after 2.30am. My partner is studying after work and I feel awful for him, he is exhausted.

I know they have a growth spurt at 12 weeks but this seems to be quite long and shows no signs of stopping. Could it be an early sleep regression?

She will take a dummy but tbh I don't want to go down that road - it gets her to sleep, falls out..she stirs... etc

Does anyone have any tips for getting her to settle herself into naps/bedtime without a dummy or me rocking? Is it to early for her to cry herself to sleep? We did try that the other day but it just didn't work and she got so worked up it broke my heart! Would a dream feed work?

If this is sleep regression is it going to get worse? I just feel like a zombie at the moment and am praying for the days where she used to sleep through - TBH I can handle one night time waking but not two!!!


user1479905737 Tue 28-Feb-17 07:59:51

Is it worth trying her in her own room? My partner snores maybe we disturb her now!?!

FATEdestiny Tue 28-Feb-17 08:20:48

As a newborn, sleep is the passive state, like in the womb. So as long as all needs are met, baby wilk sleep. Then baby will wake as a need develops (hunger, uncomfortable nappy) and will return to the passive state once asleep.

At around 3-4 months this changes. The change is perminant and forever. Sleep stops being passive and becomes active. You have to actively work at helping baby get to sleep and stay asleep.

This is what is happening with your baby. It will last as long as it takes you to learn ways to help your baby get to sleep and stay asleep. Things that are well established as ways to help:

- something to comfort suck - breast, dummy, your finger
- movement - pushchair, bouncy chair, sling swaying, rocking in arms
- Calories - making feeds more frequent than currently is often better way to get baby to feed more, rather than bigger feeds. If bottle feeding, always provide more milk than will be drank.
- Mums reassurance - cuddling in your arms, cosleeping, patting tickling.

These are not just needed to get to sleep. They are often needed to stay asleep too. And also to resettle back to sleep.

Ypu perhaps need to readjust your expectations. You seem to be assuming your baby shouldn't need any help getting to sleep. If you don't want to use the tools of independant sleeping (primarily dummy) then you will no doubt end up embracing attachment parenting - cosleeping, sleeping in your arms, rocking/cuddling to sleep. Nothing wrong with these.

As for crying to sleep...

Your baby is a newborn. No. Just no.

You need to help your baby to sleep. Not make it hard. Sucking, movement, frequent feeds, you. These are the things baby needs.

Nelllo Tue 28-Feb-17 08:32:19

Wise words from Fate here. IMO baby needs you! I co-sleep with my 6mo, and did the same with DS1 (now 6yo) after a short period of hellish nights trying to make him sleep on his own. It's the best way for all do us to get the rest we need. It may not be the advice that suits you, though. I realise not everyone wants to co-sleep.

user1479905737 Tue 28-Feb-17 13:36:52

Thank you for the advice. I would rather try co sleeping before the dummy. But surely she will still wake when co sleeping and I will still need to rock her back to sleep?

With the dummy if it constantly falls out then I will just be up replacing it anyway? Or would it teach her and then her not need it to be placed back in a few weeks time? Also if she's sucking on a dummy in her sleep is she truly 'asleep'?

In the day I will start letting her nap in the sling - which I have today and she has taken the best naps in two weeks. Although she wakes still it just takes a moment to get her back to sleep and I have two spare hands. She is waking much less in the sling than she has in the pram.

user1479905737 Tue 28-Feb-17 13:39:40

Another question - sorry! By her napping in the sling in the day, and getting through the sleep cycles quicker/easier, will that help her get through them at night too, without being in the sling but in her sleepyhead pod in the crib?!

FATEdestiny Tue 28-Feb-17 14:09:55

surely she will still wake when co sleeping and I will still need to rock her back to sleep?


With the dummy if it constantly falls out then I will just be up replacing it anyway?


Or would it teach her and then her not need it to be placed back in a few weeks time?

No, she'll need it long term

Also if she's sucking on a dummy in her sleep is she truly 'asleep'?

The dummy is only used for going to sleep. Once asleep, the body's muscles relax. That includes the jaw muscles that baby will use to suck the dummy. So the dummy falls out. Its meant to, since it has served its purpose of getting baby to sleep. When baby wakes up, until baby can put her own dummy in, you'll need to do it for her.

So when sucking the dummy, she is not in a deep sleep. She is in the lighter 'getting to sleep' phase. Takes about 10 minutes or so to get in the deep sleep. Then baby is properly asleep.

You'll get the same light sleeping 'getting to sleep' phase regardless of method you use. Some will keep baby in light sleeping much longer. Dummy is an exceptionally effective way to move into deep sleep, that's the reason dummies are amazing things.

She is waking much less in the sling than she has in the pram

She will find comfort in her closeness to you. There is no problem in that at all as long as you have realistic expectations. Baby will be napping for several years, until around 3 years old. She may always need that closeness to you to sleep, or will find sleep difficult without it.

By her napping in the sling in the day, and getting through the sleep cycles quicker/easier, will that help her get through them at night too

The idea is that good sleep = better sleep. A baby getting plenty enough sleep over 24 hours is easier to get to sleep, will find is easier to get into a deeper sleep and so will have overall less light sleeping, therefore wake less frequently.

Overall calories over 24/48 hours (as oppose to specific hunger at specific times) also profoundly affects how deeply a baby sleeps.

So if you have a naturally deep sleeping baby, getting plenty of calories over 24h and plenty of sleep over 24h - it doesn't really matter what methods you use to get that baby to sleep. Because once asleep, baby is far more likely to stay asleep for as long as is needed. These are those babies you hear about who sleep 12h solidly from 8 weeks old. It makes no difference if these babies are rocked to sleep, use a dummy, cosleep - they stay asleep anyway, so there is never a need to put dummy in, or rock back to sleep.

usernoidea Tue 28-Feb-17 14:18:15

I play white noise all night. We are almost 6
Months old and now only wake once a night for feeds......
Before using that kept waking up similar to you x

I'm really sorry to hijack your thread but fatedestiny I'm dying to know if you are some sort of baby sleep guru.....I see you commenting on loads of people sleep threads on mn?! X

FATEdestiny Tue 28-Feb-17 14:41:34

I generally spend my afternoons (while my 2 year old is napping) on the sleep board here unless I am having a nap myself.

Not a sleep guru. DH and I have had 4 children over the last decade or so, all with very different sleep and feeding preferences. I guess I just have a wide breath of experience on the subject.

When I first found MN 2 and a bit years ago, the sleep board was full of "just cosleep, feed to sleep and accept multiple wake ups are the norm" type attachment parents. I am the opposite of that, so became very vocal on the subject. Then I just stuck around.

It gives me something to do while watching Doctors in the afternoon, as DD naps upstairs in her cot for 3 or 4 hours <not smug, honest>.

usernoidea Tue 28-Feb-17 14:44:59

Your dd sleeps 3-4 hours in the pm? Crikey! Does she sleep through the night and or in the morning too?!
Yes you will definitely know what the score is being a mum of 4. Well done you x

Newmother8668 Tue 28-Feb-17 15:06:29

Listen to Fate.. it helped me!

FATEdestiny Tue 28-Feb-17 15:11:42

I find it a bit cringey to be smug on threads where the OP is struggling, but yes. 12 hours at night, 3 to 4 in the daytime, timed around school runs.

She's 2y5m. But I should add that DD needed me to help her get to sleep for the whole of the first 12 months of her life. She was by no means easy (DC3 gets that label). Indeed she was quite clingy, needy in terms of reassurance and comfort needed to get to sleep as a baby. But she is my ILB (indulged last baby), I am always happy to indulge in her. But had a view right from newborn that my aim was for her to be an independent sleeper.

usernoidea Tue 28-Feb-17 15:51:52

I too was determined to have an independent sleeper too and am the only one from my nct group who self settles, is in a nap routine and a bedtime routine. I'm not gloating about it it's just this really suits me x
Good luck op. It's just a phase and you'll get through it

Newmother8668 Tue 28-Feb-17 16:53:35

Rocking, dummy and having a cosleeping cot next to my bed helps my baby settle at night almost immediately. The sleep regression is painful and mine has lasted for the entire period, but he is eliminating wake ups. His naps are still 30 min long each, but he is sleeping 13 hours with four wake ups from 6pm to 7am. Maybe he's trying to figure it all out?

user1479905737 Tue 28-Feb-17 21:14:23

Thank you Fatedestiny! I too agree that babies should sleep healthy through the night. Her feeding has been going really down hill - I think due to teething (I know that's early but I had two teeth before 4 months). Today she has drank less than half what she normally would. I have tried constantly to get milk down her, but she just plays with the teat. Her sleep has been getting worse over the past 7-10 days so it may be that food is having a huge impact as her intake has got progressively worse. I have a feeling we are in for a worse night as she's fed so poorly today. I understand about the dummy but I'm not prepared to get up and down putting it back in, I just want to nip this self settling in the bud - even if it takes a few weeks. I think I have two issues - getting her to sled settle and also massively increase her food in take, god knows how. Wish me luck!!

FartnissEverbeans Thu 02-Mar-17 14:17:28

I was determined not to use a dummy. I do now. It's great! DS always drops it a few times when I put him down at first (I buy the bulgy cherry shaped ones so they stay in better, although sometimes he's determined to spit it out!) but when he goes into a deep sleep he drops it for good, and that's how I know he's properly asleep. If he wakes at night I just replace the dummy, easy peasy, and he very rarely drops it again because he goes back into a deep sleep much more quickly.

Also, there's some new research suggesting that dummies have a protective effect against SIDS. I don't think they know why that is yet, but it's worth considering.

FartnissEverbeans Thu 02-Mar-17 14:19:22

What do you mean when you say she's playing with the teat? Is she spitting it out, or getting distracted by other things in the room? DS has started stretching out and rolling his head backwards to observe the room upside down when feeding, which is rather annoying confused

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