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Please help - at the end of my tether....

(12 Posts)
WoodsfortheTrees Sat 11-Mar-17 07:55:39

Apologies if this is long but there are a few things I'd really appreciate some advice on. At the moment I really do feel like I can't think staight....

My DD is 20 weeks old. She weighs over 15 lbs and used to be such a contented baby but the last few weeks have really changed that and I sometimes feel like I don't read her cues properly anymore.

We try to follow the EASY routine and at first I felt confident with it but lately more like I've lost my way.

Firstly my DD has now taken to having only 1-2oz of milk at each feed (she's FF) but wanting that every hour. Sometimes she wants more milk after 45 mins. This means she never really takes a full feed as she's never truly hungry. How can I change this? Should I make her go a little longer each time? I'd feel mean leaving her when she's hungry but I can't carry on with the 2oz every hour. She will not entertain a full feed every 2 hours and it's disheartening when you know the 2oz is not enough to see her sleep much at night.

Also she constantly seems tired. I try to limit her awake time to 40 mins if her nap has been short but she will not go to sleep. She screams in her bouncy chair, she wriths around in her pram. One of the only ways to get her to sleep is rocking her with one of her arms pinned down (gently) by me otherwise she pulls her dummy out then screams because she can't put it back in. This is repeated for the 30 mins it takes to get her to sleep. Then she sleeps for 40 mins and wakes up tired, rubbing eyes etc. I try extending her naps by rocking her again but she never goes back off. I feel ashamed to admit it but last night I shouted at her to go to fucking sleep blush

She has now taken to waking at 5.30am for a feed but again will only take 2oz. She did this again this morning and we went back to bed (I put her in my bed hoping to get more sleep) She then woke up at 6.15am, all smiles, so we went downstairs. She then started rubbing her eyes and looking tired. I tried her with more milk but she wasn't interested. I then walked around with her until 7am in an attempt to get her back to sleep. She took another ounce and finally went off at 7.15am. Surely this isn't right is it?? Should she need a nap an hour after waking up in the morning? I wonder whether the 5.30am should have been handled differently and I should have got her back to sleep without milk. She's just woken up now at 7.45am but still looks tired.

Thank you if you have managed to get to the end of this but I really am struggling. Some days when she's just screaming at me I feel like walking out and never coming back. My DH is good with her but he works long hours so is out of the house until late. He also doesn't understand the need for her to sleep regularly during the day so if I leave her with him at the weekend to catch up on some sleep he will have her awake for 3 hours straight and then I'm left dealing with the inevitable meltdown.

Tumtitum Sat 11-Mar-17 11:31:23

Not much advice sorry as my 13 month old DD still isn't great at sleeping so I'm obviously no guru but I feel your pain and have also been guilty of shouting at her to go to sleep! Last night she was awake for two hours in the middle of the night despite my best efforts and I could feel myself about to lose it so had to wake DH.
It sounds like you are doing the right thing in terms of limiting her awake time etc, I did all this with my DD around the same time and she also cat napped so I feel your pain, you feel like you're constantly struggling to get an overtired baby to sleep! Does she sleep better in a sling, in the buggy? I would basically do whatever works for a while to get her as much sleep as possible and maybe then she'll calm down a bit. I'm sure someone else will be along soon with lots more constructive advice! In the meantime here's some brew

WoodsfortheTrees Sat 11-Mar-17 11:37:58

Thank you so much for your kind words, still feel so guilty about shouting at her and it's good to know I'm not the only one! Why does it always seem worse at night? During the day I can grin through it like Mary Poppins but at night I just seem to lose my patience blush

You're right when you say you feel like you're constantly trying to get an overtired baby to sleep. I feel like all I think about at times is sleep!! Hers and my own!

Not wanting to tempt fate but she has actually gone to sleep in her pram. I rocked her until she finally dropped off, even though she grumbled a lot she finally gave in smile

Tumtitum Sat 11-Mar-17 12:31:22

Fingers crossed she has a nice long nap! DD has decided today she only wants to sleep on me so been lying in a dark room at my inlaws for an hour now! blush

WoodsfortheTrees Sat 11-Mar-17 13:29:46

She had about 45 mins and woke up rubbing her eyes but wouldn't go back to sleep. So I got her up, 15 mins chat and then rocked her pram again and she went to sleep again.

Sorry to hear you're having a rough time too, although an hour in the dark away from the inlaws is paradise to some people! grin

Any advice on the feeding front? She has about 35oz over 24 hours but around 10 of those are overnight. She had another bottle earlier and still only took 3oz....

FATEdestiny Sat 11-Mar-17 13:54:47

I wonder if you are reading tired signs as hunger signs?

If the only way to get her to sleep is rocking her while holding her fairly tightly (this is quite a normal thing for babies to like) - do that. Do it every time, for every nap time. Just get her sleeping regularly. For the coming week, is there any reason why you cant just rock her to sleep and hold her in your arms while she sleeps, every nap time? Just for a week. Not for forever. Just from now until next weekend.

So....

You say you are following EASY, so I assume you feed upon waking.
It takes about 30 min to get her to sleep
She sleeps for about 40 minutes

I cant see where in there you are feeding frequently?

- Wake & Feed
- Awake time play - just been fed to any grumpiness is going to be a tired sign, not hunger
- Getting to sleep - so any grumpiness is likely to be tired signs, not hunger signs
- Asleep

Then when baby wakes, the reason for any grumpiness then is likely to be hunger, not still tired.

Following the timings you mention:

Wake
Feed
15 mins play
30 mins getting to sleep
40 mins asleep
Wake... repeat

That's 85 minute cycles. Not all that unreasonable for a 5 month old. But I would try to stretch awake time, moving it more towards 60-80 mins (including settling to sleep).

I'm trying to figure out where the hourly feeding is fitting in? Are you doing > Wake > Feed > 15 mins play > 30 mins getting to sleep > Feed > 40 mins asleep > Wake... repeat? I'd definitely suggest those grumpy signs just before going to sleep are not hunger. So if you skipped that feed and carried on getting baby to sleep without the feed, then by the time baby woke, it would be longer since the last feed.

WoodsfortheTrees Sat 11-Mar-17 14:05:56

You have hit the nail on the head there FATE I think I'm misreading her signs.....what an idiot.

I do sometimes try feeding her again if it's taken 30-40mins to get her to sleep because I then doubt myself. I think maybe she's still hungry, not tired, but there lies the problem. I should just feed on waking until she won't take anymore, do activity, maybe offer rest of bottle??, and then just concentrate on sleep. Even if she's crying it must be tiredness so just work through it.

It's like an epiphany! Thank you grin

WoodsfortheTrees Sat 11-Mar-17 14:37:01

That's probably why a dream feed isn't working either. She goes to sleep around 7-8pm after a bottle but is very unsettled. I attempt to feed her when she wakes but that means she only takes 1-2oz at a time and then either won't take a dream feed or takes an ounce. If I feed her between 7-8 and then just resettle until attempting a dream feed at 10-11 I wonder if she'd actually take a good amount......

FATEdestiny Sat 11-Mar-17 14:44:08

She's not newborn anymore. I might offer more milk, more frequently in the newborn stage. At 5 month I would only feed upon waking. It makes reading the signs much easier that way. And as an added bonus it completely separates feeding and sleeping so there is no feeding to sleep association.

Trust your instincts on the grumpiness. But you can also use common sense.

If baby has only just fed, and didn't even want much then, she is not suddenly going to be so starving hungry that is makes her scream within an hour. If she's screaming within an hour, there's something else wrong.

If you get yourself into a pattern of feeding when waking, you can better know the signs:

Baby wakes up shouting and grumpy - its because she's due a feed. There is no need to worry if she's grumpy because she's still tired, you know she's going to be hungry, so no confusion there. Make the feed upon waking a 'good' feed. So feed until bottle pushed away. Wind cuddle. Reoffer bottle. If refused you can now be absolutely sure baby is full and so is not going to be hungry enough to cry for a good 2 hours at least, possibly longer. Certainly within an hour - babies just cannot physically digest milk that quickly.

Baby has been fed and is now playing on the floor, or whatever. Practicing tummy time, and rolling over or whatever. After a while, baby gets grumpy and starts crying - there is your first tired sign. You now know for sure its not hunger (as per previous paragraph) so the only reason baby might cry now is tired.

At that point I'd keep baby playing on the floor, but maybe give more of my solid attention to keep her happy. Not too long after that initial tired sign, I'd see more grumpiness and the need to pick baby up and cuddle. That, for me, now means it is sleep time. I would pick baby up, cuddle, give dummy and move straight into getting to sleep without any further delay. And from them on I would be relentless in the pursuit of sleep - just keep going until baby was asleep. No need to question if it's hunger, you know it's tiredness, just from common sense as well as instincts.

Then baby wakes, I'd try a resettle. If it works, it means baby was still tired, if it hasn't worked within 5 mins and baby is grumpy the feed time because we now know baby is hungry.

And we start again...

WoodsfortheTrees Sat 11-Mar-17 15:51:47

That all makes perfect sense! Can I just clarify a few things with you?

So you wouldn't be concerned with her only taking 2-3oz at a time? She had 4 oz at 12.30pm but after her nap at 3pm she only wanted 2oz.

Also, if she's fed at 3pm, asleep again by 3.45pm and wakes at 4.15pm, would you still feed on waking even though it's only been an hour and a half?

FATEdestiny Sat 11-Mar-17 17:19:31

So you wouldn't be concerned with her only taking 2-3oz at a time?

It depends on the baby's size and night feeds.

We were making 6oz bottles and expecting 4-5oz to be drank (2 hourly 7am-11pm) when DD was 5 months. But, she was a chunk- 91st centile. I would imagine a smaller baby needs fewer calories.

Also my DD was usually not having any night feeds at 5 months. So no calories taken in the night. This will mean she took more calories during the day, so more milk per feed.

if she's fed at 3pm, asleep again by 3.45pm and wakes at 4.15pm, would you still feed on waking even though it's only been an hour and a half?

Yes, I would. I always followed the toutime of events: wake - feed - play - sleep- wake - feed - play - sleep. It never mattered to me the timing (although a natural routine according to the time did develop on its own). If baby slept or played for longer than normal, so be it. Likewise if it was shorter

WoodsfortheTrees Sat 11-Mar-17 18:03:19

That's great, thanks. I feel much clearer about everything now.
DD is on the 50th centile and has followed that line since birth so her taking fewer ounces makes sense. We usually have 1-2 night feeds so that's probably why she's having less during the day. Here's hoping a dream feed might stretch her a bit longer.

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