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7 week old sleep. Am I doing this all wrong?

(18 Posts)
Naschkatze Wed 19-Apr-17 22:52:18

FTM to 7 week old DS and I am constantly worrying about his sleep (and mine!)
He is breastfed (will take a bottle of EBM) and still wakes to feed every 2 hours at night. I know he is still little but is there anything I can do to stretch the gap between night feeds a bit longer? (I'd kill for 3 hours sleep in one go!)

Also wondering about evening routine. At the moment we don't have one! He stays downstairs with us, sometimes napping, sometimes constantly feeding, sometimes awake and happy 'playing'. He will fall asleep sometime between 10 and midnight usually and then I take him to bed. He sleeps in a co-sleeper but we sometimes bed share if he doesn't settle after a feed. Do I need to introduce a bath, story, bed type routine yet? If so, how do you make it work with the advice that they always sleep in the same room as you until 6 months?

He naps fairly well during the day and I'm getting better at noticing when he is tired and helping him to settle. How many naps is normal in the day?
I've just read Fate's advice about awake time being double nap time so will try that tomorrow. Shamelessly hoping that she can help me too...

I'm happy to keep following my baby's lead but I want to make sure I don't create bad habits and would love a bit more sleep at night. Any tips?

FATEdestiny Thu 20-Apr-17 08:17:33


I was going to say (before I read that you are already going to try it) about frequent daytime sleeps. Frequent daytime feeds too.

Awake time for the under 3 month old shouldn't be more than an hour. Then I would favour a repeated patterns where you always do the same thing when waking from one nap until being asleep next time.

For example (and this is just an example since you are a FTM and might not have an idea, do whatever works for you, not exactly this):

Full feed as soon as waking.
Play/ go out/ activity
Stop at first grumble, that indicates sleep time
Shorter 'top up' feed in case still hungry (may be refused)
Settle to sleep

The idea of this is
- ensuring regular feeds
- ensuring regular sleep
- separating feeding and sleeping
- developing an array of settling techniques.

I favoured "dummy and bouncy chair" for getting to sleep in these early months. Relentless bouncing and dummy reinserts. If you are more an attachment parent then feeding to sleep (instead of feeding when waking) would suit better.

The bedtime routine you mention, it's not really going to make a blind bit of difference to anything at this age. Having said that, it's a nice thing to do to mark "now it is night time". It won't make a difference to anything though.

The idea would be that any of the awake time that happens between 7-9pm do a bedtime routine - bath, massage, change to night clothes etc. Then bring back downstairs and carry on as you were.

When older, when baby is being put down for a nap after bath and stays asleep right through until you go to bed, that's the time baby is getting ready to have a proper "bedtime", upstairs after the bath.

Naschkatze Thu 20-Apr-17 10:07:45

Ok! I'll try that kind of pattern out. Thank you grin
What's the idea behind separating feeding and sleeping? Is it to mark the difference between day and night? As at night he will generally fall asleep while feeding but he does sometimes remain wide awake at 4am.
If he does fall asleep when feeding during the day, should I wake him or count that as the next nap (perhaps without having had any awake time in between) ?

He currently feeds every 2-3 hours during the day. So I need to aim to increase this in the hope it helps him go longer at night?

Naschkatze Thu 20-Apr-17 10:10:36

Also, we've considered giving a bottle of EBM in the evening (DH can do this and I can go to bed earlier) as a 'dream feed'. I guess it's not really worth starting this until bedtime is more consistent?

2014newme Thu 20-Apr-17 10:12:07

All fine at 7 weeks!

Nb all mums are Ftm!

Fragglez Thu 20-Apr-17 10:20:54

Sounds right to me. I would advise to let him sleep whenever he will, and for as long and often as you can.

My lo (now 5m) put herself in a routine - she was falling asleep after a bottle at about 11pm but gradually stopped waking for it and started falling asleep earlier and earlier, now goes to bed at abour 8/ 8.30.

What i found really helped in the early weeks was doing shifts with dp. When he got home i would go to sleep and have a decent few hours, then he would wake me when he needed to sleep. At the time she would only sleep on us most of the time so we needed to be awake.

Good luck - it gets better!

SunsetGrigio Thu 20-Apr-17 10:22:10

My last baby was five years ago but i think in the evenings from about 8 weeks i did try and make it very "nighttime"- dark, lowered voices, low tv etc even though baby was in the same room. Did the same with my second.

I went to bed at 9 and my partner did a feed at 11- i honestly think this was my lifeline, i got 4 hours sleep all in one go and it made so much difference!

Naschkatze Thu 20-Apr-17 11:54:38

Thanks for the reassurance.

Fragglez I'm glad to hear he might settle into his own routine. Do you remember when that started for your DD?

I'm going to try a bathtime routine and then keep downstairs low key afterwards.

Sunset We do that when we can but DH works shifts so I have to do a lot of evenings/ nights by myself too.

How long should naps be at this age? He napped from 10 - 10:30am and I've just got him back to sleep. Wondering if the nap should have been longer though.

SunsetGrigio Thu 20-Apr-17 12:06:36

Ooh sorry, honestly can't remember. I'll have a newborn myself in 7 weeks and can't believe how much I've forgotten. I feel like 40 mins is good early on and i think it developed into two 1-1.5 hour naps in the morning and afternoon, but i'll bet that was much later on. I tried following a set routine from a book and honestly it caused me so much stress, i think you do just find your own routine. (though i still think a bedtime routine from early on was the best thing i ever did for myself. Hello wine and evening!

Fragglez Thu 20-Apr-17 12:28:40

Im really not sure - it all blurs in to one!

I do remember being nervous heading up to the 4 month mark and the potential sleep regression (which didn't happen, thank god!) so she was definitely settled down by 3.5 months.

I think it's important to go with the flow, there isn't a one size fits all approach, unfortunately. If he naps ok in a basket or crib i would definitely nap when he does if you can, i know it isn't always possible, i didn't manage it.

FATEdestiny Thu 20-Apr-17 13:31:18

Can I just say Naschkatze, you are not doing anything wrong.

Your posts are reading like you are looking for "The Answer", that if you research well enough you'll find a set of instructions you can follow and that will lead to happy, well rested baby.

I was the same with my firstborn so I wanted to stop you in your tracks - the answer is not there. No one ring works for all babies and YOU are the only expert you nedd in understanding your baby.

If you are not careful you may end up wasting away the whole of this newborn phase stressing and thinking you are doing something wrong.

The only thing any mother needs to do during the newborn phase (first 3 months) is to respond to all of baby's needs and learn to read your baby's signs - what he does when hungry, what he does when tired, how long does he usually stay awake, sleep, feed.

It is from focusing all your attention on baby that you learn these things. Then your routines will develop from these things. So from your baby. Not from online forums, not from books or blogs.

Naschkatze Thu 20-Apr-17 17:43:07

Sunset Exciting! Good luck. smile

Fate I think you're right - wouldn't it be great if there was a magic answer!
I know all babies will be different and like I said in my OP I'm happy to follow my baby's lead but if there's something I can do so that we all get a bit more sleep I'll try it!
I'm generally quite a laid back person but parenting seems to have brought out the worrier in me so far!
I'm going to bear in mind the more frequent naps and feeds during the day but try to go with the flow. While desperately hoping for longer night time sleep soon! grin

Blossom789 Fri 21-Apr-17 08:06:00

I'm the same OP.. searching for answers and magical cures! Not found any yet and DS is 13weeks. I began leaving DS longer at night when he woke, so rather than getting him up as soon as he stirred let him stir for a while- this seemed to help with stretching out the time between feeding. (Obviously not if he was crying). Didn't leave him long and it is a gradual process but over the course of many many weeks we're now up to 6-8hour stretches and one wake up with a 9pm ish bedtime. He quite quickly fell into a 4hour chunk of sleep though. Oh and only do this if baby's weight is ok.

We've been doing bathtime, pjs, sleeping bag, feed for a while just to get him used to the idea it's different to his other feeds. Now he's a bit older I keep him upstairs after bathtime and feed up there in dark room then transfer into his crib with monitor on. We leave him for around 30mins then I go to bed too I'm hoping this will move forwards but is our progress so far.

Wingdingingit Fri 21-Apr-17 21:11:29

Boring usual advice but it works.
There is no one fit sleep schedule. Make sure that you are eating enough and you need to sleep when he sleeps. Don't worry about housework. We always fed on demand and he's never had any issues with food or eating or weight.
EBM feed late evening or last feed before longer sleep will be fine.
I never did a dream feed.. something not right about waking your baby to feed or partially waking..jmo
Feed him when he's hungry, comfort him when he cries, change him whem he's dirty, cuddle him, talk and sing to him and love him and he will thrive.
I'm not a cry it out, dream feed, sleep in own room (or own cot if I'm honest ) kind of person though..just in case you hadn't noticed. grin
I used to worry about sleep and feeds and how much and how hot or how cold and it's all normal to do and it all works out, trust your instinct and ask for practical help if there is anyone there who can do a feed whilst you rest.
Enjoy this's amazing and just gets better and better...hard a lot of the time but amazingly brilliant.

Naschkatze Sun 23-Apr-17 13:07:49

Thank you. I've spent the last couple of days being aware of feeding a bit more frequently in the day and being more proactive in helping him get to sleep for naps. We've had nearly 4 hour stretches at night and he seems happier when he is awake in the day. Could be coincidence!

FATEdestiny Sun 23-Apr-17 14:58:24

Fantastic news!

Naschkatze Sat 20-May-17 09:38:55

A quick update from me. We are at 12 weeks today (the magic point where everything gets easier so I keep being told) and can't quite believe how quickly the time has gone.

DS seems to have settled into a fairly consistent routine. He usually falls asleep sometime between 8 and 9:30pm and only wakes once in the night. Usually around 3/4am. He then goes back to sleep until about 7:30am. And, all of this is in his own side sleeper crib. I feel this is totally manageable now!

I think our two turning points were: starting bedtime routine, to mark nighttime as advised. He has a bath/massage every night and then I read a story while feeding him. Then back downstairs with us (where lights down, tv off or on low) and he falls asleep in our arms... hmm at some point he gets put in the moses basket until we go up to bed.
The other thing that I think has made a difference is the dummy. It means he goes to sleep much more quickly in the day time and if he stirs at night then I can quickly reinsert it, stroke his face/tummy and it saves me waking up properly and letting him suckle just for comfort.

We haven't entirely separated feeding to sleep and I imagine at some point the dummy will become a problem and I will need to wean him off it, but for now we are all getting more sleep!

Next step, trying to get him to fall asleep in the Moses basket. Although I'm quite enjoying all the cuddles grin

Thank you to everyone who offered advice.

FATEdestiny Sat 20-May-17 12:26:17

The other thing that I think has made a difference is the dummy

Dummies are ace.

So glad things are better for you.

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