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Please tell me things will get better

(30 Posts)
StripyDeckchair Wed 24-May-17 15:00:55

My first baby is just over two weeks old and I feel so awful. I know it's very early but I went to try out a group earlier in the week and they were all talking about their little ones waking every three hours for breastfeeds in the night and going to sleep inbetween.

My DS is awake and feeding (bf) between 8/9am and 2am every day. The past four days he has slept 3 hours between 2 and 5 and then woken for more feeding before sleeping 2 more hours until he wakes up properly at 8/9.

I know that means I'm getting a couple of stretches but I'm really, really struggling. I feel like I'm utterly crap at this and I cry and cry every evening in anticipation of the night ahead.

He feeds frequently (about once an hour) all day and does sleep inbetween but won't be put down to sleep. He ups the feeding rate to virtually constant from the early evening onwards.

MW tried to persuade me to cosleep so he can feed whenever he wants and I get some sleep. He won't be put down in his crib until 2am at all - he just cries instantly. I have been cosleeping for the first part of the night but I hate it because I keep waking up with a start panicking about him. I'm so worried it is not safe and I can't get past that.

He did have an afternoon nap on one day recently but that doesn't seem to be part of a pattern.

On top of this at nighttime nappy changes he screams like nothing I have ever heard. It reduces me to tears every time and the changes seem to take forever.

I have no family nearby and no friends as we are new to the area. DH has gone back to work.

The thing is I want to feed him whenever he needs feeding - especially as he dropped a lot of weight initially and we had trouble getting him established.

I just don't understand how he can feed for 40 mins, feeding himself to sleep, then wake after less than 10 mins crying with hunger.

I have had latch, positioning, his tongue, everything checked by MW, HV, hospital (when we were struggling to establish feeding) and have sought out bf support group.

Last night I caught myself saying I couldn't go on living if things carried on like this. Please, please tell me there is some hope.

LapinR0se Wed 24-May-17 15:06:44

Oh that sounds very hard. I gave aptamil at night so I knew how much my baby was getting but I know this doesn't tally with breastfeeding advice.

StripyDeckchair Wed 24-May-17 15:07:06

Another part of me thinks that as I'm getting at least 3/4 hours (I don't manage to fall asleep immediately during the second stretch) I'm just being a wimp and should get over how crap I am at putting up with this.

StripyDeckchair Wed 24-May-17 15:09:38

He has lots of wet nappies and is gaining weight, so, fortunately, all the signs are he is getting enough.

LapinR0se Wed 24-May-17 15:12:30

Is he swaddled?
I would really advise you not to feed to sleep, try to keep him awake so he gets a decent feed in to him and then burp him, swaddle him nice and tight and put him down awake. He will sleep much longer

InMemoryOfSleep Wed 24-May-17 15:14:00

Have you tried a dummy OP? Now that you have breastfeeding well established it shouldn't cause any issues, and it may just be that he needs the comfort of sucking to get himself to sleep, which is totally normal for babies!

InMemoryOfSleep Wed 24-May-17 15:16:52

Sorry, posted before I was done! Just wanted to also say I'm so sorry you're struggling, it is incredibly tough in those early weeks. Do you have a partner who can support? You are doing absolutely amazingly feeding on demand and you should be incredibly proud of yourself, it will settle down I promise!

imogenlondon Wed 24-May-17 15:17:48

I sympathise, I went through similar with DC1. It will get better. For us it was around the 6 week mark that things started improving, and again after 8 weeks. The lack of sleep is awful, it made me feel like I couldn't cope. Try establishing a routine in the day - I used the baby whisperer's technique of E.A.S.Y. I think my DC's screaming was due to colic so I also used infacol with each feed. Did you have a traumatic birth? Looking back I wonder if cranial osteopathy might have helped get over her traumatic delivery

FATEdestiny Wed 24-May-17 16:12:24

StripyDeckchair - a newborns tired signs are exactly the same as baby's tired signs. I would suggest you are probably assuming baby is hungry when in fact baby is tired.

*


Talk Sleep
Please tell me things will get better8
Today 15:00 StripyDeckchair

My first baby is just over two weeks old and I feel so awful. I know it's very early but I went to try out a group earlier in the week and they were all talking about their little ones waking every three hours for breastfeeds in the night and going to sleep inbetween.

My DS is awake and feeding (bf) between 8/9am and 2am every day. The past four days he has slept 3 hours between 2 and 5 and then woken for more feeding before sleeping 2 more hours until he wakes up properly at 8/9.

I know that means I'm getting a couple of stretches but I'm really, really struggling. I feel like I'm utterly crap at this and I cry and cry every evening in anticipation of the night ahead.

He feeds frequently (about once an hour) all day and does sleep inbetween but won't be put down to sleep. He ups the feeding rate to virtually constant from the early evening onwards.

MW tried to persuade me to cosleep so he can feed whenever he wants and I get some sleep. He won't be put down in his crib until 2am at all - he just cries instantly. I have been cosleeping for the first part of the night but I hate it because I keep waking up with a start panicking about him. I'm so worried it is not safe and I can't get past that.

He did have an afternoon nap on one day recently but that doesn't seem to be part of a pattern.

On top of this at nighttime nappy changes he screams like nothing I have ever heard. It reduces me to tears every time and the changes seem to take forever.

I have no family nearby and no friends as we are new to the area. DH has gone back to work.

The thing is I want to feed him whenever he needs feeding - especially as he dropped a lot of weight initially and we had trouble getting him established.

I just don't understand how he can feed for 40 mins, feeding himself to sleep, then wake after less than 10 mins crying with hunger.*

This is almost certainly tired, not hunger.

Try:
- swaddle
- breastfeed baby whilst swaddled
- When sleepy at the breast, lift to your shoulder and rub back (whilst still swaddled) and away your torso while doing so.
- once asleep, lay baby down.
- put a dummy in babysbaby's mouth if there is any stirring awake.

Limit the amount of time between one nap and the next to about 30-40 minutes (So mostly just enough time to feed).

FATEdestiny Wed 24-May-17 16:14:44

Sorry, I cut and pasted way too much there! I'll try again:

StripyDeckchair - a newborns tired signs are exactly the same as baby's tired signs. I would suggest you are probably assuming baby is hungry when in fact baby is tired.

I just don't understand how he can feed for 40 mins, feeding himself to sleep, then wake after less than 10 mins crying with hunger.

This is almost certainly tired, not hunger.

Try:
- swaddle
- breastfeed baby whilst swaddled
- When sleepy at the breast, lift to your shoulder and rub back (whilst still swaddled) and away your torso while doing so.
- once asleep, lay baby down.
- put a dummy in babysbaby's mouth if there is any stirring awake.

Limit the amount of time between one nap and the next to about 30-40 minutes (So mostly just enough time to feed).

pikapoo Wed 24-May-17 19:47:13

flowers

Things will get better.

I echo the PP's advice - now that BF is established and he is gaining weight, it is likely that he is not crying solely due to hunger. One of the things I only realised a few months in (my DS is now 1), and wish I'd done earlier, was that it can be helpful to pause and observe for literally a few seconds when your baby starts to cry, rather than immediately assuming hunger and BFing. It is really hard as the crying tugs on our heartstrings, but by counting up to, say, 10, you give yourself a chance to reflect ("hmm, I only fed him 10 minutes ago" and observe ("hmm, he is yawning/arching/pulling on ears - signs of tiredness?"), and also calm your beating heart and anxiety ("oh no he's crying again!!! take deep breath it's okay....") before taking action. It sounds very simple but it made a difference for me.

Re: changing the nappy at night and the trauma that comes with that, I hear you as DS even at 1 year's old occasionally screams bloody murder during nappy change (it may be to do with his occasional nappy rash). Overnight stressful nappy changes will become less of an issue if you start to feed less overnight, because then the nappy will not be as wet - in theory you will probably eventually seldom change his nappy at night if you use one of the heavy duty '12 hour' ones that are super absorbent (though it really depends on how much milk he takes in during the evening)

Chewiecat Wed 24-May-17 19:58:33

Hang in there mama, you're doing a great job and it gets better after 6 weeks!
My DS was exactly the same, feeding round the clock and I felt like a zombie during the first 2 months.

He slowly got better, but still wakes up every 2 hours to feed now. But now it's a quick feed then back to bed. He's 14 weeks now

My mum was around to help, that made a world of difference. Do you have any one to help?

HerculesParrot Wed 24-May-17 20:02:22

You're not being a wimp. It's brutal. But perfectly normal. It does get better!! How quickly depends on your baby, but it doesn't stay like this!

^^PP have good advice.

StripyDeckchair Thu 25-May-17 12:49:04

Thanks so much for all the advice. The point about confusion between hungry/tired has been especially helpful. Still exhausted but last night was a bit better. Will try to update when I've had a chance to try a few more things.

BipBippadotta Fri 26-May-17 08:35:39

Just wanted to say, OP, that mine was like this until about 5 weeks and is now (at 7 weeks) settling down for a couple of longer naps in the day. After several weeks of unbearable exhaustion, those little naps are a godsend. It is very hard. You're not being a wimp. In my experience it does get a bit better, and you'll be amazed at how refreshed you feel with just a tiny bit more sleep.

People at baby groups will go on about routines - my ds had no pattern whatsoever to sleeping / eating until v recently, so don't panic if you can't say with any certainty when your baby 'naps'.

Also, don't beat yourself up if the hv advice doesn't work for you. Everyone's different. Fwiw we attempted cosleeping and found it impossible (couldn't sleep as baby kept snorting, grizzling, farting noisily, thwacking me in the face with flailing arms; I was freezing cold with a stiff neck as wouldn't have any covers or pillows near him for fear of suffocation; couldn't get him latched on unless sitting upright in a proper chair, etc).

I got a nursing chair and that helped - sometimes when done with a feed he'll sleep on me and the chair's comfortable enough that I can recline it and doze off for a bit too without waking him to move him to his cot.

Hang in there!

Bella1985 Sun 28-May-17 16:03:20

Hi OP, it will get better, promise. Your post sounds like me 19 weeks ago. I was tired, emotional, and desperate. It's perfectly natural and it does pass.

I found things gradually (but not noticably) improve around 5-6 weeks. DS slept for 6 hours straight at 7 weeks- I still remember the date, I felt as high as a kite! I remember looking back at things around the 9 week mark and thinking, yes, things had definitely improved. I was loving it by the 12 week mark. There are new trials now (he's 21 weeks and teething) but it is much much easier than those first weeks.

I appreciate FATE is being helpful with the advice re awake time but I never could get my baby to sleep within a certain time frame so don't beat yourself up if you can't do it, its not just you.

As to putting baby down awake - read this... themilkmeg.com/why-feed-play-sleep-routines-make-no-sense-for-a-breastfed-baby/

I attended a breastfeeding support group and found that to be brilliant. Is there one near you? If not, give la leche league a ring, even if its just for someone to tell you that you're doing well.

DS fed for hours on end between 10pm and 6am in the first 3 weeks with me, it was bloody awful, I felt like death. He slowly brought it forward to 6pm-10pm which was still a long time for feeds but it did mean that he started sleeping stretches of 6-7hours at night. He's slowly been bringing his bed time forward to a more reasonable time by himself. Also, I've found co-sleeping much easier now that he's older (I only do it when he's going through a growth spurt and feeds more frequently) and has head control etc so that will come. DS also wouldn't sleep in his cot, just on me, but sleeps in the next to me crib at night now.

In the meantime, try and get DH to do all the housework, and make food for you. If he can hold the baby whilst it sleeps for a few hours on the weekend so you can catch some sleep, it really helped me.

One more thing, its really patronising, but I wish I had done more of it - try to relax and enjoy the cuddles. You're not doing anything wrong and your baby won't be sleeping on you when they're 7...its just a phase as they adjust to life outside the womb. It sounds like bfeeding is going well, don't doubt yourself, you're doing a great job, your baby is growing. Its bloody hard work (and a shock to the system as a first timer) but my god when they start to smile at you and respond to your voice, it is just magical!

Dueindecember2016 Mon 29-May-17 10:08:48

Oh you poor thing. It does get better and the light at the end of the tunnel will be here soon.

I struggled with the time of night baby was waking up. Someone told me not to look at the time and this really helped.

MrsELM21 Mon 29-May-17 10:17:25

It will get better, these early days are absolutely exhausting, hang in there mama

BUT, let me give you one piece of advice that will see you through your entire preschool years, these other mums at baby groups etc, THEY LIE!!! They will not be doing any better than you are and anybody who appears to be doing fabulously quite simply is not telling the truth!! gringin

Bella1985 Mon 29-May-17 13:29:57

mrsELM yes! This helped me a lot, still does!

People kept telling me I must have an easy baby as I looked great - make up was obviously doing its job! - but I corrected them, I could have easily said yes, loving it, things are easy. Reality was that I somehow wasn't looking as ghastly as I felt!

Similar problem- a lady with a baby 3 days older than mine seemed to be out walking, in coffee shops, having pub lunches from the word go. I felt like such a failure in comparison. I'd not even got dressed let alone left the house! BUT, I bumped into her at a baby group and she admitted that she felt awful and was going 100mph at weekends with her DH but was shattered afterwards and was struggling. So if people look like they've got their shit together on social media - its probably not true for 100% of the time!

Megankate2112 Mon 29-May-17 13:39:51

Hi, this sounds very similar to my daughter at the start and trust me when I say it gets better! I had trouble in the beginning with breastfeeding and I lived on zero sleep and felt like I was constantly feeding and feeding her! But just one night when she was about 5 weeks maybe, she finally went to sleep at about 9pm and didn't wake until 3am then this stretch kept getting longer and longer until she slept through the night. It's worth it just persevering through the hard night feeds because there is light at the end of the tunnel! Perhaps you could try going out for walks in the pram or popping to the shops I find this helps my little one to sleep between day feeds smile don't worry though I'm sure you're doing a fab job!!

StripyDeckchair Sat 10-Jun-17 13:44:47

Sorry it's taken so long to update. Unfortunately things have got worse. He now basically doesn't sleep at all. He's 4.5 weeks now.

I have tried swaddling and he doesn't like it. We've moved over to a grosnug which does seem to help when he is sleeping. It's sort of a half way house between swaddling and not.

I've tried a white noise app that didn't work at all but found that the noise of the hairdryer did calm him. Found a video of a hairdryer on YouTube. If I play that he will usually lie still and calm and often close his eyes but it doesn't seem like real sleep. He wakes fully alert the second the noise stops. I'm not sure whether to just put that on for hours or what. I've been trying it for 20 mins at a time to see if he will fall asleep fully but he doesn't. I've now ordered a Ewan as have heard people rave about it.

DH has taken him for blocks of time and generally can calm him for a short time. But again, he doesn't sleep with DH, just stops crying for a short time.

His longest nap, day or night, is now about an hour with very occasional 3 hour stretches at night. Most naps are about 15-20 mins.

He has a few short quiet awake periods but mostly he cries if he's not feeding.

I'm wondering about reflux but the symptoms don't seem to be quite there. He does posset a couple of times a day, sometimes more, cries and feeds frequently. I can see a little bit of back arching. He farts a lot!

I'm going to try to keep him upright after feeds (how do you do that effectively?) We have a bouncy chair but he doesn't weigh enough to use it yet.

I'm reluctant to try him with a dummy because I don't want to miss any real feeding cues after the tough start we had and I worry about ear infections, how we would wean him off it, etc.

I haven't been able to get out all week because lack of sleep just makes it seem impossible (and the weather has been dreadful). sad

FATEdestiny Sat 10-Jun-17 15:36:17

I'd give a dummy.

Baby going to sleep in something you can move (bouncer) is a game-changer when used with the dummy.

Or maybe baby swaddled and stationary, but with a dummy.

Dummies are AMAZING!

Timetogrowup2016 Sat 10-Jun-17 15:56:06

Honestly a dummy is something I would try .

Weaning on if not an issue for a good few years .
I don't believe a dummy for sleep causes any issues at all . It's when it's in an older babies / toddlers mouth al day is the problem .

birchygoo Sat 10-Jun-17 18:28:41

I feel your pain. My lg was exactly as you describe and I didn't think it would ever end! She is now 6 months and although not a perfect sleeper is much better.

I found that at 6 weeks she started to establish night and day much better which helped with her sleep.

My life savers were a

Stretchy sling - made her feel close and she slept for longer, I got things done and even got to rest with my feet up and hands free to eat. If you don't have a sling you should have a local sling library were you can hire them cheaply to see how you get on with them.

We had a snozpod and it was so big for her so we rolled up a towel in a c shape and put it in under blanket so that she felt more secure and in smaller space.

Swaddled, worked wonders! Just be careful of hips. Google has lots of examples.

Ewan the sheep or even pink or brown noise of eBay.

The extractor fan over the cooker (unreal how much this worked, I told my NCT class and they all also used it). I held and rocked her with extractor fan on and she was asleep in minutes.

Warm bed before laying down. Use a hot water bottle but make sure bed isn't to hot. As baby is going from your warm arms into a cold bed.

Try to make bed smell like you. So you can lay used breast pads around outside. Or I wore a muslin down my top then when it was smelly enough confused I laid it over her mattress tucked tightly in at sides where her head would be so it smelt like me.

Has health visitor showed you how to co sleep safely? My lg still has to get co sleeping most nights now half way through. I didn't start co sleeping until after 4 months sleep regression. I don't know if I could have managed to feed her lying down when she was smaller. Do some research though as co sleeping is safe for breast feeding mothers. Just do it safely and not if anyone smokes or been drinking.

After doing all this she started to sleep better than any other babies in my NCT group but I got smug to quick as 4 month sleep regression was a killer for us. Whereas others in group didn't even notice it. So those people bragging might be in for a rougher ride in a few months compared to you!

Stick it out, lack of sleep is a killer. Be kind and you are doing amazing!!! cake

birchygoo Sat 10-Jun-17 18:33:32

Sorry just seen your update. We had reflux and baby gaviscon did work for us but was a pain! Worth a try as no danger in taking it. I expressed and mixed it with a little breast milk and gave it in a bottle. I started of syringe but it was a pita so quickly gave up on that. We also raised head of her crib by putting books under head area and mattress in pram by putting blanket under head. After feeding we just held her upright, her head on our shoulder and under extractor fan until she was asleep and 30 min was up and then put her down. During the day though if I wasn't going to bed I just wore her in a sling.

We started using a dummy at 4 weeks, they let you know when hungry! I just kept an extra close eye on weight.

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