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3 month old screaming at bedtime

(14 Posts)
amelie427 Sun 02-Jul-17 22:50:26

I had some really good advice on the infant feeding thread about my son fussing at my breast, so I thought I'd try here for some advice on a sleep issue we're having.

Bit of background....

Our boy is almost 3 months. He's been a generally good natured baby so far - he has his moments, obviously, but is generally easy to settle when he does. He is EBF and has gained weight very well.

He likes sleeping on me mostly, but I'm trying to wean him off it a little, which is going ok. For his daytime naps I can usually rock him to sleep in 5 or 10 minutes and then I hold him for a bit before transferring him to his cot or pushchair. I'll still have him sleep on me for at least one of his naps, just as I know it's good quality sleep he's getting so I won't drop that until I feel he's ready. He likes sleeping in the sling too, so I'll have him sleep in there if I need to to get out and about.

He's a very alert baby. He came out of the dozy newborn phase very quickly. He's never fallen to sleep in his pushchair or car seat, or independently in any way (he just likes to look around). He never seems to be drowsy. I know some babies are just like this, and I know it will pass eventually. I'm happy as long as he's happy, but it can be quite inconvenient sometimes...! Oh how jealous I am of those mums who's babies just effortlessly fall asleep in their pushchairs...

I try to limit his awake time to one hour, so he doesn't get over tired. During the day it's generally fine, but the last week or so he's been very fretful at bedtime... it started off with just a bit of shouting and fussing when rocking him... now it's a full on purple-faced scream fest, for an hour or so. My partner and I try to stay calm and rock him, but he fights very hard - he does totally rigid, kicking and screaming. It must be awful for him and I worry it'll be doing him some damage sad

His overnight sleep is good - he generally wakes once for a feed sleeps very soundly. It's just getting him there without the battle...!

Sorry for the waffle... Any advice much appreciated.

Thanks!

FATEdestiny Mon 03-Jul-17 10:16:42

Have you tried a dummy? It's a necessary, in fact I'd say vital, tool for independant settling in the under 12 month old.

I would team the dummy with going to sleep in something you can move. A bouncy chair (at your feet while you sit on the sofa) is the easiest, I feel. Or a pushchair, but personally I find a pushchair walk is often too distracting.

Another route to independant sleep would be the dummy and a swaddle, if baby was used to being swaddled as a newborn, in a static cot or crib.

fruityb Mon 03-Jul-17 10:19:57

Another for a dummy!

chloechloe Mon 03-Jul-17 11:36:36

Hi there! It sounds like the witching hours have begun!

Both of my daughters were the same from around 3 months and I know lots of friends with the same issue. Google purple crying.

I think it's often caused by a sensory overload especially in very alert babies - at some point in the late afternoon or early evening, everything becomes too much and they get so wound up that they can't switch off and get to sleep.

It's great that you're making sure he has frequent naps during the day but I find it's still one of those phases you have to ride out. With mine I used to walk around with the baby in the sling with a dummy. Maybe go outside in the fresh air which often helps baby sleep quicker, or switch on some white noise if at home (it needs to be louder than the crying!).

From what I've read the periods of crying are supposed to be shorter if you baby wear for over 4 hours a day, though I can't say that made a difference in my case.

With both of my girls it suddenly stopped at around 5 months, so I'm afraid you may have a few weeks or months of this ahead of you!

I think you just need to experiment to see what calms the baby the best and take it in turns with your DH if it gets too much,

Good luck, I hope it's over soon!

amelie427 Mon 03-Jul-17 12:53:16

Thanks so much for your advice ladies!

He tends to gag when I give him a dummy, but I'll try to get him relaxed and will persevere with it. I'll ask give the bouncy chair a go.

That's really interesting Chloe, I'm glad I'm not alone. I think overstimulation may play a part so I'll try to wind things down much more in the evening.

amelie427 Mon 03-Jul-17 14:22:16

I've just managed to get him to sleep with the aid of a dummy and a bouncy chair. I can't believe it!!!!! Thank you so much for the suggestion, FATE, you may have saved my sanity and my back. I'll persevere with it for daytime naps and hopefully it might even pave the way for him napping in the pushchair. (I'm still bouncing it and I don't know when to stop!!)

Bloody postman woke him up but I managed to get him to drift off again. I don't know what to do with myself!!!! Xx

fruityb Mon 03-Jul-17 14:29:42

I was adamant my son would not have a dummy before he was born! Now I see the benefits of them I think they're amazing. He has it to sleep or when he's feeling like he needs comfort. They're just the best. I'll deal with getting rid of it another day but for now they're the best! Nothing else would resettle him at 3am, it changed our lives!

FATEdestiny Mon 03-Jul-17 15:57:32

Dummy + Bouncy Chair never fails. Just takes some perseverance sometimes. I kept all naps that were at home in the bouncer until naps naturally started lengthening and spacing out, which was around the 6 month mark.

The only thing with bouncer naps is that you shouldn't go to sleep yourself with baby asleep in a bouncer, naps shouldn't be unattended. So any time I felt I wanted a lie down top, we went upstairs together and napped on my bed.

Dummies are AMAZING

The single most useful tool for hands-off independant sleep.

amelie427 Mon 03-Jul-17 16:20:55

FATE, how long would you recommend bouncing before leaving them to it? (I know there isn't an exact formula, but did you have a time limit you set yourself?). And did you find the more often you did it, the longer they slept?

I bounced him for about 25 mins and he woke up about 10mins later and I couldn't get him back asleep . But it's still progress!

FATEdestiny Mon 03-Jul-17 16:41:27

Nap length is developmental.

At this stage naps will probably be in the 30-45 minute range. I would always try a gentle bounce up in first stirring to see if I could lull baby back to sleep. But I wouldn't expect it to work very often at this age. Just limit awake time accordingly - about 60-90 minutes between naps.

In terms of how long it takes to get to sleep - that is directly related to how well rested and well fed baby is. Over tiredness makes getting to sleep take longer and low level hunger (as in baby in a growth spurt and wanting more calories in 24h that getting) also makes getting to sleep more difficult.

A well rested, well fed baby should be asleep within 5-10 minutes.

There are times in the day when baby is more likely to be over tired (the evening "witching hour" mentioned earlier). It doesn't matter, just know that you might need to bounce baby for longer to get to sleep at that time.

I generally bounce rhythmically (with my foot) at a good tempo until I notice baby's eyes closing. Then gradually reduce the speed and how vigorous I bounce until asleep.

But its flexible. If I know baby is over tired, I may bounce all the way through the nap to encourage a good quality, deep sleep.

As baby gets older, if reduce how much bouncing is needed so that by about 5 months just bring strapped into bouncer, given dummy and three or four solitary bounces is all that's needed. Then I'd just sit in front of bouncer so baby can see me and wait for baby to drop off to sleep.

amelie427 Mon 03-Jul-17 16:56:32

Thank you FATE! I owe you one. Just managed to get him off in the pushchair too which is great. I wish I hadn't given up on the dummy so early.

mistermagpie Mon 03-Jul-17 19:53:25

My DS is 14 weeks so similar age and what is working for him so far is a swaddle wrap (basically a cotton bag which Velcros to pin his arms down!) which I got a pack of three from amazon for £17, the brand is ziggybaby. Plus I put him to sleep in a Mamaroo which is basically a very expensive bouncy chair which moves by itself and has white noise etc. He naps amazingly well in this and still manages to sleep in his static cot at night. I can't sleep during the day anyway so he's always supervised in the Mamaroo.

My DS sounds like yours and won't sleep in the car seat or pram. His older brother was exactly the same (still is and he's nearly 2) but has napped beautifully in his cot from about 4 months so it's not the end of the world that he won't sleep when we're out and about.

mistermagpie Mon 03-Jul-17 19:55:16

We got the Mamaroo from gumtree by the way so have a look on there if you're tempted. They keep there value very well, we bought and sold DS1s from gumtree and got back what we paid.

amelie427 Tue 04-Jul-17 10:19:10

Thanks Magpie! I'll take a look at the Mamaroo, might save me some bouncing! Good to know I'm not alone.

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