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11 week old / poor sleeper / no idea what to do next

(24 Posts)
amiz86 Sun 24-Sep-17 17:36:56

Hi this is my first post, so apologies if I've put this in the wrong place.

I'm a first time Mum and I'm getting myself in a mess with my 11 week old daughter. I feel I was completely unprepared for motherhood and breastfeeding and I've completely ruined my daughter and got her into bad habits which I've no idea how to stop.

My daughter and I have fallen into the cycle of falling asleep at the breast and I've no idea how to break it. My daughter also hates being put down particularly in a cot. From birth she has fallen asleep on me and been placed in her cot/Moses basket.

From the first visits from midwifes and HV they all commented on my daughter being a sensitive baby who would need a lot of cuddles and to be kept close as she adapted during the 4th trimester.

I explained my concerns to my HV who suggested co sleeping so I can get some rest, I have done this once or twice but it isn't form me and I feel I'm making an even bigger rod for my own back.

My daughter does have a night time routine of bath, fresh nappy, pjs, story and feed to sleep in her sleepyhead and placed in her cot, I've found this to be the only way I get 3hrs sleep at the very most, then we are up and down from every 20 - 40mins. From bringing her home we have never been able to put her down awake as she goes hysterical. She even still cries when she's she being changed.

We start this routine at 7:30 but the earliest I can get her asleep for is 9-11ish any earlier and we just are up and down every 40mins.

She also rarely naps during the day, couple of 20 or 40 mins on a good day. She's constantly over tired and I feel terrible that I can't help her to fall asleep another way.

Just to make things a little more complicated my partner and I have separated, he never really helped with our daughter but now he's out the picture I feel very on my own and I need to make a change somehow so I can be the best mother for my daughter.

I'm considering a couple of options I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has had success with:

cry out methods - I do leave her to cry on occasion when I no it's safe i.e. Getting dressed but she goes from 0-60mph very quickly. I feel if I tried this method it would go on for hours and hours.

Sleep coaches - is there anyone who's had success with this and can recommend someone?

Switching to formula - would this help?

Or if there is anything you can see that I'm doing wrong or advise me on I'd be hugely great full!

pastabest Sun 24-Sep-17 17:54:45

She is still so little and a lot of what you have described is very very normal although at the fussier end of it. This would be draining for anyone but you are doing it on your own flowers

You aren't doing anything wrong and I really wouldn't worry too much at 11 weeks about making a rod (and if someone is telling you that then they are not being helpful)

She is far far too young for cry it out.

Have you tried a dummy yet? My DD was very similar until we gave her a dummy.

AMagdalena Sun 24-Sep-17 20:08:50

I don't have any advice to offer, but your daughter sounds very much like mine.
She's 8 weeks old and her sleeping pattern sounds very similar to my daughter's. She will only nap during the day when held, too.
Comments about making a rod for your own back are really unhelpful (I get them regularly), but they normally come from parents of less sensitive children.
It's tough, isn't it?
I also think it's too early for cry it out, especially if your daughter is like mine.

FATEdestiny Sun 24-Sep-17 20:08:59

The first things to try if you want baby sleeping in the cot is a dummy and a swaddle.

If you don't establish regular swaddling before 3 months then you cannot use it at all. A giant muslin or cot sheet is all you need for this. It reduces stimulation so that when you put baby down the movement is not too much of a different feeling whilst swaddled.

Then when put down, after a full feed and good wind, put your hand quite firmly on baby's chest over the swaddle, holding her hands over her chest maybe. Put dummy in at this point.

Have your head bent close to baby's. Make shush sounds if needed but mostly just keep putting dummy in, tap on outside 9f dummy to stimulate the suck reflex and wait. A baby who is sucking won't cry and sucking is naturally soothing for a baby.

Swaddled, well fed, well winded and with a dummy and you staying close - all you then need to do is wait for as long as it takes for baby to go to sleep. There should not ne any crying with the dummy.

Next, watch awake time. 30-45 minute naps are normal. They should be frequent. Very frequent. A good approximation for this age would be about 1h-90m awake time between naps. So all day lobg is broken into 2h blocks of time which involve:

- wake
- feed
- awake time until 1h from waking
- up to 30 minutes getting baby to sleep
- nap
- wake and repeat. Over and over and over again all day every day repeated in these exact same cycles.

Anatidae Sun 24-Sep-17 20:16:31

Everything she's doing is normal, it's ok, you're not doing anything at all wrong. Some babies are born great sleepers, others are dreadful (I had the latter.) you can do some things to help for sure but a lot of it is just waiting it out and surviving it,

Do consleep IF you want to - you're not making a rod for your own back. Could you consider a consleeper cot for example, best of both worlds there.

Don't get too hung up on routine at this age - keep days bright and nights quiet, and have a rough routine if it suits you but don't stress about it. Keep pushing naps as FATE advises above.

Way too young for sleep training and controlled crying - whether controlled or cio. Of course don't feel bad about five minutes yelling when you go for a pee ;)

You're not doing anything wrong. Some babies have cracked it at this age and some take much longer. Ignore the 'my baby slept through from three nanoseconds old' stuff you might hear. They are all different. Mine didn't sleep more than one hour at a time until he was 18m, then suddenly he got it. Nothing we did had helped previously and nothing made him sleep - I firmly believe it's developmental.

You aren't doing anything wrong. If you're on your own it's really hard - do you have family would could take them for an hour or two while you rest?

crazycatlady5 Sun 24-Sep-17 20:29:10

It's all perfectly normal. I recommend cosleeping to get extra rest. My baby wouldn't be put down and I was constantly worrying about it. One day I stopped and just started following her lead and it's all been smooth sailing ever since. She won't be like this forever x

amiz86 Mon 25-Sep-17 07:12:12

Thanks Pastabest, oddly enough she won't take a dummy, she's fine with the odd bottle but I've never had any joy with a dummy. But thank you for your reply. She is desperate to suck anything she can get hold of!

I see a lot friends who's babies are sleeping from 6:30pm onward and my DD has never done that ever!


Callamia Mon 25-Sep-17 07:18:52

Feeding to sleep can be a complete gift. It means you had a pretty reliable way of getting a fractious, I'll, over-tired, whatever baby to sleep pretty much anywhere.

It IS tough when you're not getting much unbroken sleep, and that's something I don't know how to solve. However, there are no bad habits at this age - no rods for backs (I hate that phrase, it exists to make you feel bad). Do what you need to, to get the sleep you need.

amiz86 Mon 25-Sep-17 10:18:33

Thank you ladies for your kind comments, I've been beating myself up for days thinking I'd ruined her to make my life easier! It is so hard doing it alone. But your comments and advice have given me hope and some options to try.

Yes I'm fed up of hearing that everyone else baby sleeps through or goes from 8pm - 8pm and only wakes up for a couple of feeds.

Thanks ladies it's a huge relief to know my daughter is normal for her age xxxx

furryelephant Mon 25-Sep-17 10:27:56

Honestly it is so so normal, and it does get better! My DD is 10 months now and has only just reliably started having 1-1.5 hour naps on me, I never thought she'd get them any longer than 30 minutes either. It feels so relentless as it feels like you're spending all day every day getting them to sleep but it does pass quickly. DD also still is a struggle to get to bed any earlier than 9. Every baby is different! I'm also a lone parent so understand how hard it is, you will be fine brewflowers

pastabest Mon 25-Sep-17 14:16:08

Try a few different brands of dummies before you give up on them entirely if you have a sucky baby. My DD absolutely hated the Tommie tippee ones (long and straight) but loved the MAM ones (stubby and rounded) Now she is a little older (8 months) she has started preferring the avent ones (long and rounded)

My DD has JUST started sleeping 'through the night' this week. Before that she was waking several times a night. through the night in this house still means she is waking at 5am... but it's better than 10, 12, 3 and then up at 5. You get used to the lack of sleep very quickly and a lot of babies settle down a bit naturally around 12 weeks as they can bring wind up a bit more easily themselves.

I bought a swinging chair thing for my unputable down baby which gentley rocked her to sleep just in the living room with me. We started getting some epic naps early on with that grin

TiramisuQueenoftheFaeries Mon 25-Sep-17 14:21:50

She's 11 weeks old, this is all completely normal behaviour, a "rod for your own back" is bollocks, and practically no breastfed baby is sleeping "through the night" until considerably later. A lot of complete lies bollocks is talked about babies "sleeping through" very unrealistically early.

I found feeding to sleep a great gift. I wish I could still do it. I certainly didn't stop doing it until long after 11 weeks! It's exactly how a newborn is meant to fall asleep. I coslept until well after that and still got my son sleeping separately without trouble later, when he was ready. You are definitely far far too young for sleep training.

She sounds normal - I'd honestly just adjust your expectations, be much easier on both of you, and go with the flow and what's easiest for now.

august1 Mon 25-Sep-17 18:23:03

Totally, totally normal. A few things that have helped me:

- sling for daytime naps. For me, this was the only way to guarantee baby got off for naps.

- make the cot as cosy as possible to mimic sleeping on you - hot water bottle to heat it slightly, make sure baby is warm enough. Swaddling can help.

- work out your baby's sleepy signs and ideal awake times. At 11 weeks, we can do 1hr30 - 1hr45 awake before starting to get ready for a nap

- putting baby down in a dark, quiet room at 7ish in the evening. Flashing lights from tv etc seem to wake them now (could sleep through before!)

You're doing great! You'll get there, promise.

hungoverhippo Mon 25-Sep-17 18:28:42

She's 11 weeks! She will not be in a bad habit at this stage. She's just a baby doing what babies do. Don't worry, you're doing great flowers

I'd highly recommend buying Gentle Sleep by Sarah Ockwell Smith. It explains a babies sleep cycle really clearly and is very reassuring!!

EightyNine Mon 25-Sep-17 18:38:13

You are doing really really well to cope on your own.

In fact you are doing amazingly!

Have you tried putting her down earlier? It may seem counter intuitive, but if you look at how much she's awake during the night she may well be getting way less sleep than she needs, especially if she's struggling to nap. I really would start the bedtime routine at around 5-5:30 rather than waiting so late. Overtiredness causes the stress hormones to circulate which will make it more difficult for her to sleep.

I would also say don't use CIO - way too young, and make sure you're always there for her when she cries, so you know it's not seperation anxiety. Have you tried seeing if she'll nap on you in a sling? She may nap longer, possibly even without feeding to sleep, and you can get out and get some fresh air!

giggleshizz Mon 25-Sep-17 18:44:53

First I want to say if you plan to use CIO method do read the research around it and opinions on the damage it can cause.
This sounds very much like my DD (now 5). I was on my own from birth. She refused the Moses basket and ended up sleeping on my boob most nights. I know you said co sleeping isn't for you but it might just help you get some more sleep.

Dd and I fell into a routine which was pretty much co sleeping and boob throughout the night and it saved my sanity. If you want to switch to bottles do but in my mind as I had no one else to get up and do bottles anyway I figured I might as well stick to boob.

Sounds like your doing great. You've recently separated and your baby is coming into a difficult age for sleeping, colic, growth spurts, sleep regression etc. Sorry to be the bringer of doom but my best advice is go with the flow, take shortcuts, make life easy for yourself. Don't listen too much to other people but go with your gut. Sleep when the baby sleeps.

It's hard on your own but perfectly doable if you don't put pressure on to be a perfect mum (no such thing). My DD is 5, just started school and is doing great....and still sleeps in my bed sometimes smile

Grayfig Tue 26-Sep-17 03:18:09

Agree with other posters. Your baby sounds a lot like mine. You are doing brilliantly continuing to breastfeed with no support, you are very tough. I would only add in to consider ruling out medical causes of very short naps and constant night waking (less than one sleep cycle at night is unusual, as is 20 mins during the day).

You can't ruin a baby by allowing them to do what is their biological norm: feed to sleep and sleep near mama (often means ON mama). Please remember this. It is our culture that is off, not your baby or your "habits". In other cultures (and since time began!) babies have done what yours is doing. That said, again I agree with others that gentle steps can be made towards independent sleep if that's important to you.

Grayfig Tue 26-Sep-17 03:21:18

Here is a brilliant article about infant sleep - if you get chance you can read it while putting her to sleep in your sling ;)

Changerofname987654321 Tue 26-Sep-17 03:50:49

It is all completely normal.

You can't damage/ruin a baby by cuddling. Cuddling is exactly what your baby needs to feel safe and for their brain to develop.

brokencrayons Tue 26-Sep-17 03:58:58

white noise and swaddling worked with all three of mine and now my youngest is 1.5 and has being sleeping 7 till 7 since she was 3 months old x ps I never had put my kids into a routine, they fell into one themselves. Also I found that a bottle of expressed milk at night sustained them for longer at bedtime instead of boob!

PressPaws Tue 26-Sep-17 04:24:57

Sounds very similar to my 13 week old DS. You're not doing anything wrong at all. One thing that works for us sometimes is white noise - we have an app on our phones that plays wave sounds, etc. Mimics the noise from being in the womb and can keep DS asleep in his bassinet for longer. Maybe worth a try?

Mammy2myboy Thu 28-Sep-17 16:16:50

Hi there my baby boy is almost 10 weeks and I had the same problems initially where he barely slept. I particularly struggled to get him to nap. However, for the past 2 weeks roughly- I'd say we're in a better routine.
With naps- I find I have to really fight and persevere. If he's been up for 1.5 hour I start settling him. I'll swaddle (at which point he screams because he's cottoned on to what I'm doing) I then do loud shushing- which usually makes him scream louder for a minute or two. I think this is because he's trying to drown out the soothing noise because when he quietens his eyes start to flicker. I'll then put his dummy in. I've also downloaded a white noise app because the shushing makes me go really light headed ! Read up on the 5 s' s it works usually.

You asked about formula in your post. My baby goes down at 7-7.30 now (he's sometimes up and down until the next feed but we stick with this) and the next feed my husband gives 5oz expressed breast milk. He now goes through to 2/3am and I then get up and give him a bottle of formula. This will generally take him to 5/5.30... on a bad night its 4.30- better night its 6.30 where I get up and bf for the rest of the day. I express in the night after giving him formula and find that I get so much more at this time (also express around 9pm). The only reason i give formula at this time is because when i was bf he would get up every 1/2 hour- 1 hour afterwards. Like he wasn't taking a full feed despite me doing everything to wake him. It would also take an hour to feed/comfort feed and then I'd have to settle him. I can make a bottle, feed, settle and then go downstairs to express in less time meaning more rest.
My boys last nap is 4-5pm which sounds late but it gets him through for his bath time which is 6... and he then has a long bf and is down between 7- 7.30. I used to try and have his naps finished by 3/4pm but I found he was harder to settle because he was over tired.

leniguru Thu 28-Sep-17 23:52:29

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

LapinR0se Fri 29-Sep-17 11:34:15

You asked about sleep coaches, I can recommend Carol Mae Grassick who got my sister's non-sleeping 7 month old sleeping though within 24 hours and started with us when my baby was 5 days to get into good habits from the start. My baby slept 7-7 with a dream feed from 10 weeks and was exclusively breastfed except for the dreamfeed of formula.
She is kind and gentle and her methods are extremely effective.

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