Am I doing this all wrong?

(33 Posts)
burritofan Tue 02-Jul-19 18:11:14

Me and DD had a rough start and the early weeks are a blur, no chance of being one of those "had a routine first day back from the hospital" people; the goal was we all got some sleep – and still is. So I feel like I've sleepwalked into bad habits.

She's now 10 weeks and what I thought was a phase at 7 weeks is just getting worse: catnaps. Worse still, I bounce her or feed her to sleep for all of them because I'm knackered. But then she wakes after 20 minutes, though I can sometimes resettle and resettle if she's in the sling (sometimes not), but I'm bouncing 7 times a day or more. She hates the pram. She's exhausted and overtired and by bedtime (she doesn't conk out til 8-9pm) she's a screaming mess, in between tiny tiny catnaps and feeds, so how do I even go about starting a bedtime routine and undoing the bouncing? Or is this totally normal?

I don't have a nap routine and daren't even attempt crib naps because the overtiredness is so hard to undo if a nap fails. Should I be doing dark room/swaddle/white noise/dummy, pop her in the basket and wait for this magical thing to happen? I don't think she's that kind of baby.

At bedtime she has a final feed but doesn't necessarily fall asleep; her dad rocks her. We're planning to (try to) gradually change this to swaying, then holding, then holding in crib, etc, in search of the mythical drowsy-but-awake. And attempt to introduce a routine, in-between shouting bouts.

I'll confess some NCT mums have terrified me with dire warnings of the four-month sleep regression and the rod for my own back that I've not taught her to self settle yet... please tell me self settling is a developmental thing and she'll get there in the end even if it's at 2 or 3, that I won't die from sleep deprivation (I'll just feel like it), that it's all worth it, that she's not totally damaged by my cocking up her sleep, that every other mother of a newborn is frantically bouncing them all day, that screaming baby is normal and it's just the hormones that make it go right through me. (It's not colic, she doesn't scream on end.) Does it get better when they need fewer daytime sleeps?

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WantedAChatterbox Tue 02-Jul-19 18:17:24

After being recommended it by her GP,
My daughter read - The Sensational Baby Sleep plan by Alison Scott-Wright
It was life changing - literally smile

porridgeface Tue 02-Jul-19 18:20:17

I don't have any advice but just wanted to say you're not alone!!
I gave up trying to introduce a routine and just followed babies cues and let them guide me. He woke every two hours until 6 months old and I'm still rocking him to sleep at 10 months old. understand it's not for everyone but he's happy. I've learnt to stop comparing myself to others because I was just making myself feel bad.
Do what works for you and enjoy those moments as much as you can x

Appymummy Tue 02-Jul-19 18:21:46

So sorry to hear you are struggling, I have purchased "baby sleep solutions" by Lucy Wolfe and I also follow her on Instagram- she gives tips on different things all the time.
I also follow just chill mama (I think that's what's she called) again very handy tips!
Everyone is different but I think if you are stressed (which is completely understandable) then baby will pick up on it.
That's all I have I'm afraid and I hope all gets better for you.

burritofan Tue 02-Jul-19 18:29:01

I follow Lucy Wolfe and Just Chill Mama on Instagram and have like 10m sleep books. I don't get how you can set a feed and sleep schedule when exclusively breastfeeding and responding to the baby's cues.

Like wake then feed makes sense in theory... then the activity is a nappy or two... then oh look the baby gives you a tired cue AND a feed cue, so I feed and she falls asleep. Or sometimes doesn't so I bounce her. Or she decides three giant poo-filled nappies are more fun than sleep.

I guess I want to hear that the early weeks can be a big old mess and it all somehow works out in the end, and a routine or pattern will emerge... somehow, and one day everyone gets some sleep or order. I'm not doing it alone but DP is away 7am-7pm – that's the only 7-7 that happens in our house grin

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burritofan Tue 02-Jul-19 18:31:29

@porridgeface I'm trying to respond to her cues and nudge a routine once a pattern emerges but it's tough! She did wake up in the sling earlier though and laugh delightedly at my attempts to resettle her, which was delightful. One day I'll look back on all this with rose-tinted specs, I'm sure.

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Cornishmumofone Tue 02-Jul-19 18:57:38

Some babies are great sleepers and some aren't. I don't think there is a magic answer. My DD only slept for 2 hours at a time until she was 18 months old. At 2 yrs and 8 months, she still wakes at least 3 times a night, but will generally go back to sleep fairly quickly without needing to be picked up. (That's a new thing for me!)


Appymummy Tue 02-Jul-19 20:50:37

They do say it's hard to get a routine until at least 6months. Keep going, all babies are different and there are so many people out there in the same boat. Remember you are doing an amazing job and your little one loves you!

burritofan Wed 03-Jul-19 08:49:08

@Cornishmumofone I do believe that all babies are different, and sleep is a developmental milestone. And getting some sleep out of her via sling and cosleeping and bouncing and whatever it takes is my job as a parent until she's ready to sleep on her own. It's just hard to hang on to those beliefs when you're up against the perfect baby 7-7 NCT crowd!

@Appymummy Weirdly I'm not anxious when she's awake, I don't freak out or get frustrated when she cries or yells at the boob or other baby behaviours. It's just when I'm frantically googling every sleep theory going, while she's asleep, that I freak out. All I've learned from all the books is that everyone has a different method and all babies figure it out eventually...

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belleshelles Wed 03-Jul-19 09:03:22

My DD was almost exactly like this, lots of cat naps that would only happen if she was rocked or fed to sleep. Ignore the "rod for your own back" comments, they're not the sleep deprived ones. If you want to feed to sleep and it works for baby, keep doing what you're doing. DD started sleeping and napping better once she got a bit older and started having solids, so around 5-6 months. I know right now it seems really hard and that it's never gonna get better but I promise you it will. DD is now almost 2 and since 8 months has been an excellent sleeper. Only a select few babies are good sleepers at your babies age so you're definitely not alone! Just keep pushing through and I promise you it will get better!

Mintypea5 Wed 03-Jul-19 09:08:38

She's only 10 weeks you're not making a rod for your own back or anything like that. My DS2 went through phases of being a great sleeper and then it changed again. We had a sorta routine but nothing firm until he went into his own room at about 7 months. He was sleeping through and now at a year wakes once a night.

It's totally normal. He's just naturally an ok sleeper i think. His older brother woke every hour for years and only started sleeping through at 5 ... now at 7 he's started sleep walking hmm

Also all those 7-7 NCT mums are in for a shock! Babies sleep patterns change all the time ...

53rdWay Wed 03-Jul-19 09:25:07

It's just hard to hang on to those beliefs when you're up against the perfect baby 7-7 NCT crowd!

I will bet you good money that at least one of them is having a really tough time as well but doesn’t dare admit it.

Happens all the time at baby groups - you get one or two super-confident people with good sleepers saying “oh we simply had a good routine right from Day 1 and that’s why little Theobald sleeps so well, honestly sleep is sooooo important, it’s my duty as a parent to instil good habits right from the start!” and other people start going “er yes, me too, 12 hours a night right from birth” while thinking “fuck I’m useless”.

If someone has a grand total of one baby who is under four months old, they do not get to lecture you or anyone else on rods for your own back just because theirs happens to sleep at the moment.

Mummabear12345567889 Wed 03-Jul-19 09:37:18

Like you, me and my boy had a rough start too. I gave most advice a try or at least considered it. Just go with the flow and do what's best for you. There's no right or wrong. Someone once said to me "listen to the advice you get and then do your own thing".
I breastfed too and would find that we would get a little routine and the go and then we'd hit a developmental milestone or something similar and it would go to pot.

thinkfast Wed 03-Jul-19 14:01:29

The early days are a big old mess. I was permanently exhausted. Mine had severe reflux/colic and a remember hour upon hour in the dark cuddling rocking and pacing with a screaming baby.

It passes. Eventually. Be easy on yourself.

burritofan Thu 04-Jul-19 08:30:14

Thank you all for lots of excellent wisdom. Had a good old sob at a friend yesterday because the baby slept for about 10 minutes in the sling then screamed the cafe down then wanted sleep again and milk, simultaneously.

When I took her home she played the "scream at boob" game and I was still feeling like "I ought to attempt crib naps but 'awake but drowsy' is bollocks" so I rocked her into almost submission, but she then scampered down onto my boob, fed to sleep and I plonked her on the bed for a co sleeping nap whereupon she slept for 5 hours, give or take a feed. Tiny troll baby.

Of course then she was awake at 3am wanting to play and rejecting a night feed for the first time, which is all new and exciting middle of the night fun. Every day's an adventure!

Anyway I'm taking the path of least resistance for now and going for sling, pram and feed to sleep naps and bedtimes and the four month regression can be tackled then. Fuck it and THANK YOU.

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ToftheB Thu 04-Jul-19 08:48:18

I’m not the person to offer any advice - my ds has always been a rubbish sleeper, although at 1.5 he’s gradually getting better on his own. Your post just really reminded me of how I felt for the first 9 months of his life. None of the books or frantic googling worked for us, only made me feel guilty and stopped me enjoying my tiny baby.

They’re all different and if yours is a rubbish sleeper at the moment all you can do is try and relax, don’t blame yourself and get through it however you can. It’s exhausting but you’ll get through it - and babies change so quickly, perhaps the 4 month regression will hit your friends really hard (I didn’t really notice it, it’s not like he was sleeping well before hand!) and you’ll sail through and things will be easier afterwards.

crazychemist Thu 04-Jul-19 22:06:18

You won’t die from sleep deprivation. It’s shit, but you’ll get through it!

DD had severe obstructive sleep apnoea. Until she could have her surgery to correct it, she had to be held/monitored at all times. It was totally shit. Her routine was shit until she was nearly 2.5. I fed her to sleep and held her literally all night, feeding her back to sleep every hour or so because she was constantly in distress as she fought for every single breath. Although I knew the surgery would correct the medical condition, I was terribly stressed that it would take years/forever to fix her disastrous routine and complete inability to sel settle.
6 months on from her operation now. She sleeps through unless she needs to get up to wee, and although she still likes a good length of cuddle before sleep, at bed time I kiss her goodnight and leave the room while she’s wide awake.

My point is, small children are incredibly adaptable, and there’s just no way that you’ve messed up this early. We weren’t able to get into any good habits at all for two and a half years! But now she has pretty good habits, and we haven’t had any tears at all on the path to get here.

Some parents will make you feel awful because they think they’ve solved parenthood because their kid sleeps well. Right now, yours doesn’t. Do whatever you need to do to get through your tough patch, and ignore people who make you feel bad.

There are lots of different things you can try, by all means read books and look online for advice, but don’t feel that you might “make a rod for your back” (God, I grew to hate that expression!). A routine will be much easier to put in place once there are fewer naps, and I think mostly people find their baby has a rhythm by about 4-6 months.

NeverGotMyPuppy Fri 05-Jul-19 10:30:04

I was led to believe the rest of my NCT groups babies were self settling and doing 7-7. Ours wasn't

Then the partners went for a night out. Funnily enough their accounts of their sleep didnt tally with what the mothers had been saying - not by a long shot!

Honestly I would say dont expect your baby tondonthisnkind of stuff for a long what you need to do to get sleep. And ome day when you and your baby are ready to can change it.

Sleep has almost broken me with my first baby - I absolutely recognise the anxiety, stress and - yep - exhaustion!

burritofan Tue 09-Jul-19 06:20:36

Aaaaiiiieeeeee the baby woke up every. single. hour last night. She wasn't even fed to sleep at the beginning of the night! She was fed, then had a small tantrum, then her dad rocked her to sleep – we're working on the rocking and have gone from "swinging a cat" levels to gentle swaying. But she's definitely put down in the crib fully conked out, not "drowsy but awake" (does that actually work?).

She was pretty grim the last two nights too but at least I got a 3.4 hour chunk to start the night. I fed her back to sleep every time but we haven't yet mastered lying-down latching on as she's only small.

Growth spurt and needing the milk or is this the horror show I have to look forward to for a long time? (You can't have the four month regression at 11 weeks can you? I suppose at least you can regress from this...)

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Thewalker75 Tue 09-Jul-19 13:42:21

No advice OP just to say the 4 month sleep regression doesn't happen to every baby - ds1 didnt suffer at all but he was a great sleeper. Ds2 on the other hand was a nightmare sleeper so I wouldn't have known if he went through it or not. Couldn't get him into a routine for love nor money, he just wanted to be rocked. Even when he started nursery at 12 month they commented on what a shit routine I had or rather hadn't got him into!

However...he figured it out eventually and gradually, without me really doing anything he started to self settle! He could sleep on his own and the naps got longer.

So just to say it wont be like this forever.

Thewalker75 Tue 09-Jul-19 13:43:19

Sorry he was 8 month when he started nursery - things had greatly improved by 12m!

HerSymphonyAndSong Tue 09-Jul-19 13:56:32

I am dubious about the “bad habits” warnings - I had all this and all that happened was if I didn’t follow my son’s lead he became hysterical and I got even more stressed. In your position I would spend a few days parked on the sofa with pillows, letting the baby feed and sleep as she wants - by all means go out but no immovable plans - and not worrying about how or where she gets to sleep or for how long. At night share responsibility with her father but also don’t worry about how she gets back to sleep and if you’re comfortable with safe cosleeping do that. Work on feeding lying down. It won’t be like this forever but removing any expectations or “techniques” etc that make you feel like you’re failing (YOU AREN’T FAILING!) might help for a bit

burritofan Tue 23-Jul-19 11:06:27

Two weeks on – both ages and no time at all in tiny baby land! – wanted to say THANK YOU for all the advice in this thread. Having now read almost every Mumsnet sleep thread ever, have concluded that all babies are different, it will all be fine in the end anyway, and you can't force the gits to sleep. ¯\_(__ツ__)_/¯

Have packed off all my sleep/routine books to the charity shop and embraced the "fuck it, she'll get there" approach to parenting. She may not be a great sleeper but things are currently much improved from rocking her six times a day, especially since giving up the "must be up at 7, curtains open!" stuff and just following her lead, with some nudging (blackout blinds and white noise at night, accepting she's a colicky nightmare in the evening). She gets up at a different time each day, wakes at totally different times each night – sometimes 3, sometimes 8. Some days she does 4 naps (sling/pram), some days 6, then her dad comes home and does a nap or two, then bed (after colicky evening) is always at the same time. Absolutely no pattern to it at all, some days she does 30-min naps, others she manages a 1.5 hour one, but we're all much happier with this devil-may-care approach (even though I'm a mad Type A Kondo routine person). She'll find her rhythm. And in the meantime, at least there's ice cream while I push her round the park!

Thank you all. Looking forward to 2-3 years of muddling through and seeking wisdom on the sleep threads when she plays silly buggers. But I got a solid 5 hours last night!

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Marty93 Tue 23-Jul-19 13:03:29

there's a lady on youtube who has done a video recently reviewing a sleep course she did with her baby. Her Youtube channel is CarlyRowena I think. I found it quite interesting.

firstimemamma Tue 23-Jul-19 13:11:23

I'm feeding to sleep my nearly 1 year old as I'm writing this and he wakes up once / sleeps through the night and is capable of self-settling if he happens to wake up in the middle of a sleep. Drowsy but awake / self-settling isn't compulsory, please don't beat yourself up if you can't achieve it or don't want to! Hope your situation gets easier soon thanks

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