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Daytime Nap Problems/Crying/Screaming (4 week old)

(22 Posts)
Rachie25 Sun 09-Sep-07 16:28:50

Hello All

I'm new to this board - I've found some really good advice on here but for this question I don't know if my brain is just too stressed out to find the solution...?

Basically my four week old daughter is great about sleeping at night - she has a bedtime routine of bath, dry, feed and down, sleeps for 5 hours, wakes briefly for a feed, sleeps for another 4 hours, wakes briefly for another feed, then sleeps till morning (about another 2 hours).

HOWEVER... during the day I cannot seem to do anything right... She feeds approx. every three hours - after a feed will lie on her mat for a while and MAYBE drift off for a nap, but only a very short nap after which she cries and screams until her next feed, which can often be two hours.

I've tried cuddling her, rocking her, taking her out for a walk, swaddling her... All that seems to happen is that she gets herself more and more worked up. My Health Visitor wants me to try controlled crying but it breaks my heart, although I know maybe I just need to get over it... blush

I think part of the reason I am so upset (probably crying more than my daughter at the mo!) is because, like all new Mums, I feel so unsure and worry I'm doing everything wrong. I don't know what I should be aiming for in terms of daytime naps... How many naps she should be having, for how long... and I know that's like asking how long a piece of string is...This is probably coming across as a very garbled, pointless post - can anyone offer any advice/guidance at all...?

berolina Sun 09-Sep-07 16:39:33

4 weeks is much too young for anything remotely resembling controlled crying.

Tbh I wouldn't worry too much about the apparent unstructuredness of daytime napping - especially as she has such a deeply enviable night sleeping pattern. Go with the flow. At this age routines are nothing to get worked up about and not necessarily to aspire to.

Are you breastfeeding? Do you think that when she screams and cries it might be for another feed? (Your post is unclear as to whether you are demand feeding or not). Especially at this stage, when bf is still being established, it's actually normal and even important to feed more often than every three hours. For months and months (after initial problems surmounted) I responded to almost every whimper of ds's by shoving him on the breast

Rachie25 Sun 09-Sep-07 16:47:21

Thanks berolina

I'm not breastfeeding anymore I stopped at two weeks

It's not so much the lack of routine that worries me, although that is part of it. I just don't seem to be able to stop her from crying, it really upsets me... She obviously needs to nap at some point during the day and I can tell she is overtired and wants to sleep, but just seems to fight it with every fibre of her being... She isn't a baby who will lie contented... Maybe a sling is the answer so I can carry her with me at all times...?

berolina Sun 09-Sep-07 16:51:05

I'm sorry you're about having stopped bf. At 4 weeks it's not impossible - though a lot of work - to relactate: search the Breast and Bottle feeding section for the numbers of the bf helplines.

Smaller feeds, more often? So instead of 6oz every 3 hours, 3oz every 1.5hrs? (Sorry - random numbers - I have no idea how much a bottlefed baby takes at feeds).

Could there be digestive difficulties/reflux?

Otherwise, a sling is almost always an excellent idea.

DaisyMOO Sun 09-Sep-07 17:07:24

4 weeks is still really young to be in any kind of routine. What about a dummy after a feed? If it's any consolation none of my 4 babies have drifted off to sleep lying on a mat or in a chair, they've always needed to be fed or rocked. I found it helped if I tried to anticipate their tiredness before they started crying and got overtired. So, at 4 weeks they'd probably be quite tired after an hour to an hour and a half after waking, and I'd then feed them to settle them or rock them etc. A sling is a really good idea as you they often fall asleep in one. I wouldn't recommend controlled crying really (and I say that as someone who did it from early on with my first two babies and wish I hadn't sad)

Rachie25 Sun 09-Sep-07 17:18:51

Thanks both

DaisyMOO, thanks for the advice, I know all babies are different but I was hoping to get some kind of idea about how often she needs to be napping... So your advice about looking for signs at about an hour and a half is great, it gives me some kind of idea about when to be trying to settle her.

Thanks again smile

juliewoolie Sun 09-Sep-07 18:23:10

MY Lo is a bit if a bugger about daytime naps too same as yours brilliant at night.

I think your HV prob means crying down I have had to do this with mine it is not CC.

First of all you need to figure out your LO's sleepy signs, getting a bit shouty legs and arms flying about ear pulling etc.

Then make sure you are following a daytime nap schedule like your night time one but vary slightly so they can differetiate bt day and night. We say goodbye to the daytime and close the curtains switch on the mobile bit of a cuddle and then lay down. What generally happens is he has a bit of a shout and drops off but when I first started it he used to scream blue murder. What you have to do is lie them down stroke their head and lay a hand on their chest and say in a soothing voice - sleepy time or something along those lines. Then leave the room go back in in a few mins if still crying do not pick up but do stroking of head and sleepytime saying for a couple of mins. Basically keep repeating until they drift off. It will work you just have to persevere with it.

I also have found that my LO is now 14wks and is only managing to stay awake and happy for longer than an hour and a half in the last few weeks.

Rachie25 Sun 09-Sep-07 18:36:28

juliewoolie, that gives me hope

Have just had an awful day and really am not coping with it But need to snap out of it, I'm not being a very good Mum at the mo...

juliewoolie Sun 09-Sep-07 18:42:16

good luck you are not a bad mum. WE all go through it my cherub is currently having the habdabs but has refused to sleep this arvo for longer than an hour.

MrsBadger Sun 09-Sep-07 18:49:05

this may be a silly suggestion, but once she's woken from the quick post-feed nap, is she bored?

dd is 3wks and can manage about 10min awake without something to entertain her before she howls - change of scene, mobile, dangly toy to bash, picture to look at etc (latest find is 'mummy turning magazine pages over her head' grin)

tbh your dd sounds like she's sleeping so long at night (envy) that she's not up for napping too much during the day...

nurseyemma Sun 09-Sep-07 19:06:25

This is EXACTLY the same as my dd!! She wouldn't nap in the day abd I used to walk round the local park pushing my pram feeling like a crap Mum and crying my eyes out!!!

The crying (hers) overtired prob got so bad at one point that I became houesbound because I was terrified if I took her to a cafe etc. she'd just scream.

All the usual tricks such as driving didn't work and I was at a loss. My saviour was the sling, a very soft fabric kari-me one that meant she was right next to my body in an upright position. She couldn't hold out in it and was always asleep within 2 mins!!

It may be that your dd like mine is a very bright alert little lady and therefore easily overstimulated. It took me a long time to realise this! You might have already tried it but maybe keep everything pretty low stim, however then you run a boredom risk it's so hard!!

I remember 1.5 hours being the cut off piont for awake time after that I had an overtired, fractious pickle of a baby! That's when I got the sling out.

The shush/pat and 4 s teachniques in the baby Whisperer were good as well. Had to persevere though but worth it.

CC should only be used for babes over 6 months and then only afetr careful consideration. Your baby learns trust in the first 6 months and this actually helps the growth of certain neurological connections. So cc can compromise this. I'm v surprised the HV didn't know this.

Best of luck!

AuntieTowie Tue 11-Sep-07 21:20:38

I always found that just leaving the house with DS in a sling used to stop the tears and by the bottom of the road he'd be fast asleep. Just depends how long you can keep walking for smile. He still loves it, at eight months old, though he doesn't sleep in it any more.

chocbiscuits Wed 12-Sep-07 03:42:32

My Ds is 2.2 yrs and I still can't get him to nap in a sensible place other than the buggy after a walk. But then I figure walking is good for me anyway so I don't care!!
For some reason he goes to sleep fine at nursery (typical!).

He always wanted to eat every 2 hours and carried on wanting to do that through the night for at least 10 weeks.
We couldn't get into any sort of routine for ages.

Could it be your Dd is still hankering after bf cos it wasn't that long ago you stopped doing it? Maybe she's a bit miffy!

seeker Wed 12-Sep-07 07:36:24

I don't know about ff - but I do know that at that age my bf babies couldn't have lasted that long without a feed. Have you tried feeding her more often? Maybe less at each feed but more often?

Have you tried taking her out in the car? I used to take a book and a flask of coffee, drive round til the fell asleep, then park somewhere. It was bliss. Because I wasn't at home I didn't feel compelled to do housework or anything. I still miss those quiet half hours!

CitizenColditz Wed 12-Sep-07 08:06:09

Don't do controlled crying with a four week old baby, if I were you I would report your HV for suggesting this.

Try to get her down for a nap in the same place she goes to bed, 2 hours after she wakes in the morning.

At this age it is roughly 2 hours they like to stay6 awake. Have you tried a dummy? Some babies are very comforted by sucking something, but you may need to hold it for her as she will drop it.

CitizenColditz Wed 12-Sep-07 08:14:55

yhave just seen you have moved on to formula - this means she is getting less sucking in for her milk, and may really benefit from a dummy.

Please don't feel bAD, any one in your shoes would be struggling you know! It's hard.

Are you making sure you wind her? FF babies gather 5 times more wind than breast fed, and often like to continue feeding after a burp.

With ds2, who was a formula fed cryish 4 weeker, his daily plan went

7 am - go downstairs
bottle, bum change, clean clothes

8.30 to 9, down for a nap.

10 is, wake up, bottle and bum change. Brief kickabout.

12.30/1pm, down for a nap, walk into town or similar in pram.

2 om, wake up, bottle, kick around, screaming fit, get carried aorund a lot,

5pm, down for brief 20 min nap.

Then up and about until about 8 or 9pm, then bottle and bed.

Of course it wasn't set in stone, aned in between he cried quite a lot, but this is roughly what he did.

clur79 Wed 12-Sep-07 13:55:04

I had similar problems with my son when he was 4 weeks old, and spent a lot of my time crying.

I used to put him in his crib sit next to him, put my arms through the bars to pat him and sing! Eventually (although it was hard) he would drop off. After a while he started to go down a bit easier. I do give him a dummy to comfort him (this only works if he isn't screaming tho)I also bought a bouncy chair which had an automatic bounce / vibrate which helped for soem naps

He now goes down much better (9 weeks old), he can only go about 90 minutes between naps during the day and does sleep well during the night.

It will get better though. I know I thought it never would!

Rachie25 Thu 13-Sep-07 18:21:16

Wow, thanks so much everyone for all of your advice.

Sorry I haven't been replying for a couple of days, I've been struggling quite a bit and had to go to the docs who has told me I have PND, so I've just been trying to get myself sorted.

I really appreciate all of your help and support, and your stories about similar situations have helped me to put our situation into perspective. I don't feel as bad about what I'm doing and you've given me some really good ideas.

Thanks again


Lyndag Thu 13-Sep-07 23:48:03


Sorry to hear you have PND but glad your getting it sorted...

I have only now got daytime naps sorted looking for the signs (yawning rubbing eyes) and it only works when we are at home if out she hates it,hates car seat, pushchair, baby carrier....

My daughter is 14 wks on Sat and I haven't forced a routine or cc on her just gone with the flow (against my way of working at work I am very process driven). But now I can put her down in her moses basket awake and she self settles...

I totally recommend Dr Harvey Karps Happiest Baby on the block book, there are a few posts about it but follow the 5 S's is the only way I used to be able to get my daughter to sleep during the day and at night we used to co-sleep both when I was BF & After it mean't we all slept....

I am a firm believer in doing what you have to do to make things work, my DD was co-sleeping and now goes down awake in moses basket I believe like Dr Karp says you can't spoil a young baby.

Enjoy this special time grin

BTW following Dr Karps method she was sleeping through the night at 12 weeks from 8am - 7:30am grin


VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 13-Sep-07 23:58:46

Agree with what others have said.

With DS, who was like this, I decided to choose the path of least resistance ie feeding to sleep and having him nap on my lap etc.

4 weeks is so very young for any kind of structure. (Although undoubtedly some babies will seemingly slip right into a vague routine at this age, it is very much a personality thing).

PND is tough too. I really do sympathise.

Also, 4-6 weeks is around about the right age for a growth spurt, so she'll be wanting to feed a great deal more than usual.

pinkbaby27 Sat 15-Sep-07 22:22:20

I am sorry you are finding it so hard. Try not to be too hard on yourself you are both learning and won't always get it right but thats ok just take a deep breath and try something else.

My dd is 5 weeks old and we don't have a routine day or night I just do whatever she needs at the time! I have been told my lots of people that she will settle into her own routine in her own time and not to worry about creating one. I am also ff and have found the following I hope there is something here that will help.

I feed her on demand and this could be anything from every 2 hours to 5 hours and have just about learnt what her hungry cry sounds like - but don't always get it right. Sometimes she would have 90ml in one go and sometimes 40ml than nap for an hour then have the other 50ml.

My hv told me not to worry about what the formula tin says about amounts and that if dd is draining her bottles then to up the amount so there is more there if she wants it. I am about to up the amount to 150ml which the tin says is for 2month olds. I also had to change the teat from a reommended newborn 1 to a 2 as the milk flow of a 1 was not enough for her.

As for naps I have read somewhere that newborns sleep for around 20 hrs a day. I wouldn't worry about trying to settle her at certain times. All she needs right now is a full tummy, clean bum and a cuddle. If she sleeps on your lap and you don't get anything else done then so what!!

Take care I have been told it does get better

specialmagiclady Sun 16-Sep-07 21:28:42

Can I just second/third/whatever the bit about slings.

With my DS1 I spent hours trying to get him to sleep on his back in bed during the day. Very stressful time.

With DS2 I slung him (also a Kari-me - expensive, but best 40 quid I've ever spent) and he was so happy. So was I. No more listening to him scream, no more wondering "is he waking up yet?" or "oh my god he's been asleep x minutes, is he still breathing?"

Okay, so it's hard to get a "sleep when the baby sleeps" when he's strapped onto your tummy, but you can sit down, put feet up, enjoy bad telly and sometimes fitfully nap too.

After about 8 weeks, he stopped enjoying sleeping in the sling, so I moved him into his pushchair, then gradually into his bed upstairs. Actually, he hardly ever sleeps there during the day as we're always out and about with DS1, but he CAN do it. And it only takes 2 or 3 days to re-train him.

If you find a solution that works for you, then use it and DON'T LISTEN TO ANYONE WHO SAYS YOU'RE MAKING A ROD FOR YOUR OWN BACK! When you're ready to make a change, you'll make a change. You're clearly a wonderful mum, because you care so much. Learn to listen to your inner voices and trust yourself. You know your baby better than anyone.

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