One month thrashing and only sleeping on chest

(12 Posts)
MissyJones80s Sun 07-Mar-21 00:42:29

Hello. As soon as I put my one month old in Moses basket to sleep she either stays sleeping for a few minutes and then wakes or starts thrashing her arms about and legs so much that she eventually properly wakes crying and sounding angry. She will sleep perfectly fine on my chest, for hours, no problem. She slept fine for the first few weeks but then just got worse and worse and worse each night until she just won’t go down at all. She gets so worked up she ends up being sick. Until two nights ago she would go down after her feed for a couple of hours which made it bearable but the last couple of nights she doesn’t even do that. It’s the same during the day naps as well.
I’ve tried all sorts. Swaddling - she wriggles out of and gets frustrated with. Feeding and holding her upright for a while in case of reflux. Stroking her whilst she’s in her basket and placing my arm over her tummy for warmth/ reassurance. Winding her regularly during feeding. She will take a dummy which settles her for a while but then she spits it out. Regular bedtime routine.
I don’t know what to do and I’m guessing the answer is there’s not much I can do. She’s little and wants physical contact etc etc. But I can’t just hold her all night I’m worried she will get squished or something due to me being exhausted and falling to sleep. But if I put her down she ends up crying. I even tried to see how long she would cry for (which I didn’t enjoy at all but I was so tired and worried about falling to sleep with her on me), she just cried more and more and more I had to pick her up again.
I am guessing the thrashing is due to wind or reflux but I really don’t know. Or maybe she just gets so frustrated she wants to be back on me that leads her to thrash about and then be sick ...
Anyway just interested to hear if anyone else is going through this and any advice.

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Paris2019 Sun 07-Mar-21 10:31:12

Hi, my LO was like that til 10 weeks. He's now 14 weeks and finally sleeping the majority of most nights in his cot. He grunted and thrashed when we put him on his back in the cot or bed. I never knew whether it was silent reflux or just fourth trimester or a combination of both. Either way, he kind of grew out of it (maybe due to digestive system maturing a bit).

We survived by me having a couple of hours sleep between 10 - midnight while DH had LO, and then I'd stay awake with him on my chest as long as I could and DH would take over around 4/5am. It was awful so you have my sympathies! You just have to do what you can to ride it out and it will get better... not helpful right now, I know!!

Other things you've probably tried are environmental - white noise, making sure the room is an appropriate temperature and that she's warm enough etc etc. Basic I know, but we got a few things wrong which seem to have made a difference since we tweaked them.

Good luck!

MissyJones80s Sun 07-Mar-21 17:17:49

Thanks for your reply. It does just seem to be one of those things. My OH is helping so I get a few hours sleep at least it’s just super confusing as to how she can be so asleep on chest but as soon as move she wakes. I guess babies are light sleepers so aware of what’s going on around them a bit more. I feel it might be digestion related partly so hoping once her little body susses that out she’ll be a bit more comfortable and less thrashy! Trying to put her in cot after each wake and settle even if it’s not working just because I’m paranoid about falling to sleep with her and also her getting too used to sleeping on me! It does end up most of the night with her on me or OH but last night in the end she did settle twice for an hour and a half first time and an hour second time so fingers crossed it might improve at some point. Not tried white noise yet so may give that a go as me shussing her seems to work a bit.

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ItsSnowJokes Sun 07-Mar-21 17:23:20

Google 4th trimester. This is really really common. They are used to your heart beat and breathing sounds and want to be close to you.

jamie980 Mon 08-Mar-21 16:01:19

Following as have the exact same issue with baby of the same age. Suspect it's wind or reflux causing the thrashing too and it's uncomfortable to be laid on her back. I've been letting her fall asleep upright on my chest in case it is reflux then gently transferring to cot and playing white noise when shes in there, sometimes takes a few goes but then it seems to settle her for a bit. she's usually thrashing and grunting again in an hour or so though... just hoping she grows out of it before too long

Bubbinsmakesthree Mon 08-Mar-21 16:10:28

My first was like this and improved about 10 weeks (though still needed to be sleeping very close to me eg in the crook of my arm).

I have to confess that I just wedged myself in place with a v-shaped pillow and slept while he slept on my chest. Not recommended safe sleep practice of course.

Bubbinsmakesthree Mon 08-Mar-21 16:11:52

I thought there was something going on like reflux but in hindsight I just blame the fourth trimester. Best of luck - it is brutal but it won’t be forever.


CreamRose Mon 08-Mar-21 16:19:29

Isn’t the thrashing just the startle reflex? It’s alarming and the more tired they are the stronger it is!

Tubbytele Mon 08-Mar-21 17:49:02

Re: the swaddling, we bought ones with velcro which made a huge difference with the startle reflex and lo couldn't come out of at that age

MissyJones80s Mon 08-Mar-21 19:44:49

Reassuring to hear other people’s experiences for sure. We can do this!!
I’m not sure it’s startle reflex it’s more like she she’s going ‘no no no no’ with her head from side to side and her arms and legs are going like she’s punching and peddling - looks like she’s super angry or frustrated basically!! This is sometimes followed by wind or burping up but always ends in crying!
I’m hoping she’ll grow out of it. Managed to put her back in basket 3 times and she settled last night - first time for about 1hr 30 and the next two for about an hour each.
Will just see how it goes smile

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Toffeelady2424 Fri 26-Mar-21 01:59:04

Your post sounds exactly like what we’re going through. LO is nearly 4 weeks old and I am still struggling to get any sleep. He will happily sleep, preferably upright, on me or my husband..:but the minute I try to put him down he startles which wakes him up! I am so exhausted! Just want reassurance that it will ease over time because right now any movement at all startles him so he’s not sleeping at all in his crib! We’ve ended up co sleeping a bit just so we can get some sleep x

MissyJones80s Fri 26-Mar-21 20:58:10

Thanks for all the suggestions and it’s sort of good to know we’re not the only ones! Since originally posting things have got a little better. I’m wondering if she was going through a developmental thing when I first posted maybe.
She’s also big enough to go in a sleep bag now which means when she does kick and thrash in the night she doesn’t kick her blankets off.
toffeelady have you tried swaddling the arms in so when your lo startles it sort of restricts the movement a bit? It didn’t work for us as she just wriggled out but it has worked for a friend.
At present our little one is managing a good few hours now after her feed before bed. She will sleep between 2.5-3.5 hours at the moment then wake for feed. After then it is really changeable. This is huge as she wouldn’t go down at all when I first posted. Some nights she doesn’t want to go back down after the first stint and just be upright on chest and cuddled, other nights she’ll go back for one more stint of sleep for about 1-1.5hrs and then just want to be upright and cuddles - sleeping on me that way.
My other half then takes her downstairs for a few hours early morning (4-4:30am ish) so I can sleep. We found it worked better for us this way as I’m breastfeeding so even if we were to take it in turns during the night I’d still have to wake as well to feed. So I do an awake slot in the night usually from midnight/1am-ish until 4 then he takes her down 4-7ish. It means we roughly get the same amount of sleep and they are decent chunks of sleep rather than one hour asleep and one hour awake which was exhausting.
During day naps we have found she prefers to be on her front, she will sleep for 1-2 hours on her front like this. I was nervous but i check on her constantly and she is pretty strong and turns her head well etc It doesn’t mean I can sleep during the day of course due to checking but i have found since she has napped better in the day she is sleeping better at night. Gives me a bit of hands free time as well.
I guess all babies are completely different and we just have to get to know what makes them tick and go with the flow. It is so tiring though at times. The most annoying thing i currently do is not being able to get to sleep because every time she moves or makes a noise I’m convinced she will wake!!! Need to get used to just hitting the pillow and conking out!

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