Major nap and sleep issues in 11 week old baby

(57 Posts)
Crazycatlady Tue 31-Mar-09 12:28:39

My DD has never been a great sleeper but seems to be deteriorating as the weeks go on, basically I'm knackered and looking for some advice.

Currently bedtime is 7/7.30ish after a bath/top and tail, feed in dark room, wind then rocking to settle. She sleeps until 10.30ish then wakes for feed. After this feed she then wakes every hour to hour and a half throughout the night until she starts her day anytime between 6 and 7. Sometimes she is hungry, sometimes not, sometimes she has trapped wind, but seems to also be waking repeatedly for no apparent reason and takes a long while to go back to sleep after rocking/shushing/patting etc...

We were cosleeping from midnightish onwards but this now doesn't seem to be helping and she has also developed an all night snacking habit from having constant access to the breast, which I don't want to cultivate.

Any ideas on what I can do to help her sleep better? Would it help to implement some sort of feeding schedule through the night, say, every 3 hours after her 10.30 feed so she gets used to waking less frequently for food?

Other things that might be relevant:
- she's in a grobag in a bedside cot
- not that keen on a dummy, sometimes use to settle her but she inevitably spits it out/thinks it's a game!
- she is on Infacol, although with the all-night snacking my consistency in administering has been poor overnight
- daytime naps are also an enormous struggle to get her down and frequently won't stay down longer than 30 minutes. Previous solution was to pop her in the buggy for a walk but this doesn't work anymore, she's far too interested in her surroundings. I try to get her to have at least 2 naps a day, 3 if they've been short ones.
- always has been what's described as hyper-alert...
- had v traumatic birth with forceps (we are seeing a cranial osteopath, second session tomorrow)
- was under phototherapy lights for first week of life for jaundice
- she's exclusively breastfed on demand and feeds every 3 to 3 1/2 hours during the day.

I'm trying to work on the principle that little babies need to sleep every two hours, but this doesn't seem to apply to my daughter! She doesn't give off very obvious sleepy signs and gets very cross indeed if I try to put her down before she's anything other than exhausted (read - overtired).

All ideas gratefully received, or even just shared experiences of babies at this age - it's good to know you're not alone!!

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 31-Mar-09 12:34:17

Message withdrawn

Crazycatlady Tue 31-Mar-09 12:52:53

I think it's lack of confidence Starlight. I'm so worried about letting DD get overtired that I'm trying to heed the advice of all the books I've read that say they can only really manage 2 hours awake before needing a nap.

Plus, if I let her, I'm sure she'd go all day without napping and be in a furious temper by the end of the day. When I do manage to get her to nap, she's far more even tempered.

I'm really looking for advice on the frequent night wakings, to make sure I'm not creating the situation IYSWIM or is this just something developmental that we need to ride through?

Ewe Tue 31-Mar-09 12:59:17

My DD didn't nap when she was 11 weeks old apart from the occasional catnap on my chest or in buggy. She did however sleep well at night, maybe you could try going with the flow for 24 hours and try and find her natural rhythm?

madwomanintheattic Tue 31-Mar-09 12:59:43

lol catlady. dd1 didn't sleep at all during the day until she was 6 months old. ds1 fed two hourly 24/7 and slept in between. dd2, well, best not talk about it.
i think you just need to roll with it tbh - try not to get too stressed over what you think she ought to be doing, and do what feels natural for both of you. take a break from reading baby manuals - she hasn't read any of them and will do her own thing no matter how much you read lol. smile

BelleWatling Tue 31-Mar-09 13:06:08

This sounds very typical for little babies and exactly like my son. Won't nap, takes ages to go to sleep and then sleeps for very short time. Sometimes feeds every hour through the day and night. It is impossible to impose a pattern on them much before 9 months, I think. The most important thing is to manage yourself and your sleep/sanity. Can you express for your partner to help out with the night feeds? Does your baby really need to go to bed at 7.30? Putting her to sleep sounds like it takes a lot of work from you and not much fun and might affect her lack of sleep later if she is getting the bulk of her night-time sleeping early.

Little babies need to sleep as much as they do sleep - unfortunately sometimes that isn't very much. My son is now 20 weeks and can move around much more and this tires him out to take longer, more frequent naps during the day and sleeping longer through the night. Get as much rest as YOU can and try to work around them. Sorry this probably isn't the answer you are looking for.

Crazycatlady Tue 31-Mar-09 13:06:24

Thanks madwoman and Ewe. It's hard isn't it, when all the conventional advice says 'sleep begets sleep' so I'm trying hard to get her to nap during the day in the hope it might resolve the night wakings... but doesn't seem to be.

Interesting Ewe that your DD slept well at night despite not really napping.

Madwoman, did your DD1 sleep well at night despite the lack of daytime sleep?

Crazycatlady Tue 31-Mar-09 13:12:17

Belle, DD seems to go down quite easily at 7.30 (the only time she does!), only takes 15-20 minutes for her to be completely asleep in her cot after her feed, then she gets good quality sleep until her next feed, so I'm reluctant to push the bedtime any later.

Might express tonight though so DH can at least do the 10.30pm feed and resettle.

Good to know there's hope for her starting to take longer naps as she gets older though. If it's just her age/developmental stage I can cope with that and fit around her needs - it's really the thought that if there's something I could be doing to help her that I'm NOT doing then I'd want to sort that out.

stinkymonkey Tue 31-Mar-09 13:16:22

I know it's grim, but TBH it sounds fairly normal for that age - she's still very very tiny. I think that sleepless nights are harder to cope with as you go on because the exhaustion accumulates so much. But it will get better - they do all sleep in the end.

Have never tried cranial osteopathy but have heard lots of good reports, so fingers crossed that helps.

One thing that occurs to me that you could do differently is maybe try feeding a bit more often during the day, so that you're working towards your DD getting more of what she needs in daytime. Also you could express a bottle of milk for someone else to give whilst you sleep.

I know you say you don't like dummies, but they can be a godsend. I used to put my LO to sleep with one in his mouth and one in each hand.

BelleWatling Tue 31-Mar-09 13:19:31

OK but make sure you use the 3 hours to sleep/relax yourself (or get some milk in a bottle so you can sleep later.) If she won't nap during the day just stick her in a chair / crib with some (but not too many) toys / entertainment and she might go to sleep or she might not but you shouldn't be giving yourself more work trying to get her to do something she doesn't need or want.

I've never heard that 'sleep begets sleep' - sounds like MiL advice smile and we know what to do with THAT.

HensMum Tue 31-Mar-09 13:22:11

I think there's hope! DS was a rubbish napper until he was about 7 months old but always slept well at night. It gradually got better and better.
Now at 18months, he does 12 hours at night and has an afternoon nap of 2-3 hours when at home (1-2 hours at nursery)

Not much advice to give other than try not to stress too much. I spent hours and hours trying to get him to go to sleep, when really we probably would have both been happier if I'd stuck him in the buggy and gone to the coffee shop!

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 31-Mar-09 13:27:39

Message withdrawn

madwomanintheattic Tue 31-Mar-09 13:41:50

catlady - not initially, but later on. we moved her to her own room quite early though (yes, i know, now against current sids advice) as quite often we felt it was ua causing her to stir. when we put her in her room in the big cot, it made a real difference to her sleep.
i remember dh coming home for lunch one day when she was about 4 months old, and we spent the whole time peering at her worried there was something wrong, as it was the first time ever she had slept during the day. (she's 9 now lol, and i still remember it!)
honestly, leave the books and trust your instincts (not advocating putting her in another room lol,) have confidence in yourself, not some baby guru who has never met your child.
and absolutely starlight, much easier to go with the flow than both of you getting fraught. and i say this as the biggest control freak you are ever likely to meet grin... just not with small babies lol. enormous waste of energy. smile

Crazycatlady Tue 31-Mar-09 13:48:59

Lol Starlight at the thought of her in a furious temper in the womb! Although sometimes it DID feel like that when she was kicking like crazy.

Confuddled stressful mess is precisely how I feel today, after thinking I was such a chilled out mum... right, books are going in the spider filled cellar where I won't be tempted to reach for them - for at least the next fortnight to see how we go.

I do tend towards control freakery every now and again, so will try to chill a bit. She's just had 'second lunch' so will pop her in the buggy for a walk I think.

Thanks for all your kind words and advice. I knew I'd find a bit of sensibility on here!

madwomanintheattic Tue 31-Mar-09 13:56:46

just re-read your plan to get dh to do the next 'night' feed lol. the first time my dh agreed to do that was the first time dd1 slept through wink if only i'd known sooner... grin funny what memories mn drags up!

Sykes29 Tue 31-Mar-09 14:14:18

Crazycatlady - I've just come on here following advice from my friend who I contacted to say 'Help' my baby won't sleep!! Saw your post and you could be describing my little boy, who is 17 weeks old now.

- Never been a great sleeper.
- Deteriorating as the weeks go on.
- Bedtime of 7/7.30 after bath, feed, song. - Sleeps in own room.
- Won't take a dummy.
- Manages until 10/10.30 then feeds and straight back to sleep.
- After this feed wakes every couple of hours through the rest of the night until wants to get up at about 5am.

- Daytime naps always a struggle. He mostly screams if I put him in his moses basket so have to get him off to sleep in my arms and then put him down. Often wakes after 30/40 minutes.
- Car journey or walk in buggy no longer send him to sleep.
- He is a very very alert little fella and it's like he doesn't want to miss anythuing so doesn't show signs of being sleepy, and then all of a sudden is totally overtired.
- I too read that babies need sleep every 2 hours but he completely resists a nap after 2 hours and somwetimes goes 3 or 4 or even longer between sleeps.

Can't say I can offer any helpful advice at all but just wanted to say thanks for sharing as it's great to know it's not just me and that I haven't completely messed up somehow! The sleep deprivation is murder isn't it!?!?

All I can say is that last night I made myself go to bed at 7.15pm as soon as he did and he slept until 11.00. Normally I would have gone to bed at 11 so not got any of that sleep but it did me a world of good to get a few hours, even if it felt ridiculous going to bed so early!!

Also, I know many people have advised to chuck the books away and i think I agree, although i did fin the Baby Whisperer quiz quite helpful where you can work out roughly what kind of temperament your baby has. Mine is well and truely a 'spirited baby' and it sounds like your little girl might be too. She has some useful tips about coping with such babies.

All the best!!


Crazycatlady Tue 31-Mar-09 17:15:27

Oh Sykes I totally have a 'spirited' baby! They're hard work aren't they?! Gosh our little ones are similar.

Well we went out and she dozed in the buggy then sat happily on my knee while I had a hot choc with friends, then at about 3.30 got all grizzly. Panicking, I packed up to leave then as soon as she was laid down in the buggy she nodded off, so I hung about a bit longer and she slept shock. She then continued to sleep in the buggy on the way home and is still asleep.

I'm going to wake her if she hasn't roused by 5.30 I think as I don't want to interfere with her usual bedtime. I think she got overtired today, so will try taking her out in the mornings instead to see if I can encourage her to nap then.

MrsMattie Tue 31-Mar-09 17:24:59

Just wanted to add my 2 pennies worth grin

Sounds normal.

Totally sympathise with how exhausting this must be for you, though!

My son was 'spirited' (that's one word for it!) and his babyhood was knackering. I know it sounds like crap advice, but I genuinely think it's a case of chucking out all books/guidelines etc and observing your baby closely for a week or two while going with the flow. Can you tell when your baby is tired? Does she ever have longer sleeps? if so, under what conditions?

I'd persevere with the 'naps in buggy' thing. Try to 'catch' her when he is genuinely ready for a sleep and then block out all stimulation - put down the hood/raincover, have the buggy facing you or whatever (I used to drape a blanket over the hood to make it really dark), then go for a fast walk and see what happens. I used to do this once in the morning and once in the afternoon with my DS, and eventually (probably by about 16 weeks) he seemed to have established his own pattern of having a short nap in the morning and a longer nap in the afternoon.

Good luck!

It is tough, as I think parenting guides and the like lead us to believe that we are in (or should be in) complete control of our babies and can mould them into whatever we choose. As you are learning, that's bollocks grin. Babies are definitely born with certain temperaments, and some are more testing than others smile

Crazycatlady Tue 31-Mar-09 17:59:27

She does sometimes sleep for longer - no real pattern to it though, sometimes it's when we've been out, other times just at home in her chair or (once) in her cot. When she has had a long nap it's invariably at lunchtime or later, never in the morning even if we've been up since 6!

Going to try the buggy morning and afternoon for a week. If nothing else, it'll get us out and me some exercise.

Her sleep signals are not very obvious, she never quietens or looks dozy, but can go from happy to overtired in a flash so i'm going to watch her carefully to see if i'm missing something.

thank you everyone and god bless the spirited babies, may we one day get some sleep!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Tue 31-Mar-09 20:39:24

Hi lovely - totally second MrsMattie on the whole do what you can to get them to sleep. You've seen me pacing round Streatham with stuff clothes pegged to the bee to block out the world so Ethan sleeps! And it does work - he's even occasionally napping for over an hour now (prob every 3 days or so)

I think the key is try not to second guess her, prepare yourself for the half hour naps, anything extra is a bonus.

I try to get E to nap his first nap in his cot every day, just to make sure he does sleep in it sometimes (this is ALWAYS half an hour) then after that go about doing what I want and can knowing he'll nap in the buggy or at someone else's house if I make sure I have the swaddle and dummy with me

see you Friday, or am about tomorrow if you want some company on a napinducing walk

Crazycatlady Tue 31-Mar-09 21:05:03


I think I need to stock up on clothes pegs... I really think she would nap in the Bee better if it was dark.

Well, B has gone to bed beautifully tonight after a bath and a feed, straight down in the cot at 7.30 and still sleeping. Her grobag needs washing so I'm trying something different tonight, I've swaddled her. We'll see how we go with that!

Off to the osteopath tomorrow and dropping in on old colleagues in Clerkenwell (protests/riots permitting - the actual ones, not B I'm talking about!), but will defo see you Friday xx

Crazycatlady Wed 01-Apr-09 08:54:35

So we had a slightly better night last night...

B woke for feeds at 11.30pm, 1.30am and a small top up at 4.30am, settled easily back down in her cot afterwards. Small blip at 5.30 when two foxes mating very loudly in the street outside woke us all up, but she went down again easily after that then started her day at 6.30.

Still more wakings than I would like but it's so much easier when she settles easily afterwards and more importantly in her own bed! I think the swaddling made a huge difference.

We'll see how we go with naps today, we're out and about this afternoon in the car which either causes her to nod off or scream... and will get a walk in this morning while the weather is beautiful.

Sykes do you swaddle your little boy? I know he's a bit bigger but could still be worth a try?

mistlethrush Wed 01-Apr-09 09:06:39

I'd just like to add that ds decided that the only acceptable places to nap during the day if I was around were in his buggy (as long as it was moving); occasionally in the car and mostly on me. He wouldn't 'go down' for a nap on his own until he was about 10mo (except at nursery when he would just fall asleep on the cushions hmm) - if I was around he wanted to be with me.

We didn't start managing to have a proper bedtime for him until about 4 or 5 mo - he just stayed with us (getting a bit more sleepy, but still mostly awake) until we went to bed.

He's now 4. He is certainly spirited. His bedtime is normally before 7 and we leave him singing to himself... grin

(and we found cranial osteopathy good too - solved the colic and later on helped with congestion....)

madwomanintheattic Wed 01-Apr-09 10:36:34

we swaddled except for one arm lol... that had to be free.

HensMum Wed 01-Apr-09 12:23:08

Just popping back in to share a couple of napping in buggy tips.
Firstly, DS liked it best when the ground was evenly bumpy. I used to go up and down Tesco carpark to get him to drop off as it has small bumpy paving stones.
Also, he would usually wake up after 40 mins (wherever he slept) but not if I was moving at that point. So, I'd have to walk to get him to sleep, then I could stop, go into shops, do whatever for 40 mins but then I had to be outside walking again or he'd wake up. Once I was passed that mark, I could stop/shop etc again. The only thing I couldn't do was go home. As soon as I crossed the threshold, he'd wake up hmm

I did a lot of walking when DS was tiny but I did manage to lose 2 stone doing it so it wasn't all bad!

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