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Help please - ds won't settle in the night

(7 Posts)
Penethea Sun 21-Jun-09 09:11:26

Sorry for the long post, but I'm desperate for any tips after another night without sleep. DS is 11 weeks old but was 8 weeks premature, so 3 weeks corrected age. He sleeps fine during the day - settles with a bit of grumbling and rocking (we have an Amby nest)and sleeps really well after his bath and feed at 8 until his first night time feed which is generally between 12 and 1. Once he's had that feed, though, he just won't settle unless he's being held until morning (for example, he finally settled at 8 this morning) - he doesn't seem to be hungry, and will sleep really well if we hold him, waking for feeds every three to four hours. We've tried sh/patting, putting in the nest asleep, putting him in the nest slightly awake, rocking, all to no avail. He has silent reflux which makes him congested so he sleeps elevated etc. but this doesn't seem to affect his sleep at other times or when he is sleeping on us. Co-sleeping isn't really an option for various reasons, so DH and I end up sitting up with him for hours while he sleeps on us.

I've read a couple of baby books and have come away with the conviction that I must be doing something wrong - he used to sleep fine in his cot in the hospital so it must be something he's learned in the five weeks he's been home. It's making me really anxious during the day as every time I pick him up I worry that I'm being a bad mum by teaching him bad habits. He tends to fall asleep on me after feeds as I hold him upright for twenty minutes to help the reflux - maybe this is doing it? If so, I'm not sure what I can do about that. I'm also not sure whether his sleep patterns go by corrected age, actual age, or something in between, which doesn't help.

Any suggestions, or similar stories? All welcome as it's really getting me down, particularly when none of my friends with babies seem to have this problem.

HullabaLuLu Sun 21-Jun-09 20:16:10

Have you tried swaddling him so that he feels like he's being held?

Don't worry about making bad habits, he's too little and picking him up makes you a good mum in my book not a bad mum - you're being there for your baby! My dd used to take all her naps on my knee and feed to sleep there at night before being put down but just recently she's started to protest at that and wants to lie down in bed, quick feed to sleep and then roll away from me! I never thought she'd take a nap anywhere but my knee/sling but here we are!

Being near me at night is what has sorted out dd's sleep (we co-sleep). Can you put the Amby right next to you so that you can hold his hand or keep it on his chest so he settles? We had an Amby and I know that you can get them really close to the bed if you tuck the stand under your bed a bit - that might be a compromise to the co-sleeping?

Hopefully someone with experience of a reflux-baby will come along and offer some better advice.

I know its hard but try not to let it get you down, he'll probably change overnight and be doing something else next week! smile

lou031205 Sun 21-Jun-09 20:28:59

I know you have said that co-sleeping isn't an option, but have you considered a bedside cot? DD2 had reflux as a baby, and we too found the nights looonnggg. Buying a bedside cot changed everything. It meant that I could put her in her own space, but she was near enough to just reach over and comfort her.

ches Mon 22-Jun-09 03:21:48

Picking your baby up does not teach him bad habits. He won't even be able to process sequences (i.e. know what comes next) until he's about a year old and even at two he won't have a great grasp of cause-and-effect.

You are wasting your time trying to make your baby conform to a norm you read in a book. Even if he weren't a preemie, he still would be an individual. But he is a preemie, a very early preemie, and there's no way he's going to conform to any kind of normal standard. He has reflux, he doesn't fit on the growth charts, and there is no such thing at all of a sleep pattern by age!

I'm sure you know all about kangaroo care, so know that being close to his parents is very good for his growth and development. He is a tiny little baby and it is good for him to be held and cuddled. He is still in the SIDS age, and because he was a preemie he has a heightened risk, so sleeping close to his mum/dad is especially good for him.

With all the honesty in the world, you will get more sleep and have more peace-of-mind if you find a solution to co-sleep or have him next to your bed where he feels warm and secure than to try and push a boulder uphill and make him conform to the mythical "average" baby.

Kerry4 Sun 05-Jul-09 15:57:34


I don't have any solutions I'm afraid but I do have pretty much the same problem as you. Our little one is 3 weeks old but was 6 weeks premature. She used to settle fine in NICU and now we're having real problems settling her at night.

She'll fall asleep on me after a feed but as soon as I put her back in her moses basket she wakes up and starts crying. It means we're getting very little sleep and we're finding it really tough going at the moment. We've also been racking our brains as to why she settled so well at hospital and won't at home.

I've also been stressing about teaching her bad habits but not sure the same rules apply for prem babies.

Anyway, let me know if you'd like to stay in touch for mutual support!

ches Sun 05-Jul-09 16:28:53

Kerry are you swaddling her? Is the room nice and warm like the NICU? It could just be that she's gettung older, though.

Kerry4 Sun 05-Jul-09 20:55:35

Not been swaddling her all the time but that's partly because I'm not ver good at it and she fights her way out very quickly! Am going to get some help with that tomorrow so will be giving it another go then.

Room is quite hot, I'd actually been wondering whether the heat is part of the problem.

Hope it isn't just that she's getting older, am pinning all my hopes on finding a solution!!

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