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overtiredness or am I missing something? please help, getting desperate...

(99 Posts)
Tipex Mon 16-May-05 19:20:05

I'm having escalating problems with my 13 week DS and am now really low and depressed about it. Hes always been a pretty good nightsleeper but over the last month is getting harder and harder to deal with in the day. He started off screaming when tired (I thought), writhing and jerking and taking longer and longer to get down for his naps. I thought he may be overtired and started trying to wind him down really early after being up shorter and shorter lengnths of time but no better. he now only naps for 20mins or so once down and will not be rocked back to sleep, is ok for a while then shattered really quickly. However, often after a mega screamathon, he almost comes round and is ok again. Surely if it were overtiredness he would remain tired until he sleeps? I dont know how to handle him anymore, he seems to cry for hours every day and I no longer have the confidence to leave the house with him excpet for pram pushing around the block. I spend my whole day either getting him to sleep, trying ot keep him asleep or holding him whilst he screams himself sick. Gone is my happy little boy and gone is any form of life for me. I really dont know how much more I can handle, i feel so trapped and useless. Any suggestions at all would be appreciated. Thanks.

marne Mon 16-May-05 19:43:28

My dd went through this stage, shes 15 months now, she still crys during the day but no way neer as bad as she did. Couldnt take her anywhere she would even screem in the pushchair.
Havnt realy got any advice (sory) but just to let you know your not the only person with a screeming baby. Hopefully its just a stage and he will be hapy again soon.

cab Mon 16-May-05 19:46:44

Tipex what does your health visitore say?
I'll probably be shot down in flames for this but would highly recommend having a read of Gina Ford's The contented Little baby to give you a rough idea on sleep times etc.
May be worth getting your ds checked out at docs too just in case he's got an ear infection or something that he can't tell you about. Would have thought if he's still sleeping well at night the screaming during the day is either down to overtiredness /hunger/ constipation???
Best of luck.

Frizbe Mon 16-May-05 19:48:02

Just a theory, but could it be a) early teeth, b) growing pains, as our dd used to scream the place down when she had a growth spurt?
Have you tried keeping a diary of exactly when the screaming starts and (hopefully) finishes? just thinking this may help us all help you figure it out?!

Magscat Mon 16-May-05 19:52:23

Have you tried giving him any Calpol at bedtime? Wouldn't normally say 'reach for the medicines' as an answer but it might help settle him, give you a rest & give you a clue as to whether there's any physical pain or he's just getting himself overwrought. It's mildly sedative so might help - obviously only for short term use though.
Definately worth a talk to the Health Visitor or GP if only to set your mind at rest that there's nothing physical going on.

Tipex Mon 16-May-05 19:58:27

I'm pretty sure theres nothing physical (I'm a doc myself) and HV had no advice other than 'he needs his naps'.. He has these big screaming fits pretty much after a yawn or two which is why I assumed ovetiredness. hes a devil to settle tho at the best of times and takes a good bit of rocking etc. Sadly we never got him to settle himself. hes never ever just dropped off on us or in pram etc even when little, likes to have a cry first but now its just soooo much worse. If he would just stay asleep after the effort of getting him to drop off it may seem better but the whole thing starts again after 30mins or so its just exhausting. I cant believe how quickly he goes from yawn to overtired if thats what the big meltdowns are. Cant seem to corect it with any routine.
I cant do Gina as 1/ he wont take a bottle so cant give water etc as per her plan and no way will he only BF every 4 hours and 2/ I havent the heart to let him scream it out I'm afraid. I know I've probaly started the whole thing with bad habits but feel so stuck in a worsening situation I just dont know how much longer I can cope

bakedpotato Mon 16-May-05 20:01:20

Can you tell us roughly how he spends his day? When does he usually get up, feed, sleep, that sort of thing.
(Would agree that something odd and ghastly happens around the 3-mth mark, btw)

bakedpotato Mon 16-May-05 20:05:34

Also, Tipex, if he wakes up after a 20-min nap, do you go to him quickly, or do you let him cry for a few moments to see if he will resettle himself? Or can't you bear to do that?

Magscat Mon 16-May-05 20:27:59

Is it an option for you to take him out in the car to get him to sleep? I know it's not a good idea long term but just wondered if doing it a few times would a) give you both some rest & b) get him into the habit. Sorry it's not a more helpful suggestion.

Agree with Bakes potato about the 3 month thing - my dd started screaming when I try to bf her and started sleeping less and less in the day. She's 19 weeks now and beginning to settle down a bit. She gets really distracted by anything & everything & will not settle (to feed or sleep) unless it's dark, quiet, familiar and relaxed. Maybe it is just a 'phase' they go through.

wysiwyg Mon 16-May-05 20:41:36

I think you are right that he could be overtired. Sometimes my DS (now 26 weeks) works himself into such a state he won't be pacified - but I have successfully used distraction to calm him in my case this was looking at a book (he is fascinated by lift the flap books). This really was a last resort and I was amazed it worked at such a young age. Worth trying anything! (Obviously try with something your son is "into"). Alternatively wind or constipation could be worth considering.
Hope this phase passes soon. Don't despair.

cab Mon 16-May-05 20:52:07

Probably another daft idea Tipex, but could you try a bit of music to help him settle himself again? Not convinced it's a good idea but I've bought a winnie the poo music box/night light from Mothercare that's set off by noise (didn't realise this at the time). So if something wakens my 10 day old dd before she's in a deep sleep and she starts to cry on comes Winnie the Poo - it seems to be enough to distract her from crying and usually she settles down again. (Not if she's hungry).
Just had a quick look at gf - she suggests day time snoozes of 9-9.45, 12 -2/2.15 and 4.45 -5pm - assuming sleeping between 7 and 7 with a feed before you go to bed at 10.30pm. +/- a feed during the night - that's for 8 to 12 weeks. She also recommends tucking your baby in well so he doesn't waken himself up by moving around in the cot. (And black out blinds).
Could you get someone to give him some ebm from a cup so you can have a break? Have no idea but if you're absolutely shattered could it affect your milk supply or let down?

throckenholt Mon 16-May-05 20:53:35

how long is he awake at a time ? At that age mine were often tired after an hour, and never lasted more than 2.

I had to be really careful not to miss the subtle signs - yawning was too late.

Maybe cranial osteopath might help as well - lots of people say they made a difference.

throckenholt Mon 16-May-05 20:54:25

also try him on his tummy - turn him over once he is asleep if you like - mine always settled better on their fronts

jambot Mon 16-May-05 20:56:54

My 10 week old is going through something similar at the moment. Sleeps well at night but is resisting her day time naps like crazy. She also goes from happy to miserable in a split second at the moment, and starts crying. She's never really been a big cryer until now. It seems to me as if her happy awake period has become shorter than it was a few weeks back. Thought it should be getting longer rather than the other way around. She seems to get tired so quickly at the moment, especially in the mornings. Those hours between her 7 and 11 feed seem to drag on forever. She sleeps for maybe 1/2 hour, is happy for another 1/2 and seems to be either moaning or crying the rest of the time. Getting lots of walks in, as this does shut her up and often makes her drift off, although she wakes up the moment we get home again!
I reckon it's a phase. Maybe they're taking in so much stimuli at the moment and becoming more active that they are becoming exhausted??

cab Mon 16-May-05 21:04:46

The diary's a good idea cos it might throw up a pattern so you could try to get him down for a nap before the yawning starts - also will pinpoint the times when he does settle well.
My sis was advised to express some milk onto a favourite toy/blanket to help settle her son - it worked.

Tipex Mon 16-May-05 21:27:13

so many ideas! Jambot thats exactly how it is, as if hes wired and cant switch off without a fight and I hate that my once happy baby is constantly so miserable.
In answer to the suggestions, I would love to resort to the car but he just wont sleep in the car. I thought all children slept in the car cant believe I have one who wont. I HATE going out in the car as he always screams and I end up stopping every 5 mins to try and pacify him. Tkes so long ot get anywhere its not worth it. He also hates being on his tum, always has and has never even liked to lie on us on his front.
I wish he would settle himself again after a short nap but if I leave him he gets more and more worked up and if i dash to try and resettle him him quickly he just smiles at me all wide awake.
Roughly, he wakes 7ish altho sometimes earlier and has a nap within 1 1/2 hrs of waking. never more than 40mins, often shorter. Cries before this nap for varying length of time and has to be rocked to sleep. Then ok until maybe 10:30-11 ish when gets moany, wants a nap but wont, sometimes screams and have to calm him down by putting the hairdrier on, walking about shusshing him etc. If gets in a big tiss he jerks and arches and goes all purple in the face with screaming. Can try and get a nap out of him middayish if in pushcahir altho still screams before dropping off. naps for 45mins max even in chair. Afternoons vary but will suddenly appear tired and be in meltdown before have chance to try getting him to sleep. Routine for bed starts 1/4 to 6 with feed bath story, calm dark room and then BF's himself to sleep or sleepy when is rocked to sleep. If he stays down at this point great, if not will need resettling up to 3-4 times and gets harder each time. Sleep thru til 3-4am for feed and goes back down really easily.

throckenholt Mon 16-May-05 21:36:39

can you try and catch him before he gets upset - so maybe 5-10 mins before you think he would normally.

Then go lay him down in his cot, sit beside him, make the room dark, say nothing or talk very quietly telling him it is time to sleep. Stay calm and don't pick him up unless he gets very upset. Don't make too much eye contact. Stroke his head or tummy. Keep telling him it is time to sleep. Try and keep it calm and quiet and he may get the idea that it is time to be calm and fall asleep. Don't give up and take him out of the room - stay there trying to be quiet until he falls asleep.

Do this as well if he wakes up too soon (apparently 45 mins it the time when they change to deep sleep and most likely to get disturbed before they have had a really good sleep).

Maybe have some music on quietly.

throckenholt Mon 16-May-05 21:38:19

I agree with jambot - they are more aware of the world around them than they were a few weeks ago and get very tired and overstimulated very quickly. Don't try to entertain them too much - just let them experience the world at their own pace.

bakedpotato Tue 17-May-05 10:05:19

Think Throckenholt's ideas are good.
For pointers on how to improve sleep associations, it might be worth consulting Dr Richard Ferber's Solve your Child's Sleep Problems. It's really useful bcs it explains how babies sleep. No one advocates CC before 6 mths, but it might help you with some other ideas in the meantime.

Tipex Tue 17-May-05 10:25:47

Thanks for the ideas, I tried the calm thing this morning but he got more and more worked up, until I picked him up and he had a full on screaming and writhing bout. This is how this morning has gone, miserable unsettled night, slept with me from 5:45 to 7am then up. yawned at 7:20 so had a small feed then started the wind down. Upset as above, eventually rocked him off to sleep but he was ages in that really light snooze with eyes slightly open. Put him down when fully asleep and he woke after 10mins. All smiles, couldnt get him back off again, cried if left in cot but couldnt rock him to sleep either. Has stayed up despite efforts to get him to sleep and is whinging, miserable and irritable. oh what to do? DH has taken some holiday off work as I'm really not coping. Wonder if this is the start of postnatal depression for me or just shattered and confused?

elliott Tue 17-May-05 10:33:47

just shatterd and confused I think
If it helps at all, my ds1 was a lot like this at about that age. The book I found most helpful was 'Healthy sleep, happy child' by Marc Weissbluth. I think the Gina routine is ok sleep wise but would ignore what it says about bf routines!
I found it a very hard time - ds1 desperately needed to nap but it was v difficult to get him to do so. We had screaming in the buggy, screamign in the car, screaming in the sling....if I could ride out the screaming he would eventually fall asleep. At this age I did it by pushing him around in the buggy for hours; I also got him to take a dummy at this stage which helped a bit (stopped using it a few months later). When he was 4-5 months old I did some fairly heavy sleep training at naptimes. It was pretty grim but it did work and by 5-6 months he was in a great sleep pattern and much happier. Always cried a little before going to sleep though, and I also ended up having to plan my day pretty much around his sleep needs.

foxinsocks Tue 17-May-05 11:18:52

oh Tipex, I have huge sympathies. I had a tortuous time with dd (my first child) - she seemed to never stop crying and it used to drive me up the wall. The Ferber sleep book is a good tip because it gives you a good idea about how much sleep they need and talks about sleep from a medical view point (which I found quite interesting - the stages of sleep etc.).

I do think you may be making a rod for your own back with the settling thing - I do think babies need to learn how to settle themselves rather than being fed or rocked to sleep (though 13 weeks is quite young). Unfortunately, I only realised this too late with dd and she only slept through properly when she was around 15 months old (she did have reflux which complicated things). With ds, I had realised the error of my ways and he was settling himself and sleeping much better by the time he was 4 or 5 months.

How often is he feeding now? Is it possible that he is a very hungry baby?

Tipex Tue 17-May-05 12:06:54

agree foxinsaocks, but I dont know how to teach him to settle himself other than leave him to cry which i thought wasnt recommended so young? Hes normally a pretty good night sleeper so this is a new and added nightmare.

Tipex Tue 17-May-05 13:01:10

added to which as I'm getting so little sleep out of him after such intensive rocking etc, thge thought of doing any sleep training is scary.
I have read the ferber book and healthy sleep habits, happy child and it just stresses me more as they point out how much day sleep he should get and hes no where near. they also dont say HOW to get them to sleep except for crying it out later on. I worry he wont develop properly if hes chronically tired

elliott Tue 17-May-05 13:19:12

Have you found any way of getting him to sleep and stay asleep? I found that if I kept moving with the buggy ds1 would stay asleep. And the dummy did help too. If he is only having short naps am and lunchtime, you could try another one later in the afternoon (4-5 ish).
Have you tried other ways of soothing him to sleep in his cot/basket, perhaps swaddling him and rubbing his back going 'shhh, shhh'. It sounds like you are well read on the sleep front(!) but there are other books which might be helpful about soothing, like Tracey Hogg or Elizabeth Pantley. Having said that, I never found anything helpful for ds1 except leaving him to cry, which was awful at the time but really really helpful in the long run. It didn't work until he was 4-5 months. Some babies do get overstimulated very easily and rocking/soothing don't always help these babies to go to sleep.

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