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Baby fighting sleep!!!! Help!!

(11 Posts)
Hybrid Wed 29-Jul-09 11:33:52

I have a 9 week old baby who just seems to do anything he can to avoid daytime naps. He's tired, yawns and drifts off in my arms but as soon as I put him down, his eyes ping wide open and he acts like he's just had a 4 hour nap, becoming alert and wakeful.

I know how important daytime naps are and also how you should put them down when they show the first signs of tiredness. I also know it's incredibly important to teach them to settle themselves to sleep but again, if I leave him to do that (night or day), he just screams and screams until I pick him up again and inevitably, he'll only sleep if he falls asleep in our arms first.

One of our health visitors suggested putting him down when he's drowsy and then returning every 5 minutes if he's crying to reassure him that I'm still around but not to pick him up. Then leave and repeat every 5 minutes for half an hour. Then, if he's still crying to just pick him up and soothe him whichever way to sleep. I'm then to repeat this the next day but to extend it for 5 more minutes. It seems to me that picking him up after 30 mins defeats the purpose of what you're trying to do and also, hearing him cry for so long is heart breaking.

What does anyone else suggest? Is 9 weeks too young to be doing this - should I wait until he's 3 months and risk the fact that he's going to be getting into bad habits and getting over tired?

I think I'm getting myself really stressed over what I'm supposed to be doing and feel like I'm digging myself a bigger and bigger hole as each day passes!

Any help would be VERY appreciated!
From an increasingly frazzled mum!!

Aranea Wed 29-Jul-09 11:39:02

I'm sure lots of others will be along with lots of good tips. But I just wanted to say that you don't have to do anything.

9 weeks is very very tiny. If this is your first baby I think it is easy to get panic-stricken and think that all behaviours learned now will persist for evermore. This is not the case. Babies are babies for such a short time, if you don't want to do routines and sleep training you really don't have to. You won't end up with a child who doesn't sleep well just because you have a baby who doesn't sleep well.

So you can be guided by your own instincts and decide what is most important to you - whether you're finding his difficulty sleeping alone overwhelming and exhausting, or whether you find the idea of him crying overwhelmingly upsetting. And actually whatever you feel about it, it doesn't have to be your approach forever or even next week. Even if you set up beautiful sleep habits now, they can be overturned in a night or two of teething or snot. And even if he sleeps in your arms for a week now, he can always learn other ways of sleeping next week.

DrCosyTiger Wed 29-Jul-09 12:30:02

Hi Hybrid,

I know exactly how you feel - I had terrible problems with daytime naps with my DD (now 19 weeks) too. I do think though that your LO might be a bit too young for that sort of sleep training - as Aranea says he is still soooo small. Certainly mine would have been at that age.

At 9 weeks, I basically did whatever I could to try and make sure DD napped. For me that usually meant one of: putting her in her bouncy chair on top of the tumble dryer, taking her out in the pram, or putting her in a vibrating bouncy chair we later acquired. There was a long spell when I could only get her to nap in the pram - I found that once she dropped off, the only way she would stay asleep was either if I kept moving (v exhausting) or sat in a coffee shop where the background noise seemed to help (less exhausting but v expensive). If I put her in the cot, she screamed and screamed and no amount of patting, picking up or reassurance seemed to help.

None of this appears to have led to her becoming unable to self settle. When she hit about 3.5 months, the pram trick stopped working (possibly because she is now in a body harness for hip problems - another story) and I started to try putting her down in the cot for naps again. After a couple of difficult weeks where I admit I did leave her to cry for short periods of time (and often cried myself), she now usually settles herself within a few minutes of very mild grizzling and wakes up a happy smiley girl. But there's no way this would have worked when she was 9 weeks old.

So I think what I am trying to say is that it is important for the LOs to have daytime naps - mine is so much happier when she does and she sleeps better at night too when the daytime sleep is good. But at your stage I really do think you are best off going with whatever works (if you can find something) and for me at your stage that was walks in the pram.

Good luck.

Hybrid Wed 29-Jul-09 15:56:43

Thanks so much for your responses.

I feel a little more reassured that I'm not completely doomed to have a child with sleeping problems. As you both say, he is sooo small at the moment but, as he's my first, I'm a bit torn by all the conflicting advice as to when to start worrying about sleeping habits and training.

My little boy also drifts off really well in the pram/car etc so think I might just keep encouraging the naps that way and hope the rest comes as he gets older, with some gentle encouragement!

sjcmum Thu 30-Jul-09 10:05:16

Do what you can to survive and get some sleep yourself at the same time - no need to get more knackered and stressed that you need to at this stage - as others have said - 9 weeks is still tiny - he'll get the hang of it eventually!

dcgc Thu 30-Jul-09 12:30:10

I tried a dummy and a nose stroke with mine (he's now 4 months)! The combo of the sucking motion and stroking down his nose (which makes his eyes shut) means he can't help but nod off. I don't care if I'm making a rod for my own back if it means he sleeps!

But like everyone else has said 9 weeks is still pretty small. I remember worrying all the time about "bad habits" but now I just think if it works, just go with it! Good luck x

phishfood Thu 30-Jul-09 21:42:23

Hybrid My DD was just the same, she seemed to think sleep was a sign of weakness or something!! My saving grace was the Baby Whisperer sshh-pat method, within a few days she was sleeping in her cot and over the first few months she got easier and easier.
Of course, nothing lasts forever and now I've started weaning its all gone wrong again but nevermind!

Hope it gets better for you Xx

K999 Thu 30-Jul-09 21:45:43

At this age, swaddling worked a treat for me!! smile

phishfood Thu 30-Jul-09 21:48:50

Yes, I second that K999, I love the grobag swaddle blankets. Worth their weight in gold!

snechie Fri 31-Jul-09 07:51:54

Yes swaddling is working for me with my 5 week old. She wouldn't sleep anywhere but in my arms/car or pram. I had been half heartedly swaddling her with a normal blanket but she would just wriggle free. Three days ago I bought a swaddling blanket from mothercare which really is like a straight jacket, but it has worked wonders, she has been sleeping for 2 hour stretches in her moses basket during the day and also settling much more quickly when she wakes at night. The best £15 I have ever spent!

Hybrid Fri 31-Jul-09 15:59:42

wow, didn't know about the swaddling grobags - my LO seems to hate being swaddled with the normal blankets but we have noticed that if we gently hold his arms to stop him hitting himself in the face, he settles much more quickly! Think I'll give that a go.

Thanks so much for all the replies - it does make me feel so much better to know that he is still young and not destined for a life of ruined sleep (him and me!).

Funnily enough, since posting this, he seems to have done a u-turn and decided he likes dummies and is currently asleep in his rocker chair which he managed on his own with the dummy! Like you say dcgc, whatever works at the moment!! I think I was getting myself into a bit a panic unnecessarily.

Thanks again.

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