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Newborn sleep problems-what am I doing wrong?

(24 Posts)
HappyTangerine Sun 18-Oct-09 11:26:28

DS was born 13 days ago by forceps delivery. He was a v active baby in the womb at night and this seems to have carried on after birth-midwives say he has day and night mixed up and vice versa. Am doing lots of skin to skin in the day,lots of eye contact & talking noisy, busy etc. Keeping nights very low key and quiet. I am bf by the way,feeding on demand which works out roughly every 2.5 hrs at night for anywhere between 15mins and 1/1.5 hrs at a time.

The problem is that he won't sleep on anyone or anything but me. Screams blue murder if I put him in his moses basket, screams if we put him on his dad etc-I can't even go to the toilet without him getting all worked up. I know and understand that I'm all he's known for the past 10 months but I'm exhausted. He'll sometimes co-sleep in the bed with us and will always sleep either on my lap or if I lie down on the sofa with DH carefully watching us but I know the cot death risks around sofa sharing and don't want to do this.

DH takes him out in the car for a few hours each afternoon and for 3 hrs at night so I can get some sleep in prep for night feeds but I'm so incredibly tired. Is there anything else I can do? I tried taking mattress out of the basket and letting him fall asleep on it on my lap before putting him in-he lasted 5 minutes. Swaddling has him thrashing about because he likes his arms free and putting something of mine in moses basket seems to have no effect.

Also in his sleep, a couple of times a day he makes a kind of squeak when he breathes in sometimes and almost forgets for a tiny second to take a breath before he remembers, smiles and goes back to normal-again, only when he's sleeping. He also grunts in his sleep. Is this normal or something I should be speaking to midwife about? I'm not particularly anxious, just thought it was normal newborn behaviour but wanted to check. Am so sleep deprived I can't think straight!


MatNanPlus Sun 18-Oct-09 13:00:33

Have you thought of cranio oesteopathy?

TheProvincialLady Sun 18-Oct-09 13:08:20

It all sounds normal, even the funny breathing (DS2 did it).

You are right to be worried about sleeping on the sofa. Just go to bed and you can relax.

This bit is hard but it doesn't last long. It feels a long time at the time though! Every week you will notice a difference and before you know it he will be crawling about and independent. In the short term, have you tried a sling? I had a Moby stretchy wrap and it was brilliant.

One thing - babies sometimes zone out when things are bright and hectic, and wake up when they feel safer because it is quiet and dark, ie at night. Both of my boys did this. So even though it feels 'wrong', you could try making daytimes darker etc and see if it helps.


pooka Sun 18-Oct-09 13:15:17

I second the provincial lady - it does sound very normal. DS2 is now 6 weeks old and does the grunty smily thing, particularly at night. It's wind - sometimes it bothers him, sometimes it makes him startle, wave his arms around and wake up.

My suggestions would be: infacol may help. Try and really wind him after/during feeds (if he starts wriggling, it may be that he's taken in wind). Swaddling - he may not like it at first, but you could swaddle, cuddle, get him to sleep and then try putting down.

For waht it's worth, ds 2 is our third. He sleeps on me most of the time during the day, sleeps next to me in bed at night. Does't self-settle yet. Is pretty windy, but nowhere near dd's levels. Is very sicky, which is new and unlike dd and ds1. In the early evening dh and I (once the older 2 are in bed) take turns holding him. I feed as and when. ~Then when I go up to bed, he comes in next to me.

Basically though, he is still very young. If you carry on differentiating between night and day, he will get it, certainly. It took ds2 about a fortnight really.

HappyTangerine Sun 18-Oct-09 13:51:34

Thats really helpful, thanks. Its insane that DH is up and sitting on sofa opposite me watching like a hawk if we sleep so nothing happens. Have only done it for an hour on 2 occasions out of desperation but it scares me and I don't want to get into bad habits. Usually ds happily falls asleep on the breast then curls up on my lap and I stay awake watching tv or reading. The only way I can do this is beacause DH takes him out of the house for a drive from 10pm-1am. My motto atm is "this is temporary."

I should probably make more of an effort to stay in the bedroom at night rather than come downstairs when he stsrts bawling, am just v conscious that DH is the one going to work and he needs to sleep. We have no spare room.

Re cranial osteopathy-I've an appointment at 9am tomorrow. Am wondering if he's going through some kind of growth spurt-he fed for 1hr 40 a while ago and just now for 50mins and is fast asleep.

PacificWerewolfwoohood Sun 18-Oct-09 14:01:42

Congratulations, HappyTangerine, on the safe arrival of your son.
And commiserations and sympathy on his sleep behaviour... My DS1 was just the same (velcro baby, totally unputdownable) and what with BFing and needing to survive co-sleeping was the only way for us. I am aware of all the research and evidence (am GP) however needs-must and all that, and there are ways to safely co-sleep. I have since at least partially co-slept with DSs2 and 3 and am certainly planning on doing it again with DS4 (due in March '10).
As others have said, this phase is absolutely exhausting, but it does pass. I would also second baby wearing, get your DH trained up on using a sling as well. DS1 only settled in the pram or sling as long as there was movement, but it was better walking through the park with him than having to listen to incessant screaming. BTW, he is now 6 1/2, sleeps v well although still does not need a lot of sleep, is still a drama queen, but v bright (even if I say so myself <<preen>>).
Good luck with the cranial osteopathy, I sometimes wish I had known about that 6 years ago...

christiana Sun 18-Oct-09 14:01:48

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HappyTangerine Sun 18-Oct-09 14:11:15

Your replies are so helpful, thanks a million.Speaking to people who have come through the other end gives me hope! We have a babasling but it hurts my back a bit-ds seems ok with it though. The moby looks lovely. He happily seems to sleep on his back if he's on the big v shaped pillow on my lap (like he is now) but I'll look out for reflux.

PacificWerewolfwoohood Sun 18-Oct-09 14:24:48

Silent reflux is a good one to have checked out or even have a trial of Infanct Gaviscon to see if it makes a difference.
Same goes for colic and all the drops etc available for it (ie Colief, Infacol or Colthycin).
Also cry-sis website is full of interesting advice and have a helpline when you have run all out of ideas.
Don't mean to depress you, but nothing worked for my DS1; he simply had to get a bit older and mature. I am just trying to say, you may well not be doing anything wrong and it is simply part of his personality. My DSs2 and 3 were much more laid back from the very start.

pippa251 Sun 18-Oct-09 18:08:39

My dd was the same - would not settle anywhere but on me. Felt like i was a prisioner! I was also on here asking the same question.

What worked for me was to elevate one end of the mattress so she was led on an incline, putting an extra layer on her- i think she was cold!, co-sleeping when nothing else would work- in bed or on the floor pf the lounge during the day (safer i believed than the sofa.) Also i got a strict bedtime routine from the word go- bath, breast. bed. I'd put her in bed at 8 after bfeeding- so she was boob drunk IYKWIM and i would go to bed then. It was early to go to bed but i'd find that she slept more for the first sleep than the others.

oh and to save my sanity & give me something to do when she woke- i kept a log of time, feed, sleep, cry- then i could work out her pattern and go with it. I'm a control freak at work and this made me feel better!

She has slept through now for the past 2 1/2 weeks (on and off) and settles herself easily.

Just do what ever it takes to get you through these next couple of weeks because (apart from the gowth spurts) every day that passes he will improve.

mcflumpy Sun 18-Oct-09 19:10:40

I'd second the silent reflux comments. DD had it and the noise she made when sleeping was incredible. Grunts groans squeaks you name it! She is still quite noisy at times but nowhere near as bad which I think is mostly to do with her digestion system maturing and her being able to expell wind more voluntarily. We bought a foam wedge for basket and also used in pram which basically elevated her head and it made a huge difference to her comfort in the basket.

It will pass and will get easier baby is so tiny at the moment and the day/night thing will work out over time.


HappyTangerine Mon 19-Oct-09 14:14:55

Cranial osteopathy went well, we we warned he'd either be demon baby today or v sleepy baby. He went into a very deep sleep afterwards so I thought I'd get sleepy baby. Ha-no, demon baby all the way. He's done some explosive poos and screams even louder than usual if I try and put him in his moses basket. We've not had any hiccups after feeds though which is unusual and winding has been v easy.

mcflumpy can I ask where you bought your foam wedge?

Off to research slings that are easier on my back than the babasling...

HappyTangerine Mon 19-Oct-09 14:17:42

Forgot to say a)thanks for the further replies and b) we slept from 12.15 to 4am last night which is unheard of for us. I feel half human today!

christiana Tue 20-Oct-09 08:33:19

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christiana Tue 20-Oct-09 12:22:40

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modmum Tue 20-Oct-09 14:00:40

Have you warmed the moses basket before putting him in? This helped with us. Note remove hot water bottle before putting infant in!! The change in temperature seemed to shock DD awake. Then remember to do it this time next year when they start to feel the cold again.

PacificWerewolfwoohood Tue 20-Oct-09 20:38:20

Another thought: Amby Nature's Nest. I have no personal experience (yet; just bought one second hand for expected DS4), but gets rave reviews from most people who've used it for their LOs. Also slightly elevated position said to be good for reflux...
Not cheap, but always on ebay smile.

roslily Tue 20-Oct-09 21:02:24

My ds is like this. At 6 weeks old he is starting to get better and sleep in basket, although at 4 am he usually comes into bed with me.

I got a white noise cd- womb to world which made a difference to screaming. I put it on when I need toilet or cup of tea!

We are going to cranial osteopath this week

MatNanPlus Tue 20-Oct-09 21:05:05

Amby was great with a baby i cared for who didn't like to be flat, she slept for 3 hours the first time she went in and everyones life changed.

ilovemydogandmrobama Tue 20-Oct-09 21:13:00

Great about cranial osteopathy. The other thing that helped DD when she was a baby was tummy massage. Circular motions underneath the belly button, very gently. It still puts her to sleep!

Slings: We liked the Papoozle.

roslily Wed 21-Oct-09 10:01:44

My ds is asleep in his sling right now. So I can do --two handed typing-- housework.

HappyTangerine Wed 21-Oct-09 13:09:30

Thanks everyone

We're sort of making progress. No more explosive poos since cranial osteopathy on Monday. He was very calm yesterday until evening when he got bad wind but even that went quickly. V v bad wind this morning at 4.40am and 8am but once he'd got that sorted he fell asleep again. I think we'll go back to cranial osteopathy next week.He's gone down in his moses basket a few times today without screaming blue murder-only for a few minutes at a time but warming the mattress seems to make all the difference so thanks modmum for that tip

I really, really want an Amby but DH isn't willing to spend the money on something else ds will just sit and scream in...

PacificWerewolfwoohood Wed 21-Oct-09 21:16:46

Buy second hand Amby and re-sell again if it does not do the trick? I got mine for £50 plus £15 postage.
Glad to hear things are a bit better. Nothing worse than chronic sleep deprivation...

littlepea72 Thu 22-Oct-09 15:28:14

Hey HT, glad i came on here for a look, will head to see HV tomorrow as i can see the signs with Faith as you have had. xxx

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